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Handling Animals and smart animals.


Rules Questions


I've got a player attempting to 'handle' a Mega Raptor after cutting it down to half health in a brutal 1v1 fight. I had the creature fall back as a DM, figuring a predator like that isn't used to taking that much damage from 'food'. The player then tried to handle dat' animal and I found no rules about handling something like that in the rules of the skill, but in diplomacy I found one for 'influencing attitude'. Since the mega raptor has an int of 6, does that count? Or would it always be Handle Animal?


No matter how smart (how high the intelligence score) an animal is, it is still an animal in Pathfinder.

Getting an animal to perform a task or trick it has not been trained to do (which would probably be the case for a megaraptor), is a DC20. For being wounded, the DC increases by 2.

In this case, he is probably using the equivalent of a "down" or "stay" trick. So it would be a Handle Animal DC 22.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

That of course assumes it is at least indifferent to you. A hostile animal isn't going to do tricks for you, no matter how high your check is.

I think you need Wild Empathy for that as well as an ability to speed it up (like the Fast Empathy feat) so you don't get devoured during the attempt.


Pathfinder left a gap in the rules regarding the use of Handle Animal on wild or unfriendly animals. Here is what the rule states about using HA

PRD wrote:

Handle an Animal: This task involves commanding an animal to perform a task or trick that it knows. If the animal is wounded or has taken any nonlethal damage or ability score damage, the DC increases by 2. If your check succeeds, the animal performs the task or trick on its next action.

"Push" an Animal: To push an animal means to get it to perform a task or trick that it doesn't know but is physically capable of performing. This category also covers making an animal perform a forced march or forcing it to hustle for more than 1 hour between sleep cycles. If the animal is wounded or has taken any nonlethal damage or ability score damage, the DC increases by 2. If your check succeeds, the animal performs the task or trick on its next action.

You'll note that there is no requirement that the creature is either friendly, domesticated or trained in any previous tricks. This oversight is problematic as per RAW, a Druid or Ranger would be better off attempting a Handle Animal check as opposed to Wild Empathy.

If we go by the rules as written, the Diplomacy attitude chart has nothing to do with Handle Animal.

Ravingdork wrote:
A hostile animal isn't going to do tricks for you, no matter how high your check is.

I don't see anything in RAW that says this true.


Diplomacy says:

Quote:
If a creature's attitude toward you is at least indifferent, you can make requests of the creature. This is an additional Diplomacy check, using the creature's current attitude to determine the base DC, with one of the following modifiers. Once a creature's attitude has shifted to helpful, the creature gives in to most requests without a check, unless the request is against its nature or puts it in serious peril. Some requests automatically fail if the request goes against the creature's values or its nature, subject to GM discretion.

To me handling an animal certainly sounds like it's making request of the animal. You want the animal to do something it's trained in (or maybe even not). You're trying to coax it to do what you want. That pretty well fall's under "making a request".

I concur with Ravingdork that you can't make a request of a creature that views you as hostile or unfriendly, and thus you can't use handle animal on them to do anything.


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

While it is correct that handle animal doesn't specifically say that you can't just go up to a wild creature and push it to make it do tricks, the section on rearing a wild animal pretty clearly implies that all of this only applies to domesticated animals, which is why rearing a wild animal is important at all.

Neither handle animal or diplomacy will change the attitude of an animal, that is what wild empathy is for.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Sounds like you're dealing with a lot of abnormal factors. You've got an Animal type creature with an uncharacteristic INT score of 6 (Animals normally max out at INT 2 so I'm thinking it's an Animal Companion, Awakened or just hyper intelligent for an animal?) and it's too late for Wild Empathy because that's used for adjusting initial attitude, not attitude after several rounds of combat.

There's this bit from the SRD about Animals with greater than 2 INT:

"Even if an animal’s Intelligence increases to 3 or higher, you must still use the Handle Animal skill to direct the animal, as it is a smart animal rather than a low-intelligence person (using awaken is an exception—an awakened animal takes orders like a person). The GM should take the animal’s Intelligence into account when determining its response to commands or its behavior when it doesn’t have specific instructions. For example, an intelligent wolf companion can pick the weakest-looking target if directed to do so, and that same wolf trapped in a burning building might push open a door or window without being told."

Just a suggestion because it isn't RAW but, if the megaraptor is a super smart, non-awakened wild animal, I'd recommend combining the rules for Pushing a wounded animal and Rearing a Wild Animal. Set the DC at 25+2(for wounded condition)+HD because the dino is smart, wild and not generally likely to take orders from prey or a stranger. If the dino is Awakened, I'd just have it act according to its INT and nature and forgo the Handle Animal roll altogether. If it's another creature's Animal Companion, I'd toss in a +4 to the DC for Devotion unless the dino has learned the Exclusive trick (in which case, it's just going to do what it's been trained to do by its actual master.)


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

The megaraptor he is using probably has an incorrect INT score.

It comes from the Deinonychus entry, which has a notes for alternate versions:

"You can apply the young simple template to create statistics for smaller, more agile velociraptors. Conversely, you can either increase the deinonychus to Large size and its Hit Dice to 8 or simply apply the giant and advanced simple templates to create a formidable megaraptor."

The megaraptor he is using probably came from this. The giant template doesn't effect INT, but the advanced simple template includes: "Ability Scores +4 to all ability scores (except Int scores of 2 or less)."

It appears to me that the except Int scores of 2 or less was ignored when creating the Megaraptor.

If we are really dealing with an Int 6 animal, then probably some form of diplomacy, perhaps modified by handle animal, but that would be a pretty unusual situation.


I really wish they had just capped animals at 2 intelligence instead of having this weird rule where intelligent animals aren't intelligent.


This also happened in our table, we did it like this and it worked fine for us //

The fight starts, the raptor is Hostile and no Diplomacy check can be done.

The fight ends and the PCs wins, the raptor is Unfriendly and flee away. Still no check possible UNLESS:

A) The PCs have the Fast Empathy feat aforementioned and try to befriend the raptor as a standar action.

B) The PCs has an appropiate 'tool' convincing enough (like a juicy piece of meat) to make the raptor stay the time needed to make the 1 minute check.

C) Cast succesfully calm animal. This is arguable due to the INT stat of the raptor.

D) Any other cool idea.

If the raptor is now Indifferent or Friendly then you can start using the handle animal skill rules for simple requests or even taming (like Chriss Pratt in Jurassic World).

Just remember that is up to you (the GM) on how to rule this from now on.

//

After a few days 'Lola' grew tired of her master and simply returned home.


Dave Justus wrote:

The megaraptor he is using probably has an incorrect INT score.

The d20PFSRD has an entry for it.


Claxon wrote:

Diplomacy says:

Quote:
If a creature's attitude toward you is at least indifferent, you can make requests of the creature. This is an additional Diplomacy check, using the creature's current attitude to determine the base DC, with one of the following modifiers. Once a creature's attitude has shifted to helpful, the creature gives in to most requests without a check, unless the request is against its nature or puts it in serious peril. Some requests automatically fail if the request goes against the creature's values or its nature, subject to GM discretion.
To me handling an animal certainly sounds like it's making request of the animal.

Handle Animal has nothing to do with Diplomacy. Nothing. Handle Animal is not a request. It's a command. You're compelling the animal to do stuff, and per RAW, the animal's disposition has zero effect on whether the animal complies. Per RAW, you can attack your wolf and it still has to follow your successful HA checks.

Quote:
You want the animal to do something it's trained in (or maybe even not). You're trying to coax it to do what you want. That pretty well fall's under "making a request".

No, that's completely inaccurate. You aren't "coaxing" the animal. You're compelling the animal do stuff that it is physically capable of, even it isn't trained to do so. There's no negotiation or rapport involved.

As RAW currently stands, there is no requirement that an animal be indifferent or friendly to use Handle Animal, insisting as such would be a house rule.

Quote:
I concur with Ravingdork that you can't make a request of a creature that views you as hostile or unfriendly, and thus you can't use handle animal on them to do anything.

You can concur all you want, but that is a house rule. You're inserting a connection between Diplomacy and Handle Animal.

The problem is that it shouldn't be possible to use Handle Animal on untrained or wild animals at all. In RL, you can definitely "handle" hostile animals if they've been previously trained, so this idea that the animal needs to be indifferent or friendly is completely false. But nobody in the history of humanity and animal interaction ever got a wild boar to Fetch something or Track someone, whether that boar was friendly or not. In RL, you can't "Push" wild animals, you have to train them first.

That having been said, it would make more sense for the PDT to change the rules and require that wild or untrained animals must be at least indifferent if Paizo is going to allow HA to work on wild animals at all.


Handle Animal would be getting the animal to do a specific thing. Like one of the listed tricks.

Animal Empathy would be making the animal friendly to you. Like a stray cat or dog coming up and letting you pet it. It won't necessarily do what you want.

You may want the animal to "fetch" a key for you instead of attacking you. Animal Empathy would change it's attitude so that it no longer wants to attack you. Even if friendly, it won't get the key. It may want you to pet it or maybe it just wants to lie down and take a nap. You need to use Handle Animal to get it to grab the key.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
darth_borehd wrote:
Dave Justus wrote:

The megaraptor he is using probably has an incorrect INT score.

The d20PFSRD has an entry for it.

Well, since that is an unimpeachable source....oh wait.

How to generate megaraptor stats is clearly spelled out, as I demonstrated. It should only have an INT of 2.


darth_borehd wrote:

Handle Animal would be getting the animal to do a specific thing. Like one of the listed tricks.

Animal Empathy would be making the animal friendly to you. Like a stray cat or dog coming up and letting you pet it. It won't necessarily do what you want.

You may want the animal to "fetch" a key for you instead of attacking you. Animal Empathy would change it's attitude so that it no longer wants to attack you. Even if friendly, it won't get the key. It may want you to pet it or maybe it just wants to lie down and take a nap. You need to use Handle Animal to get it to grab the key.

As it stands now, you're better off trying to convince a GM to allow using Handle Animal to try and Push a wild animal "Down" to stop it from attacking. Not surprisingly many GMs don't like this and house rule that you can't use Handle Animal on hostile animals. However, I believe the rules suggest that you can't use HA on wild animals, regardless.

The last line of the Skill says this:

PRD on Handle Animal wrote:
Untrained: If you have no ranks in Handle Animal, you can use a Charisma check to handle and push domestic animals, but you can't teach, rear, or train animals.

It's not clear whether this means that even with with ranks, you can only push domestic animals, or that without ranks you are limited to domestic animals. It makes more sense that even with ranks, HA can only be used on domestic animals and cannot be used on wild animals, regardless. Restricting HA to domestic animals gives purpose to Wild Empathy and eliminates the silliness of using HA on wild animals without inventing Diplomacy requirements.

When Wild Empathy was created, there was no Fast Empathy option so there was never any intent to allow WE to be used against attacking animals.

What then was the purpose of WE? Undoubtedly there was a desire to give Druids (and to some extent, Rangers) an ability to make animal "whisperers" without resorting to magic. The fact that it is Charisma dependent suggests that WE was not intended to be very useful to the average Druid and only valuable to higher level Rangers. As written, it's a liability for the average low level Ranger to go around attempting WE checks. To the average 10 CHR or lower Ranger, such efforts are more dangerous than beneficial.

On a practical level, Wild Empathy was probably intended to useful if you can use Speak with Animals, and then only on animals that aren't already attacking you. Given that both Druids and Rangers have SWA as a 1st level spell, we can see the thinking on the part of WotC: low level Druid comes across some wild bird in an unfamiliar forest, uses WE and gets it to friendly or even helpful, and then uses SWA to ask it to do things like scout ahead or locate something/someone.


Dave Justus wrote:
darth_borehd wrote:
Dave Justus wrote:

The megaraptor he is using probably has an incorrect INT score.

The d20PFSRD has an entry for it.

Well, since that is an unimpeachable source....oh wait.

How to generate megaraptor stats is clearly spelled out, as I demonstrated. It should only have an INT of 2.

Regardless of whether that instance should have such a high INT, it's not hard to come up with other instances with equally high or higher INT. A Nature Mystery Oracle can have a Bonded Mount that starts with 6 INT. A human with the Eye for Talent racial trait can increase that to 8 INT. A few levels levels and you can have an Animal Companion smarter than most humans.


Hushed wrote:
Regardless of whether that instance should have such a high INT, it's not hard to come up with other instances with equally high or higher INT. A Nature Mystery Oracle can have a Bonded Mount that starts with 6 INT. A human with the Eye for Talent racial trait can increase that to 8 INT. A few levels levels and you can have an Animal Companion smarter than most humans.
Ultimate Campaign wrote:
Even if an animal's Intelligence increases to 3 or higher, you must still use the Handle Animal skill to direct the animal, as it is a smart animal rather than a low-intelligence person (using awaken is an exception—an awakened animal takes orders like a person).

Based on this passage, Paizo is telling us that an animal's INT score is taken in the context of that creature type. All creatures with X INT are not automatically equally intelligent. So a 6 INT animal is not the same as a 6 INT human.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Hushed wrote:
it's not hard to come up with other instances with equally high or higher INT.

I don't think anyone is doubting that.

As far as I know, all published animals (that aren't being effected by another characters abilities) are not going to have an int of higher than 2, meaning it is a pretty rare situation to encounter.

How you should handle that instance would depend pretty greatly on the situation. I would certainly not every allow a handle animal check against an opponents animal companion (higher than 2 int or not) if that opponent was present (just like I wouldn't let the bad guys try to control my PCs animal companions in that way.) On the other hand, if I made the 'forest of smart animals' I might well let handle animal substitute or modify diplomacy.

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