Is anyone else starting to hate animal companions?


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Grand Lodge 3/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Washington—Southwest aka Socalwarhammer

This is a little tongue and cheek but at the heart of it there is a point which I think should be made. A couple of weeks ago at a regularly scheduled PFS game, a group of 6 players (level 3-4) sat down to play a scenario. 4 of the characters had familiars or animal companions. We had an Inquisitor with an animal companion, a hunter with an animal companion, a druid with an animal companion and a wizard with an bad-ass familiar (with the mauler archetype). Each of these players is reasonably experienced, but OMG the lag it created in the game was almost unbearable as we got into combat, with each turn seeming like an eternity. I started to feel bad for the GM as the numerous attacks, movement, delays and what not were being adopted by the players and their companions.

My cleric (no companion) was free to sit back and watch (no lie, I just kept holding my action) as the rest of the party and their companions tore threw each encounter in relative short order.

So as a few of us sat and talked afterwards, it was generally agreed on that companions and familiars are a very fun part of Pathfinder and PFS. But what also found was the general style of play makes companions rather tough. We each agreed that in general companions are often nearly as good as an additional character and can really take away some of the gusto from the rest of the party (particularly if they don't have a pet). So we thought in regards to play balance that some mechanic should be built into PFS to include the combat and support that companions provide (not familiars). These were a couple of our ideas:

#1 That every 2 full animal companions at a table count as a player. So if a table had 2 characters with animal companions then only 6 players could play at the table (max). More of an acknowledgement of more difficulty on the part of the GM to handle more stuff going on.

#2 That a character with a companion counts as 1 level higher than their actual level when calculating APL only.

#3 (Similar to 2) That half of the total number of companion levels (for all companions present) be added when calculating the APL for a given scenario. For example a party of 5 players (levels 3, 3, 5, 4, 4) have 2 animal companions of level 5 and 3, the APL would be calculated as 3+3+5+4+4(+4)/5 rather than 3+3+5+4+4/5 as normal. This would occasionally knock a group up, but not always.

Like I said, these are just a few of our initial thoughts, they are by no means meant to be exhaustive on the subject- but we just wanted to put them out there and see what the rest of you thought. We can't have been the only players to ever have experienced this...


My biggest concern is that these rules would punish other players. Fist, idea one could cause some people to not be allowed to play, simply because of what other players brought. Secondly, I could see a number of situations where nonpet characters have a harder time,or are killed because the suggested raise in APL. It seems that this idea could easily lead to either favoring battle pets, or cause some sort of rift.

Sovereign Court 4/5

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I would ask players to have their companion take a back-seat. Plain and simple. At that point, it's disturbing everyone else's fun.

I have no particular love for AC classes, especially when players treat them as disposable combat beasts. They are supposed to be your best friend. Treat them as such.

Shadow Lodge 4/5

Uh, so are you concerned about the session length or the pet strength affecting combat difficulty? You start with the former but move on to formulate rules for the latter.

5/5 5/55/55/5

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People would pack in animals for more out of subtier gold.


Also, my own experience is that the super damage dealers hurt everyone else's fun more than pets.

Liberty's Edge 5/5

Starfinder Superscriber

Familiars in general are not at all in the same category as animal companion.

I did see a "Mauler" familiar in one session that I GMed. It died in the first combat. (It's the only familiar I've ever killed -- or even attacked -- as a PFS GM. It was attacking, though, so it was fair game.)

Grand Lodge 4/5 5/55/55/55/5

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps Subscriber

I love my animal buddies -- make no mistake.

But I really, really work on animal etiquette. If you're going to be a non-humanoid member of the pathfinder society, you had better be well-trained and well-behaved.

GMs often start out hostile when they hear I'm bringing Pumpkin and they groan, and say, "Another death kitty..."

Then they watch Pumpkin in action, and they are pleasantly surprised at what a non-combat asset to a party an especially well-trained tiger can be. Does Pumpkin sometimes let loose in combat? Yes. But honestly, the barbarians do more damage than he does. Pumpkin's job is to sniff the invisible, flank with the rogues, and grapple bad guys that we need to capture alive.

Animal companions can be great... But I try very hard not to steal the show or the glory that belongs to other players.

5/5

rknop wrote:

Familiars in general are not at all in the same category as animal companion.

I did see a "Mauler" familiar in one session that I GMed. It died in the first combat. (It's the only familiar I've ever killed -- or even attacked -- as a PFS GM. It was attacking, though, so it was fair game.)

I accidentally killed a mauler familiar in six seconds to midnight recently. They are really quite squishy.


I never attack familiars unless they attack something. I do remind the players to have them take AoE damage though. Players seem to think they are immune for some reason.

Our lodge has relatively few people playing characters with AC's so we don't often have more than 1 in a party but even that has caused some pretty slow sessions. Last Monday we had one go well over 5 hours pretty much strictly because of a player and their pet.

5/5

Jessex wrote:
I never attack familiars unless they attack something. I do remind the players to have them take AoE damage though. Players seem to think they are immune for some reason.

I killed a Riddywhipple once with chain lightning. He was out and active and visible and doing stuff so there was no good reason to exclude him. He got better.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Captain, California—Sacramento aka FLite

Jessex wrote:
I never attack familiars unless they attack something. I do remind the players to have them take AoE damage though. Players seem to think they are immune for some reason.

I believe they have cover if they are in a familiar satchel. But yes, if they are out they take damage. Sylphia has almost gone down a few times to will save aoe attacks. (evasion only helps with reflex...)

But then it is pretty hard to take down a familiar with half the hit points of a barbarian... :)

5/5

FLite wrote:
I believe they have cover if they are in a familiar satchel.

I think the satchel gives total cover.

Sovereign Court 4/5 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

The satchel gives total cover, but also means your familiar can't help out quite as much.

Liberty's Edge 5/5 5/55/55/5

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Hmm wrote:

If you're going to be a non-humanoid member of the pathfinder society, you had better be well-trained and well-behaved.

Pbthththtthts.


I love animal companions!

They're ever so good with a nice rosemary garlic glaze.

Sometimes you need to let them hang a bit in the storeroom, though. Adventuring life can make them a bit tough and gamey.

-j

2/5

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The only trouble with pets I've seen at a table was at a con where the six character party included my spiritualist Samantha and her phantom Uncle Albrecht, a summoner and his eidolon, and two clerics and their animal companions. The issue wasn't really one of making turns take longer because we were all low level characters. The problem arose when we all tried to cram into a tiny rowboat. The rest of the party actually made Sam keep Uncle Albrecht out because he has Profession Sailor...

Grand Lodge 3/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Washington—Southwest aka Socalwarhammer

@Hmm,

I am sure the build of your particular animal companion(s) is not the sort we were talking about. But a large Gorilla and a Roc can be overpowering by most standards. I didn't see too much of a problem with the hunter's wolf, but then again he was only level 3.

Like I said we were just brainstorming and seeing if anyone else has experienced similar issues, which I see some have and some haven't.

I understand the issue regarding familiars, but my point in particular- regarding level adjustments and such was regarding animal companions. I think it is rather odd, considering the cap we (in PFS) place on the size of a table there is no convention(s) regarding animal companions. Maybe in my particular neck of the woods the folks playing AC classes tend to min/max the combat aspect of their pets, but I (we) can't be the only ones seeing it.

Sovereign Court 5/5

i will be honest my only issue with ac is usually a raptor and the pounce ability. i do not mind though in the long run as a gm. as a player if i see a raptor comming i get back by bringing my high dps character or my combat stoppers. i love turning combats into social encounters.

3/5 5/5

I love pet classes as a concept. I especially love how it encourages a sort of insulated/cooperative approach to character building. Such delicious paradox. In my limited experience DMing in PFS, and my more expansive time as a player, I've rarely seen ACs as a problem. Everytime it feels that way, I can chalk it up to those obnoxious "drinking straw encounters" that take place in 5-foot-wide corridors.

Scenario Layout Spoiler:
I'm looking at you, Quest to Perfection part 1. No, your awesome 2nd and 3rd parts do not excuse this.

As for beastly combat monstrosities, I feel like the limited minds of ACs can undercut a utilitarian approach unless you really put you imagination into it, like Hmmm did.

For players who want to use the Buddy System but they don't want to feel like they're running two characters, you can always try a mounted style. It's rather fun. I've got a halfling summoner with an arachnid demon eidolon and even without a lance it's pretty effective and it has yet to steal any spotlight from even a dedicated martial.


I know that when I first started out, I liked companions/familiars as a concept but never really used them myself due to being new and fearing too much complexity. (By starting out, I mean in 3.5, 4e, and Pathfinder, not just one of them. Different games have different rules.)

Never played official PFS yet, I'd rather do that IRL and not PbP, and I can't find a lodge near where I live. However, lately I've found myself building more and more characters that have either a companion or a familiar, especially with the new rules/custom bits you can give them with the Animal Archive and Familiar Folio books. Familiars, especially, I tend to leave out of combat unless I'm using it's Deliver Touch Spells ability or something, as they are too squishy for fights in my opinion. Indeed, last major game I was in I had a draconic sorcerer with a pseudodragon familiar that basically stayed in my pocket during fights.

Only exception to my familiar rule for combat is in a RotR game I'm in as a Spirit Binder with a wallaby familiar wearing leather armor and wielding a glaive.

5/5 5/55/55/5

Where are you deko? Games can be a bit hard to find if you dont know whete to look

Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Captain, Washington—Seattle aka Taenia

Poor Riddywhipple, in a game I was running he ate a quickened true strike, disentegrate. Player actually had him rezzed.

The problem with animal companions is action economy. You unlike the other players without effectively get two turns. I did Thornkeep with a melee druid + melee AC and spent most of the time in back healing while my AC played rear guard and let the others do their thing.

I have built druids around their AC. It was pretty much a druid buff build with the AC as the focus. The best part was that most of the buffs could be transferred to a PC rather than an AC.

In some cases the problem you are experiencing isn't an AC problem but an overshadow problem. Your character can't perform a role because others are either doing your job or making it unnecessary. I tend to just roll with it in those situations and better prepare for it. As a cleric for example I would talk to my group ahead of time, find out what people are playing before the mission and change out my spells for one that suit a party of 10 rather than 6. Bless. Prayer, channel are all incredible when you have that many additional targets to buff.

Scarab Sages Venture-Agent, Washington—Ballard aka WiseWolfOfYoitsu

I know that here in the Seattle area, we have quite a few Companion / Familiar characters. I know about the Riddywhipple that Louis is talking about. We have a group that almost always plays together dubbed the Nature Trio, as all three of them have animal companions. Lunar Oracle, Mad Dog Barbarian, and Treesinger Druid. Their turns don't take too long and the flow of play isn't interrupted, as they took the time to learn their classes. We do have some players who wait until their turn to decide actions, which does slow gameplay.

5/5 5/55/55/5

The only times i've seen animal companions slow the game down is when the dm insisted on recording every single square of the animals movement in excruitiating detail, stopping, making people start over, for no reason (Its usually a matter of a creature going 35-40 feet with a 50-60 foot move, no there were no traps).

-Eyeball it. If the critters move is bigger than the map just have them weave their way through it.

-Have an SOP for the animals 5 attacks , let the player roll all at once and let the player 5 foot or call off the full attack without calling mother may I in advance.

If the problem is "the animal companion is a better melee combatant than I am" thats because the system is broken. The game seems to assume a LOT more stand still and fight combats than i see, which involve people zipping over the mats and one or two shotting things. The move or damage dichotomy absolutely kills traditional melee past a certain point, so the options that get around that (archery, pounce, archery, mounted combat, archery, a hail of gunfire and of course archery) all put traditional melee combat to shame.

The Exchange

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BigNorseWolf wrote:
(archery, pounce, archery, mounted combat, archery, a hail of gunfire and of course archery)

My favorite is when the animal companion is the archer. Go Imp go!

The Exchange 5/5 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Texas—Dallas & Ft. Worth aka Belafon

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BigNorseWolf wrote:
The only times i've seen animal companions slow the game down is when the dm insisted on recording every single square of the animals movement in excruitiating detail, stopping, making people start over, for no reason (Its usually a matter of a creature going 35-40 feet with a 50-60 foot move, no there were no traps).

Animal companions are either run very fast or really slow the game down. At the "fast" end are the players who have already counted squares, know their tricks, and make their attacks quickly.

At the slow end are the players who simply don't understand how handling animals works.
-"Fluffy will attack that skeleton." "Does he know attack any target?" "Huh?"
-"Fluffy will run around the pit trap and behind that guy." "Do you have a copy of the Animal Archive and did you teach Fluffy the Flank trick?" "Huh?" "OK, he'll just try to attack his target from the closest he can then. Unless he has some kind of special sense he's going to trigger that pit trap. I'll let you push him to warn him around the trap instead of him taking the most direct route." "What do you mean, push?"
-"I tell Fluffy to attack that guy." "Make your Handle Animal roll." "Fluffy knows the Attack trick." "Yes, but you have one rank in Handle Animal and a -2 charisma score. With your +4 bonus for Fluffy being your AC you need a 4 or better on the die to Handle him."

I see this a lot. Players who just assume their animal companion does whatever they want, taking whatever path they would think is ideal. All the way up to level 5 or so. Because their earlier GMs didn't understand the rules either. So it definitely does slow the game down when you're explaining how Handle Animal works to a player. But it has to be done at some time. I like to declare a 5 minute break (even in the middle of combat) while I go over the rules with the player. Anyone else is welcome to stay and listen in.

And on the power side, Handle Animal and Tricks are a big limiter on the actual effectiveness of Animal Companions. When run properly.

Sovereign Court

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Yes, players not knowing how their own animal companions work is a problem - 'huh wat is trick? wat is push?' happens all the time.

Tables in my local area are almost always full. Six players + an animal companion = clogged up game. Two animal companions? Ugh. Three? Kill me. Large animal companions? I'd like to go home now please. Personally I don't think large animal companions should be in the game in the first place as much as they muck up the grid, but that's a personal opinion.

I'd love to be able to check a box on Warhorn when I GM that said "Leave your animal companions at home."

5/5 5/55/55/5

Kevin Willis wrote:


Animal companions are either run very fast or really slow the game down. At the "fast" end are the players who have already counted squares, know their tricks, and make their attacks quickly.

At the slow end are the players who simply don't understand how handling animals works.

-"Fluffy will attack that skeleton." "Does he know attack any target?" "Huh?"

DM: riiight. No tricks. Write this on the sheet: Attack attack come down heel seek. We'll try to find you an archive by next level..CHomp away.

Quote:
-"Fluffy will run around the pit trap and behind that guy." "Do you have a copy of the Animal Archive and did you teach Fluffy the Flank trick?"

Without having the animal archive there's no real way a player can tell that flanking isn't something an animal is supposed to be able to do on its own.

Quote:
"Huh?" "OK, he'll just try to attack his target from the closest he can then. Unless he has some kind of special sense he's going to trigger that pit trap. I'll let you push him to warn him around the trap instead of him taking the most direct route." "What do you mean, push?"

Would depend on whether the trap was open.

Also pushing is REALLY hard .

Quote:
-"I tell Fluffy to attack that guy." "Make your Handle Animal roll." "Fluffy knows the Attack trick." "Yes, but you have one rank in Handle Animal and a -2 charisma score. With your +4 bonus for Fluffy being your AC you need a 4 or better on the die to Handle him."

Tell them to buy a training harness and make it a 2... Even a dwarf only has to put up with that for a level or two unless the critter gets hurt.

Quote:
I see this a lot. Players who just assume their animal companion does whatever they want, taking whatever path they would think is ideal. All the way up to level 5 or so. Because their earlier GMs didn't understand the rules either.

There's more than a little table variation and circumstance variation there. Usually the critter can see the opponents and hazards on the map as well as the player can and the flank trick is the only one that calls out that the animal doesn't walk around it.

If you want to get fancy you can tell your companion to seek in one location then give them another command as soon as they get there to makt them turn.

Quote:
So it definitely does slow the game down when you're explaining how Handle Animal works to a player. But it has to be done at some time. I like to declare a 5 minute break (even in the middle of combat) while I go over the rules with the player. Anyone else is welcome to stay and listen in.

Breaks in combat are a bad thing, and that may be a lot of spotlight to put on the player, especially if the other players are chomping at the bit to kill some stuff.

We do have union cards they can peruse in between sessions.

Quote:
And on the power side, Handle Animal and Tricks are a big limiter on the actual...

Not really With the right tricks the critter does what you want it to. The key to speeding up combat there is to get the player the right tricks so that it will Just do what the player wants without the dm objecting. This also takes the player and DM getting on the same page about how organic or mechanical they want the animals to be.

5/5

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Starting?

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Captain, California—Sacramento aka FLite

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Kevin Willis wrote:
I see this a lot. Players who just assume their animal companion does whatever they want, taking whatever path they would think is ideal. All the way up to level 5 or so. Because their earlier GMs didn't understand the rules either.

There's more than a little table variation and circumstance variation there. Usually the critter can see the opponents and hazards on the map as well as the player can and the flank trick is the only one that calls out that the animal doesn't walk around it.

If you want to get fancy you can tell your companion to seek in one location then give them another command as soon as they get there to makt them turn.

Only if you want two take to turns.

Your turn: Free: Seek + whatever else you want to do.
Fluffys turn: Move: runs to the spot, and stops there.
Your turn: Free: Attack
Fluffys turn: Move and attack

Even if fluffy goes on your initiative, he gets his own separate turn, and you cannot command him on his turn. You also cannot interleave his turn with yours. (So no Fluffy charges to here. I charge to here on the opposite side, and we both have pounce so we both full attack with flank bonus and possible teamwork feats.)

(Unless you are riding him, but then most of this would be moot anyway.)

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Captain, California—Sacramento aka FLite

I think the worst was the guy who had passed on the down trick (or any of the others that could be used for the same purpose...)

"What do you mean you don't have a way to tell fluffy to stop eating the man we need to take alive?"

But that is pretty rare.

5/5 5/55/55/5

Free action Seek. Standard action ready For fluffy to reach the X

Fluffy reaches the X LIGHTNING STRIKE Free action "Sick the charred one!"

That still leaves you just before fluffy in the init order, which is where he started. If fluffy beats you he delays until you order him to act.

Liberty's Edge 5/5

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Starfinder Superscriber
Kevin Willis wrote:

Animal companions are either run very fast or really slow the game down. At the "fast" end are the players who have already counted squares, know their tricks, and make their attacks quickly.

At the slow end are the players who simply don't understand how handling animals works. ....

Yeah, I've seen this quite a bit too. It's a problem that transcends animal companions, though. A lot of people don't really know all of the rules, or even that there are rules, for things. Sometimes it's not a problem, but when you get into having to slow down and have debates with players, or educate them about the rules, it bogs down the game. Animal companions are probably just one of the worst cases, because there is an obvious assumption you can make ("my animal companion is a second character controlled by me that can do anything I want at any time") that is wrong.

I have no idea how to implement this, but there out to be some sort of way of stopping players who don't read the whole set of class rules from playing the more complicated classes. And, by the time you get to 7th level or so, they're all complicated, because you have lots of random buffs and situational things that change all of your modifiers. (Even the people who know the rules then are stuck because they have to quickly add together six or seven different numbers.)

Liberty's Edge 5/5

Starfinder Superscriber
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Also pushing is REALLY hard .

...so? Those are the rules. Animal companions are animals. Int 2. If you want them to do something fancy, they have to know the trick, or you have to push them. I'd say that before Animal Archive came out, you always had to push animal companions to get them to move around and flank (unless they were an animal that explicitly was said to instinctively know how to do this). Did most people do this? No... but those were the rules.

If you really want your animal companion to be able to do almost anything, you almost certainly need to max out Handle Animal, and not dump Charisma. That's just part of playing an AC-focused Druid; if you don't do that, then you're gimping your animal companion... unless you're counting on having a DM that will let you get away with the shenanigans you try to pull in the interest of not slowing the game down.

If your animal companion doesn't have a climb speed, and you're trying to get them to follow you down a rope or other place where people have to climb, then you're going to have to push your animal companion. This is usually out of combat, so you can usually get it to go. But, this is just one example of things people should have to think about if they want to bring their animal companion places.

5/5

rknop wrote:
If you really want your animal companion to be able to do almost anything, you almost certainly need to max out Handle Animal, and not dump Charisma.

This is blatantly untrue. A level 1 charisma 7 druid with a training harness and a single rank in handle animal needs a 2 to get their AC to perform a trick which it knows, 4 if it has taken damage. Pushing is a different matter but it is trivially easy to get an AC to follow your commands.

Quote:
If your animal companion doesn't have a climb speed, and you're trying to get them to follow you down a rope or other place where people have to climb, then you're going to have to push your animal companion

Citation required. Most animal companions are going to have better climb skills than PC's. The come or heel command should do just fine.

Liberty's Edge 5/5

Starfinder Superscriber
andreww wrote:
rknop wrote:
If you really want your animal companion to be able to do almost anything, you almost certainly need to max out Handle Animal, and not dump Charisma.
This is blatantly untrue. A level 1 charisma 7 druid with a training harness and a single rank in handle animal needs a 2 to get their AC to perform a trick which it knows, 4 if it has taken damage. Pushing is a different matter but it is trivially easy to get an AC to follow your commands.

"A trick it knows" is the key thing here. Especially for players who view their animal companion as a general purpose combat tool rather than as an animal that should be roleplayed as an animal, everything you might want your animal to be able to do (e.g. flank) may well not be the same as all of the tricks it knows.

andreww wrote:
Quote:
If your animal companion doesn't have a climb speed, and you're trying to get them to follow you down a rope or other place where people have to climb, then you're going to have to push your animal companion
Citation required. Most animal companions are going to have better climb skills than PC's. The come or heel command should do just fine.

Citation: common sense.

A cat may be better at climbing a wall than a person. But a rope? How do you convince the cat to climb the rope?

If you're at the bottom of a shaft, with a knotted rope in it, and you tell your animal to climb down, it's going to try to climb down the side of the shaft, not the rope. That usually tends to require a much higher climb skill result. Remember, animal companions are Int 2. That is, unless it's an animal that might instinctively climb the rope anyway (a monkey or some such, or a bear).

A wolf isn't just going to be able to climb a rope. Indeed, I'd argue that even if you succesfully push the wolf, it's not going to be able to climb the rope. But, I'd probably go with the rules of the game, even though they're nonsensical in this particular case, and say it's only a DC 5 skill check for a wolf to climb a knotted rope. But, still, I'm not going to let you convince your wolf to do that without pushing the wolf at the very least.

"Come" and "Heel" are not magical. They just tell the animal to go where you want it to go, assuming it's able to go there.

Grand Lodge

Not sure where your getting numbers from.
The DC for a known trick is 10

Char 7 with 1 rank is +2 Handle animals
Training harness is +2
for a +4, you still need a 6 to make them do a trick. a 19 to push it.

Grand Lodge 4/5 5/55/55/55/5

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps Subscriber

Want to run a cool, well-trained animal companion? Want to understand the ins and outs of animal companions in PFS?

Check out Fluffer's Amazing Druid's Log thread, now compiled into a Handy-dandy Google Doc. Once you've done that, check out the Animal Companion Etiquette guide I compiled, where I asked a GM who hates animal companions to discuss what he sees as the biggest problems with pet classes. Then I suggested solutions.

I love animals. I totally max handle animal on my pet class PCs. I've been known to subdue packs of wild dogs by pushing them with the "Down" and "Flee" tricks. I want non-humanoid Pathfinders to be more welcome, generally, and so I'm trying to spread the word on how to be a more team-friendly pet class player.

Hmm

Grand Lodge 5/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Baltic

Caylum wrote:


Not sure where your getting numbers from.
The DC for a known trick is 10

Char 7 with 1 rank is +2 Handle animals
Training harness is +2
for a +4, you still need a 6 to make them do a trick. a 19 to push it.

You get +4 to Handle Animal your own companion

Rules wrote:
Link (Ex): A druid can handle her animal companion as a free action, or push it as a move action, even if she doesn't have any ranks in the Handle Animal skill. The druid gains a +4 circumstance bonus on all wild empathy checks and Handle Animal checks made regarding an animal companion.


Crap I always read the part about empathy check and never noticed the end. Wonder if the extra +4 would have helped me ever, lol.

5/5

rknop wrote:
"Come" and "Heel" are not magical. They just tell the animal to go where you want it to go, assuming it's able to go there.

They don't need to be magical. Both tricks specify that the animal follows you even into places it would not normally go.

Liberty's Edge 5/5

Starfinder Superscriber
andreww wrote:
rknop wrote:
"Come" and "Heel" are not magical. They just tell the animal to go where you want it to go, assuming it's able to go there.
They don't need to be magical. Both tricks specify that the animal follows you even into places it would not normally go.

By your interpretation, if you cast fly (or shapeshift into something that can fly), and command your animal companion to Heel, then your animal companion can also fly.

"Would not normally go" is like the horse going into the cave, or the animal going somewhere it instinctively would avoid. It doesn't give it magical capabilities to move in ways that it wouldn't normally know how to move -- like climbing a rope.

5/5

rknop wrote:
By your interpretation, if you cast fly (or shapeshift into something that can fly), and command your animal companion to Heel, then your animal companion can also fly.

Don't be ridiculous.

Quote:
"Would not normally go" is like the horse going into the cave, or the animal going somewhere it instinctively would avoid. It doesn't give it magical capabilities to move in ways that it wouldn't normally know how to move -- like climbing a rope.

I haven't suggested that it does so.

Liberty's Edge 5/5

Starfinder Superscriber
andreww wrote:
rknop wrote:
By your interpretation, if you cast fly (or shapeshift into something that can fly), and command your animal companion to Heel, then your animal companion can also fly.

Don't be ridiculous.

Quote:
"Would not normally go" is like the horse going into the cave, or the animal going somewhere it instinctively would avoid. It doesn't give it magical capabilities to move in ways that it wouldn't normally know how to move -- like climbing a rope.
I haven't suggested that it does so.

...?

This whole debate started with you objecting to my saying that animals won't just climb ropes without being pushed. So, yes, absolutely, you have suggested that! I would be ecstatic if you would admit that you were wrong when you first said that, but don't try to claim you didn't say it.

Re: animals flying if you say Heel, of course it's ridiculous. That's my whole point. Also, animals being able to climb a rope just because you say "Heel" is also ridiculous. The whole reason I throw in the much-more-obviously ridiculous fly example is to point out that it's ridiculous to say animals can climb a rope just because the "Heel" trick says that animals would go places they wouldn't normally go.

5/5

rknop wrote:

This whole debate started with you objecting to my saying that animals won't just climb ropes without being pushed. So, yes, absolutely, you have suggested that! I would be ecstatic if you would admit that you were wrong when you first said that, but don't try to claim you didn't say it.

Actually what you said is

Quote:
If your animal companion doesn't have a climb speed, and you're trying to get them to follow you down a rope or other place where people have to climb, then you're going to have to push your animal companion

Which is nonsense. The come or heel command will get your AC to follow you. Whether or not they will use a rope is an issue of table variation but it certainly is not the case that an AC which doesn't have a climb speed wont attempt to use the climb skill to follow you.

The climb skill does create ridiculous situations where the elephant (+10) is better at climbing than the tiger (+6) but that is a different issue.


It seems to me that the Spiritualist is the most group friendly of the pet classes. The main reason for this is your ability to suck your phantom into your head if you get into a situation where space is at a premium.

Liberty's Edge 5/5

Starfinder Superscriber

OK -- the point I was trying to make is, you can set up a situation where all of the PCs can just do something (e.g. climb a knotted rope, which most PCs can succeed at while taking 10). However, your animal companion may not be able to do it. Suppose it's a shaft in the floor, with a open space at the bottom where the only way down is the knotted rope, not the wall. (This is not a spurious example; I GMed a game last night that had one of those.)

You are going to have to at the very least push your animal companion to convince it to climb down that rope through the open space to get the floor.

Even if there isn't free space, and your rope is next to a wall, climbing down the wall could well have a climb DC of 25, which many animal companions will not be able to climb while taking 10. (A lot of them -- e.g. the wolf at lower levels -- can't succeed at that climb check at all.) I would rule that an animal is going to balk at doing that regardless of the Come trick, just as an animal is going to balk at attacking undead regardless of the single-trick Attack trick.

The point of all of this, and the point of the thing you quoted, is that animal companions can't just do everything you want them to do if they know the 7 or 8 most useful tricks and you can finagle a net +5 bonus in Handle Animal. It's going to take more than that, and I would argue that if your GM is using common sense about what animals can just do, the ability to push your animal companion sometimes is going to be crucial. And, I would argue that these kinds of limitations are essential because, as many have pointed out, animal companions can easily be "too powerful" class features. These limitations are part of what keeps them in sight of reasonability.

5/5 5/55/55/5

rknop wrote:
Did most people do this? No... but those were the rules.

That was not a rule. That was your judgement call.

Getting those two mixed up is one thing that will slow your players to a crawl.

Quote:
If you really want your animal companion to be able to do almost anything, you almost certainly need to max out Handle Animal, and not dump Charisma.

This is very ineffective to the point of not being a viable option in combat. Even on flutter, who has an obscene charisma for a druid and a circlet of persuasion this wasn't really viable in combat until level 8 or so.

Before deciding that an action you want the animal to take is something that needs to be pushed rather than a required secondary power for one of the other tricks please consider that you're making it almost impossible for the character regardless of their charisma score.

Quote:
That's just part of playing an AC-focused Druid; if you don't do that, then you're gimping your animal companion... unless you're counting on having a DM that will let you get away with the shenanigans you try to pull in the interest of not slowing the game down.

Its not shenanigans. If theres a trick for it the dc 10 is automatic. If there's no trick for it the DC 25 is so far out of the range of a reliable in combat roll that a few points on your charisma won't matter.

Quote:

If your animal companion doesn't have a climb speed, and you're trying to get them to follow you down a rope or other place where people have to climb, then you're going to have to push your animal companion. This is usually out of combat, so you can usually get it to go. But, this is just one example of things people should have to think about if they want to bring their animal companion places.

Out of combat why waste time rolling though? You know they'll hit a 25 eventually

Silver Crusade 5/5 5/5

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rknop wrote:


The point of all of this, and the point of the thing you quoted, is that animal companions can't just do everything you want them to do if they know the 7 or 8 most useful tricks and you can finagle a net +5 bonus in Handle Animal. It's going to take more than that, and I would argue that if your GM is using common sense about what animals can just do, the ability to push your animal companion sometimes is going to be crucial. And, I would argue that these kinds of limitations are essential because, as many have pointed out, animal companions can easily be "too powerful" class features. These limitations are part of what keeps them in sight of reasonability.

There is a great deal of table variation with animal Companions. Partly because GMs differ greatly with what "common sense" states a particular animal should be able to do.

The rules don't help. While one can trivially do things in game that would be all but impossible in real life it is also impossible to do, in PFS, things that ARE done in real life. Circus animals, sheepdogs, etc are amazing in what they can do. I've seen GMs use "common sense" to disallow things that I have personally seen animals actually do.

As a player, one can get by a lot of the variation by self limiting what you try to do, by having things like block and tackle or scrolls of Carry Companion around, by raising the Companions Int to 3 and giving it a point in linguistics, etc.

As a GM you can help by not always taking the most extreme position, by not constantly demanding rolls for everything, by not playing "gotcha" games.

I had a GM who got very strict on handle animal rules. So I had to take a lot of table time explaining exactly what I was doing, rolling dice to do stuff, holding and delaying actions, etc. Net effect on my Animal Companion was almost non existant. Admittedly, I knew the rules, had the appropriate tricks trained, wasn't being silly in what the AC could do, etc.

As to tricks in the Animal Archive, Mike was explicit that, in Core, it is again expected table variation on whether or not an AC can flank at all and how difficult it is. That Nerf to ACs is now table variation

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