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Noble Cat, Great

The term great cat — which is not a biological classification — is used informally to distinguish the larger felid species from smaller ones. Members of this group are able to roar, unlike some other species of cats. The various species of great cat are quite similar in both structure and behavior. All great cats are carnivores and efficient apex predators.

Species Descriptions

It is impossible to look at a lion or tiger and not think two words: majestic and powerful.

There is a large difference between natural lions and noble lions. A natural male lion is a lazy, bullying polygamist who will murder the offspring of any rival male, just in case they grow up to threaten him. The noble male lion, on the other hand, is seen as a great and noble leader, rising to meet any challenge and protecting the weak — no matter what species. He’s still a polygamist, though. The female noble lion is very much more like her natural counterpart; providing food for the pride and advice for the alpha male. In fact, more than one pride is ruled over by a natural male taking direction from a noble female behind the scenes. If a noble female feels that a particular male is a poor leader, she may arrange for him to meet a challenge to his power.

Noble tigers are every bit as predatory and vicious as their natural brethren, only much more cunning.

Noble tigers are one species that chose “challenge” as a whole. In some remote regions they have taken this role to such extremes that local villagers will make sacrifices to them to appease these terrible beasts. It doesn’t always work. The rare exception to this mindset, the noble tiger who enjoys humanoid company, can be an inspiring hero. But he must always be on the lookout for other noble tigers, who would tear him apart given the chance.

Noble Great Cat Species Traits

  • Size: Small.
  • Size Threshold: 3rd and 5th Hit Dice.
  • Base Speed: 40 ft. +4 speed bonus to Acrobatics checks made to jump.
  • Natural Weapons: Bite (1d4), 2 claws (1d3).
  • Senses: Low-light vision (Ex), scent (Ex).
  • Skills: +4 racial bonus to Acrobatics and Stealth checks. In tall grass, the racial bonus to Stealth becomes +8.
  • Family: Mammal.
  • Noble Animal Type: Noble great cats have the noble animal type except where superseded by other species traits and features.
  • Social Group: Varies.
  • Automatic Languages: Feline and High Fauna.
  • Bonus Languages: Bat, Camel, Canine, Common, Crocodilian, Elephant, Equine, Herdspeak, Hyena, Lizard, Monitor, Raptor, Rodent, Serpent, Simian, Songbird, Ursine, and Woodland.

Noble Great Cat, Lion Sub-Species Traits

In all other ways, the noble lion shares the same species traits and level progression listed for noble great cats, except that they can never advance in the noble great cat class beyond 5th level.

Noble Great Cat, Tiger Sub-Species Traits

In all other ways, the noble tiger shares the same species traits and level progression listed for noble great cats.

Noble Great Cat Class

Hit Die: d8

Class Skills

The noble animal’s class skills are Acrobatics (Dex), Perception (Wis), Stealth (Dex), Survival (Wis).

Skill Ranks Per Level: 2 + Int modifier.

Table: Noble Great Cat
Level Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special
1st +0 +2 +2 +0 Ability increase (Dex +2)
2nd +1 +3 +3 +0 Bonus feat
3rd +2 +3 +3 +1 Pounce
4th +3 +4 +4 +1 Grab
5th +3 +4 +4 +1 Ability increase (Dex +2), rake, negative level +1
6th +4 +5 +5 +2 Bonus feat

Class Features

All of the following are class features of the noble great cat class.

Ability Increase

At 1st and 5th levels your Dexterity score increases by +2.

Bonus Feat

At 2nd and 6th levels you gain a bonus feat from the following list: Aggressive Attitude, Alertness, Improved Natural Weapon (bite), Improved Natural Weapon (claw), Roar, or Run.

Pounce (Ex)

At 3rd level you gain the Pounce special ability. If you charge a foe, you can make a full attack.

Grab (Ex)

At 4th level, you gain the Grab special attack. When you hit with a bite attack, you deal normal damage and may attempt to start a grapple as a free action without provoking an attack of opportunity. Grab only works against opponents that are at least one size category smaller than you. You have the option to conduct the grapple normally, or simply use your jaws to hold your opponent. If you choose to do the latter, you take a –20 penalty on your CMB check to make and maintain the grapple, but do not gain the grappled condition yourself. A successful hold does not deal any extra damage. Each successful grapple check you make during successive rounds automatically deals bite damage.

Noble great cats with the grab special attack receive a +4 bonus on combat maneuver checks made to start and maintain a grapple.

Rake (Ex)

At 5th level, you gain the Rake special attack. You gain extra natural attacks when you grapple a foe. In addition to the options available to all grapplers, you gains two additional claw attacks that you can use only against a grappled foe. These attacks are secondary attacks, and do the same damage as your front claws. You must begin your turn grappling to use your rake—you can’t begin a grapple and rake in the same turn.

Negative Level

At 5th level, you gain a permanent negative level, similar to the ones gained through growth. If the hit points you gain for achieving 5th level, minus the penalty for this negative level, equals zero or less, then you gain one hit point for 5th level. This negative level can never be lost or removed, even through the use of magic. If this negative level coincides with a negative level gained by reaching a size threshold, the penalties all stack, but you will still gain at least one hit point.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

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