Animal Companion Reach


Rules Questions


9 people marked this as FAQ candidate.

Do biped (claws/paws), biped (hands) and/or avian body type animal companions gain the reach (10') ability when they reach a level that grants them the large size?


I'm hoping to get an FAQ on this one. It's surprising to me that this hasn't been thoroughly addressed in the past since it's a CRB question, but I think with the ACG's Hunter now being out this is bound to come up more frequently.
In the CRB, table 8-4 states that large (tall) creatures have a reach of 10', while large (long) creatures have a range of only 5', with the footnote that:
* These values are typical for creatures of the indicated size. Some exceptions exist.
Based on that, "tall" appears to include both biped types and the avian type.
In this thread, it was clariified unofficially by Michael Brock that a large ape animal companion has the 10' reach, but that leaves many other animals still in question.


I'm struggling to find one that isn't self evident from it's bestiary entry. Which AC is giving you difficulty specifically?


dragonhunterq wrote:
I'm struggling to find one that isn't self evident from it's bestiary entry. Which AC is giving you difficulty specifically?

Unfortunately "self evident" often doesn't cut it in PFS. Animal companions tend have their own set of rules that aren't quite the same as the bestiary entry (a medium Deinonychus for instance has 5 attacks vs 4 attacks for instance). Furthermore, some bestiary entries list creature sizes that are unavailable to players (Tyrannosaurus). While this could probably be scaled down to the correct size and reach, it does leave a bit of ambiguity. RAW, I think these creatures technically don't have reach, but that seems silly to me.

I'm specifically interested in the reach of the T-rex, and to a lesser extent axe-beak and spinosaurus, but it would be nice to get a ruling on all of them.


PFS has a lot to answer for...

If it's for PFS surely that forum would be more appropriate.

I digress:
RAW a large (tall) creature has reach. A Gargantuan (tall) creature scaled down to large is still (tall). I don't see how there can be any ambiguity.

Unless you can show me where it says that AC's break that rule (like your example, that is a written exception)then it doesn't.

Sczarni

The Axebeak, Spinosaurus, and T-Rex Animal Companions all have 10' reach. My 13th level Saurian Shaman in PFS used a Spinosaurus from level 7 onward, at Conventions across the state, and nobody raised an eyebrow.

Since a comprehensive list is probably asking too much, the best practice is to compare these creatures to their Bestiary equivalent.

The Axebeak is listed as having 10' reach. There's no reason a GM should limit it to 5'.

The T-Rex and Spinosaurus, being Gargantuan creatures with a Gargantuan (20') reach, will also have a 10' reach if they are Large-sized.

Snakes, despite seeming like they would be "long" creatures, have a 10' reach, using the Emperor Cobra as an example.


dragonhunterq wrote:

PFS has a lot to answer for...

If it's for PFS surely that forum would be more appropriate.

I digress:
RAW a large (tall) creature has reach. A Gargantuan (tall) creature scaled down to large is still (tall). I don't see how there can be any ambiguity.

Unless you can show me where it says that AC's break that rule (like your example, that is a written exception)then it doesn't.

The question is universal, it's just that in PFS we face a variety of GMs with different rules interpretations when rules are vague. There also isn't much wiggle room from RAW there, despite common sense. So, for instance, even if a large (tall) creature always has reach 10', technically there is no reference explaining what constitutes long vs tall that I know of.

Regardless, if Nefreet hasn't had any issues in our region then it sounds like I shouldn't have an issue (especially since he is one of the people go to for interpretations).

Thanks guys.


Tiger is large and do not have reach beyond 5 feet


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Surtyr wrote:
Tiger is large and do not have reach beyond 5 feet

Tiger is also a quadruped, not a biped.


Iron Giant wrote:
Do biped (claws/paws), biped (hands) and/or avian body type animal companions gain the reach (10') ability when they reach a level that grants them the large size?

Base rules state that Large bipeds get a 10' natural reach and that large quadrapeds get a 5' reach.

Rather than asking if animal companions conform to the normal rules I would ask you, what makes you think they wouldn't?

There is nothing in the animal companion section stating their reach for size is any different than normal so it seems clear they use the standard rules.


Take the AC and match it to its listed Bestiary.

A Roc for instance is a Gargantuan Animal with 15ft reach. Creature size tables say that Gargantuan Tall has 20ft reach and Gargantuan Long has 15ft reach. Scale that down 2 sizes and a Large Roc Animal Companion should have a 5ft reach.


CommandoDude wrote:

Take the AC and match it to its listed Bestiary.

A Roc for instance is a Gargantuan Animal with 15ft reach. Creature size tables say that Gargantuan Tall has 20ft reach and Gargantuan Long has 15ft reach. Scale that down 2 sizes and a Large Roc Animal Companion should have a 5ft reach.

Which is completely house rule territory. There are already rules for reach and creatures in the game. Exceptions to those standards are listed in the creature stat's.

If no reach is specified for the Large Roc then it uses the standard rules for a large biped. Why would it use anything else and why would you have to make something up inferred from a monster listing?

Grand Lodge

Diplodocus is the biggest problem here, IMHO. Bestiary has 60'(!) reach with 30' size. That would give the base 7th level version 20' reach.
http://www.d20pfsrd.com/bestiary/monster-listings/animals/dinosaur/dinosaur -diplodocus

Triceratops is a little shaky as well, since its bestiary entry is 15'/15', but it's also clearly a quadruped. Mammoth Rider Triceratops with 15' Reach!

Getting clarification on Roc would also be awesome. Pteranodon would have 10' reach based on Bestiary, but is a bit gimpier than the Roc.


Mike Brock stated that a Large ape has 10' reach in PFS, for what it's worth. Of course, the same thread claims the question was "answered in errata", so take that with a grain of salt.


Gilfalas wrote:
CommandoDude wrote:

Take the AC and match it to its listed Bestiary.

A Roc for instance is a Gargantuan Animal with 15ft reach. Creature size tables say that Gargantuan Tall has 20ft reach and Gargantuan Long has 15ft reach. Scale that down 2 sizes and a Large Roc Animal Companion should have a 5ft reach.

Which is completely house rule territory. There are already rules for reach and creatures in the game. Exceptions to those standards are listed in the creature stat's.

If no reach is specified for the Large Roc then it uses the standard rules for a large biped. Why would it use anything else and why would you have to make something up inferred from a monster listing?

Reach doesn't specify "Biped/Quadruped" it specifies "Tall/Long" Nowhere have I seen the rules quote # of limbs as determining Reach.

Rocs are classified as "Long" and thus have reduced reach, this is why their reach is 15ft despite being Gargantuan.


Gilfalas wrote:
Iron Giant wrote:
Do biped (claws/paws), biped (hands) and/or avian body type animal companions gain the reach (10') ability when they reach a level that grants them the large size?

Base rules state that Large bipeds get a 10' natural reach and that large quadrapeds get a 5' reach.

Rather than asking if animal companions conform to the normal rules I would ask you, what makes you think they wouldn't?

There is nothing in the animal companion section stating their reach for size is any different than normal so it seems clear they use the standard rules.

The CRB actually states that the natural reach of typical "tall" large creatures is 10', but exceptions exist. It says nothing about being a biped, that much is only implied. Even if that was the means of determination, going strictly by body type from animal archive has issues in some of the categories. Vermin like the Giant Mantis are both tall and long. As Nefreet said, snakes seem to have 10' reach despite being the longest body type that I can think of. It's not an issue of animal companions being an exception as much as it is completely unaddressed in many circumstances.


CommandoDude wrote:

Rocs are classified as "Long" and thus have reduced reach, this is why their reach is 15ft despite being Gargantuan.

Are they classified somewhere that I'm not seeing? or is this just surmised from size reduction of the bestiary entry?

Sczarni

I was really hoping that Animal Archive would have addressed this issue, since it categorized body types so well.

Maybe we can hope for a blog post instead.


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First there is no 'reach' ability. Every creature has a natural reach and this reach increases with the creature size.

Second there is a general rule:

Big And Little Creatures In Combat wrote:
Creatures that take up more than 1 square typically have a natural reach of 10 feet or more, meaning that they can reach targets even if they aren't in adjacent squares.

So first take a look at the animal in the 'Bestiary'. Is there a large version of that animal ? Yes then use the reach from the books. No than use the general rule.

The differentiation between 'long' and 'tall' looks like an relict from D&D 3.5 were you can have large creatures with a size of 1x2 sqares (5ft x 10ft) or 2x2 squares (10ft x 10ft). In PF every large creature has a size of 10ft x 10ft .

That some large creatures dont have a natural reach of 10ft. It looks like a relict too but creatures from the books sometimes follow their own rules. So rebuilding a rule from creatures is not a good idea.

Sczarni

Eridan wrote:
rebuilding a rule from creatures is not a good idea.

It's not rebuilding a rule, though. It's more like answering questions about specific examples.

The rules for tall and long creatures in Pathfinder exist. There's even a chart to show their reach. The only thing left to discern is what constitutes a tall or long creature.

Bipeds tend to be universally tall. Quadrupeds tend to be universally long. Those are the general situations. When you get to creatures like the Elasmosaurus, Emperor Cobra, and Diplodocus, we see that they break the general rule. When adapting an Animal Companion of these creatures it wouldn't make sense to apply the general rule to them if their parents didn't abide by it, so adjust yours accordingly.

Although it would be nice if Animal Companion stats included a section on reach.

Silver Crusade

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The Axe Beak definitely does have reach. Here's one semi-exotic pet approach that may exceed all expectations.

Why an axe-beak 'Polearm pet' might exceed expectations:

Use an axe-beak with the Enhanced Polearm Pet approach in the above link. Feats: Combat Reflexes, Paired Opportunists, Improved Natural Attack

At 5th 'druid' level the pet has these possible attacks each round:

1 x Standard Action attack at +7 for 2D6+6 HP
4 x possible AoOs at +11 for 2D6+6 HP

In the unlikely event that it gets all 4 AoOs, and in the unlikely event that all attacks hit for average damage, that's 5 attacks x 13 HP/attack = 65 HP. That's from a common 5th level class feature.

Should the PC have similar STR and DEX, Combat Reflexes & Paired Opportunists, and wield a polearm, her numbers will be very similar. That's why I call it a 'polearm pet'.

That's a 5th level PC & a class feature able to inflict 130 HP of melee damage in a round, unbuffed. If the PC is, say, a Cleric, and buffs both herself and her pet into a mockery of Clericzilla, the numbers get outrageous.

How outrageous do the numbers get?:

Assume the character is about as combat-effective as the axe beak. While an optimized melee character can considerably outshine any animal companion, pretend the PC has a primary role that is not melee.

Pre-buff these spells, when possible, before a big fight: Bulls' Strength on pet and self for +2 +3, Channel Vigor on pet for Haste, and Inspire Courage +2 +2 (Perhaps the PC is a flag-bearing Evangelist Cleric). The axe-beak now has these possible attacks:

2 x Standard Action attacks at +12 for 2D6+11
4 x possible AoOs at +16 for 2D6+11

In the unlikely event that all six attacks hit for average damage, that's 6 attacks x 18 HP/attack = average 108 HP per round.

If the PC does something besides melee combat (e.g. casts spells) & lacks combat reflexes, she will get only

1 x possible AoO at +13 for only 1D8+7 HP = 11 HP

This 5th level combined team clocks in at 119 HP per round. The PC is, admittedly, not primarily a martial combatant. The PC primarily does something else. Inflicting possible 119 HP in a round is a secondary role that does not require the PC's standard action.

Now look at the same Axe Beak animal companion, but build the PC as a martial combatant. Add in some more optimization and a few more buffs. The combined team might get 12 attacks per round, all at 1.5x STR and 1.5x Power Attack, striking for about 25 HP per hit. That's a possible 300 HP per round, with excellent chances to hit, at 5th level.

Find a way to Enlarge both rider and mount (e.g. a Cleric with the Plant[growth] domain) and the numbers stay about the same. The enormous threatened zone will cause foes to provoke far more AoOs. This means that enlarged team is much more likely to perform near the theorycraft version.

I've actually played several variants on the 'Polearm Pet' from levels 5 - 14, and have determined experimentally that it works quite well.


So horses in PF have to squeeze to go through 5' wide hallways? It's weird they got rid of the long and tall designations.

Grand Lodge

Magda, I'm playing the Hunter 8 version of that setup now in PFS with a T-Rex. I haven't had a chance for it to really kick in in play yet (just hit 9 to grab a Brawler level for Pack Flanking) but the numbers look pretty insane.

At Hunter 8, with all-day buffs, the Rex is +24 for 2d6+24 with an AoO:

Spoiler:
T-Rex
BaB +5
Size -1
Power Attack -2
Str (w/ Animal Focus) +8
Greater Magic Fang +2
Pack Flanking+Outflank +4
Snake Focus +4
Paired Opportunists +4
= +24 to hit

2d6 +16 +2 +6 = 2d6+24 (should be 26, but it's not explicit that Powerful Bite should double Power Attack instead of 1.5x)

plus a free Grab at +22 (assuming the grab isn't considered and AoO)
plus a second AoO at +19 (Fortuitous Amulet of Mighty Fists)

I'm working Broken Wing Gambit and Greater Trip to get as many AoOs as I can handle. A charging enemy without reach is likely to:
Provoke a Trip from me for moving through (and turning on Broken Wing.)
Provoke a Bite from the Rex for moving through (and turning on Broken Wing.)
Get Grabbed.
Provoke a second Bite from the Rex from Fortuitous.
Provoke from me for Greater Trip.
Provoke from the Rex for Greater Trip (paired opportunists.)
Provoke from us each again when they attack.

The timing on Vicious Stomp is a little weird since the enemy needs to be adjacent or I'd try to shoehorn that in also.

Silver Crusade

That's the extreme version, all right! So, with your setup a charging foe will probably fall prone, be grabbed, and take ~100 HP damage. And you can do this to several foes each round. ROFLMAO!

You would love to use either readied actions, or Truestrike, to help that initial trip hit.


It's weird how this never really got clarified. I'm thinking of stegosauruses—huge quadrupeds with 15-foot reach. Should the large companion have 10-foot reach? Logically, I'd say yes, but the PFSers should probably get an FAQ.

Same goes for triceratops.


Markov Spiked Chain wrote:

Magda, I'm playing the Hunter 8 version of that setup now in PFS with a T-Rex. I haven't had a chance for it to really kick in in play yet (just hit 9 to grab a Brawler level for Pack Flanking) but the numbers look pretty insane.

At Hunter 8, with all-day buffs, the Rex is +24 for 2d6+24 with an AoO:

** spoiler omitted **

plus a free Grab at +22 (assuming the grab isn't considered and AoO)
plus a second AoO at +19 (Fortuitous Amulet of Mighty Fists)

I'm working Broken Wing Gambit and Greater Trip to get as many AoOs as I can handle. A charging enemy without reach is likely to:
Provoke a Trip from me for moving through (and turning on Broken Wing.)
Provoke a Bite from the Rex for moving through (and turning on Broken Wing.)
Get Grabbed.
Provoke a second Bite from the Rex from Fortuitous.
Provoke from me for Greater Trip.
Provoke from the Rex for Greater Trip (paired opportunists.)
Provoke from us each again when they attack.

The timing on Vicious Stomp is a little weird since the enemy needs to be adjacent or I'd try to shoehorn that in also.

You cant learn greater trip, expertise require int of 13...

Silver Crusade

It's the PC, not the T-Rex, who has Greater Trip.


Looks like it's time for necromancy, since I wanted to know about reach and the L7 triceratops since the huge one in ther beastiary has 15 foot reach and the L7 companion is large.

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