I have seen many threads talking about them as part of a topic but nothing specially dedicated. I saw a 1.5 update coming and comment about Animal Companions with lacking data, reason why i create this topic.
Animal Companions can be of different kind and uses. They can be a mount for anyone (usually a horse) with improvements for paladins and cavalier archetype. They can be different animals for gnomes and druids with more uses like scouting, mounts or helping in battles.
I think these Companions should be of limited effectiveness for easy acces and more effectiveness for more investment in more difficult access and balance is quite difficult. I think that these animal companions should not be as effective as a regular character but should be viable enough to bother investing in them as a good strategy.
Major complaints comes from combat uses of animal companions as mounts or as dps/tank uses. These complaints i've seen so far are linked to 3 things:
Many ways exist to limit these drawbacks as healing, barding or feats (druids / ride) but these ways need quite a strong investment impossible at low level and are not progressive enough to feel the animal evolve smoothly with the PC.
The best path is the Druid from Animal Order, the specific class of PC i am playing because you get animal companion with better statistics, a way of healing with spell points and many feats increasing animal companion efficiency at lowest levels in the game.
But even with the best possible build, you come to limits that makes animal companions not viable at low level and I will quote myself from another topic:
Zarkias said wrote:
I would add here that the best advantages from druidic path for animal companions comes from healing possibility and free action from animal companion during a round since level 4. But even there, Animal Companion can be killed with a critical hit quite often, hampering the PC a lot with its efficiency as there is an investment in the Animal Companion making the PC less effective than other PC whithout its Animal Comapnion and it feel like a punishment not really deserved when a critical hit happens, killing the animal.
I am still low level with my PC so I do not know the feeling for higher levels and especially with the only barding option without runes to improve AC.
Please tell us more here about your feelings with Animal Companions, PC you've seen with Animal Companions and their overall effectiveness using them or why you choose not to go for Animal Companion in your PC build. What do you think about everything said here also ? Am I wrong somewhere ?
I am playing a Druid from animal order and I confirm that Animal Companions are easy to die. Reason comes from a low AC at low level with not very much HP. They can get critically hit quite often and sometimes one shot as a result.
Therefore Animal Companions are way better staying behind waiting for opening and coming to deal damage and flank isolated monsters. They are not suited for "tanking" which usualy comes to mind when playing a caster PC.
Slightly more AC feels enough for me to make them viable at both. At the moment, they start at 12 to 14 AC at level 1 (10-25% critical hit chance and 60-75% hit chance against them) and should begin at 14 to 16 AC IMO because level 1 monsters have roughly +5/+7 to attacks. (5-15% critical hit chance and 40-65% chance to hit against them)
By the way, nothing is said in rules about their way to die. Do they die if HP goes to 0 or do they go through dying conditions like PC ? To allow more impersonalisation/roleplay, and because Animal Companion was dying often, we finaly houserulled them to be dying like PC but unable to rise back with PC's hero points.
If the control area is a problem, then, what should we say about a warrior with a spear on which one cast enlarge heightened to 4th level ?
This is making the fighter huge with a reach increase of 10 making a fantastic control upon 3*3 square + 4 square on each side making a 11*11 AoO control area.
Effective mounted combat require good mount, feats investment and actions to handle, mount and command the animal.
I really don't get it ...
In my situation, i want to use tactical mobility with my mount but in order to do so without huge disadvantage, i need to pick either gnome or halfling as a PC.
Why is that so ?
As it appears, here, the only real benefit on being mounted is mobility as long as you don't get in range of opportunity attacks.
So you get screened and gets +1 AC. Seems fine but remember that animal companions have AC that sucks and are likely to get critically stroke.
But what really bothers me here is that an ennemy with a reach weapon can attack you 10 feets away from you mount but if you carry the same weapon this ennemy would be out of your reach.
I hope this will be changed because it seems wrong to me.
Sorry to bother with this very niche problem but it really sucks.
I don't get why the small size PC are allowed something interesting with mounts that is impossible for medium PC.
In order to get same treatment with medium PC, you need to have a reach of 15 foot that no weapons allows.
Did I miss something ?
When you cast a polymorph spell, it is said that you gear is absorbed into you and that it's constant abilities remain active.
-> Do that means that wearing a non magical +4 armor you use the spell writen AC +4 from your gear or do the constant abilities refer to magical bonuses only ? Same question for weapons wielded when transforming concerning damage bonuses.
It's said in case of losing an animal companion that you can replace it at no cost during downtime.
-> Can you change your animal and the abilities chosen or do you have to stick to the previous choices ?
Metal armor and shields are anathema to druids.
-> Is there any non special material (like darkwood) heavy armor that isn't made of metal ?
Could it be legit to call for full plate made of turtle shell or other exotic material that doesn't give gameplay benefits out of not been made of metal ?
Message cantrip has a verbal component. Command animal is also a verbal thing.
-> If you want to command your animal companion at distance and remain silent, do you need to spend 2 actions or could it be considered that the cantrip action is part of the command animal action ?
During exploration, you might encounter animals. Charm spells and diplomacy especially for druids can lead to friendly animals.
-> Can these animals become Animal Companions ? How do you proceed ?
Most spellcasters have their key skill they can use to learn a spell. This can be used by any of them except sorcerers if i get i right.
-> Do that learning concerns only spells that are rare or uncommon ?
-> Is there any mean to provide an existing weapon a trait it doesn't have initially such as the "finesse" trait ?
In fact, if you want to mount as a medium PC, there is quite a lot of drawbacks and before level 8 the only available mount is a horse where small PC can mount anything at a minimum level of 4.
Another thing to consider here: handle an animal is a manipulate action that triggers opportunity action, therefore you might need to dismount in order to move away from or move around a fighter if you don't have the ride general feat.
Last consideration: Armor Class of Animal Companions is low and your mount is really vulnerable making you likely to lose it.
I start to think that mounted combat for medium PC is only viable for ranged fight and mobility, and this is quite sad in my opinion.
I've been thinking about building a druid PC able to ride his Animal Companion.
Wrapping my mind around that, another thing bothered me. I was planning to attack with a reach weapon in order to remain no too close to combat and out of reach of opponents able to use attack of opportunity. Where a halfeling could mount by lvl 4 and keep reach, the problem with a large mount is that you loose your reach because you need a reach of 15 foot to keep ability of attacking in melee without being adjacent to opponents.
I end up with being obliged to wait level 8 with a savage companion not as good as nimble to increase it's Armor Class and I lose ability to reach from distance if I ride it. Me and my animal companion count as a large creature in term of space in battle and therefore are more likely to be attacked by more opponents. Last but not least, if I face a warrior, I am in trouble if I want to cast most of my spells.
Result is that mounting cost a lot and is kinda bad strategically choose if you are not a small size PC.
I suggest changing rule of reach when mounting creature by being able to shift your position where you want on your mount for a purpose of determining reach only and increasing animal size also with nimble or let player chose initial animal size between small and medium or add a druid or general feat that allow growing animal companion by one size.
If it is costly, that should be efficient in my opinion.
What if instead of being bolstered in case of critical failure, patients gets bolstered in case of simple failure ?
Good healers could still decently use the action. Poor healers could still try out but will likely stop healing after a few tries. Soon enough everybody would be bolstered to other's treat wound actions and the party would have to rest.
Suggestion (Changes indicated in bold ):
You spend 10 minutes treating up to your Intelligence modifier (minimum 1) injured living creatures (targeting yourself as one of them, if you so choose), then attempt a Medicine check. The DC is usually the medium DC for your level, though the GM might adjust this DC due to circumstances, such as trying to rest during volatile weather or when treating magically cursed wounds. A given creature can be subject to only one Treat Wounds attempt per 10-minute period, so two characters can’t treat the same target’s wounds simultaneously.
Success: You treat the patients’ wounds. Each patient recovers Hit Points equal to its Constitution modifier × your level or equal to just your level, whichever is higher.