Atavism spell make animal companions uncontrollable?

Rules Questions

Hi every1,

last saturady in a PFS game I casted Atavism (druid 4 spell) on my animal companion (A lion by the way, I´m playing a lion shaman) and aplied the advanced creature template, but reading the spell I noticed that the animal loses all tricks except attack because it turns into a savage verion of itself...

Usually there is no problem, but my animal companion charged, full attacked and grappled the villain in the story, and surprise... the BBEG surrendered. But as I like to play with some logic, i didnt know if I can order my companion to release the evil guy, as now is a wild animal knowing only to kill and told so to the DM

I tried a handle animal check to make my animal companion to release him as he surrendered, but rolled poorly (getting a 18 in total) and my dm ruled that the animal in the next round will do his routine attack (bite plus 4 claws). The bad guy was killed of course, but I would like to know if there is any rule or directive to control my animal companion under the effect of Atavism and what the DC for the animal handle skill will be if this happens again.

I think personally I would have ruled the same, but as its a character in PFS play and I will like to know if there is a rule somewhere that covers this.

Atavism: By bringing forth the primeval ancestry of the target animal, you awaken a savage engine of destruction. The animal immediately gains the advanced creature simple template. It gains a +2 bonus on all rolls, including damage rolls and special ability DCs, a +4 bonus to AC and CMD, and +2 hit points per HD. The animal's primal instincts take hold for the duration of this spell—if the animal knows tricks granted by the Handle Animal skill, it loses access to all of those tricks save for “attack.” This spell has no effect on animals that already have the advanced creature template.


The trick to stop attacking is Down, which has this text:

Down (DC 15) The animal breaks off from combat or otherwise backs down. An animal that doesn’t know this trick continues to fight until it must flee (due to injury, a fear effect, or the like) or its opponent is defeated.

So under Atavism, the companion will attack until the targeted enemy until it is defeated, which I would say means at least unconscious.

To counter this, you have to use Handle Animal to Push your companion to perform a trick it doesn't know (even if it knows it normally atavism means it effectively doesn't). The DC of this is 25. (27 really under most combat conditions due to a wounded penalty of 2)

Grand Lodge

Though I believe it is still only a move action to push an animal companion. So you should have had two chances to roll.

Dark Archive

You only lose the tricks given by handle animal, not the bonus tricks from it being an Animal Companion, so you could still use any of your bonus tricks.

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