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Large Animal Companions- Reach / Attack Penalty / AC Penalty


Rules Questions


3 people marked this as FAQ candidate. 1 person marked this as a favorite.

I've been looking at the forums and reading through the Core Rulebook and the Beastiary to get some clarification, but I haven't found it.

Are animal companions ever assumed to gain reach upon becoming large? A number of companions in the core rulebook and the bestiary advance to large size when the Druid is 4th/7th level. None of these have reach listed as a benefit of advancing.

According to the official ruling on the FAQ, the companion doesn't get any racial benefits not explicitly listed in the animal's companion benefits section. One might say that this applies to the reach that's listed for the animal, but not in its companion abilities section, therefore no reach for the companion. However, if that's the case then can we assume the same about the 10 foot spacing associated with an animal's size? How about the attack and AC penalties for being large? If we don't assume some of the traits that go along with being large, what is the point of the animal advancing in size?

I realize a large animal would only get's reach if it is Large(tall) and not if it is Large(long). However, I have found no explicit indicator of rather or not an animal type is inherently long or tall. If this were made explicit, I would have no question: tall large animals get reach, long ones do not- and all other size adjustments would apply.

I can see two ways of determining long vs. tall:

Method one: common sense. An ape stands on two legs so it is tall, a wolf stands on four so it is long. This method breaks down however when the animals are of less familiar shapes. Would a pteradon animal companion get reach with its 7th level advancement? Does anyone know rather pteradon's stood upright? Should the DM have to consult wikipedia to make a ruling that will significantly impact the player's combat abilities? Also what about a large constrictor snake? One could argue that a snake big enough to occupy 10 square feet would be able to reach atleast as well as an ape when it is coiled up.

Method two: check the statted out version of the animal in the beastiary. The problems here are that 1) many of the stated out versions are an even larger size than large, so it seems wonky to base a decision off of, and 2)many of these are counter intuitive. For example, while the apes listed seem to be treated as large-tall, so does the stegasaurus and the ankylosauros(both four legged types, though I could see the tail attack adding to the reach). And then there's the Elasmosaurus. It is a huge creature, which should translate to 15 foot reach if it is tall. However it has 20 foot reach. Should a dm therefore assume that there is an implied 15 foot reach for a large version of the animal?

I'm aware that these problems can easily be houseruled away, but I wanted to make other animal companions that are well balanced to the one's in the bestiary and core rulebook, so I need to know how much combat ability the designers intended for these creature. Please let me know if there's a simple paragraph or something in the book that I've missed that clears this up.

thx


Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

As far as I can tell all large creature have the same reach, and that not really a racial benefit since all large creatures get it. Enlarge person spell grants reach I don't see why the companion wouldn't gain reach as well.


All large creatures don't have the same reach. Monster are always size(long) or size(tall). This was explained better in 3.5, but a large(long) monster has the reach of a creature that is medium, but a large(tall) monster has reach of 5 more feat than a creature that is one size category smaller.

If you look at a Hill Giant which is large(tall) it has a reach of 10 feet, but animals like lions, and horses which are large(long) only have a reach of 5 feet.

PS:There are going to be exceptions which are written into the monster's description, but that is generally how things work.

edit for the OP: If you are increasing the base size of a monster that is large tall the reach increases. For ones that are large long they normally have the same reach as one that is medium(long). Birds and bird like creatures generally work like size(long) animals. The giant eagle is an example of this and so is the Dire Bat.


Atamis wrote:
As far as I can tell all large creature have the same reach, and that not really a racial benefit since all large creatures get it. Enlarge person spell grants reach I don't see why the companion wouldn't gain reach as well.

Thanks for the reply. However, all large creatures do not have the same reach. For example a Nessian Hellhound from the bestiary is large with 10 foot reach, but a Griffon is large with 5 foot reach (same as a human). As a general rule, this explained on table 8-4 of the core rulebook, in which it lists the usual reach and spacing for tall and long versions of each creature size of large or greater. However, this table can't be relied on as a hard and fast rule because it says it is just a rule of thumb, and long-seeming creatures like the Nessian Hellhound always match the table.

Edit: Thanks Concerro, but how am I supposed to know rather a T-rex or a stegasaurus are long or tall? Is this made explicit anywhere, or is it just left to DM judgement? Is there any official way of knowing which animals companions are considered to be tall?


edross wrote:
Atamis wrote:
As far as I can tell all large creature have the same reach, and that not really a racial benefit since all large creatures get it. Enlarge person spell grants reach I don't see why the companion wouldn't gain reach as well.
Thanks for the reply. However, all large creatures do not have the same reach. For example a Nessian Hellhound from the bestiary is large with 10 foot reach, but a Griffon is large with 5 foot reach (same as a human). As a general rule, this explained on table 8-4 of the core rulebook, in which it lists the usual reach and spacing for tall and long versions of each creature size of large or greater. However, this table can't be relied on as a hard and fast rule because it says it is just a rule of thumb, and long-seeming creatures like the Nessian Hellhound always match the table.

It seems the hell-hound is a unique case. I would go with the general rule unless the base creature is a unique case also such as with this one.


Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Sorry I was meaning that if the creature its self got reach at large size then I would go with it gaining reach upon attaining large size it's self being that large size isn't a racial benefit. Not that all large creatures gain the same kind of reach.


concerro wrote:
edross wrote:
Atamis wrote:
As far as I can tell all large creature have the same reach, and that not really a racial benefit since all large creatures get it. Enlarge person spell grants reach I don't see why the companion wouldn't gain reach as well.
Thanks for the reply. However, all large creatures do not have the same reach. For example a Nessian Hellhound from the bestiary is large with 10 foot reach, but a Griffon is large with 5 foot reach (same as a human). As a general rule, this explained on table 8-4 of the core rulebook, in which it lists the usual reach and spacing for tall and long versions of each creature size of large or greater. However, this table can't be relied on as a hard and fast rule because it says it is just a rule of thumb, and long-seeming creatures like the Nessian Hellhound always match the table.
It seems the hell-hound is a unique case. I would go with the general rule unless the base creature is a unique case also such as with this one.

Thanks again Concerro for trying to give me a rule of thumb, but the problem is that there isn't a reliable basis for determining which creatures are tall and which are long, and this can be a pretty game changing ability for a druid who relies on his animal companion in combat. I'd rather not have to just pick whether or not my players get this ability. Also I'd like to believe that this was taken into account when the rules for the different types of animal companions were written, otherwise I'm a lot less comfortable trusting that these animals companion's are more or less balanced to one another. Or it could be that none of these animals were intended to gain reach, if so I'd just like to know.

But I'm beginning to think this may be a glaring hole in the rules that wasn't considered. Here are the relevant companions if is readily apparent to anyone which ones should get reach and why, please let me know:

Dire Bat
Ankylosaurus
Brachiosaurus
Elasmosaurus
Pteranodon
Stegosaurus
Tyrannosaurus
Triceratops
Orca
Moray Eel
Elephant/Mastodon
Aurochs/Bisons
Rhinoceros
Roc
Ape
Camel
Big Cat
Horse
Constrictor Snake
Wolf

Dark Archive

all of those are "long" except ape. id give apes and snakes (and possibly the eel) reach

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Your best bet is to refer to the entry of the same creature in the bestiary. If it has a 10 foot space and a 10 foot reach, then the companion does. IF the bestiary one is larger, like the t-rex, then you see if it has the same ratio of size to reach.


Name Violation wrote:
all of those are "long" except ape. id give apes and snakes (and possibly the eel) reach

The T-rex stands on two legs just like the ape, why doesn't he get reach?

The Stegosaurus, Ankylosaurus, and especially the Elasmosaurus(especially) are all given reach when statted out in the Bestiary. Why not give them reach as animal companions?

And how is one decide on the eel? Flip a coin.

If I was a player with a T-rex companion, I'd be a little miffed if someone else's ape got reach and my T-rex didn't. My point is it is really pretty arbitrary, and there are no reliable guidelines given. 10 foot of reach and the ability to attack adjacent foes is a lot more powerful than most of the abilities an animal companion has, so this isn't something that should be left to dm handwaving.

Edit: That was in response to the prevous comment. Thanks for responding Shar Tahl, I posted simultaneously. If that's the rule, then what do you make of the elasmosaurus, whose bestiary entry has the same reach of a tall creature of its size + 5. Should we give the companion 15 feet of reach when he get's large?

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I would make it so if that is what the bestiary entry was. The t-rex is a 20/20 so the companion would be 10/10 space/reach. Your Elasmosaurus would be 5/10 for 1-3 and 10/15 for 4+. There is no reason to do otherwise.


Shar Tahl wrote:
I would make it so if that is what the bestiary entry was. The t-rex is a 20/20 so the companion would be 10/10 space/reach. Your Elasmosaurus would be 5/10 for 1-3 and 10/15 for 4+. There is no reason to do otherwise.

Why is doing that any better than not giving any of them reach, because it doesn't specify that they get it? Isn't that just arbitrarily giving away powerful, free abilities?

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
edross wrote:
Shar Tahl wrote:
I would make it so if that is what the bestiary entry was. The t-rex is a 20/20 so the companion would be 10/10 space/reach. Your Elasmosaurus would be 5/10 for 1-3 and 10/15 for 4+. There is no reason to do otherwise.
Why is doing that any better than not giving any of them reach, because it doesn't specify that they get it? Isn't that just arbitrarily giving away powerful, free abilities?

No, it is giving a specific creature the same reach that their body allows in the bestiary. It is as simple as that. I take this as RAI since they did not give the specifics for space/reach. This is all my view of the RAI, so if a DM wants to default everyone to 5 feet unless a rule says otherwise, they are free to do it. I don't think of reach as an ability. Reach is a matter of length of attack mode.

One another note, the +5 reach of that dino would be limited use in a campaign since the creature is aquatic and would only be useful in an aquatic adventure. It's only powerful in a limited scope.(not counting the fact it only gets one attack, period)


Shar Tahl wrote:
edross wrote:
Shar Tahl wrote:
I would make it so if that is what the bestiary entry was. The t-rex is a 20/20 so the companion would be 10/10 space/reach. Your Elasmosaurus would be 5/10 for 1-3 and 10/15 for 4+. There is no reason to do otherwise.
Why is doing that any better than not giving any of them reach, because it doesn't specify that they get it? Isn't that just arbitrarily giving away powerful, free abilities?

No, it is giving a specific creature the same reach that their body allows in the bestiary. It is as simple as that. I take this as RAI since they did not give the specifics for space/reach. This is all my view of the RAI, so if a DM wants to default everyone to 5 feet unless a rule says otherwise, they are free to do it. I don't think of reach as an ability. Reach is a matter of length of attack mode.

One another note, the +5 reach of that dino would be limited use in a campaign since the creature is aquatic and would only be useful in an aquatic adventure. It's only powerful in a limited scope.(not counting the fact it only gets one attack, period)

Shar Tal, thanks you've convinced me, I will instate it as a house rule for my campaigns. However, I still feel this is something that should be officially addressed in errata.


edross wrote:


The T-rex stands on two legs just like the ape, why doesn't he get reach?

Have you seen his arms...?


HaraldKlak wrote:
edross wrote:


The T-rex stands on two legs just like the ape, why doesn't he get reach?
Have you seen his arms...?

Would be a good point, but he makes bite attacks.


I know this is a bit of a forum necro, but I've been running into a problem with my group concerning Large creatures and I figured this would be appropriate.

What (grid wise) is the difference between a Large(long) and Large(tall) creates AND where in any of the bestiaries does it tell you what a creature is considered? I haven't been able to find the answer and have been using common sense (and 3.5 rules) for creatures. Could anyone else shed some light on this for me?


davefromportal wrote:

I know this is a bit of a forum necro, but I've been running into a problem with my group concerning Large creatures and I figured this would be appropriate.

What (grid wise) is the difference between a Large(long) and Large(tall) creates AND where in any of the bestiaries does it tell you what a creature is considered? I haven't been able to find the answer and have been using common sense (and 3.5 rules) for creatures. Could anyone else shed some light on this for me?

Gridwise, there isn't any difference. A large creature always take up a 10 ft. square.

Commonsense is the way to go, but mechanically it doesn't make a difference.
It isn't noted in the monster statblocks whether they are tall or long, but effectively you can discern it based on what reach they have.

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