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# Animal Companion Feat help!

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Mathwei ap Niall wrote:

My math did not add in the stat bumps to strength since the OP had planned to apply at least one of them somewhere else. If he had applied the other to strength then both AC's would be at 22 strength for a net bonus of +6 to damage. The wolf since it only has one attack would get a +9 to damage from it. Add in the Power attack bonus (+4 for the cat +6 for the wolf) bumping the wolf to 2D6(4d6 when VS) + 15 and the cat stays at 1D8/2D6 +6 str +4 PA since it has more then one attack.

If we assume a standard round where the cat gets all 3 shots and the wolf gets both of his:

Cat is at 4.5 +3.5 +3.5 = 11.5 (rnd to 11) +18 str +12 PA = avg 41
On the rnds when raking = 4.5 + 3.5 = 7 avg + 12 +8 = avg 28

Wolf is at 3.5*4 = 14 +18 str +12 PA = avg 44

If the cat pounced that round then he'd get an extra 3.5 damage and would beat the wolf by exactly 1 point. That's a lot of dice rolling for a single point of average damage.

As for the 6 ft step killing the cats DPR any distance greater then 5 ft and less then 10 requires the cat to make move action to re-engage the target so no full attack and no charge. It's called a dead zone and it frustrates all TWF or high BaB characters to no end.

And finally if you read the rake entry the text says 2 rakes but the format states the entry needs to be like this:
Format: rake (2 claws +8, 1d4+2); Location: Special Attacks.
Showing that you get 2 rake attacks at +8 to hit.

The Big Cat Animal companion however displays it like this:
Special Attacks grab, pounce, rake (1d6).
Showing you only get 1 rake at your normal to hit modifier.

Animal Companions are not Animals, they are a separate type with their own abilities and rules. Most of those rules actually make the AC weaker then an equivalent animal but that's the cost of the hunters bond.

my math has them at a 26 str with the bumps(13 base +8 large +3 for the str/dex bumps +2 for the ability increases)

so that's 1d6+8(11.5) per claw and 1d8+8(12.5) for the bite
or power attacking it's 1d6+12(15.5) per claw and 1d8+12(16.5) for the bite

I think you're over thinking the reduced stat block. Under rake it says you get 2 claw attacks and it lists it for convenience. They didn't have the values or the room in the stat block, so it would look like (2 claws +? 1d6+?). You still get 2 attacks. I'm not sure about the grab though. tigers get it on all of the attacks but lions get it on bite so *shrugs*.

so that's 3.5+ 3.5+ 3.5+ 3.5+ 4.5+ 40(8x5)= 58.5
or power attacking 3.5+ 3.5+ 3.5+ 3.5+ 4.5+ 60(12x5)= 78.5

the wolf is at: 4d6+ 12 (26)or power attacking at: 4d6+18 (32)

so that's: 3.5+ 3.5+ 3.5 +3.5 +12= 26
power attacking: 3.5+ 3.5+ 3.5 +3.5 +18= 32

where are you getting +18 str and +12 power attack? 26 str= +8x1.5= 12 and I'm even calculating a higher str than you are. The bab at 10th is only 6 so only -2/+4/+6. I'm getting these numbers from hero lab so I kinda doubt the mistakes on my end, no offence.

EDIT: wait. You were doing 2 attacks. duh.

so at 26 str that's: 3.5+ 3.5+ 3.5 +3.5 +24(12x2)= 36
power attacking: 3.5+ 3.5+ 3.5 +3.5 +24(12x2)+ 12(6x2)= 50

Mathwei ap Niall wrote:

As for the 6 ft step killing the cats DPR any distance greater then 5 ft and less then 10 requires the cat to make move action to re-engage the target so no full attack and no charge. It's called a dead zone and it frustrates all TWF or high BaB characters to no end.

I've never heard of this so call dead zone, I've never seen it played or seen it talked about, nor is it anywhere in the book. While in combat in pathfinder the world is made up of 5 food cubes. You are in one or the other there is no middle ground.

You may entirely be right about the rake All I know is EVERY other entry that has rake has the stat block formatted that way EXCEPT the big cat animal companion. It's been re-printed 5 times now and that entry has never been changed.

Doesn't matter however since they re-wrote the grapple rules.
Remember to maintain a grapple you have to spend a standard action and succeed on a grapple check or the target is released. Using that standard action means you can't make any attacks that round so no rake attack rolls. Your cat does 1D8+whatever or lets go and does a full attack and STILL can't rake. Big Cat companions only get Rake on the pounce.

As I said I ONLY applied the str boost from becoming large and a single stat boost of +1 for the 8th level change. Now if you want to go full maximized companion with the 26 strength that pulls the wolf ahead even more.

Remember the wolf only has one natural attack so it gets 1.5x str bonus on every attack: 26 str = +8 bonus * 1.5 = 12 + 6 PA = +18 damage on every hit. Multiattack gives it 2 attacks so +36 damage. (Vital strike is for moving into melee)

Every round the wolf full attacks it gets:
+7 (2D6 base) +12(str)+6(PA)= 25avg +trip (first attack)
+7 (2D6 base) +12(str)+6(PA)= 25avg +trip (2nd attack)
+7 (2D6 base) +12(str)+6(PA)= 25avg +trip (AoO from prone target)
avg 75 pts damage per fullround (64 when Vital Striking on moving in)

The cat is at (being generous and giving both claws):
Regular FA-> 3.5+ 3.5+ 4.5 + 24(8*3) +12(4*3) = 47
Pouncing->47(base) +7 +24 = 78 avg when pouncing and all attacks hit.

This math puts the wolf 3 pts of damage higher per regular round and 27 dmg a round higher on any round the cat doesn't get to pounce (which is every round past the first pounce attempt).

The wolf also has between a +1 to a +6 to hit over the cat (Wep Focus & prone beats grappled any day) so is far more likely to hit (the cat has to hit the target AC 5 times to do it's damage) and will keep his target from moving every round (wolf will have a massive CMB to trip it's target).

The cat wins on the DPR only on it's first attack if it's a charge, if the fight lasts more then 1 round the wolf does more damage and contributes more to the PC then the cat possibly can. Grapple helps the cat, prone helps EVERYONE.

A target can take a 5ft step and still full attack, ANY distance past that requires a move action per core rules. An opponent who focuses on casting spells or doing 1 big hit around will constantly move more then 5ft every round (ie 2 or more 5ft squares) to prevent you from getting a full attack on it. If they know you can charge the will move between 2-3 squares away (6-9ft) you can't charge them and you can't 5ft step to them. No full attack for you. The more devious ones will simply hamper your movement in some way (caltrops, flash powder, smoke bomb or stairs does the trick).
The point is to keep you more than a 5ft step away and stop you from full attacking.

Mathwei ap Niall wrote:

You may entirely be right about the rake All I know is EVERY other entry that has rake has the stat block formatted that way EXCEPT the big cat animal companion. It's been re-printed 5 times now and that entry has never been changed.

Doesn't matter however since they re-wrote the grapple rules.
Remember to maintain a grapple you have to spend a standard action and succeed on a grapple check or the target is released. Using that standard action means you can't make any attacks that round so no rake attack rolls. Your cat does 1D8+whatever or lets go and does a full attack and STILL can't rake. Big Cat companions only get Rake on the pounce.

As I said I ONLY applied the str boost from becoming large and a single stat boost of +1 for the 8th level change. Now if you want to go full maximized companion with the 26 strength that pulls the wolf ahead even more.

Remember the wolf only has one natural attack so it gets 1.5x str bonus on every attack: 26 str = +8 bonus * 1.5 = 12 + 6 PA = +18 damage on every hit. Multiattack gives it 2 attacks so +36 damage. (Vital strike is for moving into melee)

Every round the wolf full attacks it gets:
+7 (2D6 base) +12(str)+6(PA)= 25avg +trip (first attack)
+7 (2D6 base) +12(str)+6(PA)= 25avg +trip (2nd attack)
+7 (2D6 base) +12(str)+6(PA)= 25avg +trip (AoO from prone target)
avg 75 pts damage per fullround (64 when Vital Striking on moving in)

The cat is at (being generous and giving both claws):
Regular FA-> 3.5+ 3.5+ 4.5 + 24(8*3) +12(4*3) = 47
Pouncing->47(base) +7 +24 = 78 avg when pouncing and all attacks hit.

This math puts the wolf 3 pts of damage higher per regular round and 27 dmg a round higher on any round the cat doesn't get to pounce (which is every round past the first pounce attempt).

The wolf also has between a +1 to a +6 to hit over the cat (Wep Focus & prone beats grappled any day) so is far more likely to hit (the cat has to hit the target AC 5 times to do it's damage) and will keep his target from moving every round (wolf...

You get rakes EVERY time you make a grapple check so yes you do get the rakes. They are free attacks that don't take actions. And grappled is a lot worse than tripped. If you have a 2 handed weapon or cast spells you are effectively useless when grappled and with the bonuses from grab and greater grapple you have a lot better chance (+22 with 24 str) than with the wolfs trip(+14 seeing as you can't get improved). lose the trip and you just lowered your damage by quite abit, not to mention you have a less chance of hitting with the extra attack. Second round I have the guy pinned and are getting 4 rakes and a bite against a pinned opponent that loses hit dex almost for sure because of my additional +5 to sustain the grapple. Even if he gets out he just wasted his standard action and I get to grapple him again.

Mathwei ap Niall wrote:

A target can take a 5ft step and still full attack, ANY distance past that requires a move action per core rules. An opponent who focuses on casting spells or doing 1 big hit around will constantly move more then 5ft every round (ie 2 or more 5ft squares) to prevent you from getting a full attack on it. If they know you can charge the will move between 2-3 squares away (6-9ft) you can't charge them and you can't 5ft step to them. No full attack for you. The more devious ones will simply hamper your movement in some way (caltrops, flash powder, smoke bomb or stairs does the trick).
The point is to keep you more than a 5ft step away and stop you from full attacking.

You can't be outside of the squares. You have to be somewhere in the 5 ft increments. it's unrealistic but if you start doing that the whole combat system brakes down. there's a reason everything is in 5 ft increments.

hello, my name is ninja wrote:
Mathwei ap Niall wrote:

You may entirely be right about the rake All I know is EVERY other entry that has rake has the stat block formatted that way EXCEPT the big cat animal companion. It's been re-printed 5 times now and that entry has never been changed.

Doesn't matter however since they re-wrote the grapple rules.
Remember to maintain a grapple you have to spend a standard action and succeed on a grapple check or the target is released. Using that standard action means you can't make any attacks that round so no rake attack rolls. Your cat does 1D8+whatever or lets go and does a full attack and STILL can't rake. Big Cat companions only get Rake on the pounce.

As I said I ONLY applied the str boost from becoming large and a single stat boost of +1 for the 8th level change. Now if you want to go full maximized companion with the 26 strength that pulls the wolf ahead even more.

Remember the wolf only has one natural attack so it gets 1.5x str bonus on every attack: 26 str = +8 bonus * 1.5 = 12 + 6 PA = +18 damage on every hit. Multiattack gives it 2 attacks so +36 damage. (Vital strike is for moving into melee)

Every round the wolf full attacks it gets:
+7 (2D6 base) +12(str)+6(PA)= 25avg +trip (first attack)
+7 (2D6 base) +12(str)+6(PA)= 25avg +trip (2nd attack)
+7 (2D6 base) +12(str)+6(PA)= 25avg +trip (AoO from prone target)
avg 75 pts damage per fullround (64 when Vital Striking on moving in)

The cat is at (being generous and giving both claws):
Regular FA-> 3.5+ 3.5+ 4.5 + 24(8*3) +12(4*3) = 47
Pouncing->47(base) +7 +24 = 78 avg when pouncing and all attacks hit.

This math puts the wolf 3 pts of damage higher per regular round and 27 dmg a round higher on any round the cat doesn't get to pounce (which is every round past the first pounce attempt).

The wolf also has between a +1 to a +6 to hit over the cat (Wep Focus & prone beats grappled any day) so is far more likely to hit (the cat has to hit the target AC 5 times to do it's damage) and will keep his target

...

Incorrect ALL attacks take actions, look over the rake special ability again:

Rake wrote:
A creature with this special attack gains extra natural attacks under certain conditions, typically when it grapples its foe. In addition to the options available to all grapplers, a monster with the rake ability gains two free claw attacks that it can use only against a grappled foe. The bonus and damage caused by these attacks is included in the creature’s description. A monster with the rake ability must begin its turn already grappling to use its rake—it can’t begin a grapple and rake in the same turn.

The cat must maintain the attack at the start of the round and then (per the grapple rules can choose to do 1 of the actions).

The cat can choose to do damage equal to whatever attack form instituted the grab (tigers can either claw or bite depending on what attack started the grapple) OR take two free claw attacks.
The rake is an additional OPTION the cat can take. He can either do direct damage from the Bite or try to attack with the rakes he can't do both. The rakes CAN do more damage but they can easily miss, the bite does less but it's gauranteed.
Pick One.

Grappled only affects you if you ONLY have a 2hd weapon, you can still cast, make unarmed/natural attacks, take full attacks with light or 1hd weapons or perform any combat maneuver.

And finally the Wolf has about a +20 on his trip attempt. +6 Bab +8 str +1 Weapon Focus +1 size +2 improved trip or ability focus +2 Charge (at 10th level the wolf has 5 feats and I've only spent 3 of them, improved trip is an option or ability focus or any of a dozen other ways of bumping it) against the average +25 -30 CMD at this level. If it isn't flying or size=Gargantuan or bigger it can probably be tripped.

As I said the Cat is situationaly better for damage, but on everyday use you just get more out of the Wolf.
Simply put I'd rather have a car that did 80 every day then one that did 120 but only on Thursday.

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I believe that you are overparsing the text here to try to win the internet. I also humbly suggest that since you two are completely offtopic to the original poster at this point that you agree to disagree and move on, or take it to a different thread.

No offense intended to anyone at all.

Mathwei ap Niall wrote:

Incorrect ALL attacks take actions, look over the rake special ability again:

Rake wrote:
A creature with this special attack gains extra natural attacks under certain conditions, typically when it grapples its foe. In addition to the options available to all grapplers, a monster with the rake ability gains two free claw attacks that it can use only against a grappled foe. The bonus and damage caused by these attacks is included in the creature’s description. A monster with the rake ability must begin its turn already grappling to use its rake—it can’t begin a grapple and rake in the same turn.
The cat must maintain the attack at the start of the round and then (per the grapple rules can choose to do 1 of the actions).

The cat can choose to do damage equal to whatever attack form instituted the grab (tigers can either claw or bite depending on what attack started the grapple) OR take two free claw attacks.
The rake is an additional OPTION the cat can take. He can either do direct damage from the Bite or try to attack with the rakes he can't do both. The rakes CAN do more damage but they can easily miss, the bite does less but it's gauranteed.
Pick One.

Grappled only affects you if you ONLY have a 2hd weapon, you can still cast, make unarmed/natural attacks, take full attacks with light or 1hd weapons or perform any combat maneuver.

And finally the Wolf has about a +20 on his trip attempt. +6 Bab +8 str +1 Weapon Focus +1 size +2 improved trip or ability focus +2 Charge (at 10th level the wolf has 5 feats and I've only spent 3 of them, improved trip is an option or ability focus or any of a dozen other ways of bumping it) against the average +25 -30 CMD at this level. If it isn't flying or size=Gargantuan or bigger it can probably be tripped.

As I said the Cat is situationaly better for damage, but on everyday use you just get more out of the Wolf.
Simply put I'd rather have a car that did 80 every day then one that did 120 but only on Thursday.

first off yea looking at it rakes are another option so they aren't as good, but do you know what the concentration check is for casting in a grapple is? 10+ cmb of grappler+ spell level. so the cat, if it has ability focus and charge, has a +26 cmb, so thats a dc 36+ spell level, so no you really cant cast in a grapple.

the AOO is not always a for sure thing with the wolf. if the creature can teleport/Ddoor you loose it. if the creature has a high enough attack bonus to kill you anyway, which isn't hard ACs aren't know for their amazing ac, or he is a caster, no minus for casting defensibly for prone, he may just kill it.

When it comes down to it it's a matter of taste and we have diffrent ones. I'm deathly afraid grapple and think trip is a novelty, but that's just me. You have, however, made me think of the wolf as a very viable AC, much more than what I had thought.Just thought I'd get that out of the way.

Rathendar wrote:

I believe that you are overparsing the text here to try to win the internet. I also humbly suggest that since you two are completely offtopic to the original poster at this point that you agree to disagree and move on, or take it to a different thread.

No offense intended to anyone at all.

Weeeellll.... not COMPLETELY off topic...

But yea I see your point, it's bed time anyway. And I'm sure if the Op wants to look at the walls of text he could probably find SOMETHING useful. Oh well, sorry about the thread jack Ferio.

Lets see. feats... feats...feats... hmm.

For the wolf I would suggest power attack, vital strike, weapon focus, and maybe ability focus not necessarily in that order.

For the cat I would go power attack, ability focus, improved unarmed strike, improved grapple, and greater grapple in that order if you want to go grapple monkey.

the wolf is looking like a better choice for you because you can fit in a few teamwork feats as it's feats are useful but interchangeable. I guess so are the cats but if you're not going with the grapple monkey than the wolf is looking better.

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Feral Combat Training? Seriously, that opens a ton of options, like the style feats.

blackbloodtroll wrote:
Feral Combat Training? Seriously, that opens a ton of options, like the style feats.

Does a wolf have a hand open? what does a tiger using monkey style look like? Can a wolf take panther style? one of these is an actual question.

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
hello, my name is ninja wrote:
blackbloodtroll wrote:
Feral Combat Training? Seriously, that opens a ton of options, like the style feats.
Does a wolf have a hand open? what does a tiger using monkey style look like? Can a wolf take panther style? one of these is an actual question.

The answer is yes, cool, and yes.

Rathendar wrote:

I believe that you are overparsing the text here to try to win the internet. I also humbly suggest that since you two are completely offtopic to the original poster at this point that you agree to disagree and move on, or take it to a different thread.

No offense intended to anyone at all.

Actually, this off topic conversation has really helped me look into which AC i'm going to take. So yes off topic but REALLY useful. :)

Basically it comes down to:

Wolf: Better flanking partner, less feats.

Tiger: Mage Killer, more feats and \$ to do as sustained damage.

Edit: Also curious how the math works when factoring in precise strike? (an extra 1d6 damage per attack when flanking)

Feiro,

My level 8 druid has had both wolf and tiger animal companions. Both are solid choices, at least in my experience. I mostly went with tiger for flavor reasons, but would probably pick tiger over wolf for other reasons too.

One thing to consider is that wolves are faster (50') than tigers (40').

Although I went for flavor, one thing I have appreciated from the tiger is first round max damage potential with charge/pounce/rake. Sometimes getting that damage in the first round can be the difference between outright killing an opponent (opening another charge/pounce/rake on the next round) or not.

Otherwise they are very similar. I think the "prone vs grab" thing is very important. Since my druid is an archer druid "prone" actually isn't what she wants her AC to do. And grappling an opposing spellcaster is huge.

But either is a fine choice.

Feiro,

My level 8 druid has had both wolf and tiger animal companions. Both are solid choices, at least in my experience. I mostly went with tiger for flavor reasons, but would probably pick tiger over wolf for other reasons too.

One thing to consider is that wolves are faster (50') than tigers (40').

Although I went for flavor, one thing I have appreciated from the tiger is first round max damage potential with charge/pounce/rake. Sometimes getting that damage in the first round can be the difference between outright killing an opponent (opening another charge/pounce/rake on the next round) or not.

Otherwise they are very similar. I think the "prone vs grab" thing is very important. Since my druid is an archer druid "prone" actually isn't what she wants her AC to do. And grappling an opposing spellcaster is huge.

But either is a fine choice.

Dragon,

I would like your opinion on whether it would be worth it to even consider improved grapple feat. 3 feats worth (of a total of 8 the AC gets) used just to be amazing at grapple? With the ability to rake a grapple creature, the real benefit is just the +4 to start the grapple, correct? And if I'm against mages I would already have a +14 CMB grappling at only level 7, that should be enough to take down a mage even without the bonus +4 right?

Feiro, I tend to value flexibility over single-purpose awesomeness. So I'm probably not the right person to ask about investing multiple feats to become an awesome grappler.

I wouldn't do it because there are other ways to boost the CMB of your animal companion (bull's strength, for example). Also, as you note, the primary purpose of grappling for my tiger is to take down opposing spellcasters, and most NPC spellcasters tend to have low CMDs, so my tiger's pretty good at that already.

So I tend to focus on animal feats which make my AC more generally effective, such as improving natural armor or improving natural attacks.

But, as I said, I'm more of a role player than an optimizer.

To directly answer your question, "yes" I think it would be "worth it to consider" the improved grapple feat. It depends on how much you want to specialize. It's certainly a viable combat choice and a near auto-grappler can give a GM absolute fits. (Which, frankly, is one reason I wouldn't do it, because in my experience, GMs who find a particular tactic encounter-breaking simply design around that tactic which frequently neutralizes your feat choice anyway).

Feiro, I tend to value flexibility over single-purpose awesomeness. So I'm probably not the right person to ask about investing multiple feats to become an awesome grappler.

I wouldn't do it because there are other ways to boost the CMB of your animal companion (bull's strength, for example). Also, as you note, the primary purpose of grappling for my tiger is to take down opposing spellcasters, and most NPC spellcasters tend to have low CMDs, so my tiger's pretty good at that already.

So I tend to focus on animal feats which make my AC more generally effective, such as improving natural armor or improving natural attacks.

But, as I said, I'm more of a role player than an optimizer.

To directly answer your question, "yes" I think it would be "worth it to consider" the improved grapple feat. It depends on how much you want to specialize. It's certainly a viable combat choice and a near auto-grappler can give a GM absolute fits. (Which, frankly, is one reason I wouldn't do it, because in my experience, GMs who find a particular tactic encounter-breaking simply design around that tactic which frequently neutralizes your feat choice anyway).

Very true, and my DM is that exact person that does his best to counter EVERYTHING we try and min-max. Plus he rolls behind the screen and its pretty clear when he fudges rolls. "Oh my AC is 24, the monster has a +6 to hit and he has crit me twice and missed the Ninja? Oh wait the Ninja is at 3hp... No wonder he's missing him with only a 17 AC..."

Anyway, I tend to be more in your department as well. I want a good flanking partner with the ability to grapple as well. Since I get awesome teamwork feats, (and a tiger with precise strike does pretty dang good damage on a pounce...)

I guess the question is... Is it worth it to get something like Light armor proficiency, or do you think the Armor Class of Animals is good enough not to get instantly murdered. Or rather, is their armor low enough as is that the feat would even be worth it?

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Tiger companions really get a huge boon from Dragon Style. Combined with Feral Combat training, Tiger style(awesomely so) work great for tigers.

Ferio, I took light armor proficiency for my druid's tiger and invested in some +1 studded leather barding for him. Plus I took improved natural armor. One of the knocks on ACs is that they aren't survivable, but with the barding, the improved natural armor and barkskin my tiger's AC is comparable to our melee combatants. Not as good as our tank, but certainly better than my druid! But then again, she's an archer druid so isn't in melee much.

I always hesitate to offer any build advice to anyone because my own purposes in building characters tends to be so dramatically different than other people's purposes. My main reason for boosting the tiger's armor class is that the druid has lost two previous animal companions and is sort of paranoid now about losing an animal companion to a crit from a hill giant (how she lost her last one), so she's wanting the highest armor class she can get.

In our party the tactics we are currently employing are for the druid and her animal companion to take out all the mooks or minions while the rest of the party focuses on the big bad guys. They typically take down two or three per round between her bow, her spells and her animal companion.

Once the field is cleared they gang up on the big boss too. It isn't uncommon for the two of them to provide the killing blows to the boss with her full bow attack plus a charge/pounce/rake attack from the tiger.

Get a Ape
1: Power Attack
3: Furious Focus
4th lvl stat increase: int
5th: Weapon Proficiency Greatsword
7th: Tougness
8th lvl stat increase: Strength
9th: Vital strike

etc you just keep going down the vital strike line.

the ape is a large creature at lvl 4 with 21 strength, its great sword will do a base of 3d6 damage you can make enlarge a permanent spell on it to make it a huge creature bam king kong with a great sword, its a glass cannon but its damage isnt negligible at later levels unlike most companions

Stasiscell wrote:

Get a Ape

1: Power Attack
3: Furious Focus
4th lvl stat increase: int
5th: Weapon Proficiency Greatsword
7th: Tougness
8th lvl stat increase: Strength
9th: Vital strike

etc you just keep going down the vital strike line.

the ape is a large creature at lvl 4 with 21 strength, its great sword will do a base of 3d6 damage you can make enlarge a permanent spell on it to make it a huge creature bam king kong with a great sword, its a glass cannon but its damage isnt negligible at later levels unlike most companions

Trouble with this is Animal companions have a set amount of feats they can get. They don't get feats ever 2 levels like a player character. Here's how it works:

Level 1 - Feat
Level 2 - Feat
Level 5 - Feat
Level 8 - Feat
Level 10 - Feat
Level 13 - Feat
Level 16 - Feat
Level 18 - Feat

So as you see, they only get a maximum of 8 feats. Your Gorilla idea is interesting.

EDIT: Also, they would not be able to get Furious focus until 5. As they can only use a list of feats on the animal feats page until level 4 (when you can raise intel).

Ferio wrote:

Trouble with this is Animal companions have a set amount of feats they can get. They don't get feats ever 2 levels like a player character. Here's how it works:

Level 1 - Feat
Level 2 - Feat
Level 5 - Feat
Level 8 - Feat
Level 10 - Feat
Level 13 - Feat
Level 16 - Feat
Level 18 - Feat

So as you see, they only get a maximum of 8 feats. Your Gorilla idea is interesting.

EDIT: Also, they would not be able to get Furious focus until 5. As they can only use a list of feats on the animal feats page until level 4 (when you can raise intel).

Thanks for pointing that out, all in all i think the gorilla package can produce some gnarly dps at low levels rivaling a two-handed fighter.

I have a E6 sylvan sorcerer with boon companion that has a gorilla companion who wears wooden armor and wields a great axe to good effect.
I was under the impression that the feats were 1,3 and 5 but seeing that they are 1,2 and 5 the build gets marginally better feats wise i chose 1: light armor 3: power attack and 5: weapon proficiency great axe.
Was one of the coolest characters i played, he was the descendant of a Jungle spirit and together with his monkey Kudoo he did kick many a ass.

Thanks for all the tips everyone. I've decided to go with a Wolf for a few reasons.

A) Flanking Partner for my teamwork feats.
B) Tripping is great when you are both murdering someone together.
C) Wolf can learn Tandem Trip at 5 (Inquisitor at 6) Thus making the wolf roll 2D20 and taking the better D20 for the trip result. (with his already good CMB, this means nearly 100% trip chance)

My feats are as follows: (Thanks for who pointed out MW studded leather gives no penalties even if you are not proficient with it!)

Level 1 - Power Attack
Level 2 - Weapon Focus (Bite)
Level 5 - Tandem Trip
Level 8 - Improved Natural Attack (Bite)
Level 10 - Vital Strike
Level 13 - ?

I'll take it to this point and hopefully get more ideas along the way!

Two Weapon Ape is nasty as well
This requires you to be a human with eye for talent (+2 int)

1: Weapon Proficiency Sawtooth Sabre
2: Two Weapon Fighting
5: Double Slice
8: Combat Reflexes (Large creatures have nice reach)
10: Improved Two Weapon Fighting
13: Weapon Focus Sawtooth Saber
16: Power Attack
18: Two-Weapon Rend

If you go the sorcerer route you can give your ape some nasty buffs with the animal companions share spell ability a few notable are, Giantform 2,Transformation, Monstrous physique, Mirror Image.

Pop a belt of strength on the monkey and it will have a crazy ammount of strength.

Thats some serious monkey business , its as if Raistlin Majere teamed up with king kong to ruin somebodies day.

Just imagine it a magically altered huge gorilla running around with huge sawtooth sabres that it wields like a red mantis assassin backed by a full spellcaster.

Ferio wrote:

Thanks for all the tips everyone. I've decided to go with a Wolf for a few reasons.

A) Flanking Partner for my teamwork feats.
B) Tripping is great when you are both murdering someone together.
C) Wolf can learn Tandem Trip at 5 (Inquisitor at 6) Thus making the wolf roll 2D20 and taking the better D20 for the trip result. (with his already good CMB, this means nearly 100% trip chance)

My feats are as follows: (Thanks for who pointed out MW studded leather gives no penalties even if you are not proficient with it!)

Level 1 - Power Attack
Level 2 - Weapon Focus (Bite)
Level 5 - Tandem Trip
Level 8 - Improved Natural Attack (Bite)
Level 10 - Vital Strike
Level 13 - ?

I'll take it to this point and hopefully get more ideas along the way!

You might also want to consider an Allosuaurs.

Both Tiger and Wolf only have 5ft reach. An Allosaurus has 10ft.

If you want a controller that uses Vital Strike use a Ankylosaurus. It has a Strength based Stun attack. Plus he has 10ft reach. Way better than the Wolf.

If you want a solid hitter with only one attack take a Tyrannosaurus. It gets powerful bite (so 2x str instead of 1.5x) and has a good 2d6 bite attack with grab.
And you probably guessed it here... it has 10ft reach!

If you insist on a tripper take a Stegosaurus. It has reach ;). Also it has 2d8 damage with its attack. If you take INA you end up with 3d8.

Reach is, especially for controllers with stun or trip, essential. You can just cover that much more area and get a lot more AoOs. Plus you can protect people by standing next to them or letting them ride on you.

EDIT: GAO GAO STEGOSAURUS!
EDIT2: If you worry about speed... horseshoes of speed (+30ft) are dirt cheap.

Alienfreak wrote:
Ferio wrote:

Thanks for all the tips everyone. I've decided to go with a Wolf for a few reasons.

A) Flanking Partner for my teamwork feats.
B) Tripping is great when you are both murdering someone together.
C) Wolf can learn Tandem Trip at 5 (Inquisitor at 6) Thus making the wolf roll 2D20 and taking the better D20 for the trip result. (with his already good CMB, this means nearly 100% trip chance)

My feats are as follows: (Thanks for who pointed out MW studded leather gives no penalties even if you are not proficient with it!)

Level 1 - Power Attack
Level 2 - Weapon Focus (Bite)
Level 5 - Tandem Trip
Level 8 - Improved Natural Attack (Bite)
Level 10 - Vital Strike
Level 13 - ?

I'll take it to this point and hopefully get more ideas along the way!

You might also want to consider an Allosuaurs.

Both Tiger and Wolf only have 5ft reach. An Allosaurus has 10ft.

If you want a controller that uses Vital Strike use a Ankylosaurus. It has a Strength based Stun attack. Plus he has 10ft reach. Way better than the Wolf.

If you want a solid hitter with only one attack take a Tyrannosaurus. It gets powerful bite (so 2x str instead of 1.5x) and has a good 2d6 bite attack with grab.
And you probably guessed it here... it has 10ft reach!

If you insist on a tripper take a Stegosaurus. It has reach ;). Also it has 2d8 damage with its attack. If you take INA you end up with 3d8.

Reach is, especially for controllers with stun or trip, essential. You can just cover that much more area and get a lot more AoOs. Plus you can protect people by standing next to them or letting them ride on you.

EDIT: GAO GAO STEGOSAURUS!
EDIT2: If you worry about speed... horseshoes of speed (+30ft) are dirt cheap.

Thanks for the tip! Yeah I will keep this in mind for the future. Sadly for this campaign the DM has BANNED all Dino's. Thinks they don't fit in the world. Sad, but oh well.

Wouldn't wolf have reach as a large creature or am I missing something?

Ferio wrote:
Alienfreak wrote:
Ferio wrote:

Thanks for all the tips everyone. I've decided to go with a Wolf for a few reasons.

A) Flanking Partner for my teamwork feats.
B) Tripping is great when you are both murdering someone together.
C) Wolf can learn Tandem Trip at 5 (Inquisitor at 6) Thus making the wolf roll 2D20 and taking the better D20 for the trip result. (with his already good CMB, this means nearly 100% trip chance)

My feats are as follows: (Thanks for who pointed out MW studded leather gives no penalties even if you are not proficient with it!)

Level 1 - Power Attack
Level 2 - Weapon Focus (Bite)
Level 5 - Tandem Trip
Level 8 - Improved Natural Attack (Bite)
Level 10 - Vital Strike
Level 13 - ?

I'll take it to this point and hopefully get more ideas along the way!

You might also want to consider an Allosuaurs.

Both Tiger and Wolf only have 5ft reach. An Allosaurus has 10ft.

If you want a controller that uses Vital Strike use a Ankylosaurus. It has a Strength based Stun attack. Plus he has 10ft reach. Way better than the Wolf.

If you want a solid hitter with only one attack take a Tyrannosaurus. It gets powerful bite (so 2x str instead of 1.5x) and has a good 2d6 bite attack with grab.
And you probably guessed it here... it has 10ft reach!

If you insist on a tripper take a Stegosaurus. It has reach ;). Also it has 2d8 damage with its attack. If you take INA you end up with 3d8.

Reach is, especially for controllers with stun or trip, essential. You can just cover that much more area and get a lot more AoOs. Plus you can protect people by standing next to them or letting them ride on you.

EDIT: GAO GAO STEGOSAURUS!
EDIT2: If you worry about speed... horseshoes of speed (+30ft) are dirt cheap.

Thanks for the tip! Yeah I will keep this in mind for the future. Sadly for this campaign the DM has BANNED all Dino's. Thinks they don't fit in the world. Sad, but oh well.

Wouldn't wolf have reach as a large creature or am I missing something?

Wolves are long creatures and thus do not have reach. So its 10ft space but only 5ft reach.

http://www.d20pfsrd.com/bestiary/monster-listings/animals/wolf/dire-wolf

See here for reference.

Sorry for rezzing this thread from the dead, but I was going through it to find some inspiration for my character and I noticed this "ape wielding sword" nonsense...

Not only it sounds awkward from a role-playing viewpoint (why would a gorilla swing a blade?), rules on intelligent animals have clearly defined this case.

Quote:
An intelligent gorilla could hold or wield a sword, but its inclination is to make slam attacks. No amount of training (including weapon proficiency feats) is going to make it fully comfortable attacking in any other way.

This is just something I could not keep my mouth shut about as it's completely ridiculous.

On-topic, however...

Feats for companions would largely depend on what purpose that companion would serve. Some feats I prefer are Toughness, Weapon Focus, Improved Natural Attack, Skill Focus, Power Attack, Blind-Fight, etc. I had a Dire Lion with Skill Focus (Stealth) who specialized in taking out squishy wizard and support characters by sneaking up from behind them and ripping them to shreds.

Cats and wolves are all good. In my opinion, wolves are more for teamwork since their trip makes for some good AoO's. Casters can still cast defensively, so being prone is not much of a drawback in my opinion. Big cats, on the other hand, have grab which is very nice. You still deal roughly the same amount of damage (bite damage plus rake damage as opposed to bite plus claw damage in a full round) and the plus side is that any caster will have a tough time casting anything unless it's a Vocal only spell. Big weapons are also no use in a grapple.

I'd take grab over trip any day.

I'll ignore all the Boon Companion back and forth. The feat's been around for a while.

@OP: You are wise to ignore Light Armor. Just get your companion leather barding, or Masterwork Studded Leather barding, and call it good. Pay the -0 ACP penalty for not being proficient.

@OP: If you intend to spend time in dungeons or other crowded spaces, seriously consider the Narrow Frame feat. It depends on your context. If you're playing Kingmaker then no need for this feat. If you're playing PFS, with lots of twisty passages all alike, get Narrow Frame. If your GM is sloppy and ignores the -4 'squeezing' penalty maybe don't bother.

@OP: If you ever feel like you want to increase the combined combat effectiveness of your PC/Animal Companion here's one way to do so.

Yay necro, cuz I just can't ignore this...

•Almost every "sample build" above for a companion puts a feat with a +1 BAB req (Power Attack, Weapon Focus, etc) at level one, which Animal Companion rules specifically state you can't have until level 3.

•For Wolf ACs, tripping doesn't provoke AoO unless you have Greater Trip, and Greater Trip requires Improved Trip as a prereq, which requires Combat Expertise, which requires Int 13, which no Animal Companion is ever gonna reach.

I'm super-surprised that no one has caught these...

Mathwei ap Niall wrote:

The cat must maintain the attack at the start of the round and then (per the grapple rules can choose to do 1 of the actions).

The cat can choose to do damage equal to whatever attack form instituted the grab (tigers can either claw or bite depending on what attack started the grapple) OR take two free claw attacks.
The rake is an additional OPTION the cat can take. He can either do direct damage from the Bite or try to attack with the rakes he can't do both. The rakes CAN do more damage but they can easily miss, the bite does less but it's gauranteed.
Pick One.

Rake (Ex)

A creature with this special attack gains extra natural attacks under certain conditions, typically when it grapples its foe. In addition to the options available to all grapplers, a monster with the rake ability gains two free claw attacks that it can use only against a grappled foe. The bonus and damage caused by these attacks is included in the creature’s description. A monster with the rake ability must begin its turn already grappling to use its rake—it can’t begin a grapple and rake in the same turn.

Format: rake (2 claws +8, 1d4+2); Location: Special Attacks.

Pounce (Ex)

When a creature with this special attack makes a charge, it can make a full attack (including rake attacks if the creature also has the rake ability).

Format: pounce; Location: Special Attacks.

This is how it's used

Charge Attack- 1 bite, 2 claws and 2 rake attacks
Full-Attack- 1 bite, 2 claws
Grapple- (on maintain AND if successful), damage deal bite or claw damage automatically, 2 rake attacks (don't forget their reduced AC from grappled condition). move move with your opponent, 2 rake attacks. pin opponent gains pinned condition, 2 rake attacks (don't forget their further reduced AC from pinned condition).

If you are maintaining to deal damage it is automatically inflicted, you choose bite or claw. Don't forget Grab adds a +4 bonus to your grapple checks. Don't forget the +5 circumstance bonus from maintaining a grapple.
You never get a full attack action while grappling. Maintaining or initiating a grapple is a Standard action and you choose your grapple action between damage, move, pin or tie up.

As far as feats go...
At level 1 taking Light Armor Proficiency for your animal companion would be a waste unless you plan on using barding for your beast. Other feats that you can take at 1st level that aren't too bad are;

Combat Reflexes
Run
Blind-Fight
Endurance
Iron Will
Sure Footed (for riding)
Valiant Steed (so you don't have a scaredy cat)

Endurance would also be good for a war cat (barding) as they can sleep in the armor (up to Medium armor) without being fatigued. If you look at the time it takes to don and remove that stuff it could be a hassle.

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