The Beastmastery sphere focuses on all forms of animal handling.
Unlike most other spheres which rest squarely on the related core rules, talents and abilities granted by the Beastmastery sphere override certain skill functions (particularly Handle Animal and Ride). No additional checks are required outside of those listed in the associated ability. Some abilities call out joint actions. These actions require both the user and his animal ally to pay the requisite action cost.
Some talents and abilities reference animal allies; your animal companions, familiars, tame creatures, and any creature actively serving as your mount with an Intelligence score of 2 or less are considered your animal allies. Animal allies always act on your initiative.
When you first take the Beastmastery sphere, choose one of the following packages:
You gain 5 ranks in the Handle Animal skill, plus 5 ranks per talent spent in the Beastmastery sphere (maximum equal to your total Hit Dice). If you possess skill ranks in Handle Animal, you may choose to retrain them, but you do not gain ranks when only temporarily gaining this package, such as through the armiger’s customized weapons class feature.
You also gain the following ability:
You may attempt to train an animal to readily obey your commands in and out of combat. This requires 8 hours and a creature of the animal type that has an attitude toward you of indifferent or better. This time may be divided as per the magic item crafting rules. You may only train one creature at a time with this ability. At the end of this period, make a Handle Animal check with a DC of 10 + the creature’s Hit Dice. If successful, the creature is now considered tame.
You may not tame a creature with more Hit Dice than you have ranks in Handle Animal. You may have multiple tame creatures under your control, but their total Hit Dice cannot exceed your ranks in Handle Animal. If you attempt to tame a creature that would exceed your Hit Dice cap, you must choose which other creatures to release. Animal companions and familiars, such as from class features, the Animal companion talent, or the Pet talent, never count against this Hit Dice cap.
You may not use this ability on a creature with the swarm subtype. A creature with a template adds the challenge rating adjustment of the template to its HD (minimum increase +0) for determining if you may tame it and for how many creatures you can have tame. Variant creatures with increased challenge ratings (such as a pyrohydra compared to a normal hydra, if using the Broad Skills talent), treats the challenge rating increase of the variant as if it were a template for this purpose. A creature whose permanent Intelligence score is raised above 2 is no longer a valid target for this ability and is automatically released. This effect ends if you go two full days without spending at least 1 hour training your tame creatures.
This is treated as an extraordinary mind-affecting compulsion effect for the purposes of opposed control checks, such as another compulsion effect affecting your tame creature. Use your ranks in Handle Animal in place of your caster level for the opposed check.
You gain 5 ranks in the Ride skill, plus 5 ranks per talent spent in the Beastmastery sphere (maximum equal to your total Hit Dice). If you possess skill ranks in Ride you may choose to retrain them, but you do not gain ranks when only temporarily gaining this package, such as through the armiger’s customized weapons class feature. When using the handle or push functions of the Handle Animal skill on a creature you are mounted on, you may substitute your Ride skill modifier for your Handle Animal skill modifier.
Additionally, you gain the following ability:
When your mount is targeted by an attack or subject to a Reflex save, you may spend an attack of opportunity to make a Ride check and use the result in place of your mount’s AC or Reflex save result, if higher. Associated Feat: Mounted Combat.
Talents with the (ride) tag grant new ways to interact with your mount.
Talents possessing a tag or tags matching one of the Beastmastery packages cannot be taken unless you possess one of the tagged packages.
While within the threatened area of an animal ally, when you or the animal ally performs a combat maneuver, the other may make an aid another check to boost the combat maneuver check as an immediate action.
You gain the services of a loyal animal companion. Your effective druid level for this companion is equal to your base attack bonus -3 (minimum 1). If you already possess an animal companion or if you take this talent a second time, your effective druid level increases by 4, to a maximum of your character level. Your effective druid level stacks with those from other sources to a maximum of your character level. If you possess the Broad Skills talent, you may instead choose a vermin companion. Your companion always counts as an animal ally.
If the companion is suitable to serve as a mount, you do not take an armor check penalty on Ride checks while riding it. The mount is always considered combat trained and begins play with Light Armor Proficiency as a bonus feat but does not gain the share spells special ability. If you already have an animal companion from another source, it gains Light Armor Proficiency as a bonus feat.
Should your companion die, you may find another after 1 week of mourning. This new companion does not gain the link, evasion, devotion, or improved evasion special abilities until the next time you gain a level or after 1 week serving as your animal companion, whichever comes first. This talent counts as possessing the mount class feature. Abilities that grant talents temporarily, such as taking the Extra Combat Talent feat with martial flexibility or gaining it from an armiger’s customized weapon can not be used to gain this talent.
Any creature you are mounted on gains a competence bonus to armor class and combat maneuver defense equal to 1/2 your ranks in Ride (rounded down, minimum +1). In addition, your mount gains a pool of temporary hit points that regenerate at a rate of 1 per minute up to a maximum amount equal to your ranks in Ride; your mount starts at 1 temporary hit point when you mount and these hit points disappear immediately if you begin your turn not mounted on that creature.
When you use the attack action to attack, one of your animal allies may also attack your target with a single natural weapon it possesses as a joint swift action. If both you and the animal ally successfully deal damage with these attacks, the animal ally may immediately move 5 ft. as a free action. This movement does not provoke attacks of opportunity.
Extra Beastmastery Package
Choose a Beastmastery package you do not possess. You gain that package.
Any time you use the aid another action to benefit an animal ally or an animal ally uses the aid another action to benefit you, the aid another bonus increases by 1 plus 1 per 7 points of base attack bonus.
You may make physical contact with one animal ally within your natural reach as a move action, regaining your martial focus and giving that animal ally a +1 bonus to all saving throws for 1 round. At 10 ranks in Handle Animal or Ride, this bonus increases to +2.
When within close range (25 ft. + 5 ft. per 2 ranks in the higher of Handle Animal and Ride) of any animal allies, when making a Perception check, you and the animal allies may share the result of the check of the creature with the highest result.
You gain a familiar as the wizard class feature, treating your base attack bonus as your arcane spellcaster level. This familiar must be an animal and retains the animal type rather than becoming a magic beast, and does not gain an Intelligence bonus, nor the share spells, deliver touch spells, or scry on familiar abilities normally granted to a familiar. If this familiar is dismissed, lost or dies, it can be replaced 1 week later at no cost. This familiar always counts as an animal ally.
If you already possess a familiar or gain one at a later time, you may add your base attack bonus to your arcane caster level to a maximum of your character level to determine your familiar’s abilities. You may choose to grant your familiar all the normal benefits of being a familiar, including type, Intelligence, and special abilities, (assuming your alternate method of gaining a familiar does not also lose these benefits), but doing so also incurs the normal replacement cost should the familiar die. Abilities that grant talents temporarily, such as taking the Extra Combat Talent feat with martial flexibility or gaining it from an armiger’s customized weapon can not be used to gain this talent.
When making a Handle Animal skill check to handle or push a tame creature or a Ride skill check while mounted on an animal ally, you may expend your martial focus as a free action to take 15 on the check, even if rushed or threatened.
Handle Animal Talents
Animal Empathy (handle animal)
You can improve the attitude of an animal. This ability functions just like a Diplomacy check made to improve the attitude of a person, using your Handle Animal skill in place of Diplomacy. If you possess the wild empathy class feature, you may add your Handle Animal ranks to your levels in the class that grants the class feature (with a maximum equal to your Hit Dice) to determine the result.
To use this ability, you and the animal must be able to study each other, which means that you must be within 30 ft. of one another under normal conditions. Generally, influencing an animal in this way takes 1 minute but, as with influencing people, it might take more or less time.
Bee Keeper (handle animal)
You may tame creatures with the swarm subtype that are otherwise of a creature type that you can affect. When taming a creature in this way, they count as twice their Hit Dice against the total amount you may have tame at once. This increase does not stack with the increase for creatures not of the animal type from the Broad Skills talent. Additionally, you are immune to swarm damage from swarms that have a friendly or better disposition towards you.
Bolster Beast (handle animal)
You may increase the power of a tame creature through intense training. You may grant a tame creature 1 bonus Hit Die for every hour you spend training it with a Handle Animal check with a DC of 10 + the creature’s new Hit Dice total. These additional Hit Dice count against your Hit Dice cap for the trainer ability as normal and cannot cause the creature’s Hit Dice to exceed your ranks in Handle Animal. These additional Hit Dice are multiplied as normal for companions that have their Hit Dice doubled for the purposes of determining how many creatures you may have tame. If a creature is released from the tame condition, these bonus Hit Dice are lost immediately.
Creatures do not gain size increases for these additional Hit Dice. Additional feats and skill points from these Hit Dice are assigned by the GM unless you possess the Purposeful Training talent, in which case they may be assigned within the limits of the retraining granted by that talent. This ability can never be applied to an animal companion or familiar.
Broad Skills (handle animal)
You may tame creatures of animal intelligence (Intelligence scores of 1 or 2) of any type, though you take a -4 penalty on the check on creatures not of the animal type. Only permanent Intelligence counts for determining if a creature can be affected; ability drain, damage, or other penalties or effects that reduce Intelligence to not allow a creature to be affected. You may also tame mindless creatures of the ooze, plant, or vermin type, bypassing any immunity to mind-affecting effects granted by the their type. Mindless creatures serving you as a mount count as animal allies. Creatures not of the animal type count as twice their Hit Dice against the total amount you may have tame at once. This increase does not stack with the increase for creatures with the swarm subtype from the Beekeeper talent.
If you possess the Animal Empathy talent, it is likewise expanded with the same penalty.
Greater Trainer (handle animal)
Mass Handle (handle animal)
You may increase the time required to handle or push a tame creature by one step to affect one additional tame creature with the same action. If you attempt to use this ability on creatures that require different actions to handle or push, determine the action required to use this talent based on the longest required time for the affected creatures. The number of tame creatures you may affect with this ability increases by 1 at +2 base attack bonus and every +2 base attack bonus after.
Pack Attack (handle animal)
Whenever one or more of your tame creatures within close range (25 ft. + 5 ft. per 2 ranks in Handle Animal) of you flanks an enemy with you or another of your tame creatures, you may increase the bonus from flanking by +2. This bonus increases by +1 for each tame creature that threatens than enemy, to a maximum of +1 per 4 rank in Handle Animal. Associated Feat: Outflank.
Purposeful Training (handle animal)
When you tame a creature, you may automatically grant them one general purpose per the Handle Animal skill. At +4 base attack bonus and every 4 base attack bonus thereafter, you may grant the creature a bonus trick. The purpose and tricks granted by this ability do not count against the maximum number of tricks a creature may know. If you possess the Broad Skills talent, you may even apply this ability to mindless vermin.
Additionally, you may retrain feats and skill ranks possessed by a tame creature. You may retrain one feat, purpose, trick, or a number of skill ranks equal to your ranks in Handle Animal with 4 hours of training. The new feats and skill must be appropriate to a creature of animal intelligence. The GM is the final arbiter of what feats and skills are suitable. The Extra Combat Talent feat is always a suitable choice, though some spheres may be more appropriate for certain creatures than others. With 8 hours of training, you may instead retrain a number of feats equal to half your ranks in Handle Animal (minimum 2 feats).
Acrobatic Mount (ride)
Bronco Buster (ride)
As a standard action, you may attempt to mount a creature of the animal type within your reach that is of a size suitable to serve you as a mount. Make a Ride skill check against the creature’s CMD. If successful, you move into the creature’s space and it acts as your mount. The creature may make a Will save each round to break free of your control. If successful, it may attempt to throw you once per round as a move action, making a combat maneuver check against a DC of 10 + your Ride skill modifier to force you to dismount in an adjacent square of your choice. If it fails the Will save, it must act as a willing mount for that turn. A new Will save must be made each round until you are thrown or choose to dismount.
If you possess the (Handle Animal) package and the Broad Skills talent, you may use this talent on any creature to which your trainer ability applies, though creatures not of the animal type gain a +2 bonus on their Will save.
Guided Maneuvers (ride)
While mounted, your mount may use your combat maneuver bonus (including feats and other bonuses to particular maneuvers but retaining their own size modifiers) in place of its own when performing bullrush, drag, overrun, reposition, or trip combat maneuvers.
Meat Shield (ride)
While mounted on a creature of your size or larger, you may take cover behind your mount as a move action. You may expend martial focus to reduce this to an immediate action. Your mount provides total cover from one direction. When using a mount in this way, you must choose one edge of your space. That edge is treated as a solid wall for attacks targeting you only. You gain total cover for attacks that pass through this edge. Your mount may still be targeted as usual. Should this ability be used in reaction to being targeted by an attack roll, the attacking creature may choose a new target. You may end this effect by using the same action required to mount a willing mount (normally a move action, a free action with a DC20 Ride check).
Run Down (ride)
When you use the attack action to attack, your mount may attempt an overrun combat maneuver against the target as a joint swift action, moving up to half its speed if successful. This maneuver does not provoke an attack of opportunity.
Skirmish Rider (ride)
While mounted and moving with your mount, you and your mount may each make an attack action at any point during the movement and then complete the movement. This requires using your standard action as normal and cannot be used if you do not have a standard action available. You and your mount do not provoke attacks of opportunity from one creature of your choice that you make an attack or combat maneuver roll against as part of this attack action.
Additionally, you may make an attack action at any point when you make a joint withdraw action while mounted. If you possess the Athletics sphere, you cannot regain focus on the same withdraw action as you use this option.
Vaulting Flank (ride)
When using the attack action to attack, your mount may also attack your target with a single natural weapon it possesses as a joint swift action. If both you and the mount successfully deal damage with these attacks, you may command your mount to buck you into a vaulting dismount over your foe and into a flanking position with your mount against that creature. You must succeed on a Ride check (DC 15 + 5 per size category larger than your mount the creature is), or you instead fall prone adjacent to your mount. Your mount will continue to attack that creature as long as they remain conscious, or until you remount and give them a new command.
Wild Rider (ride)
Any creature serving as your mount counts as tame and an animal ally and as having been combat trained per the Handle Animal skill. This does not allow you to handle or push a creature of greater than animal Intelligence (Intelligence 3 or higher), but does allow them to benefit from some talents, such as Lookout or Pack Attack, though not from any that grant additional tricks, purposes, or Hit Dice. The creature no longer counts as tame or an animal ally once you dismount. Additionally, you may add half your base attack bonus (minimum +1) as a competence bonus on all checks to stay mounted and never fall off your mount when you become unconscious unless you choose to at the time you fall unconscious. You never take a penalty on ride checks for lacking a saddle, bit, or bridle.
Beast Tamer (handle animal)
Prerequisite(s): Beastmastery sphere, Handle Animal 5 ranks.
You may expend martial focus as a standard action to force a creature to which you can tame within close range (25 ft. + 5 ft. per 2 base attack bonus) to make a Will save or have its attitude improved to helpful and serve you as a tame creature for 1 minute per rank in Handle Animal you possess. Creatures not of the animal type gain a +2 bonus on their Will saves. Once a creature saves successfully against your use of this ability, it is immune to further uses of this ability by you for 24 hrs. When the duration of the tame effect ends, the creature returns to its previous disposition, modified by any other effects that would have altered it in the meantime. Attempting to make the creature perform an obviously suicidal action ends the tame.
Prerequisite(s): Beastmastery sphere.
As a swift action, you may call all of your animal allies to your side. They must be within 1 mile per rank in Handle Animal and come at their best speed, avoiding apparent hazards and danger to the best of their ability. This movement takes place using the creature’s normal actions on its turn. At 10 ranks in Handle Animal, the animal allies need only be on the same plane.
Distant Tamer (handle animal)
Prerequisite(s): Beastmastery sphere, Beast Tamer.
The range of your Beast Tamer talent increases to medium.
Enduring Control (handle animal)
Prerequisite(s): Beastmastery sphere, Beast Tamer.
The duration of your Beast Tamer talent increases to 1 hour per rank in Handle Animal you possess.
Mass Tame (handle animal)
Prerequisite(s): Beastmastery sphere, Beast Tamer.
When using your Beast Tamer talent, you may increase the time required by one step (normally standard to full-round) to affect multiple creatures at once. All creatures must be within range. Your Hit Dice limits still apply to the total number you may affect at once with this ability.
Mindless Mastery (handle animal)
Prerequisite(s): Beastmastery sphere, Broad Skills.
Monster Breaker (ride)
Prerequisite(s): Beastmastery sphere, Broad Skills, Bronco Buster, Ride 7 ranks.
You may use your Bronco Buster talent on any creature suitable to serve as your mount. A creature with Intelligence greater than 2 may make its Will save to resist this ability as a free action at the start of its turn. On a failed save, you may only direct such a creature to move; you cannot make it attack or use any other abilities.
Permanent Control (handle animal)
Prerequisite(s): Beastmastery sphere, Beast Tamer, Enduring Control, Handle Animal 5 ranks.
The duration of your Beast Tamer talent increases to permanent.
Wild Speaker (handle animal)
Prerequisite(s): Beastmastery sphere, Handle Animal 5 ranks.
You may speak with animals. You can ask questions of and receive answers from animals, but this ability doesn’t make them any more friendly than normal. Wary and cunning animals are likely to be terse and evasive, while the more stupid ones make inane comments. If an animal is friendly toward you, it may do some favor or service for you.
Spheres of Might, © 2017, Drop Dead Studios LLC; Authors: Adam Meyers, Michael Sayre, Andrew Stoeckle, N. Jolly