View Full Version : 3.5 Base Class "Animist" - Very WIP - PEACH

2011-02-15, 04:41 AM

”Every rock and tree and creature you have fouled here has a spirit and a name,
and I shall hear you beg their forgiveness before the sun has set.” - Orthana of the Bluecrag

Holy warriors abound wherever people struggle against evil, and the defenders of nature know an endless strife as civilization encroaches ever further and evil magics seek to twist it darkly. There is a point between these two groups however; men and women who seek the perfection of their own souls through dedication to the best that nature has to offer and wish to help others reach the same. Granted prodigious battlefield maneuvers, a spirit guide and the use of wild magics, these Spirit Warriors, or Animists, are a force to be avoided by any that would seek to corrupt the natural world or subvert any being's free will.

An Animist adventures to seek a better understanding of her soul and guide others to the path of finding their own true self through the spirits of nature. Her powers are granted by the spirits of nature and she has a natural kinship with those who live in the wild and wish to preserve it. Through new experiences and struggles an Animist can better understand herself and thus better unite her physical form with that of her true spiritual self.

Through finding her Totem animal, and embracing the spiritual benefits of it, the Animist becomes more a creature of nature than of the tribe or civilization she has been born to. It is not unheard of for a Wolf Animist to join a wild pack, or a Bear Animist to be found sleeping through the winter with a family of grizzlies. Animists become very territorial of nature and its creatures, and will rarely back down from the sight of their needless harm or desecration.

Unlike many magic users, even those attuned to wild or divine sources, an Animist can only channel her abilities through hard-fought spiritual focus. As she grows more attuned to her Totem and her own true self, she becomes able to draw forth powerful magics freely as well as channeling her own spiritual energies into devastating physical attacks and life-giving healing.

Abilities: An Animist's abilities are based primarily around Charisma, though as any primarily melee combatant, Constitution is important for survivability and Strength for effectiveness in combat.

Role: An Animist can most often be found wielding her powerful totemic abilities amongst the melee of battle, or giving necessary support through her limited magic. She will often find herself as the moral core of any group she joins, and is unlikely to remain with those who do not share her value of nature and its creatures.

Background: Most Animists are called upon in times of their great need and desperation when they are most vulnerable to the spirits of nature. A hunter lost in a snow storm, a mother carrying her dying child to help through the wilderness, an orphan with no place in the world forced to survive the wild. In sleep, or in a waking dream, the spirits come to them and lead them through a vision quest. At its end they find the guidance they need both for their physical challenge, and for their own spiritual growth. At this time a spirit will bond with them, becoming their guide through the rest of their earthly existence. The vision quest can also be initiated by deep focus and meditation and the guidance of an Animist, though the spirits alone decide who is deserving of their trust and their gifts.

Organization: Animists are disorganized by nature, and make unlikely joiners. Some can be found amongst Druid circles, but these are rarities. An Animist who has chosen guardianship over one particular region may build a group of followers, but it is a tenuous bond at best for her.

Alignment: Animists generally find themselves with little use for the laws of civilization. Instead, they seek harmony with the laws of nature. They tend away from society in general; however, those who remain within the tribes and villages they were born to are often thrust into positions of spiritual leadership. As a whole, Animists are more likely to be neutral or lawful only as it pertains to the 'laws' of nature, though some who have 'gone wild' will have a chaotic alignment. All Animists are good or neutral, and will not actively seek to do harm (especially to the creatures of nature) without need or provocation.

Races: Animists are most commonly found amongst races that live in and depend upon nature. Tribal hunter/gatherer peoples are far more likely to hear the summon of the spirits than those who live in cities or agrarian societies. However, the spirits will call upon nearly anyone if their soul is strong and their heart one that beats in tune with the natural world.

Religion: Most Animists do not follow any one god, instead revering nature and the guidance of its spirits. Some may remain followers of their tribal god(s), or seek out the favor of those who claim dominion over nature or their home region, but this is a minority.

Other Classes: Animists get along well with any whom revere nature and avoid those who are destructive of it. When choosing cohorts, Druids and Rangers are their first choices, with all but the intrinsically evil given a fair shake. They are somewhat weary of arcane magic users due to their unnatural abilities, and of those granted divine powers by any god the Animist does not see as favorable towards nature.

Adaptation: Animists can easily be introduced as tribal warriors defending a mysterious unknown region, or as a surly vagrant who prefers the company of wild animals. A character who proves herself worthy might be invited on a vision quest to find their Totem animal, or one on a desperate flight through dangerous wilds might be visited by spirits wishing to help them.

Hit Die: d8

Starting Gold: As Ranger.

Class Features

Class Skills: The Animist's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are: Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Handle Animal (Cha), Heal (Wis), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Knowledge: Nature (Int), Listen (Wis), Ride (Dex), Spellcraft (Int), Spot (Wis), Survival (Wis), Swim (Str).

Skill Points at First Level: 4+Int Modifier x4
Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 4+Int Modifier

{table]Level| Base Attack Bonus| Fort Save| Ref Save| Will Save| Special| Focus Limit*| Spells known*| Max Spell Level
1st|0/././.| 2|0|2|Spirit Guide, Wild Empathy, 1st Totemic Feat|6|0|0
2nd|1/././.|3|0|3|Woodland Stride, Track|7|1|1
3rd|2/././.|3|1|3|1st Totemic Aura |7 |2 |1
4th|3/././.|4|1|4|2nd Totemic Feat |8 |2 |1
5th|3/././.|4|1|4|Charge Focus +1 |9 |3 |1
6th|4/././.|5|2|5|Project Spirit Guide |10 |4 |2
7th|5/0/./.|5|2|5|3rd Totemic Feat |10 |4 |2
8th|6/1/./.|6|2|6|Totemic Form |11 |5 |2
9th|6/1/./.|6|3|6|2nd Totemic Aura |12 |6 |2
10th|7/2/./.|7|3 |7|4th Totemic Feat |13 |6 |3
11th|8/3/./.|7|3 |7|Charge Focus +2 |13 |7 |3
12th|9/4/./.|8|4 |8|1st Greater Totemic Aura|14|8|3
13th|9/4/./.|8|4 |8|5th Totemic Feat|15|8|3
14th|10/5/0/.|9|4|9|Greater Totemic Form|16|9|4
15th|11/6/1/.|9|5|9|Combat Casting|16|10|4
16th|12/7/2/.|10|5|10|6th Totemic Feat|17|10|4
17th|12/7/2/.|10|5|10|Charge Focus +3|18 |11|4
18th|13/8/3/.|11|6|1|2nd Greater Totemic Aura|19|12|5
19th|14/9/4/.|11|6|11|7th Totemic Feat|19|12|5
20th|15/10/5/0|12|6|12|True Form|20|13|5
||||||*+WIS Mod|*+WIS Mod|

Weapon and Armor Proficiencies: An Animist is proficient with all simple weapons, martial axes and pole-arms as well as the scimitar and ranged martial weapons. She is also proficient with light and medium armor but not with shields.

Spirit Guide: At first level the Animist finds her mind open to the world of the spirits and is granted a guide to see her through this journey as she delves deeper into it. The spirit guide can be seen only by those with their minds likewise opened and cannot effect or be effected by the physical world, nor by magical means. The spirit guide has no alignment and no type as it is simply a projection into the mind of the Animist. The purpose of the spirit is one of guidance and education, and as such grants the Animist a bonus to wisdom and intelligence checks equal to one plus 1/4 her Animist level whenever she would have the opportunity to consult the spirit guide before her action. Because of the fast paced nature of battle, this bonus is only available for the first round of combat(and only if the Animist or her party initiated it).

In addition, her guide grants additional bonuses based on the animal form it takes. The form is a direct reflection upon the Animist, signifying her truest self. Though it is recognizable as the animal it represents, a spirit guide appears semi-abstract as if painted or carved or from within a dream, rather than as the living animal. For warriors such as the Animist, this animal is nearly always a predator or otherwise formidable beast.

With few exceptions, a Spirit Guide will take one of the following forms, signifying the Animist's own totem animal and granting a small boon:

Wolf – Loyalty(+1 to flanking bonus for self and all allies, +2 when Focused.)
Owl – Vigilance (+2 to initiative, +1 to hit when Focused.)
Bear – Endurance (+1 to fortitude, Natural +1 DR when Focused.)
Sabercat – Grace (+1 to reflex, Natural +1 to AC when Focused. )
Ram – Resolve(+1 to willpower, expend focus for +5 to any saving throw.)
Raven – Ingenuity (+2 to int-based skill checks, expend focus to re-roll failed skill check.)

This totem animal effects the list of Totemic Feats she has available to choose from at 1st level and each 3 levels thereafter.

At 6th level, the Animist can expend her spiritual focus to project her spirit guide into the physical world. While projected, the spirit guide appears as a ghostly image and is completely insubstantial. It can be used to channel spells or project the Animist's aura as if it were the Animist herself. This tenuous existence is very limited and the spirit guide cannot move beyond the range of the Animist's own immediate perception(up to 10 Ft. per Animist Level). Projecting her spirit guide is a full action. The projected spirit guide has no notable physical presence and cannot be attacked or effected by physical means. If banished or otherwise removed from combat, it must find its way back to the Animist through the spirit realm, taking 1d10 rounds. During this time, the Animist does not receive her totemic boon and attempts to become spiritually focused are taken at -5.

Spiritual Focus:An Animist's totemic abilities and spell casting require spiritual focus to channel the power of her spirit, and that granted from her patrons, into a physical force. As she grows more experienced and develops further on her spiritual path, her focus becomes stronger and the power she can draw upon ever deeper.

Spiritual Focus is gained by making a concentration check with a DC of 20 as a full action or 25 as a move action. For the purpose of gaining Spiritual Focus, the concentration check can (optionally) be made with the Animist's Charisma mod in place of her Constitution mod. Attempting to gain spiritual focus provokes an attack of opportunity unless otherwise stated.

In addition to her totemic bonuses from being focused, Totemic abilities require some or all of the Animist's spiritual energy, which slowly builds through her career. This energy is summed up as 'Focus Points' and can only be renewed through continued focus. Becoming focused refills 1 point*. Any full action refills 1 focus point, unless using the full round to build focus, which refills focus equal to ½ the Animist's charisma modifier. Any round where the Animist is incapacitated or otherwise unable to act does not grant her any focus points and she must make a concentration check (DC 25) to remain focused.

* This number increases to 2 at 5th level, 3 at 11th level and 4 at 17th level.

Some feats don't simply use up her Spiritual Energy, but lessen the ability to completely focus herself after. When using such an ability, the Animist's Focus Limit is decreased by a certain amount specified by the feat for the remainder of the day. A full hour of deep spiritual meditation will refill her focus completely, but any decreases to her daily Focus Limit from totemic abilities are not renewed except through 6 hours of rest.

Totemic Auras, Feats & Forms

Totemic Feats: Totemic feats are the abilities granted to the Animist by her totem spirit for the purpose of achieving her goals through whatever means required. These means are often violent, as is natural for a creature of the wild.

An Animist will naturally assume the feats of her totem animal as she advances, but may alternatively choose to ask the blessing of lesser spirits for alternatives to her own nature by choosing from the list of General Totemic Feats. She may also chose from the list of General Totemic feats when gaining feats from level advancement though not if granted a bonus feat from another class.

Totemic Auras:As her spiritual development continues, an Animist's aura begins to offer benefits to those around her she sees as worthy of her blessing. She is not effected by her own aura, though she can receive the blessing of another Animist's.

Totemic Forms:As she advances, the Animist is granted the ability to transform into ever more powerful forms of her totem animal.




Totemic Bear Form:

Greater Totemic Bear Form:

True Form:


Jaws of the Bear – (Level 1 Bear Totem Feat) - In addition to her action this round, the Bear Animist can make a bite attack with the projection of her Totem. The bite does 1/d6 + her charisma mod.

Focus cost: 2

Roar of the Bear - (Level 2 Bear Totem Feat) - As part of a full action, the Bear Animist may attack while roaring at their enemy with the ferocity of a raging bear. If the attack is successful, the target must make a will save of 10 + the Animist's class level and charisma modifier or be struck unwilling to attack her during its next round.

Focus Cost: 4, Additional Focus may be spent to increase DC of save by 2 for each additional focus point. (To a maximum cost of 10)

Polar Stature – (Level 3 Bear Totem Feat) - After slaying an enemy, the Bear Animist stands with the stature of her spirit, increasing her size one level for one round per 4 Animist levels. If the Bear Animist has slain more than one enemy, she may choose to increase her size an additional level for a small focus cost.(Size increase does not stack with any other effect)

Focus cost: 6, Additional focus cost to increase sizes (when appropriate) of 4. (-2 Focus Limit if increasing second size)

4.Grizzly Embrace – (Level 4 Bear Totem Feat) - (When initiating a grapple or when grappling) The Bear Animist projects her Totem to tear mercilessly at her defenseless opponent. If the grapple is successful, she deals 2d6 + her charisma modifier to the enemy and decreases its AC bonus from armor (if wearing any) by 1d4 for the rest of the encounter.

Focus Cost: 8 (-1 Focus Limit)

Hibernation – (Level 5 Bear Totem Feat) - In dire straights, the Bear Animist may choose to enter a defensive trance for up to (½ her charisma mod) rounds. Her totem projects itself into a natural AC bonus of 2x her charisma modifier and heals her 1d6 + her constitution mod per round. Damage dealt to her will end the trance. If she ends it willingly, she comes out of the trance with her Spiritual Focus intact but does not regain any additional focus points.

Focus Cost: 10 (-1 Focus Limit for each round in effect)

Fearsome Strike – (Level 6 Bear Totem Feat) - In addition to a full attack, the Bear Animist's spirit strikes out with all she's got as she attacks her opponent, projecting the powerful arms of her totem and granting ½ her charisma modifier to attack with two additional untyped attacks (2d6 + CHA Mod). If she is successful with both additional attacks, she is granted Frightful Presence for the remainder of the encounter.

Focus Cost (14) (-2 Focus Limit)




Totemic Wolf Form:

Greater Totemic Wolf Form:

True Form:


Share the Burden - (Level 1 Wolf Totem Feat) - In response to an adjacent ally being attacked, the Wolf Animist may project her totem to defend him. She adds her charisma modifier to the ally's AC for the duration of the enemy's turn and splits any damage dealt, minus her charisma mod, between them. She retains her turn as normal. At 8th level increase range to 10 feet. At 16th level to 20.

Feed the Pack – (Level 2 Wolf Totem Feat) - The Wolf Animist may make a full attack, with any and all dealt damage being distributed evenly as healing amongst all allies within 20 ft.

Lead the Charge – (Level 3 Wolf Totem Feat) The Wolf Animist may charge as with psionic charge. If successful, allies are granted +1d6 to weapon damage on target for the next round.

Lockjaw – (Level 4 Wolf Totem Feat) - As a full attack, the Wolf Animist may project the deadly jaws of her totem to clamp down on the neck (or other vulnerable part) of her target. The target must make a reflex save of (15 + Animist's charisma modifier) or take (1d4 + CHA mod) damage and provoke an attack of opportunity from all adjacent allies of the Animist.

Ominous Howl – (Level 5 Wolf Totem Feat) - After slaying a foe, the Wolf Animist emits a bone-chilling howl at the sight of a fallen foe. Any enemies within 20 ft. must make a will save of 10 + the Animist's class level + her CHA score) or become disheartened, decreasing their AC, +Hit and all damage by the Animist's charisma modifier for (1/3 Animist level) rounds.

Soul Pack – (Level 6 Wolf Totem Feat) - The Wolf Animist may expend her focus to ignite a bond between her allies and herself so strong their souls begin to meld together. (Something to do with HP sharing or the like)

General Totemic Feats:

Note: These are mostly just ideas scribbled in a notebook and haven't been given much thought or refinement. Thus they are mostly imbalanced and their strength has not been accounted for by pre-requisites or the like.

Spirit Strike - (Level X Totemic feat) - The Animist expends her focus to channel the strength of her very soul into every attack for one round. No matter the weapon used(as long as she is proficient), each attack deals untyped damage equal to her maximum possible with that weapon. A critical hit increases the weapon's critical multiplier by 1. If she fails to strike her opponent with any attack while using this feat, she immediately ends her turn and cannot regain focus by any means for 1d6 rounds.

Animal Magnetism - (Level X Totemic feat) - As a full action, a Animist may expend her focus to reach out to the soul of any living enemy with clear line-of-sight within 40+(5xAnimist Level) feet and pull it towards herself, dragging its body along with it unless it makes a will save of 10+Animist level+charisma mod to break the connection. The movement of the enemy(in a direct line to the Animist) provokes attacks of opportunity.

Totemic Presence - (Level X Totemic feat) - Upon resisting any attack, the air around the Animist seems to grow uncomfortably still, and her eyes glare with piteous contempt. Projecting her spiritual energy into a shield around her, any enemy attempting a melee attack on her during the next round does so with a 50% chance of deflection. The spiritual energy released in deflecting the attack also deals 2d4 damage to her attacker.

Blood Focus - (Level X Totemic feat) - The Animist may regain her Spiritual Focus by making a concentration check after any successful melee attack without provoking an attack of opportunity.

Medicine Man - (Level X Totemic feat) - The Animist may regain her Spiritual Focus by making a concentration check upon healing any ally without provoking an attack of opportunity.

Painful Clarity - (Level X Totemic feat) - Gain one point of focus whenever you lose HP from an enemy attack while focused.

Chimaera - (Level X Totemic feat) - The Animist may trade one totemic feat of her totem animal for one in another animal's list of equal or lower level. The forgotten feat can never be re-learned.

Strike me down - (Level X Totemic feat) - Upon taking damage that brings her below 0 hp while focused, the Animist's spirit extends itself beyond the failing body to deal back upon her attacker the same damage as the last attack plus her charisma modifier and grant her Spirit Guide's boon to all party members for as long as she remains alive but unable to act.

Spirit Leach - (Level X Totemic feat) - Upon dealing critical damage to any living enemy, the Animist may expend her focus to absorb half of the dealt damage as HP(up to her max).

Soul Cleave - (Level X Totemic feat) - Upon slaying any enemy, the Animist may strike out upon its nearby allies with a soul-wrenching attack. The Animist may attack as with cleave, but deals 1d4 constitution damage as well as her damage to the enemy's HP. If the Animist has the Cleave feat, this attack may be made to all enemies within range. If she has Great Cleave, this attack deals 1d8 constitution damage.

Wild Fortitude - (Level X Totemic feat) - Gain 2 hp + 1 for each Animist level. Add this additional hp increase to each future Animist level.

Spirit of the Hare - (Level X Totemic feat) - While focused, the Animist's base speed is increased by 10.

Spirit of the Bat - (Level X Totemic feat) - While focused, the Animist has dark-vision to 120 ft.

Greater Spirit of the Bat - (Level X Totemic feat) - While focused, the Animist has blindsight to 20 ft.

Spirit of the Mongoose - (Level X Totemic feat) - While focused, the Animist is immune to all natural poisons and venoms and gains an additional +10 to any resistance roll against all magical acid/poison effects.

Spirit of the Dolphin - (Level X Totemic feat) - Swim speed increased to base land speed + 10 while focused.

Great Spirit - (Level X Totemic feat) - When regaining Spiritual Focus, the Animist is granted an extra point to her focus in addition to that gained from becoming focused. She cannot gain more than her focus limit in this way. This feat may be taken multiple times.

Spirit of the Spider - (Level X Totemic Feat) The Animist may climb freely on walls and ceilings as if walking on the ground at 1/2 speed. If damaged or otherwise engaged by an enemy, they must make a concentration check (DC 25) to remain focused. While using Way of the Spider, the character cannot regenerate focus points.

Spirit of the Chameleon - (Level X Totemic feat) - The Animist may assume the appearance of her surroundings, shrouded in the camouflaging shroud of her spiritual energies. This grants her a bonus to any hide checks equal to 1 + her Charisma modifier. She cannot attack while using Way of the Chameleon and can only move at half speed. If discovered or harmed while camouflaged, her shroud dissolves and she must make a concentration check (DC 25) to remain focused.



Spell Casting:
Animists channel magic directly from the spirits of nature, and must be spiritually focused to do so. While an Animist can cast any spell she knows as many times as she wants per day, each casting requires she expend focus points equal to 1 + twice the level of the spell she wishes to channel. Channeling magic in this way is through pure force of will and requires no components, vocalization or gestures to perform.

Spell List:

1st level:
Cause Fear
Calm Animals
Charm Animal
Comprehend Language
Cure Light Wounds
Endure Elements
Pass Without Trace
Spirit's Favor (as Divine Favor)
Spirit Messenger (Summons tiny animal spirit to carry message as Animal Messenger)
Shield of Spirits (as Shield)
Speak with Animals.

2nd level:
Animal Trance
Skin of Spirit (as Barkskin)
Bear's Endurance
Bull's Strength
Cat's Grace
Detect Creatures
Eagle's Splendor
Fox's Cunning
Owl's Wisdom
Shield Other
Summon Nature's Ally
Whispering Wind

Absorb Spirit (as Death Knell)
Bestow Curse
Cure Moderate Wounds
Gust of Wind
Remove Disease
Lesser Restoration
Lesser Possession
Spider Climb
Summon Nature's Ally II
Wind Wall
Water Walk
Enfeeble Spirit (As Poison)

Animal Growth
Cure Serious Wounds
Death Ward
Enlarge Self (as Enlarge Person)
Freedom of Movement
Remove Curse
Spirit Steed (as Phantom Steed)
Spirit Form (as Gaseous Form, unaffected by wind and liquid)
Summon Nature's Ally III

Betrayal of Nature:
An Animist who turns against nature in the eyes of the spirits may lose some of all of her granted powers. (Need to work on this idea to see if it is feasible)

2011-02-15, 04:48 AM
This began as some notes about six months ago after I completed the Frostkin Dwarves (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=161349) which were my first proper homebrew creation. It began as a ranger mixed with a shaman, then started to absorb ideas from several other classes. AT this point it probably has too many features and too much power, but I would rather create and then edit after than limit myself during the creating process.

As you can see much of it is very rough, or nonexistent. I'm slowly piecing it together through notes I must have made at a dozen different games, work, flights, etc. etc. I hadn't even thought about it in months since my last game fell apart but the fury is upon me to finish it now that it has found its way back to me. Feedback is greatly appreciated, especially on the matter of the feats which seem to be throwing me for a balancing loop.

I always start with flavor, and work my way from there, so that much is pretty much set, surely there are a few number crunchers out there who can offer some help with the gameplay aspects.