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How many animal companions can you have at once?


Advice

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Ultimate Wilderness released the Exotic Heritage feat, which allows you to take the wildblooded versions of bloodlines through Eldritch Heritage. This means you can now take the sylvan version of the fey bloodline, which grants you an animal companion.

Now I have to wonder how many animal companions you can have on one character. Druids and rangers are obvious, but clerics can also get in on the action through domains such as animal and saurian.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

A hunter can gain multiple animal companions with an archetype.


As far as I know, only Pack Lord Druids, Packmaster Hunters, and Beast Master Rangers are the only classes that can have multiple animal companions. The vast majority of methods to get animal companions outside of those three archetypes only cause your levels to stack for determining how strong your animal companion is rather than giving you additional companions.

That said, I'm not sure how that works with feats like Exotic Heritage if you're already a member of a class that gets an animal companion.


neat i wonder what a full hunter with vmc cleric for animal domain and then exotic heritage for sylvan bloodline would look like


What Diachronos said with one exception - the Cavalier. The Cavalier's mount acts as an animal companion, but if you were to play as a Druid or something similar first and pick a companion that couldn't possibly act as a mount, then pick take a level in Cavalier, you would have both the companion you first picked, and a mount.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Tales Subscriber

There's the Jungle Lord Ranger archetype from the Pathfinder: Worldscape comic that gets you two animal companions.

The Exchange

Sacred Huntmaster inquisitor with animal domain, then eldritch heritage wild blooded sylvan makes 3. God knows about monstrous mount line as well.


Reduxist wrote:

Ultimate Wilderness released the Exotic Heritage feat, which allows you to take the wildblooded versions of bloodlines through Eldritch Heritage. This means you can now take the sylvan version of the fey bloodline, which grants you an animal companion.

Now I have to wonder how many animal companions you can have on one character. Druids and rangers are obvious, but clerics can also get in on the action through domains such as animal and saurian.

Just one.

The Sylvan bloodine and the Druid VMC are not giving you an animal companion but giving you access to the "animal companion feature" which is alightly different.

If you already had this feature before, then you gain nothing new.

There are, as pointed by other posters, archetypes meant to allow you to have several animal companion at a time... and that come for a price.
The other ways are not meant to allow you to do the same thing that those archetypes, while bypassing the cost.

It would make those archetypes totaly irrelevant


Moonheart wrote:
Reduxist wrote:

Ultimate Wilderness released the Exotic Heritage feat, which allows you to take the wildblooded versions of bloodlines through Eldritch Heritage. This means you can now take the sylvan version of the fey bloodline, which grants you an animal companion.

Now I have to wonder how many animal companions you can have on one character. Druids and rangers are obvious, but clerics can also get in on the action through domains such as animal and saurian.

Just one.

The Sylvan bloodine and the Druid VMC are not giving you an animal companion but giving you access to the "animal companion feature" which is alightly different.

If you already had this feature before, then you gain nothing new.

There are, as pointed by other posters, archetypes meant to allow you to have several animal companion at a time... and that come for a price.
The other ways are not meant to allow you to do the same thing that those archetypes, while bypassing the cost.

It would make those archetypes totaly irrelevant

if you gain the animal companion class feature from another source those levels stack with those of your current levels for the animal companion ability so it would allow those archetypes to have multiple with next to no penalty or you could have 1 companion with a massive amount of power behind it


True, by RAW, those levels -could- stack. I'm just saying you don't gain the class feature twice (and hence, don't gain an extra animal companion), but just once.

I say "could", because you have to remember that we are talking about a tabletop roleplaying game, and that every character have to get the assent of the DM before it can be played.

Rules being not perfect in anyway due to their insane size, the DM is meant to handle the special case that falls in the dark corners of the rulebooks, and keep everything coherent... and I do fail to see why any DM would allow you to multiply those levels and build a super-pet anihilating the game balance.

The level-stacking rule was meant for multiclassing with class who have the animal companion feature, to prevent them to end with a level 3 companion when they have 20 level of classes how have the feature.
It was not meant to apply to multiples ways to obtain an animal companion tied to the character level, which is more a rule glitch than anything intented.


Moonheart wrote:

True, levels could stack. I'm just saying you don't gain the class feature twice (and hence, don't gain an extra animal companion), but just once.

I say "could", because most DM would probably argue that if you gain an animal companion through a rule that is not tied to a class level (like elritch heritage or VMC) then there is not reason to stack those levels.

The level stacking rule is meant for class features, like when you multiclass druid with ranger.

they are still tied to level tho so they do stack weather that means you have 5 normal level pets with an archetype that allows multiple companions or 1 super powerful one is up to you


I predicted this answer, but edited too late it seems...

Long story made short: You won't have 5 normal level pets, you will have what a DM allows, and good luck to make any experienced DM swallow this one.


Moonheart wrote:

I predicted this answer, but edited too late it seems...

Long story made short: You won't have 5 normal level pets, you will have what a DM allows, and good luck to make any competent DM swallow this one.

a character doing this is giving up bare minimum 8 feats and pushing 12 and a massive amount of class features and copious amounts of gold sacrificing their own power and potential for making their companions stronger or having more of them they will literally have to devote everything about their character to pull this off and animal companions aren't that scary they fall off drastically at mid to high level their only issue is at low level, a level bracket were you don't have enough feats or class features to pull off reliably having that many companions


As soon you have to write a full paragraph to justify something that seems both "not intented" and possibly balance breaking, you already lost your cause to 90% of DMs.

DMs rarely enjoy people starting to debate to justify a weird mix that has for single purpose to squeeze more power.

What you need to realize with rulebooks is that they are written by people who try their best to create new content that will not go hairwire once combination with existing content, but fails time to time with it.
That's why most experienced DM play by RAI and not RAW

And clearly, give some character 5 full level animal companion was not the intent of the author who wrote the level stacking rule.


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Reduxist wrote:
Ultimate Wilderness released the Exotic Heritage feat, which allows you to take the wildblooded versions of bloodlines through Eldritch Heritage. This means you can now take the sylvan version of the fey bloodline, which grants you an animal companion

I have re-checked the rules: you probably cannot use Exotic Bloodline to have an animal companion.

Exotic Bloodline extend Eldritch Heritage to the wild bloodlines, including Sylvan. BUT Eldritch Heritage doesn't give access to the Bloodline Arcanas.

Now, let's read the Sylvan Bloodline on the SRD site:
"Animal Companion (Ex): At 1st level, you gain an animal companion. Your effective druid level for this ability is equal to your sorcerer level – 3 (minimum 1st).

This bloodline power [counts as your bloodline arcana] and also replaces laughing touch."

As the companion animal counts as a bloodline arcana which is an exclusivity of the sorcerer class normaly unreachable by Eldritch Heritage, you probably won't find a DM agreeing that you gain an animal companion by using Exotic Bloodline on the Sylvan bloodline.

That would be like obtaining a feature by paying only half (or less, since arcanas are often much more powerful than level 1 bloodline powers) of its cost.


If it's for PFS the answer is one, PFS only allows one animal companion.

If it's for a home game, consult your GM. Animal companions, specifically multiple animal companions, can be disruptive to a game by causing turns to take too long or providing more power than intended.

Personally as a GM I enforce a 1 "pet" policy per player. Whether it's planar bound minions, created undead, animal companions, etc doesn't matter. At my table you only get 1 to keep things moving quickly, and because action economy is very powerful. I've played at a table with an necromancer and a devil binder (in one party). It sucks real bad.I know many people like to play a minionmancer, but those builds usually suck the fun right out of the game for other players.


Moonheart wrote:

As soon you have to write a full paragraph to justify something that seems both "not intented" and possibly balance breaking, you already lost your cause to 90% of DMs.

DMs rarely enjoy people starting to debate to justify a weird mix that has for single purpose to squeeze more power.

What you need to realize with rulebooks is that they are written by people who try their best to create new content that will not go hairwire once combination with existing content, but fails time to time with it.
That's why most experienced DM play by RAI and not RAW

And clearly, give some character 5 full level animal companion was not the intent of the author who wrote the level stacking rule.

you are also failing to see how sucky animal companions are, they are really good in 10 point buy but as the players stats increase they fall off in potency drastically, at higher levels(the levels that would make even having 5 animal companions possible) your animal companions will likely only hit 10-20% of the time and they are likely to be killed in like 2-3 hits,and you would be much better off just having one or two really high level animal companions but its still possible to have more then that and have them be at your level


Quote:
You are also failing to see how sucky animal companions are, they are really good in 10 point buy but as the players stats increase they fall off in potency drastically, at higher levels(the levels that would make even having 5 animal companions possible) your animal companions will likely only hit 10-20% of the time and they are likely to be killed in like 2-3 hits,and you would be much better off just having one or two really high level animal companions but its still possible to have more then that and have them be at your level

That depends on the companion/PC build and the game though, doesn't it? I'm playing a hunter with a boar companion, and yeah we're only at level 6 right now, but the feats and equipment my boar and hunter have make them a pretty decent powerhouse team. Mick (the boar) has Tusk Blades +2 to improve his Gore attack and I plan to give it Keen once I get the gold. I have to wait until level 8 to give him another feat, but I plan to use Toughness to up his HP. At the moment, his HP is 51. My GM lets me roll for it. And since my hunter rides Mick as a mount (she's a halfling), the shared Pack Flanking feat means that they're always getting the bonuses from Outflank and Precise Strike, and Broken Wing Gambit lets them force the opponent to provoke AoOs. A few enhancement bonuses to his armor will easily up his AC without having to sacrifice any Dex bonuses.


Heather 540 wrote:
Quote:
You are also failing to see how sucky animal companions are, they are really good in 10 point buy but as the players stats increase they fall off in potency drastically, at higher levels(the levels that would make even having 5 animal companions possible) your animal companions will likely only hit 10-20% of the time and they are likely to be killed in like 2-3 hits,and you would be much better off just having one or two really high level animal companions but its still possible to have more then that and have them be at your level
That depends on the companion/PC build and the game though, doesn't it? I'm playing a hunter with a boar companion, and yeah we're only at level 6 right now, but the feats and equipment my boar and hunter have make them a pretty decent powerhouse team. Mick (the boar) has Tusk Blades +2 to improve his Gore attack and I plan to give it Keen once I get the gold. I have to wait until level 8 to give him another feat, but I plan to use Toughness to up his HP. At the moment, his HP is 51. My GM lets me roll for it. And since my hunter rides Mick as a mount (she's a halfling), the shared Pack Flanking feat means that they're always getting the bonuses from Outflank and Precise Strike, and Broken Wing Gambit lets them force the opponent to provoke AoOs. A few enhancement bonuses to his armor will easily up his AC without having to sacrifice any Dex bonuses.

your talking about having just 1 pet and putting resources into one pet, in the example above the player has to devide their resources between themself and 5 animal companions so it vastly reduces the usefulness of the animal companions also your playing at low levels the levels were animal companions shine, at level 14-20 animal companions generally don't last long as they have neither the hp nor the attack bonus to survive or be a credible threat


Lady-J wrote:
your talking about having just 1 pet and putting resources into one pet, in the example above the player has to devide their resources between themself and 5 animal companions so it vastly reduces the usefulness of the animal companions also your playing at low levels the levels were animal companions shine, at level 14-20 animal companions generally don't last long as they have neither the hp nor the attack bonus to survive or be a credible threat

I don't know what game you're playing, but in my gestalt game, that's at level 15 right now, where I literally got my AC from Animal Ally, thus having to spend three feats on the animal (Nature Soul>Animal Ally>Boon Companion), and without being a spellcaster thus no use of share spells, my animal is still one of the leading forces in battle. And I picked a wolf, so it's not like I have one of the super op types of animals, not to say the wolf is bad, just not the best option. I did have to spend two more feats on Evolved Companion to buff her, but if I had been a Druid from the start, I could have spent 3 more feats on Evolved Companion, and would be at the same amount of feats my gestalt character spent on the AC plus could actually buff her with spells and what not. Probably would have also been a Mad Dog Barbarian, so she'd have DR by now IIRC, just to show how unoptimized she is.


Reksew_Trebla wrote:
Lady-J wrote:
your talking about having just 1 pet and putting resources into one pet, in the example above the player has to devide their resources between themself and 5 animal companions so it vastly reduces the usefulness of the animal companions also your playing at low levels the levels were animal companions shine, at level 14-20 animal companions generally don't last long as they have neither the hp nor the attack bonus to survive or be a credible threat
I don't know what game you're playing, but in my gestalt game, that's at level 15 right now, where I literally got my AC from Animal Ally, thus having to spend three feats on the animal (Nature Soul>Animal Ally>Boon Companion), and without being a spellcaster thus no use of share spells, my animal is still one of the leading forces in battle. And I picked a wolf, so it's not like I have one of the super op types of animals, not to say the wolf is bad, just not the best option. I did have to spend two more feats on Evolved Companion to buff her, but if I had been a Druid from the start, I could have spent 3 more feats on Evolved Companion, and would be at the same amount of feats my gestalt character spent on the AC plus could actually buff her with spells and what not. Probably would have also been a Mad Dog Barbarian, so she'd have DR by now IIRC, just to show how unoptimized she is.

again still 1 companion, you can afford to give them good gear, if you had to look after 4 other companions the gear each of them would have would be far less then what your current single pet has, also cr 16 creatures have around ac 30-38 so a level 15 animal companion gets +9 to hit from bab and around +10 to hit from str on average assuming you can spring for a belt as well as +3 for an amulet of mighty fists, that's +22 to hit so you will need an 8 on the low end but you will need a 16 to hit on the high end, now say you have multiple pets so you cant afford to give each of them really good gear so each only gets a +1 amulet and a a basic belt, your now down +4 to hit so your hitting on a 12 on the low end and need a natural 20 to hit on the high end, now take your single pet you can probably afford to give it heavy barding for +9 armor bonus to ac and can probably tack on some enchantment levels to so lets say +12 total with the +10 natural armor you will be at 32-35 ac

on average depending on the dex of the animal now if you have to split that money 5 different ways the animals will probably only get light barding with a +1 enchantment for a total of +5 ac with +10 natural armor for an average of 25-28 on average depending on dex of the animal companion the cr 16 creatures on the low end get +20 to hit and on the high end get +35 to hit meaning on the single animal companion the low end needs around a 12 to hit while the high end needs a 2 to hit but with multiple animal companions even the low end creatures only need like a 5 on the die to hit the animal companions coupled with the fact that a single pet will have more max hp then if you had multiple pets as you would have the resources to boost its con the single pet will last longer in combat while the multiple weaker pets will need to be hit fewer times to be killed, in addition its easier to heal just 1 animal companion so having more then one eats up a lot of healing charges and that a single pet means each buff only needs to be applied once were as you need multiple buffs to be put on each of them, pets need massive amounts of support to make them viable adding in multiple pets cuts down on the amount of support they can have thus diminishing their potency while a properly supported pet can be a great help for a party a base pet with little support is nothing more then a small speed bump for most cr+1 encounters and even less of a speed bump to more challenging encounters


Lady-J wrote:

now take your single pet you can probably afford to give it heavy barding

Yeah, but you see, thing is, I'm a rogue, so I um... chose not to give my AC... armor. She already has such poor stealth, especially cause she's large, that I couldn't afford the armor check penalty.


Reksew_Trebla wrote:
Lady-J wrote:

now take your single pet you can probably afford to give it heavy barding

Yeah, but you see, thing is, I'm a rogue, so I um... chose not to give my AC... armor. She already has such poor stealth, especially cause she's large, that I couldn't afford the armor check penalty.

then it can hardly be called a leading force in combat as it will be chewed up and spit back out my many of the on par cr encounters and gets even more overshadowed by basically any martial character


Lady-J wrote:
Reksew_Trebla wrote:
Lady-J wrote:

now take your single pet you can probably afford to give it heavy barding

Yeah, but you see, thing is, I'm a rogue, so I um... chose not to give my AC... armor. She already has such poor stealth, especially cause she's large, that I couldn't afford the armor check penalty.
then it can hardly be called a leading force in combat as it will be chewed up and spit back out my many of the on par cr encounters and gets even more overshadowed by basically any martial character

Rise of the Runelords:
She flat out kept the entire group alive for the majority of the battle against the leader of the Sloth chamber area place thingymabob. I was getting grappled by an under...liquid waste monster, then escaping and rising to the top with my boots whose name I forget that let me walk on swampy water, then grappled and dragged down again, the Ranger//Monk was being flanked by summoned demons? I think, and barely surviving, having to abundant step to a safe spot every few turns and heal, and the Sorc//Oracle was wasting every turn trying to dispel the leader's fly spell so we could hit the d*** guy and stop him from summoning more enemies. My Wolf AC was the only one who killed anything in that fight, and killed a lot of the demons? again I don't remember what they were. If my wolf hadn't been killing the demons by getting two bites, tripping, then two claws (evolved companion) then AoO when they stood to finish the monsters off on their own turn, we would have had to roll new characters.

Reksew_Trebla wrote:
Lady-J wrote:
Reksew_Trebla wrote:
Lady-J wrote:

now take your single pet you can probably afford to give it heavy barding

Yeah, but you see, thing is, I'm a rogue, so I um... chose not to give my AC... armor. She already has such poor stealth, especially cause she's large, that I couldn't afford the armor check penalty.
then it can hardly be called a leading force in combat as it will be chewed up and spit back out my many of the on par cr encounters and gets even more overshadowed by basically any martial character
** spoiler omitted **

sound more like you guys were having bad luck with rolls combined with the fact you are 1-2 players fewer then normal played more of a factor in the combat then the pet actually doing well

those summoned demons were between cr 6-10 from what i can see in the summon monster table and should have been easily killed by a pc, and trying to dispel a fly buff instead of buffing the party with fly was compounding the difficulty of the fight as just flying up and over the summons would have made them effectively worthless for the caster

if the party had a barbarian instead the barbarian would have killed 2-3 demons a round


You still don't understand that this is a tabletop roleplaying game and what it implies, Lady-J: Your argument about the pretended suckyness of Animal Companions is irrelevant, a DM won't give a damn about it.

What is releveant is that a character with 5 full level companions:
- will cripple the battle rythm (you will need 6 round just for yourself, when the other PC only need 4 altogether... which mean you're going to monopolize 60% of the battle time just for yourself: how is it supposed to be fun for others?)
- will rise a lot of questions of how you handle them with rules that were never writtent for multiple animal companions in the first place (just figuring if you should or shouldn't actualy be allowed to issue a trick order to several animal companions in a single action is a topic that would bring a 20 page debate on this forum...)
- will gamblize the usefulness of other melee characters of the party (how much is useful a barbarian that can't reach his targets properly due to having 5 animal companion in adjacent cases of the said targets?)
- and won't make the game funnier in any way (no, seriously, you're not going to have MORE fun with 5 pets than with one after 2h of play)

So... I do not see any good reason for a DM to allow you to do so.
Hell, already before that, I even saw several DM -deny- players to pick the packmaster archetype!

This is a management-hell archetype, which easily come in the way of the good flow of the game... so I can't blame them.


Moonheart wrote:

You still don't understand that this is a tabletop roleplaying game and what it implies, Lady-J: Your argument about the pretended suckyness of Animal Companions is irrelevant, a DM won't give a damn about it.

What is releveant is that a character with 5 full level companions:
- will cripple the battle rythm (you will need 6 round just for yourself, when the other PC only need 4 altogether... which mean you're going to monopolize 60% of the battle time just for yourself: how is it supposed to be fun for others?)
- will rise a lot of questions of how you handle them with rules that were never writtent for multiple animal companions in the first place (just figuring if you should or shouldn't actualy be allowed to issue a trick order to several animal companions in a single action is a topic that would bring a 20 page debate on this forum...)
- will gamblize the usefulness of other melee characters of the party (how much is useful a barbarian that can't reach his targets properly due to having 5 animal companion in adjacent cases of the said targets?)
- and won't make the game funnier in any way (no, seriously, you're not going to have MORE fun with 5 pets than with one after 2h of play)

So... I do not see any good reason for a DM to allow you to do so.
Hell, already before that, I even saw several DM -deny- players to pick the packmaster archetype!

This is a management-hell archetype, which easily come in the way of the good flow of the game... so I can't blame them.

if you know what your doing both the turns of you and your animal companions can be done in less time then it takes a fighter or wizard to do their turns while it can bog down combat a little if you dont know what your doing the issue is also resolved if the dm just takes control over the animal companions and runs them for you, ive had a campaign with a master summoner a necromancer and several other pet classes and combat went by faster then some of the 4 person party with no pets have done, also if no one is playing melee then its a life saver to have some melee pets as a front line even tho they will be weaker then a melee character or a single animal companion


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An Animal Companion does tend to have very simple turns of move and attack. In large part, bogging down combat with something like an animal or a skeleton is mostly a fault with the player for either A. switching off and not thinking when it isn't their turn or B. not caring about or not thinking of ways to save time.

Electronic means or even simply rolling multiple sets of differentiated dice at once can greatly truncate time spent simply rolling as well.

While it will always be more time than if they were not there, it's only onerous if a player completely unsuited to the task or uninterested in making the necessary changes to how they behave at the table is the one who wants to do it.

Now, if someone tries to have double digits of minions, or really that many above 4 or 5, then there's an issue from the sheer number of bodies on the battle grid, which is then compounded by the increased number of bodies on the enemy's side to counterbalance their presence.


Many people tend to think the turn on an animal companion is simple, when, by the rules, it is not. That's because also many people don't follow the animal companion rules at all, without even realizing it.

I'm playing a campaign with a DM that truly play animal companion rules by RAW. Let me give you an exemple of how the round look like:

1- During my turn, I must issue a command by a free action to direct my animal companion to attack (otherwise, he won't even bother until foes directly jump on me, its master)
2- The DM assess the situation vs the trick that was ordered to perform to evalue the Handle Animal DC : is my companion wounded? what is the target? is there some additionnal circumstances?
3- I roll the check, and see if the animal comply. If not, the DM will have to figure a completly different outcome, but let say I suceed...
4- When we reach the initiave of the animal companion order, the DM have to figure how exactly an animal of his intelligence level and nature will proceed to perform the Attack trick: will it charge head-on? jump? pounce? if it has wings, will it start by getting off the ground? if it moves first, and have several kind of natural attacks, which one will be used? will he ignore the other foes, and take AoO running to the pointed target?
5- The DM make the animal companion move, then attack: round 1 it's often simple, but after that, my level 1 animal companion feature 5 f*$#ing natural attacks, which means it rolls between 5 to 10 rolls just to perform a full-attack round

This, is a sample a of very simplistic level 1 round with my animal companion.

Now, try to imagine my animal 6 levels later: it will be used as a flying mount, with the Grab innate feature, the improved share spells and flyby attack feats.
Try just to imagine what is going to mean when I'm going to share a Fire Breath with the mount, make it perform a Flyby Attack with the fire breath, when I readied an action to use the Fire Breath I shared at the same time...
That means: handle animal check, fly check, ride check, calculation of area twice, saving throw check for every target in the area twice, possible AoO by some target, calculation of a 80ft move speed decided by an animal intelligence.
That's for ONE animal companion.

Truth is: an animal companion is not weak at all. It's just a feature that is as powerful as is user can be creative with.
And f+!%, I don't even wanna to imagine what the DM is going to face if someone get creative with 5 f$**ing animal companions... like a double grapple made by 2 flanking apes wielding simple weapons, while 3 others are ordered to perform an aid other and 2 of them have been hit by an Awaken spell already... guh

At some point, you have truly to realize that a DM have no duty at all to accept you to play overcomplicating things that do not bring more fun to the game. Even if by RAW, it would be allowed.

And I said it earlier: by RAW, what you're arguing for is already forbidden, because the animal companion is the Bloodline Arcane of the Sylvan bloodline, not a mere level 1 power.

Scarab Sages

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Have a Pony animal companion

Raise it's int to three

Give it nature soul and animal ally and boon companion

It gets an animal companion with nature soul and animal ally and boon companion

Which gets it an animal companion with nature soul and animal ally and boon companion

Which gets it an animal companion with nature soul and animal ally and boon companion....

it's ponies all the way down.


Pony Army, lol. Perfect exemple of why playing only by RAW is just a very poor idea, there are blind spots everywhere.

Anyway, I don't think this debate is going to go anywhere. The answers have been given:

- In PFS, more than one animal companion is forbidden
- Out of PFS, the rules doesn't allow to use the Sylvan bloodline this way, as per the "count as bloodline arcane" description
- If you want to do it neverless, ask the DM for a homerule... but be expected to have hard time making him accept, because it would be to open the door to many potential problems, at no gain for him

Power/simplicity debates are kinda irrelevant, so I will stop to answer when further more. We can agree to disagree, either way, it won't change the 3 point wrote above


Moonheart wrote:

Many people tend to think the turn on an animal companion is simple, when, by the rules, it is not. That's because also many people don't follow the animal companion rules at all, without even realizing it.

I'm playing a campaign with a DM that truly play animal companion rules by RAW. Let me give you an exemple of how the round look like:

1- During my turn, I must issue a command by a free action to direct my animal companion to attack (otherwise, he won't even bother until foes directly jump on me, its master)
2- The DM assess the situation vs the trick that was ordered to perform to evalue the Handle Animal DC : is my companion wounded? what is the target? is there some additionnal circumstances?
3- I roll the check, and see if the animal comply. If not, the DM will have to figure a completly different outcome, but let say I suceed...
4- When we reach the initiave of the animal companion order, the DM have to figure how exactly an animal of his intelligence level and nature will proceed to perform the Attack trick: will it charge head-on? jump? pounce? if it has wings, will it start by getting off the ground? if it moves first, and have several kind of natural attacks, which one will be used? will he ignore the other foes, and take AoO running to the pointed target?
5- The DM make the animal companion move, then attack: round 1 it's often simple, but after that, my level 1 animal companion feature 5 f+@&ing natural attacks, which means it rolls between 5 to 10 rolls just to perform a full-attack round

This, is a sample a of very simplistic level 1 round with my animal companion.

Now, try to imagine my animal 6 levels later: it will be used as a flying mount, with the Grab innate feature, the improved share spells and flyby attack feats.
Try just to imagine what is going to mean when I'm going to share a Fire Breath with the mount, make it perform a Flyby Attack with the fire breath, when I readied an action to use the Fire Breath I shared at the same time...
That means: handle animal...

all of that can be ignored by increasing the animals intelligence to 3 or higher

Shadow Lodge

Linky Raising the critters int to 3 does not mean you can stop making handle animal checks


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BigNorseWolf wrote:
Linky Raising the critters int to 3 does not mean you can stop making handle animal checks

that is one of the dumbest faqs ive read cuz by this ruling a non awakened animal with an int of 18 still has to have their master use handle animal checks despite the animal having a higher int then its master who will likely only have a 14 or so unless you go for an int based ranger for the kill points especially since by raw a creature with an int of 3 can fully understand language and follow orders that are told to them


Lady-J wrote:
that is one of the dumbest faqs ive read cuz by this ruling a non awakened animal with an int of 18 still has to have their master use handle animal checks despite the animal having a higher int then its master who will likely only have a 14 or so unless you go for an int based ranger for the kill points especially since by raw a creature with an int of 3 can fully understand language and follow orders that are told to them

Right for the part of being able to understand a language, wrong about following orders.

From the beggining, the reason why an animal companion need an Handle Animal checks to obey is not because it cannot understand your langage: it is because it is an independant creature with its own set of desires, values and wills.

So, as any creature which is not "you", it is an NPC that you have to convince to act upon your will if you want it to perform something it would have normaly do outside of your presence.
The only thing that the "animal companion" status brings above this is that animal has a strong attachement to you, and will raise in levels with you. It does not make it a mentaly dominated creature like a familiar is, and thus, forced to obey.

Handle Animal is a skill that allow you to use an animal sense of natural hierarchy to make an animal (companion or not) comply to an order that you will convey by a few keywords that the animal does not even need to understand.
You could make it attack someone by using the keyword "snuggle": for the animal, the meaning of "snuggle" is irrelevant, what is count is that the being above him in the natural hierarchy (you) have made it understand that upon hearing the sound "snuggle" from your lips, he must consider the target as an ennemy.

Raising intelligence will not make the animal more obediant (it could even instead make it less obediant, as it start to grasp complex philosophic concept like "self-determination"), but just allow you do convey more complex wishes to it.
You will still need to convaince it to follow this wish, especialy when you ask it something potentialy dangerous... and as long your relation with that animal is still "animal to master", Handle Animal will be the skill to use.

If you want to review the full rules about controlling animal companions, there is this official online SRD page: Controlling Companions
By ready it, you'll see that, by RAW, an animal companion is all except a being meant to always obey you as long it understand you.


Moonheart wrote:
Lady-J wrote:
that is one of the dumbest faqs ive read cuz by this ruling a non awakened animal with an int of 18 still has to have their master use handle animal checks despite the animal having a higher int then its master who will likely only have a 14 or so unless you go for an int based ranger for the kill points especially since by raw a creature with an int of 3 can fully understand language and follow orders that are told to them

Right for the part of being able to understand a language, wrong about following orders.

From the beggining, the reason why an animal companion need an Handle Animal checks to obey is not because it cannot understand your langage: it is because it is an independant creature with its own set of desires, values and wills.

So, as any creature which is not "you", it is an NPC that you have to convince to act upon your will if you want it to perform something it would have normaly do outside of your presence.
The only thing that the "animal companion" status brings above this is that animal has a strong attachement to you, and will raise in levels with you. It does not make it a mentaly dominated creature like a familiar is, and thus, forced to obey.

Handle Animal is a skill that allow you to use an animal sense of natural hierarchy to make an animal (companion or not) comply to an order that you will convey by a few keywords that the animal does not even need to understand.
You could make it attack someone by using the keyword "snuggle": for the animal, the meaning of "snuggle" is irrelevant, what is count is that the being above him in the natural hierarchy (you) have made it understand that upon hearing the sound "snuggle" from your lips, he must consider the target as an ennemy.

Raising intelligence will not make the animal more obediant (it could even instead make it less obediant, as it start to grasp complex philosophic concept like "self-determination"), but just allow you do convey more complex wishes to it.
You will still need to convaince it...

that page convays the exact oposite cuz Sentient Companions: a sentient companion (a creature that can understand language and has an Intelligence score of at least 3) is considered your ally and obeys your suggestions and orders to the best of its ability. It won’t necessarily blindly follow a suicidal order, but it has your interests at heart and does what it can to keep you alive. Paladin bonded mounts, familiars, and cohorts fall into this category, and are usually player-controlled companions. once an animal companion gets 3 int it falls into this catagory


@Lady-J:
No, it doesn't. You need to read the full text, not just the parts that go your way.

First, the "sentient companion" category doesn't list the animal companion as being part of the category

Quote:
Sentient Companions: (...) Paladin bonded mounts, familiars, and cohorts fall into this category, and are usually player-controlled companions.

Animal companions are instead listed in the non-sentient category:

Quote:
Nonsentient Companions: (...) Animal companions, cavalier mounts, and purchased creatures (such as common horses and guard dogs) fall into this category.

If I start to know you well enough, you are probably just about to argue how the sentient category speaks of an intelligence of 3, and the non-sentient applies to intelligence 2 or less.

But you know what? The case of animal companions reaching having their intelligence rasied to 3 is completely covered a bit further in the same page:

Quote:

Intelligent Animals

Increasing an animal’s Intelligence to 3 or higher means it is smart enough to understand a language. However, unless an awaken spell is used, the animal doesn’t automatically and instantly learn a language, any more than a human child does. The animal must be taught a language, usually over the course of months, giving it the understanding of the meaning of words and sentences beyond its trained responses to commands like “attack” and “heel.”

Even if the animal is taught to understand a language, it probably lacks the anatomy to actually speak (unless awaken is used). For example, dogs, elephants, and even gorillas lack the proper physiology to speak humanoid languages, though they can use their limited “vocabulary” of sounds to articulate concepts, especially if working with a person who learns what the sounds mean.

An intelligent animal is smart enough to use tools, but might lack the ability to manipulate them. a crow could be able to use simple lockpicks, but a dog can’t. Even if the animal is physically capable of using a tool, it might still prefer its own natural body to manufactured items, especially when it comes to weapons. An intelligent gorilla could hold or wield a sword, but its inclination is to make slam attacks. No amount of training (including weapon proficiency feats) is going to make it fully comfortable attacking in any other way.

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.

TL;DR: an intelligent animal is still an animal that you need to train to obey.

------------------------

Now that the "rule" part is covered, I'd like once again remember you that Pathfinder is a roleplaying game: While rules are fine and helpful, the first of any things to care in the game is to keep things coherent lore-wise.

And what is an animal companion lore-wise?
It's a wild animal that your knowledge of the nature allowed you to tame so it would become a being willing to stay by your side and somewhat caring for you.
Unlike a familiar, this animal does not become "magical" upon entering your side: it's still a 100% natural animal.

The best comparaison to the relationship between an animal companion and the PC is the relation between a dog and is master: the dog wants to be by your side, somewhat cares about you and is accustomed to the human environment, but besides that, it still react as the animal it is, no matter how smart it is.

Some dogs are smart enough to know how to unlock a door by slide the chain-lock on it to go out by themselves, yet, by no means it makes them more obedient: the obediance of a dog is only at the measure of how much you trained it.

And Handle Animal is the skill in pathfinder that simulate the "animal training" concept.


I'll also wish to answer another point about your arguments:

You said that an animal companion is weak. It is not... at least not for what it's supposed to be.

An animal companion is not meant to be a full-fledged combat feature by itself, but a flavor element (you have at your side a tamed wild animal that acts somewhat like a domestic dog... and its actualy a freaking tiger!!!) that is somewhat usable as an help in combat.

Compared to a PC, an animal companion could look weak, but as an help feature, it's actualy pretty powerful.
You can use it in a LOT of different ways: make it drop Alchemical Fire flask on the head of enemies, mount it for increased mobility, have it to flank people, have it to track, seek, hunt for you...

The problem is that you are comparing the power of something that is like a sword to the power of a full PC, without accounting the power of the guy holding the said sword... and then complain that the sword is not good enough compared to a full PC and that you should be able to mix feats in a non-intented way so you could wield 5 swords at once to compensate for its "weakness"

No, just no. YOU are the PC, not your animal companion.
The combat efficiency is supposed to come from you, not from your pet.
The pet is just a little addition on top of what you are supposed to do by yourself.

If you seek to have a companion which is a killing machine fightning instead of you, what you are seeking for is the Summoner class.
But no feat is going to add such a killing machine on top of your already agressive features of your own class... that would be totaly unbalanced.


Moonheart wrote:

@Lady-J:

No, it doesn't. You need to read the full text, not just the parts that go your way.

First, the "sentient companion" category doesn't list the animal companion as being part of the category

Quote:
Sentient Companions: (...) Paladin bonded mounts, familiars, and cohorts fall into this category, and are usually player-controlled companions.

Animal companions are instead listed in the non-sentient category:

Quote:
Nonsentient Companions: (...) Animal companions, cavalier mounts, and purchased creatures (such as common horses and guard dogs) fall into this category.

If I start to know you well enough, you are probably just about to argue how the sentient category speaks of an intelligence of 3, and the non-sentient applies to intelligence 2 or less.

But you know what? The case of animal companions reaching having their intelligence rasied to 3 is completely covered a bit further in the same page:

Quote:

Intelligent Animals

Increasing an animal’s Intelligence to 3 or higher means it is smart enough to understand a language. However, unless an awaken spell is used, the animal doesn’t automatically and instantly learn a language, any more than a human child does. The animal must be taught a language, usually over the course of months, giving it the understanding of the meaning of words and sentences beyond its trained responses to commands like “attack” and “heel.”

Even if the animal is taught to understand a language, it probably lacks the anatomy to actually speak (unless awaken is used). For example, dogs, elephants, and even gorillas lack the proper physiology to speak humanoid languages, though they can use their limited “vocabulary” of sounds to articulate concepts, especially if working with a person who learns what the sounds mean.

An intelligent animal is smart enough to use tools, but might lack the ability to manipulate them. a crow could be able to use simple lockpicks, but a dog can’t. Even if the animal is physically capable of using a tool, it

...

the ruling is flawed as there is no difference between an animal with an int of 3 and a humanoid with an int of 3 they are just as sentient


That's probably completly wrong, because I'm prettry sure there is absolutly no rule stating that an int of 3 is a sufficient condition to be qualitifed as "sentient", but who cares?

I already explained to you that becoming sentient is not going to make any creature magicaly become also magicaly dominated and thus forced to obey your every whim without you needing to roll some skill to convaince it.

So, it's still irrelevant for the current topic.


Moonheart wrote:

That's probably completly wrong, because I'm prettry sure there is absolutly no rule stating that an int of 3 is a sufficient condition to be qualitifed as "sentient", but who cares?

I already explained to you that becoming sentient is not going to make any creature magicaly become also magicaly dominated and thus forced to obey your every whim without you needing to roll some skill to convaince it.

So, it's still irrelevant for the current topic.

who said anything about mental domination i just said that they should be able to follow orders with out needing a check to do so, once trained to do the trick a creature of sufficient intelligence should be able to do the trick on command with no check needed


Oh. So in fact, you just didn't understand what Handle Animal truly does...ok, it explain a lot of things.

Handle Animal is not about teaching an animal how to do something so it become -able- to do so. It's about teaching to do it when -YOU- decide it, upon hearing a given keyword or seeing a given sign coming from you, even if it would be advert to the animal instincts or needs.

For exemple, a tiger is naturaly able lay down, but it would certainly not going to do it just by itself if you enter a farm after two days without eating anything, and it cross some marvelously tasty-looking chickens.
Without you handling your tiger friend, it would just jump on the chicken and butcher them, resulting the farmers to get angry.

Now, if you taught the tiger the "Down" trick, it means it's actually trained to lay down no matter what upon you shouting "Kitten, DOWN!"
Since it's still going against its needs, you will still need a check, but an easy one (DC 10 + any circumstance malus the DM will think suited for the current situation)
Upon success, the poor, starved tiger will reluctantly lay down in front of chickens, because the alpha creature you represent to him forced it to do so.

Without the "Down" trick, the thing is going to get harder, because the tiger had no training of sort. It's -able- to lay down, but not wanting do so, and you did not break his will enough to make it easily comply to something like that.
It will result a DC 25 Handle animal using one of your actions to actually grab the fur or neck of your tiger and make it go down rather gently.

If you fail, your only option remaining will be a strength check to physicaly force the animal.

--------------------------

Now, understand well: An animal will not stop to act upon his instincts just because it becomes more intelligent.
Things like human morals and laws are none of his concern: it acts upon natural laws of the strongest.

So, even if he understand your language, if you ask something going against his nature, you'll have to perform an authority check (Handle Animal check) to use your dominant position as the Alpha member of this "pack" to force it to comply.

"Allied + Intelligent" doesn't not mean "Always obedient"


if an animal companion is smart enough to learn complex martial arts should be able to attack the thing their master wants them to attack with out their master needing to roll what is effectively diplomacy for animals, cohorts don't need a diplomacy check every time their master wants them to do something it makes no sense that a sentient animal should need one

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Druids don't need help being more powerful.

Each point of intelligence grants two bonus tricks, you can teach them linguistics to understand language, but just because they understand you doesn't mean that they will listen.

Just try talking to any four year old.


Answer to initial question is... 54 (by my count).

This does require a willing GM, because it's a bit ridiculous.

Be a Pack Lord Druid, Packmaster Hunter, or Beastmaster Ranger then VMC Animal Domain cleric or Druid (if not a Pack Lord Druid already), and take the Exotic Heritage and Eldritch Heritage (Sylvan Bloodline) feats.

Pack(Lord, -master) or Beastmaster: 20 lvls
VMC Cleric/Druid: 16-17 lvls
Exotic Heritage: 17 lvls

This gives you effectively 54 druid levels to divide between your 54 animal companions, but takes up 7 of your 10-11 feats to pull off and requires you to actually know what you're doing every combat pretty much well in advance so that you don't take forever. Also, these are lvl 1 animal companions when you're at lvl 20, so they're very easily killed.

This is not recommended for new players and probably not even for long-time players.

Note: Animal Ally feat cannot be used because you have 1 or more animal companions which disqualifies you from taking the feat, otherwise the total would reach ~70 animal companions.


Lady-J wrote:
if an animal companion is smart enough to learn complex martial arts should be able to attack the thing their master wants them to attack with out their master needing to roll what is effectively diplomacy for animals, cohorts don't need a diplomacy check every time their master wants them to do something it makes no sense that a sentient animal should need one

And here, you are wrong again. A cohort -ALSO- need skill checks each time you give it an order that is against his own nature.

What makes a cohort player-controled and not the animal companion is that, by design, the cohort is an humanoid which is supposed to share your views and ethics, and thus, should have few reasons to oppose at your orders, as long they suit the ethics/goals shared with the cohort and you don't mistreat him somehow.

But an animal just doesn't f~#%ing give a damn to your goals, Lady-J !
Even intelligent, an animal is still a creature of instincts with a very simple set of goals:
- Eat when hungry
- Drink when thirsty
- Sleep when tired
- Attack when threatened
- Play/mate when willing to
- Follow and protect the pack, if it has a pack mentality of sorts

That's all. Everything that doesn't fit in this scheme is by definition "an order that goes against its nature", and thus requiere a skill check... and this encompass almost everything that is relevant to an adventure.

Basicaly, without orders advert to its nature, the only thing you can count your animal companion on, its to automaticaly attack any natural-looking creature that actualy threaten you (or possibly your allies, if they are with you since long enough for the animal to consider them as "pack members")
An animal without guidance will however freak out in front of undeads, abominations and gargantuan creatures attacking you and refuse to charge them, as its instincts screams to flee instead.

That's what an -animal- is, Lady-J, intelligent or not.
It's not a matter of ability score, it's a matter of -nature-.

Even Guenhwyvar (the panther of Drizzt), who's more than an animal companion but litteraly a summoned -magical- and -extraplanar- beast with an intelligence score -far above the normal animal range- and -able to understand human language- doesn't act accordingly to human standards or goals, and strictly behave like the animal she is.
So, you can expect more of a being which is far under her grade...


Moonheart wrote:
Lady-J wrote:
if an animal companion is smart enough to learn complex martial arts should be able to attack the thing their master wants them to attack with out their master needing to roll what is effectively diplomacy for animals, cohorts don't need a diplomacy check every time their master wants them to do something it makes no sense that a sentient animal should need one

And here, you are wrong again. A cohort -ALSO- need skill checks each time you give it an order that is against his own nature.

What makes a cohort player-controled and not the animal companion is that, by design, the cohort is an humanoid which is supposed to share your views and ethics, and thus, should have few reasons to oppose at your orders, as long they suit the ethics/goals shared with the cohort and you don't mistreat him somehow.

But an animal just doesn't f%$!ing give a damn to your goals, Lady-J !
Even intelligent, an animal is still a creature of instincts with a very simple set of goals:
- Eat when hungry
- Drink when thirsty
- Sleep when tired
- Attack when threatened
- Play/mate when willing to
- Follow and protect the pack, if it has a pack mentality of sorts

That's all. Everything that doesn't fit in this scheme is by definition "an order that goes against its nature", and thus requiere a skill check... and this encompass almost everything that is relevant to an adventure.

Basicaly, without orders advert to its nature, the only thing you can count your animal companion on, its to automaticaly attack any natural-looking creature that actualy threaten you (or possibly your allies, if they are with you since long enough for the animal to consider them as "pack members")
An animal without guidance will however freak out in front of undeads, abominations and gargantuan creatures attacking you and refuse to charge them, as its instincts screams to flee instead.

That's what an -animal- is, Lady-J, intelligent or not.
It's not a matter of ability score, it's a matter of -nature-.

that is false there are plenty instances of animals acting on their own for the betterment of their allies, take for example the pig who ran all the way to the hospital to get help when their owner was struck by lightning(or was it a heart attack) the pig did something not even mentioned by your criteria of its "nature" as for animals dealing with things of fiction there are many instances in fiction were an animal stands firm in the wake of undead, abominations or things vastly larger then themselves so that case is also false.


Ok, stop there. I need to sumarize a bit before my head blows:

- The lore of the game world tells you animal companions are handled this way
- The authors wrote an FAQ telling you animal companions are handled this way
- The official online SRD rules tells you animal companions are handled this way
- The reality that any dog master can witness tells you that it is coherent that animal companions to be handled this way
... and you still argue, argue, argue, argue, argue, without end neverless, even now going to ressort to a f@@@ing urban legend about a savior pig or fictions that have -no- relation to the world of Pathfidner to try again to prove your point again?

No, seriously, at this step, I do not see anything to answer you anymore.
The problem is not with the rules or the understanding you have of them, but with your completly unwillingness to accept constraints linked to the Animal Companion feature.

So all I can tell you is to go ask your DM to make some homerules for you, because nor I, nor anyone on this forum, can help you on the matter.
The rules and their intent are clear on the matter, so only "god" can help you.


When I see AC's mentioned it will reference effective druid level, and those would stack. As an example a druid/ranger gets one animal not two. Before someone brings up some archetypes I am talking about the base classes not something that grants an exception.


Moonheart wrote:

Ok, stop there. I need to sumarize a bit before my head blows:

- The lore of the game world tells you animal companions are handled this way
- The authors wrote an FAQ telling you animal companions are handled this way
- The official online SRD rules tells you animal companions are handled this way
- The reality that any dog master can witness tells you that it is coherent that animal companions to be handled this way
... and you still argue, argue, argue, argue, argue, without end neverless, even now going to ressort to a f#+@ing urban legend about a savior pig or fictions that have -no- relation to the world of Pathfidner to try again to prove your point again?

No, seriously, at this step, I do not see anything to answer you anymore.
The problem is not with the rules or the understanding you have of them, but with your completly unwillingness to accept constraints linked to the Animal Companion feature.

So all I can tell you is to go ask your DM to make some homerules for you, because nor I, nor anyone on this forum, can help you on the matter.
The rules and their intent are clear on the matter, so only "god" can help you.

that's because animals are far more intelligent then the game gives them credit for and are there for poorly made rules while there are some dumb animals that would fall under the kind of rules currently in place for animals not all of them fall into that category some of whom are nearly on par with humans and a small handful are smarter

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