Best animal companion class?


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I am making a character for Giantslayer that uses an animal companion and I am trying to decide which class would be best.

Possibilities include: Druid, Hunter, Ranger, Brawler (Wild Child), Inquisitor (Sacred Huntsmaster) and probably a bunch of other archetypes I am forgetting. I am looking to make a very versatile character that can be good in and out of combat.


Hunter or sacred huntsmaster.
Both are good at skills, have good spell lists and get the strongest version of animal companions by getting animal focus and sharing teamwork feats with their companions.

Grand Lodge

I'd have to go with a druid. I'd take 9th level casting over teamwork feats and a few proficiencies most any day.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber

I'm voting for sorcerer.
9th levels spells and charisma based, so if you don't dump int and get a trait to make diplomacy a class skill you'll be a good face of the party.

Granted, you'll need the Boon Companion feat to have a full level companion.

Grand Lodge

Damanta wrote:

I'm voting for sorcerer.

9th levels spells and charisma based, so if you don't dump int and get a trait to make diplomacy a class skill you'll be a good face of the party.

Granted, you'll need the Boon Companion feat to have a full level companion.

9th level arcane spells no less, and far less MAD, for certain. A tiger with displacement, mage armor and haste on it. That is indeed scary. Certainly a contender.


Lets rephrase my answer: Hunter or sacred huntsmaster are the best classes for having a strong animal companion. And that's how I first read the question.
For most classes the AC is just a little addon/sidekick. For the two I mentioned the AC is the main feature and rather strong.
The option of giving your pet skirmisher tricks is worth mentioning.


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I am very strongly considering Sacred Huntsmaster right now. Optimizes animal companion just like a Hunter, but also gets the ability to have strong skills, the Inquisitor spell list, very strong will save and bane. Druid has potential as a very powerful class with one of the stronger animal companion options, but I really do want to maximize the companion.


I think the primal companion hunter Archtype gives the strongest Animal companion. If it is the strongest class that also have a animal companion this depends on what kind of character you are looking for? A wildshaping druid can be very strong and his AC can be cheerleading. Same with a sorcerer. Others have said clever things about this.


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Cap. Darling wrote:
I think the primal companion hunter Archtype gives the strongest Animal companion.

I don't like how the evolutions have to be turned on/are only temporary while the animal focus is always on. But that might depend on length of adventuring days and how often fights start by surprise.

But in raw combat power the primal companion will be stronger, that's right.

@OP: If you want a strong AC make sure to take spirit's gift as a feat and, if you have the prerequisite (cha 13) add evolved companion, too.


Just a Guess wrote:

....

@OP: If you want a strong AC make sure to take spirit's gift as a feat and, if you have the prerequisite (cha 13) add evolved companion, too.

+1

Having DR 5/adamantine at level 1 is amazing


Cap. Darling wrote:
Just a Guess wrote:

....

@OP: If you want a strong AC make sure to take spirit's gift as a feat and, if you have the prerequisite (cha 13) add evolved companion, too.

+1

Having DR 5/adamantine at level 1 is amazing

And you can change it each day.

"We have to climb that mountain? Ok, today my T-Rex has a fly speed."


Just a Guess wrote:
Cap. Darling wrote:
Just a Guess wrote:

....

@OP: If you want a strong AC make sure to take spirit's gift as a feat and, if you have the prerequisite (cha 13) add evolved companion, too.

+1

Having DR 5/adamantine at level 1 is amazing

And you can change it each day.

"We have to climb that mountain? Ok, today my T-Rex has a fly speed."

Fly speed 5 yes. I have been thinking of ways to make aquaic AC viable on land with that. Unfortunatly the octopus AC is nothing like the giant octopus:(


Aasimaar Lunar Oracle too.. great favoured class option and if u choose
the spirit guide archetype you can change the bonus spell list and make some good trick :).

Quote for the sorcerer and druid too


The Goliath Druid archetype has advantages in the setting you are playing.
The Saurian Shaman Druid archetype is also excellent, not for the animal companion but for the added options for call nature's ally.

Liberty's Edge

I personally like the hunter class myself. Currently playing a half-orc hunterlvl 4 with an ape. My ape has light armor proficiency and the body guard archetype currently at AC 21 attack bonus of +10 (+14 if flanking using outflank and pack flanking) and dealing 1d6+10 bite damage or 3x that if I can get the bite claw claw off


Just a Guess wrote:
Cap. Darling wrote:
I think the primal companion hunter Archtype gives the strongest Animal companion.

I don't like how the evolutions have to be turned on/are only temporary while the animal focus is always on. But that might depend on length of adventuring days and how often fights start by surprise.

But in raw combat power the primal companion will be stronger, that's right.

@OP: If you want a strong AC make sure to take spirit's gift as a feat and, if you have the prerequisite (cha 13) add evolved companion, too.

Well, length of adventuring days does not seem like a problem. You get minutes/level- since most fights last for less that a minute (and you are doing something wrong if you aren't in the 'wrapping up' phase after 10 rounds), that means it is basically uses/level.

Compare that to smite evil or judgment- by level 8, you have more staying power than a level 20 paladin or inquisitor. So, as a combat buff, it is more than enough of a comparison.

And honestly, with eidolon evos....most animal foci look rather redundant and dwarfed. And the fact that you have to turn it on doesn't seem that major when you only need to use a swift action- no one complains about smite evil or judgment for similar restrictions.


What I meant was that a normal hunter AC with say aspect of the falcon could notice an ambush and warn you about it because of his perception bonus.

But as I said, the power level of the evolutions is higher. Especially if you use the APG evolution costs where pounce is still so broken. Take one of the single hit dinos, give it two claws and a bite or a sting and pounce. For example an Arsinoitherium.

Liberty's Edge

The one thing I notice is no one ask how is the AP going to be runned. Is your GM allowing any class archetypes and any races or is he strictly pfs legal builds?

The Exchange

Evangelist cleric :p Pounce charge with divine favour and bard song? Woohoo! And your entireparty will love your bard song. Oh wait, you get 9th level spells as well? More awesome!

Well ok. You probably won't have many skill ranks :( But you can be the party face :)

Silver Crusade

The Pale King wrote:
I am very strongly considering Sacred Huntsmaster right now. Optimizes animal companion just like a Hunter, but also gets the ability to have strong skills, the Inquisitor spell list, very strong will save and bane. Druid has potential as a very powerful class with one of the stronger animal companion options, but I really do want to maximize the companion.

The hunter will do a better job of optimizing the animal companion. With the much faster access to two animal focus at level 8. The Sacred Huntmaster will be better at knowledge skills, and dose have bane. However the hunter gets the druid/ranger spell list. This is a big advantage as far as buffing spells. Combine that with Improved Spell Sharing. And long lasting buffing spells like Heightened Awareness, Resist Energy, Greater Long Strider, Barkskin, etc. Makes the hunter a much stronger option the most people give it credit for. Including me until I went and spent the time to build one. Gave me a much better sense of what a hunter can do.

I did not see this feet in most of the teamwork feet list. It comes from Player Companion Blood of the Moon. I almost missed it when making my hunter. Though I would leave it for you to look at.

Ferocious Loyalty (Teamwork)
You have a powerful sense of responsibility for your allies.
Benefit: You gain a +1 morale bonus on attack rolls against any foe that currently threatens an ally who also has this feat. Whenever an ally with this feat is rendered helpless or killed within 30 feet of you, you gain a +2 morale bonus on attack rolls for 1 minute or until the foe responsible is rendered helpless or killed, whichever comes first.


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Hunter hands down will give the most powerful Animal Companion. I particularly like the Primal Companion Hunter. It allows you to get a two headed Trex with (the equivalent of) double Improved Natural Attack.

I also strongly recommend anyone wanting to focus on having a big badass Animal Companion taking a look at the Mammoth Rider PrC. That allows you to get your Animal Companion up to Huge size with a single level. With Animal Growth or similar spells you could get it up to Gargantuan (the size that a Trex should be).

With Strong Jaw you can get your AC's bite attack up by 4 size categories. If you prefer you could go with the Vital Strike line of feats to roll a crazy amount of dice. I would also recommend taking a look at the Lockjaw spell for this kind of AC. Two belts work exceptionally good for this kind of build and it is a tough choice between them. Anaconda's Coils and Belt of Thunderous Charging. The former gives Constrict while the latter gives another size increase to natural attacks while charging. If you are in a home game you could reverse engineer the item and give both qualities to a single belt. Don't forget to get Rhino Hide barding for your AC.

Top that off with the Skirmisher tricks and you can give your AC an extra attack every round for crazy big damage.

I'll second (third? fourth?) the suggestion of Spirit's Gift feat as well. With Hunter if your first 3 feats are Combat Expertise, Pack Flanking and for the Precise Companion Feat take Outflank and now both you and your AC are getting +4 to hit on every attack. Add Broken Wing Gambit to each get an additional attack every round. Take Paired Opportunist and both of you are getting +8 to your AoOs generated from Broken Wing Gambit.

Even if your actual character does nothing except be a feat giving saddle ornament your actual Animal Companioon (you know... the character that you are actually playing) is going to be a total beast. Not much should survive that kind of build.


Lune wrote:

Hunter hands down will give the most powerful Animal Companion. I particularly like the Primal Companion Hunter. It allows you to get a two headed Trex with (the equivalent of) double Improved Natural Attack.

I also strongly recommend anyone wanting to focus on having a big badass Animal Companion taking a look at the Mammoth Rider PrC. That allows you to get your Animal Companion up to Huge size with a single level. With Animal Growth or similar spells you could get it up to Gargantuan (the size that a Trex should be).

With Strong Jaw you can get your AC's bite attack up by 4 size categories. If you prefer you could go with the Vital Strike line of feats to roll a crazy amount of dice. I would also recommend taking a look at the Lockjaw spell for this kind of AC. Two belts work exceptionally good for this kind of build and it is a tough choice between them. Anaconda's Coils and Belt of Thunderous Charging. The former gives Constrict while the latter gives another size increase to natural attacks while charging. If you are in a home game you could reverse engineer the item and give both qualities to a single belt. Don't forget to get Rhino Hide barding for your AC.

Top that off with the Skirmisher tricks and you can give your AC an extra attack every round for crazy big damage.

I'll second (third? fourth?) the suggestion of Spirit's Gift feat as well. With Hunter if your first 3 feats are Combat Expertise, Pack Flanking and for the Precise Companion Feat take Outflank and now both you and your AC are getting +4 to hit on every attack. Add Broken Wing Gambit to each get an additional attack every round. Take Paired Opportunist and both of you are getting +8 to your AoOs generated from Broken Wing Gambit.

Even if your actual character does nothing except be a feat giving saddle ornament your actual Animal Companioon (you know... the character that you are actually playing) is going to be a total beast. Not much should survive that kind of build.

gotta say a lot of great ideas for an AC. I second the lvl dip into Mammoth rider. As for Spirit's gift feat didn't know that existed until now. I might look into that more. Right now i am playing a human paladin with a dragon mount.


oh yeah, might i suggest a belt of the weasel for your AC if you find yourself playing in a dungeon heavy campaign. Works great if you have a large or bigger AC.


Single/two level Dip into Beastrider Cavalier, and then Hunter.

Halfling with a wolf to start, then going to a small cat when the cat turns medium for free trips on top of everything else.

1: Cav 1: Combat Expertise, Pack Flanking (Tactician, so you can let everyone flank while adjacent in the future)
2: Hunter1: Animal Focus on your Mount, +2 Str.
3: Hunter2: Outflank +2 hit, Always flanking while mounted due to pack Flanking, Mounted Combat
4: Hunter3: Escape Route Now you and AC never provoke while mounted due to movement, as you are both always in each others threatened area
5: Hunter4: Tandem Trip or Topple Foe
6: Hunter5:
7: Hunter6: Lookout, the one you didn't take at level 5

Now, you and mount have +4 to hit, can move anywhere without provoking, can both act in the surprise round, and probably have a good chance at a full round instead of a standard, roll twice on mounts free trip attacks and take the higher, and get an additional +2 to trips.

When you can enlarge around level 8/9, wolf or cat goes up to large size so giants will be fine later. You can negate a single attack on your mount with a ride check, which should be great because dex. Get a 8k Menacing(UE) weapon for another +2 on all attacks while mounted.

If you can deal without Share Spells, give the Companion the Bodyguard archetype (have to make sure you are willing to give up personal spells on the AC) and Combat Reflexes and Bodyguard, so it can give you +4 AC as an AoO. At 3rd level, it always acts in surprise round, so lookout always procs for a full round action.

A cat has around a 20 dex, so plenty of AoOs, give it Imp/Greater trip, and now you and it also get to AoO anything it trips.

You don't do a ton of damage, it doesn't do a ton of damage, but it always hits, and gives you 4pts of AC all day. You get to negate hits on it, and both of you just synergize death.


I will echo Hunter, more so than Druid and other 9th level casters. Hybrid casting doesn't fall behind much until 7th level or so, but you can't knock teamwork feats.

The fact your pet counts as one that gets all your feats for teamwork vastly puts it over others. Just get yourself Combat reflexes.

Between out flank, precise strike, pack tactics and seize the moment you should be good to consistently get some free hits. Much later (I think about 15?) You get ability to charge when your pet charges and vice versa. With a pet that can pounce, you'll be meat grinders. Teamwork feats rock so long as a buddy has one. And you always will.


Oh, will add that due to getting ranger and Druid spells with hunter, you'll have ways to deal with a pet in areas you normally can't.

Scarab Sages

If you want the best animal companion then hunter/sacred huntmaster. If you want the strongest character at endgame, Druid/Sorcerer. Even then, Hunter/Inquisitor will be stronger 1-12 and equal 13-15. Full Spellcasting doesn't really overshadow 3/4 casting until then, especially with the hunter getting early access to ranger spells.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
TGMaxMaxer wrote:

If you can deal without Share Spells, give the Companion the Bodyguard archetype (have to make sure you are willing to give up personal spells on the AC) and Combat Reflexes and Bodyguard, so it can give you +4 AC as an AoO. At 3rd level, it always acts in surprise round, so lookout always procs for a full round action.

You can use the improved spell sharing teamwork feat to cover a lot of the loss of share spells.


That's level 10 though. A long way to go and then you'll either have to pay to retrain, or take it at 11. But yes still an option.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Cavall wrote:
That's level 10 though. A long way to go and then you'll either have to pay to retrain, or take it at 11. But yes still an option.

Different feats the 10th level feat

Improved share spells is in the APG and not a teamwork feat.

Improved spell sharing does not have a level requirment is in the ACG and is a teamwork feat.


Gosh they didn't make that confusing enough. Point taken. I'd get that closer to 5th, by then you'll have some buff spells worth sharing.


So why has no one I've seen mentioned oracle? A LV 30 pet isn't even contender! Add full casting on top of that and more.


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- Oracle has already been mentioned
- no gm I asked about putting the favoured class bonus into the companion allowed it.
- If you are willing to go that way you could combine cavalier 4 with any full pet class and take boon companion to get two full power pets.

how the two pets trick works:

cavalier 4 gives expert trainer which is a prereq. for horsemaster which allows you to calculate your pet with your character level instead of your cavalier level.
Now you become a druid/hunter and choose a pet that would not be allowed for the cavalier. By doing so both pet levels don't stack.

Once you have horsemaster your mount is = char-level. Once you have boon companion your druid pet is = char-level.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Cavall wrote:
Gosh they didn't make that confusing enough. Point taken. I'd get that closer to 5th, by then you'll have some buff spells worth sharing.

I know right. I had to check the website 3 times during my post just to ensure myself I had them listed right.

Grand Lodge

1 lvl pack master bird + evolved companion bleed + boon companion
and you will be dealing a lot of damage 5 birds which are flying taking turns doing 1d6 bleed each round
Be a small race so they can collectively carry you
Then go something like bard or rogue


Optimizing the pet is a losing move. Pets have 1+9/16 BAB and 3/4 is considered dubious for a primary combatant (it's what the core rogue fails at everything with). The hunter himself is also sitting at unaugmented 3/4 BAB and doesn't have the advantage of being a natural attacker. Teamwork feats don't do a good job of picking up the slack. Some can situationally, but they're not like an ability you can just choose to activate.

Your pet is going to be weak except as a mount in the long run unless a scaling no added cost accuracy boost like inspire courage or raging song is in effect. It's great for the first few levels unless it's at level-3 or restricted to a list with nothing good on it, but as you get into the double digit levels it gets less useful.

An animal domain evangelist cleric needs boon companion, but has the properly scaling attack booster the hunter lacks. It might be worth having a weak domain, but it's not a trade I'd take myself. Then again I wouldn't take the domain trade on a druid either because druids don't need a pet to be good and domains can give options not otherwise available.

For the low to mid levels a druid pet is good enough and the hunter pays through the nose for a minor boost. The druid both fights and casts substantially better. By the time the druid's pet is obsolete the casting gap has widened and wildshape has matured. The Hunter's pet is relevant for a few more levels, but is still going to lose its purpose by the time most APs conclude. If you're playing that one that ends at level 12 hunter looks a little better, though.


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@OP: Summoners


Just a Guess wrote:

- Oracle has already been mentioned

- no gm I asked about putting the favoured class bonus into the companion allowed it.
- If you are willing to go that way you could combine cavalier 4 with any full pet class and take boon companion to get two full power pets.

** spoiler omitted **

Boon companion only raises your pet by a set number of levels. It does not make it "character level".


Just a Guess wrote:

- Oracle has already been mentioned

- no gm I asked about putting the favoured class bonus into the companion allowed it.
- If you are willing to go that way you could combine cavalier 4 with any full pet class and take boon companion to get two full power pets.

** spoiler omitted **

While we're necroing, this is hilariously awesome.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

The Primal Hunter animal companion is likely the best combat companion in the game, but the Courtly Hunter's companion could beat it out for 'best' in a more skill and subtlety based campaign... familiar level intelligence, access to the hunter's skills, skill based animal focus options, and the ability to polymorph into up to four alternate forms makes it the most 'independent' companion. For most purposes it is a full separate character.

'Best class which has an animal companion of any sort' is probably whatever class you like best... because there are ways to get an animal companion on nearly any character.

For Giantslayer I'd probably go with the Goliath Druid.

Another option is to multi-class. Most classes with animal companions stack the AC level. For example, one trick I like is Hunter 3 / Sacred Huntsmaster 3... at which point you've got TWO teamwork feats you can re-assign to anything you qualify for, and then share both with your level 6 companion.

Grand Lodge

helhir blaze wrote:

1 lvl pack master bird + evolved companion bleed + boon companion

and you will be dealing a lot of damage 5 birds which are flying taking turns doing 1d6 bleed each round
Be a small race so they can collectively carry you
Then go something like bard or rogue

if you go rogue than you can get stealth synergy for all your companions and yourself

for bard you can then buff them with things like inspire courage

or for both you can boost them with inspire competence stealth and stealth synergy and for rogue you can be knife master and then go into shadow dancer for H.I.P.S as a bard you could do inspire courage/competence or street performer and you can turn invisible


which archetype gives the sorcerer an animal companion, and which book is it in?


Krell44 wrote:
which archetype gives the sorcerer an animal companion, and which book is it in?

Wildblooded archetype, Sylvan(fey) bloodline, appears in Ultimate Magic.

Grand Lodge

Sylvan Sorcerer is awesome! Spell share with the arcane spell list is crazy. Overland flight on a tiger is bananas. Defending bone and resinous skin get it some nice DR. Heroism keeps it to-hit, up death from above makes hitting easy.


One option is sanctified slayer inquisitor with the chivalry inquisition to get a mount. You ride the mount and get pack flanking to get you auto flanking for your sneak attack and +4 to hit with outflank. If you take the group fighter trait, you will have +5 hit all the time.

Then your character does either natural weapons (you get from a race like tiefling with adopted tusked to get bite and claws) or with two weapon fighting.


or sacred huntsman with the chivalry inquisition so you can get TWO companions and not all gimped like the multi companion archetypes.

Grand Lodge

nicholas storm wrote:

One option is sanctified slayer inquisitor with the chivalry inquisition to get a mount. You ride the mount and get pack flanking to get you auto flanking for your sneak attack and +4 to hit with outflank. If you take the group fighter trait, you will have +5 hit all the time.

Then your character does either natural weapons (you get from a race like tiefling with adopted tusked to get bite and claws) or with two weapon fighting.

Add a menacing amulet in there +6 flank


The hunter class is going to outperform any of the others. The ranger/Druid lists produce better buffs for animals, it gets full weapon access...and the blender build is going to dpr heaven (though i'd like to see an actual breakdown of avg dpr for a str based AOO melee teamwork hunter build)


As much as Hunter might be good, may I suggest a Shining Knight Paladin? Not only will your animal companion (your mount) get access to your paladin saves, but there is also that lovely bit about causing foes to become panicked (removing an enemy's ability to do any damage). Finally, combine this with the feat Monstrous Mount at level 5 and Monstrous Mount Mastery at level 7. Grab a griffon. You now have a flying mount with POUNCE. Finally, when you get the money, give your mount a little anti-maze insurance with either a +1 bonus to int from hit dice and a +4 or +6 int boosting item or a single use item of freedom.

Proceed to build a charger with fly-by attack and laugh.


Pathfinder Companion, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Without a dout the most powerful PC in our Giantslayer campaign is a ranger infiltrator with a booned wolf. The Ranger actually put his 2nd favored enemy upgrade into dragons instead of giants because he and the wolf combine to kill giants at a rate of 2 per round frequently (at 10th level). It's insane.

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