Apex (3.5e Class)
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An Apex is at the top of the food-chain. Able to shapechange into a wild beast and dominate the battlefield. An apex melds rage with a select few empowered beast forms.
Making an Apex Predator
Muscles and guts — that’s all you need. Like a druid an apex begins adapting to nature, but decides to focus on the carnal over the mystical, synergizing beast form with a barbarian’s rage. Starting off as a large-sized creature or possessing rage as a racial ability has benefits, as such the following races are prone to taking this class: Gigas, Dodaem, Half-Giant, Kuklop, Riesfrit, Ruk, Sol-duhvaan & Skandar.
Abilities: Str & Con
Alignment: Any non-lawful
Starting Gold: 2d4×10 gp (50)
Starting Age: Moderate
|Saving Throws||Special||Total Primal Ability Changes|
|1st||+0||+2||+0||+2||Animal Companion, Carnal Nature||—|
|3rd||+2||+3||+1||+3||Beast Form (Animal), Uncanny Dodge||+2Str, +2Con|
|4th||+3||+4||+1||+4||Bonus Feat||+2Str, +2Con|
|5th||+3||+4||+1||+4||Rage (2/day), Beast Form (Improved Grab)||+2Str, +2Con|
|6th||+4||+5||+2||+5||Beast Form (Enlarged)||+4Str, +2Con, -2Dex|
|7th||+5||+5||+2||+5||Beast Form (2nd Animal)||+4Str, +2Con, -2Dex|
|8th||+6/+1||+6||+2||+6||Bonus Feat, Improved Uncanny Dodge||+6Str, +4Con, -2Dex|
|9th||+6/+1||+6||+3||+6||Rage (3/day), Beast Form (Shrunk)||+6Str, +4Con, -2Dex|
|10th||+7/+2||+7||+3||+7||Rage (Hulking)||+6Str, +4Con, -2Dex|
|11th||+8/+3||+7||+3||+7||Beast Form (New Creature)||+6Str, +4Con, -2Dex|
|12th||+9/+4||+8||+4||+8||Bonus Feat||+6Str, +4Con, -2Dex|
|13th||+9/+4||+8||+4||+8||Rage (4/day)||+8Str, +6Con, -2Dex|
|14th||+10/+5||+9||+4||+9||Rage (Greater)||+8Str, +6Con, -2Dex|
|15th||+11/+6/+1||+9||+5||+9||Beast Form (Pounce)||+8Str, +6Con, -2Dex|
|16th||+12/+7/+2||+10||+5||+10||Bonus Feat||+8Str, +6Con, -2Dex|
|17th||+12/+7/+2||+10||+5||+10||Rage (5/day)||+8Str, +6Con, -2Dex|
|18th||+13/+8/+3||+11||+6||+11||Tireless Rage||+10Str, +8Con, -2Dex|
|19th||+14/+9/+4||+11||+6||+11||Beast Form (2nd Creature)||+10Str, +8Con, -2Dex|
|20th||+15/+10/+5||+12||+6||+12||Rage (Mighty), Bonus Feat||+10Str, +8Con, -2Dex|
Class Skills (4 + Int modifier per level, ×4 at 1st level)
Weapon & Armor Proficiency: An apex is proficient with all simple weapons. He is proficient with light & medium armor, but not with shields. He is prohibited from using metal armor & shields (he loses all abilities of this class if he does). In beast forms (see below), he is proficient with his natural weapons.
Carnal Nature (Ex): An apex has many animalistic features. He can communicate with all animals & gain a +4 class bonus on Cha-based checks against animals. He also gains a +4 bonus to Balance, Climb, Control Shape, Hide, Intimidate, Jump, Survival, Swim & Tumble. Additionally he gains a +10’ increase to his base land speed, a climb speed of 20’ & a swim speed of 30’.
- Wild Empathy: He can improve the attitude of an animal (treat like wild empathy).
- Heightened Senses: At 2nd, he gains darkvision 60’ & scent, & a +4 bonus to Listen & Spot.
- Woodland Stride: At 2nd, he may move through any sort of undergrowth (i.e., thorns, briars, etc.) at his normal speed & without taking damage or suffering any other impairment. However, magically manipulated undergrowth still impede his motion.
- Trackless Step: At 3rd, he leaves no trail in natural surroundings & can't be tracked. He may choose to leave a trail if so desired.
Rage (Ex): At 2nd, an apex can fly into a rage a certain number of times per day. In a rage, he temporarily gains a +4 bonus to Str & Con, & a +2 bonus to Will saves, but takes a –2 penalty to AC. The increase in Con increases his HP by 2/level, but these HP go away at the end of the rage when his Con score drops back to normal. (These extra HP are not lost first the way temporary HP are.) While raging, he can't use any Cha-, Dex-, or Int-based skills (except for balance, escape artist, intimidate, ride & tumble), the concentration skill, or any abilities that require patience or concentration, nor can he cast spells or activate magic items that require a command word, a spell trigger (such as a wand), or spell completion (such as a scroll) to function. He can use any feat he has except combat expertise, item creation feats & metamagic feats. A fit of rage lasts for a number of rounds equal to 3+his (newly improved) Con modifier. He may prematurely end his rage. At the end of the rage, he loses the rage modifiers & restrictions & becomes fatigued (–2 penalty to Str, –2 penalty to Dex, can’t charge or run) for the duration of the current encounter. This stacks with rage from other sources.
An apex can fly into a rage only once per encounter. At 2nd, he can use his rage ability 1/day. Entering a rage takes no time itself, but he can do it only during his action, not in response to someone else’s action. At 5th, 8th, 14th & 17th, he can use it +1/day.
At 10th, as a move action while raging an apex can choose to increase in size category one step (must already be raging). This makes the normal size changes, but the strain of the hulk form causes 1 point of Constitution ability damage every 2 rounds. This counts as a normal use of rage for all other purposes. This can be used while in any beast form. This stacks with things like enlarge monster (but not enlarge person).
At 14th, when raging an apex's bonuses to Str & Con increase to +6, & Will saves to +3. The penalty to AC remains at –2.
At 20th, when raging an apex's bonuses to Str & Con increase to +8, & Will saves to +4. The penalty to AC remains at –2.
Beast Form (Su): At 3rd, an apex selects one animal form, this is his “primal form”. This animal must be of equal size to the base creature’s size, HD can’t exceed his HD+4, and must have a natural weapon attack. As a standard action, he becomes the animal physically, but does not take any of its abilities, HD, etc., instead, using his own. He can only change into this type of animal. This functions similarly to the druid's wild shape ability. In beast form, he gains a primary claw attack, dealing 1d6+Str modifier in damage, & secondary bite attack 1d8+Str modifier. On a full attack action, he can make two claw attacks & a bite attack, following all normal rules for multiple natural attacks. All apex natural weapons have a crit range of 19-20 with a x2 multiplier.
An apex can maintain this form for 1 round/Con modifier +3 per day. At 6th & every 3 after, he can maintain his shapechange for +3 more rounds. The rounds do not have to be consecutive. He gains the shapechanger subtype.
If an apex select an animal with uncommon natural attacks (i.e., snake or octopus), one type of attack is 1d6+Str and another is +1d8+Str.
If an apex select an animal that can fly, he gains a fly speed (good) of 40'. However, this type is one size smaller than his base form (i.e., if base size is medium, then would transform into a small eagle).
Leveling Special Abilities & Forms:
- Animal Armor (Ex): An apex gains +2 natural armor bonus in all beast forms. At 4th & every 4 after, the bonus increases by 2.
- Dire (Ex): An apex, while in any beast form, gain a +2 Str & Con. This only applies while in a beast form. At 8th & every 5 after, he gets an additional +2 Str & Con. (See above table for total ability changes from stat increase and improved sizes.)
- Improved Grab (Ex): At 5th, if an apex in a beast form hits with a claw or bite attack, they deal normal damage & can attempt to start a grapple as a free action without provoking an attack of opportunity.
- Enlarged Form (Su): At 6th, the apex’s primal form increases to one size larger than his base form. At 6th level, he can change what his primal form is to an animal one size category larger (this decision is irreversible). This size increase grants a +2 Str, & +4 special attacks; but -2 Dex, -1 AC/attack rolls & -4 hide penalties; also grants +5' of reach. His natural weapons in primal forms gain one size increase to their damage die. He only applies this to his primary form (not later secondary forms).
- Second Animal Form (Su): At 7th, an apex can select one more animal to become (with the same requirements, but can't be larger than base form). He can change from his natural form to a beast form or beast form to beast form.
- Shrunk Form (Su): At 9th, as a move action, an apex can shrink one size category (but can only go down one size with this feature). This can be used on any form, and stacks with spells that shrink his size.
- New Type (Su): At 11th & 19th, an apex can select one creature of any creature type to become (with the same requirements).
- Pounce (Ex): At 15th, an apex can pounce when in a beast form.
- Note: At 19th level, an apex has 4 forms: a primal animal(1) 1 size larger; one second animal(2) & two other(3-4) forms equal to base.
Uncanny Dodge (Ex): At 3rd, an apex retains his Dexterity bonus to AC (if any) even if he is caught flat-footed or struck by an invisible attacker. However, he still loses his Dexterity bonus to AC if immobilized. If he already has uncanny dodge from a different class, he automatically gains improved uncanny dodge (see below) instead.
Improved Uncanny Dodge (Ex): At 8th, an apex can’t be flanked. This defense denies a rogue the ability to sneak attack by flanking him, unless the attacker has at least four more rogue levels than the target has apex levels. If a character already has uncanny dodge (see above) from a second class, the character automatically gains improved uncanny dodge instead, and the levels from the classes that grant uncanny dodge stack to determine the minimum level a rogue must be to flank the character.
If an apex uses metal armor or shields, they lose all abilities of this class. They regain class features, after one day of not using metal armor and shields. Or he can atone to regain abilities in same day.
|“||Might is Right!||”|
Playing a Apex
Religion: Due to their independent nature, most apexs oppose religion. However, there are a few packs of apexs who swear fealty to lower deities (esp. Chaotic).
Other Classes: Most apexs can be found in the extremes of nature or the fringes of society. Yet, on rare occasions, they can be found in fight-houses in cities. Most other classes give an apex a wide berth, but warrior and mercenary based classes tend to align with them.
Combat: Apexs are brawlers, they usually take their first turn shape-changing and getting into a rage – then dominate the battle field. They commonly will attack the strongest opponent first.
Advancement: Apexs synergize with rage and wildshape based classes.
Characters with ranks in Knowledge (Nature) can research apexs to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including information from lower DCs.
|5||Apexs are beast-like brawlers.|
|10||Apexs can shapechange into an animal.|
|15||Apexs have evolved their bodies to be able to use the forces of nature and self to transform into powerful monstrous forms.|
|20||Specific info on an apex.|
|Article Balance||High +|
|Author||Franken Kesey +|
|Base Attack Bonus Progression||Moderate +|
|Class Ability||Other +|
|Class Ability Progression||Full +|
|Fortitude Save Progression||Good +|
|Identifier||3.5e Class +|
|Minimum Level||4 +|
|Rated By||Ghostwheel +|
|Rating||Rating Pending +|
|Reflex Save Progression||Poor +|
|Skill||Autohypnosis +, Balance +, Climb +, Concentration +, Control Shape +, Escape Artist +, Handle Animal +, Hide +, Intimidate +, Jump +, Knowledge +, Listen +, Ride +, Search +, Sense Motive +, Spot +, Survival +, Swim + and Tumble +|
|Skill Points||4 +|
|Summary||An Apex is at the top of the food-chain. Able to shapechange into a wild beast and dominate the battlefield. An apex melds rage with a select few empowered beast forms. +|
|Will Save Progression||Good +|