Introduction

Where tabaxi are charismatic, agile cat people, leonin are strong, bulky cat people. Tabaxi tend to resemble smaller cats like house cats or ocelots, while leonin resemble lions, including lions’ iconic manes.

Mechanically, the Leonin is a Strength-based brute, having similar ability score increases to the Half-Orc. Leonin get Darkvision, a free skill, and a roar which can frighten nearby creatures, making them an excellent, interesting, and accessible race.

With the custom origin rules in place, the Leonin and the Tabaxi are very similar. The Leonin gets one fewer skill proficiency, but gets Daunting Roar. Unfortunately, Daunting Roar is the Leonin’s only unique trait, so your class options are largely defined by whether or not Daunting Roar is a good choice for the class.

Table of Contents

Disclaimer

RPGBOT uses the color coding scheme which has become common among Pathfinder build handbooks, which is simple to understand and easy to read at a glance.

  • Red: Bad, useless options, or options which are extremely situational. Nearly never useful.
  • Orange: OK options, or useful options that only apply in rare circumstances. Useful sometimes.
  • Green: Good options. Useful often.
  • Blue: Fantastic options, often essential to the function of your character. Useful very frequently.

I will not include 3rd-party content, including content from DMs Guild, even if it is my own, because I can’t assume that your game will allow 3rd-party content or homebrew. I also won’t cover Unearthed Arcana content because it’s not finalized, and I can’t guarantee that it will be available to you in your games.

The advice offered below is based on the current State of the Character Optimization Meta as of when the article was last updated. Keep in mind that the state of the meta periodically changes as new source materials are released and this article will be updating accordingly as time allows.

RPGBOT is unofficial Fan Content permitted under the Fan Content Policy. Not approved/endorsed by Wizards. Portions of the materials used are property of Wizards of the Coast. ©Wizards of the Coast LLC.

Leonin Classes (Customizable Origins)

This section assumes that you’re using the option “Customizing Your Origin” rules presented in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything. If you’re not using those rules, scroll down to the next section.

Artificer

The Leonin doesn’t add anything unique to the Artificer. An extra skill is nice and Daunting Roar is nice crowd control, but they’re not essential for the Artificer.

Barbarian

An extra skill helps the Barbarian be useful outside of combat, and Daunting Roar helps handle crowds, which is normally difficult for the Barbarian.

Bard

Daunting Roar encourages you to jump into melee, which is not a place where bards generally belong. Even then, you have spells that can solve the same problem better than Daunting Roar can.

Cleric

An extra skill and daunting roar. Clerics have plenty of ways to handle crowds, and Daunting Roar will quickly fall behind your spellcasting.

Druid

An extra skill and daunting roar. Daunting Roar might work while wild shaped, and it might be helpful for Circle of Spores, but it doesn’t work often enough to be especially impactful..

Fighter

An extra skill helps the Fighter be useful outside of combat, and Daunting Roar helps handle crowds, which is normally difficult for many fighters.

Monk

An extra skill helps close the skill gap between the Monk and the Rogue, but in situations where you might use Daunting Roar it’s likely more effective to use Patient Defense or Step of the Wind.

Paladin

An extra skill helps expand beyond Face skills, and Daunting Roar is a nice complement to the Oath of Conquest, which depends heavily on fear effects.

Ranger

An extra skill helps close the skill gap between the Ranger and the Rogue. Daunting Roar might help with crowds, but rangers already have some options to deal with crowds so it’s not a major improvement.

Rogue

An extra skill and Darkvision are great for the Rogue, but you can get those almost anywhere, and Daunting Roar doesn’t help the Rogue. If you need to frighten a crowd, just use Cunning Action and run away.

Sorcerer

The range on Daunting Roar is too short to use safely.

Warlock

A hexblade might find that Daunting Roar is a nice complement to their limited spellcasting, but the range is too short for other warlocks to use it safely.

Wizard

The range on Daunting Roar is too short to use safely.

Leonin Classes (Default Rules)

This section assumes that you’re not using the option “Customizing Your Origin” rules presented in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything or the updated version of the race published in Mordenkainen’s Monsters of the Multiverse. If you are using those rules, scroll up to the previous section.

Artificer

No Intelligence increase.

Barbarian

Strength and Constitution are perfect. The claws work with Rage, though a weapon will still be better. Daunting Roar is a great way to handle crowds, which is normally hard for the Barbarian.

Bard

Proficiency in Intimidation is nice, but really not enough. You could try a Valor Bard, but in medium armor a Strength-based build is very MAD because you need 14 in Dexterity and good scores in Strength, Constitution, and Charisma which is very hard to accomplish.

Cleric

The Paladin is a better choice.

Druid

An anthromorph druid always seems like a cool option, but the Leonin’s ability increases just don’t support it and few of their other traits are particularly useful to the druid.

Fighter

The Leoning works for any Strength-based build, and the additional racial skill proficiency offers an additional choice from several staple fighter options.

Monk

No increases to either Dexterity or Wisdom, and Strength-based monks simply aren’t viable.

Paladin

Not such an easy choice as the Barbarian or the Fighter, but still a great option. While Charisma is very helpful for the Paladin, they don’t strictly need an increase at 1st level. Strength and Constitution work fine, and the Leonin’s racial skill options include Perception, which isn’t on the Paladin’s list of class skills.

Oath of Conquest’s dependence on fear effects makes it an unusually appealing option compared to other paladin subclasses thanks to Daunting Roar.

Ranger

Strength-based builds are difficult, but possible.

Rogue

No Dexterity increase, and the Leonin doesn’t have anything else that’s appealing to the Rogue.

Sorcerer

No Charisma increase.

Warlock

No Charisma increase.

Wizard

No Intelligence increase.