Endless Blue – Week 27 – The Packbreeder, Master of Beasts   6 comments


The Packbreeder — Master of Beasts

The packbreeder is a master of beasts, raising and training animals of all kinds to fulfill the needs of Elquan society.  These animal servants either perform menial or back-breaking toil or serve as sources of nourishment for the local populace.  Other creatures get trained as beasts of war, massive slabs of muscle and bone frenzied into killing machines and then let loose on the enemy’s forces.

Adventurers: Packbreeder adventurers are a bit of a contrary folk.  The require the heavy resources of a base of operations to raise and breed their animals, but also need the wanderlust of travel and danger of combat to hone their warbeasts.

Alignment: There is no intrinsic alignment required to become a packbreeder.  The morality of using animals for your own needs aside,  packbreeders range the whole spectrum of alignments.  Alignment is more a function of the society the packbreeder was brought up in than any ethical requirement; if the society expects kind behavior towards animals, the packbreeder’s methods will need to match those expectation or else face backlash from offended locals.

There are as many methodologies for packbreeding as there are cultures.  The Lumulus are very systemic and calculating, requiring near perfect results in as few generations as possible.  Chelon packbreeders focus more on appearance and lineage than brute strength.  And Yaun-Teel are notorious for the cruelty, and are the only culture that allows packbreeding of intelligent races.

Packbreeders in the Known World

Packbreeders are perhaps the most common occupation short of warrior and farmer, and many times overlap with both.  The need for manual labor is intense, and a skillful  packbreeder can provide for those needs and make a good living.  Quality pack animals, livestock, and other beasts of burden can bring in premiums when a packbreeder’s reputation proceeds him.


Packbreeders have the following game statistics.

Abilities: The most important skills for the packbreeder are Charisma and Wisdom.  They must have the social magnetism to draw loyalty from their beasts and the willpower to dominate them when his position as pack leader is challenged.

Alignment: Any.

Hit Dice: d6.

Starting Funds: 5d6x10gp.


The packbreeder’s class skills (and the key ability for each) are Bluff  (Cha), Concentration (Con),  Handle Animal (Cha), Heal (Wis), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str),  Knowledge (animals) (Int), Listen (Wis), Profession (animal husbandry) (Wis), Ride (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), Spot (Wis), Survival (Wis), and Use Rope (Dex).

Skill Points at 1st Level: (6 + Int modifier) x 4.

Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 6 + Int modifier.


All of the following are the packbreeder’s class features.

Packbreeder Class Abilities Chart

Level BAB Fort Ref Will Pet Companion Livestock Warbeast Feats
1 +0 +0 +0 +0 1 1 Wild Empathy, Animal Servant
2 +1 +0 +0 +0 1 Animal Leadership
3 +2 +1 +1 +1 1 1 Pack Dominance, Selective Breeding
4 +3 +1 +1 +1 1
5 +4 +2 +2 +2 1 1
6 +5 +2 +2 +2 Leadership
7 +6/+1 +3 +3 +3 1 1 1
8 +7/+2 +3 +3 +3 1
9 +8/+3 +4 +4 +4 1
10 +9/+4 +4 +4 +4 1
11 +10/+5 +5 +5 +5 1 1 1
12 +11/+6/+1 +5 +5 +5 Bonus Feat
13 +12/+7/+2 +6 +6 +6 1 1
14 +13/+8/+3 +6 +6 +6 1
15 +14/+9/+4 +7 +7 +7 1 1
16 +15/+10/+5 +7 +7 +7 1
17 +16/+11/+6/+1 +8 +8 +8 1 1
18 +17/+12/+7/+2 +8 +8 +8 Bonus Feat
19 +18/+13/+8/+3 +9 +9 +9 1 1 1
20 +19/+14/+9/+4 +9 +9 +9 1 New Species

Weapon and Armor Proficiency:The packbreeder is proficient in all simple weapons and light armor.

Wild Empathy: Packbreeders can influence the mood of natural animals.  This works like a Diplomacy check, based the packbreeder’s level modified by his Cha modifier and the result of 1d20.  The ability only works when within 30 feet of the subject animal, and the animal and packbreeder must be able to study each other for at least a minute (longer study provides no benefit).  This ability can be used on magical beasts with Intelligence scores of 1 or 2, but it incurs a -4 penalty to the check.

Animal Servant: The essence of the packbreeder class, packbreeders can gain animal servants of various types to carry out the breeder’s will. There are four types of animal servants:

Pet — These servants provide little use other than the pleasure they bring to the packbreeder, be it in playfulness, coloration, or rarity.  While they can perform a few minor tricks like begging for scraps or playing fetch, pets cannot perform any significant task or participate in combat.  Treat this as if the animals are only capable of learning Handle Animal tricks with a DC of 15 or below.

Without supervision, these animals tend to wander off and get lost.

Companion — This type of animal is the equivalent to a wizard’s familiar or a ranger’s animal companion.  It can communicate primitive feelings and basic information such as direction to its packbreeder master.  Companions are capable of participating in combat, but generally expect preferential treatment over the other types of animal servants and only be asked to risk their lives in the most dire of emergencies.  See Animal Leadership below for more details.

Livestock — These are the domesticated animals that take part in the everyday life of Elqua, such as farm animals, mounts, etc.  These animals are extremely docile and tend to favor flight when panicked unless the packbreeder or an alpha animal is present.  One benefit of livestock is the production of food.  Some animals, with a modicum of preparation, can be brought along on with a packbreeder as he wanders, providing eggs, milk, or in very dire situations, meat (this is the number listed in the chart above; otherwise, there is no limit to the livestock a packbreeder can care for).  The drawback is the need to provide food, shelter, and protection for the livestock to live long enough to produce their supplementary foodstuffs.  The trade-off comes that animal feed tends to be cheaper than the cost of feeding adventurers, at the cost of needing to account for that extra needed feed.

Warbeast —  These are dangerous, wild creatures, capture and trained for combat.  They require massive amounts of food applied in controlled manner to maintain handler’s status as leader (a grazing warbeast will soon realize it does not need to depend on a handler for sustenance).  A packbreeder can control a number of warbeasts (dependent on his level) that have a combined HD no greater than his current level.  Example: A 20th level Beastmaster can have a maximum of 5 war beasts whose total Hit Dice cannot exceed 20.

Further, war beasts are capricious and jealous of other war beasts, needing to frequently challenge each other for favored status with the packbreeder.  They will defer to their packbreeder’s companions (animal companions or piscean ones), though they will not show any loyalties to them.

See Pack Dominance below for more details.

Animal Leadership: The packbreeder gains the ability to have multiple animal companions/familiars.  These companions act as both, giving the packbreeder a initial bonus, then benefiting themselves according to the packbreeder’s level.

Packbreeders gain their first companion at 2nd level, then another at every three levels there after.  The companions is limited to creatures of the animal type, and whose total Hit Dice can never exceed one-half the packbreeder’s current level.  These companions cannot be dismissed like familiars can, but in the event a companion dies the packbreeder can cultivate a new companion.

Class Level Natural Armor Adj. Bonus Tricks Special
2nd-3rd +1 1 Link, Alertness
4th-5th +2 2 Evasion
6th-8th +3 3 Devotion
9th-11th +4 4 Multiattack
12th-14th +5 5 Speak with Master
15th-17th +6 6 Empathic Link
18th-20th +7 7 Improved Evasion

Pack Dominance: A creature must be mentally bested before it will become a warbeast.  It is the act of succumbing to the packmaster’s will that imprints him as the alpha beast on the animal.  The packbreeder makes an intimidate check with a bonus of 1/2 his packbreeder levels.  The beast must then make a Will save against that result.  Success means the beast ignores the packbreeder’s mental domination and instead becomes hostile; failure means the beast succumbs and recognizes the packbreeder as the pack leader.  However, warbeasts will forever be on the look out for signs of weakness in their leader, and jump on any opportunity to capitalize on the slightest mistake.

Pack Dominance can be used on any animal, beast, magical beast, or single vermin with a total Hit Dice equal to half the current packbreeder’s level.  They are controlled by an applied use of the Handle Animal skill, and must maintain concentration while the warbeast performs the act (multiple warbeasts completing separate acts can be controlled simultaneously with a single roll).

A warbeast can be dismissed by another Pack Dominance roll, but unless warbeast fails by 10 or more it will become violent, attacking the packbreeder in retaliation, or the nearest creature it sees as a lesser member of the pack.  The newly freed ex-warbeast will flee if faced with death, but may eventually track down the packbreeder in the future to regain its place in the pack.

Selective Breeding: Starting at 3rd level, whenever a packbreeder is allowed a new animal servant beyond his first of that type, he may choose to have it be a new generation of an existing animal in his pack of the appropriate type.  For example, a packbreeder with a delphis livestock would have the offspring of that delphis as his second livestock animal servant.  This represents the effort spent in selectively breeding certain intended traits into the animal paying off in a new generation of transitional animal.

The benefit of this is that the new generation can have higher stats than the original animal.  The packbreeder gains an number of points equal to his Wis modifier to be added to the second generation’s stats, hit dice, saves, skills, and/or natual armor.  Only one point can be applied per statistic in a generation (but successive generations can apply points to the same statistics).  This process can be repeated every time the packbreeder is allowed a new animal servant of that type, with the effects becoming cumulative.  For example, a third generation delphis starts out with the stats of the second generation before it, then gets the five points of stat increases applied.

Note that limitations such as maximum Hit Dice for an animal servant type must still be observed.

Leadership: At 6th level, packbreeders gains the Leadership feat.  Usually this is when a packbreeder takes on an apprentice packbreederr as their cohort to pass on the trade.  The followers gained from the feat are typically relegated to maintaining the packbreeder’s farmlands and remaining livestock that is not brought along while adventuring.

Bonus Feat: Packbreeders gain a bonus feat at 12th, and again at 18th level.

New Breed: The pinnacle of packbreeding skill is the selective breeding of one species into a new breed.  At 20th level, an animal of at least fifth generation can become a new, self-sustaining breed.  The packbreeder may replace some or all of its animals servants of that type with this new breed (the precursive generations being put out to pasture), which retroactively gain all the benefits from the animal servant class ability.  Hit Dice limitations for animal servant type must still be observed.

“The primitive beasts of the wild find benefit in domestication.
The fear of starvation is eradicated, and the cost is simply their supplication.”
— A somewhat totalitarian view of packbreeder philosophy

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