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Animal Companion vs. same animal, why is Animal companion so much weaker?


Pathfinder RPG General Discussion


Let's take the tiger, everybodies favorite pouncing machine..

Animal: CR 4
AC 14
HP 45 (6d8+18)
2 claws +10 (1d8+6 plus grab), bite +9 (2d6+6 plus grab)
Stats:
STR: 23, DEX: 15, CON: 17, INT: 2, WIS: 12, CHA 6
Saves: Fort: 8, Ref: 7, Will 3

Animal Companion: Level 4
AC 13
HD d8
HP 36 (maxed out)
2 claws +3(BAB)+2(Str)=+5 (1d4+2), Bite +5 (1d6+2)
Stats:
STR: 14, DEX: 18, CON: 13, INT: 2, WIS: 16, CHA 10
Saves: Fort: 4, Ref: 1, Will: 4

As you can see, who would take the AC Tiger over the actual animal? The stats are generally worse, worse saves, worse strength, better dex, con, same int, better wis and cha. Even maxed out HP can't rival the average of the tiger.

Why is it sooo much weaker? Balance? Full caster plus an animal that actually does what it's supposed to? I guess so...

Just seems like it's better to try and adopt a tiger as a pet instead of having a stuffed animal as an animal companion. If your GM will let you have an actual tiger rather than the simple tiger then congratulations!


Of course, the AC tiger gets better. And you get more control over your AC.

It's an attempt to keep the various ACs roughly balanced with each other. If you just used the regular animal stats, there would be some companions that would completely outshine the others. And they'd all be completely useless after a few levels.


A tiger (Cat, Big) maxes out at level 7, not level 4. Are you looking at the cheetah (Cat, Small)?

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Ed-Zero wrote:

Let's take the tiger, everybodies favorite pouncing machine..

Animal: CR 4
AC 14
HP 45 (6d8+18)
2 claws +10 (1d8+6 plus grab), bite +9 (2d6+6 plus grab)
Stats:
STR: 23, DEX: 15, CON: 17, INT: 2, WIS: 12, CHA 6
Saves: Fort: 8, Ref: 7, Will 3

Animal Companion: Level 4
AC 13
HD d8
HP 36 (maxed out)
2 claws +3(BAB)+2(Str)=+5 (1d4+2), Bite +5 (1d6+2)
Stats:
STR: 14, DEX: 18, CON: 13, INT: 2, WIS: 16, CHA 10
Saves: Fort: 4, Ref: 1, Will: 4

As you can see, who would take the AC Tiger over the actual animal? The stats are generally worse, worse saves, worse strength, better dex, con, same int, better wis and cha. Even maxed out HP can't rival the average of the tiger.

Why is it sooo much weaker? Balance? Full caster plus an animal that actually does what it's supposed to? I guess so...

Just seems like it's better to try and adopt a tiger as a pet instead of having a stuffed animal as an animal companion. If your GM will let you have an actual tiger rather than the simple tiger then congratulations!

The answer to your question is "Because the Animal Companion is a class feature, and was never meant to be equal to a 'monstrous' creature."

Think about it like this: A single player character has a CR equal to their class level MINUS 1. So that means that what you're comparing up there is a CR4 creature to one single class feature of a CR3 creature (a level 4 Druid). Of COURSE they're not going to be the same. If they were, the Druid would be a super-overpowered class. Instead, a CR4 Tiger is what you're supposed to put up against a party of 4 level 4 adventurers, all of whom could theoretically be druids with tiger companions, and it's supposed to be a relatively fair fight.

You can absolutely "adopt" a real tiger as your companion, using the Leadership feat. It gives you a creature with class levels (or CR) of your own class level minus 3. So a 7th level druid could pick up Leadership and get a CR4 tiger. How does THAT compare to his animal companion?

Real Tiger:
Animal: CR 4
AC 14
HP 45 (6d8+18)
2 claws +10 (1d8+6 plus grab), bite +9 (2d6+6 plus grab)
Stats:
STR: 23, DEX: 15, CON: 17, INT: 2, WIS: 12, CHA 6
Saves: Fort: 8, Ref: 7, Will 3

Animal companion tiger (Druid Level 7):
AC 19 [+6 natural armor, +3 Dex]
HP 45 (6d8+18)
2 claws +9 [+4 BAB, +6 Str, -1 Size] (1d6+6 plus grab), bite +9 (1d8+6 plus grab), plus a rake attack (1d8+6)
Stats:
Str 23, Dex 17, Con 17, Int 2 Wis 15 Cha 10
EDIT: Forgot to mention that the companion is now Large size, with the bonuses for that already included. You could instead choose to keep it at Medium size and just give it +2 Dex and +2 Con, but that would be a good bit weaker.

This is all without taking the feats and ability score bonuses that you gave the tiger into account, which could significantly increase its attack and damage bonuses. So really, an animal companion is much MORE powerful than an equivalent creature, you just weren't comparing them at the right level.


Ed-Zero wrote:
Just seems like it's better to try and adopt a tiger as a pet instead of having a stuffed animal as an animal companion. If your GM will let you have an actual tiger rather than the simple tiger then congratulations!

A DM who lets the power curve get out completely out of whack might seem like fun, but really it's just asking for trouble. It makes the CR system completely useless, so he is on his own for figuring out what an appropriate challenge is.

And as cartmanbeck points out, the idea that a level 4 druid SHOULD have a cr4 creature as his buddy is an oxymoron.

Shadow Lodge

At level 4 the tiger is.. well not quite a cub, but definitely not full grown yet. The size bonus accounts for a lot of the difference.


To all the naysayers and dream slayers, let us then compare a level 8 Tiger AC to a Dire Tiger since the AC is "alreadly evolved".. I wasn't counting rake before so let's do that.

Dire Tiger: CR 8
Size: Large
AC: 17 (2 dex, +6 nat, -1 size)
HP: 105 (14d8+42) [average roll, max is: 154 hp]
2 claws +18 (2d4+8 plus grab), bite +18 (2d6+8/19-20 plus grab)
Rake: (2 claws, +18, 2d4+8)
Stats:
STR: 27, DEX: 15, CON: 17, INT: 2, WIS: 12, CHA 10
Saves: Fort: 12, Ref: 11, Will 5

AC: Level 8
Size: Large
AC: 16 (10 base, 4 natural, 3 dex, -1 size)
HP: 88 (maxed out), HD:7d8
2 claws +5(BAB)+6(Str)=+11 (1d6+6 plus grab), Bite +5 (1d8+6 plus grab)
Rake: (2 claws, +11, 1d6+6)
Stats:
STR: 23, DEX: 17, CON: 17, INT: 2, WIS: 16, CHA 10
Saves: Fort: 5, Ref: 5, Will 2

DT has 1 more AC, 17 more hp (on average compared to the AC's max HP, otherwise it would be 66 more hp, is stronger, little less dex, far better saves..

Let's see the AC at 20 then:
AC: Level 20
Size: Large
AC: 24 (10 base, 12 natural, 3 dex, -1 size)
HP: 176 (maxed out), HD:16d8
2 claws +12(BAB)+8(Str)=+20 (1d6+8 plus grab), Bite +20 (1d8+8 plus grab)
Rake: (2 claws, +20, 1d6+8)
Stats:
STR: 26, DEX: 20, CON: 17, INT: 2, WIS: 16, CHA 10
Saves: Fort: 10, Ref: 10, Will 5

Okay, now the AC is almost comparable to the CR 8 Dire Tiger. It has 7 more AC, so that's cool. Better attacks and does a bit less damage and a little worse saves.. So yeah, it looks like it takes a level 20 Tiger AC to be comparable to the CR 8 Dire Tiger...

For one final examination just for fun of what the Dire Tiger would look like with the Animal Companion bonuses at 20:

Dire Tiger: CR 8, advanced to 20 via AC Table
Size: Large
AC: 32 (6 dex, +18 nat, -1 size)
HP: 176 (maxed out), HD:16d8
2 claws +30 (2d4+12 plus grab), bite +30 (2d6+12/19-20 plus grab)
Rake: (2 claws, +30, 2d4+12)
Stats:
STR: 33, DEX: 21, CON: 17, INT: 2, WIS: 12, CHA 10
Saves: Fort: 22, Ref: 11, Will 10

I realize that unless your GM is generous, the Animal Companion Dire Tiger will never actually happen but it's a nice thought *sniff*, although it really seems like it should as a CR 8 creature has roughly the same stats as a leveled AC..

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Ed-Zero wrote:

To all the naysayers and dream slayers, let us then compare a level 8 Tiger AC to a Dire Tiger since the AC is "alreadly evolved".. I wasn't counting rake before so let's do that.

Dire Tiger: CR 8
Size: Large
AC: 17 (2 dex, +6 nat, -1 size)
HP: 105 (14d8+42) [average roll, max is: 154 hp]
2 claws +18 (2d4+8 plus grab), bite +18 (2d6+8/19-20 plus grab)
Rake: (2 claws, +18, 2d4+8)
Stats:
STR: 27, DEX: 15, CON: 17, INT: 2, WIS: 12, CHA 10
Saves: Fort: 12, Ref: 11, Will 5

AC: Level 8
Size: Large
AC: 16 (10 base, 4 natural, 3 dex, -1 size)
HP: 88 (maxed out), HD:7d8
2 claws +5(BAB)+6(Str)=+11 (1d6+6 plus grab), Bite +5 (1d8+6 plus grab)
Rake: (2 claws, +11, 1d6+6)
Stats:
STR: 23, DEX: 17, CON: 17, INT: 2, WIS: 16, CHA 10
Saves: Fort: 5, Ref: 5, Will 2

DT has 1 more AC, 17 more hp (on average compared to the AC's max HP, otherwise it would be 66 more hp, is stronger, little less dex, far better saves..

Let's see the AC at 20 then:
AC: Level 20
Size: Large
AC: 24 (10 base, 12 natural, 3 dex, -1 size)
HP: 176 (maxed out), HD:16d8
2 claws +12(BAB)+8(Str)=+20 (1d6+8 plus grab), Bite +20 (1d8+8 plus grab)
Rake: (2 claws, +20, 1d6+8)
Stats:
STR: 26, DEX: 20, CON: 17, INT: 2, WIS: 16, CHA 10
Saves: Fort: 10, Ref: 10, Will 5

Okay, now the AC is almost comparable to the CR 8 Dire Tiger. It has 7 more AC, so that's cool. Better attacks and does a bit less damage and a little worse saves.. So yeah, it looks like it takes a level 20 Tiger AC to be comparable to the CR 8 Dire Tiger...

For one final examination just for fun of what the Dire Tiger would look like with the Animal Companion bonuses at 20:

Dire Tiger: CR 8, advanced to 20 via AC Table
Size: Large
AC: 32 (6 dex, +18 nat, -1 size)
HP: 176 (maxed out), HD:16d8
2 claws +30 (2d4+12 plus grab), bite +30 (2d6+12/19-20 plus grab)
Rake: (2 claws, +30, 2d4+12)
Stats:
STR: 33, DEX: 21, CON: 17, INT: 2, WIS: 12, CHA 10
Saves: Fort: 22, Ref: 11, Will 10

I realize that unless your GM is generous, the Animal...

I wish I had a magic button that forced people to READ THE RESPONSES TO THEIR POSTS BEFORE THEY POST MORE INCORRECT PRATTLE.

Seriously, read what I wrote up above. A CR 8 Dire Tiger is meant to be powerful enough to be a challenge for FOUR LEVEL 8 ADVENTURERS! If each of those adventurers was a Druid with a Tiger companion, and they were REMOTELY as powerful as the dire tiger, how would that be a fair fight?!?

Qadira

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Ed, it's not a generous GM who'll allow this, it's a short sighted one.

The animal companions are well balanced as a class feature. They are meant to provide support combat options as another melee frontliner of sorts.

If you're playing a druid who runs a tiger animal companion then you're obviously planning on using it in combat. Most likely this means that you've cast buff spells on the thing for just such purposes (magic fang, barkskin etc) So when you run your comparison, you should give the AC those buffs. That's a legal AC build vs a Legal creature at level 8.

Also, you've failed to grasp that the dire tiger is only available to a druid at level 11 if he/she can manage to get one as a cub and train. Once again, you need to compare the two animals at the time the druid can legally obtain the dire tiger (so CR8 for teh dire tiger vs level 11 Animal companion.) This time build the companion with the feats it's entitled to (such as the healing one available to animals - ungodded healing or something like that).

The Dire tiger is a combatant against 4 players of level 8.

If you're DM allows a druid to take it as an animal companion at level 8, he is effectively giving the druid 4 times more power than the other players.

Balance is very important, and whishsing to uber your character needs to be weighed agains that.

cheers


1 person marked this as a favorite.

2 points

1: You're comparing a single class feature to a CR that's supposed to challenge 4 players of equal level.

2: You do realize that you can put equipment on an AC, right? Or buff them? Like, say...Barding? Put a +5 Mithril Chainshirt barding on the AC (we'll stay cheap and not add special qualities to the armor) and cast Greater Magic Fang on our buddy here and it pretty much equals out for the most part.

Alternatively, the AC's owner does anything alongside the AC and, by virtue of action economy, wrecks the regular animal's day.


cartmanbeck wrote:

I wish I had a magic button that forced people to READ THE RESPONSES TO THEIR POSTS BEFORE THEY POST MORE INCORRECT PRATTLE.

Seriously, read what I wrote up above. A CR 8 Dire Tiger is meant to be powerful enough to be a challenge for FOUR LEVEL 8 ADVENTURERS! If each of those adventurers was a Druid with a Tiger companion, and they were REMOTELY as powerful as the dire tiger, how would that be a fair fight?!?

Believe me, I understand what you're saying. Now do you think a level 8 AC could take on a party of 4? If not, then they are unequal. No need for you to be harsh and try and rub it in my face. I'm only pointing out the differences. Who said fights are supposed to fair anyways?

Wrath wrote:


Ed, it's not a generous GM who'll allow this, it's a short sighted one.

The animal companions are well balanced as a class feature. They are meant to provide support combat options as another melee frontliner of sorts.

If you're playing a druid who runs a tiger animal companion then you're obviously planning on using it in combat. Most likely this means that you've cast buff spells on the thing for just such purposes (magic fang, barkskin etc) So when you run your comparison, you should give the AC those buffs. That's a legal AC build vs a Legal creature at level 8.

Also, you've failed to grasp that the dire tiger is only available to a druid at level 11 if he/she can manage to get one as a cub and train. Once again, you need to compare the two animals at the time the druid can legally obtain the dire tiger (so CR8 for teh dire tiger vs level 11 Animal companion.) This time build the companion with the feats it's entitled to (such as the healing one available to animals - ungodded healing or something like that).

The Dire tiger is a combatant against 4 players of level 8.

If you're DM allows a druid to take it as an animal companion at level 8, he is effectively giving the druid 4 times more power than the other players.

Balance is very important, and whishsing to uber your character needs to be weighed agains that.

cheers

Wrath, I don't disagree with you that feats and armor and buffs exist for the animals. If you could list where it says that you can get a dire tiger as a animal companion then I would love to see it, otherwise it would be a normal tiger/dire tiger without being able to be linked to the table. Any character can effectively do that (raise a animal from a cub to have it be loyal to him), I'm just looking at AC table. If you didn't see, I compared the CR 8 dire tiger to a fully leveled AC of 20 and the stats were comparable, there is no point in doing a DT of 8 vs a AC of 11 if the level 20 AC has comparable stats. I specifically did not include feats as the DT would be entitled to them as well so that is an even playing field.

Now then, it's not like I don't grasp that this would be overpowered or a lot of fun or both, as you stated, it's multiple times more powerful to have a DT AC than either one seperately. It was an observation of why it pales in comparison so poorly. No harm, no foul.

Serisan wrote:

2 points

1: You're comparing a single class feature to a CR that's supposed to challenge 4 players of equal level.

2: You do realize that you can put equipment on an AC, right? Or buff them? Like, say...Barding? Put a +5 Mithril Chainshirt barding on the AC (we'll stay cheap and not add special qualities to the armor) and cast Greater Magic Fang on our buddy here and it pretty much equals out for the most part.

Alternatively, the AC's owner does anything alongside the AC and, by virtue of action economy, wrecks the regular animal's day.

1. Already answered above.

2. Oh yes, I realize that, but you could do the same for both if so needed as with what Wrath stated (raising it up from a cub as a pet instead of an animal companion).

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Ed-Zero wrote:
cartmanbeck wrote:

I wish I had a magic button that forced people to READ THE RESPONSES TO THEIR POSTS BEFORE THEY POST MORE INCORRECT PRATTLE.

Seriously, read what I wrote up above. A CR 8 Dire Tiger is meant to be powerful enough to be a challenge for FOUR LEVEL 8 ADVENTURERS! If each of those adventurers was a Druid with a Tiger companion, and they were REMOTELY as powerful as the dire tiger, how would that be a fair fight?!?

Believe me, I understand what you're saying. Now do you think a level 8 AC could take on a party of 4? If not, then they are unequal. No need for you to be harsh and try and rub it in my face. I'm only pointing out the differences. Who said fights are supposed to fair anyways?

Wrath wrote:


Ed, it's not a generous GM who'll allow this, it's a short sighted one.

The animal companions are well balanced as a class feature. They are meant to provide support combat options as another melee frontliner of sorts.

If you're playing a druid who runs a tiger animal companion then you're obviously planning on using it in combat. Most likely this means that you've cast buff spells on the thing for just such purposes (magic fang, barkskin etc) So when you run your comparison, you should give the AC those buffs. That's a legal AC build vs a Legal creature at level 8.

Also, you've failed to grasp that the dire tiger is only available to a druid at level 11 if he/she can manage to get one as a cub and train. Once again, you need to compare the two animals at the time the druid can legally obtain the dire tiger (so CR8 for teh dire tiger vs level 11 Animal companion.) This time build the companion with the feats it's entitled to (such as the healing one available to animals - ungodded healing or something like that).

The Dire tiger is a combatant against 4 players of level 8.

If you're DM allows a druid to take it as an animal companion at level 8, he is effectively giving the druid 4 times more power than the other players.

Balance is very important, and

...
Ed-Zero wrote:
Now do you think a level 8 AC could take on a party of 4?

Theoretically? Yes, that would be pretty close to equal to a CR 4 or "4.5" creature, so yes. However, an animal companion is pretty much always going to backed up by a full spellcaster, so putting the poor tiger all by himself against a "CR-appropriate" group wouldn't really be fair to the tiger either.

I'm sorry I sounded harsh before, but it's really annoying when someone seemingly completely ignores what you post when you're trying very hard to answer their question. It's like when someone asks you to edit their paper, you spend several hours with the red pen fixing errors, then a week later they ask you to edit their final revision and you realize that they NEVER LOOKED AT YOUR OLD EDITS. Drives me bonkers.

Again, I apologize for sounding mean.


So the message from this thread is coming off as "wouldn't it be nice if this class was overpowered"... which I don't see the point of.

The simplest way to think about why this would be bad is to remember that enemies can be built by the same rules, so when you are level 5-6 your GM could "fairly" put you up against a level 8 druid with a fully buffed/equipped dire tiger AC. Then think about how "fun" that would be :)


That said, the thread title is "why is AC so much weaker", to which the answer is a resounding "because otherwise it wouldn't be balanced". A CR3 creature, such as a level 4 druid, cannot include a CR4 creature.


you can have a dire tiger cohort via the leadership feat. it counts as a level 8 cohort on it's own, and you can give it class levels to make it tougher, bump it's int to 3 so it can understand you, and every 3 class levels gives it an additional class level, up until the 4th additional level.

essentially, the ECL 18 dire tiger cohort to a 20th level character would have 13 class levels for a total of 29 hit die. which could be spent on fighter levels to improve it's natural weapons. and give it a bab of +25. it also has the gear of an 18th level NPC. it could sacrifice a level for +4 to all stats and +2 natural armor. a decent tradeoff for this beast.


Wrath wrote:

Ed, it's not a generous GM who'll allow this, it's a short sighted one.

The animal companions are well balanced as a class feature. They are meant to provide support combat options as another melee frontliner of sorts.

If you're playing a druid who runs a tiger animal companion then you're obviously planning on using it in combat. Most likely this means that you've cast buff spells on the thing for just such purposes (magic fang, barkskin etc) So when you run your comparison, you should give the AC those buffs. That's a legal AC build vs a Legal creature at level 8.

Also, you've failed to grasp that the dire tiger is only available to a druid at level 11 if he/she can manage to get one as a cub and train. Once again, you need to compare the two animals at the time the druid can legally obtain the dire tiger (so CR8 for teh dire tiger vs level 11 Animal companion.) This time build the companion with the feats it's entitled to (such as the healing one available to animals - ungodded healing or something like that).

The Dire tiger is a combatant against 4 players of level 8.

If you're DM allows a druid to take it as an animal companion at level 8, he is effectively giving the druid 4 times more power than the other players.

Balance is very important, and whishsing to uber your character needs to be weighed agains that.

cheers

This isn't how the CR system works. A CR 8 encounter isn't roughly equal to the strength of the party(otherwise we would expect some people to die every equal leveled encounter). A single level 8 NPC would be considered a CR 8 encounter. It would probably be a 50 percent increase in the strength of a druid.


cartmanbeck wrote:

Theoretically? Yes, that would be pretty close to equal to a CR 4 or "4.5" creature, so yes. However, an animal companion is pretty much always going to backed up by a full spellcaster, so putting the poor tiger all by himself against a "CR-appropriate" group wouldn't really be fair to the tiger either.

I'm sorry I sounded harsh before, but it's really annoying when someone seemingly completely ignores what you post when you're trying very hard to answer their question. It's like when someone asks you to edit their paper, you spend several hours with the red pen fixing errors, then a week later they ask you to edit their final revision and you realize that they NEVER LOOKED AT YOUR OLD EDITS. Drives me bonkers.

Again, I apologize for sounding mean.

Yeah, get what you're saying. Just thought it'd be fun to analyze the differences between the companion and actual animal.

I'm fairly sure there aren't a great many people that like being ignored hehe. No worries :)

Shuriken Nekogami wrote:

you can have a dire tiger cohort via the leadership feat. it counts as a level 8 cohort on it's own, and you can give it class levels to make it tougher, bump it's int to 3 so it can understand you, and every 3 class levels gives it an additional class level, up until the 4th additional level.

essentially, the ECL 18 dire tiger cohort to a 20th level character would have 13 class levels for a total of 29 hit die. which could be spent on fighter levels to improve it's natural weapons. and give it a bab of +25. it also has the gear of an 18th level NPC. it could sacrifice a level for +4 to all stats and +2 natural armor. a decent tradeoff for this beast.

This is interesting, can you link the section of rules that allow you to give an animal class levels or are you going off of the fact that if it gains a level then it's able to acquire a class if it qualifies (which it would or should for fighter) or am I missing something and it has to do with some interaction between the cohort feat and some rules about leveling? Either way, I am interested in this as I think the levels of the animal would progress like it would for a character, every level = 1 level instead of every 3 levels = 1 level.


Ed-Zero wrote:
cartmanbeck wrote:

Theoretically? Yes, that would be pretty close to equal to a CR 4 or "4.5" creature, so yes. However, an animal companion is pretty much always going to backed up by a full spellcaster, so putting the poor tiger all by himself against a "CR-appropriate" group wouldn't really be fair to the tiger either.

I'm sorry I sounded harsh before, but it's really annoying when someone seemingly completely ignores what you post when you're trying very hard to answer their question. It's like when someone asks you to edit their paper, you spend several hours with the red pen fixing errors, then a week later they ask you to edit their final revision and you realize that they NEVER LOOKED AT YOUR OLD EDITS. Drives me bonkers.

Again, I apologize for sounding mean.

Yeah, get what you're saying. Just thought it'd be fun to analyze the differences between the companion and actual animal.

I'm fairly sure there aren't a great many people that like being ignored hehe. No worries :)

Shuriken Nekogami wrote:

you can have a dire tiger cohort via the leadership feat. it counts as a level 8 cohort on it's own, and you can give it class levels to make it tougher, bump it's int to 3 so it can understand you, and every 3 class levels gives it an additional class level, up until the 4th additional level.

essentially, the ECL 18 dire tiger cohort to a 20th level character would have 13 class levels for a total of 29 hit die. which could be spent on fighter levels to improve it's natural weapons. and give it a bab of +25. it also has the gear of an 18th level NPC. it could sacrifice a level for +4 to all stats and +2 natural armor. a decent tradeoff for this beast.

This is interesting, can you link the section of rules that allow you to give an animal class levels or are you going off of the fact that if it gains a level then it's able to acquire a class if it qualifies (which it would or should for fighter) or am I missing something and it has to do with some interaction between the...
PRD wrote:

Monsters as PCs
Using one of the monsters presented in this book as a character can be very rewarding, but weighing such a character against others is challenging. Monsters are not designed with the rules for players in mind, and as such can be very unbalancing if not handled carefully.

There are a number of monsters in this book that do not possess racial Hit Dice. Such creatures are the best options for player characters, but a few of them are so powerful that they count as having 1 class level, even without a racial Hit Die. Such characters should only be allowed in a group that is 2nd-level or higher.

For monsters with racial Hit Dice, the best way to allow monster PCs is to pick a CR and allow all of the players to make characters using monsters of that CR. Treat the monster's CR as its total class levels and allow the characters to multiclass into the core classes. Do not advance such monsters by adding Hit Dice. Monster PCs should only advance through classes.

If you are including a single monster character in a group of standard characters, make sure the group is of a level that is at least as high as the monster's CR. Treat the monster's CR as class levels when determining the monster PC's overall levels. For example, in a group of 6th-level characters, a minotaur (CR 4) would possess 2 levels of a core class, such as barbarian.

Note that in a mixed group, the value of racial Hit Dice and abilities diminish as a character gains levels. It is recommended that for every 3 levels gained by the group, the monster character should gain an extra level, received halfway between the 2nd and 3rd levels. Repeat this process a number of times equal to half the monster's CR, rounded down. Using the minotaur example, when the group is at a point between 6th and 7th level, the minotaur gains a level, and then again at 7th, making him a minotaur barbarian 4. This process repeats at 10th level, making him a minotaur barbarian 8 when the group reaches 10th level. From that point onward, he gains levels normally.

GMs should carefully consider any monster PCs in their groups. Some creatures are simply not suitable for play as PCs, due to their powers or role in the game. As monster characters progress, GMs should closely monitor whether such characters are disruptive or abusive to the rules and modify them as needed to improve play.

note it says nothing about animals or elementals being unable to gain levels in PC classes. it's just that some would be rather silly. but a war trained tiger (hence the fighter levels) who fights with augmented natural weapons actually makes sense.

CR8+10 levels =ECL18, every 3 class levels gives you and additional free class level, up to a maximum of half your CR (Rounded down). 10/3 =3 and 8/2=4. so you would have 3 extra levels. you would be entitled to 1 more in 2 levels. for a total of 16CL at ECL 20.

it is an interaction between the leadership feat and the monsters as PCs rules in the back of the bestiary. the reason for the 4/3 class level progression (up to 1/2 Cr in free class levels before going 1=1 each level after) is because racial abilities are eventually eclipsed by class features. the tiger would also get stats as a heroic monster of it's CR.

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johnlocke90 wrote:
Wrath wrote:

Ed, it's not a generous GM who'll allow this, it's a short sighted one.

The animal companions are well balanced as a class feature. They are meant to provide support combat options as another melee frontliner of sorts.

If you're playing a druid who runs a tiger animal companion then you're obviously planning on using it in combat. Most likely this means that you've cast buff spells on the thing for just such purposes (magic fang, barkskin etc) So when you run your comparison, you should give the AC those buffs. That's a legal AC build vs a Legal creature at level 8.

Also, you've failed to grasp that the dire tiger is only available to a druid at level 11 if he/she can manage to get one as a cub and train. Once again, you need to compare the two animals at the time the druid can legally obtain the dire tiger (so CR8 for teh dire tiger vs level 11 Animal companion.) This time build the companion with the feats it's entitled to (such as the healing one available to animals - ungodded healing or something like that).

The Dire tiger is a combatant against 4 players of level 8.

If you're DM allows a druid to take it as an animal companion at level 8, he is effectively giving the druid 4 times more power than the other players.

Balance is very important, and whishsing to uber your character needs to be weighed agains that.

cheers

This isn't how the CR system works. A CR 8 encounter isn't roughly equal to the strength of the party(otherwise we would expect some people to die every equal leveled encounter). A single level 8 NPC would be considered a CR 8 encounter. It would probably be a 50 percent increase in the strength of a druid.

Actually a single level 8 NPC is considered a CR7 encounter in Pathfinder.


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cartmanbeck wrote:


You can absolutely "adopt" a real tiger as your companion, using the Leadership feat.

:blinks:

Leadership? Really? For a tiger?

Why not with the Handle Animal skill? That actually has rules for rearing a wild animal yourself and then training it for combat, and it makes a lot more sense for a druid.


Shuriken Nekogami wrote:

If you are including a single monster character in a group of standard characters, make sure the group is of a level that is at least as high as the monster's CR. Treat the monster's CR as class levels when determining the monster PC's overall levels. For example, in a group of 6th-level characters, a minotaur (CR 4) would possess 2 levels of a core class, such as barbarian.

Note that in a mixed group, the value of racial Hit Dice and abilities diminish as a character gains levels. It is recommended that for every 3 levels gained by the group, the monster character should gain an extra level, received halfway between the 2nd and 3rd levels. Repeat this process a number of times equal to half the monster's CR, rounded down. Using the minotaur example, when the group is at a point between 6th and 7th level, the minotaur gains a level, and then again at 7th, making him a minotaur barbarian 4. This process repeats at 10th level, making him a minotaur barbarian 8 when the group reaches 10th level. From that point onward, he gains levels normally.

Wow, I've never seen those rules before. That is pretty interesting. It does make sense for the class to best fit a animal would be the fighter. Thank you for showing me this, I appreciate it :) (Doubt I'll ever get to use it, but it's still interesting)


Yosarian wrote:
cartmanbeck wrote:


You can absolutely "adopt" a real tiger as your companion, using the Leadership feat.

:blinks:

Leadership? Really? For a tiger?

Why not with the Handle Animal skill? That actually has rules for rearing a wild animal yourself and then training it for combat, and it makes a lot more sense for a druid.

leadership can get you an advanced unique heroic dire tiger with 12 fighter levels, 18th level NPC gear, human intelligence, and a boatload of HP by level 20. or just an advanced dire tiger at level 11. i am talking about freaking battle cat from eternia over here. who wouldn't want this epic armored feline warrior?

Andoran RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

The one that blows me away is that the bear AC is Small, and the wolf is Medium. Since when are bears smaller than wolves?


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

One system allows you to have a T-Rex at first level.

The other does not. That's good enough an answer for me!


Charlie Bell wrote:
The one that blows me away is that the bear AC is Small, and the wolf is Medium. Since when are bears smaller than wolves?

Totally agree here.

Although the last druid I played had one VERY confused animal companion.

Level 7 Large Rhino AC, wearing Propperly made for it Rhino Hide Armor (the armor that gives extra damage on a charge)

Layout and Design, Frog God Games

That's just wrong, DeusTerran.


Chuck Wright wrote:
That's just wrong, DeusTerran.

It's oh so wrong, but when the rhino charges it's oh SO RIGHT


You Can't just straight up compare Stats.. Although one Stat comes to mind you can compare and thats intelligence.. most animals have 1 or 2...

In our Kingmaker campaign last year I played a Level 5 Gnome Druid with a LARGE APE Companion and gave a +1 to INtelligence (Giving the APe a 3 Intelligence meant it can understand spoken language and communicate back via sign language)...

I used linguistics to train the Ape in Sign Language... (just like in REAL LIFE)

3 Intelligence means no Tricks or handle animal checks(no need... animal Companion understands your speech).

Our Party needed a Tank so I gave the APe some Leather Armor (Dm said no to Mythral Armor lol), Combat Reflexes, and the Ape had a 20 something Strength. I would just sit on the shoulders (as a Gnome) and turn into an Eagle while the Ape would do his thing (Combat Reflexes + Reach = Lots of Attacks of Opportunities). I would blast with spells from above.

After 1 Game session the DM had to force me to change Characters... Even at Level 5 the Ape Animal Companion was too powerful (Party still needed a Tank so I played a Paladin next session).

Reason the Animal Companions seemed Nerfed at low Levels is because they are so powerful.

Animal Companion will always be more powerful than a regular animal in my opinion.

Qadira

johnlocke90 wrote:


This isn't how the CR system works. A CR 8 encounter isn't roughly equal to the strength of the party(otherwise we would expect some people to die every equal leveled encounter). A single level 8 NPC would be considered a CR 8 encounter. It would probably be a 50 percent increase in the strength of a druid.

Yeah, I realised that once I read my post again. Dodgy maths and all. Effectively you get 4 encounters of CR per day, which should use up 1/4 of parties resources. So in effect a CR equivalent creature is basically 1/4 of an adventuring party or there abouts.

Again I know that's not how the maths works exactly, but for comparison purposes it works.

As to the OP, I understand they're not equivalent in power to the wild caught animal of the same name, but as we said, balance and all that. I guess you could relate it to the AC not going through the natural selective process of the wilds and therefore not necessarily being the biggest and baddest of its kind. It may be healithier in terms of grooming and feeding, but it hasn't had to fight every day of its life just to live, and therefore doesn't quite match up to its wilder relatives in terms of sheer survival instinct and brutality.

Of course, that's just one story method of explaining a mechanical disparity, but it works for me. I'll accept stories if similar ilk if it satisfies game balance issues.

Cheers


As me and Lord Tsarkon pointed out, you can't compare an Animal Companion animal to it's encounter equal because unlike the one of the wild, the AC animal can have gear, buffs, modifications (magical tattoos on a rhino are HARD TO DO) and if you put their INT at 3+ their entire tactics can change.

Once you take into account all factors, a Druid AC needs a nerf

Layout and Design, Frog God Games

DeusTerran wrote:

As me and Lord Tsarkon pointed out, you can't compare an Animal Companion animal to it's encounter equal because unlike the one of the wild, the AC animal can have gear, buffs, modifications (magical tattoos on a rhino are HARD TO DO) and if you put their INT at 3+ their entire tactics can change.

Once you take into account all factors, a Druid AC needs a nerf

A tribal human design for the tattoo, I assume?


Chuck Wright wrote:
DeusTerran wrote:

As me and Lord Tsarkon pointed out, you can't compare an Animal Companion animal to it's encounter equal because unlike the one of the wild, the AC animal can have gear, buffs, modifications (magical tattoos on a rhino are HARD TO DO) and if you put their INT at 3+ their entire tactics can change.

Once you take into account all factors, a Druid AC needs a nerf

A tribal human design for the tattoo, I assume?

Actually scarrification swirls. Like the tattoos that the giants in Skyrim have

Andoran

Ed-Zero wrote:

To all the naysayers and dream slayers, let us then compare a level 8 Tiger AC to a Dire Tiger since the AC is "alreadly evolved".. I wasn't counting rake before so let's do that.

Dire Tiger: CR 8
Size: Large
AC: 17 (2 dex, +6 nat, -1 size)
HP: 105 (14d8+42) [average roll, max is: 154 hp]
2 claws +18 (2d4+8 plus grab), bite +18 (2d6+8/19-20 plus grab)
Rake: (2 claws, +18, 2d4+8)
Stats:
STR: 27, DEX: 15, CON: 17, INT: 2, WIS: 12, CHA 10
Saves: Fort: 12, Ref: 11, Will 5

AC: Level 8
Size: Large
AC: 16 (10 base, 4 natural, 3 dex, -1 size)
HP: 88 (maxed out), HD:7d8
2 claws +5(BAB)+6(Str)=+11 (1d6+6 plus grab), Bite +5 (1d8+6 plus grab)
Rake: (2 claws, +11, 1d6+6)
Stats:
STR: 23, DEX: 17, CON: 17, INT: 2, WIS: 16, CHA 10
Saves: Fort: 5, Ref: 5, Will 2

Recalculating what you have done there...

AC at level 8

Str:23 (13 Base)+(+8 level 7 boost)+(+2 from AC Table)
Dex:17 (17 base)+(-2 level 7 boost)+(+2 from AC Table)
Con:17 (13 base)+(+4 level 7 boost)
Int:3 (2 base)+(+1 from ability increase)
Wis:15
Cha:10

Nat Arm: +7 = (+1 base)+(+2 level 7 boost)+(+4 AC Table)
Feats: Armor Prof(Light), Armor Prof (Medium), Power Attack, Weapon Focus(Claw)
Equipment: Mithril Breastplate Barding (6 Armor, 4 max dex, -1 ACP)

HP: 77 (Max 7*{8+3 Con})
Saves: F=8 R=8 W=4
BAB: +5

Attacks: (-2 Att/+4 Dmg with Power Attack)
Claw: +12(+5 BAB + 7 Str + 1 focus - 1 size) Attack, 1d6+7
Bite: +11(+5 BAB + 7 Str - 1 size) Attack, 1d8+7
AC: 25 (10 + 6 Armor + 7 NA + 3 Dex - 1 Size)
Skill Ranks: 1 Linguistics, 6 distributed elsewhere

Now, comparing it to a totally different creature is not valid for argument purposes. You have admitted this, but still are comparing to a CR8 creature. Compare this to what the creature is, which is a lion/tiger. This is one bad-ass tiger. He-Man would be proud of old Cringer

Tiger:

Tiger CR 4

XP 1,200
N Large animal
Init +6; Senses low-light vision, scent; Perception +8
DEFENSE

AC 14, touch 11, flat-footed 12 (+2 Dex, +3 natural, –1 size)
hp 45 (6d8+18)
Fort +8, Ref +7, Will +3
OFFENSE

Speed 40 ft.
Melee 2 claws +10 (1d8+6 plus grab), bite +9 (2d6+6 plus grab)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
Special Attacks pounce, rake (2 claws +10, 1d8+6)
STATISTICS

Str 23, Dex 15, Con 17, Int 2, Wis 12, Cha 6
Base Atk +4; CMB +11 (+15 grapple); CMD 23 (27 vs. trip)
Feats Improved Initiative, Skill Focus (Perception), Weapon Focus (claw)
Skills Acrobatics +10, Perception +8, Stealth +7 (+11 in areas of tall grass), Swim +11; Racial Modifiers +4 Acrobatics, +4 Stealth (+8 in tall grass)


Two words:
Weapon Finesse


Just one last excercise in being ridiculous with this.

Dire Tiger Fighter Pugilist via Leadership: CR 8
Levels: Fighter 12
Size: Large
AC: 17 (2 dex, +6 nat, -1 size)
HP: 171 (14d8+42+12d10) [average roll, max is: 274 hp]
BAB: 12/7/2
2 claws +36 (2d4+18 plus grab), bite +34 (2d6+18/19-20 plus grab)
Rake: (2 claws, +34, 2d4+16)
Stats:
STR: 30, DEX: 15, CON: 17, INT: 2, WIS: 12, CHA 10
Saves: Fort: 20, Ref: 15, Will 9
Feats: Weapon Focus (+1 atk, Claw), Weapon Specialization (+2 dam, Claw), Greater Weapon Focus (+1 atk), Greater Weapon Specialization (+2 dam, Claw)
Fighter Bonuses: Weapon Training 2 (+2 atk, +4 dam)
Attack Bonuses: Racial 18, BAB 12, WF 1, GWF 1, Weapon Training 2, Leveling 2 = 36
Damage Bonuses: STR 10, WS 2, GWS 2, Weapon Training 4

Attack Structure (Due to BAB, not sure if this is correct):
1) Claw +36, Claw +36 , Claw +36, Bite +32
2) Claw +31
3) Claw +26

Note: I'm only including the fighter only feats here as the other animals would be able to get all the same feats that are not fighter only otherwise.

vs

Dire Tiger Monk via Leadership: CR 8
Levels: Monk 12
Size: Large
AC: 20 (2 dex, +9 nat, -1 size)
HP: 159 (14d8+42+12d8) [average roll, max is: 250 hp]
BAB: 9/4
2 claws +36 (2d6+18 plus grab), bite +34 (2d6+18/19-20 plus grab)
Rake: (2 claws, +36, 2d6+18)
Stats:
STR: 30, DEX: 15, CON: 17, INT: 2, WIS: 12, CHA 10
Saves: Fort: 20, Ref: 19, Will 18
Monk Bonuses: Unarmed Base Damage 2d6, NA +3
Attack Bonuses: Racial 18, BAB 9, Leveling 2 = 29
Damage Bonuses: STR 10, Leveling 2, 2d6 (instead of 2d4)

Attack Structure (Due to BAB, not sure if this is correct):
1) Claw +29, Claw +29, Claw +26, Bite +29
2) Claw +21

Flurry
1) Claw +33, Claw +33, Claw +28, Claw +28, Claw +24

Note: I'm almost positive I have something wrong posted in this one. It's interesting to note that Fighter is stronger than Monk here.

vs

Dire Tiger with the Animal Companion bonuses at 20:

Dire Tiger: CR 8, advanced to 20 via AC Table
Size: Large
AC: 32 (6 dex, +18 nat, -1 size)
HP: 176 (maxed out), HD:16d8
2 claws +30 (2d4+12 plus grab), bite +30 (2d6+12/19-20 plus grab)
Rake: (2 claws, +30, 2d4+12)
Stats:
STR: 33, DEX: 21, CON: 17, INT: 2, WIS: 12, CHA 10
Saves: Fort: 22, Ref: 11, Will 10

Andoran

AnimateDream wrote:

Two words:

Weapon Finesse

Only if their dex is higher than their strength, which is not the cast for most.


Yosarian wrote:
cartmanbeck wrote:


You can absolutely "adopt" a real tiger as your companion, using the Leadership feat.

:blinks:

Leadership? Really? For a tiger?

Why not with the Handle Animal skill? That actually has rules for rearing a wild animal yourself and then training it for combat, and it makes a lot more sense for a druid.

Yeah, exactly true. Handle Animal allows the taming or purchasing of a domesticated Dire Tiger, which can be trained for combat. With a +11 bonus to Handle Animal at level 1, one could rear up to a 6 HD animal. That includes Lions and Tigers. I have specialized in Handle Animal on a thought-experiment Bard and got his Handle Animal to +14 at level 1, that's a Dire Lion.

Even if one reels it in, having a +8 at level 1 allows for the domestication and training of Leopards (3 HD) which are medium animals, can be purchased for 100g, and who have 5 attacks with pounce. No leopards? how about some Aurochs then, they're 50g apiece, train 2 of them and now you've got two combat animals with Trample (2d6+9), who can also Stampede.

I agree with the many voices saying that Animal Companions are weaker because they are a class feature. But also looking at their stats, they're juvenile until level 4 or 7, at which point they gain full size and stats of a mature animal of their type.

Honestly, just go with Handle Animal in the early levels /wreck the campaign. And ;P If your Aurochs dies, now you have dinner.

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