Iconic Design — Titanic Wolfman

Welcome to Iconic Design, Private Sanctuary’s source for innovative and evocative character builds for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, written by Everyman Gamer Alexander Augunas. Today, we’re going to be looking at a build for another silly hunter build.

You know, for a class that I originally thought was SUPER boring, it turns out you can do a lot of silly stuff with the hunter class. Don’t believe me? Good, I’ll get a chance to change your mind with today’s Iconic Design!

Buckle up….

Build Concept

So what do you need for this build? Not much, really.

  • Race can really be anything you want.
  • Class: You’re almost all hunter except for a 1-level dip in the mammoth rider prestige class.

And with that out of the way, let’s get started!

Early Levels (1–7)

  • Classes: Hunter 7
  • Feats: Combat Expertise (1st), Outflank (Bonus), Pack Flanking (Bonus), Power Attack (3rd), Totem Beast: bear (5th), Improved Spell Sharing (Bonus), Precise Strike (7th)
  • Abilities: animal companion (wolf), animal focus, bonus tricks (1), hunter tactics, improved empathic link, precise companion (Outflank), nature training, orisons, track, wild empathy, woodland stride
  • Hunter 3rd-Level Spells Known (3): summon monster III; anthropomorphic animal, greater animal aspect, strong jaw
  • Hunter 2nd-Level Spells Known (4): summon monster II; animal aspect, harmless form, protective spirit, sense vitals
  • Hunter 1st-Level Spells Known (5): summon monster I; cure light wounds, faerie fire, lead blades, liberating command, stone fist
  • Hunter Orisons Known (6): detect magic, know direction, purify food and drink, read magic, stabilize, spark

 

  • Animal Companion: wolf
  • Feats: Improved Natural Attack (1 HD), Outflank (Bonus), Power Attack (3 HD), Light Armor Proficiency (5 HD), Improved Spell Sharing (Bonus), Precise Strike (Bonus)

The silliness of this build actually begins at 7th level, believe it or not. At 7th level, your animal companion improves to Large size, but more importantly you get the ability to cast 3rd level spells. And the absolute most HILARIOUS spell that you can cast is anthropomorphic animal. As a wolf, the only thing that you’re really losing by doing so is your trip special quality, but what you get in exchange is the novelty of being a Large anthropomorphic wolf. What? Not good enough? Well, okay. There might be ONE other super silly thing that you can do with this combination, but it doesn’t start here. Mostly.

Did you wonder why I put stone fist on this character’s spell list? It wasn’t for my hunter….

Basically, the idea is that you can milk an extra attack out of your animal companion by making unarmed strikes. The attack’s damage isn’t amazing—stone fist improves the damage of your unarmed strikes to 1d6 (sadly, it doesn’t clarify if this increases to 1d8 for Large creatures; I am assuming that it doesn’t). Regardless, two attacks from your wolf at this level isn’t terrible, especially when you’re including all of the crazy hunter perks that you give it like Outflank and Precise Strike, as well as classics like Power Attack. This build makes anthropomorphic animal into a legitimate combat buff for an animal companion that would normally be limited to a single attack per round.

So, what else can this build do? Improved Spell Sharing. As long as you’re next to your animal companion (and of course you will be, you’re literally built for this to be the best option that you can possibly take), whenever you cast a spell with a duration of 2 or more rounds, you can split that duration between you and your animal. Even personal spells, thanks to the share spells class feature. One of the most hilarious antics that you can pull with this tactic is Dirty Tactics Toolbox’s sense vitals spell. This spell gives you sneak attack, and by sharing your duration with your animal companion (who is almost always going to be flanking with you thanks to Outflank and Pack Flanking), you can both deal extra sneak attack damage. You don’t get this spell until Level 4, but that’s fine because that means 2 rounds of pain for both you and your animal companion! (Technically, 1 for you and 2 for your companion, but who’s counting?)

Some people are probably wondering, “Hey Alex, why did you take both carry companion AND harmless form? Don’t those do the same thing for your build?” The answer is “Yes and no.” Carry companion is great for when your animal gets super big, or you need to keep your animal safe and stashed for a while. (For example, your animal has taken enough Strength damage to render it helpless and you can’t heal it up quickly.) Harmless form is better when you’re adventuring someplace where you still might need your animal, but its “real” form is too conspicuous. As a wolf, harmless form is likely going to turn your animal into a dog of some kind, which means you’ll likely be able to bring your animal just about anywhere with no questions asked. Similar tools for slightly different jobs.

As one fine note for what is otherwise a very standard build, I’m a big fan of picking the Totem Beast: bear animal focus as a feat for my animal companion. Bear’s ability is an enhancement bonus to Constitution, and while bonus hit points and Fortitude save bonuses are awesome, they’re not really something that I’m willing to take instead of Strength or any of the other benefits of animal focus. So putting the Constitution bonus on a delay isn’t really a deal-breaker for this feat. Bonuses to Constitution are nice to have (and this feat is worth slightly more than Toughness for your animal companion at 1st level because of the extra +1 on Fortitude saves), but not having the full +4 on schedule isn’t a game-ender, which is why I like this.

Otherwise, this is a pretty standard hunter build. Let’s move on and see what sort of crazy things I came up with for the mid levels!

Mid Levels (8 –14)

  • Classes: Hunter 13 / Mammoth Rider 1
  • Feats: Combat Expertise (1st), Outflank (Bonus), Pack Flanking (Bonus), Power Attack (3rd), Totem Beast: bear (5th), Improved Spell Sharing (Bonus), Precise Strike (7th), Escape Route (Bonus), Weapon Focus: falchion (9th), Paired Opportunists (11th), Punch Through (Bonus), Coordinated Charge (13th)
  • Abilities: animal companion (wolf), animal focus, bonus tricks (2), gigantic steed (+2 Con, +2 Str), hunter tactics, improved empathic link, precise companion (Outflank), nature training, orisons, raise animal companion, second animal focus, speak with master, steed (wolf), swift tracker, track, wild coercion, wild empathy, woodland stride
  • Hunter 5th-Level Spells Known (2): summon monster V: hunter’s blessing, stoneskin
  • Hunter 4th-Level Spells Known (4): summon monster IV: air walk, animal growth, atavism, freedom of movement
  • Hunter 3rd-Level Spells Known (5): summon monster III; anthropomorphic animal, burst of speed, companion mind link, greater animal aspect, strong jaw
  • Hunter 2nd-Level Spells Known (5): summon monster II; animal aspect, harmless form, protective spirit, raven’s flight, sense vitals, share shape
  • Hunter 1st-Level Spells Known (6): summon monster I; cure light wounds, faerie fire, lead blades, liberating command, longstrider, stone fist
  • Hunter Orisons Known (6): detect magic, know direction, purify food and drink, read magic, stabilize, spark

  • Animal Companion: wolf
  • Feats: Improved Natural Attack (1 HD), Outflank (Bonus), Power Attack (3 HD), Light Armor Proficiency (5 HD), Improved Spell Sharing (Bonus), Precise Strike (Bonus), Escape Route (Bonus), Weapon Focus: bite (7 HD), Paired Opportunists (Bonus), Vital Strike (9 HD), Punch Through (Bonus), Coordinated Charge (Bonus), Improved Initiative (13 HD)

This part of the build (specifically Level 11) makes me cry sweet tears of pure happiness.

The first thing you should know is this—yes, mammoth rider is VERY easy to qualify for, and wolf is on the list of gigantic steeds. A one-level dip in mammoth rider is all we really need for this build, though, as we don’t want to stunt our spellcasting power and we don’t really need the scaling bonuses to Strength and Constitution that the Prestige Class provides.

What we do need, however, is the ability to cast 4th level spells at hunter level 10. Because at 4th level, hunters gain the ability to cast animal growth. And there are some WONDERFUL things that you ought to know about animal growth.

  1. Animal Growth stacks with gigantic steed because the latter is not a magical effect.
  2. Animal Growth is NOT a polymorph effect. So it stacks with … anthropormorphic animal.

So yes. At Level 11, you always have a Huge wolf, and you can have your choice between a Gargantuan wolf or a Gargantuan anthropomorphic wolf WHENEVER YOU WANT HIM. Why does it work? Because polymorph effects don’t stack, but animal growth isn’t a polymorph effect. And magical effects that increase size don’t stack, but anthropomorphic animal very specifically does not alter the animal’s size. So yeah, you can pregame anthropomorphic animal whenever you want (by 11th level it will have an 11-hour duration) and whenever you want to fight, BOOM. Animal growth. Giant wolf-man SMASH.

If you’re tired of punching things, why not consider 10,500 gp for a wayfinder with an opalescent white pyramid ioun stone? Its easy enough to give to your animal companion to hold, and it grants them proficiency with one weapon of your choice AND Weapon Focus with that weapon if the ioun stone is socketed into the wayfinder. Is this always going to be a tactic you’ll want? Nah, but when you spend roughly +6,300 on a +1 resizing weapon for your animal companion, you might be thanking me. If you really want, pick a weapon that you yourself wouldn’t normally wield (or be proficient with) and all of a sudden YOU can use that resizing weapon and YOU gain Weapon Focus with it when you wear the wayfinder. Imagine how much your friends will hate you when you choose something with reach and you give it to your now Gargantuan-sized animal companion! Heck, even as a huge companion its pretty scary. And if you need something a little smaller to fight with while inside of a dungeon, Harmless form will turn your wolf into a Medium dog for all your adventuring needs. You’ve literally just solved the one question that keeps the cavalier up late at night crying—how do I keep my animal buddy relevant everywhere I go? The answer is, of course, WITH MAGIC! And for those moments where being gargantuan is too much, you’ve still got the atavism spell (which stacks with animal growth if you have a LOT of buffing time).

Overall, this build has a LOT of flexibility for transmuting both you and your animal, and that’s really fun. Let’s take a look at the end game and see how it ends.

Endgame (15+)

  • Classes: Hunter 19 / Mammoth Rider 1
  • Feats: Combat Expertise (1st), Outflank (Bonus), Pack Flanking (Bonus), Power Attack (3rd), Totem Beast: bear (5th), Improved Spell Sharing (Bonus), Precise Strike (7th), Escape Route (Bonus), Weapon Focus: falchion (9th), Paired Opportunists (11th), Punch Through (Bonus), Coordinated Charge (13th), Furious Focus (15th), Swing Around (Bonus), Harder They Fall (17th), Intercept Charge (Bonus), Lookout (19th)
  • Abilities: animal companion (wolf), animal focus, bonus tricks (3), gigantic steed (+2 Con, +2 Str), greater empathic link, hunter tactics, improved empathic link, one with the wild, precise companion (Outflank), nature training, orisons, raise animal companion, second animal focus, speak with master, steed (wolf), swift tracker, track, wild coercion, wild empathy, woodland stride
  • Hunter 6th-Level Spells Known (4): summon nature’s ally VI; greater dispel magic, mass binding earth, mass cure light wounds, wall of stone
  • Hunter 5th-Level Spells Known (5): summon monster V: baleful polymorph, death ward, hunter’s blessing, stoneskin, wall of fire
  • Hunter 4th-Level Spells Known (5): summon monster IV: air walk, animal growth, atavism, freedom of movement, jungle mind
  • Hunter 3rd-Level Spells Known (6): summon monster III; anthropomorphic animal, burst of speed, companion mind link, stone shape, strong jaw, water breathing
  • Hunter 2nd-Level Spells Known (6): summon monster II; barkskin, harmless form, protective spirit, raven’s flight, sense vitals, share shape
  • Hunter 1st-Level Spells Known (6): summon monster I; cure light wounds, faerie fire, lead blades, liberating command, longstrider, stone fist
  • Hunter Orisons Known (6): detect magic, know direction, purify food and drink, read magic, stabilize, spark

  • Animal Companion: wolf
  • Feats: Improved Natural Attack (1 HD), Outflank (Bonus), Power Attack (3 HD), Light Armor Proficiency (5 HD), Improved Spell Sharing (Bonus), Precise Strike (Bonus), Escape Route (Bonus), Weapon Focus: bite (7 HD), Paired Opportunists (Bonus), Vital Strike (9 HD), Punch Through (Bonus), Coordinated Charge (Bonus), Improved Initiative (13 HD), Swing Around (Bonus), Harder They Fall (Bonus), Improved Vital Strike (15 HD), Intercept Charge (Bonus), Lookout (Bonus)

As you’ve probably have guessed, we’re ending on lots of teamwork feats and lots of utility spells. By 5th and 6th level spells, there isn’t much left to take that falls into the “polymorph for days” category, so you pretty much just end up taking whatever support spells you need to make your stuff work. I’m cool with that.

So what did you think of my GIANT WOLFMAN build? Leave your comments below, and remember: if you want to request something for a build, PLEASE do not message or e-mail me privately. I will sincerely forget it / lose track of it without a place to consolidate suggestions. Next week Luis returns with a new monster for Monstrous Physique, so come back in two weeks for another exciting installment of Iconic Design! Take care!

Alexander “Alex” Augunas has been playing roleplaying games since 2007, which isn’t nearly as long as 90% of his colleagues. Alexander is an active freelancer for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and is best known as the author of the Pact Magic Unbound series by Radiance House. Alex is the owner of Everyman Gaming, LLC and is often stylized as the Everyman Gamer in honor of Guidance’s original home. Alex also cohosts the Private Sanctuary Podcast, along with fellow blogger Anthony Li, and you can follow their exploits on Facebook in the 3.5 Private Sanctuary Group, or on Alex’s Twitter, @AlJAug.

Alex Augunas

Alexander Augunas lives outside of Philadelphia, USA where he tries to make a living as an educator. When he's not shaping the future leaders of tomorrow, Alex is a freelance writer for esteemed Pathfinder Roleplaying Game publishers such as Paizo, Inc, Radiance House, Raging Swan Press, and more, and also acts as a co-host and blogger on the Know Direction Network, where he has earned the nickname, "The Everyman Gamer." Recently, Alex has forayed into the realm of self-publishing through his company, Everyman Gaming, LLC. If you like Alex's writing and are interested in supporting him while getting professional-quality material for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game while doing so, check out the Everyman Gaming, LLC catalog, which is listed under Rogue Genius Games at the following locations: http://drivethrurpg.com/browse/pub/6101/Rogue-Genius-Games/subcategory/19574_25289/Everyman-Gaming-Catalog

We Con When You Can't

8 Comments

  1. hilarious and super fun

  2. Alex, I hate to be a kill-joy, I really do, but this won’t work. Look at the Polymorph section of the Magic chapter of the Core Rulebook:

    “You can only be affected by one polymorph spell at a time. If a new polymorph spell is cast on you (or you activate a polymorph effect, such as wild shape), you can decide whether or not to allow it to affect you, taking the place of the old spell. In addition, other spells that change your size have no effect on you while you are under the effects of a polymorph spell.”

    You can either have a size changing spell or a polymorph, but never both at the same time.

  3. Wow, you and I do not read text the same way. To my reading it is irrelevant that anthropomorphic animal doesn’t change your size. I read that sentence to mean that any polymorph spell and any size changing spell cannot function at the same time. Just as you can’t have “enlarge person” and “face of the devourer” on at the same time.

  4. funkphenomenon Reply to funkphenomenon

    What about choosing the primal companion hunter archetype. You get to add evolution points to your AC… Giving it a spear prociency this way or later a martial profiency with 4 evolution points, or in a pinch flight or something else silly. Could be super nice if your party has outgrown some magical weapons or found something that is not immediately to the taste of a party member. Let wolfman swing it then, he is not picky about his fighting iron, if it pinches harder than basic he is happy.

    You know what is a nice level one spell to share as a hunter with wolfman with martial weapon proficiency and a semi-decent magical weapon.. Lead blades moohaha

    I like your builds, keep it up

  5. funkphenomenon Reply to funkphenomenon

    Or yet another way for a hunter to grant a weapon proficiency to its antropomorphic animal companion

    Be a half elf, choose ancestral arms for that sweet sweet elven curved blade or elven branched spear

    and then simply choose this feat

    http://www.d20pfsrd.com/feats/general-feats/inspiring-talent-teamwork

    voila wolfman can fight with this weapon as soon as anthrophomorphic spell is cast on him

    • By the way, if you wanna do it more cheesy, you can give him your elven curved blade, cast on yourself Share Shape (Wolf) and with Harder They Fall the AC can give you +2 on the trip maneuver when you make the trip attempt while wolf shaped…

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