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Help me brainstorm a "natural weapon" class for catfolk / ratfolk / etc


Suggestions/House Rules/Homebrew


Right now its just a jumble of ideas, but I'm thinking about how a -balanced- natural attack class would work.

Perhaps some variables would be race-specific...
Doglike (for gnolls, etc)
Catlike (catfolk)
Reptillian (kobolds, lizardmen)
Birdlike (tengu)
Rodentia (ratfolk)

All would gain natural attacks and built-in at level 1
Doglike (bite 1d6 +1.5 str + grab) Rake on following turn with successful grab (foreclaws, 1d4)
Catfolk (1d4, bite/claw/claw)
Reptillian (bite, 1d4 + poison, claws at 1d2)
Birdlike (peck, 1d4 piercing, 1d4 wing slap bludgeoning)
Ratfolk (bite 1d4, tail whip, 1d6 nonlethal)

All races of this class can aquire and use catfolk claw blades (or 'wing blades' for birdlike, or +2 to tail blade for rodentia)

Doglike
Gain power attack at level 1 as bonus feat.

Catlike (catfolk)
gain 'Stalk' as a bonus feat
(activated ability at will, gain +4 to stealth, can take 10 on stealth checks, can only use 'stalk' to move or make mental skill checks, ie spellcraft or knowledges)

Reptillian (kobolds, lizardmen)
(not sure)

Birdlike (tengu)
Gain "Wing-Assist" bonus feat. (+20 to acrobatic checks to jump or balance as long as there is at least 5" of open space on each side.)
,
Rodentia (ratfolk)
Can "squeeze" as per the mount ability. Can move at half speed to reduce their size by half. (and gain all attributes as a creature 1 size smaller. Essentially can crawl without being flat footed.

Other abilities for immplementation:
"Feral Vocalisations"
As a standard action, can emit a animal sound (growl, roar, purr, etc) usable per day equal to 1/2 level (min 1)+ cha modifier.
Choose 1 affect:

Roar/Growl : (Sonic, mind affecting, cone effect) Cause fear, as a wizard your level. Will save to negate.

Purr: ( Sonic, compulsion, single target) will negates, compels target to pet/caress the source of the sound.

Feral Communication: Can communicate with animals using a very rudimentary language of pheremones , body language, and facial expressions. Communications are limited to simple 3-word sentances. 1 use of the ability lasts for 1 minute/level.

They would also be able to gain animal abilities, (such as pounce or a modified "deathroll" (as part of a bite, creature may attempt to wrench flesh from it's victim by making a strength check vs the targets CMD to negate damage and both fall prone (reflex dc 15 to avoid falling). If target fails, it takes 2x bite damage, and 1d6 bleed for rounds equal to the deathrolling creatures str mod/half (round up).)


Most of those races get natural attacks regardless, and not just the animal ones. Tieflings and Changelings can get natural attacks, too. Do they get left out in the cold, or will this specifically be an "animal" class?


Any race that starts or has an alternate trait for a natural weapon. I imagine even "Aspect of the beast" could be a prereq as well if people wanted to multiclass it. Doglike could be expanded to cover ursine as well, so weres would also be elegible.

The race/character would have to have permenant natural attacks though, so a raging barbarian that gets claws during a rage could not. (unless he was also a toothy half-orc)

I might figure in a way for tentacled alchemists to take it too.


This class would not replace the applicable traits and feats though- for example, a catfolk could take this at level 1 for bite/claw/claw, then take the trait to gain claws. Instead of granting claws, the effect would bump the damage up one step instead (to d6).
They could also take "improved natural attack" to bump the die up another step to d8.

Bonus feats would be the same as a "natural weapon" ranger.

This class would also gain tracking, but it wouldn't be as powerful as a ranger's.

Keen Scent would also be a bonus feat at some level.


(sorry if I'm spamming, its just a brainstorm)

As part of the stealthy hunter aspect, what about a feat chain like:

"Improved Stalking"
+5 to stealth checks in uneven terrain, or when the approaching character isn't in the target's normal line of sight. (10ft heigher or below the target, such as approaching from the top of a wall, the treetops, or below on a ledge under the target).

"greater stalking"
(requires improved stalking)
Player can move up to their speed when stalking, and gain the +5 in any terrain that would otherwise make stealth impossible. If a stealth move action ends adjacent to a flat-footed opponent, the player gets a single attack at their highest BAB as part of their move. Can only be used on targets not yet engaged in combat.

"Go for the throat"
Instead of a AoO for improved stanking, the player may attempt a takedown maneuver as part of their move action. For this maneuver, the players CMD is replaced with their dex-mod plus their level. If the maneuver fails, the target gets an immediate AoO. If the takedown maneuver succeeds, the target is pinned. The player may then use their standard action to make a single attack at full bab vs the target's touch AC. If the attack hits, it is an automatic critical hit, and the target remains pinned.


A little interesting...but there's still a natural weapon ranger, or the shapeshifter archetype that takes it even further. So far, it doesn't seem like your idea adds TOO much to a character to make it that worthwhile, other than an extra dice step up (which, for a catfolk, could give you 1d8 starting claw damage, and then 2d6 when you take improved natural attack).

Might be interesting, but I think it needs a lot of work to make it distinguishable from the ranger.


The ranger is great up to level 8-10... I'm trying to build a class that remains competitive longer damage-wise and has less "skill monkey" (other than stealth)

I'd also like to add a variety of bleed effects, and a stealth bonus to tracking wounded and bleeding targets.


That still sounds a bit like a ranger archetype, not really a base class. But it could work as a ranger archetype...maybe something similar to shapeshifter and skirmisher archetypes? Not exactly the same, but with the shapeshifter's natural attack focus, and the skirmisher's hunter tricks instead of spells.


I suppose you're right.. Lose favored enemy, swap out for stalk feats above at level 4, 8, 12...

Perhaps a way to gain the "speed" attribute to the highest bab attack... Hmmm..
i was hoping for a hybrid between druid, thief, ranger, and monk... Which I guess ends up being, uh, ranger XD


1 person marked this as a favorite.

If it has a prerequisite, it isn't a base class. It is by definition a prestige class at that point. A fighter archetype limited to characters with natural weapons, on the other hand, is something else entirely.

Really, though, this isn't adding enough to be it's own base class. Fighters and Ranger both have archetypes for natural weapon fighting. One we don't have have, though, is a Monk archetype for using claws and natural weapons (flurry of blows does not work with them).


@Big Lemon: That would be interesting. But I think that natural weapons work really well with ranger, especially his tracking ideas...could make something between monk and ranger, with something similar to flurry of blows for natural attacks (though that could get complicated to rule)


Big Lemon wrote:

If it has a prerequisite, it isn't a base class. It is by definition a prestige class at that point. A fighter archetype limited to characters with natural weapons, on the other hand, is something else entirely.

Really, though, this isn't adding enough to be it's own base class. Fighters and Ranger both have archetypes for natural weapon fighting. One we don't have have, though, is a Monk archetype for using claws and natural weapons (flurry of blows does not work with them).

That's a good point too... Maybe divide my ideas in two:

1. A "Feral" template (grants natural attacks, keen scent at the cost of basic languages and... any ideas?)
2. A monk archtype (or a prestigue class.. I like that idea a lot. Could maybe require 5 ranks in stealth, natural attacks, and feral combat training)

Opinions?


Redchigh wrote:
Big Lemon wrote:

If it has a prerequisite, it isn't a base class. It is by definition a prestige class at that point. A fighter archetype limited to characters with natural weapons, on the other hand, is something else entirely.

Really, though, this isn't adding enough to be it's own base class. Fighters and Ranger both have archetypes for natural weapon fighting. One we don't have have, though, is a Monk archetype for using claws and natural weapons (flurry of blows does not work with them).

That's a good point too... Maybe divide my ideas in two:

1. A "Feral" template (grants natural attacks, keen scent at the cost of basic languages and... any ideas?)
2. A monk archtype (or a prestigue class.. I like that idea a lot. Could maybe require 5 ranks in stealth, natural attacks, and feral combat training)

Opinions?

Maybe use the ranger-ish one as an archetype, and make a prestige class that lets you use monk abilities with your natural attacks?


Katz wrote:

Maybe use the ranger-ish one as an archetype, and make a prestige class that lets you use monk abilities with your natural attacks?

well theres already "feral combat training".

I'm thinking a nature-monk prestigue class (with flurry, and a 'vow' to not use metal weapons) could fit my theme exactly...


Redchigh wrote:
Katz wrote:

Maybe use the ranger-ish one as an archetype, and make a prestige class that lets you use monk abilities with your natural attacks?

well theres already "feral combat training".

I'm thinking a nature-monk prestigue class (with flurry, and a 'vow' to not use metal weapons) could fit my theme exactly...

Ah, right. Maybe have some way to power up the nature-monk's natural attacks, too? Just because looking at numbers, seems like a monk's fists would outstrip natural attacks eventually. Not a huge boost or anything, maybe just a die step or two.


Natural attack builds right now are fun, but their damage peaks at level 8 or so, when everyone else starts getting iterative attacks. If players jumped to the prestige class around then, maybe "Nature's Flurry" could give players the edge to stay competitive with other melee builds...

As far as a niche that other classes can't fill, I'm thinking of focusing on:

Stealth (via "stalking")
Suprise attacks (too much like a rogue? :( )
Animalistic Behavior (for rp goodness, druid/ranger-like skills and spell-like abilities)
Superior Agility, evasion, speed, bonuses to AC and flurry (from monk)

Does this sound viable as the "core attributes"?.

Btw, just thought of some names for the "flurry" ability..
"Furry of Blows"
"Nature's Fury"
"Nature's Flurry"
"Nature's Furry"
"Flurry of Fur"
"Flurry of Claws"
"Tooth and Claw"
"Flurry of Teeth and Claw"

.I think I like that last one...


Hmmm...I think spells, monk abilities, and stealth abilities would either be a tad overpowered, or spread a bit too thin...


The "feral vocalisations" is the only spell-like ability, and the "fear" one is the only one usable in combat.


I guess the "Go for the throat" and "Feral Vocalisations" could use ki.. Second thought, Feral Vocalisations should be cha-based I think. "Go for the throat" feels like a ki ability though.


Redchigh wrote:
I guess the "Go for the throat" and "Feral Vocalisations" could use ki.. Second thought, Feral Vocalisations should be cha-based I think. "Go for the throat" feels like a ki ability though.

That could work.


Prototype:

Spoiler:

Role:

Alignment: Any non-chaotic

Hit Die: D10

Requirements:
At least two permenant natural attacks
Knowledge: Nature (6 ranks)
Stealth (6 ranks)
Flurry of Blows class feature
Ki class feature

SPECIAL: Must take *Vow of Equality

(*Feral Animists are disgusted by the use of metal weaponry, and view it as a weakness in others. If they voluntarily use a weapon in a successful attack or as part of a successful combat maneuver, they lose access to all ki abilities for one week.)

Class skills:
Acrobatics, climb, intimidate, perception, knowledge:nature, knowledge:geography, knowledge religion, knowledge history, handle animal, swim, ride

Weapon and Armor Proficiencies: None* (see Vow of Equality)

Saves:
Level-Fort - will - ref
1..........0........1.......2
2..........1........1.......2
3..........1........2.......3
4..........2........2.......3
5..........2........3.......4
Etc

Levels of Feral Animist and monk stack for monk abilities.

Flurry of Tooth and Nail
Feral Animists can use their natural attacks in a flurry. Combat maneuvers built-in to natural attacks (such as 'grab' ability) cannot be used except for bonus attacks. The base attack bonus is not changed, and remains the same as the feral animist's original monk level. The Feral Animist can Flurry one additional time per day.

Feral Animist gains keen scent as her bonus feat at level 1.

At first level, the feral animist gains:
Feral Combat training ( If Feral Animist already has this feat, she gets "Improved Natural Attack" )
Fast movement 10, and climb 15. (If Feral Animist already has a climb speed, her climb speed increases by 10 as well. )

At level 3, Feral Animist can move up to their speed when stalking, and gain the ability to "take 10" in cover. They also gain:
"Stalking"
Feral Animists cannot "take 10" on a "stalk"
If a stealth move action ends adjacent to a flat-footed opponent, the player can spend a ki point to get a single attack at their highest BAB as part of their move. Can only be used on targets not yet engaged in combat.

At level 4, The Feral Animist gains Feral Vocalisations, usable 1 time per day. This increases by 1 every 3rd level after.*

Feral Vocalisations
Using a variety of purrs, roars, and whimpers, the Feral Animist can create one of a variety of affects. Usable 1 time per day for each level of feral animist. Successful will save negates. All can only affect (Feral Animist level + cha mod min 1) HD worth of creatures. Ki points can be spent to target additional 4hd worth of creatures, or to give all targets in range -2 to their will save. Ki points spent either way must be spent before the target's will saves, and only 1 ki point can be spent per each vocalisation. If a target makes their save, they are immune to all of the Feral Animist's vocalisations for 24 hours. Deaf creatures and creatures immune to compulsion or gaze attacks cannot be affected.

Infatuation
Ie, "Aww, how cute!"
Target: 15ft "burst"
Duration: 1d4 rounds
Targets are facinated. Any hostile action towards the compelled creatures immediately ends the spell.

Deafening Roar
30ft Cone
Duration: 1d4 rounds
Affected creatures are frightened. If the target makes their save, they are shaken for 1d4 rounds instead.

Broken Wing
Target: Any targets within 10 ft.
(Treat as 'Compel Hostility')

At level 5, if you begin a move action within sight distance of a target, you may stalk as normal, but if they spot you andyou are in charging range, you may spend a 2 ki points to immediately charge and get your "stalk" attack at the end of the charge. If it hits, you may attempt a pin (cmb = dex + monk levels), plus roll extra 1d6 for every 20 ft of distance you covered without being spotted. You must have a line of sight to the target during the entire approach for the extra damage. (But not for the pin.)


.i need to spread out the levels, but the "Feral Animist" will, probably around level 18-20, be able to stealthily sneak up on a target, pin them, (dealing up to 10d6 damage on the pin depending on how much distance they crossed stalking) and the same round, attack three more times at full bab... Next round, flurry on the pinned opponant.


At level 6, a Feral Animist gains"Go for the Throat"
A feral animist may, immediately after pinning a creature, spend a ki point to attempt to "Latch On". (target a creature's throat with a natural attack (such as a bite) If successful, the target remains pinned, but the feral animist may make AoO's any time the pinned creature attempt to escape.)

If a Feral Animist starts her round "Latched on" she may use one of the folloring effects as a standard action by spending a ki point.

Suffocate: Treated as a 'Constrict' attack, this deals damage equal to her natural attack she latched on with, plus str modifier. In addition, this attack deals con damage equal to the Feral Animist's str modifier. (Does not effect creatures that do not breathe, and/or creatures immune to critical hits). If his attack is successful, the creature remains pinned.

Disembowel: Feral animist may flurry of tooth and nail with all free natural weapons* against a pinned opponent. Flurry takes an additional -8 penalty to hit against a pinned opponent.

Jugular Shred
While latched on, the feral animist attempts to violently tear the throat of the target.
The feral animist rolls a strength check vs the target's CMD -2. If the attack fails, it deals 3d6+ str damage. If the attack succeeds, the target takes 3d6 + str damage, plus 1d6 bleed for a number of rounds equal to the initial attack's damage The target is staggered as long as the target is taking bleed damage.(A Heal check ends both affects. Heal DC is 15+ Feral Animist's strength mod). This attack immediately ebds the pin.


I would think a skindancer or were could take this class. A skindancer could slip into hybrid form for adventuring. You might give "Tearing Through" as a class skill that bypasses damage reduction.

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