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Is there a guiding principle for Int 3+ animal companions with language?


Roleplaying Guild General Discussion

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Sovereign Court ***

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Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, PFS RPG, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Please help N N 959 by gathering links to relevant FAQs, blogs, dev comments or previous discussions.

We can discuss how this tricky topic might be codified for PFS.

Branched from Compilations thread here.

Grand Lodge *** Venture-Lieutenant, Online aka Hmm

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NN --

I understand you frustration, I really do. As someone who plays a sorceress with an IQ 4 tiger, I put a precious animal skill rank into linguistics so that he could understand Kelish. But I also maxed handle animal on my sorceress (a HUGE character investment) so that I could push Pumpkin when I need to do so.

There will be table variation. There always is.

Speaking as the player of a more intelligent than normal animal companion, I'd rather leave this area vague. I'm afraid that if we push for the clarification, Paizo staff are going to come down on the most conservative interpretation of the rules possible.

Nuance is okay. Table variation is okay. Right now, as it is, GMs give my tiger slightly more latitude to perform interesting actions because I have a +22 to handle animal, numerous trained tricks AND Pumpkin can understand my commands. If we push this... Will I and countless other players of pet classes see the rules suddenly solidify into something rigid and unforgiving?

Hmm

Sovereign Court ***

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Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, PFS RPG, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I like that you have a strong in-character relationship to your animal companion, Hmm. That makes it easier to define what independent actions might be appropriate for given situations.

I look at grey areas in rules such as these as opportunities to rely more on backstory and established character to determine a particular ruling than on more rigid rules.

Pumpkin, for example, is a performance animal. He probably doesn't need to be pushed to jump over a river of flaming lava to save his people. Fiery hoops are his day job!

Sovereign Court ****

Wait - "performance animal"? Does that mean if the BBE grabs a chair and whip, Pumpkin is going to NOT attack him? LOL!

Shadow Lodge ****

At a wolf center, there was a wolf sitting out in the open field gnawing on yesterdays lunch. I saw a flock of Ravens fly out of a tree and land around the wolf in a circle. The wolf in back lifted up the wolfs tail and when the wolf whirled around, the crow in front snapped up the unattended meat and they all flew off to share it.

In game terms. the crows had a plan, they synched their initiative, landed to encircle the crow, everyone readied an action for the crow in back to lift the wolfs tail, then the two in back aided the tail lifters armor class while the two in front aided the steal manuver: way more planning and cooporation that most pathfinder parties.

I have also seen a cardinal knock itself unconscious on my truck side view mirror, mistaking the reflection for another male and repeatedly attacking it for half an hour.

Figuring out how a real world animal would act in a given situation is hard: There are a lot of variables involved. Figuring out how a preternaturally intelligent animal that can kind of understand you is going to react is going to be based more on judgement than evidence, but they really should start at the upper end of possible for a real world animal and go from there.

For me, that puts them well beyond any of the tactics that the pathfinder role playing game has in a battle. Describing anything pathfinder lets you do can be complicated (i'm looking at you grapple), but for what the creature is actually doing there really isn't anything in the game more complicated than what the (allegedly int 2) crows did above.

****

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I've wondered about this myself, especially when you look at Paladin bonded mounts (minimum Int 6 when you get it and can certainly be scaled up). With the right design choices, you could easily have a mount that's smarter than many PCs. Animal Archive contains guidance for awakened animals, who are going to have PC-level intelligence or higher, it was amazingly silent on the topic of non-awakened animals in its Intelligent Animals article. While the Organized Play FAQ gives some guidance, I don't feel as though it adequately addresses the acceptable limits of Handle Animal pushes for more complicated tasks.

The single biggest question for me is "if the animal has a rank in Linguistics to understand Common, what are the limits to pushes given in Common?" I would think that, as long as it can understand the command and is physically capable of performing it, along with the relevant Handle Animal attempt, it should probably try it. That said, you end up with weird issues, like my axe beak attempting to Aid Another on diplomacy checks (5 ranks in diplomacy, +9 bonus total). He's got Aid as a trick, I can set it as his default. Apparently he can pick up on social cues now? Who knows?

Shadow Lodge ****

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my axe beak attempting to Aid Another on diplomacy checks

... it has a very large prominent crest that it extends to look pretty?


[Edited upon request.]

To the subject at hand, I will reaffirm my desire to see this area remain in the realm of GM discretion.

Here's my table variation:

INT 2 Animals - Training an animal for combat means teaching it to ignore stimuli. If you command an animal to attack the man in the back (with PF's laser pointer finger pointing, which I'm OK with, just amused), it's going to take the most reasonably (in my discretion) expedient route, which might trigger some AOO (for the curious, yes, my Animals and Mindless creatures charge when they don't need to and take AOO chasing PCs). Why? Because it's master told it to attack that person on the other side of those people. If you command an animal to stay (because you didn't want to spend a trick on Guard), then in absence of a new command, it will let the goblins run right past without snapping or growling.

INT 3 Animals - You get 3 tricks and can take any feat they can physically use (defined benefit). If you command an animal to attack the man in the back, it's going to make a choice about the best way to get there and avoid more or all AOO. It won't spontaneously flank, though, if it doesn't have the Flank trick. If you command it to stay (because you went into a tavern) and some goblins sneak by, it might do something clever, like use tricks it knows without being commanded or maybe something else clever.

INT 3 Animals with 1 rank of Linguistics - Same as above, except you can reskin your commands as conversational speech. You can do a lot outside of Handle Animal if you're clever. You can interrogate your animal with Speak with Animal to find out what it heard, for example. You don't, however, get free, infinite tricks. You don't get to command an animal to attack and flank if it doesn't have the Flank trick (unless you Push) just because it understands the Halit word for "Flank."

More and more INT = more and more clever behavior (for Animals).

The benefit should be proportionate to the investment--1 skill rank is not equal to infinite tricks (bypassing the Push mechanic) or even a feat--and I'm OK with my table's GM determining that as long as they're consistent.

Scarab Sages *****

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Hilary Moon Murphy wrote:

NN --

I understand you frustration, I really do. As someone who plays a sorceress with an IQ 4 tiger, I put a precious animal skill rank into linguistics so that he could understand Kelish. But I also maxed handle animal on my sorceress (a HUGE character investment) so that I could push Pumpkin when I need to do so.

There will be table variation. There always is.

Speaking as the player of a more intelligent than normal animal companion, I'd rather leave this area vague. I'm afraid that if we push for the clarification, Paizo staff are going to come down on the most conservative interpretation of the rules possible.

Nuance is okay. Table variation is okay. Right now, as it is, GMs give my tiger slightly more latitude to perform interesting actions because I have a +22 to handle animal, numerous trained tricks AND Pumpkin can understand my commands. If we push this... Will I and countless other players of pet classes see the rules suddenly solidify into something rigid and unforgiving?

Hmm

This is also my concern. I do not see the rule becoming something more lenient and broad for what animals with a language can just do.

****

BigNorseWolf wrote:

my axe beak attempting to Aid Another on diplomacy checks

... it has a very large prominent crest that it extends to look pretty?

and cocks his head to the side cutely. The axe beak also has 450gp worth of jewelry because there was some chronicle that offered up to 450gp of mundane goods. *BLING BLING*

****

Blake's Tiger wrote:

The benefit should be proportionate to the investment--1 skill rank is not equal to infinite tricks (bypassing the Push mechanic) or even a feat--and I'm OK with my table's GM determining that as long as they're consistent.

The FAQ is very clear that Int 3 or greater does not remove the necessity for Handle Animal checks. Here's a realistic situation, though:

"Fluffy, go over there, sniff around, and if you find anything interesting, bring it back."

That's a combination of two tricks in succession - seek and fetch - in colloquial Common. If I have a companion with Int 3 that knows Common and has these tricks trained, is that a push? Either way, is it a valid command?

Scarab Sages *****

Serisan wrote:
Blake's Tiger wrote:

The benefit should be proportionate to the investment--1 skill rank is not equal to infinite tricks (bypassing the Push mechanic) or even a feat--and I'm OK with my table's GM determining that as long as they're consistent.

The FAQ is very clear that Int 3 or greater does not remove the necessity for Handle Animal checks. Here's a realistic situation, though:

"Fluffy, go over there, sniff around, and if you find anything interesting, bring it back."

That's a combination of two tricks in succession - seek and fetch - in colloquial Common. If I have a companion with Int 3 that knows Common and has these tricks trained, is that a push? Either way, is it a valid command?

There is nothing in the game rules that indicate the actual procedure you do to command an animal to do a trick. Do you use treats? Do you use commands (language)? Do you use hand signals? Do you use snaps, claps or other forms of making sound (instruments or whistles?)

Any of those are things you do in real life to command an animal to do something. Some dogs are so intelligent that you can give them a phrase and they will understand what you want. And it doesn't necessarily have to be a phrase commonly used or trained into the dog.

That's how I liken an animal companion knowing a language. Is it RAW? No. But without a rule, and with my knowledge of how it works in real life based on empirical and anecdotal evidence, I can make a fair and reasonable extrapolation of the rules into how it might work.

So in this case, if the animal knows common, and he knows seek and fetch, then sure, you can give him a sentence that includes two tricks (for two move actions--less if you have the correct class abilities) and allow him to complete them. Depending on the circumstances and environment, it might work perfectly (most likely scenario given a neutral environment) or it might work in some unintended way (given a special circumstance.)


Serisan wrote:
Blake's Tiger wrote:

The benefit should be proportionate to the investment--1 skill rank is not equal to infinite tricks (bypassing the Push mechanic) or even a feat--and I'm OK with my table's GM determining that as long as they're consistent.

The FAQ is very clear that Int 3 or greater does not remove the necessity for Handle Animal checks. Here's a realistic situation, though:

"Fluffy, go over there, sniff around, and if you find anything interesting, bring it back."

That's a combination of two tricks in succession - seek and fetch - in colloquial Common. If I have a companion with Int 3 that knows Common and has these tricks trained, is that a push? Either way, is it a valid command?

That's definitely a valid command.

If the AC has Seek and Fetch, it's not a Push.

GM discretion on what Fluffy finds interesting. Does he find a sealed letter interesting? A wand? A bloody dagger? A half eaten sandwich? It's something I'd have to adjudicate on the fly, but I was err on the side of fun.

This is an example of a not reasonable command (Push or otherwise): "Fluffy, go to that bookshelf and bring me any books that look interesting." How would Fluffy know? "Kong, go unlock that door with this key." FAQ says they can't use tools (outside PFS, I would have allowed this, probably as a Push).

As for needing to Push when an AC understands you: It's not about Animal capability, it's about the Animal choosing to do it. For example, Fluffy (without Fetch) understands, "Go get my sandwich off the counter," but the failed Handle Animal roll for the Push means you didn't convince Fluffy to actually do it.


I feel the most confusing thing is trying to imagine a state of being for the AC where it understands the language but still only has Animal intelligence. This somewhere along the lines of Siri, maybe.

"Fluffy, we're going to stop the Mad Hatter cult."

Fluffy' mind: "My master's pack is going to end the action of a group of like-minded angry hat makers."


What about "Fluffy, go to that bookshelf and bring me any book written in Common (or whatever language the AC knows)?"

Scarab Sages *****

Knight who says Meh wrote:
What about "Fluffy, go to that bookshelf and bring me any book written in Common (or whatever language the AC knows)?"

They are still illiterate. So they wouldn't know if a book is written in a particular language despite how many languages they might know.

EDIT: If you took the time to show an animal a couple of large letters in a particular alphabet and asked them to find the book with those symbols, I would probably allow that with a Push.


Tallow wrote:
Knight who says Meh wrote:
What about "Fluffy, go to that bookshelf and bring me any book written in Common (or whatever language the AC knows)?"

They are still illiterate. So they wouldn't know if a book is written in a particular language despite how many languages they might know.

EDIT: If you took the time to show an animal a couple of large letters in a particular alphabet and asked them to find the book with those symbols, I would probably allow that with a Push.

Is that a rule somewhere? Why would they be illiterate if they spent a rank on Linguistics?

Silver Crusade ***** Venture-Captain, Germany—Aschaffenburg-Würzburg

As other's have suggested, you really might not want a campaign clarification on this one, since it very likely will be quite conservative and limit animal companions.

-

There is a hunter archetype that sidesteps the handle animal issue by giving your animal companion familiar like intelligence, not that this will be a solution for everybody... but the differences between familiars and creatures of animal intellects is an issue here.

-

I have plenty of animal companion classes, and while as a GM I usually let the player direct the actions of the animal companion, it is an NPC and thus really under the GMs control. That bit is important in this context.

Silver Crusade ***

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, PFS RPG, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I also strongly prefer the current situation. Sure, a number of the GMs I play for rule that animals are far dumber than they actually would be in the real world (although this is in keeping with the various PFS rulings and Animal Archive, I suppose) but at the same time, I have GMs who are more lenient and I am also allowed to make exceptions when I feel it's appropriate.

I don't anticipate a ruling improving the situation.


Knight who says Meh wrote:
Tallow wrote:
Knight who says Meh wrote:
What about "Fluffy, go to that bookshelf and bring me any book written in Common (or whatever language the AC knows)?"

They are still illiterate. So they wouldn't know if a book is written in a particular language despite how many languages they might know.

EDIT: If you took the time to show an animal a couple of large letters in a particular alphabet and asked them to find the book with those symbols, I would probably allow that with a Push.

Is that a rule somewhere? Why would they be illiterate if they spent a rank on Linguistics?

The rank in Linguistics isn't to be able to rplay as the language, it is to understand the language. Animals in PFS with intelligence of 3+ are still animals with heightened intelligence, they are not sentient as with the Awaken spell. Magical Beasts could possibly read, because they have their own rule set; however, animal companions with Intelligence greater than 2 do not become magical beasts.


Knight who says Meh wrote:
Tallow wrote:
Knight who says Meh wrote:
What about "Fluffy, go to that bookshelf and bring me any book written in Common (or whatever language the AC knows)?"

They are still illiterate. So they wouldn't know if a book is written in a particular language despite how many languages they might know.

EDIT: If you took the time to show an animal a couple of large letters in a particular alphabet and asked them to find the book with those symbols, I would probably allow that with a Push.

Is that a rule somewhere? Why would they be illiterate if they spent a rank on Linguistics?

Yes, in the PFS FAQ, possibly elsewhere.


Blake's Tiger wrote:
Knight who says Meh wrote:
Tallow wrote:
Knight who says Meh wrote:
What about "Fluffy, go to that bookshelf and bring me any book written in Common (or whatever language the AC knows)?"

They are still illiterate. So they wouldn't know if a book is written in a particular language despite how many languages they might know.

EDIT: If you took the time to show an animal a couple of large letters in a particular alphabet and asked them to find the book with those symbols, I would probably allow that with a Push.

Is that a rule somewhere? Why would they be illiterate if they spent a rank on Linguistics?
Yes, in the PFS FAQ, possibly elsewhere.

Ok. I was unaware of that. Did they give a reason as to why an animal with an Intelligence of 3 is unable to read while other creatures with the same Intelligence could?

Shadow Lodge ****

Knight who says Meh wrote:


Ok. I was unaware of that. Did they give a reason as to why an animal with an Intelligence of 3 is unable to read while other creatures with the same Intelligence could?

paraphrasing: It's still an animal and even if it's brain works better it's still got some built in functional limitations. Abstract thinking like reading being one of them.

Shadow Lodge ****

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I have no proverbial horse in this race, but I would like to also NOT have a ruling on this sort of thing so that I can have the freedom to adjudicate as needed at the table.

Grand Lodge

I have a small horse in this race (well, technically a huge mammoth, but that's beside the point).

I always ran my animal companion with the opinion that no matter the intelligence of an animal creature, you as handler still need to use handle animal to get it to perform the things you want to (as per the monkey see monkey do blog, based mostly on these lines: The Handle Animal skill functions similarly no matter how intelligent an animal becomes. A character must still make Handle Animal checks to train his animal and get him to perform the appropriate tasks. A GM should, however, make exceptions in the case of how such an intelligent animal might react in absence of instructions. It might not know to unlock a door to escape a burning building—as that's a fact that's learned over time and experience—but a smart animal might have a better chance of finding a way out.), with the understanding that an animal with more intelligence would be faster/more precise in the execution of the commands given.

Being taught how to understand a language would simply enable you to refine those commands to make it even faster with the execution of your commands (and also to make it vulnerable to spells with a language descriptor if the caster uses the correct language), but not remove the need for a handle animal check.

The Exchange ****

Question: "Is there a guiding principle for Int 3+ animal companions with language?"

Short Answer: "No."

Grand Lodge *

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What's worse is me and my worg--who can literally speak common (and goblin). I literally don't know what to do with him at some tables. Or rather, I know perfectly well what to do with him, but some GMs don't.

Sovereign Court *** Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

The worg isn't an animal is he? AFAIK none of this Handle Animal folderol applies to magical beasts with intelligence 3+

The problem is really that animals are defined by having an intelligence of 1-2, any critters than that normally get bumped up to magical beast. Strictly speaking, you should either not be able to raise your animal companion's intelligence above 2, or it should turn into a magical beast at that point. But having your companion change creature type because you raised it's intelligence at level 4 would probably cause trouble too.

*

Inner Sea Combat p. 14 wrote:

Monstrous Mounts

Fantastical mounts are not uncommon in the Inner Sea region, rife as it is with magic and the extraordinary. The Monstrous Mount Choices section below details monsters that are ridden primarily by cavaliers, rangers, and paladins. Taking on a monstrous mount requires a feat, but otherwise uses the rules for the animal companion class feature. Unlocking the most useful abilities and powerful attacks of a monstrous mount requires a second feat.

The worg (INT 6/common, goblin) and the griffion (INT 5/common) are two creatures that can be chosen and both have higher than 2 INT along with the ability to understand a language. Per RAW, they are treated as Animal Companions with no exceptions authorized or even recommended.

Shadow Lodge ****

claudekennilol wrote:
What's worse is me and my worg--who can literally speak common (and goblin). I literally don't know what to do with him at some tables. Or rather, I know perfectly well what to do with him, but some GMs don't.

On the plus side you don't need handle animal checks

On the other side, telling him to go fight the thing that can kill him can legitimately have him wishing he had an even number of digits so he could show you the middle one, and verbalizing that in no uncertain terms. :)

Grand Lodge *

N N 959 wrote:
Inner Sea Combat p. 14 wrote:

Monstrous Mounts

Fantastical mounts are not uncommon in the Inner Sea region, rife as it is with magic and the extraordinary. The Monstrous Mount Choices section below details monsters that are ridden primarily by cavaliers, rangers, and paladins. Taking on a monstrous mount requires a feat, but otherwise uses the rules for the animal companion class feature. Unlocking the most useful abilities and powerful attacks of a monstrous mount requires a second feat.
The worg (INT 6/common, goblin) and the griffion (INT 5/common) are two creatures that can be chosen and both have higher than 2 INT along with the ability to understand a language. Per RAW, they are treated as Animal Companions with no exceptions authorized or even recommended.

Right, but now try actually justifying that. My howl can scatter foes in terror, but you want me to what!? Better ask me like I'm a dog then I might comply.

That's not even in the Animal Companion rules. That's in the Handle Animal rules which doesn't apply to Magical Beasts. The closest thing that's said in the actual Animal Companion rules (found in CRB -> druid), is that they can be (via handle animal) handled for free or pushed as a move action. But the Handle Animal rules don't actually apply to a magical beast in the first place.

So while the feat says it acts as the Animal Companion rules, the rules for Animal Companion aren't what defines that it's controlled via Handle Animal. So all that line is really saying is that it progresses as an Animal Companion. It doesn't at all negate me simply asking my magical beast to do stuff that it's more than intelligent enough to accomplish.

*

claudekennilol wrote:
Right, but now try actually justifying that.

Believe me, I'm on your side. But there's nothing that says you don't have to use HA checks with magical beasts which are required to use the Animal Companion class feature and treated as your animal companion or mount.

Let me continue to play the Devil's Advocate to illustrate the point...

Quote:
That's in the Handle Animal rules which doesn't apply to Magical Beasts

Normally you'd be right. However, the rules require using the Animal Companion class feature rules, which, among other things, identify bonus "Tricks" that can be assigned and thus link the use of HA to control the mount. If you try and argue that this still doesn't allow HA to apply because it is a magical beast, then you've backed yourself into a corner:

The hippocampus and hippogriff are both Magical Beasts with 2 INT and no language capabilities. If HA doesn't apply to this group of Companion choices, then you have absolutely no way to control two of the four monstrous mounts. Given the context, I can easily justify that HA checks apply to these companion choices, just like all others. And since no exceptions are called out for either INT, language, or magical beast, a GM can justify treating your Companion like every other standard companion.

Oh, and the griffon has a perquisite of Handle Animal 5 (ranks) before you can acquire one.

Scarab Sages **

Want to complicate things further? A paladin's bonded mount is called sentient in Ultimate Campaign, the same book that includes the text about animals with 3+ int still acting like animals.

***

Having your animal companion disobey you in the middle of a fight is almost suicide for a character. I get where you're coming from, but for ease of play, I'd say you're still entitled to Handle Animal checks. Having to go into a Diplomacy battle with your animal companion whenever it doesn't want to do something is just tedious and stupid. You made some sort of pact with your companion that allowed you to take it. While an animal companion isn't suicidal, it will obey its master, perhaps even to its death. While a regular animal might flee after taking X amount of damage, for ease of play a Druid has full control over his companion. I see no reason to change this with an intelligent companion. He's so devoted to you it doesn't think of disobeying.

I had a Halfling Cavalier with a Worg in PFS. My GMs loved to voice her as a begrudging ally, with a love-hate relationship with her master. That's totally possible. I wouldn't send her to her death, and in return she gets to feed off of what we kill and wonder aloud how she'd eat the captives. That's the sort of thing I imagine a Worg would do. You're still the alpha of the pack, so the Worg needs to listen to you.


Handle Animal wrote:
Special: You can use this skill on a creature with an Intelligence score of 1 or 2 that is not an animal, but the DC of any such check increases by 5. Such creatures have the same limit on tricks known as animals do.

*

Helpful Harry wrote:
Handle Animal wrote:
Special: You can use this skill on a creature with an Intelligence score of 1 or 2 that is not an animal, but the DC of any such check increases by 5. Such creatures have the same limit on tricks known as animals do.

Assuming that the specific rule to use the Animal Companion Class Feature for what are Magical Beasts doesn't trump the general rule on HA checks, that might work. Maybe. Except you're insisting that these PCs are taking -5 on their HA checks. You'll also have to explain why adding 1 point of INT makes HA stop working and you have no way to control the mount, because per RAW, HA won't work on a 3 INT Magical Beast.

Perhaps just as awkward is the idea that 1 INT point and 1 rank in Liguistics takes the Magical Beast from -5 on HA checks, to not needing any checks at all, but the same thing does nothing for animals.

As both a GM and a player, I would appreciate PFS providing more guidance on these rules. To those of you who are fearful that any PFS clarification might limit discretion I have to two thoughts:

1. Why not lobby for what the level of discretion should be? What are examples of things that either a 3 INT, or language-understanding, or 3 INT+Language companion might be allowed to do without being pushed?

2. PFS is predicated on fairness. What's fair? In my experience the PFS staff has exhibited great wisdom and fairness when making PFS specific rules. I have every faith that with feedback they can improve the game in this area.


There is either an exhaustive list of what's allowable or a list of some number less than all.

The latter is what we'd get.

Then it's either written with a full stop, limiting creative solutions.

Or it's open ended with GM discretion, which is the same as we have now. GM discretion works both ways. Just because there is an example of "Down and back off" = stop attacking and take a 5' step back doesn't mean the GM couldn't, in his discretion, decide the AC in question wouldn't do that.

Animals tend to lunge, so attacking and taking a 5' step back or vice versa seems perfectly reasonable for any AC to do, but you should be able to teach an AC a 5-foot Step trick if you wanted, or Total Defense, or Withdraw as an uncommon trick if you can get you GM to sign off on it on the chronicle where you taught it.

Shadow Lodge ****

Blake's Tiger wrote:
, but you should be able to teach an AC a 5-foot Step trick if you wanted, or Total Defense, or Withdraw as an uncommon trick if you can get you GM to sign off on it on the chronicle where you taught it.

No custom tricks is already a rule.

You can't have every dm signing off on tricks that are going to carry over with the critter from place to place. Otherwise you have someone showing up with a 1 int critter who's trick is to "pathfinder" things, which is roughly the equivilant of smurfing them with a 187% increased chance of bloodshed and gore.

You can have a dm saying that its reasonable for a critter to do just about anything, then they're responsible for the implications of their game.

*

Blake's Tiger wrote:

There is either an exhaustive list of what's allowable or a list of some number less than all.

The latter is what we'd get.

You're leaving out a third option: Examples. Examples give the GMs and Players a framework from which to work from. Yes, a framework would limit, but only the extremes. It'd stop a GM from thinking that a bear might put on a dress and pretend to be a bar wench, but that still leaves an infinite amount of room for GMs and players to explore creative outcomes that make sense in the context of exceptions being authorized.

An example isn't going stop GMs from allowing more creative options, because it's an example of what could be done, not what must be done.

Quote:
Or it's open ended with GM discretion, which is the same as we have now.

No, that's not the same as what we have now because it's not GM discretion that is the endgame here. It's official acknowledgment that INT and or Language count for something. It's the same argument I made in the Clarification thread about Skill checks specifically saying that they can be used for "other things" than just what is identified.

Quote:
GM discretion works both ways. Just because there is an example of "Down and back off" = stop attacking and take a 5' step back doesn't mean the GM couldn't, in his discretion, decide the AC in question wouldn't do that.

Of course it counts both ways. That isn't the problem. The problem is nothing says "Down and back-off" is even an example of something that is possible, outside of a Push, and frankly, any companion, regardless of INT or Language can be pushed to do something like that. Down is a Free action and the back-off is the Move.


Aw. Shoot.

Maybe that's the rule they should revisit and allow any defined Action in the Combat Chapter to be learned as a Trick.

...and teaching "Pathfinder" is clearly a Purpose requiring 30 Trick slots. ;)


N N 959 wrote:
The problem is nothing says "Down and back-off" is even an example of something that is possible, outside of a Push, and frankly, any companion, regardless of INT or Language can be pushed to do something like that. Down is a Free action and the back-off is the Move.

This is where you confuse me. Yes, any AC can be pushed to do any task it is physically capable of performing, without language. A Druid can use Handle Animal to Push her 1 INT bird to walk--not fly--in a 15 ft diameter circle using a move action (by undefined means). Anyone can direct an animal trained in Attack to attack the exact target in a crowd of targets with a simple finger point.

All adding enough points in INT to get it to 3 is add 3 tricks per point you added and open up a ton of new feats it can take.

All adding 1 little rank in Linguistics to an INT 3 animal does is let it understand a spoken language.

None of that--and you have conceded as much in the other thread--changes Handle Animal in PFS.

The Blog suggests INT 3 Animals might do something spontaneously when left to their own devices, but that is outside of Handle Animal.

It appears as though you want +1 INT and 1 rank of Linguistics to open up more utility/ability in your AC than is defined anywhere. If not, please be explicit in what you want to accomplish. If so, then consider if +1 INT (not even enough for a change in modifier) and 1 rank in a skill should be as useful as say, a feat (-1 attack, +2-3 damage; +6 to a skill; +2 Fort save), a spell known slot (limited time per day +4 AC for 1 hr/level; +2 AC and immunity to possession for 1 min/level), but you want it to provide infinite customization to all tricks or bypass tricks altogether?

Shadow Lodge ****

Blake's Tiger wrote:

Aw. Shoot.

Maybe that's the rule they should revisit and allow any defined Action in the Combat Chapter to be learned as a Trick.

Which would make your critter neigh unplayable as attacks already have a large number of required secondary powers built into them that would now become tricks, for example the attack trick makes your (ostensibly melee based) animal companion move towards your opponent. What you're suggesting would make it a separate trick

Shadow Lodge ****

Free action, down

Free action seek, all the way the hell over there.

*

Blake's Tiger wrote:


It appears as though you want +1 INT and 1 rank of Linguistics to open up more utility/ability in your AC than is defined anywhere. If not, please be explicit in what you want to accomplish.

I want PFS to tell us what it significance it has, not an exhaustive list, an example of what might be possible given either or both components. The fact that several posters are fearing that it is going to limit what they are allowing suggests many players/GMs think it provides some substantive benefit. Great...how about an example?

The Exchange ****

BigNorseWolf wrote:

Free action, down

Free action seek, all the way the hell over there.

BNW - you did it again.

I totally and completely don't understand your post. Huh? How in the world do you expect me to form an opinion on the subject if I don't know what it is I'm disagreeing with?

;)

Sovereign Court ****

Ok....Given that an animal companion that can talk still needs to use tricks in combat, there would likely be some headache for some judges when players start assuming that just because their pets can talk and/or understand a language, those pets can also follow complex commands in combat.

wait... we already have that problem now! even when they DON'T have an INT > 2 and CAN'T talk.

I often see players/judges assuming the AC can do all sorts of complex things. At my local shop, persons running PCs with ACs normally just avoid playing them at my table (when I'm a player or judge) - otherwise they have to do things like create a list of "tricks" and all that...

But you know what? having an AC that can talk?! think of the Role Playing possibilities!

Judge taking (in Scuby Do voice) as a mount AC: "Does this saddle make me look fat?"

Halfling Cavalier/Druid player: "...there is no safe answer to that question..."


BigNorseWolf wrote:
Blake's Tiger wrote:

Aw. Shoot.

Maybe that's the rule they should revisit and allow any defined Action in the Combat Chapter to be learned as a Trick.

Which would make your critter neigh unplayable as attacks already have a large number of required secondary powers built into them that would now become tricks, for example the attack trick makes your (ostensibly melee based) animal companion move towards your opponent. What you're suggesting would make it a separate trick

I didn't mean redefine tricks or how Handle Animal works. I meant offering new tricks to be made from existing actions already defined.

If someone REALLY wanted their AC to 5 ft step on command or drop prone on command, then they could theoretically spend a Trick slot on it.

As an aside, I, personally, would allow ACs to make any 5 ft step that made sense. It would have to be a bizarrely unusual move for me to disallow it.

Grand Lodge *

Percy Footman wrote:

Ok....Given that an animal companion that can talk still needs to use tricks in combat, there would likely be some headache for some judges when players start assuming that just because their pets can talk and/or understand a language, those pets can also follow complex commands in combat.

wait... we already have that problem now! even when they DON'T have an INT > 2 and CAN'T talk.

We have that problem with other players at the table..


N N 959 wrote:
Blake's Tiger wrote:


It appears as though you want +1 INT and 1 rank of Linguistics to open up more utility/ability in your AC than is defined anywhere. If not, please be explicit in what you want to accomplish.
I want PFS to tell us what it significance it has, not an exhaustive list, an example of what might be possible given either or both components. The fact that several posters are fearing that it is going to limit what they are allowing suggests many players/GMs think it provides some substantive benefit. Great...how about an example?

Wounded Wisp Spoiler:
Druid leaves his AC Small Cat in the mausoleum with the stay command. When the random enemies enter, the AC, using his INT 3 Small Cat stealths away to warn the PCs. Or AC is a Auroch, so it bellows loudly to warn and tries to Intimidate.

Why can't it do that during combat to verbal instructions? Rules say so.

Shadow Lodge ****

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Blake's Tiger wrote:


I didn't mean redefine tricks or how Handle Animal works. I meant offering new tricks to be made from existing actions already defined.

If someone REALLY wanted their AC to 5 ft step on command or drop prone on command, then they could theoretically spend a Trick slot on it.

As an aside, I, personally, would allow ACs to make any 5 ft step that made sense. It would have to be a bizarrely unusual move for me to disallow it.

I know what you're saying, but I'm telling you that as soon as you define something as a trick, someone interprets it as needing that trick to do it at all. (ie, flank)

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