Skinwalker is a Pathfinder race. They have the Change Shape racial ability to assume a so-called bestial form 3+1/2 character level times per day. While in bestial form, they gain a +2 racial bonus to one physical attribute, as well as other bonuses and penalties which are irrelevant to my question. To quote:

Change Shape (Su, 5 RP): A skinwalker can change shape into a bestial form as a standard action. In bestial form, a skinwalker gains a +2 racial bonus to either Strength, Dexterity, or Constitution. While in this form, a skinwalker also takes on an animalistic feature that provides a special effect. Each time a skinwalker assumes bestial form, she can choose to gain one of the following features:

  • 2 claw attacks that each deal 1d4 points of damage

  • Darkvision to a range of 60 feet.

  • +1 racial bonus to natural armor.

The racial ability score bonus and additional feature last as long as the skinwalker remains in that form, and a skinwalker can remain in bestial form for as long as she wants. While in bestial form, a skinwalker takes a –4 penalty on Charisma and Charisma-based checks when interacting with humanoids that lack the shapechanger subtype.

A skinwalker can return to her humanoid form as a swift action. To change forms and gain a different benefit, a skinwalker must first return to her humanoid form then use her shapechange ability again. A skinwalker can shapechange into bestial form a number of times per day equal to 3 + 1/2 her character level.

The question is: would a skinwalker druid keep their +2 bonus to the attribute while using their Wild Shape ability to assume an animal form? To me, the answer seems obviously no, since the description outright spells out that they only keep the bonus as long as they are in their bestial form, and Wild Shape makes the druid assume a different form. However, my players are adamant that the druid should keep the racial bonus and add the attribute bonus from Wild Shape too. I honestly tried to understand their reasoning, but I couldn't. Am I missing some rules here? Can you please explain me how would this be possible?

Please do note that I'm specifically looking for a RAW answer here - I wish to understand how the rules work before houseruling anything for flavor or balance.


The rules for polymorph subschool spells in pathfinder states:

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.

So the answer to your question is a resounding no. Using Beast Shape to transform would remove any buffs that you get from Change Shape(Su), However the GM is the final decisionmaker as far as allowing any abilities to persist in Wild Shape are concerned.


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