In an upcoming campaign of ours I'm considering to play a natural lycanthrope character with the aspect of the beast feat and I will have the claws of the beast manifestation of it.

So here's the question, when my character changes into a wolf for example (imagine a werewolf), do the usual polymorph rules apply?

  • Does my character retain the base saves and base attack bonus or does the wolf's stats apply?

  • Does my character retain the claws from aspect of the beast feat and how do they work with the bite attack regarding primary and secondary attack issue?


2 Answers 2


Lycanthropy and BAB, Saves, et al.

The lycanthropy template does not change anything it doesn’t say that it changes. That includes BAB and Saves, as well as the size of your hit dice, your various feats and class features, and so on. You can turn into a creature that looks like a wolf, and shares some traits with wolves as stated in the template, but you are not actually turning into a wolf in the sense of replacing your character sheet with that of a wolf.

Aspect of the Beast and different forms

Aspect of the Beast is clearly designed for people who can shapeshift, seeing as it requires that you be able to do so. At no point does it say that its effects apply only to your normal form: it just says that you gain these benefits. Therefore, I’m pretty sure it applies no matter what form you are in.

Change Form: Transmutation (Polymorph)?

Change Form is a polymorph effect, and therefore prevents you from gaining the movement modes and natural weapons of your regular form while in hybrid or animal form. This nixes Aspect of the Beast’s claws. The other options for Aspect of the Beast, however, do function normally: polymorph effects block class features that have to do with your form, but not feats.

Personally, I’d probably allow the claws in both hybrid and animal form, too, because I don’t like taking away characters’ feats. Even with Pathfinder’s slightly more generous feat distribution, I tend to find characters – particularly low-level characters – don’t get enough feats. I wouldn’t want to take any away.


So in general the rules on how stats etc. are affected when a natural lycanthrope changes form are contained in the lycanthrope template rules. The template doesn't say that saves or BAB change when you change form, therefore they don't (though they could have stated this more specifically, it is true).

Otherwise, you should follow the Transmutation/Polymorph rules when dealing with lycanthrope changing. The universal change shape monster ability explicitly says it's treated as a polymorph, and all lycanthropes' stat blocks (werewolf, werebear, weretiger, etc.) say, for example, "SQ change shape (human, hybrid, and tiger; polymorph)" which indicates that it is a usual change shape/polymorph effect.

However, to me it doesn't stand to reason that the hybrid form is really a full polymorph by the rules (losing existing natural attacks, special vision, etc.). You could be strict RAW on this if you really wanted to to prevent optimizer tricks. I would therefore say that the human and hybrid form would both benefit from the claws from aspect of the beast, and by the rules it would seem that even in wolf form you might get them:

While under the effects of a polymorph spell, you lose all extraordinary and supernatural abilities that depend on your original form (such as keen senses, scent, and darkvision), as well as any natural attacks and movement types possessed by your original form. You also lose any class features that depend upon form, but those that allow you to add features (such as sorcerers that can grow claws) still function. While most of these should be obvious, the GM is the final arbiter of what abilities depend on form and are lost when a new form is assumed. Your new form might restore a number of these abilities if they are possessed by the new form.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Removed my -1 simply for the "might" in your last sentence. I do think you bold a bit too much of that quote; instead of highlighting important points, it just seems to make it harder to read. I think you're trying to highlight the "adding features" clause, which arguably applies to the Aspect of the Beast; if that's the case, that alone is worth a +1, because that's a very good point. So net +2. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Jul 31, 2013 at 0:23

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