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Monster Trainer

Monster Trainer

Art Credit: Jeff Porter, Raynaldo Perez, and Northwinter Press. Used with permission.

For ages, raising creatures as pets and companions has been a tradition held by druids, rangers, and, to a lesser degree, other divine and arcane spellcasters. Most acquire the services of domesticated animals, while some dedicate their time to more exotic beings. But, for all their knowledge; for all their skill in the art of handling animals and lesser beings, these groups still fail to understand the bond shared between a trainer and her monsters.

Monster trainers have learned how to tap into the natural well of arcane power that lives within all sentient beings. It is the same power from which sorcerers manifest their bloodlines and with which summoners bond to their strange, beautiful creations. This power grants trainers the unique ability to tether the essence of monsters to their souls.

Each trainer is different because few trainers bond with the same creatures that others might. It is this perceived individuality that sets monster trainers apart, even from their own peers.

Role: Monster trainers are self–sufficient heroes who capture and use monsters to achieve greater success in all walks of life. How versatile a trainer can be depends on her choice of active monster. The trainer may use a powerful animal or magical beast that grants her few spells and instead offers her more physical options during battle. Or, she can call forth a tiny fey and use its spells to confuse her enemies while she fights them in closer quarters. At higher levels, it can be expected that a trainer will usually have some option available to her in any situation, even if that choice isn’t the most optimal.

Alignment: Any; see trainer aura.

Hit Die: d8

Starting Wealth: 4d6 × 10 gp (average 140 gp.) In addition, each character begins play with an outfit worth 10 gp or less.

Class Skills

The monster trainer’s class skills are Appraise (Int), Bluff (Cha), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Fly (Dex), Handle Animal (Cha), Heal (Wis), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (arcana) (Int), Knowledge (dungeoneering) (Int), Knowledge (geography) (Int), Knowledge (nature) (Int), Knowledge (religion) (Int), Perception (Wis), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), Spellcraft (Int), and Survival (Wis).

Skill Ranks Per Level: 6 + Int modifier.

Table: Monster Trainer
Level Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special Spells Per Day
1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th
1st +0 +0 +2 +2 Capture monster, monster training, eschew materials, trainer aura 3
2nd +1 +0 +3 +3 Favored enemy, monster growth, spell familiarity 4
3rd +2 +1 +3 +3 Empathy, talented trainer (spell-like) 5
4th +3 +1 +4 +4 Spell familiarity, trainer perk 6 3
5th +3 +1 +4 +4 Shared senses 6 4
6th +4 +2 +5 +5 Spell familiarity 6 5 3
7th +5 +2 +5 +5 Talented trainer (supernatural) 6 6 4
8th +6/+1 +2 +6 +6 Spell familiarity, trainer perk 6 6 5 3
9th +6/+1 +3 +6 +6 Great trainer 6 6 6 4
10th +7/+2 +3 +7 +7 Spell familiarity, temporary control 6 6 6 5 3
11th +8/+3 +3 +7 +7 Talented trainer (extraordinary) 6 6 6 6 4
12th +9/+4 +4 +8 +8 Spell familiarity, trainer perk 6 6 6 6 5 3
13th +9/+4 +4 +8 +8 Channel monster 6 6 6 6 6 4
14th +10/+5 +4 +9 +9 Spell familiarity 6 6 6 6 6 5 3
15th +11/+6/+1 +5 +9 +9 Swap monster 6 6 6 6 6 6 4
16th +12/+7/+2 +5 +10 +10 Spell familiarity, trainer perk 6 6 6 6 6 6 5 3
17th +12/+7/+2 +5 +10 +10 Master trainer 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 4
18th +13/+8/+3 +6 +11 +11 Spell familiarity 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 5 3
19th +14/+9/+4 +6 +11 +11 Spell familiarity, trainer perk 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 4
20th +15/+10/+5 +6 +12 +12 The monster within 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6

Class Features

All of the following are class features of the monster trainer.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency

Monster trainers are proficient with all simple weapons, all bows and the whip. They are proficient with light armor, but not with shields. A trainer can cast trainer spells while wearing light armor without incurring the normal arcane spell failure chance. Like any other arcane spellcaster, a trainer wearing medium or heavy armor, or using a shield, incurs a chance of arcane spell failure if the spell in question has any somatic components. A multiclass trainer still incurs the normal arcane spell failure chance for arcane spells received from other classes.

Spells

A monster trainer casts arcane spells that she gains from the monsters she captures. When a trainer controls a monster that grants her spells in some way, the trainer gains the ability to cast those spells as a sorcerer of her same level. She also gains the ability to cast that monster’s 0-level spells (cantrips) at will, if it provides any.

A monster trainer can cast any spell she has access to without preparing it ahead of time. To gain access to or cast a spell, a trainer must have an active monster that grants the spell and a Charisma score equal to at least 10 + the spell level. The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against a trainer’s spell is 10 + the spell level + the trainer’s Charisma modifier.

Like other spellcasters, a monster trainer can cast only a certain number of spells of each spell level per day. Her base daily spell allotment is given on Table: Monster Trainer. In addition, she receives bonus spells per day if she has a high Charisma score (see Table: Ability Modifiers and Bonus Spells).

The trainer can cast her spells through her active monster, using its space as the point of origin for line of sight and effect. This does not grant the trainer any special senses the monster may have to detect hidden or invisible creatures. When casting a spell in this way, the trainer’s monster draws any attacks of opportunity, not the trainer herself. The trainer can still cast defensively, and must still make a concentration check if damaged while casting as though she were hit.

The monster trainer spell list provides a full list of spells that can be granted by monsters. It also acts as a reference for class or archetype abilities that grant specific spells beyond those granted by monsters. Alternatively, the trainer spells by monster list offers a fast way to learn what a trainer would need to capture to gain access to a particular spell.

Capture Monster (Sp)

Editor’s Note: While the below text doesn’t exactly match the text in Mystical: Kingdom of Monsters, this wording for capture monster, monster training, and monster growth should be easier to understand and is how the effect was intended to work from the beginning. In the long run, it shouldn’t change how your character plays. [Source – Player’s Advantage: Monster Trainer]

Every monster trainer knows and can cast the capture monster spell at will. A 1st level monster trainer has already either captured her first monster or been given one by a mentor such as a monster researcher. A monster trainer can also accept willing monsters into her essence without needing to use the spell. In this way, a trainer can obtain mindless creatures (such as constructs and vermin), monsters that were already captured by another trainer, and monsters with a higher CR than her level (some monsters prefer capture to death). A trainer can also obtain one or more monsters from another trainer in exchange for one of her own. Accepting a willing monster into her aura takes 1 minute as the trainer’s aura aligns with the monster’s. Any interruption, such as taking damage, ends the process, which must then be started over.

Monster Training (Ex)

Like a fighter who carries a sword, a bow, and maybe a cold iron dagger to fight specific enemies, a monster trainer may utilize several of her monsters in combat.

As a move action, a monster trainer can call upon one of her monsters to aid her in combat. This is identical to drawing a weapon, except that the trainer doesn’t need a +1 Base Attack to call upon her monster while moving. A monster trainer with the Quick Draw feat and at least a +1 base attack can call upon a monster as a free action instead. Calling the monster back into her essence is also a move action, equivalent to sheathing a weapon. Even if she obtains a stronger monster than capture monster allows, a trainer cannot call upon a monster with a higher CR than her level while in combat.

Calling upon a monster is a strenuous act that prevents an inexperienced trainer from calling upon more than one monster at a time while in combat. When first called upon, the monster appears in an unoccupied space within 10 ft. of its trainer. If no such space exists where the monster can fit, the ability fails and the action is lost. When in a peaceful environment and not in combat, a trainer will sometimes call upon some or all of her monsters just to spend time with them, playing and otherwise interacting with them or showing them off to others. Doing so requires the trainer’s full attention, so she can’t also work or progress in crafting items, and gives no special benefit to the monster trainer, since all but one of her monsters are returned to her essence the moment a hostile action occurs or the immediate area is no longer safe.

Unlike a Wizard’s familiar or a Druid’s animal companion, a trainer’s monster does not gain its own actions during combat. Once the monster appears, the trainer uses her own actions to direct it on a one-for-one basis.

When she calls her active monster back into her essence, any damage it was dealt while active is transferred to the trainer and the monster is healed. This works as the heal spell, but the monster’s hit points are restored to full. If her monster is ever reduced to 0 hit points, it returns to the trainer’s essence as a free action. Damage dealt to the trainer in this way cannot reduce her hit points to less than –1. If the trainer is ever reduced to 0 or fewer hit points while her monster is active it can continue to act until combat ends or it is reduced to 0 hit points, at which point it returns to her essence. If the trainer dies, her monsters remain bound to her soul, and only the strongest of spells (miracle, wish, etc…) can free them.

Alternate Option: In Combat Healing [Source – Player’s Advantage: Monster Trainer]

Some monster trainers prefer not to risk being knocked unconscious from an influx of damage when an active monster is returned to their essence, so they practice a method of partially calling back their monster to draw damage away from it as it battles. When her active monster is within line of sight, a trainer can use a free action on her turn to heal it of any amount of damage. Damage healed in this way is dealt directly to the monster trainer and can’t be reduced or negated by any other effects, but can be healed normally after occurring. The trainer can’t heal more damage in this way than she has hit points. Trainers who use in combat healing and have the reinforced stamina trainer perks take only half the damage they heal from their monsters (rounded down).

Eschew Materials

A monster trainer gains Eschew Materials as a bonus feat at 1st level.

Trainer Aura (Ex)

The alignment displayed by the monster trainer’s aura can be misleading because it is affected by the monsters she has captured. A creature observing the trainer’s aura will see a muddled mix of alignments, though often one will stand out more prominently, such as when a trainer captures a majority of evil monsters. Anybody attempting to detect a trainer’s alignment requires a number of additional rounds equal to one-half the trainer’s level (minimum 1) to do so.

The trainer determines the exact visual nature of her aura. For example, the trainer’s aura can appear to be a swirl of energy around her head or a pouch of orbs at her waist containing each monster she’s captured. The trainer can make her aura visible, though it provides no mechanical benefit to do so.

Favored Enemy (Ex)

After the monster trainer has captured a monster of a particular type (see Table: Ranger Favored Enemies), she gains a +2 bonus on Bluff, Knowledge, Perception, Sense Motive, and Survival checks against creatures of that type. Likewise, she gets a +2 bonus on weapon attack and damage rolls against them. A trainer may make Knowledge skill checks untrained when attempting to identify these creatures. The monster trainer’s favored enemy bonus never increases without a trainer perk or levels in another class that gains this feature.

Monster Growth (Ex)

Starting at 2nd level, when she gains a new trainer level, the monster trainer can improve one of the monsters she has obtained (through capture or otherwise). This process, called growth, allows the trainer to keep her monsters relevant for longer periods of time. Not every monster is able to grow in this way. If the trainer doesn’t have a monster that can grow at a given level, she can hold onto this ability until she captures a compatible monster or reaches a high enough level to help one or more other monsters to grow. Trainers will sometimes use this ability to help wild monsters or other trainers’ monsters grow in exchange for their temporary assistance with a specific task or on a mission. When traded in this way, monster growth is valued at 1/4 of the receiving monster’s new CR (minimum 1), squared, x 2,000 gp (the trainer would receive half this value if she were to sell her ability to grow a monster for that level). [Source – Player’s Advantage: Monster Trainer]

Monster growth allows a trainer to choose a monster with a similar heritage to a monster she captured previously and begin using that monster instead. This change is generally permanent, so trainer’s are always encouraged to think carefully before making such a decision.

Monsters that grow include:

  • Monsters that share a name (formian, gremlin, water dog)
  • Demons can become other demons of a higher CR (but not higher than the trainer’s level).
  • Devils can become other devils of a higher CR (but not higher than the trainer’s level).
  • Dragons do not grow into each other; but they can age rapidly (wyrmling through great wyrm) to match the trainer’s level.

Spell Familiarity

At 2nd level, a monster trainer chooses one spell granted to her by a monster she has captured. She can now cast that spell regardless of the monster she has active. At the time she gains these new spells, the monster trainer can also swap a previous spell gained with Spell Familiarity for another of the same level. She gains a new spell familiarity at 4th, 6th, 8th, 10th, 12th, 14th, 16th, 18th, and 19th level.

Empathy (Ex)

A monster trainer can improve the attitude of any monster type she counts as a favored enemy. This ability functions just like a Diplomacy check made to improve the attitude of a person. The trainer rolls 1d20 and adds her monster trainer level and her Charisma modifier to determine the empathy check result.

The typical monster has a starting attitude of indifferent, while more feral monsters are usually unfriendly at best.

To use empathy, the trainer and the monster must be able to study each other, which means that they must be within 30 feet of one another under normal conditions. Generally, influencing a monster in this way takes 1 minute but, as with influencing people, it might take more or less time.

Talented Trainer

The trainer is able to use the special attacks, defenses, and abilities of her active monster, provided those abilities have an immediate effect on combat. Most afflictions, curses, diseases, and poisons are not gained with talented trainer.

At 3rd level, the trainer gains access to the spell-like abilities of her active monster. At 7th level, she can use its supernatural abilities as well. Finally, at 11th level, she gains the monster’s extraordinary abilities. *Abilities that act as a spell of the same name can only be gained once the trainer’s level is high enough to cast spells of that level. If a spell can be learned at different levels, the trainer always uses the highest spell level. Each day, the trainer can use a total number of at will special abilities from all of her monsters equal to 3 + the number of trainer perks she has (see below). *[Source – Player’s Advantage: Monster Trainer]

The trainer and her monster share any limitations of abilities. For example, if the trainer uses her dragon’s breath weapon, she and the monster must both wait 1d4 rounds before one of them can use it again. Self only abilities on a monster can only be used by the monster and only while it is active.

Trainer Perks

At 4th level, the trainer gains a perk that she can use whenever she has any monster active. When the trainer gains a new perk, choose from the following list. Some perks are better while specific monsters are active, but all should be usable at any time. She gains a new trainer perk at 8th, 12th, 16th, and 19th level.

A complete listing of trainer perks can be found here: Trainer Perks

Shared Senses (Su)

Starting at 5th level, the monster trainer and her active monster share their senses, including blindsight, darkvision, low-light vision, scent, tremorsense, and true seeing.

Great Trainer (Ex)

A 9th level monster trainer gains a +2 bonus to the save DC of her capture monster spell.

Temporary Control (Sp)

Beginning at 10th level, the monster trainer can cast charm monster as a spell-like ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + her Charisma modifier. The spell only works on creatures she can capture and lasts only up to 1 round per level. The trainer cannot have another monster active when using temporary control.

Channel Monster (Ex)

In addition to the spells she can cast with spell familiarity, a 13th level monster trainer has mastered the ability to retain a small selection of spells even while she has no active monster. To use channel monster, the trainer must first rest for 8 hours. The same rules that apply to a wizard preparing spells (rest and recent casting limit/rest interruptions) apply to the trainer in this regard.

After resting, the trainer can choose a single monster she has captured. She gains the ability to cast all spells that monster grants her, even if she has another monster active. The trainer cannot cast these spells through her active monster.

Swap Monster (Ex)

At 15th level, When the monster trainer calls her active monster back into her essence, she can call upon a new monster as part of the same action. If she does, the trainer can apply the damage from her previous monster to the new active monster, rather than take it herself.

Master Trainer (Ex)

When the monster trainer reaches 17th level, she learns a special secret that has eluded most trainers their entire lives. She can now capture a single monster without any saves or checks. She can do this once, and the monster must still be one she is able to capture.

Each time the trainer gains a new trainer level beyond 17th, she gains a new charge of master trainer. To use this charge, the trainer must first set free the monster she captured with the ability previously. She is then free to seek out another monster to capture instead. If able, the dismissed monster returns to the location from which it was captured, traversing planes to do so if it must. If it is unable to return, the monster instead appears in a space adjacent to the trainer and is free to do as it wishes.

Cunning monsters previously captured with master trainer may sometimes seek the trainer out once more in order to punish her for capturing them in the first place.

The Monster Within (Su)

At 20th level, a monster trainer can transform herself into a version of one of her monsters. This ability functions like the shapechange spell, except as noted here.

  • The trainer can only become a monster she has captured.
  • The trainer counts as her own active monster for the purpose of available spells, other effects, and abilities.

The trainer can use this ability 3 times per day, and she cannot have a monster active while doing so.

Favored Class Bonuses

Instead of receiving an additional skill rank or hit point whenever they gain a level in a favored class, some races have the option of choosing from a number of other bonuses, depending upon their favored classes. The following options are available to the listed race who have monster trainer as their favored class, and unless otherwise stated, the bonus applies each time you select the listed favored class reward.

Table: Alternate Favored Class Bonuses

3rd Party Publishers

Northwinter Press
Core Races
Race Bonus Source
Dwarf Add +⅓ to the trainer’s natural armor bonus when using the natural armor trainer perk. Blog
Elf Add a +½ bonus on empathy checks to change a monster’s attitude. Blog
Gnome Gain energy resistance 1 against acid, cold, electricity, or fire. Each time the trainer selects this reward, increase her resistance to one of these energy types by 1 (maximum 10 for any one type). Blog
Half-Elf Gain +⅓ use of monster growth. Half-elf trainers with an animal companion can instead add +1 skill rank to the animal companion. If the half-elf ever replaces her animal companion, the new companion gains these bonus skill ranks. Blog
Half-Orc Add +¼ to the damage bonus granted by favored enemy. Blog
Halfling Add a +¼ luck bonus on the saving throws of the trainer’s active monster. Blog
Human Add a +½ bonus on Knowledge checks related to monster lore. Blog
Other Races
Aasimar Add a +1 bonus on empathy checks made to improve the attitude of good outsiders and celestial monsters. Blog
Catfolk Add +1 hit points to the trainer’s active monster. Blog
Changeling Add a +1 bonus on empathy checks made to improve the attitude of monsters with the shapechanger subtype. Blog
Dhampir Add a +1 bonus on empathy checks made to improve the attitude of undead. Blog
Drow Add a +1 bonus on empathy checks made to improve the attitude of aberrations and vermin. Blog
Duergar Add +⅓ to the trainer’s natural armor bonus when using the natural armor trainer perk. Blog
Fetchling Add a +1 bonus on empathy checks made to improve the attitude of undead. Blog
Gillmen Add a +1 bonus on empathy checks to influence monsters with the aquatic or water subtype. Blog
Goblin Choose one: Add +1 hit points to the trainer’s active monster or Gain +¼ use of one spell-like or supernatural ability possessed by a captured monster while a monster with that ability is active. The choice cannot be changed later. Blog
Grippli Add a +½ bonus on concentration checks. This bonus doubles in a forest or swamp terrain. Blog
Hobgoblin Add +¼ to the damage bonus granted by favored enemy. Blog
Ifrit Add a +1 bonus on empathy checks made to improve the attitude of monsters with the fire subtype. Blog
Kitsune Add a +½ bonus on empathy checks to change a monster’s attitude. Blog
Kobold Choose one: Add +⅓ to the trainer’s natural armor bonus when using the natural armor trainer perk or Gain +¼ use of the breath weapon special ability while a monster with that ability is active. This choice cannot be changed later. Blog
Merfolk Add +1 hit points to the trainer’s active monster. Blog
Monstorin Add +1 spell of a level you can cast from your base monster’s available trainer spells to your spell list as if it were gained through the monster trainer’s spell familiarity class feature. Blog
Nagaji Add a +½ bonus on empathy checks to change a monster’s attitude. Blog
Orc Add +¼ to the damage bonus granted by favored enemy. Blog
Oread Add a +½ bonus on Knowledge (nature) checks relating to plants and burrowing monsters. Blog
Ratfolk Add a +1 bonus on empathy checks made to influence animals and magical beasts that live underground. Blog
Samsaran Add a +½ bonus on Knowledge checks related to monster lore. Blog
Strix Add a +1 bonus on empathy checks made to improve the attitude of evil outsiders and fiendish monsters. Blog
Svirfneblin Gain energy resistance 1 against acid, cold, electricity, or fire. Each time the trainer selects this reward, increase her resistance to one of these energy types by 1 (maximum 10 for any one type). Blog
Sylph Add a +½ bonus on Knowledge (nature) checks relating to weather and flying monsters. Blog
Tengu Add a +¼ luck bonus on the saving throws of the trainer’s active monster. Blog
Tiefling Add a +1 bonus on empathy checks made to improve the attitude of evil outsiders and fiendish monsters. Blog
Undine Add a +1 bonus on empathy checks to influence monsters with the aquatic or water subtype. Blog
Vanara Add a +½ bonus on empathy checks and a +½ bonus on Handle Animal skill checks. Blog
Vishkanya Add +1 hit points to the trainer’s active monster. Blog
Wayang Add a +1 bonus on empathy checks made to improve the attitude of undead. Blog

Archetypes & Alternate Class Features

When a character selects a class, she must choose to use the standard class features found or those listed in one of the archetypes presented here. Each alternate class feature replaces a specific class feature from its parent class. For example, the elemental fist class feature of the monk of the four winds replaces the stunning fist class feature of the monk. When an archetype includes multiple class features, a character must take all of them—often blocking the character from ever gaining certain familiar class features, but replacing them with equally powerful options. All of the other class features found in the core class and not mentioned among the alternate class features remain unchanged and are acquired normally when the character reaches the appropriate level (unless noted otherwise). A character who takes an alternate class feature does not count as having the class feature that was replaced when meeting any requirements or prerequisites.

A character can take more than one archetype and garner additional alternate class features, but none of the alternate class features can replace or alter the same class feature from the core class as another alternate class feature. For example, a paladin could not be both a hospitaler and an undead scourge since they both modify the smite evil class feature and both replace the aura of justice class feature. A paladin could, however, be both an undead scourge and a warrior of the holy light, since none of their new class features replace the same core class feature.

Archetypes are a quick and easy way to specialize characters of a given class, adding fun and flavorful new abilities to already established adventurers. The monster trainer class has several sub-categories of archetypes.

Table: Archetypes / Alternate Class Features
Archetype / Alternate Class Feature Class Features Changed or Replaced
HD/ BAB Weapon & Armor Spells Monster Training Eschew Materials Favored Enemy Monster Growth Spell Familiarity Trainer Perks Great Trainer Temporary Control Channel Monster Master Trainer The Monster Within
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Paizo
3rd Party Publishers
Northwinter Press
Monster Auror X X X X
Monster Breeder C C X X X
Monster Gambler C X X
Monster Performer X X X X
Monster Researcher C C C C
Monster Scout C C X X X X X X C
X=replaced, (X)=optionally replaced, C=changed, 1=archetype package 1, 2=archetype package 2
Section 15: Copyright Notice

Mystical: Kingdom of Monsters, © 2015, Northwinter Press; author Kevin Glusing.