Druid - Small bears


Rules Questions

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I noticed that the bear under druids' animal companions start out as a small bear and becomes medium at 4th level. Is this really correct? Is it a bear cub? Seeing as some of the other animals start out as medium and become large, or even start out as large, I'm thinking this is a mistake, but would like to know for sure.

Regards


Bruno Kristensen wrote:

I noticed that the bear under druids' animal companions start out as a small bear and becomes medium at 4th level. Is this really correct? Is it a bear cub? Seeing as some of the other animals start out as medium and become large, or even start out as large, I'm thinking this is a mistake, but would like to know for sure.

Regards

Maybe it's a Malayan Sun Bear:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun_Bear

Hmmm, well, maybe not. Even though this is the smallest species of bear in the world, it's mean average weight is about 15 pounds heavier than the mean average weight of the gray wolf (which is medium in D&D/Pathfinder) so I would say even the Sun Bear should be medium by this standard.

Maybe it's a Koala Bear. Those only get up to about 30 pounds or so, and even that is a bit on the chubby side.

Yeah, yeah, I know. Koala bear is a misnomer since they are really marsupials and not of the bear (Ursidae) family at all.

But we're talking druids here. What do they know about bears...

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Maybe Druids' animal companions are not your average bears (hide the pic-i-nic baskets!)


Koalas can be ferocious, I've heard.

Liberty's Edge

It's because it's based on the Black Bear, which by D&D standards is apparently Medium. I always found this really strange... seriously, when someone sees "bear", you think "grizzly", which are large size.

It bugged me in Beta when I was making an arctic-themed druid with a polar bear that was smaller than her, so I designed the following based on the big cat and wolf:

Bear, Large (Brown, Polar)
Starting Statistics: Size
Medium; Speed 40 ft.; AC +2 natural armor; Attack bite (1d6), 2 claws (1d4); Ability Scores Str 15, Dex 13, Con 15, Int 2, Wis 12, Cha 6; Special Attacks grab; Special Qualities low-light vision, scent.
7th-Level Advancement: Size Large; AC +2 natural armor; Attack bite (1d8), 2 claws (1d6); Ability Scores Str +8, Dex –2, Con +4.

I think it's probably worse than the big cat, but still pretty good. My main problem is that it more or less invalidates the smaller bear...


The Small Bear is a juvenile.
If you participated in the play-test, you know the whole concept here was Animal Companions 'growing up' instead of having to switch out the companion you've grown attached to (in order to have level-appropriate Companion).
So the Medium Bear is likely a Brown Bear.
And I'd say it's 99% likely the Large Companions in the Bestiary include Grizzlies and the like,
meaning the Medium Bear could be an 'Adolescent' Grizzly. Seems pretty obvious and intuitive to me... /shrug

Liberty's Edge

The bear in the current rules doesn't advance to Large size, only Medium. So you know, if it was meant to be a juvenile grizzly, then it never ever grows up to become a full sized adult grizzly.

Of course if there are rules in the Bestiary for grizzly/polar bears I'll be happy. :)


Alice Margatroid wrote:
The bear in the current rules doesn't advance to Large size, only Medium. So you know, if it was meant to be a juvenile grizzly, then it never ever grows up to become a full sized adult grizzly.

If it where a grizzly it definitely should grow to large.

But since its growth stops at medium it obviously is a black bear. Black bears are larger and denser than a man, but a bugbear (also a medium humanoid and no pun intended) is larger than a black bear.

Liberty's Edge

Diego Winterborg wrote:

If it where a grizzly it definitely should grow to large.

But since its growth stops at medium it obviously is a black bear. Black bears are larger and denser than a man, but a bugbear (also a medium humanoid and no pun intended) is larger than a black bear.

Yeah, that's what I've been saying...

I didn't want a black bear, I wanted a polar bear (which is basically exactly the same as a grizzly in stats). So the Bear animal companion in the rulebook wasn't really satisfactory. Hence... the above.


The problem here is that when they DO make a Grizzly or Polar bear for the Druid, they're going to balance it against the Black Bear by just making it take its bonuses at level 7 instead of level 4... still a highly dubious way to balance the "better" companions in my opinion.


Alice Margatroid wrote:

Yeah, that's what I've been saying...

I didn't want a black bear, I wanted a polar bear (which is basically exactly the same as a grizzly in stats). So the Bear animal companion in the rulebook wasn't really satisfactory. Hence... the above.

What Loopy said.

One thing to keep in mind though. Grizzlies and polar bears have traditionally had different stats, with polar bears being somewhat tougher and more lethal than grizzlies.

Liberty's Edge

And likewise a tiger and a lion don't have the same stats, and yet... :) Polar bears and grizzly bears in 3.5e only differ by 2HD and a swim speed. Definitely close enough for me.

On the other hand, I suspect that in the Bestiary, we'll have 2 entries--bear, and dire bear. To make a grizzly or polar bear, you'll apply the advanced simple template, or something similar.

But of course this still leaves me with a medium sized bear, which is way too small for an adult polar bear. One that a medium character can't ride, for one, and one that also does not possess the grab special ability. ...And so there is the homebrewed large bear, to suit my own purposes... nothing more, nothing less. Feel free to ignore it.

On the topic of the separate advancement "tracks" of different animal companions... the majority of the animal companion's power comes from the level-up bonuses (HD increases, bonus STR/DEX/Nat armor, etc). It's kind of like how LA was. There was a somewhat notable difference between an aasimar paladin 1 and a human paladin 1, but almost none at all between an aasimar paladin 10 and a human paladin 10. The slight bonuses the aasimar has over the human become increasingly pointless as they gain levels. The animal companions work on a similar thought, I believe.


To be honest looking at the animal companions, especially stuff like the Bear (Black?) and the Dragonne (bonus beastiary) I can't help thinking they should've done it by giving the 4th lev advancement for free, and given creatures that currently get a 7th or 10th lev advancement also get a partial at 4th, and then for creatures that get a 7th or 10th get a -1 effective Druid lev (that only applies to the animal companion base stats table).

Thus you can have a Black Bear as currently exists, or a Brown Bear and Polar Bear that is as the Black Bear at 4th lev, but gains an additiona; stat/ability increase at 7th lev and a -1 to it's Druid Lev for the purposes of the table. Thus -

8th lev Black Bear Med with 7HD
8th lev Brown Bear Large (+ increased stats) with 6HD.

This also balances out somewhat the current optimisation effect that makes Large Cat, Wolves and Dinos the natural standard choice.
Leave the Natural Bond feat so if a Druid whichs to spend a feat they can have the tougher animals without penalty they can. The tougher animals ARE better, but not so much better that it would be an automatic no-boner to spend the feat to catch up the level or 2 lost IMO.

Stephen E


And regard bears in general I recall a wildlife advice piece on what to do if you run into a bear.

Black Bears - Fight back IF they attack. If you play dead they're more likely to kill you.

Brown Bear/Grizzly - Play dead.

Polar Bear - Pray it's just eaten.

The Polar bear really is more dangerous than brown bears. They're the only Bear that is a pure carnivore (the rest are serious omnivores, except for the panda which is herbivore).

Stephen E


Stephen Ede wrote:

And regard bears in general I recall a wildlife advice piece on what to do if you run into a bear.

Black Bears - Fight back IF they attack. If you play dead they're more likely to kill you.

Brown Bear/Grizzly - Play dead.

Polar Bear - Pray it's just eaten.

The Polar bear really is more dangerous than brown bears. They're the only Bear that is a pure carnivore (the rest are serious omnivores, except for the panda which is herbivore).

Stephen E

:D

Mind the panda! I saw a youtube clip of a guy who almost got mauled by a panda. Dont underestimate the Power of Panda!

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Diego Winterborg wrote:
Stephen Ede wrote:

And regard bears in general I recall a wildlife advice piece on what to do if you run into a bear.

Black Bears - Fight back IF they attack. If you play dead they're more likely to kill you.

Brown Bear/Grizzly - Play dead.

Polar Bear - Pray it's just eaten.

The Polar bear really is more dangerous than brown bears. They're the only Bear that is a pure carnivore (the rest are serious omnivores, except for the panda which is herbivore).

Stephen E

:D

Mind the panda! I saw a youtube clip of a guy who almost got mauled by a panda. Dont underestimate the Power of Panda!

Tian Xia Druid with Panda Companion!

Yin Yang Lotusblossom


Diego Winterborg wrote:
Stephen Ede wrote:

And regard bears in general I recall a wildlife advice piece on what to do if you run into a bear.

Black Bears - Fight back IF they attack. If you play dead they're more likely to kill you.

Brown Bear/Grizzly - Play dead.

Polar Bear - Pray it's just eaten.

The Polar bear really is more dangerous than brown bears. They're the only Bear that is a pure carnivore (the rest are serious omnivores, except for the panda which is herbivore).

Stephen E

:D

Mind the panda! I saw a youtube clip of a guy who almost got mauled by a panda. Dont underestimate the Power of Panda!

I said Pandas were Herbivores, not that they were harmless. :-)

It should be noted that several of the most dangerous non-human killers are Herbivores - Hippos and Cape Buffalo been 2 examples. Herbivores have an advantage over Carnivores in getting into lethal fights for kicks. A wounded Herbivore can still feed itself, injured Carnivores can very easily starve.

Stephen E


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I have to admit, the lack of bears above medium size made me go "huhwhat?" when I saw it.


You do realise the 3.5 PHB contained no stats for ANY of the Companions?
That SOME of them are now summarized in the "PF PHB",
and many more are specifically stated to exist in the Bestiary isn't a big shift IMHO.
(The fact James has said no Companions ABOVE Large Size will be in the Bestiary 1 seems a bigger change,
though I believe he said Larger-than-Large Companions requiring a "Giant Companion Feat" will come out either in the Adv. Player's Guide or later Bestiaries or something...)


Quandary wrote:
You do realise the 3.5 PHB contained no stats for ANY of the Companions?

That's not the issue here, for anybody. 3.5 had large bears (and even huge bears, ie dire bears) as valid animal companion choices. PF does not, at least not without another feat or some houseruling. Which is odd, because there ARE other large-sized animals that were better than large bears anyway (tiger > bear in 3.5, for example).

The other oddity is that there's no such thing as a small sized bear unless it's a juvenile, and the time span of most campaigns makes a bear growing from small to medium sized in the course of 3 levels in the campaign rather ... dubious. In just about every campaign I've ever played, levels 1-4 go by in, at most, two to three months of time.


Zurai wrote:
I have to admit, the lack of bears above medium size made me go "huhwhat?" when I saw it.

I understand that, but when the Beastiary is out it will be fairly easy to customize large size animal companions. One just has to remember to keep them ballanced against the standard companions.

A feat like improved animal companion (in par with improved familiar) is also reasonable, but has to be ballanced against existing feats.


Well, just bear with me as I think on this one! ~RUNS~


Zurai wrote:


The other oddity is that there's no such thing as a small sized bear unless it's a juvenile, and the time span of most campaigns makes a bear growing from small to medium sized in the course of 3 levels in the campaign rather ... dubious. In just about every campaign I've ever played, levels 1-4 go by in, at most, two to three months of time.

True, the gowth by one size category in a few months is slightly beleif stretching.

Almost as bad as having a PC live for a couple of decades at 1st lev, and then gaining 3 levels in less than 3 months, and possibly go all the way to 20th lev in a couple of years.

At least the animal companion has the excuse of magic.

Stephen E


1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.
Zurai wrote:
I have to admit, the lack of bears above medium size made me go "huhwhat?" when I saw it.

Especially considering there are rules for cats and wolves larger than medium size.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Alice Margatroid wrote:

The bear in the current rules doesn't advance to Large size, only Medium. So you know, if it was meant to be a juvenile grizzly, then it never ever grows up to become a full sized adult grizzly.

Of course if there are rules in the Bestiary for grizzly/polar bears I'll be happy. :)

I once saw a small brown bear crossing Route 17 in Northern New Jersey... looked to be about the size of an 8 year old child. So there's your 1st level Druid companion right there.


Stephen Ede wrote:
Almost as bad as having a PC live for a couple of decades at 1st lev, and then gaining 3 levels in less than 3 months, and possibly go all the way to 20th lev in a couple of years.

That's not at all "bad", IMO. Think about your traditional adventure path storyline: the PCs start out as essentially nobodies, and they've always been nobodies. They've never done anything, never actually fought any monsters, never adventured for any reason. Then something happens, and they have to fight for their lives.

It's no different than a guy being drafted into in the Army right after getting out of high school: he's surely no more than level 1 at that point, but by the time he's done a tour of duty in Vietnam, he's waaaaaay higher level.

Liberty's Edge

I feel like I'm bashing my head against a wall here, but...

I didn't want a medium sized bear. I wanted a large sized bear. Why? Because it fit my idea for my character more: a human druid from the arctic riding a polar bear. It didn't particularly matter to me whether I could have just said that my bear by the rules was just a juvenile, or that there are in fact bears that are "Medium" sized. It was purely the fact that for my character, I wanted her to be able to ride the polar bear.

And once the Bestiary is out, sure, we might get rules for a bigger bear, but you know, like I said, that which I made above was something for the beta. And is nice for the interim. Regardless of the "reality" of types of bears being more or less aggressive or powerful or whatever, by 3.5e rules (and I would suspect Pathfinder as well), they all get very similar stats. It's just that black bears are considered Medium, and brown/polar are considered Large. And it's the black bear stats that the animal companion appears to be based on, not the brown/polar.

I could accept a feat to say "Okay, my bear grows again to Large size, and gets additional bonuses...", except, you know, it'd have to be something a lot better than what the wolf and tiger gets FOR FREE. So for me, for my purposes, just mucking together the above works.


Alice Margatroid wrote:

I feel like I'm bashing my head against a wall here, but...

I didn't want a medium sized bear. I wanted a large sized bear. Why? Because it fit my idea for my character more: a human druid from the arctic riding a polar bear. It didn't particularly matter to me whether I could have just said that my bear by the rules was just a juvenile, or that there are in fact bears that are "Medium" sized. It was purely the fact that for my character, I wanted her to be able to ride the polar bear.

Yes, Pathfinder screwed up. They came up with this huge improvement on how ACs are handled, went 90% of the way with their idea, and then failed to finish it off.

If you want a brown Bear or Polar Bear I'd reccommend 1 of 2 approaches.

1) Continue the unfinished PF end product. Make a Med Brown/Polar bear stats, slightly better than the Black Bear Stats. Then make a 7th level upgrade increasing/decreasing (Dex?) Stats and NAC to the same or 1 pt less than the 3.5 Brown/Polar Bear stats (until the PF Beastiary comes out) and the size upto Large. Done!

2) Fo the last 10% on the PF approach - Use the current S Black Bear stats as a very yong Brown/Polar Bear. Taje the 4th lev stat, ability, size change as it reaching Juvenile, and then create a 7th lev Adult Brown/Polar Bear stats, anilities, and size based on the 3.5 Bears as I mentioned above, and toss in a -1 Effective Druid Lev adjustment for the "Animal Companion Base Stats Table".

Does that answer your question?

If you want a Dire Brown/Polar Bear using method 2 just add in a 10th level Stat/Ability upgrade with another -1 effective Druid lev adjustment.

Stephen E

Liberty's Edge

Yes, thank you Stephen, that's exactly why I prefaced this discussion with my homebrewed large bear animal companion advancement here.

Sorry if I seem snippy, it just seems like this entire discussion has been ignoring the fact that I already provided a valid solution to all of this... :)


Alice Margatroid wrote:

Yes, thank you Stephen, that's exactly why I prefaced this discussion with my homebrewed large bear animal companion advancement here.

Sorry if I seem snippy, it just seems like this entire discussion has been ignoring the fact that I already provided a valid solution to all of this... :)

No problem. The thread had wandered a bit.

As for your comment about your 7th level advancement for a Brown/Polar Bear invalidating the Black Bear. That's why I recommend my 2) solution, where taking an AC with a 7th lev advancement gives you a -1 effective Druid level for table purposes. It means your Brown Bear is 3/4ths of a level behind the Black Bear. In straight combat optimisation the Brown is still better, but not so much better that, with the problems large animals sometimes have over medium animals, choosing the Black Bear isn't a terrible choice.

Stephen E

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