Whatever you may think of the base class, there are some fun and exciting archetypes for the shifter (from Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Ultimate Wilderness). Inspired by some of these, I set out to create a new shifter archetype that allowed you to transform into more exotic forms, such as an entire graveyard’s worth of undead.
New Shifter Archetype
While most shifters transform into animals, even the more exotic types of shifters usually focus on transforming into living things. The corpseshifter is eccentric even by shifter standards, taking on the aspects of various types of undead creatures, using their powers and slowly becoming closer and closer to the grave themselves.
Undead Aspect (Su): Instead of taking on the aspects of animals, a corpseshifter gains the ability to take on the aspects of different types of undead creatures. This functions similarly to the shifter aspect class feature, except that she chooses from the aspects listed below.
Mysterious and enigmatic, ghosts are masters of stealth and misdirection.
Minor Form: You gain a +4 competence bonus on Stealth checks. This bonus increases to +6 at 8th level and +8 at 15th level.
Major Form: Your shape changes to that of a Medium ghost. While in this form, you gain a fly speed of 30 feet (perfect), and the claw natural attacks granted by your shifter’s claws class feature are made against the target’s touch AC, rather than their normal AC. At 8th level, you gain the ability to pass through up to 5 feet of solid matter as a move action. At 15th level, you are an incorporeal creature with all the benefits and drawbacks associated with being incorporeal.
Fearsome foes, mummies are physically powerful and deliver debilitating curses to weaken their foes.
Minor Form: You gain a +2 enhancement bonus to your Strength score. At 8th level, the bonus increases to +4, and at 15th level, it increases to +6.
Major Form: Your shape changes to that of a Medium mummy. While in this form, you gain DR 3/—, but also gain vulnerability to fire, suffering half again as much (+50%) fire damage as you would otherwise take. At 8th level, your claw attacks inflict a weak but fast-acting form of mummy rot, forcing any creature you damage to succeed on a Fortitude save (DC 10 + 1/2 your shifter level + your Constitution modifier) or suffer 1d3 points of Constitution and Charisma damage. Creatures with immunity or resistance to diseases or curses apply those immunities and resistances to this effect. At 15th level, you radiate an aura of despair with a range of 15 feet. Enemies within this area must succeed on a Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 your shifter level + your Charisma modifier) or be shaken for as long as they remain in the aura, and for 1 minute thereafter.
Skeletons are quick, lean combatants that are immune to cold. More powerful shifters can transform into the feared burning skeletons.
Minor Form: You gain a +2 enhancement bonus to your Dexterity score. At 8th level, the bonus increases to +4, and at 15th level, it increases to +6.
Major Form: Your shape changes to that of a Medium skeleton. While in this form, you gain DR 5/bludgeoning and are immune to cold. At 8th level, you instead transform into a burning skeleton, and your natural attacks deal an additional 1d6 points of fire damage with each successful hit. At 15th level, anyone striking you with an unarmed strike or natural attack suffers 1d6 points of fire damage.
Vampires are quick and maneuverable opponents, and the most powerful of them can control the minds of mortals.
Minor Form: You gain a +2 bonus on Initiative checks. This bonus increases to +4 at 8th level and +6 at 15th level.
Major Form: Your shape changes to that of a Medium vampire. While in this form, you can climb on solid surfaces as though with the spell spider climb. Additionally, if you have an opponent pinned, you can drain blood, dealing 1d4 points of Constitution damage each round, and healing 5 hit points each time you do so. However, you become weak to sunlight, and are sickened as long as you are in direct sunlight. At 8th level, you gain a fly speed of 60 feet with perfect maneuverability, but gain a vampire’s weaknesses to garlic, mirrors, and holy symbols, forcing you to stay at least 5 feet away from such objects, and be unable to attack creatures presenting them unless you succeed on a DC 20 Will save. At 15th level, while in the major form of the vampire aspect, you can affect any person that meets your gaze as though with the spell charm person as a standard action. This is a spell-like ability and your caster level is equal to your shifter level. You also gain a vampire’s weakness to running water, and suffer 4d6 points of damage each round that you are immersed in it.
Slow but steady, zombies are incredibly tough and difficult to destroy.
Minor Form: You gain a +2 enhancement bonus to your Constitution score. At 8th level, the bonus increases to +4, and at 15th level, it increases to +6.
Major Form: Your shape changes to that of a Medium zombie. While in this form, you gain DR 5/slashing, your natural armor bonus to AC increases by +2, and your movement speed is halved (rounded down, minimum 5 feet). At 8th level, the damage reduction becomes DR 5/magic and slashing, and your natural armor bonus to AC increases by an additional +2. At 15th level, the damage reduction becomes DR 10/magic and slashing.
This ability modifies the shifter aspect class feature.
One of Us (Su): Undead creatures see a corpseshifter as one of their own. Unintelligent undead do not notice the corpseshifter unless she attacks them. Further, she gains a +4 circumstance bonus on all Bluff, Diplomacy, and Intimidate checks made against intelligent undead.
This ability replaces the wild empathy class feature.
Dead Eyes (Ex): At 2nd level, the corpseshifter gains darkvision to a range of 60 feet. If she already had darkvision, the range of her darkvision increases by 60 feet, instead.
This ability replaces the track class feature.
Grave Rigor (Ex): At 3rd level, the corpseshifter gains a +4 bonus on saving throws made to resist disease, paralysis, poison, sleep effects, and stunning.
This ability replaces the woodland stride class feature.
Undead Anatomy (Su): At 4th level, a corpseshifter gains the ability to turn herself into the major form of one of her aspects and back again. This ability functions as undead anatomy IIUM, except as noted here. The corpseshifter can turn into the major form of only one of her aspects at a time. Using undead anatomy to change to a major form or back is a standard action that doesn’t provoke attacks of opportunity. Often a particular aspect’s major form grants abilities beyond the normal effect of undead anatomy II. Each major form details the abilities the shifter gains with that major form and at what level; she gains these instead of the form abilities from undead anatomy II, but she still gains undead anatomy II abilities that are size dependent. A corpseshifter never gains natural attacks as a result of this ability, nor does she ever lose the claw natural attacks granted by her shifter’s claws class feature.
A corpseshifter in her aspect’s major form appears as an undead version of herself, with the exact appearance matching the type of undead whose form she has adopted.
A corpseshifter can use undead anatomy for a number of hours each day equal to her shifter level + her Wisdom modifier. It need not be consecutive but must be spent in 1-hour increments.
This ability replaces the wild shape class feature.
Grave Energy (Su): At 5th level, a corpseshifter is healed by both positive and negative energy, and is never harmed by either.
This ability replaces the trackless step class feature.
Dead Visage (Su): Beginning at 18th level, a corpseshifter can take on the appearance of any dead humanoid as a standard action. This functions as disguise self, except that the corpseshifter gains the appearance of a specific dead creature. The corpseshifter does not need to know the creature in question, and so can take on more or less any appearance that she likes, simply taking the appearance of a random dead creature that matches the desired description. The corpseshifter can also deliberately take on the appearance of a person they knew. The corpseshifter shares any visible wounds that the corpse whose appearance they are using would have had, based on the way they died. Any creature that sees the corpseshifter while it has the visage of someone they once knew must succeed on a Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 the corpseshifter’s shifter level + the corpseshifter’s Charisma modifier) or be shaken for 1d3 rounds. This is a mind-affecting fear effect.
This ability replaces the a thousand faces class feature.