Hey everybody. Been a while, hasn’t it? Oh yes, I’ve certainly missed you too. But what matters is that I’m back on my nonsense and ready to go with my latest batch of goodies. It won’t be the stuff I hinted at last time, but blame that on my muse getting distracted over the hiatus.
Instead, let me discuss my favorite aspect of martial combat in tabletop games. We’re talking natural weapons. There’s nothing quite like that rip-and-tear style of visceral combat, and my favorite way to serve that up is through the medium of a violent transformation. Ancestries are nice, but a some of the options tend to give you a weaker natural attack that gets out scaled by even the simplest of weapons. Certain classes can cover the difference in damage, but they’re less about a fully body experience and more about growing funny fingers.
So what’s a blood-hungry Tabletop Gamist such as myself going to do? Make something up, of course.
Hello and welcome to Eldritch Excursion, the blog that goes absolutely feral over mechanics and goes for the throat for that juicy lore. In this entry, I’ll be adding some much-needed ferocity to the game’s options. And what better way to do that than revisiting an old friend? Remember that time I did something weird with the swashbuckler? I think we can get a little weirder than that.
Your talent for martial combat belies a feral instinct that surges forth in the heat of combat, causing an animalistic transformation. You might be the result of an alchemical experiment, have beastkin ancestors, or have a mutated and less infectious form of lycanthropy. Regardless of the source, your instincts help you weave between foes and attack their vitals in a flurry of violence. You see the benefits to putting on an air of civility, using traditional weapons to distract your opponent until you can go for their throat. You also see the benefit of eschewing weapons entirely, grabbing opponents with your bare hands before growing teeth and claws to rip them apart.
Most beastinators are natural fits for the braggart and gymnast styles, relying on fearsome displays and raw physical prowess to trigger their transformations. However, each style has some form of representation among their number. Battledancers and wit styles are often seen with beastinators who resemble social animals. Fencers can mimic the behavior of ambush predators. And despite the instinctual drive to mimic animals, a beastinator with a strong enough force of will can focus on any style they please.
Bestial Brawler (1st)
In the heat of battle, you invoke your inner beast to enter a sort of flow state that rides the line between rational thought and feral instincts. Your body follows suit, shifting into an animal-humanoid hybrid. You must choose Beastinator Dedication as your 2nd-level feat.
Prerequisites: You must be a swashbuckler and have the humanoid type.
Beastinator Adjustments: When you gain panache, you also transform into your hybrid form and gain a natural attack. Any action that could potentially give you panache gains the polymorph trait. Choose a type of animal that best represents the bestial side of your hybrid form. Then, choose a natural attack from the following list that best suits your animal’s physiology.
- A claw attack that deals 1d4 slashing damage and has the agile, finesse, and unarmed traits.
- A beak/jaws attack that deals 1d6 piercing damage and has the deadly d8, finesse, and unarmed traits.
- An antlers/horns attack that deals 1d6 piercing damage and has the finesse, shove, and unarmed traits.
- A tail attack that deals 1d6 bludgeoning damage and has the finesse, trip, and unarmed traits.
- A talon attack that deals 1d6 slashing damage and has the finesse, grapple, and unarmed traits.
- A tentacle/tongue attack that deals 1d4 bludgeoning damage and has the finesse, grapple, and unarmed traits.
- Your fists increase their damage die size by one step and they lose the agile trait. This increase in damage die stacks with one other source, such as the Martial Artist archetype.
Working to control your hybrid state has come at the cost of your weapons training. You only gain the extra damage from precise strike on attacks gained from your hybrid form, ancestry, or heritage. You may only perform finishers with these weapons.
Beastinator Dedication Feat 2
[Archetype] [Class] [Dedication]
Prerequisites beastinator specialization
A deep connection to your inner beast grants you enhanced senses. You gain one of the following senses available to your chosen animal: darkvision, low-light vision, or scent (imprecise) 30 feet. You must have low-light vision before you can gain darkvision with this feat. This enhanced sense only works in your hybrid form. If your chosen animal doesn’t typically have a specific type of sense, you instead gain a 1st-level swashbuckler feat of your choice.
Special you cannot select another dedication feat other than Beastinator Dedication until you’ve gained two other feats from the Beastinator archetype.
Additional Natural Weapon Feat 4
You gain an additional natural weapon from the options made available to your hybrid form. If your chosen animal doesn’t typically have a specific weapon from the list above, you cannot take this feat.
Venomous Precision Feat 4
Prerequisite your chosen animal has an ability with the poison trait.
You have the ability to inject foes with deadly poison. You may change the bonus damage of precise strike from precision damage to poison damage. This does not work for any finisher besides Confidant Finisher.
Bestial Mobility Feat 6
Your hybrid form gains some of the mobility of your chosen animal. Choose one of the Speeds that the animal has access to.
- Burrow: You gain a burrow speed equal to 5 feet plus your bonus speed from panache.
- Climb: You gain a climb speed equal to 10 feet plus your bonus speed from panache.
- Fly: Once per round, you may Leap while already airborne. You can also Arrest a Fall.
- Swim: You gain the ability to breathe underwater. You also gain a swaim speed equal to 5 feet plus your bonus speed from panache.
Special: You may take this feat multiple times. Each time you do, choose a different Speed available to your chosen animal.
Venomous Finisher [1 action] Feat 8
Prerequisite venomous precision
Make a slashing or piercing Strike with an unarmed attack that allows you to add your precise strike damage. If you hit, the target also takes persistent poison damage equal to your precise strike finisher damage.
Okay, that’s it for now. The archetype is a little lean but I think I’ve got the point across. I might come back in the future and add more feats. Especially more finishers. But until then, this should be plenty to sink your teeth into.
I want to thank everyone who’s been waiting patiently during my sudden hiatus. I’ll spare you the details, but a sudden death in the family and a rapid upheaval in my personal life meant that I had to shift priorities to get my act together. But things are turning stable and things should be back on schedule, assuming nothing else comes out of left field.
Speaking of schedules, come back next time and I’ll turn up the spooks and bring a vibe most foul.