Even more so than a humanoid's race, a noble animal character’s species will shape their being more than their class. That is not to say that class is inconsequential; just as many animals of the same species in the same group will have different responsibilities and capabilities, noble animals are even more diverse in their abilities and stations.
Following are some features that are common to many or all noble animal species. They are reprinted or elaborated on here for ease of reference.
All noble animal characters can see twice as far as normal in dim light and when outdoors on moonlit nights can see as well as they can during the day.
|Natural Attack||Damage Type|
|Bite||B, P, and S|
|Claw||B and S|
|Hoof, Tentacle, Wing||B|
|Pincers, Tail Slap||B|
|Other||B, P, or S|
Almost all of the noble animals presented here have some sort of built-in method to protect themselves or kill prey.
Many will have more than one such natural weapon, such as a lion's bite and 2 claw attacks. Every noble animal character must, upon character creation, nominate which attack will be his primary attack. This will either be a single attack like a bite or gore, or a pair of attacks like a claw or kick. All other attack forms are then considered secondary.
Primary attacks use the character’s full attack bonus, while secondary attacks have a –5 penalty. Additionally, the primary attack’s damage gains the character’s full Strength bonus, while secondary attacks only get one half of this bonus (rounded down).
If a noble animal character gains a new natural attack as part of its level progression, it may then, and only then, choose to nominate the new attack form as its primary, relegating the previous one to secondary status.
If a noble animal character has only one natural attack, it is always made using the creature’s full base attack bonus and adds 1-1/2 times the creature’s Strength bonus on damage rolls. This increase does not apply if the creature has multiple attacks but only takes one. If the character ever gains a secondary attack, this bonus drops back to the full Strength modifier (even if the secondary attack is spectral).
Each natural attack does one or more specific types of damage.
Noble animal characters with natural attacks and attacks made with weapons can use both as part of a full attack action (although often a character must forgo one natural attack for each weapon clutched in that limb, be it a claw, tentacle, or slam). Such characters attack with their weapons normally but treat all of their available natural attacks as secondary attacks during that attack, regardless of the attack’s original type.
This special quality allows a character to detect approaching enemies, sniff out hidden foes, and track by sense of smell. Characters with the scent ability can identify familiar odors just as humans do familiar sights.
Characters with the scent ability can detect opponents within 30 feet by sense of smell. If the opponent is upwind, the range increases to 60 feet; if downwind, it drops to 15 feet. Strong scents, such as smoke or rotting garbage, can be detected at twice the ranges noted above. Overpowering scents, such as skunk musk or troglodyte stench, can be detected at triple normal range.
A character with scent can detect another creature’s presence but not its specific location. Noting the direction of the scent is a move action. If the character moves within 5 feet (1 square) of the scent's source, they can pinpoint the area that the source occupies, even if it cannot be seen.
A character with the scent ability can follow tracks by smell, making a Wisdom (or Survival) check to find or follow a track. The typical DC for a fresh trail is 10 (no matter what kind of surface holds the scent). This DC increases or decreases depending on how strong the quarry’s odor is, the number of creatures, and the age of the trail. For each hour that the trail is cold, the DC increases by 2. The ability otherwise follows the rules for the Survival skill. Characters tracking by scent ignore the effects of surface conditions and poor visibility.
As an animal grows in age and experience, it also grows in size. Many of the species presented here will increase in size category over the course of their lives.
To represent this, we present the Size Threshold. Each species that grows beyond its starting size has listed for it a Size Threshold. The Size Threshold is compared to the number of Hit Dice that an individual creature has. Whenever a character reaches one of these thresholds, its size category increases by one step, bringing with it the bonuses, penalties, and adjustments to their Ability scores, as well as increasing the damage done by their natural weapons by one step each, as shown on the tables on this page.
Species that grow in size also, typically, grow in power. This increase in power can cause some species to become unbalanced. In order to address this concern, yet not introduce an ungainly level adjustment system, whenever a noble animal character gains a size category due to Size Threshold (and only due to Size Threshold) they gain a permanent negative level as described in the core rules (-1 penalty on all ability checks, attack rolls, combat maneuver checks, Combat Maneuver Defense, saving throws, and skill checks; and -5 to hit point total). If the hit points the character gains for achieving a new level, minus the penalty for this negative level, equals zero or less, then the character gains one hit point for that level. This negative level can never be removed, even by magic. In this way, the character can still gain power, yet will not outstrip his companions. As the character advances to further levels, this handicap will become less and less noticeable.
Any size categories gained as a class feature or as a result of a feat do not trigger this negative level.
Animals come in a wide variety of sizes. The modifiers and other features related to size are as follows:
|Size||Space||Reach||Attack/AC Modifier||CMB & CMD Special Size Modifier||Stealth Modifier||Fly Modifier||Carrying Capacity Modifier for Bipeds||Carrying Capacity Modifier for Quadrupeds|
|Diminutive||1 ft.||0 ft.||+4||-4||+12||+6||x ¼||x ½|
|Tiny||2 ½ ft.||0 ft.||+2||-2||+8||+4||x ½||x ¾|
|Small||5 ft.||5 ft.||+1||-1||+4||+2||x ¾||x 1|
|Medium||5 ft.||5 ft.||+0||+0||+0||+0||x 1||x 1 ½|
|Large||10 ft.||10 ft.||-1||+1||-4||-2||x 2||x 3|
|Huge||15 ft.||15 ft.||-2||+2||-8||-4||x 4||x 6|
With the wide range of base speeds available to noble animal characters, it is important to remember that for every 10 ft. over 30 in a creature’s base speed, it adds a +4 racial modifier to Acrobatics checks made to jump, while for every 5 feet under 30 it subtracts –2.
In order for noble animal PCs to take levels in the standard character classes, there are a few adjustments that need to be made. First, with the exceptions of noble apes, baboons, elephants, monkeys, raccoons, and rodents, the only way for a noble animal to attack in combat is with its natural weapons. While this means they can often attack with multiple natural weapons using an all-out attack, it also means that the character does not get additional attacks as their attack bonus increases.
Each character must designate one of their natural weapons (bite, gore, claw, kick, etc.) as their primary natural weapon. All other attacks are then considered to be secondary natural weapons. An attack with a character’s primary natural weapon uses the character’s full attack bonus, and receives the character’s full Strength bonus to damage. Attacks with secondary natural weapons receive a -5 penalty to attack rolls, and only add ½ the character’s Strength bonus to damage.
If a character has only one natural weapon, it is always considered to be their primary natural weapon, and receives 1.5 times their Strength bonus to damage (unless they also use a manufactured weapon; see below).
If a character is a species listed as one of the exceptions above, they can choose to use manufactured weapons.
Unlike with natural weapons, full attack actions made with a manufactured weapon receive iterative attacks if the character’s base attack bonus is high enough. Noble animal characters are not considered to be proficient with any manufactured weapons (except for the rock and the club), and take a -4 nonproficiency penalty to attack rolls with them, unless they have the appropriate Exotic Weapon Proficiency feat (see Chapter Four). A character wielding a manufactured weapon may still use their natural weapons (if they are not being used to wield the manufactured weapon), but treats all of their natural weapons as secondary natural weapons while doing so.
Noble animals, while lacking access to wide varieties of armor and equipment, are still capable of various means of self-defense. While these methods lack some of the protective capability of a suit of armor, they make up for it in ease of use and versatility.
Each morning the character must choose a defensive attitude he has access to and a trigger condition for a second. He is considered to be in the stated defensive attitude for the entire day unless the trigger condition is met, in which case he immediately switches to the second Attitude, and stays in it for the rest of the day. It is perfectly acceptable to choose “none” as either a starting or triggered Attitude.
Trigger conditions can be: combat starts; magic is cast near you; you take damage; a friend cries out for help; you see a favored enemy; you kill a specific foe; you reach a destination; it starts to rain; etc.
A defensive attitude can be dropped at will, but a new one cannot be adopted unless the trigger condition is met or the character goes to sleep.
If a character is wearing armor of any type, he may not adopt an attitude.
A noble animal character can tell whether a target has an active attitude with a successful Sense Motive check versus a DC of 15. If the Sense Motive meets or exceeds 20, then the character can tell which attitude it is.
While in an aggressive attitude, the noble animal is constantly seeking for an advantage against opponents and potential opponents. He may tend to snap at other creatures, friend and foe, for no apparent reason, and will often be quick to anger.
Effects: While using this attitude, the character gains a +1 dodge bonus to AC. The constant alertness and aggressive behavior can sometimes interfere with the mindset of a spell-caster, so this attitude carries a 5% arcane spell failure. The bonus provided by this attitude is counted when figuring a character’s Touch AC, but not their Flat-Footed AC.
A noble animal in a cautious attitude knows that danger is nearby, and is taking steps to ensure his safety. He may seem a bit more thoughtful than usual, and will often appear to have gained some sudden wisdom.
Effects: While using this attitude, the character’s speed (on land, sea, or air) is reduced as shown on the chart below and he gains a +2 dodge bonus to AC. This supreme alertness can sometimes interfere with the mindset of a spell-caster, so this attitude carries a 15% arcane spell failure. The bonus provided by this attitude is counted when figuring a character’s Touch AC, but not their Flat-Footed AC.
When a noble animal decides to concentrate on being sturdy, he effectively thickens his hide and is able to shrug off many attacks. This is because he has tapped into the power of his ancestors, allowing him to rise above “natural” animals. He will appear to be determined, dogged, and stubborn while under this attitude.
Effects: While using this attitude, the character’s speed (on land, sea, or air) is reduced as shown on the chart above and he gains a +2 mystic armor bonus to AC and DR 1/–. This intense concentration can sometimes interfere with the completely separate concentration required of a spell-caster, so this attitude carries a 25% arcane spell failure. The bonus provided by this attitude is counted when figuring a character’s Flat-Footed AC, but not their Touch AC.
All of the species presented here are of the noble animal type. Characteristics of the noble animal type follow.
A noble animal has the following features (unless otherwise noted in a creature’s entry or superseded by character class).
- d8 Hit Dice.
- Base attack bonus equal to 3/4 total Hit Dice.
- Good Fortitude and Reflex saves.
- Skill points equal to (2 + Int modifier, minimum 1) per Hit Die.
Traits: A noble animal possesses the following traits (unless otherwise noted in a creature’s entry).
General descriptions of the species are included immediately under the species’ name. Including a brief rundown of common personality traits found among members of the species, as well as how the species is perceived by others, both noble animals and humanoids.
Some of the species listed may have one or more subspecies listed. Please note that, in most cases, the term sub-species is a convenience of game language (much the same way as elves and orcs are listed as races, rather than separate humanoid species of their own), and is not the fact of the case in the real world.
Listed here are the species traits and rules for building a noble animal of the particular species.
Listed here are the sub-species modifications to the base noble animal species presented as follows.
Any final changes, such as species class advancement restrictions, are given here.
Some of the species listed below have species character classes that can be taken instead of the standard character classes.
Species class levels must be taken early in a character’s career. Except for the 1st level, a noble animal character cannot take a level in its species if it has already taken a higher level in another class. For example, a tiger with 4 levels of ranger and 4 levels of great cat can take a level in anything he wishes, while a tiger with 5 levels of ranger and 3 levels of great cat can never take any more levels in great cat.
The species class information is laid out in the same format as the basic character classes in the core rules.
All Noble Animal species classes grant the character a Hit Die of d8 and 2 + Int bonus skill points per level.