So something different today, this is not a conversion. This is an examination of PF2’s versatile heritage Beastkin found in Lost Omens Ancestry Guide or here. Simple put, can we use them to be shifters in your PF2 Eberron game? (If you looking for my current Shifter conversion you can find it here.) Off the bat I am going to say…maybe?
Do they potentially have the same general feel? Sort of. Paizo’s specific chosen direction I think pulls away from Eberron’s shifters more than moves toward them. If you decide to use them I think you have to ask yourself some questions on how you add them into your Eberron campaign.
(Just want to remind the reader I mostly speak from a 3.5 Eberron perspective.)
Now I believe in the Eberron ‘rule’ of “If it is in DnD it is in Eberron.” though of course replace DnD with PF but that doesn’t mean we can’t put restrictions on it or modify it.
Rarity and Versatile; are you going to follow these parts of the heritage? In Eberron Rare seems pretty high and most likely be treated as uncommon or common. Versatile certainly doesn’t fit as they are established as having ancestors but simple enough to restrict it to humans like half or half orcs but you can easily leave it open to give your Eberron more of a twist. Though some corners of the lore mention Orc shifter one offs.
Ancestry Feats; do you allow all the Beastkin feats? Do you allow all the human feats or whatever ancestry you allow? Beastkin is rather ‘thin’ in feats but that is the same for many versatile heritages as they also have their ancestry to tap into for these. Higher level feats reflect what the Weretouched Master unlocked (ECS pg 85). Some feats seem out of place to a Shifter like Fey Influence granting fey magic and odd extras to the form or Critter Shape that allows you to take on a small or cub animal like form. Of course cutting out feats makes that list smaller so you have to weigh everything for yourself.
Change Shape/Animal Selection; this is where a lot of things break down for trying to use Beastkin as shifters. What I think the more minor thing is first is that hybrid form is more default and either form can be held indefinitely while the shift is certainly meant to be temporary and akin to raging. Bigger thing is they very much want you to pick a specific animal instead of having wider themes (including insects) and they all give a bite attack. While the insect thing is easy to ignore I think the exclusive bite loses a lot of shifter flavor while casual transforms sort of also. This is where my heart gets broken and Beastkin falls apart for me. I think they are great in flavor for Pathfinder/Age of Lost Omens but Eberron it becomes a bit of a failure for me but also can see other GMs embracing it.
With that all said I think this is great frame work for something. Perhaps a Shifter Redux conversion is in order (specially with some people’s Power concern about the current one) or perhaps figuring out how to make a variant Beastkin that fits shifter more? We will see.
Thank you for your time and I hope this proves useful to you and your party! If you like support what I do please consider joining my Patreon or sending me a Ko-fi. A special thanks to the Eberron Discord Communities and an extra special one to ChaosOS for proof reading this entry; check out his works on the DM’s Guild. https://www.dmsguild.com/browse.php?author=Joseph%20Meehan