I've been spending a ton of time trying to figure out the best way to implement this. 1 level druid with 4 levels cavalier and horse master feat into monk? This delays the Monk so long it's not what I want to do.
Honestly I can't think of any other options that allow me to be taking mostly Monk levels. Boon companion only gives +4 levels so besides a 1 level druid dip it only works until level 5. Eldritch Heritage doesn't work with wildblooded sorcerer bloodlines or I could've taken that with Sylvan bloodline.. Are there any options I'm not considering? I could take Leadership and take an awakened animal as my cohort if my DM lets me, but that isn't available until level 7 -.-
Basically the biggest thing is the Unarmed Combat (scaling damage, free two-weapon fighting etc). I kind of wanted to have the character just tear enemies apart with bare hands alongside a lion. The improved movement speed is fun, and the Wisdom to AC is great because it gives room for being unarmored, which is also along the lines of the sort of feral combatant I'm imagining. Slow fall and High jump are also pretty nifty.
Another option I've looked at is 1druid/xMounted Fury Barbarian, but I wanted to take Agile AoMF and Weapon Finesse so I could just stack a ton of Wis and Dex to get a high AC and still have good offense. Barbarian obviously isn't the best choice for being dex-based.
Probably my best bet is to go 1Monk/1Druid/18Ranger but I just don't really like all the Favored crap that rangers have -.-
There's also the new Feral Child archetype from ARG, but I can't tell how effective that would be for what I want. I'm more interested in a martial class than any spellcasting..
...Why not just be a druid? There's not more feral than actually fighting as a bear or whatever. Natural weapons are a similar feel to "fighting with your bare hands" and with druid you just plain get the companion. For move speed, you have wildshape for gaining winged flight and the like.
You could dip a level in monk if you want, but simple solution seems to be just being a druid.
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Does it have to be an Animal Companion? You could use Handle Animal to rear a cub. Be a gnome and use Speak with Animals to have a decent chance of befriending a lion. Befriend a lion without being able to speak to it, since you could always just become pals with a Lion if your DM is okay with the idea.
Of course, that means your lion isn't scaling, and won't be very useful in combats after a while. If you want a combat lion, then I think Natural Weapons Ranger with the Boon Companion feat is a good way to do it (assuming the main concept is ripping foes apart with the lion).
Edit: Ooh, I have another suggestion! Be a Monk, take Leadership, and get a Catfolk Monk cohort that has the catfolk monk archetype. They can turn into lions :D Or maybe just attract a celestial lion cohort or something.
I'm gonna go left field here for something which might just do it for you.
If you haven't seen it before basically you wear the eidolon like a second skin.
Go biped and start off with 2 claw attacks, and grab limbs and a slam attack for claw claw slam at first level. I figure that should give you the Monk feel.
Then just expand up with more slams or claws as suits you
Now for the Lion
Summoners are really good at...you guessed it, summoning ;) . At 7th level you get level 3 summoner spells which lets you take Summon Monster IV which lets you summon a Lion. At 10th level you get summon monster 5 and can summon dire lions. past that you can use higher level summon spells to summon multiple lions.
Now you can't use your summon monster spell like ability while using the eidolon but if your ever caught without your eidolon you can spam out lions all day long.
As far as lower levels go you can summon a dire rat or cheetah and just re-flavor as a lion ;)
Hope that works for ya ;)
I would probably go with something like monk/lion shaman druid. If you have your heart set on having your unarmed damage increase, you could take the feat Monastic Legacy from Ultimate Combat, although it's actually pretty crappy.
So something like:
Lion Shaman 1 (take Boon Companion)
Lion Shaman 2 (take Monastic Legacy)
The nice thing about Lion Shaman is that it gives you a rake attack while you're grappling, if you're into grappling.
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Monastic legacy is a good option.
I know you don't want spellcasting, but the Plant Domain gets you the same relative damage progression as a monk (if you average the damage, they're about equal). You could go Monk 3/Cleric etc. with the Plant and Animal domains, take Boon companion to make your lion feasible, and there ya go.
If you're looking for something more martial, well... I don't know that it'll work. You could, however, always reflavor your Cleric spells as ki powers. I'd also allow a monk to substitute flurry of blows for an animal companion, but that's just me.
Does it *have* to be an ability-based companion? Lions are pretty hoss all by themselves and spending some cash on equipment and boosters until you can use Leadership and Awaken is doable. You should have the Handle Animal skill anyway, and good training can cover most important situations.
The old D&D Arms & Equipment Guide had tons of convertible rules (including a few new critters to consider) for the buying, care, and feeding of more exotic pets and mounts. They didn't list Lion specifically, but there are enough similar critters to hammer something out.
Just be sure to train it to fight cautiously and have it break off whenever it starts getting hurt.
Personally, if I was to do this, I'd probably take a level or two of monk, with the remaining being druid.
I'd take a monk archetype that doesn't rely on scaling abilities like flurrying, like the Master of Many Styles. Taking the Dragon Style feats can really boost your damage if you start with a decent Str. Alternatively, you could go Monk 1/Brawler 3, picking up the Brawler's +1 attack/+3 damage to your IUS. Those 4 non-druid levels would keep your companion at full strength with Boon Companion.
Might not fit your concept, but that seems like a solid way to build a druid that deals worthwhile IUS damage.
Shisumo, that's awesome thanks for the link. Can't wait for that! I think I'll try to convince my DM to let me use Eldritch Heritage + Boon companion to work it out if I end up playing this before that comes out.
I played a one-off game with 1druid/2barbarian which was fun, just used a Greatsword instead of fists though =P 1000 times easier to work out but not exactly the flavor I want!
@Boring7, I have considered that. I would probably run with something like that if I wanted to pursue Leadership with an awakened lion at level 7.