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Prestige Class: Beast Wrangler

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mikeb's picture

This prestige class existed before the Collapse and was used to control the magical beasts that had been created to entertain the masses in gladiatorial combat.

Beast Wrangler

Before the Collapse, monsters were used as entertainment for the masses. Magical beasts would be pitted against each other in bloodthirsty combat. While magic played an important role in controlling these creatures, there was a degree of skill to training, preparing and caring for these powerful beasts. These duties fell to the beast wranglers. When the Collapse occurred, most beast wranglers were killed by beasts that were no longer magically subdued.

Role: Beast wranglers are able to quickly identify the strengths and weaknesses of magical beasts and other creatures that go beyond the ordinary. They use this knowledge to direct their trained beast against an opponent and even to use magical beasts as mounts.

Alignment: Any

Hit Die: d8


To qualify to become a beast wrangler, a character must fulfill the following criteria.

Base Attack Bonus: +4
 Animal Companion class feature.
Skills: Knowledge (arcana) 3 ranks, Riding 3 ranks

Class Skills

The beast wrangler's class skills are: Acrobatics (Dex), Climb (Str), Handle Animal (Cha), Knowledge (arcana) (Int), Knowledge (dungeoneering) (Int), Knowledge (nature) (Int), Perception (Wis), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Stealth (Dex)

Skill Ranks per Level: 4 + int modifier

Class Features

The following are class features of the beast wrangler prestige class.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: A beast wrangler gains proficiency with light and medium armor as well as whips, saps, and all martial weapons with reach.

Beast Empathy (Ex): A beast wrangler can improve the attitude of a magical beast. This ability functions just like a Diplomacy check made to improve the attitude of a person. The Beast Wrangler can, however, use Bluff, Diplomacy and Intimidation against intelligent magical beasts, and they receive their Beast Wrangler level as a bonus to social rolls with all magical beasts.  When using beast empathy on unintelligent magical beasts, the beast wrangler uses Handle Animal, but again, it functions like Diplomacy for improving attitude.

The typical magical beast has a starting attitude of unfriendly, though beasts who are actively hunting may be hostile, and it is possible for magical beasts to be indifferent if they do not feel threatened by the PCs.

To use beast empathy, the beast wrangler and the magical beast must be able to study each other, which means that they must be within 30 feet of one another under normal conditions. Generally, influencing a magical beast in this way takes 1 minute but, as with influencing people, it might take more or less time.

Beast Companion (Ex): A beast wrangler may form a close bond with one particular magical beast. In order to take a magical beast as a companion, the beast must first be friendly toward the beast wrangler, or at least disabled and helpless. At that point, the beast wrangler rolls a Beast Empathy check DC 10 + HD of the magical beast. If successful, the beast becomes the beast wrangler's companion when it is again free to act. If the beast wrangler fails, the beast either attacks or flees at the GM's discretion. A beast wrangler's companion's HD are limited by the wrangler's character level. A beast companion's HD increase by 1 each time the beast wrangler gains another class level and follows the monster advancement rules (when the beast wrangler gains a mount, this rule is modified - see below).  A beast companion may not take class levels. A beast companion shifts alignment one step towards that of the beast wrangler each week that it is a beast companion. Many beast wranglers spend time alone with a new companion for this purpose. If a beast wrangler releases his companion from service, he may gain a new one by performing a ceremony requiring 24 uninterrupted hours of meditation in the environment where the new companion typically lives. This ability replaces the animal companion class feature of the character.

Beast Lore (Ex): A beast wrangler gains a class bonus of 1/2 class level (minimum 1) to Knowledge checks used for monster lore according to the rules for the Knowledge skill. A beast wrangler can make these Knowledge checks untrained.

Bestial Mount (Ex): Beginning at 2nd level, if a beast wrangler's companion is at least one size larger than the beast wrangler, the beast wrangler may ride it as a combat-trained mount.  The beast wrangler can take a second magical beast companion in addition to his mount, but the total of the Hit Dice of the companion and the mount (or total CR, whichever is higher) cannot exceed the Beast Wrangler's character level.  In the case of a beast wrangler's mount, all  mounted combat Feats the wrangler may have apply normally, as do the Handle Animal and Ride skills.  Each time the Beast Wrangler levels, he can choose to increase either his companion or his mount by 1 HD, as long as the total limit is maintained.

Bond with the Beast (Su): At 5th level, a beast wrangler can borrow the extraordinary or supernatural abilities of his companion. When he does so, his companion loses that special ability. The beast wrangler must remain within 30 feet of his companion when he uses this ability. To use this ability requires a standard action, and only one ability may be borrowed at a time. At 4th level, the beast wrangler may utilize one of the beast's additional movement types, a special defensive abilities or gain its racial bonus to a skill.  At 7th level, the beast wrangler can use any special ability of his beast companion that is extraordinary or supernatural in nature. The beast wrangler may use Bond with the Beast 3 times per day, and it lasts until the beast wrangler moves more than 30 feet from his companion or he decides for it to end as an immediate action.

Detect Magical Beast (Sp): At 1st level, a beast wrangler can sense the presence of magical beasts. This works exactly like Detect Magic. In the1st round, the beast wrangler notes the presence or absence of magical beasts. In the 2nd round, the beast wrangler knows the number of magical beasts and the highest HD of any of the beasts. In the 3rd round, the beast wrangler is able to identify the location and strength of all beasts in the area of effect as well as potentially identify the exact types of beasts. To identify the specific type of beast requires a monster lore Knowledge check with DC 10 + CR of the beast.

Monster Killer (Ex): At 3rd level, the knowledge of the beast wrangler begins to take powerful effect against magical beasts. He gains magical beasts as a favored enemy as per the ranger class ability. This benefit stacks with any existing favored enemy ability.

Heal Beast (Sp): At 2nd level, a beast wrangler can heal the wounds of magical beasts. A beast wrangler can heal 1d8 hit points for every two levels. He can use this a number of times per day equal to 2 + his Wisdom modifier. He must touch the beast to use this ability.  Healing his beast is a standard action which provokes attacks of opportunity.

Restore Beast (Sp): At 3rd level, a beast wrangler can restore ability score damage to a magical beast. He can restore up to his level + Wisdom modifier per day. He must touch the beast to use this ability.  Like heal best, restore beat is a standard action that provokes attacks of opportunity.

Shared Fate (Su): When a beast wrangler reaches 4th level, whenever either the beast wrangler or his companion must make a save and they are within 30 feet of each other, both of them may roll. The beast wrangler and the companion use the best result of the two rolls.

Take the Hit (Ex): At 5th level, if a beast wrangler's companion is adjacent to him when he suffers damage from a ranged or melee attack, he may choose to have his beast companion take the damage instead. The companion may only take a single move or standard action during the round where it takes the hit.

Level Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special
1st +0 +0 +1 +1 Beast companion, beast lore, detect magical beast
2nd +1 +1 +1 +1 Bestial mount, heal beast
3rd +2 +1 +2 +2 Monster killer, restore beast
4th +3 +1 +2 +2 Shared fate
5th +4 +2 +3 +3 Take the hit, bond with the beast
6th +5 +2 +3 +3 X
7th +6 +2 +4 +4 X

 Losing and replacing a magical beast companion or mount: In the event that the beast wrangler's companion or mount dies, it can be replaced with a new one, similar to when the beast wrangler releases a companion from service.  After 24 hours of meditation in an environment where the magical beast is commonly found, the wrangler can track down a new one and begin the process all over.


Beast empathy

I think the d20 roll is extra that we can drop from this class ability. I think that getting the Beast Wrangler level as a bonus to social rolls used with magical beasts is enough, if we include Handle Animal to the list of Skills that the bonus applies to. That way, the Beast Wrangler can just use existing social-roll rules for changing a magical beast's attitude.

5 levels? Or 10 levels? Or no change

Should we cut this class down to 5 levels or expand it to 10 levels? Would this be unique as a 7-level Prestige Class?

I think we can organize the class abilities like this in 5 levels (above, Bond with the beast is mentioned at two different levels):

1st Beast companion, beast lore, detect magical beast
2nd Beast mount, heal beast
3rd Monster killer, restore beast
4th Shared fate
5th Take the hit, bond with the beast

We could also obviously spread these out through 10 levels of Prestige Class (not my first choice) and I think we'd need to add in a few "+1 level of existing class" to balance things out.

More ideas

As mentioned earlier, I think that they key to the Beast Wrangler could be awesome mounts and pets. Ever wanted to ride a Bullette? Have a Blink Dog as a pet? Or a Rust Monster, or whatever? I think that's the hook for this Prestige Class - also the fact that you can get pets without being a Druid. So something like:

Level 1: Detect Beast, Charm Monster, Beast Empathy, new class skills
Level 2: Super Pet 1
Level 3: Super Mount 1
Level 4: Super Pet Upgrade
Level 5: Super Mount Upgrade
Other stuff: Steal or adapt special abilities from magical beasts, maybe from the BW's pet or mount, so in the above examples, burrowing like the Bullette, blinking like the Blink Dog or a corrosive touch like the Rust Monster, etc.

And so on

mikeb's picture

Other stuff

Maybe that's what you get as you advance. You gain special abilities based on the creature you have charmed (or that works like an animal companion).

  • Gain a natural weapon that the creature has and use it at your base attack bonus for 1 minute per level
  • Gain a special attack that the creature has that can be used once per day
  • Gain a single DR, SR, or energy resistance equal to the monster's at -5
  • Gain a movement type of the creature like fly, burrow, swim, etc.

These types of abilities would definitely slant it towards monsters and away from beastfolk.

I think that's not a bad

I think that's not a bad thing - I see the School of Dominion as really being the Beastfolk "Wranglers" and their main real threat, especially considering how at least of some of them are vulnerable to [Mind-Affecting] spells...

mikeb's picture

Progress so far

As I fleshed out the abilities and thought of where each one should come level-wise, I went a slightly different direction and put a lot of focus on the beast wrangler's beast companion. Instead of doing a whole lot against magical beasts - which may or may not be encountered much depending on what the GM has in store - I went with a route that was more able to consistently use its abilities.


I made a bunch of little changes - let me know if I went too far, as always. One big change, because I wanted to see it, was to have the BW able to have both a mount and a companion, as long as their HD don't total more than the BW's HD.

We may need to think about having a list of approved magical beasts. I haven't had a chance to go through the magical beasts in the MM/SRD and such, but I'm sure that some of them will have a much higher CR than HD, and that is definitely the point where this class might become quite unbalanced.

mikeb's picture

Could use HD or CR, whichever is greater

Looking through magical beasts, they have these attributes: http://www.d20pfsrd.com/bestiary/rules-for-monsters/creature-types#TOC-M...

That's a lot of hit points with 1d10 per HD. If we use the higher of HD or CR as to how it counts against the wrangler's limit, then we can cover both cases.

Having read the SRD on a

Having read the SRD on a numer of magical beasts, it actually looks like their CR is almost always lower than their HD (it was lower in every case I read), but the RAW can be "HD or CR, whichever is higher" in case someone comes up with a custom 2HD CR 10 critter or something.