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Lion-tamer circus bard: How to get an animal companion?


I'm working on a bard character concept for a Jade Regent campaign. The character's backstory is that she was a lion-tamer in a travelling Varisian circus. I'm probably taking the Animal Speaker bard archetype.

1) Is there a way RAW to get an animal companion, though any kind of feats or archetypes? I'm not interested in multiclassing.

2) If not (which I suspect is the case), what do you think would be a balanced trade-off? Would a feat be enough? A swap of a class features? Maybe a custom feat to take the cleric animal domain minus the spells?

3) Alternately, how viable is simply using Handle Animal to train a regular animal?

My GM is open to creative ideas so long as they're not unbalancing.

My combat strategy is going to be to use nets, whips and spells (grease, minor image) for battlefield control and let other characters do the damage.

Eldritch Heritage for the Fey(Sylvan) Bloodline Power, but it's dubious.

"I have a tame lion" sound fine for trait.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber Subscriber

The point of animal companions is that they are supposed to have a supernatural link between the PC and the beast. If the PC just has a lion that he has tamed, Handle Animal is the way to do it. If you want to make it more than that, you can get a druid to cast awaken on the lion, you can take some levels in druid, or you could try to use eldritch heritage as noted, however, RAW is ambiguous as to whether you can use eldritch heritage with a wildblooded bloodline. I'd allow it but some GMs might not, and I do not recall whether it is PFS legal.

The Sylvan bloodline is even more dubious than the standard wildblooded Eldritch Heritage question. It specifies that you must give up both your Arcana and your first Bloodline power in order to take a weaker animal companion. A very lenient DM might allow it, but lions are pretty good.

Sounds like you may have to go with Handle Animal.

You can try leadership with GM approval.

and here's a 5 year thread necro: in the 5 years since this question was asked, is there any way other than Animal Ally for a bard to get an animal companion?

Failing that, is there any other class that

a) offers a scaling +atk/+dmg bonus to many targets from 1st level (a la inspire courage)
b) can get an animal companion?

I suppose an Evangelist cleric with the Animal domain could pull it off. That kind of shuts off a bard's cool skills powers though. Anything else?

Someone actually answered that in this thread.

Skill Focus Kn Nature - Eldritch Heritage (Sylvan) - Boon Companion

You want a skill monkey, a buffer, and an animal companion. You are gonna have to compromise or spend the feats.

Inquisitor (Sacred Huntsmaster) gets lots of skill points and an animal companion. If you worship Milani you can cast Good Hope as a 3rd level spell.

A sacred huntmaster of Milani or an evangelist cleric of Erastil. Wacky!

Is Eldritch Heritage (Sylvan) actually a thing? I was under the impression that it wasn't a thing. If I was at a table, I'd rather just go Nature Soul->Animal Ally just in case.

I figured there might be a bard archetype for some version of skinwalker or catfolk or something that got an AC. I guess not!

...I'm always looking at the pieces of the halfling wolf-band puzzle. An Order of the Paw cavalier to give teamwork feats x2 (and some saves), a nature oracle for saving throws (and divine spells, and maybe trapfinding), and a bard for inspire courage x2. I'm just trying to see if there's a better archetype (or...prestige class?) for the bard than animal speaker. (An animal speaker bard can talk to the oracle's hyper-intelligent wolf without needing speak with animals, which best)

While its no Lion, the rogue has a nifty archtype for a sneak attacking thief monkey.

Silver Crusade

You can NOT take wildblooded bloodlines with Eldritch Heritage, since they are archetypes.

I'd go Duettist archetype with a cat Mauler familiar. With a bit of reskin, you can describe it like a lion when in Battle Form. At the same time you don't need to teach it tricks since it's intelligent.

yeah, we've had official clarification that eldritch heritage can't pick wildblooded stuff.

Ooh! A duettist bard with a mauler familiar using it as a mount (at 3rd level)! That is cray-cray! So, since Paizo hasn't seen fit to have dogs be familiars (so no wolf-ish thing for me), there are a lot of interesting options.

Let's see: goats start at 12 Str, so that's pretty baaada** as a familiar, some of the familiars can fly (giant owl, giant raven), and a few have inborn poison.

What familiar is the best to use as a mount?

foxes, they end up with the highest str when medium so they are likely to be strong enough to carry you.

Silver Crusade

Goat is good but not as good as you think. Because it starts already as small, Battle Form gives it only a +2 to strength, for a total of 14.

Since it was clarified by the designer that Battle Form is to be intended as a polymorph effect, Tiny creatures polymorphing into medium also get a +4 str, -2 dex. Therefore, the best familiar of all in terms of raw strength becomes the fox (which is wolf-ish, btw), which starts from str 9, and then goes up to 15 in Battle Form.

Both the goat and the fox have only one natural attack, therefore remember to add 1.5x str to damage.

Other honorable mentions are:

- crab: starts from str 7, jumping to 13 in Battle Form. It has 2 attacks, therefore it will actually deal more damage than fox and goat over time, despite the lower strength. Moreover, it has grab and constrict, which make it a dangerous grappling machine! The bonus is nice if you focus on grapple as well.

- hakw/owl: both start from str 6, which rises to 12 in Battle Form. They both have two attacks and give you a useful bonus (despite the one given by the owl being a bit more useful in my opinion). Furthermore, they're amazing scouts (hawk is better at spotting, owl at sneaking), both because they can fly and because of their high perception bonuses. Unfortunately, they can't tell you what they've seen. Choose one of these if you are small-sized and want an intelligent flying mount (and you do want it).

Dishonorable mentions:

- raven: it loses its ability to speak, which is the only useful thing of this familiar. The bonus is terrible and the stats are even worse. If you want an avian familiar, go with hawk or owl.

- poison scales with constitution, which is unaffected by the Mauler archetype, and has usually very minor effects. Avoid it.

Additional honorable mention goes to:

Flying fox.

It trades a bit of dex for wisdom otherwise it is a fox with 60 foot fly speed.

Silver Crusade

Grandlounge wrote:

Additional honorable mention goes to:

Flying fox.

It trades a bit of dex for wisdom otherwise it is a fox with 60 foot fly speed.

I don't see it in the familiars list.

Page 121 bestiary 5.

Silver Crusade

Grandlounge wrote:
Page 121 bestiary 5.

Weird that the familiars page is not updated. Btw it's page 112, not 121.


Wouldn't Tiny -> Medium be +10 STR, -4 DEX and +2 CON?

Tiny -> Small= +4 STR, -2 DEX
Small -> Medium= +4 STR, -2 DEX, +2 CON
Battle Form: +2 STR

Because Battle Form says that the +2 STR is in addition to the size increase adjustments...
That would put a Fox at 19 STR with a 1d6 Bite.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber
Tyrant Lizard King wrote:

Wouldn't Tiny -> Medium be +10 STR, -4 DEX and +2 CON?

Tiny -> Small= +4 STR, -2 DEX
Small -> Medium= +4 STR, -2 DEX, +2 CON
Battle Form: +2 STR

Because Battle Form says that the +2 STR is in addition to the size increase adjustments...
That would put a Fox at 19 STR with a 1d6 Bite.

No, polymorph effects set smaller than small to small, or larger than large to medium, and then apply the stat bonus of the effect. A tiny creature is set to small, and then gains the +2 bonus from battle form.

Imbicatus wrote:
No, polymorph effects set smaller than small to small, or larger than large to medium, and then apply the stat bonus of the effect. A tiny creature is set to small, and then gains the +2 bonus from battle form.

So then a Goat (base STR 12) would actually be the strongest Familiar in Battle Form at 18 STR?

Lesser familiars, like a Monkey, would suffer greatly from that rule. Base STR= 3 with +6 (+4 size, +2 Battle Form) you get a Medium Monkey with 9 STR? It just seems a little underwhelming...

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

My experiments with mauler familiars suggest that fox is, indeed, the strongest.

That said, a carnivalist (who grants their familiar access to sneak attack) might consider the skunk for its three natural attacks and reasonable stats.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber Subscriber

I shall never be tamed! ROAR!

... or something.

Tyrant Lizard King wrote:

So then a Goat (base STR 12) would actually be the strongest Familiar in Battle Form at 18 STR?

Not quite. See the "Table: Ability Adjustments from Size Changes" in the polymorph section of magic.

There is no entry for small or medium. They are treated the same so a Goat going from small to medium only gets the extra +2 from the mauler ability.

A fox on the other hand starts tiny with 9 str gets the +4 for size tiny > small/medium and the additional +2.

Hope that helps

Ah, my mistake was using "Table: Size Changes" from Monster Advancement!
That being said, a Tiny creature with 9 STR sounds... odd... compared to something like the Snapping Turtle with 4 STR anyway.

@ ohako
The only other option I can find for your Bard is the feat Companion Figurine. This will alter your Figurine of Wondrous Power's stats to that of an Animal Companion and doubles the duration of it's abilities.

Companion Figurine:
Prerequisites: Handle Animal 1 rank, own a figurine of wondrous power.

Benefit: You may select the creature summoned by your figurine of wondrous power as an animal companion or familiar, or as appropriate. The figurine has the standard abilities of a familiar or animal companion of its type, plus additional abilities related to its figurine type (see below). The main advantage of this is that if your familiar or companion is killed in creature form, it merely reverts to statue form and can be used again later.

The following standard figurines are available as animal companions (C) or familiars (F).

Ebony Fly (C): You must have the Vermin Heart feat to select this creature as an animal companion. It is treated as a horse animal companion, and at 8th level it gains a fly speed of 120 feet (average maneuverability).

Golden Lions (C): When you select a golden lion as an animal companion, one of the pair becomes your companion and the other retains its standard figurine abilities.

Ivory Goats (C): When selecting an ivory goat as an animal companion, you select one of the three goats in the set (traveling, travail, or terror) as your companion; the others remain standard figurines. All three goats are treated as horse animal companions. The goat of traveling never suffers from fatigue or exhaustion from extended travel. The goat of travail has 2 horn attacks (1d8 + Str bonus) in addition to a horse’s normal attacks. The goat of terror has the fear aura and magical weapon horns as described in its figurine entry.

Marble Elephant (C): The elephant is treated as an elephant companion.

Serpentine Owl (C, F): The owl is treated as a bird animal companion or an owl familiar, but only in its Small horned owl form. In its giant owl form, it is merely a creature, not an animal companion or familiar. After three uses of its giant owl form, the figurine loses that transformation ability forever but still functions normally in its horned owl form as an animal companion or familiar.

Silver Raven (C, F): The raven is treated as a bird animal companion or a raven familiar. It retains its metallic appearance and animal messenger ability (though this is redundant for an intelligent familiar) but not its hardness when in animal form.

While the figurine is active, you and the active figurine gain all the normal benefits of having a companion creature; for example, a wizard with a silver raven familiar gains a +3 bonus on Appraise checks, the raven can speak one language, and so on. While the figure is inactive, you gain none of these benefits but are not otherwise hampered by its inert state (as if the creature were out of range but not dead). The usable duration of the companion figurine doubles; for example, an ebony fly is normally usable up to three times per week for up to 12 hours per use, but as a companion creature you may use it up to six times per week for up to 12 hours per use. The figurine is still a magic item and is subject to effects like antimagic field and dispel magic that affect magic items; it uses its caster level or your own, whichever is greater.

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