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The Shifter race from Eberron Rising from the Last War has the Shifting ability:

Once per short rest as a bonus action, you can assume a more bestial appearance. This transformation lasts for 1 minute, until you die, or until you revert to your normal appearance as a bonus action.

Druids have the Wildshape feature:

Starting at 2nd level, you can use your action to magically assume the shape of a beast that you have seen before. You can use this feature twice. You regain expended uses when you finish a short or long rest.

[...] You retain the benefit of any features from your class, race, or other source and can use them if the new form is physically capable of doing so [...]

Obviously, a racial feature can be used in wildshape absent any conflict that prevents its use. Is there such a conflict in this case? For example with the clause "assume a more bestial appearance," given that a druid in beat form is already 100% bestial?

Can a Shifter that is a Druid use its shifting feature at the same time as its Wildshape class feature?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Related (from a previous version of the Shifter): Can a Longtooth Shifter druid attack with a bonus action in Wild Shape? \$\endgroup\$ – Sdjz Mar 9 at 19:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ I assume you are asking about using Wild Shape first and then trying to use the Shifting ability? \$\endgroup\$ – Medix2 Mar 9 at 19:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ @med That is my first thought, but I phrased it as "at the same time" to allow for an answer to assert that it would work in one order but not the other. \$\endgroup\$ – Rykara Mar 9 at 19:22
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There is no conflict here. As you noted a wild shaped Druid keeps features from their class, race, or other source they have and can use them when they are wild shaped.

The correct order, depending on the leniency of the DM, would be to wild shape FIRST and then shift to get the bestial appearance and its bonuses so you're looking at 2 bonus actions in the order.

But nothing is stopping it from working.

Some issues might arise around what type of shifter you were and what you wild shaped into. While the Beasthide, Swiftstride and Wildhunt subtypes are OK, the Longtooth type might be restricted to certain wild shape forms to take advantage of its elongated fangs with their unarmed strike attack, again that's probably DM dependent.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ +1 for mentioning both options.It also made me think of wildshaping into an apparently innocent goat and then out come the claws! There are great adventuring possibilities here. \$\endgroup\$ – Orc's Plunder Mar 10 at 8:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ In your first paragraph, second sentence, do you mean racial features rather than class features (since the question is about using a racial feature)? \$\endgroup\$ – Marq Mar 10 at 11:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'll clear that up, although the Wild Shape ability lets you retain both. \$\endgroup\$ – Steve Mar 10 at 18:55
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Yes - if you use Wild Shape first, and dependent on the beast form chosen

As per the Player’s Handbook, when you use Wild Shape:

Your game statistics are replaced by the statistics of the beast, but you retain your alignment, personality, and Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma scores. You also retain all of your skill and saving throw proficiencies, in addition to gaining those of the creature.

You don’t retain any other statistics, so if you had used the Shifting feature beforehand you would lose the bonuses and new attacks. But you can still use features granted by your race and class as long as “the new form is physically capable of doing so”.

While the Shifting description says you “assume a more bestial appearance”, that is only descriptive - the specific effects for each Shifter type could easily be applied to a normal animal if they have appropriate anatomy to modify, making them take on bestial features they don’t normally have. Arguably a housecat that suddenly sprouts large fangs would have a more bestial appearance than a regular cat!

Looking at what those features specifically are, most of them are easily explicable for many kinds of beasts:

  • Beasthide Shifters get temporary hit points and a bonus to AC - that’s easily explained for most Wild Shape forms by growing a tougher hide, feathers, scales etc. Soft-bodied creatures like an octopus or jellyfish would be harder to justify, but perhaps not - an octopus could grow an external shell like a nautilus, perhaps?
  • Longtooth Shifters get an additional unarmed strike with elongated fangs, which they can use as a bonus action. This could easily be applied to any animal with teeth, or if your DM is generous, any kind of mouth (imagine a raven sprouting fangs). This could upgrade the attack of a small animal or one without a specific bite attack.
  • Swiftstride Shifters get an increase to their walking speed and the ability to move a short distance as a reaction to enemy movement. This could apply to any animal with a walking speed, by growing longer legs or becoming leaner. Conversely “a more bestial appearance” wouldn’t reasonably include growing legs on a fish or make sense for some body plans with very slow walking speeds (like an octopus or snail).
  • Wildhunt Shifters get advantage on Wisdom checks and prevent enemies from gaining advantage against them. That’s easily represented as improving the senses of any animal, as most beasts only get advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks for specific senses at best.

So depending on the Shifter type, the Shifting benefits should be “physically possible” for many if not most Wild Shape forms, adjudicated on a case-by-case basis.

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Probably not.

The relevant section of Wild Shape:

You retain the benefit of any features from your class, race, or other source and can use them if the new form is physically capable of doing so.

This is ambiguous: is your new form capable of Shifting? I can see arguments both ways, but I'd rule that it's not, because the effect of Shifting is to "assume a more bestial appearance", and when wildshaped, your appearance is that of an actual beast. You can't assume a more bestial appearance than that.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Can you use them in the other order then? \$\endgroup\$ – Medix2 Mar 9 at 20:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ This answer seems focused solely on appearance. The shifting also gives other abilities beyond simply looking more bestial, depending on the subtype. They can't be applied either? \$\endgroup\$ – Steve Mar 9 at 21:34

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