"combat" animal


Pathfinder Society

Grand Lodge 4/5 5/55/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Florida—Melbourne aka trollbill

2 people marked this as FAQ candidate.
The FAQ wrote:

How many animals can I have at any given time?

During the course of a scenario, you may have one combat animal and as many noncombat animals as you like. Noncombat animals (ponies, horses, pet dogs, and so on) cannot participate in combat at all. If you have so many noncombat animals that their presence is slowing a session down, the GM has the right to ask you to select one noncombat animal and leave the rest behind. A summoner's eidolon is considered an animal companion for the purposes of counting combat and noncombat animals. If you have more than one class-granted animal companion (or eidolon), you must choose which will be considered the combat animal at the start of the scenario. In general, a mount, a familiar or mundane pet, and your class-granted animal(s) are acceptable, but more than that can be disruptive.

When I read this it seems clear you get to put one animal on the board that can participate in combat and that's it. However, it appears not everyone is reading this the same way I am. Namely the issue seems to be with the last sentence whose use of the word "and" would seem to imply you could theoretically still have 3 animals on the board at one time, i.e. a mount, a familiar and a class-granted animal. So is that right? I have had two instances where this has come up at my tables.

1) The player had a character with both a familiar and an animal companion. In combat, he uses the AC for attacking but the familiar just sits on his shoulder the whole time giving him its bonuses and he never uses it to attack, or deliver touch spells or anything else. It is essentially a flavor-full magic item that sits on his shoulder.

2) The player had a small character with both an animal companion and a non-class granted mount. She used the AC for attacking while the mount just carried her about the battlefield and was not used to attack.

RAI for the FAQ seems to be to not slow the game down and/or overpower it with a small army of pets.

In both cases above, the players believed they were following RAW due to the last sentence, and RAI as they deliberately tried to avoid having their "non-combat" animal slow the game down by attacking. And in most cases that would be true. Obviously AoEs would effect both instances above, and AoOs and dumb opponents attacking a mount would have an effect on #2. But neither would slow it down egregiously.

So am I reading the FAQ wrong or are they? Should I even care about it if neither of them is noticeably slowing the game down, as that seems to be the main purpose of the ruling.

Grand Lodge 4/5

I agree with your reading. A character may have one companion that participates in combat, plus creatures summoned by spells or other temporary effects.

Any other creatures he owns are purely flavour. They are not present in any combat encounter and do not give him movement, familiar bonuses dependent on being any specific distance from him, or any other benefit. Gear that they may be carrying is inaccessible. They are not subject to attacks, effects or creature actions of any kind.

He should restrain himself, outside of encounters, from describing that flavour to the extent it disrupts the game, as the last sentence advises.


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What if your animal companion has an animal companion?


both situations you present are perfectly acceptable. Now, if they try to get those noncoms to 'take a hit' for them in any fashion, then it becomes an unnacceptable situation. They aren't expending time rolling in any manner, so they aren't violating the rules, and it's perfectly acceptable to have a stat booster riding in the back seat for bonuses and such.

They, however, need to remember that placing them in danger is still a chancy deal, at best. The creatures are a part of the battlefield, and are succeptable to the destruction laid about on that field.

Liberty's Edge

shadowmage75 wrote:
The creatures are a part of the battlefield, and are succeptable to the destruction laid about on that field.

It could be argued that, if the animal is "a part of the battlefield," then it is participating in combat, thus making it a "combat animal."

Liberty's Edge

I haven't read this in a while, and thought I knew what it said. Having just read it through several times, It's not nearly as clear as I thought it was. The first and last sentences say two different things.

I thought that the rule was that you could have one critter who participated in combat, and also pack beasts and/or flavor critters, with the latter limited in quantity by the demands of allowing a smooth game.

In both of your examples, I understand the first sentence to disallow the two critters, and the last sentence to allow them. By way of explanation, I see both the familiar's buffing to skills/saves and the mount-as-taxi-thus-granting-speed-or-actions to be combat animals.

I understand RAI to attempt to speak to both bogging down play and also force leverage.

Liberty's Edge

My feeling of the intention is to limit the number of active minis on the table and positions in the initiative order during combat. But I would be interested in hearing an official stance on creatures that do not take up their own map space or have a separate initiative spot to take actions of their own.

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