Uhhhhh.. infinite animal companion issue?


Rules Questions


So... please tell me this isn't legal RAW.. because it's certainly not RAI

Animal Companion, Takes int bonus to 3, then takes animal ally/nature soul/boon companion

rinse repeat

0.0

No? yes?

Scarab Sages

Dustyboy wrote:

So... please tell me this isn't legal RAW.. because it's certainly not RAI

Animal Companion, Takes int bonus to 3, then takes animal ally/nature soul/boon companion

rinse repeat

0.0

No? yes?

I think you're looking for this.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Are you asking if an animal companion could get an animal companion of their own? No

Animal Ally requires a character level of 4 which most animal companions do not have.

Boon Companion requires you to have an animal companion or familiar which most animal companions do not have.

The Pack Lord just lets a single Druid have multiple companions.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

It doesn't work because Animal Ally requires character level 4, which I'm fairly sure is "The total level of the character, which is the sum of all class levels held by that character." Racial HD don't count.

Otherwise that would be hilarious. As soon as your druid hits level 10, you'd get an infinite animal companion chain.


Thank god it doesn't work, And i've seen pack lord hahaha.

Sounds like it should be houseruled in for high powered epic campaigns.

I mean........... Sylvan heritage still has to be houseruled out for animal companions though.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

At least a cohort taking the Leadership feat hits a point of diminishing returns, as the maximum level drops by at least 2 at each step. A familiar loses half hit points at each step.

But there seems to be no similar limiting mechanism for the animal companion of a 5 HD intelligent animal companion. You could rule that a newly recruited animal companion cannot have an intelligence of 3+ or non-standard feats, but that only delays the issue until you can retrain its feat and its ability score increase -- so time and money are the only limiting factors.

However, further advancement of the animal companion will cause those further down the chain to fall behind eventually. When the druid is 20th level, the animal companion has 16 hit dice, its animal companion has 13 hit dice, its companion has 11 hit dice, and so on until you reach a potentially infinite number of 6 HD companions. But how many of these companions would you actually want to take with you on an adventure?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
David knott 242 wrote:

At least a cohort taking the Leadership feat hits a point of diminishing returns, as the maximum level drops by at least 2 at each step. A familiar loses half hit points at each step.

But there seems to be no similar limiting mechanism for the animal companion of a 5 HD intelligent animal companion. You could rule that a newly recruited animal companion cannot have an intelligence of 3+ or non-standard feats, but that only delays the issue until you can retrain its feat and its ability score increase -- so time and money are the only limiting factors.

However, further advancement of the animal companion will cause those further down the chain to fall behind eventually. When the druid is 20th level, the animal companion has 16 hit dice, its animal companion has 13 hit dice, its companion has 11 hit dice, and so on until you reach a potentially infinite number of 6 HD companions. But how many of these companions would you actually want to take with you on an adventure?

Please explain to me how the animal companion is getting these animal companions for himself based off us saying that the op idea does not in fact work. This may be one of those hypothetical builds that never sees daylight but I was just curious if it could legally be done.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I was counting the animal's hit dice as character levels, since they do seem to count as such for most purposes. Where is the ruling that character level does not include racial hit dice?

An intelligence of 3+ and three non-standard animal companion feats are required, thus I assumed a 5 HD animal companion that increased intelligence to 3 at 4th level and retrained its prior feats appropriately by 5th level.


You need a ruling showing that you can count the HD as character level

In this case what levels does the animal companion have? None...he is a companion that gains HD based on his "owner"


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Where is character level defined to exclude racial hit dice? I have never seen character level defined that way.


David knott 242 wrote:

Where is character level defined to exclude racial hit dice? I have never seen character level defined that way.

CRB, P12

"Character level is the sum of all of the levels possessed by a character in all of his classes."


David knott 242 wrote:

At least a cohort taking the Leadership feat hits a point of diminishing returns, as the maximum level drops by at least 2 at each step. A familiar loses half hit points at each step.

But there seems to be no similar limiting mechanism for the animal companion of a 5 HD intelligent animal companion. You could rule that a newly recruited animal companion cannot have an intelligence of 3+ or non-standard feats, but that only delays the issue until you can retrain its feat and its ability score increase -- so time and money are the only limiting factors.

However, further advancement of the animal companion will cause those further down the chain to fall behind eventually. When the druid is 20th level, the animal companion has 16 hit dice, its animal companion has 13 hit dice, its companion has 11 hit dice, and so on until you reach a potentially infinite number of 6 HD companions. But how many of these companions would you actually want to take with you on an adventure?

You are forgetting that the animal ally feat gives you an effective druid level of -3. That would mean the 6 HD one could only grab a 3 HD animal companion. And since the prerequisites prevent the feat earlier that 5th level, the 3 HD could not continue the chain and the 6 HD could not find room after qualifying for boon companion to raise the last companion.

So the upper number of animal companions with this would 6, if I got things right (16 HD, 13 HD, 11 HD, 8 HD, 6 HD, 3 HD). That is, if any of this was legal in the first place. I think that even with the whole 'any feat they are physically able to perform' thing might be enough justification to say 'no' to all this on the grounds that I wouldn't let them take handle animal either (I mean, is there a 'handle person' skill? ...ignoring diplomacy)


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Again, as it has been pointed out racial Hit Dice do not equal character level so this whole discussion is really moot. It may be fun to think about but it is not legal by the rules. Just go with a pack lord and have 20 animals that die very easy at 20th level...

Lantern Lodge

In the "Monsters as PCs" section of the bestiary, it clearly states several times that CR can be converted to class levels, and thus character levels.

So, a GM could rule either way :)


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
FrodoOf9Fingers wrote:

In the "Monsters as PCs" section of the bestiary, it clearly states several times that CR can be converted to class levels, and thus character levels.

So, a GM could rule either way :)

Sorry, but the way I read those are to treat them as equivalents for the purpose of seeing what are equal levels. It also says to treat the CR as its total class level. So which do we use?

The rules are pretty specific that racial hit dice are different than character levels, ie class levels.

"Level: A character's level represents his overall ability and power. There are three types of levels. Class level is the number of levels of a specific class possessed by a character. Character level is the sum of all of the levels possessed by a character in all of his classes. In addition, spells have a level associated with them numbered from 0 to 9. This level indicates the general power of the spell. As a spellcaster gains levels, he learns to cast spells of a higher level."

It does not say that character level is the sum of all of the class levels and the racial hit dice. So, it would be a stretch and a houserule to rule it any other way.

Lantern Lodge

Houserule? No. It's in the rules, even if that set of rules isn't used very often.

"Treat the monster's CR as its total class levels and allow the characters to multiclass into the core classes."

Including your bolded statement, this means that a monster of CR 4 would have 4 character levels.

And as I said, a GM could rule either way.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Difference of opinion I guess as I do not read that to mean what you are saying it means.

"For monsters with racial Hit Dice, the best way to allow monster PCs is to pick a CR and allow all of the players to make characters using monsters of that CR. Treat the monster's CR as its total class levels and allow the characters to multiclass into the core classes. Do not advance such monsters by adding Hit Dice. Monster PCs should only advance through classes."

I see this as just a way to allow monsters as PC's and not saying that racial hit dice equal character levels, but it is not my job or goal to convince you or anyone else.

Shadow Lodge

The rules on using monsters as PCs are blatantly contradictory, with the Core Rulebook using one standard and the Bestiary using a different standard.

Bestiary wrote:

Monsters as PCs: For monsters with racial Hit Dice, the best way to allow monster PCs is to pick a CR and allow all of the players to make characters using monsters of that CR. Treat the monster’s CR as its total class levels and allow the characters to multiclass into the core classes. Do not advance such monsters by adding Hit Dice. Monster PCs should only advance through classes.

If you are including a single monster character in a group of standard characters, make sure the group is of a level that is at least as high as the monster’s CR. Treat the monster’s CR as class levels when determining the monster PC’s overall levels. For example, in a group of 6th-level characters, a minotaur (CR 4) would possess 2 levels of a core class, such as barbarian.
Core wrote:
Monstrous Characters: As a general guideline, you should advise your players to choose races of roughly equal power, using a creature’s racial HD (not its CR) as a general guideline. Characters who wish instead to play standard races should be allowed to start at higher level, so that their total HD match the highest HD held by a non-standard race in the party.

The two quotes (emphasis mine) say very different things.

-Using the Bestiary rules, a Minotaur character (6 racial HD) should have two class levels (Ex: Barbarian 2) in a level 6 party, giving him a total of 8 HD.
-According to the Core rulebook, the standard-race characters should have total HD equal to the non-standard race, so a Minotaur Barbarian 2 (6 racial HD + 2 class HD) would be matched with a party of 8th-level characters.

As far as Racial HD counting toward character level, it's never stated that "racial HD count as part of character level," while it is stated "Character level is the sum of all of the levels possessed by a character in all of his classes." "Treat the monster's CR as its total class levels" is, I suspect, more relevant for a GM attempting to determine difficulties and level-equivalence in mixed parties than it is a statement that Racial HD = Class levels.


jlighter wrote:

As far as Racial HD counting toward character level, it's never stated that "racial HD count as part of character level," while it is stated "Character level is the sum of all of the levels possessed by a character in all of his classes." "Treat the monster's CR as its total class levels" is, I suspect, more relevant for a GM attempting to determine difficulties and level-equivalence in mixed parties than it is a statement that Racial HD = Class levels.

Taking the quote in context along with the use of the words "the best way" and "Treat [it] as", it would indeed appear to be worded as GM balancing advice rather than as a game rule. The only true rule we appear to have is the "sum of all the [class] levels" one.

Obviously GMs can rule any way they wish.


Kobold Press/Open Design's "Your Whispering Homunculus" series has a necromancer with a homunculus (familiar?) which eventually secretly studies it's masters spell books gaining wizard levels and stirge familiar itself. Hilarious stuff by Rich Pett as usual, but I always wondered if it was strictly PF legal...


Thanael wrote:
Kobold Press/Open Design's "Your Whispering Homunculus" series has a necromancer with a homunculus (familiar?) which eventually secretly studies it's masters spell books gaining wizard levels and stirge familiar itself. Hilarious stuff by Rich Pett as usual, but I always wondered if it was strictly PF legal...

That actually sounds legal from the fact those wizard levels would indeed count as "character levels". Just a little GM fiat involved in order to grant permission for it to learn levels of wizard in the first place, as with any other "monster" race.


Not to beat a dead horse, but where in the rules does it say that animal companion hit dice are racial hit dice? Wouldn't it perhaps be more accurate to say that animal companion is a class? since animal companions gain in feats and skills as they advance in levels like characters, and they can even have archetypes.

As characters advance in class levels, they gain skill points every level, and feats every odd level, if you examine the animal companion advancement table, you will see that every hit die grants a skill point and every odd hit die grants a feat. They also gain additional class features at various points.

So exactly why is it that we are operating under the assumption that an animal companion's hit dice are racial not class based?

Even so, there would be limit to the number of useful animal companions in the chain, since this assumes that an animal companion's class level is equal to hit dice, and animal companions lags behind their master in hit dice except at early levels.

Taking lag into account, the animal companion chain for a level 20 character would be as follows; with hit dice of 16, 13, 11, 9, 8, 7, and as many 6 hit dice animal companions as you can afford retraining for. luckily for any GMs that hate banning things that follow rules as written, killing one of the animal companions near the start of the chain will get rid of all the others, and if they retrained the level 6 animal companions to get a large number of them, then they would lose all the money spent on it. it would also take a lot of downtime to get a large chain of level 6 companions. That, and at level 20, a 6 hit dice animal companion isn't super useful.


Again its not anything the rules say here...its what they don't say

They don't say the HD count as character level...so they don't

Its more accurate to say they count as JUST hit dice

Saying that animal companion is a class itself makes almost no sense to me...the AC didn't choose it...it doesn't choose ANYTHING...and when the AC owner dies the AC magically reverts to a plain old creature losing EVERYTHING...they don't choose the archetype, its chosen by the owner...they never advance in level, the master does...they gain no XP, the master does

It never explicitly states "you cannot choose another PC as your animal companion", however it does say that I must choose a companion from the given list


I agree that the rules do not say animal companion is a class. However, I must disagree with your statement that the animal companion did not choose anything. In the section of the rules describing animal companion advancement, it explicitly states that the animal companion chooses feats and purchases its own skill ranks.

In fact, I am not sure I can find any place in the rules that says a player gets to make any choices about his animal companion at all aside from the indication that they can to some extent choose what the animal is. Additionally, the guide for companions from ultimate campaign indicates that they should be controlled by the GM and not the player.

As for having a PC as your animal companion, didn't the "Animal Archive" have rules for that?


I wasn't arguing that part as much as just giving my opinion on yours :)

Regardless of that AC hit dice are not listed as a type unless you use the listed hit dice for the animal prior to it becoming an AC which is not character level

I actually haven't read the animal archive so ill have to let that stand


Fair enough.
I just have one further point, the PRD's glossary of common terms has the following to say about hit dice.

*************************************************************************** *************************************************************************** ************
Hit Dice (HD): Hit Dice represent a creature's general level of power and skill. As a creature gains levels, it gains additional Hit Dice. Monsters, on the other hand, gain racial Hit Dice, which represent the monster's general prowess and ability. Hit Dice are represented by the number the creature possesses followed by a type of die, such as “3d8.” This value is used to determine a creature's total hit points. In this example, the creature has 3 Hit Dice. When rolling for this creature's hit points, you would roll a d8 three times and add the results together, along with other modifiers.
*************************************************************************** *************************************************************************** ************

Based on this passage, it is clear that hit dice gained from advancement come from leveling up. Based on the the fact that animal companions advance and increase in hit dice, these can only be hit dice gained from levels. Because of this, animal companions have character levels even if animal companion is not a class. Since the requirement for the feat is character level and not class level, an animal companion that reaches 4 hit dice should qualify for that particular requirement of the feat.

Shadow Lodge

Except animal companions have no character levels. They have HD which they have no control over, and which are not explicitly tied to them, the same way Familiars have HD that are based on something external. If they lose them when released from service, then the only thing that is granting them the HD is the fact that they are bonded to a PC, and the extra HD are based on effective Druid level. Animal Companions don't have character levels because they don't have a level in anything. There is no way to gain levels in Animal Companion because it isn't a class or prestige class and it isn't a race. The only way for an Animal Companions abilities to go up is based on if the PC levels up.

Your passage doesn't say that hit dice gained from advancement must be from leveling up. All it says is that as a creature gains levels, it gains hit dice. Just because some A (hit dice) come from B (gaining levels), it doesn't follow that all A are gained from B. You gain a level when you gain a level, and only when you gain a level.

As far as the Animal Companion selecting feats/skills, etc., the only reason why it is listed as selecting its own skills and feats is to distinguish them from having the same skills and feats as the master. They can only draw from a limited list (or an open list limited by physical capability), which is then listed later. Compare it to Familiars, who are treated as having all Skill Ranks possessed by the master. Read further into that section to where it says that the Player is making all advancement choices, with GM-veto possible.

As far as GM controlling them, you posting that is literally the first time I've ever heard that. Traditionally (at least as far as I've seen), an animal companion is going to be controlled by the Player, and all decisions for it are made by the Player since it is a Class Feature of the Player's Character. That said, I think it's interesting that Ultimate Campaign is recommending that Animal Companions be GM-controlled, and I may use that in future. Making Animal Companions GM-controlled, though, doesn't make them have levels any more than having HD means they have levels. They don't, the same way Familiars don't, the same way a Black Blade possessed by a Bladebound Magus doesn't have levels.


Hit Dice (HD): Hit Dice represent a creature's general level of power and skill. As a creature gains levels, it gains additional Hit Dice. Monsters, on the other hand, gain racial Hit Dice, which represent the monster's general prowess and ability. Hit Dice are represented by the number the creature possesses followed by a type of die, such as “3d8.” This value is used to determine a creature's total hit points. In this example, the creature has 3 Hit Dice. When rolling for this creature's hit points, you would roll a d8 three times and add the results together, along with other modifiers.

Just playing devil's advocate but it seems to me that a creature gains levels as it gains hit dice since it says "as a creature gains levels it gains additional hit dice" which is in bold above. I don't really see how you are reading it any other way.
Also;
Animal Ally
Your respect for nature is so great that you can form a deep and lasting friendship with an animal.
Prerequisites: Nature Soul, character level 4th, must not have an animal companion or mount that advances as an animal companion.
Animal ally doesn't mention anything about class levels, it says character levels. I guess you could argue that a class feature isn't a character... but then you are going into the realm of what makes a character a character.

Shadow Lodge

I have no disagreement that gaining levels can cause one to gain additional Hit Dice. But, that is all that the bolded statement says.

My argument is that gaining Hit Dice does not mean one has gained levels. Racial Hit Dice is one example of how to gain HD without gaining levels. Familiars also gain HD without gaining levels, as do Animal Companions. There is no way for an animal to gain a level in Animal Companion. The only way to increase an Animal Companion's level is to increase the effective Druid level granting the companion, which is a very different thing.

As far as Character levels referring to class levels, definition (emphasis mine):

Level wrote:
A character’s level represents his overall ability and power. There are three types of levels. Class level is the number of levels of a specific class possessed by a character. Character level is the sum of all of the levels possessed by a character in all of his classes. In addition, spells have a level associated with them numbered from 0 to 9. This level indicates the general power of the spell. As a spellcaster gains levels, he learns to cast spells of a higher level.

There's also a certain amount of debate over determining character level of Monstrous PCs which is only partially relevant, look up-thread for that. So far, though, none of it directly contradicts the bolded statement without being contradicted elsewhere, thus calling into question the viability of the statements.


At the very least I don't think boon companion would work "The abilities of your animal companion or familiar are calculated as though your class were 4 levels higher," the animal companion does not have a class so I think that is out. Nitpicky but meh. Also I am not sure you are going to be able to handle animal to tell your companion what to tell your companions companion so you will need speak with animal. Even if he is intelligent it doesn't mean he speaks. http://paizo.com/paizo/blog/v5748dyo5lc1y But on the whole without boon comapanion it ends up at 16 HD, 11 HD, 7 HD, 4 HD. Not really all that threating considering the feats wasted for what ends up being a pretty weak game slowdown. Probably no stronger than a decent necro at best.

Finally all this assumes this line

"must not have an animal companion or mount that advances as an animal companion."

does not include self ownership as having an animal companion.

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