Animal Companion Ability Increase: Intelligence


Rules Questions


At every 4 HD an Animal Companion can have a +1 to a stat. If that stat is Intelligence what happens when they have a 3 Intelligence or higher?


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There is actually a whole Paizo Blog post on this. You can read it here.

Basically, it can understand commands in a language (though Handle Animal checks are still needed to get it to do stuff). It can take any feat desired, and not just those on the short list in the druid entry. If it has the anatomy for it, it can learn to wield weapons.


I read somewhere that they then become magical beasts and can learn all skills and take all feats (including Language, so they would be able to understand you perfectly - still can't talk though), once they reach Intelligence 3

I think thats even in the rules.
Ah yes, here, under skills and feats: http://www.d20pfsrd.com/classes/core-classes/druid/animal-companions


Correction on Quatar: They do not become magical beasts. At least not in Pathfinder. From the blog entry: "Note that while the monster guidelines talk about a maximum Int for an animal, this only applies to the creation process. Giving an animal a higher Intelligence score does not somehow transform it into a magical beast, unless the effect says otherwise, such as in the case of awaken."


Mauril wrote:
Correction on Quatar: They do not become magical beasts. At least not in Pathfinder. From the blog entry: "Note that while the monster guidelines talk about a maximum Int for an animal, this only applies to the creation process. Giving an animal a higher Intelligence score does not somehow transform it into a magical beast, unless the effect says otherwise, such as in the case of awaken."

Yes, I just read your link, thanks for the correction.

That was probably something I remembered from 3.5, or from somewhere else.


Mauril wrote:

There is actually a whole Paizo Blog post on this. You can read it here.

Basically, it can understand commands in a language (though Handle Animal checks are still needed to get it to do stuff). It can take any feat desired, and not just those on the short list in the druid entry. If it has the anatomy for it, it can learn to wield weapons.

Umm...so Animal Companions can take class levels?


harmor wrote:
Mauril wrote:

There is actually a whole Paizo Blog post on this. You can read it here.

Basically, it can understand commands in a language (though Handle Animal checks are still needed to get it to do stuff). It can take any feat desired, and not just those on the short list in the druid entry. If it has the anatomy for it, it can learn to wield weapons.

Umm...so Animal Companions can take class levels?

No, they continue to advance along with the Druid. Where are you getting that from?


ZappoHisbane wrote:
harmor wrote:
Mauril wrote:

There is actually a whole Paizo Blog post on this. You can read it here.

Basically, it can understand commands in a language (though Handle Animal checks are still needed to get it to do stuff). It can take any feat desired, and not just those on the short list in the druid entry. If it has the anatomy for it, it can learn to wield weapons.

Umm...so Animal Companions can take class levels?
No, they continue to advance along with the Druid. Where are you getting that from?

From this post:

James Jacobs wrote:
A lion with levels in rogue would quickly become a killing machine, I know that for a fact. Pounce + several attacks + sneak attack = bad-ass.

in this Pazio Blog post.


A lion taking rogue levels would be a "normal" lion who advanced 4+ HD and put the stat boost into Intelligence. Animal companions advance according to the chart in the druid entry.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

James Jacobs was just making an observation, not stating a ruling. The increased INT just allows a companion to have increased access to skills and feats. It also allows for higher complexity in the commands you can give them. The companion does not gain experience, therefor cannot gain levels.


Additionally, I believe the lion rogue post was likely made in reference to the use of the spell awaken. A creature modified by such a spell could take class levels.


Mauril wrote:

There is actually a whole Paizo Blog post on this. You can read it here.

Basically, it can understand commands in a language (though Handle Animal checks are still needed to get it to do stuff).

Well more to the point handle animal training lets it understand exactly the things that you want it to do.

Think about trying to get a very mentally challenged person to do something for you. They might be willing to help, but they might not do it all that correctly. The odds of this increase with the complexity of what you want them to do and the time in which you have to explain it to them.

That said, an animal with a 3INT can understand language so you can speak to them directly. Thus you should be able to tell them what to do just as if you had a speak with animals spell active.

-James

Grand Lodge

Mauril wrote:
A lion taking rogue levels would be a "normal" lion who advanced 4+ HD and put the stat boost into Intelligence. Animal companions advance according to the chart in the druid entry.

Mauril is 100% correct. If you want an animal friend with class levels you may need to consult with your GM. The Awaken spell and Leadership feat may need to be combined. This could break the adventure though as it effectively adds a PC. If I were a GM I would only allow this if I were willing to alter the difficulty of the campaign to compensate.

That said, 3 INT is pretty much mandatory for an animal companion in my opinion.


xebeche wrote:

The Awaken spell and Leadership feat may need to be combined. This could break the adventure though as it effectively adds a PC. If I were a GM I would only allow this if I were willing to alter the difficulty of the campaign to compensate.

If you are charging him a feat, you should becareful that you don't in essence punish him for it.

If you are going to treat it as a completely extra PC, then you shouldn't be charging the feat imho. There's a difference between finding an ally NPC that joins the adventure and a cohort.

-James

Liberty's Edge

xebeche wrote:
Mauril wrote:
A lion taking rogue levels would be a "normal" lion who advanced 4+ HD and put the stat boost into Intelligence. Animal companions advance according to the chart in the druid entry.

Mauril is 100% correct. If you want an animal friend with class levels you may need to consult with your GM. The Awaken spell and Leadership feat may need to be combined. This could break the adventure though as it effectively adds a PC. If I were a GM I would only allow this if I were willing to alter the difficulty of the campaign to compensate.

That said, 3 INT is pretty much mandatory for an animal companion in my opinion.

An article in the upcoming summer issue of Kobold Quarterly is going to be very worth reading ... since it covers pretty much this exact topic, and topics related to it ;)


james maissen wrote:
xebeche wrote:

The Awaken spell and Leadership feat may need to be combined. This could break the adventure though as it effectively adds a PC. If I were a GM I would only allow this if I were willing to alter the difficulty of the campaign to compensate.

If you are charging him a feat, you should becareful that you don't in essence punish him for it.

If you are going to treat it as a completely extra PC, then you shouldn't be charging the feat imho. There's a difference between finding an ally NPC that joins the adventure and a cohort.

-James

I've done this in my game (my character has an awakened raven bard cohort) and I'm glad the DM upped the difficulty because of it. I don't like waltzing through encounters. All the buffs he can toss out and the fact that, between us, we almost can't fail a mental skill check, it really super-powered my contributions to the game. I already contributed a lot as a full-caster.

I agree, don't punish the player for taking this feat, but also don't assume that Leadership and Skill Focus have the same effect on the game. The real issue is tailoring your encounters to the group power level rather than to a certain numerical level.


So I was curious the mechanics of applying a class level to a 3 HD Animal Companion.

1. Increase HD from 3 to 4.
2. Gain 4th-Level Advancement OR +2 Dex/+2 Con
3. Increase INT from 2 to 3.
4. Take a level of Rogue.
5. +d8 HP
6. BAB +0 vs. +1
7. Fort +0 vs. +1
8. Ref +2 vs. +1
9. Will +0
10. +0 Feats
11. +0 Natural Armor
12. +0 Str/Dex Bonus
13. +3 Tricks (with INT from 2 to 3)
14. Gain Special Ability: Sneak Attack +1d6
15. Gain Special Ability: Trapfinding (gains +0 to Perception vs. traps but really can't use Disable Device if the creature doesn't have thumbs)
16. Skill Ranks gained 8 + Int modifier or 8 + -4 (INT of 3) = +4 skill points vs. +1
17. Gain all the Rogue skills as Class Skills (but not all can be used without thumbs)
18. Gain Weapon Proficiency: all simple weapons, plus the hand crossbow, rapier, sap, shortbow, and short sword (but useless without thumbs)
19. Gain Armor Proficiency: light armor (could now wear barding)

Doesn't seem too overpowering, but then again this is only one level of a class.


Marc Radle wrote:


An article in the upcoming summer issue of Kobold Quarterly is going to be very worth reading ... since it covers pretty much this exact topic, and topics related to it ;)

Oh, how you taunt me... something to add to the coolness of my KQ11 Spell-less ranger and his horse AC?


Taking Ranger and taking Favored Enemy: Animals would make a lot of sense.

Heck, even taking the NPC Warrior class give its proficiency with all armor. Barding anyone?


For those curious what my DM allowed he allowed my Animal Companion to take a Rogue level, but could not use Trapfinding or Sneak Attack. Here's the stat block for a level 4 Animal Companion with +1 Int I'm using:

LEOPARD (HD4) (+2 Dex/Con; +1 Int; Rogue)

Leo (N Small animal)
Init +7; Senses low-light vision, scent; Perception +5

DEFENSE
AC 21, touch 18, flat-footed 14
hp 26 (4d8+8)
Fort +4, Ref +11, Will +2

OFFENSE
Speed 50 ft.
Melee bite +10 (1d4+1 plus trip), 2 claws +5 (1d2+1)

STATISTICS
Str 13, Dex 24, Con 15, Int 3, Wis 12, Cha 6
Base Atk +2, CMB +8; CMD 19 (23 vs. trip)
Abilities Evasion, Link, Share Spells
Languages: Common (nonspeak)
Tricks: Attack, Defend, Fetch, Seek, Stay
Special Qualities: Combat Trained
Feats Agile maneuvers, Weapon finesse, Armor
proficiency (light)
Skills Acrobatics +14, Climb +1, Escape Artist +12, Fly +9,
Intimidate -2, Perception +5, Stealth +11, Survival +1,
Swim +1


harmor wrote:
For those curious what my DM allowed. He allowed my Animal Companion to take a Rogue level, but could not use Trapfinding or Sneak Attack.

No sneak attack? Boo.


harmor wrote:

So I was curious the mechanics of applying a class level to a 3 HD Animal Companion.

You can't add class levels to an animal companion. They aren't cohorts, so they don't gain experience points, and without experience points, you can't gain class levels. Animal companions progress according to the chart in the druid entry. They are a class feature, not another PC.

EDIT: Sorry, missed this line "For those curious what my DM allowed."


ZappoHisbane wrote:
harmor wrote:
For those curious what my DM allowed. He allowed my Animal Companion to take a Rogue level, but could not use Trapfinding or Sneak Attack.
No sneak attack? Boo.

Yeah, I really tried. But was happy nonetheless. Unfortunately I can't come in with one with class levels pre-made. This slightly increases the usefulness of Animal Companions but also makes them less disposable since I can only apply a class to my companion when I level in our campaign.

I'm happy though. Makes the Animal Companion a little better than a Permanent Summoned creature now.


Mauril wrote:
harmor wrote:

So I was curious the mechanics of applying a class level to a 3 HD Animal Companion.

You can't add class levels to an animal companion. They aren't cohorts, so they don't gain experience points, and without experience points, you can't gain class levels. Animal companions progress according to the chart in the druid entry. They are a class feature, not another PC.

From this post:

James Jacobs wrote:
A lion with levels in rogue would quickly become a killing machine, I know that for a fact. Pounce + several attacks + sneak attack = bad-ass.

in this Pazio Blog post.


I don't see how JJ's quote implies that taking levels as rogue might be allowed for an animal companion. He just states that, if such a creature appeared in-game (eg. via having been awakened by a druid and afterwards advanced) it would be quite powerful. Certainly more so than an animal companion is supposed to be.


harmor wrote:
Mauril wrote:
harmor wrote:

So I was curious the mechanics of applying a class level to a 3 HD Animal Companion.

You can't add class levels to an animal companion. They aren't cohorts, so they don't gain experience points, and without experience points, you can't gain class levels. Animal companions progress according to the chart in the druid entry. They are a class feature, not another PC.

From this post:

James Jacobs wrote:
A lion with levels in rogue would quickly become a killing machine, I know that for a fact. Pounce + several attacks + sneak attack = bad-ass.
in this Pazio Blog post.

As mentioned up-thread, this is for other animals who have been advanced by adding hit dice. Adding four hit dice to an animal would allow it to put a point in a stat, and it could be intelligence. They don't advance according to a specific table (as animal companions do) and so have much more freedom.

That said, if you GM is letting you do this, it seems that your above list is pretty close. No idea why you wouldn't go Fighter or Ranger instead of Rogue, since those classes almost always synergize better with animals, especially if you can't use sneak attack or trapfinding.


I did make a Fighter and Ranger version, but I use my Animal Companion to get into flanking so having a higher Acrobatics was important to me. Also wanted to have a higher Escape Artist because we seem to be getting grappled a lot and tied up. With a Fighter I can't take Skill Focus (Acrobatics) because its not a Combat Feat.

If you're curious, here's what a 3HD Animal Companion that took a level in Fighter and Ranger respectively. I even tried with Barbarian which I'll also include below:

LEOPARD (HD4) (+2 Dex/Con; +1 Int; Barbarian):

Leo (N Small animal)
Init +7; Senses low-light vision, scent; Perception +5

DEFENSE
AC 21 [19], touch 18 [16], flat-footed 14 [12]
hp 28 [36] (3d8+1d12+8+[8])
Fort +7, Ref +10, Will +2 [+4]

OFFENSE
Speed 60 ft.
Melee bite +11 (1d4+1 [1d4+3] plus trip), 2 claws +6 (1d2+1 [1d2+3])

STATISTICS
Str 13 [17], Dex 24, Con 15 [19], Int 3, Wis 12, Cha 6
Abilities Evasion, Link, Share Spells, [Rage 6/rnds]
Languages: Common (nonspeak)
Tricks: Attack, Defend, Fetch, Seek, Stay
Special Qualities: Combat Trained
Feats Agile maneuvers, Weapon finesse, Armor proficiency (light), Armor proficiency (medium)
Skills Acrobatics +12, Climb +1 [+3], Escape Artist +8, Fly +9, Intimidate -2, Perception +5, Stealth +11, Survival +1, Swim +1 [+3]

LEOPARD (HD4) (+2 Dex/Con; +1 Int; Fighter):

Leo (N Small animal)
Init +7; Senses low-light vision, scent; Perception +5

DEFENSE
AC 22, touch 19, flat-footed 14
hp 27 (3d8+1d10+8)
Fort +7, Ref +10, Will +2

OFFENSE
Speed 50 ft.
Melee bite +11 (1d4+1 plus trip), 2 claws +6 (1d2+1)

STATISTICS
Str 13, Dex 24, Con 15, Int 3, Wis 12, Cha 6
Base Atk +3, CMB +9; CMD 20 (24 vs. trip)
Abilities Evasion, Link, Share Spells
Languages: Common (nonspeak)
Tricks: Attack, Defend, Fetch, Seek, Stay
Special Qualities: Combat Trained
Feats Agile maneuvers, Weapon finesse, Dodge, Armor proficiency (light, medium, heavy)
Skills Acrobatics +13, Climb +1, Escape Artist +7, Fly +9, Intimidate -2, Perception +5, Stealth +11, Survival +1, Swim +1

LEOPARD (HD4) (+2 Dex/Con; +1 Int; Ranger):

Leo (N Small animal)
Init +7; Senses low-light vision, scent; Perception +5 [+7]

DEFENSE
AC 21, touch 18, flat-footed 14
hp 27 (3d8+1d10+8)
Fort +7, Ref +12, Will +2

OFFENSE
Speed 50 ft.
Melee bite +11 [+13] (1d4+1 [1d4+3] plus trip),
2 claws +6 [+8] (1d2+1 [1d2+3])
Favored Enemy: [Animal]

STATISTICS
Str 13, Dex 24, Con 15, Int 3, Wis 12, Cha 6
Base Atk +3, CMB +9; CMD 20 (24 vs. trip)
Abilities Evasion, Link, Share Spells
Languages: Common (nonspeak)
Tricks: Attack, Defend, Fetch, Seek, Stay
Special Qualities: Combat Trained
Feats Agile maneuvers, Weapon finesse, Armor proficiency (light), Armor proficiency (medium)
Skills Acrobatics +13, Climb +1, Escape Artist +7, Fly +9, Heal +5, Intimidate -2, Perception +5 [+7], Stealth +11, Survival +1 [+3], Swim +1


Animals get Acrobatics as a class skill, so no matter what classes you take, they get the +3 for it being a class skill. With no cross-class ranks penalty (like in 3.5) any class you pick gets you the exact same acrobatics score. Because it's the fourth HD, you don't get a feat with any other class except fighter, so go fighter. You get a higher hit die, +1 BAB, +2 to a more important save (Fort over Ref) and you can take an archetype for using your natural weapons. You also gain heavy armor proficiency for heavy barding (mithril fullplate).

Since you can use your CMB to escape grapples, adding the +1 to CMB is equally beneficial as a rank in Escape Artist. Since you can't use Sneak Attack, your leopard gains the same +2 attack bonus if he's a rogue or a fighter, you are better off with the full BAB class.

The only advantage of the rogue over the fighter is skill points. At 3 INT (-4 mod) your rogue would have 4 skill choices while your full BAB option would only have 1 skill rank. Since Escape Artist is close to a wash with the CMB increase, you'd have 2 extra skills after putting your ranks in Acrobatics. If 2 skills are worth the smaller hit die, lower BAB, lesser armor, no feat, and worse save option, then rogue is what you want.


@Mauril: Good points. I should had considered that.

Heaven's Agent wrote:
Additionally, I believe the lion rogue post was likely made in reference to the use of the spell awaken. A creature modified by such a spell could take class levels.

You know what's funny. Now that my Animal Companion increased its Intelligence to 3 it can no longer be the target of an Awaken spell.

"This spell does not function on an animal or plant with an Intelligence greater than 2."

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