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Arboreal Creature (CR +1)


Arboreal creatures live in the canopies of forests and jungles. They conduct their lives entirely above-ground, swinging from bough to bough, climbing through the branches, and balancing on tree limbs as they move from place to place.

The coloration of an arboreal creature aids its ability to hide in the high boughs of trees. Its skin may be green, gray, or brown, depending on its environment, and its hair color may change with the seasons. A typical arboreal creature has long climbing limbs that are awkward to walk on, but occasionally one may climb primarily with two limbs and have stunted hind legs.

Creating an Arboreal Creature

“Arboreal creature” is an inherited template that can be added to any living, non-aquatic, corporeal creature with grasping limbs (referred to hereafter as the base creature). An arboreal creature uses all the base creature’s statistics and special abilities except as noted here.

Challenge Rating: Same as the base creature +1.

Speed: An arboreal creature gains a climb speed equal to the base creature’s highest speed and loses any fly speed the base creature has. Each of the base creature’s other speeds decreases by 10 feet (to a minimum of 5 feet). If the base creature’s climb speed is already its highest speed, it increases by +10 feet, and its other speeds decrease as described above.

Attack: The arboreal creature retains all the base creature’s attacks and its weapon and armor proficiencies. These attacks retain the same primary or secondary status they had for the base creature. When an arboreal creature is brachiating (swinging from tree to tree; see Brachiation on this page), it can attack with any one limb that it is not using to brachiate. If the base creature has a leg or hind leg attack, the arboreal creature retains that attack and deals normal damage with it. If the base creature lacks such an attack, the arboreal creature gains a slam attack with an appropriate limb that it can use only while brachiating. The slam is a primary attack if the base creature has no other natural attacks, or a secondary attack otherwise.

Damage: If the base creature gained a slam attack from the application of this template, its base damage is as given on the following table.


 Size Slam Damage
Fine 1
Diminutive 1d2
Tiny 1d3
Small 1d4
Medium 1d6
Large 1d8
Huge 2d6
Gargantuan 2d8
Colossal 4d6

Special Qualities: An arboreal creature retains all the base creature’s special qualities and gains those described here.

Brachiation (Ex): By hanging beneath or within a canopy of trees (or similar structures with many limbs), an arboreal creature can swing hand over hand and move at a speed equal to its climb speed. It follows the rules for climbing while moving in this fashion, but the base Climb DC for brachiation is 10. The trees that the creature uses for this movement must have numerous limbs that can support its weight. Any tree that the arboreal creature can climb without causing it to bend is suitable for brachiation.

Tree Leap (Ex): A brachiating arboreal creature can move easily to the next tree so long as its branches are within reach. When the distance between trees exceeds twice its reach, however, the creature must make a leap of faith. When climbing or using the Acrobatics skill, an arboreal creature can make a Acrobatics check to leap to another location. If it can move at least 20 feet before leaping (without doubling back), set the DC as though it had a 20-foot running start (don’t double the DC). If the arboreal creature fails its Acrobatics check by 5 or more, it falls as normal. If it fails by less than 5, it can attempt a DC 15 Reflex save to grab a ledge, branch, or wall 5 feet below its target location, so long as some protrusion exists there. An arboreal creature that succeeds on any Acrobatics check (not just a tree leap) must immediately attempt a Acrobatics or Climb check, as appropriate, to land in a climbing or balancing position. The DC for this check is +5 higher than normal. A failure gives the same results as a failure on the Acrobatics check.

Abilities: Increase from the base creature as follows: Str +2, Dex +2.

Skills: An arboreal creature gains a +15 racial bonus on Acrobatics checks and a +4 racial bonus on Perception checks. An arboreal creature receives a +8 racial bonus on Climb checks and can always choose to take 10 on Climb checks, even if rushed or threatened. An arboreal creature also gains a +4 bonus on Stealth and Survival checks in forested or jungle environments.

Environment: Any forest.