Animal Companions


Running the Game


I appreciate the limits the system have put on animal companions, but they are not restrictive enough.

They still leave the player with an animal companion soaking up twice the table time of other players. Maybe it should be the player gets 3 action to use anyway he wants between his character and companion. Or give everyone 5 actions with the same 3/2 split for the PC/AC combo.

Players should be choosing to play characters with AC's because they want that flavor in their build not so they have basically two characters to everyone else's one.


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Ahlmzhad wrote:

I appreciate the limits the system have put on animal companions, but they are not restrictive enough.

They still leave the player with an animal companion soaking up twice the table time of other players. Maybe it should be the player gets 3 action to use anyway he wants between his character and companion. Or give everyone 5 actions with the same 3/2 split for the PC/AC combo.

Players should be choosing to play characters with AC's because they want that flavor in their build not so they have basically two characters to everyone else's one.

Except that the pet is utterly worthless and dies if someone breaths on it hard.


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Yeah... I'm going to play a Ranger with a Cat animal companion with an HP of 10 and AC of 13. I'm at a loss at how I'm supposed to keep it conscious. The 'Bestiary' versions of the animals available as animal companions are for some reason stronger than the Animal Companion counterparts at the same level.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I thought the OP was going for sarcasm, but I'm not sure.

Grand Lodge

Ahlmzhad wrote:
They still leave the player with an animal companion soaking up twice the table time of other players. Maybe it should be the player gets 3 action to use anyway he wants between his character and companion.

If the player and animal companion are taking a long time i'm not sure if a simple action reduction fix is going to help.

If your slow player played a monk instead and had pseudo extra actions (flurry of blows for an extra attack) would he be faster? I think he would, even with the extra pseudo action, because there's less thought involved on what to do and only some additional math.

I think you're probably right that it does take some players longer to think about what their PC and animal companion are doing because they want to accomplish independent actions (above and beyond just having 1 extra action).

If you want to speed them up i think instead of making a strict 3 action rule between PC and animal companion (which is the system a trained animal uses and would have few PCs take an animal companion) you could try to impose an "action tax" when the animal companion is farther than 10' from your character to encourage the PC and the Animal Companion to usually both act as a team, i.e. "Me and my animal companion both go and attack that guy, with me flanking!".

Silver Crusade

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I've played a druid with animal companion at level 1, 4, and 5.

The level 4 was a bit of a special case. The druid was primarily a wild shaping druid and he took the animal companion specifically to see if it would be of any use at all.

My opinion based on these actual playtests is that the animal companion is neither under powered or over powered. Even the low powered companion had its uses

With the level 5 druid the bear was a good contributor, bringing the druids contribution up to being on par with the martial characters.

Given that the animal companion effectively adds ONE to the actions taken I certainly don't think that it dominated the game nor made the druids turn take too long. Most of my thought process was deciding what Team Druid did. Actually doing the actions was simple The animal almost never bothered attacking twice. Usually moved and either attacked or used its Work together benefit together with a single attack).

The level 4 companion actually went a bit better than I thought it would. About 1/2 the time it wasn't worth the action to actually use so it just stood there. The rest of the time it was worth the action (usually for its work together benefit more than for its attack).

Didn't take much damage as the GM didn't feel like wasting attacks killing it :-).

Had a reasonable level of power for a single class feat (my level 4 feat went to better wild shaping).


pauljathome wrote:

I've played a druid with animal companion at level 1, 4, and 5.

The level 4 was a bit of a special case. The druid was primarily a wild shaping druid and he took the animal companion specifically to see if it would be of any use at all.

My opinion based on these actual playtests is that the animal companion is neither under powered or over powered. Even the low powered companion had its uses

With the level 5 druid the bear was a good contributor, bringing the druids contribution up to being on par with the martial characters.

Given that the animal companion effectively adds ONE to the actions taken I certainly don't think that it dominated the game nor made the druids turn take too long. Most of my thought process was deciding what Team Druid did. Actually doing the actions was simple The animal almost never bothered attacking twice. Usually moved and either attacked or used its Work together benefit together with a single attack).

The level 4 companion actually went a bit better than I thought it would. About 1/2 the time it wasn't worth the action to actually use so it just stood there. The rest of the time it was worth the action (usually for its work together benefit more than for its attack).

Didn't take much damage as the GM didn't feel like wasting attacks killing it :-).

Had a reasonable level of power for a single class feat (my level 4 feat went to better wild shaping).

Can you clarify? I thought an Animal Companion couldn't attack the same turn it uses its Work Together action.

Grand Lodge

WORK TOGETHER
Your animal companion assists you. You gain the benefits
listed in your companion’s Work Together Benefit entry. Your
companion can use its other action only to move in order to get
into position to take advantage of the Work Together benefits; if
your companion doesn’t have the mount special ability and you
are riding it, it can’t use any other actions this turn at all.

If it Works Together the other action has to be a move. This is easy to miss.


InstantD wrote:
Yeah... I'm going to play a Ranger with a Cat animal companion with an HP of 10 and AC of 13. I'm at a loss at how I'm supposed to keep it conscious. The 'Bestiary' versions of the animals available as animal companions are for some reason stronger than the Animal Companion counterparts at the same level.

In my experience it is equal to any of the characters in combat, and since the Druid is always there pumping more hit points into it it has yet to go down.

I may have to start counting it as a PC in setting the encounters since at 8 players their is never a single monster on the bear.


pauljathome wrote:

I've played a druid with animal companion at level 1, 4, and 5.

The level 4 was a bit of a special case. The druid was primarily a wild shaping druid and he took the animal companion specifically to see if it would be of any use at all.

My opinion based on these actual playtests is that the animal companion is neither under powered or over powered. Even the low powered companion had its uses

With the level 5 druid the bear was a good contributor, bringing the druids contribution up to being on par with the martial characters.

Given that the animal companion effectively adds ONE to the actions taken I certainly don't think that it dominated the game nor made the druids turn take too long. Most of my thought process was deciding what Team Druid did. Actually doing the actions was simple The animal almost never bothered attacking twice. Usually moved and either attacked or used its Work together benefit together with a single attack).

The level 4 companion actually went a bit better than I thought it would. About 1/2 the time it wasn't worth the action to actually use so it just stood there. The rest of the time it was worth the action (usually for its work together benefit more than for its attack).

Didn't take much damage as the GM didn't feel like wasting attacks killing it :-).

Had a reasonable level of power for a single class feat (my level 4 feat went to better wild shaping).

I didn't find it over powered particularly. They always function as another PC. My problem is that the AC doubles the number of actions one player has, and so they wind getting twice as much time in each combat round as the other players. Which leads to a lot of discontent from the other players.


Gorignak227 wrote:
Ahlmzhad wrote:
They still leave the player with an animal companion soaking up twice the table time of other players. Maybe it should be the player gets 3 action to use anyway he wants between his character and companion.

If the player and animal companion are taking a long time i'm not sure if a simple action reduction fix is going to help.

If your slow player played a monk instead and had pseudo extra actions (flurry of blows for an extra attack) would he be faster? I think he would, even with the extra pseudo action, because there's less thought involved on what to do and only some additional math.

I think you're probably right that it does take some players longer to think about what their PC and animal companion are doing because they want to accomplish independent actions (above and beyond just having 1 extra action).

If you want to speed them up i think instead of making a strict 3 action rule between PC and animal companion (which is the system a trained animal uses and would have few PCs take an animal companion) you could try to impose an "action tax" when the animal companion is farther than 10' from your character to encourage the PC and the Animal Companion to usually both act as a team, i.e. "Me and my animal companion both go and attack that guy, with me flanking!".

The player isn't particularly slow, it's just that the system basically gives him twice the time in each round as anyone else, and the AC winds up getting kills others in the party would have gotten so players feel like the guy with the AC has two characters not just one. I think this system has actually improved that with the 2 actions for the AC, it's just still a situation that steps on the toes of all the other players.


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Ahlmzhad wrote:
pauljathome wrote:

I've played a druid with animal companion at level 1, 4, and 5.

The level 4 was a bit of a special case. The druid was primarily a wild shaping druid and he took the animal companion specifically to see if it would be of any use at all.

My opinion based on these actual playtests is that the animal companion is neither under powered or over powered. Even the low powered companion had its uses

With the level 5 druid the bear was a good contributor, bringing the druids contribution up to being on par with the martial characters.

Given that the animal companion effectively adds ONE to the actions taken I certainly don't think that it dominated the game nor made the druids turn take too long. Most of my thought process was deciding what Team Druid did. Actually doing the actions was simple The animal almost never bothered attacking twice. Usually moved and either attacked or used its Work together benefit together with a single attack).

The level 4 companion actually went a bit better than I thought it would. About 1/2 the time it wasn't worth the action to actually use so it just stood there. The rest of the time it was worth the action (usually for its work together benefit more than for its attack).

Didn't take much damage as the GM didn't feel like wasting attacks killing it :-).

Had a reasonable level of power for a single class feat (my level 4 feat went to better wild shaping).

I didn't find it over powered particularly. They always function as another PC. My problem is that the AC doubles the number of actions one player has, and so they wind getting twice as much time in each combat round as the other players. Which leads to a lot of discontent from the other players.

The AC doesn't even nearly double your actions. You have to spend 1 action to give it 2, meaning you effectively have 4 actions instead of 3 if you're spending to command the companion and that's assuming the AC's actions are as effective as your own. This isn't always the case.

Silver Crusade

Penn wrote:


If it Works Together the other action has to be a move. This is easy to miss.

Yeah, I missed that. Thanks for pointing it out.

I'm not sure how much effect it would actually have had in my Level 5 playtest. MOST of the time it moved and attacked or moved and Worked Together. Or attacked twice. But I don't remember the details at this point.

I don't think that I Worked Together and Attacked enough to invalidate my experience

Silver Crusade

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Ahlmzhad wrote:
My problem is that the AC doubles the number of actions one player has

4 really is NOT double 3 (the action to handle the animal really doesn't count. I never even bothered stating that was what the druid was doing).

And the Animal Companion is definitely significantly LESS effective than any vaguely well built martial character


Edge93 wrote:
Ahlmzhad wrote:
pauljathome wrote:

I've played a druid with animal companion at level 1, 4, and 5.

The level 4 was a bit of a special case. The druid was primarily a wild shaping druid and he took the animal companion specifically to see if it would be of any use at all.

My opinion based on these actual playtests is that the animal companion is neither under powered or over powered. Even the low powered companion had its uses

With the level 5 druid the bear was a good contributor, bringing the druids contribution up to being on par with the martial characters.

Given that the animal companion effectively adds ONE to the actions taken I certainly don't think that it dominated the game nor made the druids turn take too long. Most of my thought process was deciding what Team Druid did. Actually doing the actions was simple The animal almost never bothered attacking twice. Usually moved and either attacked or used its Work together benefit together with a single attack).

The level 4 companion actually went a bit better than I thought it would. About 1/2 the time it wasn't worth the action to actually use so it just stood there. The rest of the time it was worth the action (usually for its work together benefit more than for its attack).

Didn't take much damage as the GM didn't feel like wasting attacks killing it :-).

Had a reasonable level of power for a single class feat (my level 4 feat went to better wild shaping).

I didn't find it over powered particularly. They always function as another PC. My problem is that the AC doubles the number of actions one player has, and so they wind getting twice as much time in each combat round as the other players. Which leads to a lot of discontent from the other players.
The AC doesn't even nearly double your actions. You have to spend 1 action to give it 2, meaning you effectively have 4 actions instead of 3 if you're spending to command the companion and that's assuming the AC's actions are as effective as your...

Not mathematically double but you have one player controlling two creatures that each have 2 actions. I think it would be better to eliminate the action needed to direct the AC, and let the player have 3 actions 2 of which can be used by the AC. That way 1 player 3 actions. Getting two first attacks in melee is a pretty big bump, but it's not about power its about one player getting demonstrably more table time than other players, its a real disatisfier.


Ahlmzhad wrote:
Not mathematically double but you have one player controlling two creatures that each have 2 actions. I think it would be better to eliminate the action needed to direct the AC, and let the player have 3 actions 2 of which can be used by the AC. That way 1 player 3 actions. Getting two first attacks in melee is a pretty big bump, but it's not about power its about one player getting demonstrably more table time than other players, its a real disatisfier.

That would make animal companions absolutely terrible though. They shouldn't limit the player to only taking 1 action if they want to reasonably control the animal companion. Especially since most spells are 2 actions.

It's only 1 extra action. It's really not too much of an increase in table time, and it's much better than it used to be now that animal companions only have 2 actions instead of the full 3+ attacks they had in PF1.

Liberty's Edge

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Az,

I have to say I agree with you that a Player can and frequently WILL take up extra time when sitting around the table to finish their turn and it ends up being frustrating when you're just waiting to move and drink a potion.

I am not however convinced Animal Companions make the PC significantly stronger as to unbalance the party level.

Silver Crusade

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Ahlmzhad wrote:
I think it would be better to eliminate the action needed to direct the AC, and let the player have 3 actions 2 of which can be used by the AC. That way 1 player 3 actions.

That would make Animal Companions an utterly atrocious choice. Oh, it works passably well when everybody is already in melee with each other but it falls totally apart when movement is required, or the druid wants to use a shield, or something similar. Suddenly the druid and animal companion can both move and get ONE attack? No.

Losing one action balances the Animal Companion fairly well. Anything less than that and it would be better to remove Animal Companions from the game entirely as they'd become a complete trap option


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I already find the existing limit egregiously restrictive, making it worse would be horrible.

Scarab Sages

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Ahlmzhad wrote:
pauljathome wrote:

I've played a druid with animal companion at level 1, 4, and 5.

The level 4 was a bit of a special case. The druid was primarily a wild shaping druid and he took the animal companion specifically to see if it would be of any use at all.

My opinion based on these actual playtests is that the animal companion is neither under powered or over powered. Even the low powered companion had its uses

With the level 5 druid the bear was a good contributor, bringing the druids contribution up to being on par with the martial characters.

Given that the animal companion effectively adds ONE to the actions taken I certainly don't think that it dominated the game nor made the druids turn take too long. Most of my thought process was deciding what Team Druid did. Actually doing the actions was simple The animal almost never bothered attacking twice. Usually moved and either attacked or used its Work together benefit together with a single attack).

The level 4 companion actually went a bit better than I thought it would. About 1/2 the time it wasn't worth the action to actually use so it just stood there. The rest of the time it was worth the action (usually for its work together benefit more than for its attack).

Didn't take much damage as the GM didn't feel like wasting attacks killing it :-).

Had a reasonable level of power for a single class feat (my level 4 feat went to better wild shaping).

I didn't find it over powered particularly. They always function as another PC. My problem is that the AC doubles the number of actions one player has, and so they wind getting twice as much time in each combat round as the other players. Which leads to a lot of discontent from the other players.

I Feel like you play with jerk.

It is the first time I saw anyone complaining about that and I played with more than 50 people.

What is the next step ?
"When the mage use a spell the ennemy must roll a Save. It take more time than when my fighter hit with is sword" ?

Utterly ridiculous.


Animal companions certainly aren't overpowered, but can be extremely annoying to keep track of. One could streamline the rules so that the owner can give up one of his/her actions to direct the animal for one action, but I don't really think that would help as the player and GM still need to keep track of its position and stats.

Politely requesting that players refrain from bringing companions/familiars/cohorts etc to the table is a far more effective fix IME.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
Ahlmzhad wrote:
The player isn't particularly slow, it's just that the system basically gives him twice the time in each round as anyone else,

Well, no, it doesn't.

When you compare the amount of time spent at a real table looking up rules for spells, feats, and skills, versus the trivial actions an animal companion can take, you'll find this a non-issue. "Stride, stride, strike." Seriously, that's nothing compared to "oh, crap, what kind of bonus does inspire courage actually grant, and does it stack with Bob The Paladin's ability?"

If you decide it's okay for Bob The Paladin to take feats despite them being time-consuming, then it's got to be okay for someone else to have an animal companion which can only mostly Stride and Strike.

Quote:
and the AC winds up getting kills others in the party would have gotten

Err, not cool. If Bob The Paladin uses a feat which lets him do more damage than if he didn't have that feat, he gets kills others in the party would have gotten. Do you disallow Power Attack because it causes kill-stealing?

Quote:
so players feel like the guy with the AC has two characters not just one.

I can't help it if players feel like their ears are made out of chocolate, and the rules shouldn't need to take this disorder into consideration.

Quote:
I think this system has actually improved that with the 2 actions for the AC, it's just still a situation that steps on the toes of all the other players.

Sorry, no, it isn't. The PF1 Leadership feat could be viewed that way, sure. But this isn't PF1 and this isn't Leadership.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
Crayon wrote:
Politely requesting that players refrain from bringing companions/familiars/cohorts etc to the table is a far more effective fix IME.

I'd suggest that's as fair as politely requesting that players refrain from using any ability whose rules don't fit entirely on their character sheet.

Keeping track of an animal companion's position is literally as simple as putting its mini on the table. Keeping track of its stats is literally as simple as writing them on the character sheet*.

*Disclosure: I - and all of the players in all of my gaming groups - use standard statblocks instead of character sheets, so I admit that doing this sort of thing is trivial for us.


This was definitely a problem in Pathfinder First Edition. So far, I've only had two sessions with a player who had an animal companion and it only marginally extended her turn time. It didn't seem like a big problem - the alchemist still took longer than her trying to decide what to make with quick alchemy.

That said... I'm curious to see how summoning holds up here. It was often a nightmare of spreadsheet proportions in Pathfinder First Edition and would bog down the entire game.

Edit: Misunderstood the OP. On a second read I can't say that I agree. Other players had the choice to get companions and they decided not to. What's so unfair about that?

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I have had multiple players take animal companions in PF2E. All of whom have expressed dissatisfaction:

1) When not directed the animal companion does nothing, not even in self defense.

2) The animal companion does not move unless directed.

Also if an enemy group has an animal or vermin as part of its group (say a group of Gnolls with a pet giant scorpion) the enemy pits seem to be under no such restriction.

Silver Crusade

DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:

I have had multiple players take animal companions in PF2E. All of whom have expressed dissatisfaction:

1) When not directed the animal companion does nothing, not even in self defense.

2) The animal companion does not move unless directed.

Note that for the companions of Druids of the Animal Order who take Full Grown Companion (ie, all of them at level 4 :-)) the animal DOES get one action a turn even if not commanded (stride or strike).

I think Druid companions are fine. Haven't seen or really studied how non druid companions do.

To be clear, animal companions have been weakened significantly from PF1. But that is probably a good thing (and I say this as a player who has LOTS of animal companions). They're silly powerful (by themselves in the early game, and when appropriately buffed in the mid to late game)

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
pauljathome wrote:
DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:

I have had multiple players take animal companions in PF2E. All of whom have expressed dissatisfaction:

1) When not directed the animal companion does nothing, not even in self defense.

2) The animal companion does not move unless directed.

Note that for the companions of Druids of the Animal Order who take Full Grown Companion (ie, all of them at level 4 :-)) the animal DOES get one action a turn even if not commanded (stride or strike).

I think Druid companions are fine. Haven't seen or really studied how non druid companions do.

To be clear, animal companions have been weakened significantly from PF1. But that is probably a good thing (and I say this as a player who has LOTS of animal companions). They're silly powerful (by themselves in the early game, and when appropriately buffed in the mid to late game)

The issue so far is that 2/3rds of those animal companions are Ranger animal companions, and there is a lot that competes for the Ranger's actions in a turn.

There's a lot to compete for a Druid's actions too, since if a druid wants to move in order to best position a spell effect their animal companion (if not lvl 4+ Animal Order) is likely to just sit still and get whacked by goblins.

Players get real attached to their imaginary pets.


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The player at our table with an animal companion honestly takes less time to complete his turn than the Paladin who has to agonize about positioning so he has a chance of using his main class feature (RS). The companion is already overly restricted and doesn't need to be more so. Hard pass.


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I've played a druid with an animal companion and it really doesn't take so much more time or spotlight than anything else. An animal companion's actions are quite simple and always will be, since they have very few options. Because of this, it takes little time to make decisions. Also, some people seem to forget that animal companions can never get more than two actions in a turn. 4 actions total instead of 3 isn't anywhere near double the time other characters have...


Anguish wrote:
Ahlmzhad wrote:
The player isn't particularly slow, it's just that the system basically gives him twice the time in each round as anyone else,

Well, no, it doesn't.

When you compare the amount of time spent at a real table looking up rules for spells, feats, and skills, versus the trivial actions an animal companion can take, you'll find this a non-issue. "Stride, stride, strike." Seriously, that's nothing compared to "oh, crap, what kind of bonus does inspire courage actually grant, and does it stack with Bob The Paladin's ability?"

If you decide it's okay for Bob The Paladin to take feats despite them being time-consuming, then it's got to be okay for someone else to have an animal companion which can only mostly Stride and Strike.

Quote:
and the AC winds up getting kills others in the party would have gotten

Err, not cool. If Bob The Paladin uses a feat which lets him do more damage than if he didn't have that feat, he gets kills others in the party would have gotten. Do you disallow Power Attack because it causes kill-stealing?

Quote:
so players feel like the guy with the AC has two characters not just one.

I can't help it if players feel like their ears are made out of chocolate, and the rules shouldn't need to take this disorder into consideration.

Quote:
I think this system has actually improved that with the 2 actions for the AC, it's just still a situation that steps on the toes of all the other players.
Sorry, no, it isn't. The PF1 Leadership feat could be viewed that way, sure. But this isn't PF1 and this isn't Leadership.

Well at my table players need to have their spells ready to go when it's there turn, they have 7 other players moves to get ready for theirs so no excuse for needing to do research during their turn. So the only one taking extra time is the guy with the AC.

As I've said this seems to be an improvement from PF1, but still doesn't get the AC being in the flow of the game and not a burden on the rest of the party.


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I think your issue is that you have 8 players at your table. The game tends to flow better with 4 or so protagonists; your experience is as far away from that as having a single player and a GM.

sherlock1701 wrote:
I already find the existing limit egregiously restrictive, making it worse would be horrible.

For my part, I agree with Sherlock, I find the existing limit both badly restrictive and immersion breaking.

For example, assume you have fallen down a well and want Lassie to go get hilp. If Lassie is an animal companion ( as a reskinned wolf), she runs off at 2 stride actions per round, 2X40=80 ft/round (animal companions take 2 actions per round). If she happens to be a random dog who is sitting around, whom you use Nature skill to handle animal on, she runs off at 3 stride actions, 3X30 = 90 ft/round.
That's right, you high-end animal companion is being outrun by a random mutt, because it gets more actions.

Further, while treading water in the icy well, you have to concentrate every round for your animal companion keep going, while the random dog doesn't eat your actions.

In just about every situation, animal companions come off as brain damaged idiots relative to their non-companion brethen, which is immersion breaking, especially when it's things like the paladin on his mount, galloping as a double action, for 100 ft per round, has absolutely no hope of catching the bandit on his horse, galloping and then striding for 140 ft /round...


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
Ahlmzhad wrote:

Well at my table players need to have their spells ready to go when it's there turn, they have 7 other players moves to get ready for theirs so no excuse for needing to do research during their turn. So the only one taking extra time is the guy with the AC.

As I've said this seems to be an improvement from PF1, but still doesn't get the AC being in the flow of the game and not a burden on the rest of the party.

No excuse? I'm just checking, because I know I pay plenty of attention at the table both as player and DM, and the number of times per combat that I have my plan ready in my mind, only to have it change because the player after mine makes a choice... or the player after them... or the player after them... or the player after them.

I agree in principle being ready is being responsible. But there are plenty of circumstances where being ready just isn't a thing.

The on-topic application of which is that an animal companion's choices are always trivial, and can be decided on-the-fly, where many other class abilities are massively, massively less-so.


I've never run a group of 8 players, but one thing that has helped me in the past with a group of 6 is asking other players later in the initiative order to step up and play summons and Companions. That gives them something to do while waiting for their turn, and usually summons and Companions have quick, dirt simple turns so it's hard to screw up.


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So this seems to be way more of a problem with your 1 player who seems to be incapable of handling 1 extra action than a problem with the design of the animal companion. It's like saying, Haste is horrible because 1 guy at my table doesn't know what to do with his extra action. It should be removed.

Make the guy figure things out faster. If your group is experienced enough and trying to discuss moves during the heat of combat or moments that are time sensitive, put a timer on them and if time runs out any actions not done yet are wasted.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Ahlmzhad wrote:

I appreciate the limits the system have put on animal companions, but they are not restrictive enough.

They still leave the player with an animal companion soaking up twice the table time of other players. Maybe it should be the player gets 3 action to use anyway he wants between his character and companion. Or give everyone 5 actions with the same 3/2 split for the PC/AC combo.

Players should be choosing to play characters with AC's because they want that flavor in their build not so they have basically two characters to everyone else's one.

I utterley dissagree.

Animal companions grant 2 actions but they cost 1 to use. Often that extra action is just to move the animal so its not really an extra action.

If the Animal Companion is being used as a mount it ends up sharing the multiple attack penalty with its rider, so the free movement action it gives the player is effectively lost by common attack penalty.

Animal companions fall slightly behind players in terms of defenses so they are always going to need extra healing.

I think they have done an excellent job here.

If Animal Companions are taking up too much for the GM to handle then they should simply ask the players to use other builds. They are helpful for small parties. For sure they are a problem if there are 6 of them in a party, but let the gamers make that decision - not the game designers.

If animal companions are nerfed further then they would be pointless. IE you end up with the limp wristed 5th Ed D&D ones that nobody wants at all. The restrictions on their actions are an important balance. They do cost to use. Its a reasonable compromise.

Silver Crusade

DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:


The issue so far is that 2/3rds of those animal companions are Ranger animal companions, and there is a lot that competes for the Ranger's actions in a turn.

There's a lot to compete for a Druid's actions too, since if a druid wants to move in order to best position a spell effect their animal companion (if not lvl 4+ Animal Order) is likely to just sit still and get whacked by goblins.

Players get real attached to their imaginary pets.

Agreed.

Paizo has a very difficult job making sure that the Druids animal companion is balanced and the rangers companion still useful.

I suspect the eventual solution will be a variant on what is done in PF1. Some feat (or feats) to bring the rangers companion up to a "proper" companion.

But I also suspect that won't make it into the playtest and very well may not make it into the Core Rulebook.

Lets keep in mind that in Core PF1 the situation was pretty much the same. Druids companions were useful (arguably too useful even in core) and Rangers were far less, sometimes to the extent of almost being a liability to the party if the party role played caring about the companion

Silver Crusade

pad300 wrote:


In just about every situation, animal companions come off as brain damaged idiots relative to their non-companion brethen, which is immersion breaking, especially when it's things like the paladin on his mount, galloping as a double action, for 100 ft per round, has absolutely no hope of catching the bandit on his horse, galloping and then striding for 140 ft /round...

RAW you're partly right. You're wrong about the bandit, he should be following the same rules as the PCs.

However, I think that the vast majority of GMs would use common sense when dealing with animals OUT of combat.

Any GM who both allowed a normal animal 3 actions and restricted Lassie to 2 would be a bad GM (I believe that GMs who too slavishly follow the rules as written are bad GMs. The rules REQUIRE some application of reason and common sense).

I don't really care if Paizo clarifies the rules for Animal Companions out of combat. Its "obvious" how they SHOULD work :-) (and yes, I know that obvious to me isn't obvious to somebody else).


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pauljathome wrote:
pad300 wrote:


In just about every situation, animal companions come off as brain damaged idiots relative to their non-companion brethen, which is immersion breaking, especially when it's things like the paladin on his mount, galloping as a double action, for 100 ft per round, has absolutely no hope of catching the bandit on his horse, galloping and then striding for 140 ft /round...

RAW you're partly right. You're wrong about the bandit, he should be following the same rules as the PCs.

However, I think that the vast majority of GMs would use common sense when dealing with animals OUT of combat.

Any GM who both allowed a normal animal 3 actions and restricted Lassie to 2 would be a bad GM (I believe that GMs who too slavishly follow the rules as written are bad GMs. The rules REQUIRE some application of reason and common sense).

I don't really care if Paizo clarifies the rules for Animal Companions out of combat. Its "obvious" how they SHOULD work :-) (and yes, I know that obvious to me isn't obvious to somebody else).

Maybe I am not reading the rules right, but animal companions, familiars , summons, and so forth all have the minion trait (p416) :

"Minion A creature with this trait can use only 2 actions per turn and can’t use reactions. A minion acts on your turn in combat when you spend an action to issue it verbal commands (this action has the concentrate trait). 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."

They get 2 actions and no reactions. But the normal horse in the bestiary doesn't have the minion trait... So as I read the RAW (maybe I missed something), the bandit's horse gets 3 actions. The Paladin's mount doesn't... Whee haw! Can't catch me...

Silver Crusade

pad300 wrote:


Maybe I am not reading the rules right, but animal companions, familiars , summons, and so forth all have the minion trait (p416) :

I thought that I was clear but apparently I wasn't.

I completely agree with you that RAW work the way that you say that it does.

I just think that it is "completely obvious" that those rules are intended to be used with some degree of "common sense".

Writing that, I think that I realize that I'm wrong.

Paizo should add a rule to minions something along the line of
>> The minion can take 3 stride actions.

(ie, uses both its actions to stride 3 times)

And something like
"In encounter mode and downtime mode minions, mounts, etc do NOT need constant guidance. They can be set to a single task (moving, going to help Timmy who has just fallen down a well, etc) and will spend all 3 actions a round going about that task.


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Well, the generic (ie. non animal companion animal handling rules don't work all that well either).

For example, let's take a joust between 2 fighters... The horn is blown, and they each:
a) command their horses to gallop at each other (2 actions to command a 2 action gallop on the animals part),
b) ready their shields to defend themselves against the other jouster's lance,
and c) Don't actually try and attack each other because they are out of actions...

God pity the poor huntsman who has a pack of hounds for tracking! Having cornered a fugitive, he has to spend 2 actions to get each hound to first stride to the fugitive, and then attack. Yes handle animal is very clear it is AN (singular) animal...

This issue is obviously an attempt at "GAME BALANCE" by the designers, but it is utterly unrealistic and immersion breaking. If someone does have a "minion" be it a horse, pack of dogs, henchman, summoned monster or whatever, they should be at a significant advantage to someone who doesn't have a friend with them. There are reasons why people have trained animals throughout history!

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