Excerpts 02/09/2007

Dungeonscape Excerpts
By Jason Bulmahn and Rich Burlew

Build a dungeon or two, or adapt your character for upcoming dungeon challenges, with the help of the material you'll find within Dungeonscape. To see what's in store for your next door-bashing, trap-filled dungeon adventure, read a few excerpts below, which include paladin options, door descriptions, an adventuring kit, a prestige class, a swarm, and a new trap.

Prestige Classes: Beast Heart Adept

"I'd rather not travel with your band. Here in the dungeon, I'll stick with my companions. They talk less and fight harder."

-- Daktar Goretusk, half-orc beast heart adept

Adventurers face monsters every time they descend into a new dungeon. Most view the creatures as horrid abominations that want nothing more than to cut them down where they stand. However, the beast heart adept sees through a monster's frightening visage. By attuning himself to the bestial urges of dungeon creatures, he learns to form powerful bonds with a small number of monsters. These creatures become his devoted allies, and together they form a potent fighting combination.

Becoming a Beast Heart Adept

The role of a beast heart adept is not an easy one. A potential member of this class must throw himself into the rugged, dangerous world beneath the ground. There, he submerges his civilized urges and learns to live as a beast. He uses this experience, along with his knowledge of magic, animal husbandry, and subterranean ecology, to unleash the monstrous creature that hides within his heart. Once he completes this process, he becomes capable of forming a powerful bond with certain creatures.

Entry Requirements

Skills: Handle Animal 8 ranks, Knowledge (arcana) 4 ranks, Knowledge (dungeoneering) 4 ranks.

Feats: Animal Affinity.

Special: Spend at least one week living alone in a dungeon complex.

Table 3-2: The Beast Heart Adept Hit Die: d8

Level Base
1st +1 +2 +0 +2 Monstrous companion, monster empathy, monster handler
2nd +2 +3 +0 +3 Monster lore
3rd +3 +3 +1 +3 Alternative monstrous companion
4th +4 +4 +1 +4 Monstrous flank
5th +5 +4 +1 +4 Extra monstrous companion
6th +6/'+1 +5 +2 +5 --
7th +7/'+2 +5 +2 +5 Monstrous tactics
8th +8/'+3 +6 +2 +6 --
9th +9/'+4 +6 +3 +6 Extra monstrous companion
10th +10/'+5 +7 +3 +7 Monstrous team-up

Class Skills (4 + Int modifier per level): Climb, Concentration, Craft (any), Diplomacy, Handle Animal, Heal, Jump, Knowledge (arcana), Knowledge (dungeoneering), Knowledge (nature), Knowledge (the planes), Profession (any), Ride, Survival, Swim.

Class Features

A beast heart adept forms something like a pack, with himself at the center and his bestial allies as the members. Under his tutelage and care, these monsters become stronger and tougher. Over time, the beast heart adept learns to optimize his fighting ability when battling alongside his newfound allies.

Monstrous Companion (Ex): You gain the service of a monstrous companion. The creature is similar to a druid's animal companion (PH 35), but it is a magical beast or aberration rather than an animal. Choose one of the following as your monstrous companion: ankheg, blink dog, giant eagle, giant owl, hippogriff (4 Hit Dice), krenshar (4 Hit Dice), otyugh, owlbear, pegasus, or worg. Except for the hippogriff and the krenshar, which are larger than normal, the monster is typical of its kind. If its Intelligence is greater than 2, the companion has the same alignment as you.

If you have levels in other classes (such as druid or ranger) that give you the ability to have an animal companion, those levels do not stack with your beast heart adept levels for the purpose of determining which kinds of monstrous companions you can select (and what the abilities of those companions are).

At 3rd level or higher, you can select from alternative lists of monsters (see the sidebar). Just as with a druid's alternative animal companion, an alternative monstrous companion gains abilities as if your beast heart adept class level were lower than it actually is.

Monster Empathy (Ex): You can use body language, vocalization, and demeanor to improve the attitude of a magical beast such as a chimera or a gorgon. This ability functions like the druid's wild empathy class feature (PH 35), except that it affects magical beasts regardless of their Intelligence score.

You can also use this ability to influence an animal (such as a dire bear) or an aberration that has an Intelligence score of 1 or 2 (such as a rust monster), but you take a -4 penalty on the check.

If you have the wild empathy ability from another class, add your levels in that class to your beast heart adept level when influencing magical beasts or animals. In addition, you no longer take a penalty to your monster empathy check when influencing animals. If you have 5 or more ranks in the Handle Animal skill, you gain a +2 bonus on your monster empathy checks.

Monstrous Companions

The beast heart adept's monstrous companion is superior to a normal animal of its kind and has special powers, as described below.

Armor Adj.
1st-2nd +0 +0 +0 1 Link
3rd-4th +2 +2 +2 2 Evasion
5th-6th +4 +4 +4 3 Devotion
7th-8th +6 +6 +6 4 --
9th-10th +8 +8 +8 5 Improved evasion

Monstrous Companion Basics: Use the base statistics for a creature of the companion's kind as given in the Monster Manual, but make the following changes.

Class Level: Use the character's beast heart adept level.

Bonus HD: Add this number to the base creature's existing Hit Dice. Extra Hit Dice improve a monstrous companion's base attack bonus and base save bonuses, and grant it additional feats and skill points (for details, see Improving Monsters, MM 290). Monstrous companions do not increase in size as a result of these extra Hit Dice.

Natural Armor Adj.: Add this number to the base creature's existing natural armor bonus.

Str/Con Adj.: Add this number to the base creature's Strength score and Constitution score.

Bonus Tricks: The value in this column is the number of bonus tricks known by the monstrous companion, in addition to any other tricks the beast heart adept might teach it. These bonus tricks do not require training time or Handle Animal checks, and they do not count against the normal limit of tricks known by the monstrous companion. The beast heart adept selects these bonus tricks, and once selected, they cannot be changed. Only monstrous companions that have an Intelligence score of 1 or 2 must be taught to perform a trick; smarter monsters can be directed verbally.

Link (Ex): A beast heart adept can handle his monstrous companion as a free action, or push it as a move action. The beast heart adept gains a +4 circumstance bonus on monster empathy checks and Handle Animal checks regarding a monstrous companion.

Evasion (Ex): Beginning at 3rd level, your monstrous companion can avoid damage from certain attacks with a successful Reflex save. See the monk class feature (PH 41).

Devotion (Ex): A monstrous companion's devotion to its master is so complete that it gains a +4 morale bonus on Will saves against enchantment spells and effects.

Improved Evasion (Ex): Beginning at 9th level, your monstrous companion can avoid damage from certain attacks with a successful Reflex save and take only half damage on a failed save. See the monk class feature (PH 42).

Alternative Monstrous Companions

A beast heart adept of sufficiently high level can select his monstrous companion from one of the following lists. Apply the indicated adjustment to the beast heart adept's level (in parentheses) when determining the monster's characteristics and special abilities.

3rd Level or Higher (Level -2)
Winter wolf

5th Level or Higher (Level -4)

7th Level or Higher (Level -6)

9th Level or Higher (Level -8)
Gray render

Monster Handler (Ex): You can make Handle Animal checks with regard to magical beasts and aberrations without penalty. This ability applies only to creatures that have an Intelligence score of 1 or 2. Magical beasts and aberrations that have higher Intelligence scores cannot be controlled by Handle Animal at all.

Monster Lore (Ex): At 2nd level, you gain uncanny knowledge about all types of living monsters, including their habitats, behavior, abilities, and weaknesses. You can make a special monster lore check to identify monsters or their special abilities or vulnerabilities. The check functions as a Knowledge check (PH 78), except the monster lore check can identify any living creature. You gain a bonus on this check equal to your beast heart adept level + your Int modifier. You can attempt this check in addition to making the relevant Knowledge check to learn about a creature.

If you have levels in the bard class or the loremaster prestige class, you can add those levels to your beast heart adept levels when determining the bonus on the monster lore check.

Monstrous Flank (Ex): At 4th level, you learn to better coordinate your attacks with your monstrous companion. When you form a flank with a companion, both you and the creature gain an additional +2 bonus on attack rolls and damage rolls against the flanked opponent.

Extra Monstrous Companion (Ex): At 5th level, you gain a second monstrous companion, chosen from the list of companions available to a 1st-level beast heart adept. Treat your beast heart adept class level as if it were four levels lower for the purpose of determining the monster's abilities (or of selecting an alternative companion at higher levels).

At 9th level, you gain a third monstrous companion, chosen from the list of companions available to a 1st-level beast heart adept. Treat your beast heart adept class level as if it were eight levels lower for the purpose of determining the monster's abilities (or of selecting an alternative companion at higher levels).

Monstrous Tactics (Ex): Starting at 7th level, you and your monstrous companions make an excellent team. Through coordination and practice, you have learned to optimize your combined efforts. When one of your monstrous companions strikes an opponent with a melee attack, the target provokes an attack of opportunity from you. With this ability, you can make an attack of opportunity against a particular target once per round.

In addition, your companions do not grant cover against your enemies when you use ranged attacks or spells.

Monstrous Team-Up (Ex): When you reach 10th level, all the members of your adventuring party now gain the benefits of your monstrous flank and monstrous tactics abilities. Any references to "you" in those abilities now include your allies.

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