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As a result of ongoing discussions on Handle Animal, and a quick analysis of the hazard system, I propose a new hazard to be added to the game. I call it the 'puppy pile'.

The design is quite simple -- a hard-shelled Bag of Tricks, set to drop puppies only (or kittens if you're feeling mischievous), sitting at the top of a slightly ajar door.

The target takes an action to Open the Door, which causes the hazard to react with a Reaction hereafter referred to as "drop on target", impacting the target's head and forcing a Reflex save to avoid falling prone. If the target is prone, the hazard then uses the "pour puppies" action, causing 6d6 puppies to spill out over the target. As each puppy is Bulk 1 due to its desire to not be moved, the number of puppies summoned should exceed the target's encumbrance.

Since these puppies are summoned, they are actually unable to take actions unless someone is concentrating on the spell that cast them; as the target is unable to concentrate on that spell, he is therefore trapped under the puppies until they despawn (the RAW version of the 'Summoned' trait).

A more pragmatic ruling would be that the target could 'command' the puppies off of them using Handle Animal, taking 2 actions per puppy. With an average product of 24 puppies, this will take 48 actions, or 36 rounds of continuous puppy removal -- which is slightly longer than the trap's despawn time of 1 minute 30s.

Attempting to Break Grapple or Escape Grapple from each puppy is much more viable. At one action per puppy, this should only take 8 rounds -- just long enough for the cunning lich / pet store owner who set this up to polymorph the rest of the party into tomorrow's sale on hamsters.

I plan on throwing this at my players at some point, so any feedback is appreciated!

By RAW, the activity of riding a galloping horse consists of three actions each round -- a Handle Animal action with the concentrate tag, requiring a check, and two Command Animal actions, which you can then use to trigger the Gallop action on the horse (a two-action ability that moves your average horse 100'). You have to use all three actions on this in order for the horse to move its two actions (with exceptions for animal companions and etc, who get two actions per command rather than one for one).

If you fail a Handle Animal check at any point and you do not have the Ride feat, you are Bucked (a reaction).

However, in order to get a reaction, a horse has to have actions. Animal actions isn't really specified, but p284's statement for animal companions (specifically on the minion trait -- "so they gain 2 actions during your turn if you use the Command an Animal action to command them") implies that animals get their actions *from* the command an animal action.

Does this mean that animals don't have actions when not Commanded, or is this specifically referred to Actions used by the Player?

I know that's a bit pedantic, but really I'm trying to figure out if animals naturally only have two actions, or have 3 actions (one of which is always supposed to be used up by the Command action), or if they're really supposed to not have actions when not In Use.

The first two options can have an impact on how DM's handle Animal AI, which is necessary, because the rules for what a non-commanded animal does is very vague. "Defend itself" or "flee at first opportunity" doesn't really indicate whether a lion stays and fights the Town Guards it was ordered to attack earlier, fights until the guard it was ordered to attack is dead, fights only if attacked back, or immediately flees (which forces the character 'operating' the lion to move it back into position on the next round where he/she/it has actions). If its the last option (i.e. no actions), does the lion then remain in position when not "operated"?

On the same subject, as it requires three actions without the Ride Feat, does that mean that effectively, characters without the Ride feat cannot make attacks on horseback while using Gallop, and a character with Ride can only make a single attack?

And do commands given from Command occur as you provide them (i.e. a block of two actions that can be used on a two-action activity like Gallop), or individually (i.e. one after the other?).

Wildshape (and honestly self-inflicted polymorphing in general) has always been a controversial and difficult to implement aspect of the rules.

In 3.0 and 3.5, wildshape provided you with the physical stats of your chosen creature, frequently allowing druids to outpower fighters of the same level through selfbuffs and shapeshifting into dragons. In Pathfinder, wildshape shifted to instead provide modifiers to existing stats, which helped remove its tendency to compete with martial character output; however, as a result of that, and some deliberate limits on its potential, wildshape became significantly less popular, and polymorphing in general was relegated only to specific builds and specific monsters where it was still able to compete (or in some cases outcompete). In 5th edition, wildshape is effectively a "hp sink" for druids, who get somewhat weaker martial abilities in exchange for being able to hp-tank with an extra pool that they can recreate twice per day; in return, animals in general are kept at a lower power level, and can be somewhat unimpressive (though still fun to turn into).

So what do people want to see in Wildshape for PF2? What aspects do you want to keep, nix, or improve? Or should wildshape (and maybe all polymorph effects) be removed entirely?


My opinions:

Variety. More options = more opportunities for roleplaying, creativity, and fun.

Role. 5E's wildshape-as-hp-tanking is an interesting idea, and provides a good use for wildshape without necessarily conflicting with the roles of other party members. While I'm not 100% sold on their take (primarily because of the immediate effects on existing animals -- though I like that better than "you turn into a brown bear, but use this stat set rather the Bestiary's version"), I like the idea of providing wildshape and polymorph roles in combat without overtaking other roles, and I don't think PF1's stat adjustment system matches that.