What is the actual benefit of "Animal Rage" feat for Barbarian?


Advice


If I'm playing an Animal Instinct Barbarian who has chosen Cat as my animal, I'm not sure what benefit this feat gives me. The wording is specifically:

"You transform into your animal. You gain the effects of the 3rd-level animal form spell except you use your own statistics, temporary Hit Points, and unarmed attacks instead of those granted by animal form."

So, if I use my own statistics, temp HP, and attacks, what do I get from the spell? As best I could tell, I may get:
- Low-light vision and Imprecise Scent 30ft (both of which I might already have from earlier Barbarian feats or Ancestry).
- I get to ignore my armor's speed penalty.

It seems like nothing else applies because of the feat tells me I use all my own values for everything else. Are there other mechanical advantages to this feat that I am missing? Perhaps this feat is really more for flavor/RP purposes?


You also gain an increased movement speed, which will stack with any speed BONUSES.
(I'm not sure if Elf Feat Nimble would stack, possibly not)

All of the forms will increase most characters' speed (and/or add new movement forms)
except Elves don't gain any speed or movement form from Bull and Bear.
(if Nimble doesn't stack, they would actually slow down in these forms... Nimble Elf problems)

Bear seems otherwise balanced vs Cat, but Cat's Animal Form boosts speed to 40 while Bear doesn't gain anything else.

Bull and Wolf are similarly balanced (Shove vs Trip), yet Wolf(Canine)'s Animal Form boosts speed to 40 while Bull doesn't gain anything else.

From what I gather, Bull-fighting Bulls or Buffalo are slightly faster than Wolves in a sprint, although not quite as sustainable as a horse.
So I feel like the given Bull speed is in fact Errata, and should be at least equal to, if not higher than Wolf.

From what I gather, Bear top speeds are slightly slower than Wolf but not significantly so.
So while increasing their speed could make sense, perhaps they should gain other more appropriate ability.


I'll admit I'm not sure which of these count as "Statistics" or "unarmed attacks," but the 3rd level Animal Form spell could also grant:

- AC = 17 + level
- Ignore armor check penalty and speed production
- Damage mod +5
- Athletics skill = +14


This is where my confusion as a player comes in. To me the term "statistics" is too broad, and would cover virtually everything you all listed.

@Quandry: Why do you suggest Speed not fall under the "statistics" umbrella? I.e. if I have to use my own statistics, do I not use my own Speed as well?

Unless I'm supposed to interpret "except you use your own statistics" as "except you use your own statistics unless the animal form's are higher"?

EDIT: Just to add a comparison of my own likely stats vs the animal form, even if we interpret the rule as "unless the animal form's are better" - none of the form's are better (except Speed).

AC: 17 + level (8) = 25, vs my own (using regular Hide armor as an example) 10 (base) + 10 (trained prof) + 3 (DEX) + 3 (Item) = 26
Athletics: +14, vs my own: 14 (master prof) + 4 (STR) = +18
Unarmed Attack: +14, vs my own: 12 (expert prof) + 4 (STR) = +16 (and this doesn't include any bonus from handwraps if I have them, so could be higher)
Damage Bonus: I assume this doesn't stack with my own bonus, which will already by higher than +5: 4 (STR) + 5 (Rage) + 2 (weapon spec) = +11.


The term "statistics" is exactly what the spell animal form uses when describing the abilities and statistics it grants. Anything that isn't an ability, is a statistic.

So, I would say that Animal rage grants low-light vision, imprecise scent, and Speed.


Right, the spell overtly indicates "You gain the following statistics and abilities (...)" and then "You also gain specific abilities based on the type of animal (...)', so the 2nd list is clearly only considered 'abilities'. So it doesn't matter how those terms might "universally" be applied, I have no idea if Paizo is holding to particularly consistent reading for those terms, but for purpose of that spell it's clear the 2nd list are not considered "statistics".


slaygeist wrote:


AC: 17 + level (8) = 25, vs my own (using regular Hide armor as an example) 10 (base) + 10 (trained prof) + 3 (DEX) + 3 (Item) = 26

Except you wouldn't get a +3 item until level 18. At level 8 you'd have a +1 armor only so 24 vs 25 for animal rage.

But yeah it's pretty meh...

Liberty's Edge

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Faenor wrote:
slaygeist wrote:


AC: 17 + level (8) = 25, vs my own (using regular Hide armor as an example) 10 (base) + 10 (trained prof) + 3 (DEX) + 3 (Item) = 26

Except you wouldn't get a +3 item until level 18. At level 8 you'd have a +1 armor only so 24 vs 25 for animal rage.

But yeah it's pretty meh...

Hide Armor just gives a +3 AC, so that's non-magical Hide. Of course it also maxes at +2 Dex, so the example would actually have AC 25...but could get to 26 with +1 Armor.

Of course, the point of battle form Polymorph Spells is less to provide direct buffs to combat optimized characters, and more to grant someone with, say, Str 10 an actual good (or at least decent) attack routine.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I would really like to see Paizo clarify this, because if the Animal Form spell only gets senses, and Speed, then why didn't they juts say "you gain the effects of a 3rd level Animal Form Spell, except you only gain the senses (such as low light vision) and speed adjustments." but assuming that's true then that's a terrible 8th level feat to take. Aside from the novelty of literally transforming into a bear, there just isn't enough oomph in this feat

for the AC bonus the answer took some snooping around, but i'm pretty sure you use your armors AC... The feat stats "you also retain the [u]constant[/u] abilities of your gear". It's my under standing that this implies "your gear morphs with you" kinda thing, which is why you would use your armors stats instead of the base.

From what i can tell the AC formula (and obviously the spell itself) is designed for casters with low Dex that are using the spell as normal. They can heighten the spell to 3rd level as early as Character level 5. And most classes(except monk) don't become expert in their respective armors until 13th level (unless a feat says otherwise, like Barbarian's Animal Skin (but that's a whole other argument)).

So for comparison's sake between a Barbarian and a typical caster such as a Sorcerer/Druid with the Primal spell List,(both assuming Trained in unarmored defense and a +3 dex) at 8th level they would have;

Animal Form/Rage: 25:
17 + 8 (Level)= 25
The biggest drawback here it that it don't get an item bonus to your AC or saves. Because of how potency runes work on Explorer's Clothing, they only "increase the item bonus" for the armor their etched into.

And before you mention Bracer's of Armor, it's still an item bonus, so it's not really clear if it applies or not. If Bracer's of Armor stack then your AC while in Animal Form/Rage it would be the same as capping dex with any other +1 Resilient light or medium armor (roughly +5 combined item/dex bonus, the and additional +1 from a potency rune). However this is great if you don't have +3 DEX and aren't proficient in Medium Armor!

The other Drawback unique to the Barbarian's Animal Rage is that this doesn't scale with any of your Defensive Proficiencies, as soon as you become expert in U.D. at 13th level your AC will always be 1 less compared to when you're not raging (which to be fair a -1 isn't that bad). But if you were a caster using the 5th level version of this spell you base AC would increase to 18 + level (18+13 = 31), It'd be on par with Expert in U.D. (at 10 + 17 (lvl+4) +4 Dex (assuming you boosted it at lvl 5/10)= 31). And that's not including my point about item bonuses mentioned above.

In my personal conclusion, the spell works as great for caster's cause it allows them to have a +5 item/dex bonus to AC where they don't have to spec heavily into DEX or where medium armor. But since DEX is rarely in issue in 2e, it loses it's flair. You could argue this formula would work with Low DEX barbarians but their Medium armor Prof is simply the superior option because of it's proficiency bonus and potency runes. Which is probably why "Barbarian AC would always be higher, so we'll count that as a "statistic" in terms of the feat."

+1 Resilient Explorer's Clothing/Bracers of Armor: 24:
10 (base) + 10 (U.D. Trained) + 3 Dex + 1 Item (w/+1 potency) = 24
(and you'd get +1 to saves with the Resilient rune)
You could use Bracers of Armor here but the bonuses are the same

+1 Resilient Studded Leather: 26:
10 (base) + 10 (Light Armor Trained) + 3 Dex + 3 Item (w/+1 potency) = 26
(and you'd get +1 to saves with the Resilient rune)

If you're a Druid, or Barbarian in this case, is in Hide Armor

+1 Resilient Hide Armor: 26:
10(Base) + 10(Medium Armor Trained) + 2 Dex + 4 Item (w/+1 potency) = 26
(and you'd get +1 to saves with the Resilient rune)

Even if you want to be a low dex barbarian and gold isn't an issue you could go for...

+1 Resilient Breastplate: 26:
10(Base) + 10(Medium Armor Trained) + 1 Dex + 5 Item (w/+1 potency) = 26
(and you'd get +1 to saves with the Resilient rune)

And as a bonus , if your goal was to crank the AC with Animal Instinct, here's an 8th lvl Barbarian with the 6th lvl Animal Skin feat (while raging) using Unarmored Defense with Explorer's Clothing again.

Animal Skin with +1 Resilient Explorer's Clothing: 27:
10 (base) + 12 (U.D. EXPERT) + 3 Dex + 1 Item (w/+1 potency) + 1 Status (Animal Skin)= 27
(and you'd STILL get +1 to saves with the Resilient Rune on Explorer's Clothing)

This build has it's own drawbacks where you only get the +1 Status bonus while raging. And at a glance a +1 AC with a dex cap of 3 just feels like Light armor, but the Expert in U.D. at lvl 6 is enough to make it function more like free +2 to AC. at 13th level Barbarians become expert in Unarmored defense (which is moot case you already have it thanks to animal skin), and you Status bonus increases to +2 (because you'll also get Greater Juggernaut). While your AC won't be on par with the Fight/Champion anymore (minus the shield), it'll still be one point shy.

From the math the spell would only have better AC if you didn't have magical gear (or gold to buy it) and your Dex is +2 or lower, or not +4 or higher if you're going to Unarmored Defense.

But in terms of "other statistics" I'm in the boat of "you gain the Low-light vision, scent and speed listed for your form" because otherwise there's literally no benefit of it being considering a 3rd level Animal form Spell.


Highjacking the thread, does the animal form grant movement of animals?
Could one turn into a raven and fly?


Corvo Spiritwind wrote:

Highjacking the thread, does the animal form grant movement of animals?

Could one turn into a raven and fly?

It does, but Animal Form doesn't grant you any forms with a fly speed. Best bet for alternative movement types is Snake with a climb and swim speed; there's a different spell for turning into birds, Pest Form can do it for when you want to fly out of combat and Aerial Form turns you into a fighting flier.


Arachnofiend wrote:
Corvo Spiritwind wrote:

Highjacking the thread, does the animal form grant movement of animals?

Could one turn into a raven and fly?
It does, but Animal Form doesn't grant you any forms with a fly speed. Best bet for alternative movement types is Snake with a climb and swim speed; there's a different spell for turning into birds, Pest Form can do it for when you want to fly out of combat and Aerial Form turns you into a fighting flier.

I was mostly focusing on Pest Form, I should have named that. I think I was considering picking up a dip into Druid for the wild shape pest form on a rogue. No one should suspect a cat or a raven staking a place out, and since it's a focus power, it's readily available multiple times.

Edit: Can't find it anywhere on wild shape, but does wildshape as a focus power scale 1:1 with our level? Seems Pest Form needs to be heightened to 4th level to allow flight.


It does, yes. So once you're 7th level wild shape will auto-scale up to a 4th level spell, allowing you to pick a flier if you spend that focus point on pest form.


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Arachnofiend wrote:
It does, yes. So once you're 7th level wild shape will auto-scale up to a 4th level spell, allowing you to pick a flier if you spend that focus point on pest form.

That's not bad. It'd cost two class feats, but I'm likely to go a half elf rogue and could pick it up for a ancestry+class feat combo. The utility seems rather sweet.

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