Quick question hopefully. When you cast Awaken on an animal, its ability scores are adjusted and it gains two hit dice. Awakened animals are then able to take class levels. If they do so, do they then get the usual +4/+4/+2/+2/+0/-2 to ability scores to tweak them for the class, or is the awakening considered all the stat changes it needs?
Technically as I am the GM making the NPC I can do it either way if I want, but I'd like to know what is correct and what others do first.
One of my players is planning to awaken an animal and take it on as a cohort with Leadership later in the game. I've discussed this at length with how the stats will be raised with them. (This is a hint to all you players, if you're planning a very complicated rules element as part of your character, talk to your GM well in advance!)
What I go with is that the awakening adjustments are all it gets, and that those stats are applying to the Bestiary entry tiger, as opposed to the animal companion stats at the time of awakening.
Although where in the rules the +4/+4/+2/+2/+0/-2 can be found so I can review them and possibly how it's intended to interact with other rules would be helpful.
Once you have determined the creature's role, it's time to add class levels. The first step of this process is to modify the creature's ability scores. Creatures with class levels receive +4, +4, +2, +2, +0, and –2 adjustments to their ability scores, assigned in a manner that enhances their class abilities. Creatures with NPC class levels do not receive adjustments to their ability scores.
From the Monster Advancement rules in the bestiary.
The bonus to stats when you go from NPC to PC generation is not a thing that happens in game it is because Folks with PC levels most often are above avarage. Your Awakend skunk dont get a massive stat bonus by getting a level in figther. At least not in my game.
But pehaps you dont cast Awaken on any old skunk but search for the biggest strongest and fastest skunk in the area. So it Can have good stats from Day one.
Monster Advancement is a tool for GMs to create special monsters and figure out (more or less) their challenge rating. It isn't a 'rule' in the same fashion that character creation or combat rules are.
My gut feeling, is that if the NPC is designed to be an ally of the PCs, I probably wouldn't give it a bump in stats. If it is designed as an enemy, particularly an enemy that needs mental stats for spell casting (and you just rolled, rather than assigned the 3d6) I would probably include the higher stats.
Since determining challenge rating is more an art than a science anyway and the advancement rules only get you close (hopefully) you will probably want to review (and maybe adjust) your NPC regardless of which method you follow.
Gaining class levels as a monster doesn't give you a bump in stats. Being designed as a monster intended to have class levels is what gets you the bump.
An awakened animal doesn't get anything beyond what is given by the spell. Note that there is no reason the former master couldn't spring for Ability Enhancement items...or that the animal couldn't try to earn the cash needed to get such enchantments.
Let's be real here. If you go out into the forest and awaken a bear, it isn't automatically gonna be a fighter as soon as you awaken it. It takes years of training to earn your first level in a class, or months of intense training. I have a player who just awakened a velociraptor and wants it to learn shadow-clone ninjutsu. I told him it would take a few months of training to earn that class level, and by that time I will give him the ability increases as per the rules in monster advancement (which I didn't know about until just now) because again, let's be real...
This velociraptor, for the first time in its life, has an ambition with an intent. He is conscious now. He can focus his training to master ninja techniques, and that amount of focus has lead him to find potential within himself an unconscious animal never would have found, it just takes months. For the first time in its life, this velociraptor knows how to work out. That amount of ability score increase in a few months or a few years as you gain your first class level would make sense to me.
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