Thursday, June 4, 2015

Races of Pathfinder: Shabti

Shabti are "immortal facsimiles of death obsessed nobles," human-like outsiders that are made to take the godly judgement for human error.  Their traits are interesting from a flavor perspective, but not terribly interesting from a mechanical perspective.

Racial Traits:
Ability Scores: +2 to both Constitution and Charisma with no penalties is probably the best part of this race.  These are broad bonuses that a range of classes can take advantage of.

Type: Shabti are outsiders, meaning they are immune to any spell that targets humanoids.  While this will exclude some buffs, by and large this will help you avoid some enemy spells.

Size: Medium - nothing special here. 

Speed: 30 ft. - again, average.

Darkvision: Yay darkvision!  See in the dark!

Immortal: Shabti can't age, even though spells with aging effects affect them as normal.  Fine, but likely to not come up in and practical sense in a campaign.

Immune to Undeath: Shabti are immune to undeath.  Again, not terribly likely to come up in a campaign.

Resist Level Drain: Shabti are immune to energy drain.  This is far more likely to be relevant, but still isn't terribly.

Past Life Knowledge: Treating all knowledge skills as class skills is pretty nice, particularly if you are an intelligence based class.  It makes skill monkeying a heck of a lot easier.

Shattered Soul: Shabti more difficult to raise.  This is far more likely to happen in a campaign than aging into death, and outweighs the previous unlikely bonuses.  Still, it's not too likely in and of itself.

Spell Like Ability: Suggestion: Suggestion is a reasonably high level spell as these things go, being a level 3 wizard/sorcerer spell.  It's a multi-use spell that you will find a time for from level 1 to 20.  I'm not sure what the DC of this is though.

With pretty broad, un-mechanically-interesting abilities, the only real trait that we have to discern the Shabti's suitability for classes are his ability scores.
The charisma casters, such as the Sorcerer, Summoner, Oracle, and Bard, all benefit from both Charisma and Constitution Bonus.  Clerics, Paladins, Ninjas, and many Cavaliers benefit from both as well.  The Mysterious Stranger Gunslinger can make use of Charisma as well, and won't turn down a chance for more Constitution.
Besides that, basically everybody benefits from the extra constitution.  There's no reason you can't make a good Barbarian, Monk, Fighter, Druid, Rogue, or Magus.  Only the Witch, Wizard, and Alchemist fall on the second tier, but only because they don't make as much use of either ability score.

In short, the shabti are extremely bland from a mechanical perspective.  Play them for the flavor, not for the interesting perks they might give to optimization.

Races of Pathfinder: Orc

Orcs are your proto-typical bruisers, big, dumb, and exceptionally strong.  Hated and feared for their barbarism, orcs make great melee characters, but not much else.

Racial Traits:
Ability Scores: Orcs get +4 to Strength, but suffer a -2 penalty to Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma.  The strength bonus means a strong low level start, but you'll be constantly lacking in the skills department, as well as having a slightly weaker Will save.  Still, if damage dealing is the only thing you care about, it's hard to beat.

Size: Orcs are the same size as humans.

Speed: Orcs have the standard 30ft base movement speed.

Orc Ferocity: This trait allows an orc to keep fighting as if disabled  after being taken below 0 hit points. This can be excellent at low levels, when it essentially adds a huge percentage to your HP, but it dwindles in usefulness as the levels go up.  For a Cleric, Paladin, or other healing class, this can be invaluable since you can use that standard action to heal yourself.

Weapon Familiarity: Orcs gain automatic proficiency with two very nice martial weapons, the greataxe and the falchion. If you’re going to be playing a class that only gains simple weapon proficiency, this can be a huge boon for you, but if you’re going to be a Fighter or any other class that gains martial weapon proficiency, trade this out for something better.

Darkvision: Darkvision is way better than low-light vision, because realistically most DMs don’t really worry about lighting conditions except for darkness. This is a great ability to have.

Light Sensitivity: Light Sensitivity is a minor but pervasive penalty, that will provide annoyance for a good long time.  Luckily, if you aren't a ranged character you can easily trade it out for Dayrunner.

Alternate Race Traits:
Dayrunner [Light Sensitivity]: Light sensitivity is a pain in the ass. It's only a -1 penalty, but given that you'll likely spend much of your campaign outdoors during the day, that penalty can really accumulate.  Dayrunner lets you trade it out for a -2 penalty on ranged attack rolls, which is great if you don't make ranged attacked!  Plus, the flavor is hilarious: "Orcs refuse to yield to any foe, including the sun.  Some spend hour upon hour glaring at the sun."

Feral [Weapon Familiarity & Language]: The bonuses here, survival as a class skill and +1 to attack and damage while at negative, are pretty minor.  However, what you are trading in can be made pretty minor too. If you don't use an orc weapon, and you have another way of getting languages, then its something to consider.

Smeller [Ferocity & Weapon Familiarity]: Scent is a nice ability, but I consider Ferocity to be much stronger, especially at lower levels.

Squalid [Ferocity]: A +2 bonus against nausea is wonderful in and of itself, but you also get a +2 bonus against sickened and disease.  Squalid will have much better longevity than ferocity, and getting nauseated mid-combat is really unfortunate.

Given that the orc suffers from a -2 penalty to all mental stats and a +4 bonus to strength, an orc's favored classes isn't exactly shocking.  The orc is going to excel in any straight melee class, and lag behind in with spell casters.  I won't bother going through the classes in depth, but fighters, barbarians, cavaliers, and rogues are all prime candidates. 

Racial Favored Class Bonuses:
Alchemist: Adding +10 minutes to the duration of mutagens is fine, but it can really just be managed with better mutagen use.  It's not likely to be relevant.

Barbarian: More rage rounds means more BARBARIAN SMASH, which is exactly what you want to do.

Cavalier: +1 to CMB with bull rushes or overruns is far too situational to be of any use.  Stick with something useful.

Druid: This is an interesting one, +1/2 to damage dealt by your animal companion's natural attacks.  If you've got an animal companion with plenty of natural attacks, this can add up.  Definitely worth considering.

Fighter: With orcish ferocity, adding 2 to your Constitution for the purposes of dying at negative hit points is really interesting.  On the one hand, it's double the number of hit points you can get from a normal favored class bonus.  On the other hand, you could wind up with 40 extra hit points to go through disabled vs 20 extra hit points to go through not disabled.  If you have some way of healing yourself (unlikely as a fighter), then this is a great choice for tanks.

Ranger: Extra hit points for your animal companion means it’s less likely to die, so that’s always a good thing.

Summoner: Extra hit points for your eidolon are always a good choice, so this one’s a keeper.

Witch: Extra spells for your familiar is nice, but you can always add them from a scroll or a wizard's spellbook by tossing cash at them.

Racial Archetypes:
Dirty Fighter (Fighter): I like this archetype because of the versatility that the Dirty Trick combat maneuver affords you, and Fighters get a lot of feats so you can pick up a lot of Improved and Greater combat maneuver feats as you gain levels. Dirty Trick is actually a fantastic maneuver, allowing you to inflict one of several debilitating statuses to an enemy for one or more rounds, and the best part of this archetype is that at 9th level you can start using dirty tricks as attack actions rather than Standard actions, meaning you can do multiple dirty tricks per round. The ability to eventually apply two conditions to a foe that you target with Dirty Trick after level 13 is also REALLY good. If you’d like to build a character who kicks dirt in someone’s eyes to blind them, then smacks the sides of their head to deafen them and finally kicks them right in the nads to sicken them, this is the archetype for you!

Scarred Witch Doctor: Pre-errata, this was awesome. Post-errata, it's fine. 

Racial Feats: 
Beast Rider: This feat is a great choice for a multiclass character who is planning to go into the Mammoth Rider prestige class. Since you can take this feat at 7th level, this will allow you to use a more exotic creature as your mount three levels before you can begin taking Mammoth Rider levels (10th level minimum), and you can treat your druid level as up to two levels higher (up to your maximum level) for determining the powers and abilities of your new mount. Combine this with Boon Companion, and you can have a full-strength mount or animal companion with up to six class levels that don’t normally increase your animal companion’s abilities! 

Blood Vengance: This feat allows you to go into a rage-like state if one of your allies is knocked unconscious or killed, which is pretty cool. Note that it says you MAY enter the state, so you’re not going to be forced to do it if the situation wouldn’t warrant you doing so. It’s important to be aware also that this won’t work for summoned creatures, or for companion creatures (except at very low levels) because the ally has to have at least the same number of hit dice as yourself.

Born Alone: This feat really would only be useful if you have a huge Constitution bonus. A few temporary hit points usually aren’t going to make a huge difference, especially as you get to higher levels, so I’d say you’re better off picking up Toughness instead.

Brutal Grappler: This one lets you combine your grappling efforts with an ally at the same time, allowing both of you to deal damage automatically. You also are treated as aiding each other on the grapple, gaining a +2 to CMB checks. If you and an ally both have a decent CMB, this one could definitely be worth it. The only bad thing is that both of you need to take it, as it’s a Teamwork feat.

Bullying Blow: If you’re building an Intimidate-based build, you might want to consider this one, as it lets you intimidate an enemy as a free action after you hit them. The only bad thing is you can’t use it with a full attack action.

Deathless Initiate: This is the first feat in a fairly in-depth line that will eventually keep your orc from dying after hitting 0 hit points, allow him or her to keep fighting well past 0, and negate critical hits. However, there’s a serious feat tax for this one, as it requires both Diehard and Endurance.

Deathless Master: If you’ve invested in Deathless Initiate, you’ll likely want this one too, as it allows you to keep taking actions after hitting 0 hit points without taking a hit point from each action. The feat tax keeps piling up, though.

Deathless Zealot: This is a nice capstone for the Deathless line of feats. You essentially force all of your enemies to reroll any critical hit confirmations they make against you, and forcing rerolls on your enemies is always excellent.

Destroyer's Blessing: A sundering Barbarian would gain a lot from this feat, but any other character will find it lacking.

Ferocious Action: This is a good choice if you’re going to invest in the Deathless feats above or Ferocious Resolve below, because you won’t be staggered when you’re under 0 hit points, and if you’re raging there’s really no penalty to using this feat. I like it.

Ferocious Resolve: This is a different way to continue fighting after you’re reduced below 0 hit points, and it requires much less feat investment. Combine this one with Ferocious Action to keep fighting until you’re dead as a doornail without being staggered.

Ferocious Summons: For a summoning-focused caster, this is a seriously awesome ability, especially at lower levels. You’re essentially giving every summoned creature an additional 10+ hit points, by allowing them to fight past 0 hit points, though they do become staggered.

Ferocious Tenacity: Here’s another way to keep yourself alive when norally you’d be dead. In this case, when you’d normally be killed by hit point damage, you can instead expend rage rounds to reduce the damage. Pretty cool!

Fight On: And here is yet ANOTHER way to keep from dying after you hit 0 hit points. This one gives you a number of temporary hit points equal to your Con bonus when you’d normally be knocked out. However, this feat is not nearly as powerful as the others I’ve just talked about, so stick with the Ferocious line of feats above instead.

Fire God's Blessing: A single point of healing when an enemy takes fire damage isn’t a huge bonus, but if you plan to set your enemies on fire a lot it’s almost like having Regeneration, which is pretty nice. 

Foment the Blood: This would be a really cool ability if it worked for all of your allies, but sadly this will only give damage and critical hit bonuses to orcs and half-orcs, so unless you are in a party with all-orcish blood, this probably isn’t worth your time. However, if you’re a GM writing up an encounter with a band of orcs, make sure to give the cleric this feat!

Gore Fiend: This is a great option for a orc Barbarian, especially if you often use weapons with a decent critical range. It gives you an extra round of rage every time you confirm a critical hit with a melee weapon OR a crit is confirmed against you, which probably happens more often than you realize.

Grudge Fighter: For any melee character who doesn’t rage and doesn’t have a Bard in their party, this is an excellent choice, since rage and bardic performances are the main sources of morale bonuses, and who doesn’t like to wreak vengeance on an enemy who attacked them?

Horde Charge: This is a teamwork feat meant to allow an orc raiding party to all charge at once, gaining bonuses to attack. If you do have multiple characters in your party who charge and attack at the beginning of every combat, this might be worth it, but it’s generally tough to convince other players to take Teamwork feats. This would be much better for an Inquisitor or Cavalier who can either use a Teamwork feat on his own or grant its benefit to all his allies, respectively.

Ironguts: A bonus to saves against the nauseated and sickened condition can definitely come in handy, but a bonus to only ingested poisons isn’t that exciting, since most poisons you’ll encounter will be either injury-based or inhaled. A bonus to Survival to find food for yourself will also hardly ever come up.

Ironhide: Most characters will be searching high and low for AC bonuses that don’t cost an arm and a leg at higher levels, so gaining a natural armor bonus of even +1 is probably worth a feat for many characters. Note, however, that if your class has a feature that gives you natural armor bonuses (like the Alchemist or the Druid), then this will NOT stack with those other bonuses. It WILL stack with an amulet of natural armor, however.

Keen Scent: The scent special ability is neat, but often misunderstood.  It will let you detect the presence of invisible creatures, but not pinpoint their location unless they are adjacent to you. Very situational.  Note that you'll also need 13 Wisdom for this feat, which makes it very difficult for an orc to get.

Orc Weapon Expertise: This is an odd feat, letting you choose one of several different combat bonuses that only work if you are wielding a weapon with “orc” in the name that you are proficient with. Sadly, there is only one weapon that fits this description, the Orc Double Axe, so this feat really isn’t useful unless you’re building a character focused completely on using that weapon.

Razortusk: Gaining a bite attack can come in really handy for a melee character, especially one who deals sneak attack damage, as it gives you one more source of sneak damage when you’re flanking someone. 

Resilient Brute: This is just one more feat to add to the list of “ways to not die as an orc”. Once per day you can change half the damage from a critical hit to nonlethal damage, which can be really helpful if you’re fighting some huge bad guy who deals massive damage. 

Resolute Rager: When you’re raging this feat lets you get an additional save vs. a fear effect, however you already get a nice bonus against fear effects while raging, so honestly I can’t really see anyone spending a feat on this one, even though I generally like abilities that give you rerolls. 

Reverse-Feint: This is excellent for a high-AC, high-damage melee frontliner, as you essentially leave a gap in your defenses, hoping that an enemy will try to hit you, and when they do you can use an immediate action to hit them back with a +2 to your attack bonus. The only complaint I have about this feat is that it uses an immediate action, which means you won’t have a swift action in your next turn, and a lot of character builds nowadays are planning swift actions on most turns (I’m looking at you, Mythic Playtest).

Smash: If this feat let you ignore 5 points of hardness on constructs also, it would be much better. As is, if you plan to smash down a lot of doors, this might be for you, otherwise it’s not worth your time.

Smell Fear: This feat is a trap, as far as I’m concerned. With scent, you essentially never need to make a Perception check, with the way the Stealth rules currently work. This means that a +4 bonus to identify creatures that are scared by scent is basically meaningless!

Surprise Follow-Through: This feat and its improved version really make a Strength-based Rogue a viable option. Opponents that you Cleave (after the first hit) are flat-footed against your attacks, which means you get to deal sneak damage to an enemy you cleave into after the first! Very cool, though very feat intensive..

Surprise Follow-Through, Improved: This does exactly the same thing as Surprise Follow-Through but lets you use it with Great Cleave, causing all enemies after the first that you Cleave into to be flat-footed.

Sympathetic Rage: This feat is VERY similar to Blood Vengeance, except that you get to enter a rage-like state anytime you’re adjacent to your raging Barbarian friend, and since this will hopefully happen a lot more often than one of your allies getting knocked out, I’d pick this one over Blood Vengeance. However, it’s sort of a double-edged sword, because if your Barbarian ally needs to move away from you, you become fatigued like a normal Barbarian would pretty much instantly.

Tenacious Survivor: Once again, a feat that keeps you from dying. Are you sensing a theme, here? This one keeps your spirit in your body for a short time, allowing your party healer to bring you back from the dead, but you do gain a negative level from doing so as if you had been resurrected, so you’re gonna hope you never have to use this one.

Thrill of the Kill: Another feat giving you extra rounds of rage, this one lets you gain a rage round anytime you knock out or kill an opponent. Combine this one with Gore Fiend, and scoring a critical hit that kills an enemy will give you TWO rounds of rage, which is pretty awesome.

Trap Wrecker: This feat reminds me of Order of the Stick, because I could just imagine Belkar deciding to smack a trap with a sword instead of using Disable Device. The benefit here is that you can literally smash a trap instead of disabling it, though there’s a good chance you will spring the trap and take damage. However, this is so incredibly flavorful and awesome that I just have to give it a high rating.

War Singer: There are two reasons to take this feat, #1 being if you find your Bard in the midst of an epic battle fairly often, as it doubles the range of your bardic performances if there are at least a dozen creatures battling nearby, and #2 being if you fight a lot of orcs (or half-orcs, or Sorcerers with the orc bloodline, etc.)

Races of Pathfinder: Gillmen

Gillmen are gilled human who were once, essentially, from Atlantis.  They function just fine on land - as long as they get their daily dose of submersion.

Racial Traits: 
Ability Scores: Gillmen gain +2 Constitution and +2 Charisma, but lose -2 Wisdom.  This prepares them to be charisma casters or paladins.

Type: Gillmen have the aquatic subtype, meaning little except they have some unique interactions with a few spells and abilities.

Size: Gillmen are the same size as humans.

Swim Speed: Gillmen move at the same speed as humans on land, and have a base Swim speed of 30 feet.

Enchantment Resistant: Gillmen gain +2 against enchantment spells and effects.  Against aboleths this changes to a -2 penalty, but that's probably not going to come up too often.

Water Dependent: This is in some ways the definitive ability of the race.  A Gillman must submerge himself in water at least once a day, or die within 4d6 hours (on average 14 hours).  There are a number of ways to deal with this but all of them can be taken away with a short prison stay or bad luck.  The most obvious way is to stay near water at all times, but this isn't always feasible.  Next, simply have the ability to (or have a good friend who can) cast create water and get into a bath.  You can also get a decanter of endless water, or fill up a bag of holding with a large quantity of water, to be poured out whenever you like.

Ambphibious: Gillmen can breath both water and air.  This is likely to come up at least a few times in any campaign, and certainly more frequently in an aquatic campaign.

Alternate Race Traits:
Riverfolk [Water Dependent]: Vulnerability is pretty terrible, especially against the most common energy type.  If you take this, you will die from the odd fireball. Stick with water dependent.

Slimehunter [Enchantment Resistance]: Trade in your +2 bonus against enchantment against everything except abolish to a +2 bonus against just abolish.  Gag.

Throwback [Swim, Amphibious, Water Dependent]: This basically undoes a lot of the gillmen's abilities, trading out the swim speed an amphibious to get rid of water dependancy.  Basically all you are left with is enchantment resistance and the ability score distribution.  Why not just pick another race?

Gillmen make for great charisma based Casters and Charisma dabblers, and their aquatic abilities are good for anyone.  The Oracle, Summoner, and Sorcerer are all good choices from a straight casting perspective. The Paladin can also make great use of the Constituion and Charisma bonus, and his abilities somewhat mitigate the Wisdom hit.  The Bard is another great choice.
The Ninja, Mysterious Stranger Gunslinger, and many Cavaliers can also make use of the Charisma, but are hit by a low Will save.  Luckily, the bonus against enchantment is a help.
Beyond that it's pretty middling.  Barbarians, Fighters, and Rogues all benefit from the Constitution bonus, but not much else.  Wizards, Witches, Magus, and Alchemists suffer no real bonuses, but no real penalties either.  The Cleric enjoys the Charisma and Constitution, but a -2 penalty to your casting ability score hurts.
Last, we have those who rely on Wisdom to get around.  There is no incentive to play a Druid, Inquisitor, Monk, or Ranger outside the Constitution bonus, but at that point you are really clutching for straws.

Racial Favored Class Options:
Fighter: +1 to your CMD against any two combat maneuvers is pretty strong.  Trip and grapple are good choices, as those come up far more than any other.

Rogue: 1/6 of a rogue talent is great, netting you an additional three rogue talents across 18 levels.  Far better than the alternatives.

Sorcerer: One of the biggest weaknesses of the sorcerer's spellcasting is the number of his spells known.  This option shores this up nicely.

Wizard: On the other hand, Wizards can easily learn new spells. Skip it.

Racial Archetypes:
Eldritch Raider (Rogue): The Eldritch Raider is a rogue with magical trappings.  You get at will use magic device, which is good but somewhat redundant if you have somebody else who can cast it, and you gain a reasonable bonus to use Magic Device, which can be very useful if you are that kind of rogue.  For these, you give up trap sense, a rogue talent, and 2 skill points per level.  You also gain access to cast a few 2nd and 3rd level spells a day with a pretty heavy investment.  There's nothing particularly wrong with the bonuses this archetype gives, but I would definitely not recommend the magic rogue talent tree.  If you like these capabilities and flavor, and don't need the sneak attack, then consider an archeologist bard instead.  They can make better use of your charisma in any case.

Racial Feats:
Unusual Origins: Your divination spells manifest at +1 caster level, and once per day when immersed you can cast augury.  Divination spells usually don't rely much on caster level, but  daily augury if fun.  It's flavorful and interesting, though not too mechanically useful.  Worth a shot if you are into that kind of thing.

Races of Pathfinder: Drider

Drider are giant centaurs - if you replace their horse half with a spider and their human half with drow monsters.  With 35RP they are squarely a very powerful race, gaining SR, an AC bonus, lots of ability score bonuses, and no ability score penalties. As a result, they can handle quite a variety of classes.

Racial Traits:
Ability Scores: +4 Constitution, +4 Strength, +2 Wisdom (adjusted for size).  This is just about the ideal for a melee character. However, Driders are also happy to play Wisdom casters.  Even classes with virtually no obvious synergy, such as a Sorcerer, will benefit from such high ability scores. 

Type: Drider are aberrations and as such as immune to charm person, enlarge person and other spells that just target humans.

Size: Drider are large.  This gives them bonuses to CMB and CMD, but it also gives them some penalties to AC and attack.  Drider do gain +2 Strength and -2 Dexterity for being large.  Because they are quadrupeds, they use medium sized weapons.  Without reach, a medium sized Drider would probably be better.

Greater Spell Resistance: SR of 11+ Level means that enemies of your level have a 50% chance of their spell failing.  This is absolutely fantastic.

Speed: Drider have a 40 foot move speed, which is great, particularly for melee.

Climb Speed: 20 foot climb speed isn't going to help you too much in combat, but it will prevent you from falling to your death on multiple occasions.

Natural Armor: +2 natural armor is hindered by the AC penalty for being large, but it still great.

Quadruped: +12 against tripping (8 legs)!  But Drider have to use medium weapons as a result.

Darkvision: Darkvision is best vision!

Let's start off by saying this:  Driders are a Very Powerful race. As such they are going to be better than most other races.  As a result, you are going to see more sky-blue and less Red than with most races.  For the Drider, this is going to be pretty extreme.
Drider are melee fighters, and any class that can be a melee fighter will benefit. The FighterBarbarianRoguePaladin, and Ninja are all good choices. Even better are those melee guys who have a bit to gain from Wisdom: The MonkInquisitor, and Ranger.  Even the melee Cleric and Druid are going to have a great time.
Next come those who can't quite take full advantage of everything, but will still appreciate the crazy bonuses. The Bard and Magus will love the buffs, but don't get bonuses to their casting ability score. The Empyreal Sorcerer does, but can't appreciate the crazy bonuses as much.  The Gunslinger similarly doesn't get a Dex bonus, does get a Wisdom bonus, and still appreciates being a beast.
The Cavalier is an interesting one, and fraught with GM fiat.  You probably can't ride an animal, but I can't find anything in the rules that says that quadrupeds can't.  You can also see if you can get your GM to agree to considering the Drider mounted at all times.  Probably not any more game breaking then allowing the Drider in your game at all, and definitely flavorful.  There should really be a racial archetype for this.  Still, the Cavalier is a martial and will benefit from the big buffs all the same.  Maybe choose a mount-less Samurai instead?
A melee Oracle will rock melee with bonuses that overcome a lack of Charisma buff.
Next comes the Alchemist and the true casters: everybody else.  Even classes such as the Sorcerer and Wizard are going to appreciate the bonuses at least a few times in their careers, and it will certainly improve their CMDs and survivability.  The Witch will have some bite to her attacks, and the Summoner might be able to get in there and mix things up with his summons.
In short, anybody can be a Drider because they are generally just good, but melee classes will benefit exponentially more.

Races of Pathfinder: Lizardfolk

Lizardfolk are big, reptilian humanoids who live in tribes and shun civilization. The Lizardfolk's simple and powerful traits ideally suit him for a melee character, perhaps more so than any other race. 

Racial Traits:
Ability Scores: Lizardfolk gain +2 to both Strength and Constitution, without any penalties. Given that most melee characters will have Strength and Constitution as their highest ability scores, this bonus already sets our reptilian friends well on the way to being a great melee bruiser.  But this is just the start of a melee-focused bonanza.

Size: Medium - nothing special here. 

Speed: 30 ft. - again, average.

Languages: Lizardfolk start off the game only speaking Draconic.  However, this is nothing that a single point into Linguistics can't solve.

Natural Armor: Not one, but +2 to Natural Armor?  This is an absolutely fantastic trait that will help you from level 1 to 20.  Again, great for melee characters.

Swim: Not just a bonus to a swim, but a swim speed?  I mean sure, swim speeds aren't necessarily that useful, but it's a solid trait and will likely be useful a few times a campaign.

Natural Attack: Bite A 1d3 bite attack is solid, particularly because it can be used even when the Lizardfolk is holding and attacking with a weapon.  Free attacks!

Natural Attack: Claws Two 1d4 claw attacks are also great.  They can't be used while holding using a held weapon, but they can be used in conjunction with your bite.  Anybody up for some sneak attack?

The Lizardfolk are perfectly suited for any melee character, with a +2 to Strength and Constitution, a +2 to AC, and extra attacks.  Simple martials such as the fighter and barbarian are obvious choices, but the monk and cavalier are just as good a choice. 
Because Lizardfolk don't suffer any penalties to any ability score, they can equally excel in the magical dabbling melees, such as the paladin, ranger, bard, or druid.  In fact, I'd have a tough time rating even some full casters like the melee focused cleric or magus as less than blue. Even wizards, witches, and sorcerers can benefit from the bonuses, though definitely not as much.
The only classes that I would really shy away from are the gunslinger and bomb chucking alchemist.  Any class that needs to keep his distance isn't going to take full advantage of the Strength, Constitution and AC bonuses, though switching to three primary natural attacks when a target becomes adjacent is fun.
The rogue and ninja deserve special mention here.  It's true that Lizardfolk don't get Dexterity bonuses - but a Lizardfolk rogue doesn't need it!  He can start off with three attacks at full BAB at level 1, with the potential to deal sneak attack on all three.  He keeps those three attacks all the way through his career (gaining a tail attack at BAB 5 with Dangerous Tail), not only a better choice than two weapon fighting, but also a huge feat saver.  He is also able to pump his ability score choices into Strength and Constitution.  The Constitution and AC bonuses immensely help with the fragile rogue.  Ironically enough, I think big and brutish Lizardfolk make ideal rogues and ninjas.

Racial Archetypes: 
Ancient Guardian (Druid): Ancient Guardian changes the flavor and abilities of the vanilla druid quite a bit, some for the better, some for the worse. You can no longer get an animal companion, but gain access to some of the more supporting domains.  Bonuses to Diplomacy and Sense Motive are a worthy trade for wild empathy, but losing spontaneous summon natures allies for calm emotions is a poor one.  +4 on saves against enchantment is excellent as opposed to just against the fey.  Undo artifice allows you to transform any object into any other object. In short, we lose some of the more classic abilities in exchange for some support and unique abilities.

Racial Feats: 
Aquatic Adaptation: Gain water breathing to augment that swim speed. Situational, but nice in an aquatic campaign.

Dangerous Tail: It's only a 1d4 secondary attack, but extra attacks are always nice.  It of course works with the bite, claw, claw routine, but because it is a tail you can fit it in with a bite with some manufactured weapons.

Swift Swimmer: +15 to your swim speed is entirely forgettable.  Chances are you aren't using that swim speed for races, and 30 feet should suffice.