Awakened Animals are animals granted human-level intelligence via magical means. As diverse and interesting as real animals, you can play nearly any animal and represent them well using the published options for the Awakened Animal.

With the ability to distinguish your animal by combining your choice of size and Heritage, the Awakened Animal is deeply customizable. Ancestry Feats can improve your movement options and senses, as well as your unarmed strikes, allowing you to lean into your animal nature even more as you progress.

Despite being published in the same book that includes Centaurs and feats allowing Centaurs to be more effective as a mount, the Awakened Animal has no such options. You could play a Large Running Animal to represent a horse, but you’re no more better at serving as a mount than a human.

Table of Contents


RPGBOT uses the color coding scheme which has become common among Pathfinder build handbooks.

  • 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.

Awakened Animal Ancestry Traits

  • Hit Points: Varies by size.
  • Size: Tiny, Small, Medium, or Large. Default to medium unless you’re very comfortable with the trades that you want to make to be Tiny or Large.
  • Speed: Varies by Heritage, but most Awakened Animals will have a land speed of 20 feet, which is slow.
  • Ability Boosts: Excellent Attributes for anything that’s not explicitly Intelligence-based.
  • Languages: Ancestry language plus Common is standard.
  • Senses: Standard, but you can enhance your senses with Ancestry Feats.
  • Awakened Form: Largely removes the difficulties of being an awakened animal by making you into an anthropomorphized animal.
  • Awakened Mind: The usefulness of this feature varies wildly. A common animal like a rat can likely do a lot to capitalize on the ability to talk to other rats, but a less numerous animal like a dinosaur will likely get no benefit here.

Awakened Animal Heritages

Awakened Animal Ancestry Feats

Level 1

  • Awakened Animal Lore (HotW): Good for Intelligence-based builds, but those will be rare since the Awakened Animal gets and Intelligence Flaw.
  • Awakened Magic (HotW): Always excellent. Unless you’re a spellcaster, avoid offensive options and stick to utility options or defensive options.
  • Fascinated by Society (HotW): Very amusing, but not worth a feat.
  • Land Legs (HotW): Essential for Swimming Animals in a campaign that takes you on land, but from an optimization perspective there is no reason to take this because you should not be a Swimming Animal in a campaign that takes place on land.
  • Learn by Watching (HotW): Not worth a feat.
  • Natural Senses (HotW): Take either Echolocation or Scent. Both are great for locating hidden or invisible creatures. You can get Darkvision from spells and from magic items.
  • Sea Legs (HotW): You can solve this with spells.
  • Take Flight (HotW): The start of a good feat chain. Be sure to take Cat Fall to negate falling damage.
  • Tooth and Claw (HotW): Great for unarmed combat builds.
  • You’re So Cute (HotW): Only situationally useful.

Level 5

  • Fierce Grasp (HotW): Excellent if you rely heavily on Grab to hold enemies in place for extended periods of time.
  • Late Awakener (HotW): Useful if you took a Versatile Heritage, but unless you want flight from Flying Animal, you can probably skip this.
  • Natural Ambassador (HotW): Thematically great, but easily replaced by casting Speak With Animals. If you need to do so frequently, find a wand.
  • Scurry (HotW): Fantastic for ranged builds or for builds that rely on cover to hide. Remember that your allies might provide cover.
  • Strong of Wing (HotW): This makes your fly speed comparable to most Ancestries’ land speeds.
  • Urban Jungle (HotW): Extremely situational.
  • Wild Stride (HotW): Only situationally useful. If you need extra speed this badly, look at feats like Fleet and spells like Tailwind.

Level 9

  • Animal Summoner (HotW): Innate spells like this are almost never automatically Heightened. The fact that this can go up to 10th level is amazing.
  • Full Flight (HotW): Very powerful, and much earlier than most Ancestries which can get flight. Typically you won’t get permanent flight until level 13 or 17.

Level 13

  • Awaken Others (HotW): It is extremely unlikely that you will awaken animals often enough to justify spending a feat on it this way. Learn to cast rituals by the usual means instead.
  • Digger (HotW): Burrow speeds are very powerful since so few enemies can counter them.
  • Sharpened Senses (HotW): Only situationally useful. Most encounters won’t require you to Seek since most encounters won’t involve hidden or invisible enemies. When this does apply, it’s great even without Natural Senses.

Level 17

  • Awakened Stride (HotW): Interesting, but still only situationally useful. The Concealed effect ends when you stop moving, so it only applies to Reactions.
  • Fearsome Form (HotW): This is a great defensive spell, but since you can only target yourself it has limited usefulness. For best results, you want to be a Charisma-based primal spellcaster that’s also built for melee.
  • True Senses (HotW): Only situationally useful. Truesight is a spell that you have for specific situations, such as when facing enemies that create illusions. Spending your highest-level Ancestry Feat is expensive if you’re not going to use it consistently.