The beast knights are an order of druids that focus their abilities on a bond with a powerful animal that is capable of being a mount for them. They are most commonly found in plains or savannas. They often fight against those who over hunt the area. (Original Concept by Browman)
Primary Class: Druid.
Secondary Class: Cavalier.
Hit Dice: d8.
Bonus Skills and Ranks: The beast knight may select three cavalier skills to add to her class skills in addition to the normal druid class skills. The beast knight gains a number of ranks at each level equal to 4 + Int modifier.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: The beast knight is proficient with the club, dagger, dart, lance, quarterstaff, scimitar, scythe, sickle, shortspear, sling, and spear, as well as all natural attacks (claw, bite, and so forth) of any form they assume with wild shape. She is proficient with light and medium armor but is prohibited from wearing metal armor; thus, she may wear only padded, leather, or hide armor. A beast knight may also wear wooden armor that has been altered by the ironwood spell so that it functions as though it were steel. See the ironwood spell description. Beast knights are proficient with shields (except tower shields) but must use only wooden ones.
Diminished Spellcasting: The beast knight casts divine spells drawn from the druid spell list, and gains one fewer spell of each spell level per day. If this reduces the number to 0, she may cast spells of that level only if they are domain spells or if her Wisdom allows bonus spells of that level. Shee otherwise learns, prepares, and casts spells as a druid of equal level.
Bestial Bond (Ex): This is exactly like the druid’s nature bond ability, except that the beast knight must choose the animal companion bond. The creature must be one that is suitable as a mount and is at least the same size as the beast knight. If the creature is of equal size, it increases by one size category and gains a +2 bonus to natural armor, +4 bonus to Strength, +2 bonus to Constitution, and natural attacks increase its damage dice by one step. It also takes –2 penalty to its Dexterity score. This ensures that the beast knight is capable of riding her mount. Any creature that is already one size category larger than the beast knight does not gain these benefits.
Order: At 1st level, a beast knight must choose either the Dragon, Lion, or Star cavalier order, or the new Order of the Grand Circle. She gains her first order ability at 5th level and each subsequent order ability every six levels thereafter. This ability replaces spells lost due to diminished spellcasting.
Rider’s Sense (Ex): At 1st level, a beast knight gains a +2 on Handle Animal and Ride skill checks. This ability replaces nature sense.
Trackless Step (Ex): This is exactly like the druid ability of the same name, except that while mounted, the ability also applies to her mount, and can choose to leave a trail if she so desires.
Wild Shape (Su): This is exactly like the druid ability of the same name, except that she can wild shape once per day at 4th level, and an additional time per day every four levels thereafter, to a maximum of five times per day at 20th level. While mounted, a beast knight cannot use her wild shape ability unless her new form is bipedal and at least one size category smaller than her. In such cases, she retains the use of her Ride skill, and any feats or other abilities associated with mounted combat.
Alternatively, a beast knight can use her wild shape to turn her mount into creatures of the animal and magical beast types. At 6th level, she can use wild shape to change her companion into a Medium or Large animal. This functions as beast shape II. At 8th level, she can change her companion into a Huge animal. This functions as beast shape III. A 12th level, she can change her companion into a Medium or Large magical beast. This functions as beast shape IV.
Challenge (Ex): At 4th level, a beast knight gains the cavalier’s challenge ability, except that the beast knight can make a challenge once per day and an additional time per day every four levels thereafter, up to a maximum of four times per day at 18th level. This ability replaces wild shape 2/day, 4/day, 6/day, and 8/day.
Cavalier’s Charge (Ex): At 9th level, a beast knight gains the cavalier’s charge ability. This ability replaces venom immunity.
Greater Shaping (Su): At 13th level, a beast knight can increase the size of her animal companion by one size category for 1 round per level as a standard action. These rounds do not need to be consecutive. This transformation grants the animal companion the giant template, and can be dismissed as a swift action. This ability replaces a thousand faces.
Table: Beast Knight