This page is drafted, and updated from Rhynsts guide, but it still lacks some bits here and there. A few updates from Gyn.

Class hall dirs: 11s, all w, 6s, e, s, 10e, 10s, 3e, s, 2e

Earth clan (Ignatious): from Gwot's camp on Infidian: se, 6e, 5n, 15e, 3s, 1w, 8s, 1w, 1s, 2w, 1s, 1w, 6s, 1w, 1s, 4w

Below is a rough rating system showcasing the differences between the primary clans.

Reptile Feline Forest Earth*
Learning Curve Low Low-Medium Medium-High High
Damage Dealing B B+ C C-A+
Damage Absorption A- C+ A+ C-A
Soloing Ability A B B- A+
Bashing Ability C+ B C C-B
Tanking Prowess B C A A-

*Ratings for earth are complicated, as in Mimeon you can chose to prefer more damage or more armour, or a balance of the two.

Famous Shapeshifters: Brick, Moot, Serin



Shapeshifters are a very complex class. Their main ability is obviously to be able to change into another form – opossums, frogs, rocks, cats, lizards and trees. Each form has its own special abilities. More complicated forms constantly lose spell points to represent the effort it takes to stay in the form.

To get these forms, you learn them from various characters in the class hall. Each form typically has 5 levels, each one more powerful than the last. To advance in form, you have to gain experience (which does not have to be gained while in the form you are trying to advance in), as well as time spent in form (which does have to be spent in the appropriate form). There are a total of 69(was 59) forms, taking about 35-40 days of character age to max out all the forms.

Playing the shapeshifter class will involve a lot of time spent in form where you have to be active and unidle. The automatic sending of commands to the game (including keeping yourself unstatued with timed commands or triggers) is illegal on Ancient Anguish. Illegal activity will be dealt with harshly and you risk losing your character and all the time spent raising it, 'tell dibbs demotions of shifter'.

The Clans and their Forms

There are 4 ‘branches’ to choose from. They are the feline, reptile, forest and earth clans, each boasting 3 linked main forms that are progressively more powerful, with 5 levels of each. It takes level 3 in the previous form before you can advance to the next powerful form (i.e. level 3 chameleon is required before you can get level 1 nelitos dragon), but need to get the smallest form to 5 before can learn the final. (i.e. need level 5 chameleon and 3 nelitos to learn drakon)

The first advanced form you learn (cat, flower, chameleon, rock) determines your primary clan, and the second the secondary, and so on. The only effect of which order you chose clans in is the speed at which you advance each, with each subsequent one being slower to advance. In addition to the advanced forms, there is opossum and frog, which are non-clan forms. More info on them can be seen below.

Moot's Hovel has a rough, and very outdated examination of the time and experience required for advancing each form, but can still be useful in some situations.


Opossum is the most basic form for all shapeshifters, which is mandatory to learn, but maxes out quickly. It is very weak, uses its claws to attack, and unlike most of the other forms, is able to pick things up. It’s a good idea to spend only as much time in this form as you have to, perhaps to gather experience if you had chosen earth or plant for your primary clan, and/or gather things to sell.


Frog is the next basic form, which isn’t compulsory. Frogs simply walk across rivers and lakes, which gives it nice mobility. They attack better than opossums but can’t pick things up. They also get a notable damage bonus vs insects. This form is also good for gathering experience if you had chosen earth or plant for your primary clan.


The reptile clan is probably the easiest overall. You start off as a chameleon, which can blend into its surroundings, and eat small insects to heal. They get damage bonuses against insects and spiders.

The chameleon then can become a nelitos dragon, which is a slightly tougher version that gets a ‘bite’ ability to do minor damage for 10 spell points, this also has a venom ability that occasionally makes things stop attacking for a round every so often.

Finally the nelitos dragon is able to morph into a drakon. Drakons are very tough, with high natural armour class, and get a progressively more powerful breath attack, eventually turning into something even more powerful than the mage’s venom spit or acid arrow. They have a fairly pathetic physical attack, so the majority of their damage comes from the breath.


The feline clan is more offensive than the reptile clan. The cat is the basic form, which does slightly more damage than the reptile, and can eat some very small animals like birds, but can't blend into its surroundings and doesn't get damage bonuses.

The cat soon upgrades into a panther, which often is able to land several hits in the one round. It also comes with a bite attack similar to the nelitos dragon’s, but this bite is more powerful, though sacrificing the venom ability. This makes a very damaging shapeshifter form for the mid levels.

The final feline form is the xaerre, a half man half lion, which is able to wield conventional weapons. They are also able to wear armour on their neck, hands and arms, light body armour, jewellery and containers. However they don’t have much natural armour, and are much worse than reptilians at taking damage. Xaerres also come with a claw ability, which costs 20 spell points, and is similar to the bite ability, dealing about 35 damage per hit.


Next there is the forest clan, which is rarely chosen as a primary clan. Forest clan starts their initiates off as flowers – non combat forms which heal rapidly in the sun (and at night for moonflowers), but which are very vulnerable. To advance from flower, you will need to gather your experience while in other forms. Note that as well as not being able to attack you also can't move in flower form, and have to be outdoors.

Trees are the next form, and they move incredibly slowly around, and cannot go indoors, which you will have to quickly get used to. It heals quickly in the rain, and has very high armour class, but attack less than normal characters, and it takes a lot of damage from fire attacks, and axes. They have a "creepers" ability to grow either noxious creepers, that only seem to work on animals, it seems to make things miss less. They also have budding creeper, which can use sps to grow berries to pick, and anyone can eat. In tree 5 you get barbed creepers, which presumably make things take damage when they hit you. They can also carry items, and wear packs.

The final form is the treant, which moves at a normal rate and can now go indoors, gets about the best armour class in game, is able to wear containers, but loses the rain-healing ability. They have a 20 sps entangle ability which lowers greatly the opponent’s armour class, and prevents it from leaving the room, and occasionally causes the opponent to miss rounds of combat.


Last but not least is the earth clan, which starts off with rock form. Rocks can't do much - they move very slowly and can't fight. Their main ability is that they take almost no damage, with rock 5 taking no damage at all. Like with flower, to advance you will need to get experience in other forms since you can't attack.

Fluons are the next form, which have a very unique absorbing mechanic. Fluons can absorb items in their surroundings to increase their maximum hp, and spend maximum hp to perform attacks and special attacks. Their healthpool constantly fluctuates between high and low as they absorb items and attack. Each fluon level has a slightly different special attack. The final level, the wall of lava, can form and throw large fireballs that act as thrown weapons. Their large healthpool and damage makes them a viable playing choice much longer than the other middle tier forms.

Mimeons are the final earth form, which share the absorbing mechanic of fluons. Mimeons convert this excess max hp into making weapons and armour out of themselves. Mimeons have a very customisable playstyle as you can choose how large your weapon, your armour and your remaining health pool is. If you choose to have the largest weapon for example, you would be left with a small hp pool and weak armour. Striking a balance that suits your playstyle is where a lot of the difficulty of the form comes in. Through combat your weapon and armour get smaller, so you need to keep supplementing them through absorbing. Mimeons have a mend ability that turns excess spellpoints into hp, and past mimeon 4 they get the ability to 'spike' a weapon to deal a burst of damage, but lowering the size of the weapon. As the form levels the variety and strength of weapons and armour they can make improves, and at mimeon 5 they can create two weapons at once.

For playing informtion on this quite unique clan, see Gyn's guide on the Earth Clan

Class Abilities - Offensive

Drakons only have one decent offensive ability – their breath attack. At over level 19, this does about 65 damage for only about 35 spell points. In addition Drakons get free hits with their tail – which does about 5 damage, and can choose to attack with their tail as well for about 10 spell points – very useless. Drakons have very poor physical damage. With armour, drakons are able to wear only jewellery (and the Wigwog skin shield, for some reason), which is an important thing to boost the armour class. Essentially they are elven conjurers which more armour class and more damage, but less versatility.

Xaerres are one of the two forms able to wield weapons, and the only that can use bows and throw weapons. They deal out respectable damage, similar to clerics with clubs and staves. In addition they get a good bit of damage from claw, possibly even doing over 50 damage at higher levels.

Treants’ entangle ability lowers the enemy armour class greatly, helping herself and the whole party to destroy the monster faster.

Panthers and Nelitos dragons also get ‘bite’ attacks, which cost 10 sps and deals about 10 damage.

Chameleons and frogs also get combat bonuses against insects and spiders, making them at least twice as good at fighting them.

Trees have barbed creepers, which makes things take damage when they attack.

Fluons do differing things depending on their size. Size 2 fluons can throw mud that trips monsters, making them easier to hit. Size 4 fluons can throw magnetic balls at opponents, which deals damage and weighs down their equipment. Size 3 and 5 fluons can make throwable weapons out of themselves that can do considerable damage with high marksmanship and thrown weapon.

Mimeons can make weapons out of themselves, but cannot wield standard weapons. They can improve the size and weight of these weapons at the cost of decreasing their max hp. At mimeon 4 and 5 they can 'spike' the weapons to deliver a large burst of damage, but decreasing the size of the weapon instantly. Weapon size gradually degrades over time in combat and needs to be regularly topped up.

Class Abilities - Defensive

The most prominent defensive ability for most shapeshifters is natural armour class. Treant gets about the best armour class in game, even beyond that of equipment available. Drakon gets good armour as well, probably about equivalent to the best armour. Xaerre has very minimal natural armour, but probably better than being naked.

In about every situation a shapeshifter should be dodging. Xaerre can wear some minimal armour, but its not really advisable to attempt doing defend none with armour, and should be mostly naked except for some few useful items, such as a golden amulet, artificer amulets and rings of protection, and a few other choice rings.

Tree has two defensive creepers, noxious and budding. The noxious creepers only work on animals, by making them seem to miss more. The budding creepers can be used to edible grow berries, but takes sps.

A sort-of-defensive ability is the corpse eating healing of cats(small animals only), chameleon & frog(insects, spiders, thraxi) and panther & nelitos(both of which can eat most sized animals)

A shapeshifter in rock form is the ultimate defender, attackers automatically ceasing their attacks 1 round after starting combat.

Fluons and mimeons have an absorb mechanic that not only increases their max hp, but heals them for the same amount. As their abilities only cost max hp and not actual hp, this means each thing you absorb heals you. Given enough things to absorb and enough things to spend your max hp on, this can be a tremendous form of healing, as it has no limit.

Mimeons additionally have a 'mend' ability to slowly convert excess spellpoints into hps. This can be useful in certain mimeon configurations as you otherwise have little to spend your sps on, but it is not their most prominent feature.


For all forms but xaerre and mimeon, unarmed is all there is to it. This skill goes up incredibly quickly for shapeshifters, and there is little choice but to raise it.

Xaerres and mimeons are fast with clubs, staves and spears, all of which have respectable options within them.

Xaerres should also look into raising marksmanship with archery, to gather experience with while they’re waiting for the more advanced xaerre forms, as bows do substantially more damage than the otherwise piddling damage than low xaerres do.

Fluons benefit tremendously from raising marksmanship and thrown weapon, as their fireballs use these to determine if they hit and how much damage they do.


The best race for a shapeshifter depends a lot on what you plan on doing with it, and what form you want to spend most of your time in.

Drakons use dodge a lot, so the dextrous races are best for it – elves and orcs. If you plan on tanking more, use orcs for their superior constitution, or if you’re just going to solo or bash, then the elves’ higher spell point pool allows it to do better with the breath attack.

Xaerres are most like fighters, so they should be orcs, humans or dwarves, so they can wield the big weapons.

Treants also dodge a lot, so orcs and elves are good here again. Since they have more focus on physical damage than drakons, humans are also reasonable here.

Levelling your first Shapeshifter

A shapeshifter takes a very long time to raise, mainly because of the time requirements before advancement of forms. However the first 10 levels or so still go by reasonably quickly.

Playing the shapeshifter class will involve a lot of time spent in form where you have to be active and unidle. The automatic sending of commands to the game (including keeping yourself unstatued with timed commands or triggers) is illegal on Ancient Anguish. Illegal activity will be dealt with harshly and you risk losing your character and all the time spent raising it, 'tell dibbs demotions of shifter'.

Levels 1-4: get the opossum form, and Zhou unarmed up. If you plan on being a xaerre later on, then go into your normal form before level 5, get a catty from the blacksmith, and get marksmanship up as well. Kill in the normal newbie areas, and hopefully reach level 4 with opossum level 3 and ready to pick a primary clan, with 20 or so unarmed.

Levels 4-10: Pick a primary clan. Newer players are encouraged to pick reptile or chameleon, as plant and earth both require a bit more to learn.

If you chose cat, it’s just like levelling up a typical other class like paladin, just kill in the normal newbie areas and watch things die.

As a chameleon, then use your new attack bonuses against insects to the maximum – the spiders in the manor, butterflies in the fairy ring, random crickets in the forest, the huge swarm of insects in ravel, etc.

If you chose flower or rock, it may be worth investing in frog form. Frog plays very similar to chameleon, dealing bonus damage to insects. Change to flower to heal, and rock.. to idle.

Keep advancing your primary forms, and as you near level 10, if you didn't already chose flower, now wouldn't be a bad idea to get it as a secondary form for healing.

Be sure to be regularly hitting up the training academy in Tantallon(n, e from xroads) to be raising your brawl ability. If you are planning to play the earth clan it's worth spending some time with Illit in Infidian as well, specifically his dart board. You can train thrown weapon here 4 times every area reset, getting you well on your way to 100 thrown weapon before reaching the higher fluon levels.

You should hit level 10 with 30-40 unarmed skill, and level 3 in your cat or chameleon form, perhaps enough experience for the panther or nelitos forms. Earth and forest users may or may not be as high, depending on time spent in forms.

Levels 10-15: Reptiles should spend their times switching between chameleon and nelitos forms. In chameleon form, hunt down slightly harder insects like the ants on the southeast isles, spiders in the drow and manspider areas, etc. When they are all dead, turn into a nelitos and use bite and physical damage to take things within your level range – preferably ones without weapons or armour, like harkke wolves and unicorns, Burnham and Anasazi animals, intep, etc, while healing using inns like the eastroad and the wayfarer’s rest. Do this for a while until the insects respawn, then back into chameleon form you go.

Felines should spend their time in panther form. They deal reasonable damage, and with bite can take down slightly harder kills than nelitos dragons. Go for the same sort of kills as mentioned above, healing using inns and flower form when too stuffed/drunk.

Forest users are probably at the biggest disadvantage in these levels- tree moves very slowly, and can't kill things very well. Best bet may to be attempting to get a basher, or maybe even using frog to get experience. The anasazi is a good place to hang out, picking berries to heal. Bring some medicinals and/or smokes with you to take advantage of the fact that you can heal with them while other forms can't.

For earth clan, levels 10-15 are all about getting used to the mechanics of fluons. You can just kill junk in the forest for fluons 1-2, but when you hit fluon 3 you will want to start levelling marksmanship quickly. Get a catty from Morin's farm and use Zhou out of form to get to 18ish marksmanship, then throw crystals at things to get the rest. Remember you can shift out of form and back in to reset your max hps quickly, giving you more ammo to throw. Use southeast isle healing circle to keep yourself healed. Swarms (like the swarm of butterflies in the fairy dragon ring) are good low level things to grow on as they leave lots of corpses to absorb. It is worth going for harder kills and healing up even if you gain experience slower than doing junk kills, since you'll need marksmanship skills more than anything.

There is no rush to kill things that fast here, as the time requirements start getting very very high around now.

Unarmed skill should be flying now, but frankly it doesn’t really matter any more – drakons do very little physical damage, and xaerres will soon be wielding real weapons instead.

Level 15+: Here you start getting your final form. Unfortunately, at first, they are not really much better than the previous form, though you can now at least carry equipment and heals, and wear some armour.

Since the natural armour class is still poor, a drakon should seek out amulets and rings to wear as soon as possible, and also a permed armour spell would be very helpful. You still deal very little damage, so it’s a good idea to get someone to bash for you, as otherwise you kill very slowly for a level 15. However if you’re in no rush, then killing things slowly is a decent way to while away the otherwise long idling times anyway. Once again, the best targets for a small drakon are the unarmed types like unicorns.

Once your drakon reaches level 4 or 5, then it’s time to break out the whoop ass. With fire breath, hunt down the various frost giants in the game in the steading, and in rune, then take the easier 6ks like the fairies and wyvern and bulette. Once you reach level 5, all the boundaries are gone, and you can kill almost everything with the breath.

A xaerre can spend the first form or two just working up club, staff, spear and marksmanship. Once a few of those are at a decent level, 50 or so, you should be close to xaerre 4 anyway.

Once there, your xaerre plays much like a solo fighter or cleric, so start off just killing things appropriate to your primary skill – 2ks at 40 skill, 4ks at 60 and 6ks and 9ks at 70 and beyond. You’re a little fragile still, so avoid high damage dealers, but the damage output from a good club or staff later coupled with claw is quite reasonable.

The fastest way to get to 19 with earth clan is to play in fluon, and get a basher. With a basher you'll kill things faster, getting you much more equipment to absorb. The more damage you have behind you, the more equipment is coming your way to absorb, the more healing you have, the faster you can go. You'll be able to take on larger monsters, gaining skills faster. It can be tempting to play in fluon 4 because they will hit their special attacks a lot more, since they're not using your marksmanship skill. Use fluon 3 instead to raise your marksmanship faster, since in the long run it is the main source of damage as a fluon.

At some point you may want to try mimeon, which is highly configurable depending on if you can get tanks or bashers or want to solo. For soloing and tanking, it's recommended to max your armour, use a weightless one handed weapon, and use mend and regular heals. Mimeon armour is fairly decent, and gets even better as you improve your mimeon form. With max armour you can stay in combat a long time, so this is a good setup for getting those early weapon skills. A decent bashing setup is to eschew armour entirely and just make your two handed weapon as big and heavy as possible. Ask your tank if you can absorb the corpses, as that will help stop the weapon from degrading.

Playing a shapeshifter

Most shapeshifter forms have one major perk over other classes, built in weightless armour. With that in mind, shapeshifters are predominantly a tanking or soloing class. The two possible exceptions are xaerre and mimeon, which have actual weapons, but in both these cases playing in a bashing role takes away a large element of what makes them good.

Since you have such good weightless armour, you can choose to dodge for even more ability to take hits, in which case you would drop everything unessential on the ground before fights.

Drakons and xaerres use both hp and sp, so food and drink heals are preferable over potions. Your aim is to keep the values in balance, and you'll often have to use monk's meditation, eastroad inn, or stacks of potions to do so. Hit your abilities as often as possible. It can be tempting to try to whittle down smaller enemies without using special attacks, but ultimately this is more wasteful than powering through them with a special attack. If you are in a party you will have more damage coming in, so you can wait out guard kills without using special attacks.

Treants should ideally be tanking rather than soloing, as their damage output is quite poor, similar to a cleric not using damage prayers and weak weapons. They are without equal at taking hits however, and entangle is an extra boon to bashers, similar to a rogue's trip.

Due to the armour being built in, one thing that is viable is dual tanking with another shapeshifter, splitting the damage between you both. Typically this is unheard of as it would mean carrying two heavy suits of armour, leaving no room to carry loot. However it works very well with shapeshifters, allowing you to split the damage and the healing needed between the two of you, effectively giving you two stomachs worth of heals and twice the eating speed.

In fluon and mimeon forms, try to use special abilities as often as possible. Since absorbing things heals you as well as giving you max hp, the more you can absorb the more healing you can get. By using your abilities as often as possible you always keep open the possibility of healing through absorbing. As an added bonus you kill things faster this way.


One of the "perks" of being a shapeshifter is that most forms don't require any equipment at all to function, or can't carry any anyways. The one piece of equipment that is valuable to all shapeshifters is a special amulet from infidian. It is simply a "petrified wood amulet"(aka shammy or shifter amulet), a unique amulet only valuable to shapeshifters, but only one can be available at any time. To see if it is the right one, examine it, and it should say something along the lines of "amulet of the order". This amulet can be worn in any form. It gives a boost to overall armour, and when examined, gives a rough estimate on time and experience needed until advancement of current form. To be worn, must be worn in a form that can normally wear, but it stays worn upon changing of form.

If the shapeshifter amulet isn't available, it is wise to attempt getting a golden amulet or an amulet of protection from an artificer, both of which are very useful.

Some other notable pieces of equipment are sheaths, which are weightless and give some armour, the whitegolden ring which gives good armour, the ring of regeneration, various Zarkan rings, ring of protection if not using an amulet of protection, or, for xaerres, skill rings from an artificer.

Is a shapeshifter for you?

Shapeshifters are for those who desire a change of pace, and want to play the game in a totally different way. Once upon a time they weren't the most powerful class, but after the recent updates they can become very fiercesome in the right hands.

Shapeshifters also make a good class to read boards with and to chat with since the time spent reading or chatting while in form goes into your total pool of time. For those true perfectionists, getting every single form is something achievable by even newer players, as long as they have the time to put into it.

Playing the shapeshifter class will involve a lot of time spent in form where you have to be active and unidle. The automatic sending of commands to the game (including keeping yourself unstatued with timed commands or triggers) is illegal on Ancient Anguish. Illegal activity will be dealt with harshly and you risk losing your character and all the time spent raising it, 'tell dibbs demotions of shifter'.

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