Would you look at that, it’s already near the end of the year. I hope you’re having a nice holiday season. Me? Mine is a little somber, a little quiet, and a little reflective. But there’s a lot to reflect on. After all, this is about a month out from my second anniversary as a blogger for Know Direction! And what better way to send 2023 off into the past tense than wrapping up an old loose end.
Hello and welcome to Eldritch Excursion, the blog where we go for a healthy helping of flavor and mechanics and always come back for seconds. In the spirit of that, I’m going to double down on the wistful lookbackery and revisit the Beastinator archetype from articles past. Not only does it mark the return from the upheaval of my life that put me on hiatus, but it’s a concept with lots of unexplored mechanical potential.
But what better way to realize that potential than expanding on the base rules of the swashbuckler? After all, the class has multiple styles that cater to a flashy display of skill, but not as many options that would suit a more feral playstyle. Let’s fix that.
New Style: Improvisation
Your style of fighting is equal parts careful training and acting on instinct, allowing you to make split-second decisions before your opponents can see it coming. You are strained in Survival and gain the Environmental Trickery skill feat. You gain panache during an encounter whenever you successfully gain concealment against a foe with Environmental Trickery.
The foe’s Speeds are reduced by 5 feet until the end of their next turn.
“But Nate,” I can hear you saying to your monitor. “I don’t see a hyperlink and there isn’t enough time in the day to browse the Archives for every skill feat you reference. Also, you are incredibly handsome and intelligent.” And you would be right on all counts, dear reader. Which is why I’m happy to announce that I’ve also created a new skill feat for the occasion!
Environmental Trickery Feat 1
Prerequisites trained in Survival
You hinder your opponent by pushing a branch into their face, kicking up a dustcloud, tipping over furniture, or by some other means of using your surroundings. Make a Survival check against the Reflex DC of one target within your reach. If you succeed, you gain concealment against the target. This lasts until after the next attack the target makes against you or the beginning of your next turn, whichever comes first. On a critical success, you gain concealment against the target until your next turn. This concealment cannot be used to make Stealth checks.
And that should be enough to add just a bit of grit to any swasher of the buckling, regardless of whatever funny archetype you slap onto them. “But Nate,” you pipe up again, “the archetype is still missing too many feats, and also your characters are really cool.” Wow, you really are batting a thousand today. But don’t worry, I’ve got you covered on that front too.
Toppling Finisher [1 action] Feat 6
You strike your opponent with an overhead blow that threatens to knock them flat. Make an Athletics check to Trip the target.
Critical Success The target falls, lands prone, and takes bludgeoning damage equal to your Precise Strike.
Success The target falls, lands prone, and takes bludgeoning damage equal to the number of your Precise Strike dice.
Failure You fail to trip your target, but you may instead choose to fall and take them with you. If you do, you both land prone.
Critical Failure You lose your balance, fall, and land prone.
Hurling Finisher [1 action] Feat 8
You tap into your feral strength throw your opponent around like a hapless rag doll. Roll Athletics against the target’s Fortitude DC. The target can’t be more than one size larger than you.
Critical Success You move the target up to 10 feet. If the creature would collide with a solid object, they both take bludgeoning damage equal to twice your Precise Strike.
Success As a Critical Success, but the target moves 5 feet and a collision deals damage equal to your Precise Strike.
Soaring Hunter [1 action] Feat 10
Prerequisites beastinator, Bestial Mobility, hybrid form based on an animal with a fly speed
Your wings expand as you soar through the air to deliver a decisive blow. You may Fly up to a distance equal to your Speed and attempt one single-action finisher at any point during your flight; the finisher can’t be one that includes other movement, such as Mobile Finisher. Immediately after the finisher, you fall to the ground if you’re in the air, even if you haven’t reached the maximum distance of your Speed. Your transformation lingers just long enough for you to Arrest a Fall on the way down.
Dire Crescendo Feat 12
Prerequisites beastinator, hybrid form based on an animal that is large or larger
Your hybrid form becomes more bestial, more powerful, and more dangerous as you deliver the killing blow. You may gain the effects of enlarge while performing a finisher.
Meteor Crash Feat 14
Prerequisites beastinator, Toppling Finisher
You can deliver a powerful blow that it sends your opponent towards the ground. When you use Toppling Finisher, instead of making an Athletics check, you can attempt a single Strike. If you do and your Strike hits, instead of rolling a check for your Trip attempt, you automatically apply the critical success effect of a Toppling Finisher. When the opponent hits the ground, it creates a crater of difficult terrain in every square they occupy.
If your opponent is currently airborne, they are sent hurling towards the ground and the DC to Arrest a Fall is equal to your Class DC. If the opponent is underwater, they descend a distance equal to your attack roll, rounded down to the nearest 5-foot increment. In either instance, if the target does not make contact with the ground, they do not take damage from your Precise Strike.
Towering Presence Feat 18
Prerequisites beastinator, Dire Crescendo, hybrid form based on an animal that is huge or larger
Your body grows to a size more befitting of your bestial half. You always gain the effects of enlarge while in hybrid form. You may gain the effects of a 4th rank enlarge while performing a finisher.
And now I can declare this archetype properly fleshed out and ready to play. Feel free to bring it to your next home game and show the world you don’t need flash cards with quotes from The Princess Bride to make this class pop. And feel free to come back next time when I explain why the only fight worth fighting is the fight that isn’t even being fought over.