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Noble Wild Species



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.

Common Species Features for Noble Animal Characters

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.

Low-Light Vision (Ex)

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 Attacks

Table: Damage Type by Natural Attacks

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.

Normal attacks using natural weapons are not subject to attacks of opportunity.

Scent (Ex)

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.

Size Threshold

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.

Size Bonuses and Penalties

Animals come in a wide variety of sizes. The modifiers and other features related to size are as follows:

Table: Size Modifiers and Adjustments

Speed

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.

Combat

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).

Using natural weapons never provokes an attack of opportunity.

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.

Defensive Attitudes in Combat

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.

Table: Speeds While Under Attitudes

Aggressive (Ex)

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.

Cautious (Ex)

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.

Sturdy (Ex)

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.

Species

All of the species presented here are of the noble animal type. Characteristics of the noble animal type follow.

Noble Animal

A noble animal is a living, non-humanoid vertebrate creature that has been elevated above normal animals with increased Intelligence, magical abilities, and culture.

A noble animal has the following features (unless otherwise noted in a creature’s entry or superseded by character class).

Traits: A noble animal possesses the following traits (unless otherwise noted in a creature’s entry).

Species Descriptions

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.

Species Traits

Listed here are the species traits and rules for building a noble animal of the particular species.

  • Ability Score Modifiers: Species dependent ability score modifiers are listed here.
  • Size: Starting characters of this species will always start at the given size category, though this can change through character development or by taking certain feats (like Runt).
  • Size Threshold: This is the number of Hit Dice that the character needs in order to increase to the next size category. Some species will not have a Size Threshold— remaining the same size all their lives, while others will have several, growing to the next category each time a Size Threshold is reached. Each time a noble animal character reaches a Size Threshold through their normal character advancement, they also gain a permanent negative level that cannot be removed.
  • Base Speed: The species base land speed is given in feet. If the species is capable of an alternate mode of movement; such as flying, burrowing, swimming, etc., the alternate speed will be given following the Base Speed. In the case of Fly speeds, a maneuverability class is given in parenthesis following the speed.
  • Natural Weapons: All of the species’ starting natural weapons are given here, along with their damage. Some species may increase this damage through development, and some may gain new weapons.
  • Natural Armor: This is the bonus, if any, to the species’ AC. This is a natural armor bonus, and is figured as part of the character’s Flat-Footed AC, but not its Touch AC.
  • Special Attacks or Qualities: Any special features of the species available to all members are given here.
  • Senses: Any special sense such as low-light vision or scent is listed here.
  • Bonus Feat: Not all species get a bonus feat, but if they do, the feat gained is listed here. This feat does not use one of the character’s feat slots. If the species does not get a bonus feat, then they will have a Natural Talent Track.
  • Natural Talent Track: This is a list of feats that natural members of the species tend to favor. If a Noble Animal character takes the feats listed for his species under the Natural Talent Track, then the level in which he takes the last one he gets a bonus feat. This bonus feat can be any General feat that the character meets all the prerequisites for.
  • Skills: Any racial skill bonuses granted to the species are listed here, along with any special conditions for their use.
  • Family: This simply states which family of the animal kingdom the species belongs to: Amphibian, Avian, Mammal, or Reptile. This designation is necessary for some spells and Deeds.
  • Social Group: If the species has a social group, it is given here.
  • Automatic Languages: Any languages listed here are automatically spoken by a character of this species.
  • Bonus Languages: The languages listed here can be taken by a character who has a positive Intelligence modifier, one for each point of bonus.

Sub-Species Traits

Listed here are the sub-species modifications to the base noble animal species presented as follows.

  • Ability Score Modifiers: Any additional ability modifiers or replacement modifiers are given here.
  • Features: Any changes to special abilities or attacks is given here.
  • Social Group: If the sub-species has a social group, it is given here.

Any final changes, such as species class advancement restrictions, are given here.

Species Character Class

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.

Changes to Skills

Noble Animal Changes to Skills contains a variety of new skills or replacement skills available to Noble Animal characters. Also included are a number of existing skills, such as Ride and Survival, which have been modified with the needs of Noble Animal characters in mind.

Changes to Basic Character Classes

Following are modifications to the way the existing basic characters classes function when advanced in by noble animals.

Barbarian

  • Craft is no longer a class skill for a noble animal barbarian.
  • Noble animal barbarians gain no proficiency with any weapons or armor. Dogs, elephants, and horses are exceptions to this rule, and have proficiency in light and medium barding.
  • If a noble animal barbarian is of size Tiny or smaller, he gains the first deed of the Larger Than Life deed tree, By Fang Alone, for free. If the character later wishes to gain the second deed of that tree, he must fulfill the requirements for both the first and second deed, but he only needs to pay the experience point cost of the second.
  • Noble animal barbarians can use the Aggressive or Cautious Attitudes.
  • Fast Movement: A noble animal barbarian’s Fast Movement will apply to its base speed, swim speed, or fly speed, but not to climb or burrow speeds.

Bard

Cleric

  • Craft is no longer a class skill for a noble animal cleric.
  • Survival is a class skill for a noble animal cleric.
  • Noble animal clerics gain no proficiency with any weapons or armor. Dogs, elephants, and horses are exceptions to this rule, and have proficiency in all types of barding.
  • Noble animal clerics can use the Aggressive, Cautious, or Sturdy Attitudes.
  • Noble animal clerics can choose to follow any god available in your campaign, as long as it is appropriate for them to do so. Alternatively, the cleric can choose to follow their ancestors. Ancestor worship gives a noble animal cleric access to the Animal domain and any one other domain of their choice.
  • Noble animal clerics use blood components in place of material components for casting spells.

Druid

Fighter

  • Craft is no longer a class skill for a noble animal fighter.
  • Survival is a class skill for a noble animal fighter.
  • Noble animal fighters gain no proficiency with any weapons or armor. Dogs, elephants, and horses are exceptions to this rule, and have proficiency in all types of barding.
  • Noble animal fighters can use the Aggressive, Cautious, or Sturdy Attitudes.
  • If a noble animal fighter is size Tiny or smaller, he gains the first deed of the Larger Than Life deed tree, By Fang Alone, for free. If the character later wishes to gain the second deed of that tree, he must fulfill the requirements for both the first and second deed, but he only needs to pay the experience point cost of the second.
  • Attitude Training: At 3rd level, a noble animal fighter can move at their full speed even while they are using the cautious attitude. At 7th level, they can move at full speed while using the sturdy attitude.
  • Weapon Training: Most noble animals will, of course, make use of the Natural weapon group for purposes of this class feature. In addition, the following new weapon group is available to noble animal fighters (as well as humanoid fighters who, for some reason, have access to noble animal boons). – Boon: any spectral natural weapon granted through temporary or permanent use of a boon.
  • Attitude Mastery: At 20th level, a noble animal fighter gains DR 5/- whenever he is using either the aggressive or cautious attitudes. The DR granted by the sturdy attitude is increased to DR 7/-.
  • Weapon Mastery: When the noble animal fighter chooses a weapon for this feature, it can be any one of their natural weapons or boon weapons. If the fighter has gained boon hands, then they can also use this ability for any humanoid weapon in which they are proficient.

Monk

  • Craft is no longer a class skill for a noble animal monk.
  • Survival is a class skill for a noble animal monk.
  • Noble animal monks gain no proficiency with any weapons or armor.
  • Fast Movement: A noble animal monk’s Fast Movement does not apply to Burrow, Climb, Fly, or Swim movement rates.
  • Flurry of Blows: For the purposes of the flurry of blows special ability, the monk’s natural weapons (even if those weapons are spectral “boon” weapons) are considered special monk weapons. A flurry of blows attack can be made with either unarmed attack damage, or with a single natural weapon.
  • Unarmed Strike: A noble animal monk does the same damage with an unarmed strike that a humanoid monk of the same size category would do. This attack represents a disciplined and controlled use of the monk’s body, and not necessarily their natural weapons. The damage for the unarmed attack can be found on Table: Monk Unarmed Damage by Size.

Table: Monk Unarmed Damage by Size

Level Diminutive Tiny Small Medium Large Huge
1st-3rd 1 1d3 1d4 1d6 1d8 2d6
4th-7th 1d3 1d4 1d6 1d8 2d6 2d8
8th-11th 1d4 1d6 1d8 1d10 2d8 3d6
12th-15th 1d6 1d8 1d10 2d6 3d6 3d8
16th-19th 1d8 1d10 2d6 2d8 3d8 4d8
20th 1d10 2d6 2d8 2d10 4d8 4d10

Paladin

  • Craft is no longer a class skill for a noble animal paladin.
  • Survival is a class skill for a noble animal paladin.
  • Noble animal paladins gain no proficiency with any weapons or armor. Dogs, elephants, and horses are exceptions to this rule, and have proficiency in all types of barding.
  • If a noble animal paladin is of size Tiny or smaller, he gains the first deed of the Larger Than Life deed tree, By Fang Alone, for free. If the character later wishes to gain the second deed of that tree, he must fulfill the requirements for both the first and second deed, but he only needs to pay the experience point cost of the second.
  • Noble animal paladins can use the Aggressive, Cautious, or Sturdy Attitudes.
  • Divine Bond: The divine bond for a noble animal paladin is slightly different than that for a humanoid paladin. The divine bond can still take one of two forms, but those forms are different. The first type of bond allows a noble animal paladin to call on the aid of a celestial spirit to temporarily possess one of the paladin’s own natural weapons, granting the same abilities as those listed for the divine bond weapon enhancements given in the core rules. The second type of bond allows a paladin to gain the service of a loyal escort to serve her in her crusade against evil. This escort is usually a humanoid with some distant celestial heritage who has felt a calling to serve in this manner. This escort functions as a druid’s humanoid companion, using the paladin’s level as her effective druid level. All of the special abilities and rules listed for the paladin’s mount can be applied to the paladin’s escort. The escort can be chosen from same list as the humanoid companions listed for the druid.
  • Noble animal paladins use blood components in place of material components for casting spells.

Ranger

  • Craft is no longer a class skill for a noble animal ranger.
  • Deft of Jaw and Survival are class skills for a noble animal bard.
  • Noble animal rangers gain no proficiency with any weapons or armor. Dogs, elephants, and horses are exceptions to this rule, and have proficiency in light barding.
  • Noble animal bards can use the Aggressive Attitude.If a noble animal ranger is of size Tiny or smaller when he becomes a ranger, he gains the first deed of the Larger Than Life deed tree, By Fang Alone, for free. If the character later wishes to gain the second deed of that tree, he must fulfill the requirements for both the first and second deed, but he only needs to pay the experience point cost of the second.
  • Noble animal rangers can use the Aggressive Attitude.
  • Favored Enemy: Most noble animal rangers focus this ability on other animals, which includes both normal and noble varieties.
  • Wild Empathy: A noble animal ranger can use this ability even on animals whose language he does not speak.
  • Combat Style: Few noble animal rangers will find any benefit in either the Archery or the Two-Weapon Fighting styles. They can, however, take the Wild Fighting style. If the ranger selects the wild fighting style, he can choose from the following list whenever he gains a combat style feat: Ability Focus, Multiattack, Versatile Beast, or Weapon Finesse. At 6th level, he adds Improved Multiattack and Improved Natural Weapon to the list. At 10th level, he adds Awesome Blow and Greater Multiattack to the list. The benefits of a ranger’s combat style only apply if he is under the Aggressive Attitude, or no Attitude.
  • Hunter’s Bond: In addition to the options listed in the rules for hunter’s bond, a noble animal ranger may choose to take a humanoid companion. The ranger may choose from; dwarf, elf, gnome, half-elf, half-orc, halfling, and human. A humanoid companion can be very valuable for an animal character, but they tend to be a bit intractable, having personalities and agendas of their own. This ability functions like the druid humanoid companion ability (as seen above), except that the ranger’s effective druid level is equal to his ranger level -3. A noble animal ranger cannot have a companion of the same species as itself.
  • Noble animal rangers use blood components in place of material components for casting spells.

Rogue

Sorcerer

  • Craft is no longer a class skill for a noble animal sorcerer.
  • Survival is a class skill for a noble animal sorcerer.
  • Noble animal sorcerers gain no proficiency with any weapons, armor, or defensive attitudes.
  • While noble animal sorcerers still gain the Eschew Materials feat, they use blood components in place of material components when the value of those components is over 1 gold piece.
  • If a Noble Animal Sorcerer who already has claws gains claws as a bloodline power, treat them as if they had taken the Improved Natural Weapon feat for both claws.
  • In addition to the familiars available to humanoid wizards, noble animals can choose a humanoid familiar. All rules regarding familiars apply to humanoid familiars except for Intelligence. A Humanoid familiar has an average Intelligence for its race. A noble animal sorcerer may never take a familiar of his or her own species (noble or natural). In addition to the more traditional benefits bestowed by a familiar, humanoid familiars can carry equipment.

Table: Humanoid Familiars

Familiar Special Ability
Dwarf Master gains a +2 bonus on saves versus magic
Elf Master gains immunity to magical sleep effects
Gnome Master gains 1 additional 1st level spell of the illusion school per day.
Halfling Master gains a +3 bonus to Stealth checks
Human Master gains a +3 bonus to Diplomacy checks
Orc Master gains a +3 bonus to Intimidate checks

Wizard

  • Craft is no longer a class skill for a noble animal wizard.
  • Survival is a class skill for a noble animal wizard.
  • Noble animal wizards gain no proficiency with any weapons, armor, or defensive attitudes.
  • Arcane Bond: Noble animal wizards have access to the same familiars available to noble animal sorcerers. A Noble Animal wizard who decides to use the item option for the Arcane Bond feature can still do so with a couple of restrictions. Animals with current or previous contact with humanoids may have been given a collar or something similar, or even a treasured chewtoy. All other rules for arcane bonded items apply: a collar must be worn or a chew-toy must be in the mouth for the item to be used. Without humanoid contact, the arcane bond is unlikely to be used for an item (but it is not impossible).
  • Noble Animal Wizards do not gain the Scribe Scroll Feat, instead getting the Create Juju Feat.
  • Spellbook: Noble animal wizards do not keep spellbooks in the same way as humanoids. A noble animal wizard’s spellbook appears to be a collection of marks and smudges or the walls and floor of its lair. For a traveling spellbook, the wizard’s own body can become his spellbook; fur matted in unique patterns, scales with strange markings on them, even unusually colored feathers can serve.
  • Noble animal wizards use blood components in place of material components for casting spells components for casting spells.

Feats

Various feats especially appropriate for various noble animal characters are listed at Noble Animal Feats. Some of them are listed as monster feats in the core rules, and have been listed here for the readers’ convenience.

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Section 15: Copyright Notice

The Noble Wild. Copyright 2009 by Lee Garvin and Skirmisher Publishing LLC.

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