Animal Companions (Give bears some love)

Playing the Game

Grand Lodge

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OK, so disclaimer first. I downloaded and read most of the Rule book and bestiary but have yet to play-test the game.

The main approach I had was to build my favorite characters from 2nd Edition, as many have been shelved due to changes in the rules since 3.0 (specifically looking at the old kit books). I did the same with the original PF play-test.

One particular character I had was the Dwarven Rapid Response Rider [Complete Book of Dwarves] that charged into battle on the back of a grizzly bear (for which I commissioned Jeff Easley to draw me a portrait of many years ago and is framed above my computer desk). So I started putting together this character with PF2 rules. Especially after seeing Cavalier in the Archetypes.

Each attempt got me close to the 2nd Edition version with just one problem. None of them could ride the bear until at least 12th level due to the fact that the bear is size small!!!!

A simple fix would be to make the bear young companion Size Small or Medium. The problem is the dwarf size category of medium. This only really gives them the ability to ride horses. A Medium bear could thus be ridden once it is fully grown, giving the bear size large as early as 4th level for a druid, or 6th level for a cavalier.

I also think the mount special ability needs some extra clarification as to what it means.

Rulebook Page 283 wrote:
The Special entry, if present, lists any other special abilities your companion has, including whether it ordinarily serves as a mount and is appropriate for mounted classes, such as the paladin.

This just tells me if I'm a paladin I should select a horse animal companion. Seems pretty obvious not to need a defined rule for it. I noticed the work together clause about not using it while riding a companion but I think it needs more expansion, like adding rules for barding, saddle use, etc.

A similar problem also arises with boars, wolves, and cats, but these are generally far smaller than bears and more suited to small races. The largest cat (Siberian tiger) stands 3-1/2 ft at the shoulder, while a polar bear can exceed 5ft!

Other issues discovered while building this post...

The following creatures are all referenced as possible mounts but are not clearly indicated for choices as an animal companion mounts (goblin paladins riding goblin dogs?).

Camels (bestiary 37), Riding Dogs (bestiary 53), Goblin Dogs (bestiary 74), Nightmare (bestiary 90), Wargs and Winter wolves (bestiary 114)

I think it would benefit to add the following 2 abilities;

Bestiary creature ability

Animal Companion [Mount] (Companion Type [beast])

This creature can be used as an animal companion using the companion type specified in its description.
If the entry includes [Mount], Add Special mount, to the animal companion entry.
commentary wrote:
This allows for mount specific versions of animals to be identified for paladins and cavaliers and could be used to indicate proficiency in barding and handling a rider.

If the creature type indicates [beast], this type of creature can be selected as an animal companion if the character uses the Beast Companion specialization ability. Obtaining rare or intelligent creatures as animal companions is subject to GM approval.

The creature retains all special abilities when used as an animal companion (a camel can spit, a boar can charge, a tiger can pounce and wrestle, a nightmare keeps its smoke aura, fly speed, resistance fire 10, divine innate spells and flaming gallop, etc.).
Commentary wrote:
retaining special abilities is just a consideration for clarity, I'm no rules master so this might be unbalanced and might need further clarity/justification for each creature but it certainly needs addressing.


Camel: Animal Companion [Mount] Horse
Elephant: Animal Companion [Mount] Horse?
Nightmare: Animal Companion [Mount] Horse [beast]
Riding Dog: Animal Companion [Mount] Wolf
Tiger: Animal Companion Cat
Winter Wolf: Animal Companion Wolf [beast]

Rulebook specialized companions ability

Beast Companion

You may select a beast creature with the Animal Companion [Beast] ability as your animal companion instead of choosing a specialization. Treat this new companion as if the previous one had died, requiring 1 week downtime to obtain. If the beast companion dies you can acquire a normal animal companion within 1 week. To obtain a new beast companion requires 1 month downtime. Some GMs may require special side quests to be completed before replacing your beast companion if the creature is particularly rare (obtaining a winter wolf while in a desert).
The new beast companion starts off as Full-Grown and does not apply any modifications for full-grown companions (do not increase strength, dexterity, constitution, wisdom, increase its unarmed damage dice, proficiency rank for perception, saving throws or size). apply modifiers normally for nimble and savage companions.
Obtaining rare or intelligent creatures as companions is subject to GM approval so you should check with your GM what creatures are available before choosing this specialization.

Other Considerations...
It would be good to see arachnids, fish and insects included as animal companion types which I imagine you may have already considered but excluded from the play-test due to size issues (pun intended). Many of these also have beast counterparts which would work as companions and mounts (Ankheg, Giant Spider and shark mounts anyone?)

Thanks for listening! I look forward to seeing what more PF2 offers as the months go by.

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