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The Animist [Base Class]

The Animist
Much as the druid is natureís priest so to is the animist her crusader, waging a desperate, ongoing battle to further the Will of the Wild. To accomplish this, the animist can draw upon the might of special Animal Totems, the power of which increases her own, and eventually even change her shape into that of a beast in order to improve or augment her already impressive natural abilities.

Adventures: Animists adventure so that they might better understand the Will of the Wild, which is their instinctive interpretation of natureís unspoken wants and desires. Animists travel the world to hone their skills and gain a closer rapport with nature and her children. Animists have no trouble with the dangers, the uncertainties, and the wandering that adventuring involves. Like barbarians they have a noted distaste for that which they consider unnatural, including undead, demons, and devils.

Characteristics: The animist is an excellent warrior. Where the fighterís skill in combat comes from training and discipline, however, the animist has trained in emulating the movements and fighting styles of various birds and beasts, and after she proves herself a devoted follower of the Will of the Wild the animist may even take on animal form, granting her even greater combative prowess. The animist is at home in the wild, and able to easily adapt to and survive situations that would leave others befuddled or, worse, destroyed.

Alignment: Animists are never lawful. They may be honorable, but at heart they are wild. This wildness is their strength, and it could not live in a lawful soul. At best, animists of chaotic alignment are free and expressive; working tirelessly to protect the wild from being encroached upon by spreading cities, maintaining the balance between tamed and untamed. At worst; they are thoughtlessly destructive in their attempts to return the world to a more natural state, skewing that balance in the favor of the Wild.

Religion: An animist reveres nature above all. She gains her power either from the force of nature itself. The typical animist pursues a mystic spirituality of transcendent union with nature rather than devoting herself to a divine entity. Still, some animists revere or at least respect either Obad-Hai (god of nature) or Ehlonna (goddess of the woodlands). Animists are incapable of having a fierce devotion to a god, as a divine demand may interfere with the animistís duty of carrying out the Will of the Wild.

Background: Unlike barbarians, animists do not exclusively come from uncivilized lands or from barbaric tribes on the outskirts of civilization. An animist adventurer is as likely to have been lured from the settled lands as the uncivilized by the Call of the Wild, a silent, instinctual summons that functions as the animistís first encounter with the Will of the Wild. Animists share no bond with each other, even if they come from the same land, as each animist has her own idea of natureís desires and how to best fulfill them.

Races: Elves and gnomes have an affinity for natural lands and often become animists. Humans and half-elves also frequently adopt this path, and animists are particularly common among savage humans and half-orcs. Dwarves and halflings are rarely animists, finding their more civilized comforts too hard to leave behind, and avoid the Call of the Wild, choosing instead to remain in their mountains and cities.

Other Classes: The animist shares with rangers, druids and many barbarians a reverence for nature and a familiarity with natural lands. She doesnít much care for the urban mannerism typical of a rogue, and she finds arcane magic disruptive and slightly distasteful. The typical animist also dislikes the paladinís devotion to abstract ideals instead of ďthe real world.Ē Animists, however, are nothing if not accepting of diversity, and they take little offense at other characters, even those very different from them.

Role: An animistís typical primary role in a group of adventurers depends on her choice of an Animal Totem. An animist has the potential to be a front-line melee specialist, a ranged combatant, a stealthy, subtle warrior and much more. No other character can match her sheer toughness and versatility on the battlefield, and her ability to wild shape (see below) only further enhances what she can do. Whatever her Animal Totem, an animist is good to have around.

Game Rule Information:
Animists have the following game statistics.

Abilities: Depending on her choice of an Animal Totem, all abilities are important to an animist. Strength is important for animists because of its role in melee combat, Dexterity is useful to those animists who wear light armor and prefer fighting at a distance, Wisdom is important for several of the animistís class skills, and a high Constitution score lets an animist live longer, because it gives her more hit points. Charisma allows an animist to better deal with all of natureís creatures, be they intelligent or not, and Intelligence gives the animist more skill points to spend.

Alignment: Any nonlawful.

Hit die: 1d12.

Class Skills
The animistís class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Handle Animal (Cha), Heal (Wis), Hide (Dex), Jump (Str), Knowledge (dungeoneering) (Int), Knowledge (geography) (Int), Knowledge (nature) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Search (Int), Spot (Wis), Survival (Wis), Swim (Str), and Use Rope (Dex).

Skill Points at 1st Level: (6 + Int modifier) ◊4.

Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 6 + Int modifier.

Table: The Animist

Class Features
All of the following are class features of the animist.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: An animist is proficient with all simple and martial weapons, light armor, medium armor, and shields (except tower shields). They are also proficient with all natural attacks (claw, bite, and so forth) of any form they assume with wild shape (see below), and that they possess naturally.

Bonus Languages: A drifterís bonus language options include Sylvan, the language of woodland creatures. This choice is in addition to the bonus languages available to the character because of her race.

Fast Movement (Ex): An animistís land speed is faster than the norm for her race by +10 feet. This benefit applies only when she is wearing no armor, light armor, or medium armor and not carrying a heavy load. Apply this bonus before modifying the animistís speed because of any load carried or armor worn. For example, a human animist has a speed of 40 feet, rather than 30 feet, when wearing light or no armor. When wearing medium armor or carrying a medium load, her speed drops to 30 feet. A halfling animist has a speed of 30 feet, rather than 20 feet, in light or no armor. When wearing medium armor or carrying a medium load, her speed drops to 20 feet.

Wild Empathy (Ex): An animist can use body language, vocalizations, and demeanor to improve the attitude of an animal (such as a bear or a monitor lizard). This ability functions just like a Diplomacy check made to improve the attitude of a person (see Chapter 4: Skills). The animist rolls 1d20 and adds her animist level and her Charisma modifier to determine the wild empathy check result. The typical domestic animal has a starting attitude of indifferent, while wild animals are usually unfriendly.
To use wild empathy, the animist and the animal must be able to study each other, which means that they must be within 30 feet of one another under normal conditions. Generally, influencing an animal in this way takes 1 minute but, as with influencing people, it might take more or less time. A druid can also use this ability to influence a magical beast with an Intelligence score of 1 or 2 (such as a basilisk or a girallon), but she takes a Ė4 penalty on the check.

Totem Power: At 1st level, an animist must select an Animal Totem from among those given on Table: Animal Totems. Due to her extensive study of her chosen Animal Totem the animist can emulate that animalís talents and characteristics, enhancing her natural abilities to superhuman levels. At first level these bonuses are limited, but at 3rd level and every two levels thereafter (5th, 7th, etc.), the Wild grants the animist another Totem Power from her chosen Animal Totem, and these accumulating abilities make the animist mighty indeed.

Woodland Stride (Ex): Starting at 2nd level, an animist may move through any sort of undergrowth (such as natural thorns, briars, overgrown areas, and similar terrain) at her normal speed and without taking damage or suffering any other impairment. However, thorns, briars, and overgrown areas that have been magically manipulated to impede motion still affect her.
Trackless Step (Ex): Starting at 3rd level, an animist leaves no trail in natural surroundings and cannot be tracked. She may choose to leave a trail if so desired.

Wild Shape (Su): At 5th level, an animist gains the ability to turn herself into any Small or Medium animal and back again once per day. Her options for new forms include all creatures with the animal type. This ability functions like the alternate form special ability, except as noted here. The effect lasts for 1 hour per animist level, or until she changes back. Changing form (to animal or back) is a standard action and doesnít provoke an attack of opportunity. Each time you use wild shape, you regain lost hit points as if you had rested for a night.
Any gear worn or carried by the animist melds into the new form and becomes nonfunctional. When the animist reverts to her true form, any objects previously melded into the new form reappear in the same location on her body that they previously occupied and are once again functional. Any new items worn in the assumed form fall off and land at the animist's feet.
The form chosen must be that of an animal the animist is familiar with.
An animist loses her ability to speak while in animal form because she is limited to the sounds that a normal, untrained animal can make, but she can communicate normally with other animals of the same general grouping as her new form. (The normal sound a wild parrot makes is a squawk, so changing to this form does not permit speech.)
An animist can use this ability more times per day at 6th, 7th, 10th, 14th, and 18th level, as noted on Table: The Animist. In addition, she gains the ability to take the shape of a Large animal at 8th level, a Tiny animal at 11th level, and a Huge animal at 15th level.
The new formís Hit Dice canít exceed the characterís animist level.
At 12th level, an animist becomes able to use wild shape to change into a plant creature with the same size restrictions as for animal forms. (An animist canít use this ability to take the form of a plant that isnít a creature.)
At 16th level, an animist becomes able to use wild shape to change into a Small, Medium, or Large elemental (air, earth, fire, or water) once per day. These elemental forms are in addition to her normal wild shape usage. In addition to the normal effects of wild shape, the animist gains all the elementalís extraordinary, supernatural, and spell-like abilities. She also gains the elementalís feats for as long as she maintains the wild shape, but she retains her own creature type.
At 18th level, an animist becomes able to assume elemental form twice per day, and at 20th level she can do so three times per day. At 20th level, an animist may use this wild shape ability to change into a Huge elemental.

Magic Fang (Sp): The Wild has granted the animist the power to enhance the ferocity of her natural attacks. At 6th level, the animist gains the spell-like ability to use Magic Fang (as the spell, cast at your character level) a number of times per day equal to 1/4 of the animistís class level.

Gift of the Wild: An animistís service to the Wild does not go unnoticed, and at 8th level the forces of nature grant the animist the following boons, which mimic the acute senses and abilities of some of natureís hardier children:
ē The animist gains darkvision out to 60 feet and low-light vision.
ē The animist gains immunity to all poisons, sleep effects and paralysis.
ē The animist gains the Scent ability, allowing her to detect approaching enemies, sniff out hidden foes, and track by sense of smell.
ē The animist gains Endurance as a bonus feat at 8th level even if she does not qualify for the feat.

Two-Totem Path: Due to her service to the Will of the Wild, the animist is granted the ability to emulate a second Animal Totem, adding its powers to her own. At 12th level, an animist must select an Animal Totem from among those given on Table: Animal Totems. She begins to study and emulate the second animalís movements and abilities in much the same way as she did the first, though not to the same extent. At 12th level and every two levels thereafter (14th, 16th, etc.), the Wild grants the animist another Totem Power from her second Animal Totem, and these accumulating abilities can stack with and enhance those of her first.

Table: Animal Totems

(*Using the scheme described in the last column, it is possible to design and utilize other nature-related Totems. These player-created Totems do not have to be animals, as it has been found that other aspects of nature, such as plants, stones and rivers, can be used to great effect.)

For those of you that don't know, the animist is the final stage in the life-cycle of the drifter. Please note that it's only recently hatched from its cocoon, so it's still a little drippy and misshapen, but you can help fix that with your comments and constructive criticism!

I'm sorry about the terrible formatting. I'm going to find a way to fix that and then edit the first post.

Anyhow, please take a look and leave a comment. I would love to hear what everyone thinks.


There we go. I've taken a page out of Vael's book and made the tables look a lot better. There should be no problem reading them now, I think.

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