Animal Lord (3.5e Prestige Class)
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|“||We were hunting when out of nowhere we were attacked by some strange creature; half man, half beast.||”|
|—Somnia, Human Expert|
A rustle of leaves in an otherwise silent forest alerted Somnia and Nevin that they were not alone. A wolf stepped out onto the trail, silhouetted by moonlight. An eerie sense of uneasiness washed over them. Nevin gripped the hilt of his sword and slowly backed away from the piercing eyes of the beast, while Somnia stood petrified. Suddenly the wolf let out a howl, and Nevin turned to run, only to find himself face to face with a creature, the shape of a man, but with the eyes of a wolf. A moment later, Nevin was dropped, lying in a quickly forming pool of his own blood. As fast as the stranger appeared, he left, letting out a howl of his own as he sprinted into the darkness. Horrified, Somnia carried Nevin's body home, and vowed to never enter those woods again.
Animal lords are masters of the wilderness, hunters and woodsman who commune with wolves to a supernatural degree. Through supreme dedication to their pack, an animal lord gains super-human power, and faithful wolf allies. While some choose this life to help their wolf friends, and protect their forests from enterprising kingdoms, others use this power to their own end.
Becoming an Animal Lord
|Skills:||Handle Animal 9 ranks, Knowledge (Nature) 6 ranks, Survival 9 ranks|
|Feats:||Improved Unarmed Strike, Track|
|1st||+1||+2||+2||+0||Arcane Alpha Dog, Wolf Empathy|
|2nd||+2||+3||+3||+0||Forest Stalker, Summon Wolfkin|
|4th||+4||+4||+4||+1||Call of the Wild 3/day|
|5th||+5||+4||+4||+1||Lesser Aspect of the Wolf|
|6th||+6||+5||+5||+2||Improved Arcane Alpha Dog|
|7th||+7||+5||+5||+2||Leader of the Pack|
|8th||+8||+6||+6||+2||Call of the Wild 6/day, Improved Forest Stalker|
|9th||+9||+6||+6||+3||Greater Aspect of the Wolf|
|Class Skills (4 + Int modifier per level)|
Balance (Dex), Handle Animal (Cha), Hide (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Knowledge (nature) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Spot (Wis), Survival (Wis), Tumble (Dex)
Animal Lords are proficient with light and medium armor as well as martial weapons.
Arcane Alpha Dog (Sp): At first level, an animal lords may choose 3 spells listed below and use each 3 times a day, with caster level equal to his animal lord level.
- Know Direction
- Magic Fang
- Calm Animals
- Charm Animals
- Detect Animals or Plants
- Detect Snares and Pits
- Hide from Animals
- Speak with Animals
Wolf Empathy (Sp): A first level, an animal lord can speak with wolves and wolfkin. Furthermore, an animal lord receives an additional +4 charisma bonus when talking to wolves and wolfkin.
Forest Stalker (Sp): At second level, an animal lord may move through forests at full speed, without leaving any trace. At eighth level, he may move silently through his natural habitat at full speed without any penalty.
Summon Wolfkin (Ex): At second level, an animal lord can use Summon Nature's Ally "Z" to summon wolves or dire wolves, where "Z" equals half his ECL, rounded down.
Animal Companion (Ex): At third level, animal lords get an animal companion which functions as the druid's animal companion. An animal lord may only select a wolf or dire wolf as his animal companion. To calculate HD and other bonuses, treat animal lord levels as druid levels (and they therefore stack with druid levels). An animal lord may not have two animal companions, but suffers no penalty releasing his current one to get a wolf.
Call of the Wild (Su): An animal lord's mind is only half human, and as such mind affecting, illusory, and similar spell effects don't always work. An animal lord may spend one his his daily charges of Call of the Wild to retry any failed Will save as a free action. He may use two daily uses to get a +4 bonus on any retry attempt. He may only retry a save once. At eighth level, an animal lord gets six charges of this ability
Lesser Aspect of the Wolf (Su): At fifth level an animal lord begins his transition to beast. An animal lord can, as a standard action, turn halfway into a wolf. While in this hybrid form, he retains all his weapon and armor proficiencies, as well as gets 2 1d6 claw attacks, and a single 1d8 bite attack, each at his normal base attack bonuses. He may use a full round action to attack with both hands (armed or unarmed) and his bite, at a -2 penalty to all three attacks. His base land speed is increased by 10 feet, and he gets a +2 dodge bonus on all reflex saves, which stacks with other dodge bonuses. An animal lord has full control over this ability. He may, as a full round action, turn back into his normal humanoid form. An animal lord may only cast spells granted by his animal lord class while in his hybrid form (ie. he may not use spells from other classes, or use magic items like wands and scrolls).
Improved Arcane Alpha Dog (Sp): At level six animal lords may spontaneously cast any of the following spells a number of times per day equal to his Wisdom modifier:
- Greater Magic Fang
- Mass Charm Animals (Mass Charm Monster, but affects only creatures with the "Animal" type)
- Bull's Strength
Leader of the Pack (Ex): An animal lord can call forth a pack of 3d6 wolves as a standard action to do his bidding. These wolves arrive in 2d6 rounds and serve the animal lord for up to 1 hour.
Greater Aspect of the Wolf (Su): At this point, an animal lord has total mastery over his animal form. While he may still change into his hybrid form as described above, he may now also turn into a medium-sized wolf, again as a standard action. While in wolf form, his weapons, armor, and gear meld into his skin, no longer providing any benefits. However, when in wolf form he gets a +6 to natural armor, DR 10/-, 2 claw attacks at 1d8 each, and a 1d10 bite attack. When using a full round attack he may attack with both claws and his bite, at no penalty to any attack. His base land speed becomes 50 ft, and gets a +2 to both Reflex and Fortitude saves. He may take a full round action to turn back into his standard humanoid form, or a move action to turn into his hybrid form. Likewise, he may turn from his hybrid form to his wolf form as a move action. An animal lord cannot cast any spells while in his wolf form unless he has the Natural Spell feat.
Apex Predator (Ex): At this point the animal lord is less man than he is beast. While he retains his generally humanoid shape, his features become decidedly wolf-like. He may use his hybrid from claw and bite attacks while in his humanoid form. His eyes get sharper, giving a permanent +2 bonus to spot checks, and his ears become keener, giving a +2 bonus on listen checks. He also gets a permanent +2 bonus on Hide, Move Silently, and Survival. He gets DR 5/- when in his natural or hybrid form. He also gets Low-Light vision in all forms. If the animal lord already has low light vision from another source, the range is increased by 50%. He also gets Scent as an extraordinary ability in all forms.
Playing an Animal Lord
Combat: Most animal lords rush into melee combat, with their wolf instincts kicking in. They fight ruthlessly, both armed and unarmed. Raw strength, and the ability to take heavy damage, makes them excellent tanks and front-liners.
Advancement: Most Animal lords have some sort of nature-related base class. Most are druids or rangers, but fighter and barbarians also can be included in the animal lord ranks.
Resources: There are two major types of animal lords; lone wolves, and those in a wolf pack. Lone wolves tend to stick to their own, relying on only themselves. While strong in their own right, they are not as powerful as the teamwork of a wolf pack. Teamwork between rangers, druids, and animal lords often leads to powerful guilds. Animal lords can usually find a kindred spirit in a local druid collective.
Animal Lords in the World
|“||A bond with a wolf is more lasting than the ties of this earth will ever be.||”|
|—Lorenz Canini, Human Fighter/Animal Lord|
NPC Reactions: Animal lords tend to be champions of the wilderness, and are second to none in their element. Because of this, many rural towns and small woodland hamlets respect animal lords for the true power they wield. In larger cities animals lords don't excel. Most animal lords are uncomfortable in larger cities, and tend to avoid them, however.
Animal Lord Lore
Characters with ranks in Gather Information or Knowledge (Nature) can research animal lords to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including information from lower DCs.
|11||Some say Animal Lords can talk with wolves.|
|16||Animal lords can become the animal they love so much.|
|21||Many people mistake werewolves with evil animal lords.|
|26||Succeeding a knowledge check of this DC lets you know the name and possible location of an animal lord.|
Animal Lords in the Game
Adaptation: Animal lords might be hunters or trappers who were lost in the woods, and survived only because of a pack of wolves. Alternatively, there are countless stories of children being abandoned in the woods, and subsequently being raised by wolves. Finally, some animal lords might be typical druids with an intense love of wolves.
Sample Encounter: Stepping out of the dark copse of trees is a man with a wild look in his eyes. He turns to you, teeth glinting in the moonlight and then pounces.