It’s Friendship Week here at Necromancers of the Northwest, and when I think of friendship, one of the first things that comes to mind is man’s best friend, the dog. While in Pathfinder, most players who have access to an animal companion want something a little more ferocious than a dog, the principal remains the same: human beings form close attachments to animals, and no class embodies that idea more than the hunter, which is all about the animal companion. So what better class to represent Friendship Week? This week’s new hunter archetype has a number of potent abilities which allow her to enhance her animal companion, at the cost of some of her other abilities.
New Hunter Archetype
Animal friends are hunters who form especially close bonds with a single animal. Because of their intense love of animals, they are somewhat less skilled in the art of the hunt than other hunters. To offset this, they have a learned to use the close bond of friendship they form with their animal companion to unlock their full potential, casting spells upon them more quickly, healing their wounds without need to expend magic, and end even imbuing them with extraordinary powers far beyond that of other animal companions.
Stunted Spell Casting: An animal friend is less focused on spellcasting than other hunters and receives one less spell per day of each spell level than she would normally receive. If this would reduce her to 0 spells per day of a given level, she can only cast spells of that level if her Wisdom modifier is high enough to allow her access to bonus spells of that level.
This ability modifies the spell casting class feature.
Exceptional Animal Companion (Ex): An animal friend’s animal companion is more powerful than other animal companions and has a number of benefits which exceed those of lesser creatures of the same type. An animal friend’s animal companion receives maximum hit points each time it gains a Hit Dice. Additionally, both the animal companion and the animal friend grant each other an additional +1 attack bonus when flanking and provide an additional +2 dodge bonus to AC when adjacent to each other and providing soft cover against an attack. Finally, whenever either the animal friend or her animal companion use the aid another action to aid the other, the bonus granted by aid another is increased by +2.
This ability modifies the animal companion class feature.
Swift Casting (Ex): An animal friend is able to use her special bond of friendship with her animal companion in order to more quickly cast spells which target it. Whenever the animal friend casts a spell which targets her animal companion, including any spell cast with the share spells ability which does not target any other creature, she may cast that spell as a swift action. This does not apply to spells with a casting time greater than 1 round. When she casts a spell in this way, the animal friend does not use somatic components and may cast this spell even without an open hand to do so.
Empower Companion (Su): As an animal friend’s power grows, she can empower her animal companion through their intense bond in order to allow her animal companion to be more effective in combat. At 2nd level, as a swift action, the animal friend may empower her animal companion. If she does so, then as long as her animal companion remains within 30 feet of the animal friend, it gains a +1 bonus on attack rolls and deals an additional 1d6 points of damage on a successful hit. At 8th level, these bonuses increase to a +2 bonus to attack rolls and an additional +2d6 damage on a successful hit.
This ability replaces the track and improved track class features.
Heal Companion (Su): An animal friend is gifted in simple healing arts and can heal the ailments of animals by laying her hands upon them. At 5th level, as a standard action, the hunter can remove a single ailment from an animal creature she touches. At 5th level, this ability can remove the fatigued, shaken, and sickened conditions. At 8th level, this ability can also be used to remove the frightened, exhausted, and nauseated conditions. At 11th level, this ability can also be used to cure diseases and poisons, and can remove the panicked condition. Finally, at 14th level, this ability can be used to remove any curse which could be broken by a break enchantment spell, and can be used to remove the confused condition (including permanent insanity), as well as the paralyzed and petrified conditions.
This ability replaces the woodland stride class feature.