Animal Companion questions


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Silver Crusade

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Several questions came up in play today.

Before I get there, an aside. Bears seem to be the clear favourite for animal companion of choice. Out of 4 characters with animal companions, ALL have take bear. This implies that it may be slightly overpowered.

1) Can an Animal Companion do non lethal damage?
2) How restricted are animal companions by "common sense" as to what they can do?
3) How much does the DRUID have to be able to see in order to command the animal?
4) Do animal companions get resonance? If so, how much?
5) Animal companions are stated to "the exception of barding ... they never benefit from item bonuses". Does this mean that they cannot benefit from items like Antidote that give a "+2 item bonus to fortitude saves"? The bear survived the giant centipedes in Doomsday Dawn only because I assumed that was an oversight :-).


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1) probably not unless you train it to do so, and what can be trained at the moment requires GM oversight.

2) whats is your GMs common sense like?

4) judging by the wording on barding of the zephyr and horseshoes of speed I'm guessing not - you have to invest them on behalf of your AC. Near as I can tell only PCs have resonance!

5) it is absolute and clear - no item bonuses. You should have a bear skin rug! I don't understand why though, especially for recovery items, so should be changed IMO.


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pauljathome wrote:
Before I get there, an aside. Bears seem to be the clear favourite for animal companion of choice. Out of 4 characters with animal companions, ALL have take bear. This implies that it may be slightly overpowered.

My knee-jerk reaction is that the companions aren't too balanced either. For my level 1 playtest character I made a druid, and sorely wished I could take the Dromeosaur fluff with the Cat stats. Bear, Cat, and Horse seem to be the real winners.

But, in general animal companions are just shafted anyway; the least that could happen is they could all be equally shafted instead of some of them getting super-shafted.

~~~~~

Badger Rage seems like a good way to kill your badger since companions have chronically low AC, and this makes it even lower while not even granting rage HP.

Dromeosaur's work-together benefit is entirely replaced with a feat once you hit level 10, and could really use a different work-together. Darting attack would be better if it were a step+strike/strike+step, but as is, it pales in comparison to Cat Pounce's stride+strike.

Snake's work-together benefit is incredibly specific, and could be modified to be more generic-ally useful. Additionally, constrict only really "works" on large (savage) companions since it doesn't work on equal-size.

Wolf's work-together is a little undercooked compared to work-togethers that add damage or cause stronger conditions than hampered. They eye the bird and bear work-togethers jealously. It'd also be cool if they saw the Mount trait. Wolf Trip is decent at least.


pauljathome wrote:

Several questions came up in play today.

Before I get there, an aside. Bears seem to be the clear favourite for animal companion of choice. Out of 4 characters with animal companions, ALL have take bear. This implies that it may be slightly overpowered.

1) Can an Animal Companion do non lethal damage?
2) How restricted are animal companions by "common sense" as to what they can do?
3) How much does the DRUID have to be able to see in order to command the animal?
4) Do animal companions get resonance? If so, how much?
5) Animal companions are stated to "the exception of barding ... they never benefit from item bonuses". Does this mean that they cannot benefit from items like Antidote that give a "+2 item bonus to fortitude saves"? The bear survived the giant centipedes in Doomsday Dawn only because I assumed that was an oversight :-).

1) No. The book specifically says your animal won't know how to do non-lethal. It might be trainable, but the book doesn't give us much on how training works, what can be trained, how long it takes, how many tricks, etc.

2) There is vey little agency for animals beyond what you Command them to do. Companions have the "minon" trait as follows:

p. 416 wrote:
If given no commands, minions use no actions except to defend themselves or to escape obvious harm. If left unattended for at least 1 minute, mindless minions don’t act, whereas intelligent ones act as they please.

3) ?? Not sure I understand the question. Commands can be verbal only. There's no visual requirement.

4) The rules makes it seem that the answer is no.

5) The rules say no item bonuses. Technically that means Antidote should not work.


Honestly, the "no item bonuses" seem like they mean PERMANENT bonuses, or ones that require the use of a Resonance Point - meaning that the Antidote, since it has no activation cost, could reasonably be done. But yeah, some additional clarity on that would be helpful.


And while looking into it, a question occurred to me. Does the big cat's "Special: Your cat deals 1d6 additional precision damage against a
flat-footed target" scale as it grows, or are the additional damage dice exclusively for the base unarmed strikes? I'm assuming the latter, but I figured it's worth asking, especially since the Rogue's Sneak Attack - which works similarly - DOES scale with leveling.

That said, it seems REALLY counter-intuitive that not only does the Work Together with the cat not include allies (which arguably makes sense, as rendering an enemy flat-footed for ALL attacks is arguably OP), it doesn't work for anyone EXCEPT the Ranger - not even the cat, whose special ability is dealing that extra 1d6 damage to flat-footed targets, is included for it.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

On point 2, Animal Druid Adult companions, of course, have some amount of agency in that they can take 1 action (Stride or Strike) on rounds when they haven't been Commanded.

Just ran part 2 of the playtest adventure, and one of the PCs was a Gnome Druid (a ... Gnomad, if you will) with a snake fetish. His adult snake was pretty deadly at 4th level, with caster-level hp and a very solid 2 weapon dice attack. Critically, as a caster, it opened up 'melee + cast spell' options from a safe range.

That said, the snake got pulverized down to 0 in one of the fights. Poor snek!

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

minion rules don’t make sense - why would an animal be permanently slowed if it’s your pet compared to one in the wild.

Why are bite attacks now jaws?

Why do animal companions never get item benefits? Are animals immune to magic or something now?

animal companion size - These animals aren’t all the same size, it’s a gamest, breaking the immersion set of rules to say any animal is the same like this.

badger work together - this seems odd to say the least. First, what if you’re fighting on a stone or metal surface? Badger claws it up still? Second, the entire premise is very unrealistic, do actual badgers or wolverines actually claw up the ground to make difficult terrain for a creature they’re actively fighting? I thought PF2 was trying to make animals more realistic, not less.

bear work together - so you can have your bear spend its action to do auto damage if you hit? Seems like a weird way to skip the actual combat rules - why are bears as accurate as you no matter what this way instead of other animals?

Cat - shouldn’t cats have a climb speed? Many cats climb naturally, even regular house cats can climb trees.

snake constrict action - how does the snake have a creature grabbed in its coils ever? Can it make the grab action?

wolf work together - tearing the tendons isn’t a good description for this since it only lasts 1 round. Tendon tears take weeks to heal. It would be better described as biting and nipping at your foes legs, impeding their movement.

specialized companions - how can a companion get more than one specialty? The paragraph mentions twice there’s a way to do that, but I don’t see rules for that anywhere.

ambusher - what is a companions natural environment? Since many of the companion types aren’t specific, like cat, or wolf, it seems like most animals would be in their natural environment in almost any wilderness, except possibly arctic (though bears can wolves still hang in the arctic.) Does the dex modifier increase stack with the Dex increase specialized gives any animal companion, so it’s actually a total of +2?


JoelF847 wrote:


snake constrict action - how does the snake have a creature grabbed in its coils ever? Can it make the grab action?

It can use the Grapple action that appears under Athletics.

Quote:
specialized companions - how can a companion get more than one specialty? The paragraph mentions twice there’s a way to do that, but I don’t see rules for that anywhere.

Druids of the Animal Order can take the Specialized Companion feat multiple times. Since it's a level 14 feat, their animal companion could end up with four specializations.


Need to be careful with multiple specialisations as many abilities overlap (and Racer overlaps with base 'specialised' abilities right out of the gate with both granting master fort saves - this needs changing)

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