View Full Version : The Predator [base class, PEACH]

2007-01-09, 05:34 PM
See my notes at the end of the post.

The Predator

"Let the hunt begin." Kenítak, human predator

Adventures: Predators adventure for only a few reasons. Most of the time, it is because there is a shortage of food in the old habitat and they are looking for more food. Other times a predator was exploring, and expanding its territory when it stumbled upon some semblance of civilization and is intrigued about what is sees, and goes to investigate. Other times a predator is curious about what else is out in the world, and would like to challenge other animals, to see which is superior. Most of the time, a predator adventures either for survival or curiosity.

Characteristics: A predator is a quick and nimble warrior that has more in common with an animal than anything else. They cross all manner of terrain with unmatched speed and skill, and shred their foes with their wickedly sharp claws. A predator can temporarily increase their impressive battle skills, a few times a day, but they are winded thereafter. A predator may even impart some of its killer instincts to its allies and strike fear into the hearts of their foes.

Alignment: Predators are never lawful. More often than not, a predator is true neutral like the animals they have so much in common with. However, those that bend towards good or evil are not unknown, though very rare.

Religion: A religious predator is about as common as a campfire at the bottom of the ocean.

Background: Predators are almost exclusively from some undiscovered and remote area, almost entirely devoid of even the most primitive of tools. Often times, they stumble upon civilized lands completely by mistake. Other times, they are driven from their homeland for one reason or another. Rarely is there any sort of tribal society with predators, but there are the occasional exception.

Races: Predators are somewhat common among the savage humanoids, but often times, these races have too much of a civilized society to have many predators in their midst. Being a predator is not something a person chooses to be. Either they are or they arenít.

Other Classes: Druids, rangers and barbarians are likely the only classes likely to even remotely understand a predator. However their first encounter might be strained as a predator might see their animal companion as food rather than friend. However, once the initial meeting is over, a party will undoubtedly acknowledge how great of an asset a predator is in the wild, and at the same time how much of a liability they are in civilized areas.

Game Rule Information

Abilities: Strength is important to a predator because of their role in combat. However, Dexterity is equally important because several class skills have it as their key ability, it helps predators to avoid taking damage, and a high Dexterity is required for many feats a predator would consider. Wisdom is also important because it keeps the predator aware of their environment and many of their class features use Wisdom. Constitution is also important to give a predator more Hp.

Alignment: Any non-lawful.

Hit Die: d8

Class Skills: Balance, Climb, Heal, Hide, Intimidate, Jump, Knowledge (nature), Listen, Move Silently, Spot, Survival, Swim, and Tumble

Skill Points at First level: ( 6+ Int modifier) x 4

Skill Points Per Level: 6+Int

{table="head"]Level | Base Attack Bonus | Fort | Ref |Will | Special
1 | +1| +2 | +2 |+0 | Feral Traits
2 | +2| +3 | +3 |+0 | Woodland Stride
3 | +3| +3 | +3 |+1 | Nimble Movement
4 | +4| +4 | +4 | +1| Tough Body
5 | +5| +4 | +4 |+1 | Uncanny Dodge
6 | +6/+1| +5 | +5 |+2 | -
7 | +7/+2| +5 | +5 |+2 | Poisoned Claws
8 | +8/+3| +6 | +6 |+2 | Beastial Metamorphosis
9 | +9/+4| +6 | +6 |+3 | Eye of the Beast
10 | +10/+5| +7 | +7 |+3 | Primal Howl 1/day
11 | +11/+6/+1| +7 | +7 |+3 | Greater Nimble Movement
12 | +12/+7/+2| +8 | +8 |+4 | -
13 | +13/+8/+3| +8 | +8 |+4 | Hide in Plain Sight
14 | +14/+9/+4| +9 | +9 |+4 | Improved Poisoned Claws
15 | +15/+10/+5| +9 | +9 |+5 | Primal Howl 2/day
16 | +16/+11/+6/+1| +10 | +10 |+5 | -
17 | +17/+12/+7/+2| +10 | +10 |+5 | Flawless Nimble Movement
18 | +18/+13/+8/+3| +11 | +11 |+6 | -
19 | +19/+14/+9/+4| +11 | +11 |+6 | -
20 | +20/+15/+10/+5| +12 | +12 |+6 | Primal Howl 3/day, Beastial Transformation

Class Features:

Armor and Weapon Proficiency: A predator is proficient only with their own claws. They have trained their bodies as their own means of attack and defense, anything else simply feels too odd to be efficient. A predator cannot use any of their abilities while armored or when using manufactured weapons.

Feral Traits (Ex):
A predator is simply a complete savage. Over time, their ancestors have adapted to deal with their environment. This has several advantages, and several disadvantages. Firstly, a predator takes a Ė2 circumstance penalty on all cross-class skills. They have become so highly adapted to their own environment that they cannot cope with civilized tasks. Secondly, a predator is also affected by spells and spell-like abilities that affect only animals, such as hold animal. Thirdly, they gain 2 claw attacks, that deal damage as per the following table, based upon the predatorís size. Fourthly, their feral appearance (many usually have sharper teeth, cat-like eyes, claws, etc.) and demeanor, give them a +4 circumstance bonus to Intimidate checks. Finally, a predator uses its instinct to aid them in a fight, and they add their Wisdom modifier as a dodge bonus to AC. This bonus is lost any time a predator would be denied their Dex to AC.

{table="head"]Level | Small | Medium | Large
1st-3rd | 1d4 | 1d6 | 1d8
4th-7th | 1d6 | 1d8 | 2d6
8th-11th | 1d8 | 1d10 | 2d8
12th-15th | 1d10 | 2d6 | 3d6
16th-19th | 2d6 | 2d8 | 3d8
20th | 2d8 | 2d10 | 4d8

Woodland Stride (Ex)
Starting at 2nd level, a predator 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.

Tough Body (Ex)
At 4th level, a predator gains a natural armor bonus of +1 (or existing natural armor increases by 1). This bonus increases by 1 at 8th level and 4 levels thereafter.

Nimble Movement (Ex)
A predator must stalk their prey in a wide variety of terrain, and as a result are incredibly adapted to this type of movement. A predator of 3rd level gains a +2 bonus to all Balance, Climb, Hide, Jump, Move Silently, Swim and Tumble checks. A predator also increases their base land speed by 10ft.

Uncanny Dodge (Ex)
Starting at 5th level, a predator can react to danger before her senses would normally allow her to do so. She retains her Dexterity bonus to AC (if any) even if she is caught flat-footed or struck by an invisible attacker. However, she still loses her Dexterity bonus to AC if immobilized.

Poisoned Claws (Su)
At 7th level, a predatorís claws become poisonous. On a successful hit with their claws, a foe must succeed a Fort save (DC 10 + Ĺ predator class level + predatorís Con modifier) or take 1d2 Str damage. They must make a second save 1 minute later or take 1d12 damage (not Str damage). A predator is immune to their own poison, but not the poison of another predator.

Bestial Metamorphosis (Ex)
At 8th level, a predator becomes notably more beast-like. A predator gains low-light vision, and the scent ability (unless they already had them, in which case there is no effect). A predator also gains a bite attack that deals damage as their claw attack, only 2 categories lower (as given on above table). For example, a 8th level predator's claw attack deals 1d10 damage, and their bite attack deals 1d6. A predator also gains the Multi-attack feat as a bonus feat.

Eyes of the Beast (Ex)
At 9th level, a predatorís instincts are taken up a notch. Against all foes that a predator knows the exact location (in which square(s) it resides) of a predator may add their Wis modifier (if positive) to melee attack and damage.

Primal Howl (Su)
As a full-round action that provokes an attack of opportunity, a predator may issue a long, piercing howl, infused with their killer instincts. All foes within a 80ft. radius that hear this howl (base Listen DC Ė10) are affected by this, unless they make a Will save (DC 10 + Ĺ predatorís class level + predatorís Wis modifier). On a failed save, the foes take a moral penalty equal to Ĺ the predatorís Wis modifier (round down) on attack rolls, damage rolls, and saving throws. Allies that hear the howl are affected in the opposite manner, gaining a moral bonus of the same strength to these rolls. The affects of the howl last a number of rounds equal to Ĺ the predatorís class level + the Predatorís Wis modifier. While the howl is in effect, a predator may only use Ĺ their Wis modifier (round down) for their Eyes of the Beast ability. This is a mind affecting agent. After the duration of a Primal Howl is over, a predator is fatigued for 1 minute, and they cannot Howl again for 1d3 hours.

Greater Nimble Movement (Ex)
A predator of 11th level gains a further +2 bonus (for a total of +4) to all Balance, Climb, Hide, Jump, Move Silently, Swim and Tumble checks. A predator also increases their base land speed by a further 10ft (for a total of +20ft). Furthermore, a predator may charge over difficult terrain and obstacles (though a check may be necessary to clear those areas).

Hide in Plain Sight (Ex)
While in any sort of natural terrain, a predator of 13th level or higher can use the Hide skill even while being observed.

Improved Poisoned Claws (Su)
At 14th level, a predatorís poison becomes more potent. It deals initial damage of 1d4 Str damage and secondary damage of 2d12.

Flawless Nimble Movement (Ex)
A predator of 17th level gains a further +2 bonus (for a total of +6) to all Balance, Climb, Hide, Jump, Move Silently, Swim and Tumble checks. A predator also increases their base land speed by a further 10ft (for a total of +30ft). Furthermore, a predator may charge over difficult terrain and obstacles (though a check may be necessary to clear those areas). Finally, a predator may take a 10 on these checks even if distracted or threatened.

Beastial Transformation (Ex)
A predator of 20th level, has adapted so heavily to savage environments they they are no longer considered "humanoid" for any spells or effects that only target humanoids. A predator no longer walks upright, but instead on all fours, gaining a +5ft. bonus to their base land speed. Finally a predator gains a +2 bonus to one of their physical ability scores.

Multiclass Note
Like any other character a predator may be a multiclass character. However, predators face a special restriction. A creature must take a predator level at first level (or first level after racial HD) and if they multi-class to another class they can never again raise their predator level though they retain all class features.


My notes: Those that have seen my classes realize that I make rather powerful, but also rather specialized classes. This is my next attempt at a class, which I came up with this morning as I was trying to go to sleep.

Anyways, because I really didn't like the "nature-based" classes to much. Don't get me wrong, I have absolutely nothing against the barbarian, ranger or druid, I just didn't like aspects of the fluff associated with them. So rather than complain, I did something about it.

I didn't like how a barbarian basically clunked around the wilderness, and got angry. If you did that for real, or even in game, critters would come out of the wood work to eat your face.

I didn't like how the ranger had spells, and I never really liked the favored enemy stuff.

Druid... just no. Druid is not the type of character I want.

So at about 2am I came up with the abomination you see above, then went to sleep. I woke up and made the class and posted it here.

I was debating giving the class either a sneak attack or death attack type of thing, but I decided against it. However, looking back on the class, I think I need to or make their claws more powerful.

Whatever, post all of your questions and/ or comments and/or suggestions.

Fax Celestis
2007-01-09, 05:47 PM
Perhaps an ability that allows iterative attacks with natural weaponry?

2007-01-09, 05:59 PM
Tone down savage rend. Even with a Wis of 10 (average) I ignore DR 5/anything. Thats about as much as most monsters have. And since Wis bonus applies of attack rolls eventuall, most Predators will have high Wis.

2007-01-09, 05:59 PM
Can a predator overcome specific DRs? Such As 20/magic or others. At higher levels that could be helpful. Or Savage strike is their only way?

Other than that, good stuff. I sense an lot of interesting roleplaying hidden in this class. :)

2007-01-09, 06:55 PM
To me, this seems like a very nice idea. It's a nice combo between Monk, Barbarian, and Ranger, with a lot of individualized flavor thrown in. I could really see doing this with an anthropomorphic animals, an animal that had become close to humanity, but still retained some of its insticts and an animalistic bent. The RP opportunities in this class are very nice. Only point is Savage Rending, as stated above. I would reccomend a d10 Hit Die, one of the things that has always annoyed me about the ranger is the lower HD.

2007-01-09, 07:02 PM
I should do something with the claws as well, other wise they only get 2 attacks, even at 20th level. Maybe each claw should be treated as it's own seperate weapon? With one being the "off hand" and the other the primary. Opens up an opprotunity for TWF then... What are your thoughts?

For other ways to bypass DR, well to be honest, I added Savage Rend as an after thought. I realized that the predator only had one weapon and, it kind of sucked. So I made a catch all, ignore mass amounts of DR and hardness thing (partially because I didn't want to completely rip off the Ki Strike (whatever) thing for the monk). Frankly, the class gets 2 of the same weapon and no armor, and the weapons are litterally attached to them. I figured after all that use, they really knew how to kill any critter they came across using the claws. Besides, even if you overkill on bypassing DR, it deals no extra damage.

As you said, most creatures only have about DR 5/something, and a predator is likely to have a high Wis. If I used the modifier instead of the score, the predator would be ignoring most the DR anyways. However, Savage Rend also ignores the same amount of hardness. It has been my experience that if you're going to hack away at something rather than try to break it with a Strength check, it's a very sturdy item and they usually have alot of hardness. So in comparison to a monk's unarmed strike, a predator's claws bypass DR easier, but don't bypass as much hardness. A predator would need a Wisdom score of 40 to bypass the same amount of hardness a monk does.

Basically my line of thought was that if you're going to limit a class to a single weapon, you might as well munchking the weapon a little.

After hearing my explaination, do you still think I should change Savage Rend, and if so why? Maybe you thought of something I didn't, I want your feed-back.

Oh and one last thing. I'll head off why I didn't give them Wild Empathy, like the Druid and Ranger have. Simply because a predator is more interested in eating critters then making friends with them. (In case you couldn't tell, I like saying the word "critter")

d10 HD it is.

2007-01-09, 07:15 PM
Overpowered heavily, you've basically just given Monks Rage, Track, more Skills, and a drastically increased AC bonus, and a really really powerful ability (primal howl)

Also, I fail to see how it's "Specialized." Under what situation are the abilities no longer useful?

Generally, the idea of Specialization as balancing homebrew design is almost always a fallacy. Either because they have abilities that are useful in any situation but only appear specialized, or because they have a specialized situation in which they are useful, and the DM is placed in a position where he must either make the character useless, or pander to him.

2007-01-09, 07:34 PM
hmm, I see your point. However, I was trying to balance it more with the melee classes in ToB than with the core classes, as melee classes seem to be getting more powerful as time goes on. Also, I said I attempted to specialize it, not that I succeeded, which you pointed out.

Let me build a character, and put it through it's paces, and I'll get back to you.

EDIT: I made a few tweaks to a few abilities, but over all, I think the class is rather balanced. A predator takes a -2 penalty to all cross-class skills. Normally, other classes aren't too good at cross-class skills, but a predator is down right terrible. Basically 2/3 of their skills have negative modifiers. In addition, most of their class skills won't be maxed out, so even things they have the potential to be good at, they won't be too skilled at, even taking into account the bonuses from Nimble Movement. Alot of the restrictions on this class are in role-playing. A predator looks like a monster, and acts like a savage animal, you are going to get chased out of countless cities by a mob with pitch forks and torches. Furthermore, a predator is most likely going to heavily dump Int and Cha if they want the other 4 stats to be good, so they can forget about extra skill points and arguing themselves out of harm's way. In addition, a predator is hard to equip because they have no weapons or armor. However, if other people comment that they believe it is too over powered, I will have no choice but to make it weaker.

2007-01-09, 10:16 PM
I feel like one of the real problems is that by combining so many classes' abilities, you threaten making them obsolete. I feel like some of the abilities should be class original rather than mimics of Bar/Mnk/Rgr, and they'd also be easier to balance.

2007-01-09, 11:14 PM
OK, now I see what you're getting at. Alright, let's see...

Well to be honest, I don't really like the Hunt class feature, so that's dead, and so is everything associated with it.

I think I can also get rid of Track, otherwise I'm just stepping all over the ranger.

Feral Traits. This is the bread and butter of the class. It is highly monk-ish, but I really want to keep it. However, I am open to tweaks to give it a more original flair.

Woodland Stride... meh. I want the predator to be completly at home in the wild, but again I don't want to step on the toes too much of ranger/druid. I'll set this aside for now.

Nimble Movement. That's something I want to keep.

Tough Body. Also something I want to keep.

Uncanny Dodge. That’s a keeper. But I’m not sure if I want it to be upgraded to Improved Uncanny Dodge or not.

Evasion. I want to keep Evasion, but not upgrade it to Improved Evasion.

Poisoned Claws. I like it, I don’t love it, but I like it. That’ll also be set aside.

Eye of the Beast. I want to keep that.

Savage Rend. That’s already under consideration of being reworked.

Primal Howl. Powerful, but I still want it.

Hide in Plain Sight. Granted this is yoinked from the Ranger, but I feel it goes with the class.

…… That’s everything. Now that I have that out of the way, I can brain storm a few more ideas, but that'll have to wait for later.

2007-01-09, 11:49 PM
One of the standards of PCs has always been that they use weapons.

You could make Hunter have a focus on using natural weapons as an alternative system, perhaps gaining a bite attack, and multiattack as a bonus feat. I'd worry about poison claws, as PCs doing ability damage can be too powerful very easily.

2007-01-10, 08:32 AM
Since the monsters die fast anyways, doing them ability damage is not that overpowering, IMO.

Bite attack would be good... Do these people look human or more like a were-creature? Because if they are mostly human they could use simple weapons, such as spears or clubs. If they are more anthro, then a bite attack would be just as believable as a claw attack.

2007-01-10, 10:18 AM
The feral traits make them look human-ish, but with definate signs of animal influence. They've got claws, sharper teeth, cat-like eyes, some enlongated features, they have a tendency to walk on all fours, but you can tell what race they came from.

However, around the magic hour of 2 am again, I had another idea. What if the class got more and more animal like as time went by? This way they could gain bite attacks, and other natural weapons. Maybe after a certain point, they no longer walked up right, but rather on all fours beacause their bone structure and muscle mass had been slowly changing for a while. Then we could make them more customizable by giving them a list of special qualities and attacks, and every few levels you picked something from the list.

Your thoughts?

2007-01-10, 12:48 PM
You don't want them to make them too animal, as they probably still need to be able to roleplay, i.e. they can't be snarling and howling at all times.

Maybe you wan't to take a page from the Dragon Disciple/Fiend Blooded and slowly grant abilities to the Hunter until you achieve a Werecreature template.

Also, incorporate monkeys. I like monkeys.

2007-01-10, 02:33 PM
Well, I see a problem with the werecreature template idea. Every werecreature is dramatically different from the next one. So there is no exact statistics to go with. Also, the predator already has far superior natural armor and claw damage in comparison to a werecreature. Finally, I really don't like playing a class, especially a base class simply for a template. However, gaining abilities gradually is a good idea, let me toy around with a few ideas and see where it goes from there.

And for the monkey idea... well Dex should be one of your top 2 stats, and you gain bonuses to your speed and every movement check. If you're not swinging from trees at later levels, you're doing something wrong.

2007-01-10, 03:49 PM
The Geomancer has something called Drift that essentialy makes them hi-power human/nature hybrids. could (with some adjustments) work here.

2007-01-10, 09:46 PM
I think you need to reduce the Nat Armor bonus significantly. 1 for every two levels is way too high, but I think it should be significant.

1/3 levels seems more appropriate.

2007-01-10, 10:39 PM
Two good saves, D10 HD, 6+int skills, and a full BAB... most PRCs are lucky to hane this! I sugest trimming the saves by one, drop the skills at least to 4+int, and probaby the HD to a D8.

2007-01-11, 01:38 AM
I'm having trouble justifying how this kind of a character would react to magical gear. Obviously they'd be adventuring and would thus be in a party, but since they don't really use equipment, any kind of magical gear strikes me as odd on them.

2007-01-11, 06:26 AM
They're really not adapted to magic in general. Which makes me wonder how Evasion goes with the flavor at all...

2007-01-11, 10:32 AM
OK going down the line:

I have never heard of the Geomancer, so while it may be a good idea, I've got no way of implimenting it.

Natural Armor was reduced to +1 every 4 levels 2 days ago.

With the exception of the HD, these are the exact stats of the ranger. I bumped up the HD because of a predator's limited selection of weapons and armor. However, I will keep the option of toning down the HD open because it might need it after re-working the class. After all this is a work in progress.

The whole magic gear thing would probably be somewhere along the lines of what a monk would deem useful. However, their reaction to magic would be quite odd. Getting them to trust magic items, or magic itself could take a few sessions of roleplaying. But it appears that this class and magic won't mix too well.

I put in Evasion because I wanted the predator to be a very nimble class. I thought to myself "What kinds of abilities do nimble classes have?" and Evasion was my answer. However, looking at it now, I can't really justify it.

EDIT: I'm going to rearrange how the class is set up in a bit, just to make it seem like there are less holes in it.

EDIT 2: Took out somethings, changed a bit, added a bit. Let me know how much I need to redo again.