For an animal lord, a humanoid form is simply an accident
of birth. In spirit, he belongs with the wild pack of wolves,
the running herd of horses, or the dancing school of
fish. His nearly hairless, two-legged form is a hindrance
to being one with his true kind, but it is a hindrance he
Each animal lord forms a bond with one group of animals. Apelords, bearlords, birdlords, catlords, horselords, sharklords, snakelords, and wolflords all exist. Animals in his selected group accept an animal lord as a kindred soul and a leader. They offer him their support, and he watches over them in turn.
Individual animal lords approach their calling in different ways. Some are simple defenders of their kind, content to live as part of the natural cycle of predator and prey. Others, believing that nature’s creatures are meant to guard and ultimately improve this world, use their gifts to do good. Still others lead their animal brothers and sisters down a path of selfishness or vengeance.
Barbarians, rangers, and druids are the most likely characters to adopt this class. Barbarians prefer the more physically powerful options, including apelord, bearlord, and horselord. Rangers gravitate toward the stealthier selections, such as catlord and wolflord. Most birdlords are druids with the ability to use wild shape, but druids are equally likely to select any type of animal to bond with. Some scouts, rogues, and even rare monks find this path rewarding as well. Among the races, elves and half-elves are the most common examples of animal lords due to their close bond to nature.
A character can choose this prestige class more than once but must select a different group of associated animals and start at 1st level each time. Levels of different animal lord classes do not stack when determining level-based class features.
Adaptation: Customize this class for your campaign by associating each variety with a specific race or culture. Sahuagin (malenti) and evil aquatic elves make natural sharklords, for example, while plains-dwelling humans would be most appropriate as horselords. Eight animal lord types are presented here, but you can easily create others appropriate to your campaign, such as the sewer-dwelling ratlord, the gnoll hyenalord, or even the aquatic squidlord. Alternatively, you could subdivide existing groups (creating rival tigerlords and lionlords, for example). Use the examples below as templates when creating a new animal lord.
Hit Die: d10.
To qualify to become an animal lord, a character must
fulfill all the following criteria.
Alignment: Neutral good, lawful neutral, neutral, chaotic neutral, or neutral evil.
Base Attack Bonus: +5.
Skills: Handle Animal 4 ranks, Knowledge (nature) 2 ranks, 4 ranks in the appropriate skill as follows. Apelord: Climb; Bearlord: Intimidate; Birdlord: Spot; Catlord: Move Silently; Horselord: Jump; Sharklord: Swim; Snakelord: Escape Artist; Wolflord: Survival.
Feats: Each kind of animal lord must have a specific feat as follows. Apelord: Toughness; Bearlord: Endurance; Birdlord: Improved Flight†; Catlord: Weapon Finesse; Horselord: Run; Sharklord: Improved Swimming†; Snakelord: Combat Reflexes; Wolflord: Track. †New feat described on page 110.
Table 2–2: The Animal LordEdit
|Base Level||Attack Bonus||Fort Save||Ref Save||Will Save||Special|
|1st||+1||+2||+2||+0||Animal bond, detect animals, wild empathy|
|2nd||+2||+3||+3||+0||First totem, lowlight vision|
|3rd||+3||+3||+3||+1||Wild aspect 1/day|
|4th||+4||+4||+4||+1||Speak with animals|
|6th||+6||+5||+5||+2||Second totem, wild aspect 2/day|
|9th||+9||+6||+6||+3||Wild aspect 3/day|
The animal lord’s
class skills (and the
key ability for each
skill) are Climb (Str), Escape
Artist (Dex), Handle
Animal (Cha), Heal (Wis),
Hide (Dex), Intimidate
(Cha), Jump (Str), Knowledge
(nature) (Int), Listen
(Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Spot
(Wis), Survival (Wis), and Swim
Skill Points at Each Level: 4 + Int modifier.
All of the following are class features of the animal lord
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Animal lords gain no proficiency with any weapon or armor.
Animal Bond (Ex): An animal lord develops a bond with animals of his selected group (see below). He gains a +4 bonus on Handle Animal and wild empathy checks made to influence animals from his chosen group. If an animal lord has the animal companion class feature, he adds his animal lord level to his effective druid level for the purpose of determining his animal companion’s bonus Hit Dice, special abilities, and so forth.
The eight groups of animals included here, along with examples taken from the Monster Manual, are as follows.
Apelord: ape, baboon, dire ape, monkey. Bearlord: black bear, brown bear, dire bear, polar bear. Birdlord: eagle, giant eagle*, giant owl*, hawk, owl, raven. Catlord: cat, cheetah, dire lion, dire tiger, leopard, lion, tiger. Horselord: horse (all), pony, warpony. Sharklord: dire shark, shark (all). Snakelord: constrictor, giant constrictor, viper (all). Wolflord: dire wolf, wolf.
- These creatures are included
even though they
are not of the animal type.
Detect Animals (Sp): Beginning at 1st level, an animal lord can detect the presence of any animals of his selected group at will, as if using detect animals or plants with a caster level equal to his class level.
Wild Empathy (Ex): An animal lord can improve the attitude of an animal. See the druid class feature, page 35 of the Player’s Handbook. If an animal lord has wild empathy from another class, his levels stack for determining the bonus.
First Totem: At 2nd level, an animal lord gains a +4 bonus on checks made with a specific skill, determined by his selected group as follows. Apelord: Climb; Bearlord: Intimidate; Birdlord: Spot; Catlord: Move Silently; Horselord: Jump; Sharklord: Swim; Snakelord: Escape Artist; Wolflord: Survival.
Low-Light Vision (Ex): At 2nd level, an animal lord gains low-light vision, allowing him to see twice as far as a human in starlight, moonlight, torchlight, and similar conditions of shadowy illumination. He retains the ability to distinguish color and detail under these conditions.
If an animal lord already has low-light vision from another source (such as his race), his low-light vision improves, allowing him to see three times as far as a human in conditions of shadowy illumination.
Wild Aspect (Su): At 3rd level and higher, an animal lord can take on an aspect of the animals of his selected group. Assuming a wild aspect is a swift action that does not provoke attacks of opportunity (see Swift Actions and Immediate Actions, page 137). Unless otherwise noted, the effect lasts for 1 minute per level. An animal lord can use this ability once per day at 3rd level, plus one additional time per day for every three levels gained after 3rd (twice per day at 6th level and three times per day at 9th level).
When an animal lord reaches 7th level, his wild aspect becomes more powerful, as described below.
If an animal lord has the wild shape ability, he can spend one daily use of wild shape to assume his wild aspect instead (the duration is as normal for the wild aspect). If an animal lord already has a natural attack of the type gained by his wild aspect, use whichever damage figure is superior while the wild aspect is active. If an animal lord wields a weapon while using his wild aspect, he can use the natural attacks gained as natural secondary weapons if he uses his weapon as a primary attack, provided they are still available (an apelord couldn’t use a secondary claw attack, for example, if he wields a twohanded weapon).
Apelord: An apelord gains two primary claw attacks. Each claw deals 1d4 points of damage (or 1d3 points for Small apelords). If an apelord hits an opponent with both claw attacks, he rends the foe for an additional 2d4 points of damage (or 2d3 points for Small apelords), plus 1-1/2 times his Strength bonus. At 7th level, the claw damage increases to 1d6 points (or 1d4 points for Small apelords) and the rend damage to 2d6 points (or 2d4 points for Small apelords).
Bearlord: A bearlord gains two primary claw attacks. Each claw deals 1d4 points of damage (or 1d3 points for Small bearlords). If a bearlord hits with a claw attack, he can attempt to start a grapple as a free action without provoking attacks of opportunity. The bearlord still follows all the other normal grappling rules. At 7th level, the claw damage increases to 1d6 points (or 1d4 points for Small bearlords).
Birdlord: A birdlord grows feathery wings, allowing him to fly at his base land speed (average maneuverability). At 7th level, the duration increases to 10 minutes per level.
Catlord: A catlord gains two primary claw attacks. Each claw deals 1d4 points of damage (or 1d3 points for Small catlords). If a catlord charges, he can attack with both claws at the end of his charge. At 7th level, the claw damage increases to 1d6 points (or 1d4 points for Small catlords).
Horselord: A horselord’s speed, as well as the speed of any horse upon which he rides, improves by 10 feet for a duration of 1 hour per level. At 7th level, the speed increase improves to 20 feet.
Sharklord: A sharklord gains a devastating bite as a primary natural attack. The bite deals 1d8 points of damage (or 1d6 points for Small sharklords). A sharklord also gains the ability to breathe water while his wild aspect is active. At 7th level, the bite damage increases to 2d6 points (or 1d8 points for Small sharklords).
Snakelord: A snakelord gains a poisonous bite as a primary natural attack for 1 round per level. This bite deals 1d4 points of damage (or 1d3 points for Small snakelords). The poison’s Fortitude save DC is 10 + animal lord level + Con modifier, and it deals initial and secondary damage of 1d3 points of Constitution. At 7th level, the bite damage increases to 1d6 points (or 1d4 points for Small snakelords), and the initial and secondary poison damage increases to 1d4 points of Constitution.
Wolflord: A wolflord gains the scent ability (see page 314 of the Monster Manual) for 10 minutes per level. At 7th level, the duration increases to 1 hour per level. Speak with Animals (Sp): Beginning at 4th level, an animal lord can use speak with animals (as the spell) once per day to converse with animals of his selected group.
Summon Animal (Sp): Beginning at 5th level, an animal lord can summon one or more animals of his selected group once per day. This ability functions identically to summon nature’s ally V, except that an animal lord can summon creatures only from his selected group, as detailed below. The duration of the effect is 1 minute per class level.
Apelord: 1d3 dire apes or 1d4+1 apes. Bearlord: 1 polar bear, 1d3 brown bears, or 1d4+1 black bears.
Birdlord: 1d4+1 eagles, giant eagles1, giant owls1, hawks, ravens, or owls.
Catlord: 1 dire lion, 1d3 tigers, or 1d4+1 lions. Horselord: 1d4+1 heavy horses, heavy warhorses, light horses, light warhorses, ponies, or warponies.
Sharklord: 1d3 Huge sharks2 or 1d4+1 Large sharks2. Snakelord: 1 giant constrictor snake, 1d3 Huge vipers, or 1d4+1 constrictor snakes or Large vipers.
Wolflord: 1d4+1 dire wolves or wolves.
1 May be summoned only by nonevil birdlords.
2 May be summoned only into an aquatic or watery environment.
Second Totem: At 6th level, an animal lord gains a bonus feat related to his selected group, even if he doesn’t meet the prerequisites. If the animal lord already has the feat, he can choose any other feat for which he meets the prerequisites. Apelord: Brachiation†; Bearlord: Improved Grapple; Birdlord: Flyby Attack (see page 303 of the Monster Manual); Catlord: Lightning Reflexes; Horselord: Trample; Sharklord: Improved Critical (bite); Snakelord: Improved Initiative; Wolflord: Improved Trip.
†New feat described on page 106.
Animal Growth (Sp): Once per day, an animal lord of 7th level or higher can use animal growth on a single animal from his selected group as a swift action (see Swift Actions and Immediate Actions, page 137) as a spellcaster of his class level. This ability otherwise functions just like the spell.
Animal Telepathy (Su): Beginning at 8th level, an animal lord can converse telepathically with any animal of his selected group that he can see within 100 feet. Third Totem: At 10th level, an animal lord gains a permanent 2-point increase to one of his ability scores, determined by his chosen animal group as follows. Apelord: +2 Strength; Bearlord: +2 Constitution; Birdlord: +2 Wisdom; Catlord: +2 Dexterity; Horselord: +2 Constitution; Sharklord: +2 Strength; Snakelord: +2 Charisma; Wolflord: +2 Strength.
SAMPLE ANIMAL LORDEdit
Kozakh: Male half-orc barbarian 5/apelord 3; CR 8;
Medium humanoid (orc); HD 5d12+10 plus 3d10+6 plus
3; hp 73; Init +2; Spd 40 ft.; AC 18, touch 12, flat-footed
18; Base Atk +8; Grp +13; Atk +14 melee (1d12+7/×3,
masterwork cold iron greataxe) or +13 melee (1d4+5, claw);
Full Atk +14/+9 melee (1d12+7/×3, masterwork cold iron
greataxe) or +13/+13 melee (1d4+5, claw); SA rage 2/day,
wild aspect; SQ darkvision 60 ft., half-orc traits, improved
uncanny dodge, low-light vision, uncanny dodge, trap
sense +1, wild empathy +3 (+7 chosen group, –1 magical
beasts); AL CN; SV Fort +9, Ref +6, Will +3; Str 20, Dex
14, Con 14, Int 8, Wis 12, Cha 6.
Skills and Feats: Climb +19, Handle Animal +5 (+9 with
apes), Jump +19, Knowledge (nature) +1; Cleave, Power
Languages: Common, Orc.
Animal Bond (Ex): Kozakh gains a +4 bonus on
Handle Animal and wild empathy checks made to influence
apes, baboons, dire apes, or monkeys.
Detect Animals (Sp): Kozakh can detect the presence
of any apes, baboons, dire apes, or monkeys at will, as if casting detect animals or plants.
Half-Orc Traits: For all effects related to race, a halforc is considered an orc.
Improved Uncanny Dodge (Ex): Kozakh cannot be flanked and can only be sneak attacked by a character who has at least 9 levels of rogue.
Rage (Ex): Twice per day, Kozakh can enter a state of fierce rage that lasts for 7 rounds. The following changes are in effect as long as he rages: hp increase by 16; AC 16, touch 10, flat-footed 14; Grp +15; Atk +16 melee (1d12+10/×3, masterwork cold iron greataxe) or +15 melee (1d4+7, claw); Full Atk +16/+11 melee (1d12+10/×3, masterwork cold iron greataxe) or +15/+15 melee (1d4+7, claw); SV Fort +11, Will +5; Str 24, Con 18; Climb +21, Jump +21. At the end of his rage, Kozakh is fatigued for the duration of the encounter.
Uncanny Dodge (Ex): Kozakh retains his Dexterity bonus to AC even when flat-footed or targeted by an unseen foe (he still loses his Dexterity bonus if paralyzed or otherwise immobile).
Wild Aspect (Su): Once per day, Kozakh can assume his wild aspect to gain two primary claw attacks (described in the statistics block above). If he hits an opponent with both claw attacks, he rends the foe for an additional 2d4+7 points of damage (or 2d4+10 while raging).
Possessions: +2 chain shirt, masterwork cold iron greataxe, gauntlets of ogre power, 2 potions of cure moderate wounds.