Somewhere between human and animal lies the manimal. Some say that these creatures are the abominable results of sorcerous crossbreeding between humans and animals. Others speak of bizarre druidic rites that can give animals human forms.
A manimal is an animal-like creature with a humanoid shape and intellect. A manimal has two legs to walk upon and two arms with hands that can manipulate tools. Manimals are often mistaken for lycanthropes—more powerful creatures whose origins are lost to time.
“Manimal” is an inherited or acquired template that can be added to any animal (referred to hereafter as the base creature). A manimal uses all the base creature’s statistics and special abilities except as noted here.
Challenge Rating: Same as the base creature plus +1.
Type: The creature’s type changes to monstrous humanoid. Recalculate all base attack bonuses, saves, and skill points for new type.
Hit Dice: Change all racial HD to d10s.
Attacks: The manimal retains all the base creature’s attacks except those that depended on limbs that have turned to legs. The manimal has the weapon and armor proficiencies of creatures of the monstrous humanoid type.
Space/Reach: The manimal has a space and reach appropriate for its size. If the base creature’s space and reach was “long,” it changes to “tall.” If the base creature had greater than normal reach for its size, add 5 feet to the reach.
Special Attacks: A manimal retains all of the base creature’s special attacks except rake.
Abilities: Int +8, Cha +4.
Special Qualities: The manimal retains all the base creature’s special qualities and gains those described here.
A manimal counts both as an animal, monstrous humanoid, and a humanoid for the purpose of spells, abilities, and effects that specifically affect creatures of specific types. It is allowed a Will save to resist spells and effects that specifically affect animals, even if the effect does not normally allow a Will save. The DC for such a save equals 10 + the spell’s level + caster’s appropriate ability modifier. If the effect is not a spell, the DC is equal to 10 + 1/2 manimal’s HD + manimal’s Charisma modifier. Success renders the manimal immune to that particular effect for 24 hours. Awaken has no effect on a manimal.
Manimals can provide an interesting way to introduce anthropomorphic creatures into your games without the unbalancing effect that lycanthropes can have. Some might consider anthropomorphic creatures and characters silly, but lycanthropes are no less so. Anthropomorphic creatures can be funny, but they can also be terrifying, depending upon how they are played and presented.
Before you try out the manimal template, consider how you want it to work in your game. Once you know what purpose your manimals will serve, you can find a way to introduce them that suits their function in your game. Here are a few ideas.
- The template might be applied to animals because of a spell or alchemist discovery (see the create manimal spell and manimal elixir).
- A magic item could transform all the animals that live nearby or that touch it into manimals.
- A manimal race might be one of your game world’s normal races, just like gnolls or lizardfolk.
- A single crazed spellcaster or alchemist might be responsible for all the manimals in your world, creating an area much like H. G. Well’s classic The Island of Dr. Moreau.
- A distant island or a different plane could be home to a host of different manimal races.
- A disrupted reincarnate or awaken spell might cause the creation of a manimal.
Also, there is no reason that a manimal needs to be the same size as the animal it originated from. Medium-sized manimal dinosaurs, Large frog manimals, and Tiny pixie-like manimals are all possibilities. Just follow the guidelines for changing size after the manimal template is applied. You should also consider increasing or reducing the manimal’s racial HD and CR if the size change is more than 2 steps away from the base creature’s size.