Animist-Wizard Archetype


Homebrew


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As a result of playing too much Lord Of The Rings Online I started to wonder about how to represent Lore-Master in Pathfinder. I must admit certain degree of fondness for nature-related wizards (I remember making Animist Wizard career for Warhammer RPG 1st edition many years ago) and thus decided to make it Wizard archetype.
The first step is moderately easy: Animal Companion is ready, well described feature. The question is what feature it would replace? For a Druid, Animal Companion can be replaced by Domain (bonus spell of each spell level and some special abilities). Close equivalent of Arcane School feature.
Second step: Animist-Wizard should have access to spells affecting animals, so he gets feature that expands his spell list with certain animal-related spells.
Third step: With Animal Companion having Familiar as well would be certainly too much (at least without taking Eldritch Heritage feat). So Arcane Bond feature should be limited to bonded item option - initially I thought about removing Arcane Bond and replacing it with Lore feature but Lore-Masters seem to have strong bonds with their staves that I decided to keep it.

So here it is:

Animist-Wizard (Wizard Archetype)

Animist-wizards are arcanists studying animals and plants. They delve into natural lore with the fervor and focus other wizards reserve for more unearthly endeavors.

Animal Companion: Animist-wizards learn how to befriend and bond with an animal companion. This ability fonctions like druid animal companion ability using animist-wizard level as effective druid level. This ability replaces Arcane School feature.

Animal Magic: Animist-wizards learn how to bridge the gap between animal and sapient mind and can affect animals with mind-affecting spells as if they were humanoids. This feature replaces Scribe Scroll bonus feat.

Arcane Bond: Animist-wizards bond with their animal companion uses the same spiritual ties that other wizards use to bond with familiar and because of this they are limited to bond object option with staff, wand or weapon as available choices.

Expanded Spell List: Animist-wizard add animal messenger, animal trance, awaken, greater magic fang, hide from animals, magic fang, raise animal companion and speak with animals.

War Staff: Animist-wizard learn how to wield tools of magic as tools of war. They may use any magic staff as a quarterstaff and any magic wand as club. If their bonded item is staff or quarterstaff they may empower it with magic as if it was both a magic staff and a weapon. This ability replaces 5th level bonus wizard feat.


Sounds neat, but I feel like the wizard is not losing as much as it is getting. You are trading out things like the Abjuration School's Resistance ([energy] 5), Protective Ward (a scaling deflection bonus to AC, which won't work with some magic gear anyway), and Energy Absorption (3xWiz level) for a full progression animal companion.

An animal companion can become a monster, especially in mid levels, when the party has access to a wider variety of things, but hasn't surpassed some animals' claw/claw/bite routine.

Wizards are already very potent, and even though animal companions' utility and overall strength fades as you near 20, I still feel like the wizard is coming out over the top with this addition because the possibilities for powergaming open up wide here.

I suggest making it like a ranger's companion. Just a -3 to level. Boon Companion (feat, Seekers of Secrets) can fix that if the animal is central to the character concept.

Might I also suggest trying this with a druid, but giving the druid a more arcane bent? I'd like to see how that turns out. I don't know much about the source of your inspiration, but it sounds neat.


Foghammer wrote:
Sounds neat, but I feel like the wizard is not losing as much as it is getting. You are trading out things like the Abjuration School's Resistance ([energy] 5), Protective Ward (a scaling deflection bonus to AC, which won't work with some magic gear anyway), and Energy Absorption (3xWiz level) for a full progression animal companion.

Did you factored in loss of one additional daily spell of each level except 0th?

I thought about limiting access to two selected schools as per Arcane School despite not having it.

Quote:
Might I also suggest trying this with a druid, but giving the druid a more arcane bent? I'd like to see how that turns out. I don't know much about the source of your inspiration, but it sounds neat.

I am afraid that giving druid arcane bent would be creating even greater monstrosity than trying to give wizard druid bent.

Also, I wanted to try this first before taking advantage of the animals and undeads using the same HD/BAB to convert animal companion into skeletal companion feature for alternate Necromancer archetype.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 8

Nice! Wizard archetypes =)

Animal companion is, as the previous poster noted, better than many arcane school powers for many levels. On the other hand, arcane school is how most wizards get their capstone, so in a way you're trading out long-term benefits (permanent summon monster) for short-term advantages (animal companion). I think giving it Druid level = wizard -3 isn't a bad idea; animal domain does this; sylvan bloodline does this. On the other hand, it operates as a familiar, right? Why not have a 'familiar companion'...

Familiar Companion At 1st level, the animist-wizard gains the companionship of a helpful animal familiar. It gains abilities as it levels up, as a wizard's familiar, but its statistics are determined as the animal companion of a druid with levels equal to the wizard's levels -3. This ability replaces Arcane Bond and Arcane School.

Animal magic is basically a bloodline arcana. Seems a fine trade for Scribe Scroll.

War staff is essentially a 10th-level Magus ability given at 5th level... also I'm not sure on the flavor of using a wand as a club, I mean, it's a tiny bit of stick. Might want to rethink this one.

I suggest coming up with a capstone power to make up for the loss of Arcane School.


Flak wrote:

Nice! Wizard archetypes =)

Animal companion is, as the previous poster noted, better than many arcane school powers for many levels. On the other hand, arcane school is how most wizards get their capstone, so in a way you're trading out long-term benefits (permanent summon monster) for short-term advantages (animal companion). I think giving it Druid level = wizard -3 isn't a bad idea; animal domain does this; sylvan bloodline does this. On the other hand, it operates as a familiar, right? Why not have a 'familiar companion'...

Familiar Companion At 1st level, the animist-wizard gains the companionship of a helpful animal familiar. It gains abilities as it levels up, as a wizard's familiar, but its statistics are determined as the animal companion of a druid with levels equal to the wizard's levels -3. This ability replaces Arcane Bond and Arcane School.

As I mentioned earlier I wanted to keep Arcane Bond because LotRO Loremaster realies much on his staff which could be easily defined as bonded item. Still, I might consider droping Arcane Bond completly if it would be deemed enough to balance Animal Companion working at full level.

Quote:
War staff is essentially a 10th-level Magus ability given at 5th level... also I'm not sure on the flavor of using a wand as a club, I mean, it's a tiny bit of stick. Might want to rethink this one.

You mean the 10th level ability of Staff Magus? War Staff is much weaker than Staff Weapon as it does not provide enhancement bonus from the staff caster level - to get full benefit it have to be Animist-Wizard bonded item so he could improve it using item crafting rules by spending his resources.

I may drop the "use wand as club" rule, however. And if Arcane Bond will go due to balancing Animal Companion then this ability will go as well, giving Animist-Wizard his bonus feat back.

Quote:
I suggest coming up with a capstone power to make up for the loss of Arcane School.

I don't have anything in mind and while capstone abilities are intersting to read I never feelt them to be of actual importance - because none of d20 campaigns I mastered ever came close to 20th level.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 8

Roger on all counts. Well-thought out archetype, good going!

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