Prestige Classes


Most creatures view creepy, crawly insects with revulsion. To a vermin keeper, however, they’re perfect killers—creatures whose supreme adaptations to their environs inspire a sense of awe. Vermin keepers come almost exclusively from the ranks of druids. Some are upperworlders whose eyes have been opened to the beauty of bugs; others loved bugs to begin with and merely learned the druidic arts so that they could apply them to insects. Most characters who care enough about vermin to take levels in the vermin keeper prestige class pursue it to the exclusion of all else.

Interestingly, not every character who pursues this prestige class actually loves bugs. Sometimes a person who particularly hates or fears insects or spiders decides to study them in order to understand or overmaster them.

Hit Die: d8.


To qualify to become a vermin keeper, a character must fulfill all of the following criteria.

Skills: Handle Animal 8 ranks, Knowledge (nature) 8 ranks.

Feat: Iron Will.

Special: Wild shape ability.

Class Skills

The vermin keeper's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Handle Animal (Cha), Heal (Wis), Knowledge (nature, Underdark local) (Int), Profession (Wis), Spellcraft (Int), Spot (Wis), Survival (Wis), and Swim (Str).

Skill Points at Each Level: 4 + Int modifier.

Table: The Vermin Keeper

Level Base
Special Spells per day
1st +0 +2 +0 +2 Handle vermin, vermin empathy, vermin form (Small) +1 level of existing spellcasting class
2nd +1 +3 +0 +3 Vermin form (Tiny) +1 level of existing spellcasting class
3rd +2 +3 +1 +3 Venom immunity, vermin companion +1 level of existing spellcasting class
4th +3 +4 +1 +4 Extra Wild Shape, vermin form (Medium) +1 level of existing spellcasting class
5th +3 +4 +1 +4 Vermin form (Diminutive) +1 level of existing spellcasting class
6th +4 +5 +2 +5 Extra Wild Shape +1 level of existing spellcasting class
7th +5 +5 +2 +5 Vermin form (Large) +1 level of existing spellcasting class
8th +6 +6 +2 +6 Vermin form (Fine) +1 level of existing spellcasting class
9th +6 +6 +3 +6 Vermin form (Huge) +1 level of existing spellcasting class
10th +7 +7 +3 +7 Swarm form +1 level of existing spellcasting class
Class Features

All of the following are class features of the vermin keeper prestige class.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Vermin keepers gain no proficiency with any weapon or armor.

Spells per Day: At each vermin keeper level, the character gains new spells per day (and spells known, if applicable) as if he had also gained a level in a spellcasting class to which he belonged before adding the prestige class level. He does not, however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained (improved chance of turning or rebuking undead, metamagic or item creation feats, and the like). If the character had more than one spellcasting class before becoming a vermin keeper, the player must decide to which class to add each vermin keeper level for the purpose of determining spells per day, spells known, and overall caster level.

Handle Vermin (Ex): At 1st level, a vermin keeper can apply his Handle Animal skill to vermin.

Vermin Empathy (Ex): A vermin keeper can apply his wild empathy class ability to vermin. Vermin begin with an unfriendly attitude.

Vermin Form (Su): Beginning at 1st level, a vermin keeper can use his wild shape ability to assume a vermin form. Starting at 1st level, he can turn himself into any Small vermin. As he gains vermin keeper levels, the diversity of forms available to him increases. He can become a Tiny vermin at 2nd level, a Medium vermin at 4th level, a Diminutive vermin at 5th level, a Large vermin at 7th level, a Fine vermin at 8th level, and a Huge vermin at 9th level.

Venom Immunity (Ex): At 3rd level, a vermin keeper gains immunity to all organic poisons. This category includes all monster poisons but not mineral poisons or poison gas.

Vermin Companion (Ex): At 3rd level, a vermin keeper can call a Small, Medium, or Large vermin as a companion in lieu of an animal (see below for details). He may choose any kind of vermin for which statistics are provided in the Monster Manual. A vermin keeper cannot retain the animal companion he had from his previous class (if any) after he calls a vermin companion. Except as noted in the sidebar, this ability works the same as a druid’s animal companion ability.

Extra Wild Shape: A vermin keeper gains Extra Wild Shape as a bonus feat at 4th and 6th levels.

Swarm Form (Su): At 10th level, a vermin keeper can use his wild shape to assume the form of any vermin swarm (any swarm whose constituent creatures are of the vermin type).

The Vermin Keeper’s Vermin Companion

A vermin keeper’s vermin companion retains its vermin type, though it is superior to a normal vermin of its kind and has special powers, as given on the table below.

3rd–4th +2 +2 +1 2 Link, share spells
5th–6th +4 +4 +2 3 Evasion
7th–8th +6 +6 +3 4 Devotion
9th–10th +8 +8 +4 5 Multiattack

Vermin 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.

Intelligence: A vermin companion has an Intelligence score of 2. The fact that it is equivalent in Intelligence to some animals has several effects. First, unlike other vermin, it is not mindless and therefore loses the mindless special quality, which means that it can be affected by mind-affecting spells and effects. Second, the vermin keeper can teach his companion tricks with the Handle Animal skill as though it were an animal. Finally, the vermin companion begins play with feats appropriate for its Hit Dice (vermin keeper’s choice, though the creature must qualify for the selected feats) and skill points equal to its Hit Dice +3. The vermin companion’s class skills are Listen and Spot.

Class Level: The character’s vermin keeper level. Vermin keeper levels do not stack with levels of classes that grant an animal companion ability.

Bonus HD: Extra 8-sided dice, each of which gains a Constitution modifier and improves the vermin companion’s base attack bonus and base save bonuses, as normal. A vermin companion’s base attack bonus is the same as that of a druid of a level equal to the vermin’s Hit Dice. It has good Fortitude saves (treat it as a character whose level equals the vermin’s Hit Dice). A vermin companion doesn’t gain any extra skill points or feats for bonus HD.

Natural Armor Adj.: The number noted here is an improvement to the vermin companion’s existing natural armor bonus.

Str/Dex Adj.: Add this value to the vermin companion’s Strength and Dexterity scores.

Bonus Tricks: The value given in this column is the total number of “bonus” tricks that the vermin knows in addition to any that the vermin keeper might choose to teach it (see the Handle Animal skill description in the Player’s Handbook). These bonus tricks don’t require any training time or Handle Animal checks, and they don’t count against the normal limit of tricks known by the vermin. The vermin keeper selects these bonus tricks, and once selected, they can’t be changed.

Link (Ex): A vermin keeper can handle his vermin companion as a free action, or push it as a move action. He gains a +4 circumstance bonus on all wild empathy checks and Handle Animal checks made regarding a vermin companion.

Share Spells (Ex): At the vermin keeper’s option, he may have any spell (but not any spell-like ability) he casts upon himself also affect his vermin companion. The vermin companion must be within 5 feet of him at the time of casting to receive the benefit. If the spell or effect has a duration other than instantaneous, it stops affecting the vermin companion if the latter moves farther than 5 feet away and will not affect the creature again even if it returns to the vermin keeper before the duration expires. Additionally, the vermin keeper may cast a spell with a target of “You” on his vermin companion (as a touch range spell) instead of on himself. The vermin keeper and his vermin companion can share spells even if the spells normally do not affect creatures of the vermin type.

Evasion (Ex): If a vermin companion is subjected to an attack that normally allows a Reflex saving throw for half damage, it takes no damage if it makes a successful saving throw.

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

Multiattack: A vermin companion gains Multiattack as a bonus feat if it has three or more natural attacks (see the Monster Manual for details on this feat) and does not already have that feat. If it does not have the requisite natural attacks, the vermin companion instead gains one additional attack with its primary natural weapon, albeit at a –5 penalty.