Animal Companion / Eidolon Dishonesty


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion


I've always had a thing against anything that let you play two effective characters such as the leadership feat and animal companions. It was mainly the leadership feat, as animal companions weren't that powerful unless you did some serious splat booking, and then you had to justify it to the GM, and even then they weren't able to fully compete with a front line fighter.

But recently I've been getting frustrated that animal companions and now Eidolons are able to out strip a front line fighter. And their appearance is becoming more and more regular. So I've been doing some research into them and finding some serious discrepancies in what a player says their 'pet' can do, and what their 'pet' should be able to do.

Now the rules seem to be pretty clear (especially if you use the srd as a reference) but for some reason some players seem to wanting to stretch those rules. Perfect example is Clerics with the Animal Domain, thus getting a animal companion at 4th level (being effective druid -3), but when I played in a tier 6-7 game on the weekend the cleric had a large animal companion (not possibly till 10th level as a cleric), and had more feats then should have been able to even if he was a 7th level druid, and had the vital strike feat which wouldn't have been able to get based on the BAB +5.

And that seems to be where the dishonesty is kicking in for both animal companions and eidolons, the feats.... Given them extra feats or given them feats which they don't meet the requirements for. And this is how they seem to be out stripping a front line fighter.

So why is it these players think they can get away with doing this sort of thing, and why aren't GM's cracking down more on 'pets'?


well if you are the GM make him show you how he is aloud to get each and every feat, ability, or modifier. if this does not work then just kill the thing off and make your own for the character.animal companions are creatures that exist regardless of the characters, and as such should be ran by the GM with the character simply using their skills and tricks to make it do what it wants. im not so good with eidolons, so there may be some diffrences there... this is my opinion.... if I GM i let the player make the animal with me checking that everything is legal... if you are nto GM then just talk to them and ask them about it... they may have misread something or got confused... they can be a bit complicated.... just my oppinons here...


Next time I run into one and now I am up with the rules, I'll will be making sure I question it.


I don't want to sound antagonistic, but I don't follow you.

You confess a bias against abilities that give you a pet or helper. Then a personal opinion that such abilities are too strong.

But you don't provide any evidence. You state you were the player in a game, and suspect there were discrepancies with a fellow player's AC. But you don't seem to actually know if there were any.

Then you make a sweeping conclusion that isn't supported by any evidence. At best its your personal experience with (possibly a very few) problematic players.

In my experience, players don't outright cheat very often. Yes mistakes happen, especially when you have to track a lot of things, but DMs make mistakes too.

For the one specific example, a Cleric with a Large AC with Vital Strike, there is a possible.

The Cleric took Boon Companion (feat) so his AC could be the same as a 8th level Druid (granting Large size, BAB +5 and a feat). This could also help explain the number of feats the AC had.


Like samasboy, I really dont want to sound antagonistic.

While I do agree that ACs can be extremly powerful at low-ish levels, they scale poorly. By monster creation rules, they dont technically go past CR 12 at level 20 (that includes mounts, animal companions, and eidolons. It goes quite higher for cohorts, in theory up to CR 16, though it might occasionally go higher. And none of that accounts for optimization).

Samasboy mentionned the pertinent feat (boon companion), and there's another feat (horse master) that allows a mount to continue scaling if you multiclass from cavalier.

What context was this in? In PFS (which is what you suggest), you've got to deal with the raw. In which case, boon companion is quite legitimate. Same for horsemater. And the player gets to choose the feats/skills (otherwise, it wouldnt be a player feature).

So please, dont try to "bust out the rules" at others, because it's so easy to discover that we dont know something. I discover new feats/items/abilities every day. Pathfinder is a very vast system.

Edit: I checked out my AC analysis, and they should actually be, at level 7, equivalent to a CR 4-5 animal (MAYBE 6, with excellent optimization). I know CR isnt the a perfect representation of power, it's a decent guideline.


Well , when it comes down to eidolons players make mistakes and the rules are not always clear actually. Tons of things the GM/player must decide together on.

Example:
Does eidolon keep their gear when you summon/send them away?
If you go by the book , eidolons can add reach to the martial weapons.
(I think) In PFS they also add which slots you can put equips into the eidolon , something usually the rules say you just cant have one on the summoner and one on the eidolon.
...

PS: Hehe , guess we would never play together OP , i pretty much only play summoner, bard (if i can get leadership) or sorc (arcane with improv familiar)


Yeah, gotta agree with many here bud, if it's an AC you have an issue with its pretty well explained by a single feat.


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Eidolons most dishonest.

Bite them thinking "Oooh yummy animal dinner!"

But inside is skin-and-bones mage with no flavor.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32

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I find that cheetahs are the worst animal companions when it comes to dishonesty.

There was also an issue with truth-telling when I came across a lyrebird familiar. When I checked its stats it was just a thrush.

I'll stop now, sorry!


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Hyperlance wrote:
So why is it these players think they can get away with doing this sort of thing, and why aren't GM's cracking down more on 'pets'?

Likely its an honest mistake if anything rather than people trying to get away with something. If your using tiers are you talking about society play? In society play its slightly different because you can't just discuss things with the player during creation and as things go and vice-versa, which adds a layer of complexity.

Outside of society play having an honest discussion while your both level headed goes a long way. Inside of it there are a lot of variables that make it hard to give good advice.

Wargamer94 wrote:
if this does not work then just kill the thing off and make your own for the character.animal companions are creatures that exist regardless of the characters, and as such should be ran by the GM with the character simply using their skills and tricks to make it do what it wants.

I'd advise against killing an animal companion you don't like. Much easier to have a discussion about things and if you just kill it off it might just upset someone and its not really going to solve anything. Taking away all control over the person's animal companion also might not end well, because taking control of aspects of a character is overstepping lines for some people. Discussion goes a long way, just be sure your both level headed. I usually suggest doing it over something sweet, everyone loves cake and cookies.

Transylvanian Tadpole wrote:
I find that cheetahs are the worst animal companions when it comes to dishonesty.

I think your lion about that one.


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MrSin wrote:


Transylvanian Tadpole wrote:
I find that cheetahs are the worst animal companions when it comes to dishonesty.
I think your lion about that one.

Citation needed, where's the lynx?

Silver Crusade

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Adamantine Dragon wrote:
MrSin wrote:


Transylvanian Tadpole wrote:
I find that cheetahs are the worst animal companions when it comes to dishonesty.
I think your lion about that one.
Citation needed, where's the lynx?

Looking for them now. Bear with me.


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Mikaze wrote:
Adamantine Dragon wrote:
MrSin wrote:


Transylvanian Tadpole wrote:
I find that cheetahs are the worst animal companions when it comes to dishonesty.
I think your lion about that one.
Citation needed, where's the lynx?
Looking for them now. Bear with me.

Nope, going to keep badgering you until you find one.


MrSin wrote:
Mikaze wrote:
Adamantine Dragon wrote:
MrSin wrote:


Transylvanian Tadpole wrote:
I find that cheetahs are the worst animal companions when it comes to dishonesty.
I think your lion about that one.
Citation needed, where's the lynx?
Looking for them now. Bear with me.
Nope, going to keep badgering you until you find one.

Or until you go horse from it.


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*sics dire panda on punsters*


This is something I've been wondering about, at least in terms of "combat" animal companions - the interaction of animal companion "tricks" that can be taught and what the animal companion can do.

Handle Animal - Tricks

Combat doesn't seem to be a default - though the animal defending itself seems logical.

Also, I've always felt the number of tricks you can teach your animal is small.


Oceanshieldwolf wrote:
Also, I've always felt the number of tricks you can teach your animal is small.

I never liked the skill trick gig myself. Not a big fan of adding dice rolls and complicating what the player and GM control. I've met a few GMs who think the animal companion should suicide at every chance unless you have the "don't kill yourself in this exact situation!" trick.


Right now I am playing a Huntsmaster Cavalier and It's an interesting experience. Has me really focusing on every rule I can find regarding pets.

Trick economy is important. Unless you boost your pet up to a 3+ Int you've got 6 tricks plus bonus for levels. That's a very restrictive set of instructions.

In particular the Attack trick. If you want your pet to fight anything unnatural he has to learn the attack trick twice which came a surprise to me.

Also Ultimate Campaign points out that it is the DM who decides what the animal does, the Handler can only use the Tricks to guide it. Some DMs will let you do it yourself because they don't want the hassle but the Default by the Rules is that the DM makes the decisions because the Companion has Animal intelligence.

The Feat and Skill restrictions are a little rough too. Increasing your Pet's Int to 3+ is pretty much the first priority if only to open up it's selection of Feats.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I have also found in some occasions it's generally inexperience at building Eidolons that led to errors and disparity.

Sometimes people get advice for builds off the boards (with errors) and without understanding the nuances, build something that is broken etc..

I haven't found too many players deliberately cheating with companions (not that they don't exist). I tend to find with companions that some playstyles don't really consider handle animal and the player tries to play them with a higher intelligence than 2-3.


williamoak wrote:


Same for horsemater

That sounds like a rather nsfw feat to me ;-)

Great typo.


oynaz wrote:
williamoak wrote:


Same for horsemater

That sounds like a rather nsfw feat to me ;-)

Great typo.

I think this is like the third time I've made that typo. It's a great feat, but I've got to be more careful with it.


I have seen relatively few people that I think truly intend to cheat on their builds. (Though there have been a few that I am 99% certain actively cheat on their sheet.)

However, I know several that use what I call 'active ignorance.' They quickly skim through a reading of some posted build, many books, various guides, etc... and only retain the kool parts they want in their builds. But they never go back to double check and make sure it is all legal and all the rereq's are included.

Most of the time however, it is just honest mistakes. The AC and eidolon rules and clarifications of the rules are more than just a bit confusing and are all over the place.
Not too long ago I slowly noticed that the eidolon of the guy sitting next to me was doing incredibly poorly. At first I thought that meant he had built a skill monkey, but it turns out he had just made his mistakes the other direction. He had made it through several levels only picking 1 evolution and with some weird synthesis of the familiar rules tacked on that did not help him at all (it had half his hit points and his skills which did not help the melee eidolon).

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Kydeem de'Morcaine wrote:

I have seen relatively few people that I think truly intend to cheat on their builds. (Though there have been a few that I am 99% certain actively cheat on their sheet.)

We can give advice and strategies on rules, but there is no way to proof any game system against deliberate malice. If you can't reform such a player or GM, the only answer is to cut your losses.


LazarX wrote:
Kydeem de'Morcaine wrote:

I have seen relatively few people that I think truly intend to cheat on their builds. (Though there have been a few that I am 99% certain actively cheat on their sheet.)

We can give advice and strategies on rules, but there is no way to proof any game system against deliberate malice. If you can't reform such a player or GM, the only answer is to cut your losses.

I just casually avoid the table if I seem them.

I've never had them sign up for one of the sessions where I was GM. I'm not wanting to delay things while I audit a sheet (plus I am really slow at something like that), but I think with those 2 guys I would feel like I had to take the time.


The cleric in all probability had the boon companion feat, which makes the critter function at level +4, up to the max of your hit dice (so essentially getting rid of the penalty for being an animal domain critter)


Hehe , i still remember the mess i made with resilient eidolon for the first time.

"When you are knocked unconscious, fall asleep, or are killed, your eidolon remains with you"

Ofc , i skipped the description ... this is what it actually does:

"If you are knocked unconscious, fall asleep, or are killed, your eidolon remains for a number of rounds equal to your summoner level before it is banished. If you are brought back to consciousness before this duration expires, your eidolon is not banished. If the duration expires before you are brought back to consciousness, your eidolon is banished normally."

So i thought it had no time limit :P , i actually made an entire character around this idea, and heh , in the end since the feat only last a few rounds it made no sense at all.


BigNorseWolf wrote:
The cleric in all probability had the boon companion feat, which makes the critter function at level +4, up to the max of your hit dice (so essentially getting rid of the penalty for being an animal domain critter)

Yes I found out that he did have this, and now seems every cleric and now sorcerers with the sylvan blood line can take as well! Because last night played in a game which a teifling sorcerer had a animal companion as well, and of course he had the boon companion feat! With PFS is that you're supposed to legally have the book, but with PRD's and hero lab which have references it, you can take the feat because its there!

But if its not dishonesty, then its certainly a lot of abusing/rorting going on to make your character twice or at least 1.5 times better than any other character out there, especially with that damn feat! Whose idea was it to bring in that Boon Companion feat anyway? I believe it should be put on the list of feats you can't take in PFS.

Now all this being said, I probably would get over this if everyone who took an animal companion stood up and said "yes I'm being a powergamer" but they aren't, they are just sitting back and being smug going "i'm just better than you are because I know how to rort the rules better"


So if its not dishonesty its abuse? Animal compansions aren't really that great unless you invest in them later on. The ones with -4 are pretty much bound to die.

Not everyone with an animal companion is a power gamer.


Hyperlance wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
The cleric in all probability had the boon companion feat, which makes the critter function at level +4, up to the max of your hit dice (so essentially getting rid of the penalty for being an animal domain critter)

Yes I found out that he did have this, and now seems every cleric and now sorcerers with the sylvan blood line can take as well! .....

.... if everyone who took an animal companion stood up and said "yes I'm being a powergamer" but they aren't, they are just sitting back and being smug going "i'm just better than you are because I know how to rort the rules better"

I'll admit, taking a gnome sylvan/arcane wild blooded sorcerer and making my raven figurine into both my animal companion and familiar at the same time is kinda a thing for me. If that is considered power gaming so be it. I just like it for the heck of it!


Hyperlance wrote:

Yes I found out that he did have this, and now seems every cleric and now sorcerers with the sylvan blood line can take as well! Because last night played in a game which a teifling sorcerer had a animal companion as well, and of course he had the boon companion feat! With PFS is that you're supposed to legally have the book, but with PRD's and hero lab which have references it, you can take the feat because its there!

But if its not dishonesty, then its certainly a lot of abusing/rorting going on to make your character twice or at least 1.5 times better than any other character out there, especially with that damn feat! Whose idea was it to bring in that Boon Companion feat anyway? I believe it should be put on the list of feats you can't take in PFS.

Now all this being said, I probably would get over this if everyone who took an animal companion stood up and said "yes I'm being a powergamer" but they aren't, they are just sitting back and being smug going "i'm just better than you are because I know how to rort the rules better"

There's nothing wrong with the Feat.

There's nothing wrong with animal Companions.

The problem is on your end.

Animal Companions are pretty s%@! past about level 5, because they rapidly start falling behind what the monsters can do without the person controlling them using a ton of spells to buff them to a semi-powerful level.


Quote:
But if its not dishonesty, then its certainly a lot of abusing/rorting going on to make your character twice or at least 1.5 times better than any other character out there

Levels of optimization aren't an objective thing. Some folks want more dakka.

Quote:
especially with that damn feat! Whose idea was it to bring in that Boon Companion feat anyway? I believe it should be put on the list of feats you can't take in PFS.

Its supposed to make a rangers animal companion usable.

Quote:
Now all this being said, I probably would get over this if everyone who took an animal companion stood up and said "yes I'm being a powergamer" but they aren't, they are just sitting back and being smug going "i'm just better than you are because I know how to rort the rules better"

Its pretty straitforward that thats what the feat and the build does, no rorting required.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Hyperlance wrote:

But if its not dishonesty, then its certainly a lot of abusing/rorting going on to make your character twice or at least 1.5 times better than any other character out there, especially with that damn feat! Whose idea was it to bring in that Boon Companion feat anyway? I believe it should be put on the list of feats you can't take in PFS.

You do know that Seeker of Secrets (the first source book for Boon Companion) was part of the Core Assumption that every player was suppose to have had, listed right next to the core rulebook for Pathfinder Society play for seasons 0,1,2 and beyond. Its since been removed, as its many years out of print, but I expect an awful lot of players to own it because of this.

In general its much better to ask someone how they accomplished something than to baldly accuse them of dishonesty.


Hyperlance wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
The cleric in all probability had the boon companion feat, which makes the critter function at level +4, up to the max of your hit dice (so essentially getting rid of the penalty for being an animal domain critter)

Yes I found out that he did have this, and now seems every cleric and now sorcerers with the sylvan blood line can take as well! Because last night played in a game which a teifling sorcerer had a animal companion as well, and of course he had the boon companion feat! With PFS is that you're supposed to legally have the book, but with PRD's and hero lab which have references it, you can take the feat because its there!

But if its not dishonesty, then its certainly a lot of abusing/rorting going on to make your character twice or at least 1.5 times better than any other character out there, especially with that damn feat! Whose idea was it to bring in that Boon Companion feat anyway? I believe it should be put on the list of feats you can't take in PFS.

Now all this being said, I probably would get over this if everyone who took an animal companion stood up and said "yes I'm being a powergamer" but they aren't, they are just sitting back and being smug going "i'm just better than you are because I know how to rort the rules better"

Your bias and assumptions are showing again.

If your class gives you a below-level animal companion, taking a feat to make it stronger ,and thus not taking a different feat which could improve a different aspect of your character, isn't abusive/powergaming anymore than a Fighter taking Power Attack is abusive/powergaming.

Its cool, you don't like animal companions. But that doesn't bind everyone, especially in PFS, or even make it objectively true.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Hyperlance wrote:
Yes I found out that he did have this, and now seems every cleric and now sorcerers with the sylvan blood line can take as well! Because last night played in a game which a teifling sorcerer had a animal companion as well, and of course he had the boon companion feat! With PFS is that you're supposed to legally have the book, but with PRD's and hero lab which have references it, you can take the feat because its there!

Mostly right, You still need the reference book (Herolab and PRD don't count as having the content to use.

That said, GM's can have a lot of fun with animals. You should note that it's the GM who controls an animal companion not the PC. Animals don't have the intelligence of a familiar and require training for tricks and even need to learn to attack unnatural creatures. They only have an Int of 2 (..mostly)

There are all sorts of issues when travelling in a city; where exactly does one keep a tiger while it's owner is inside a pub having a quiet drink? How is the local constabulary likely to act when seeing a wild beast? etc..


lastblacknight wrote:
That said, GM's can have a lot of fun with animals. You should note that it's the GM who controls an animal companion not the PC. Animals don't have the intelligence of a familiar and require training for tricks and even need to learn to attack unnatural creatures. They only have an Int of 2 (..mostly)

Careful though, easy to abuse your power, especially if you've got a bias and hate them already. I've met numerous DMs who's idea of fun was "Lets kill off the stupid pet!" The animal lover in me isn't a big fan of that.

lastblacknight wrote:
There are all sorts of issues when travelling in a city; where exactly does one keep a tiger while it's owner is inside a pub having a quiet drink? How is the local constabulary likely to act when seeing a wild beast? etc..

If its society its a different game altogether. Usually taking away someone's class feature isn't going to be welcomed.

Edit: I should add its also not a real solution to a problem.


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lastblacknight wrote:


There are all sorts of issues when travelling in a city; where exactly does one keep a tiger while it's owner is inside a pub having a quiet drink? How is the local constabulary likely to act when seeing a wild beast? etc..

In a world where there are cat people, monkey people, fairies, dragons, and that little halfling over by the bar could have the ability to blow up the whole building by wiggling his little finger......I tend to think the constables wouldn't bat an eye.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

(Mr Sin) I am not suggesting killing off a pet, but taking the time before the game starts and explaining how an animal companion actually works can be enlightening and make a game run smoother. It's about managing expectations and making sure everyone know you understand the rules of animal companions - be prepared, know your Handle Animal rules

(Samasboy1) Nope! if you look at the numbers; adventurers make up less than 1% of a world usually. Have a closer look at what sort of mounts are permitted in Absalom or even what happens when wearing a holy symbol in some cities - you can be arrested and dragged through the streets. Only Kaer Maga is relaxed enough to allow the weird and wonderful.

So if you walk down the street with a tiger you are going to get all sorts of looks from passers-by and that's not even considering their horses, lapdogs etc.. Your party could cause a riot. (Unless the locals know you...)


lastblacknight wrote:


(Samasboy1) Nope! if you look at the numbers; adventurers make up less than 1% of a world usually. Have a closer look at what sort of mounts are permitted in Absalom or even what happens when wearing a holy symbol in some cities - you can be arrested and dragged through the streets. Only Kaer Maga is relaxed enough to allow the weird and wonderful.

Except for Whitecastle, where there are troll city guards, witches run the place, and an entire section of the city is designated for winter wolves magically given human form.

Or Geb, where your mayor is probably a ghoul at the least, and possibly a ghost, vampire, or lich.

Or Vudra where for 300gp you can buy an alchemically created luck granting mini-elephant in the street markets.

Or....

Or....

A tiger just isn't weird enough in a lot of places to realistically draw that kind of attention.

Now, it places like Taldor, where the "beardless" have no legal rights, sure. But not everywhere.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Yep - There are exceptions - I didn't have the inclination to list them all.

But in Ustalav not being human is enough to get you noticed...

Only people who wanted to draw attention to themselves would take a tiger whilst shopping or stopping in for a drink at the local pub. Have a look at the party of your next table and 'see' what the party looks like from a local's point of view. If someone has a tiger it's a 600 pound, 9 foot long predator with teeth... it's going to get a second look.

Basically, anything exotic of different is going to stand out. yes you are going to see a new 'normal' in some foreign lands, PC's are very wealthy people.

(I have nothing against tigers, or cute tiny elephants, or faerie dragons, axebeaks - they are all very cool - no tigers were harmed in the crafting of this post).


Actually, looking back through the Guide to Absalom, I don't know what you are referencing....

The Guide to Absalom notes that horses are rare (due to ecological reasons), and the most common mounts are camels, followed by axebeaks. It then goes on to say giant lizards, riding dogs, monstrous centipedes, elephants, and even centaurs are seen throughout the city. It references "dizzying variety," for the beast of burden used.

I don't see any restriction on what mounts you could use, and for the examples a tiger doesn't seem like it would draw attention.

Maybe I missed something? It seems Absalom is supports my position more than yours.


Diekssus wrote:

I'll admit, taking a gnome sylvan/arcane wild blooded sorcerer and making my raven figurine into both my animal companion and familiar at the same time is kinda a thing for me. If that is considered power gaming so be it. I just like it for the heck of it!

Yes you are power gaming, just admit it and we'll get on :)

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