Complimentary Animal Companions


Advice


I'm building a Pack Master hunter for one of my games who won't be doing basically any fighting on his own (to prevent bogging down combat on my turns -- it will be worked into the character personality), and I am 100% going to be using an Ankylosaurus as one of my companions because it is my absolute favourite dinosaur.

However, I have no idea what to take a second animal companion to go along with it. What would compliment it well? Something with reach? Something small and high DPS? Or something beefy with lots of Hitpoints since Anky here has a high AC but only a +1 Con bonus? Perhaps something with a ranged option?

On a side note, how do I make my Ankylosaurus have more survivability? Sure it will be hard to hit, but once it GETS hit, it only has... 36 HP at level 7? That's a stiff breeze.

I don't need help building the PC (feats, skills etc), but if there's feats for the PC that will help, feel free to suggest.


Dumb question...What would keep the Ankylosaurus from attacking and trying to eat the second animal companion? I mean...is Anky there a vegetarian? I don't remember my dinosaurs that well.


For survivability, barding! Though Beastmaster Style featline is pretty important too.

As for the complementary companion... what about a Wolf? Get the enemy prone, and now the dino can start landing hits.


@Toolbag

Ankylosaurs are herbivores, yes. But also the fact that they're both companions and will have boosted INT.

@Secret Wizard

Barding will grant more AC but when it DOES get hit (touch spells, crits, etc) it will fall over preeeetty fast.

A wolf is good -- for early levels. Anything past 6 or so and you're going to be reaching untrippable levels of CMD as well as immunity.

Can the companions themselves learn Beastmaster Style? I don't plan on doing much (if any) fighting or even using my PC on my turns other than to give orders.


I have an ape animal companion and they are very useful. They are very mobile and can go places large quadrupeds struggle with. An opposable thumb can also go a long way in convincing a GM that your animal companion can perform a task. I also dressed it up and had it learn tricks. I told everyone it was a trained circus animal and was only here for entertainment.


Give the dino the feats Toughness and Light Armor Prof. That'll boost its HP and AC. As for the second companion, it depends on what you want it to do. Scout? Flank? Tank? Go places the dino can't?

You could go with something that can fly like an eagle. Or something with pounce like a tiger or even more dinos.


Ok. I have a serious reply now.

Is the ankylosaurus eligible for the feats Endurance and Die Hard? (I personally don't like animal companions and usually shun them)

Endurance would give the cold-blooded dinosaur some helpful save vs. heat/cold while Die Hard would keep it alive after it reaches 0 HP so that you could heal it in some way.


Toolbag wrote:

Ok. I have a serious reply now.

Is the ankylosaurus eligible for the feats Endurance and Die Hard? (I personally don't like animal companions and usually shun them)

Endurance would give the cold-blooded dinosaur some helpful save vs. heat/cold while Die Hard would keep it alive after it reaches 0 HP so that you could heal it in some way.

Yes, it can learn both.


Toolbag wrote:

Ok. I have a serious reply now.

Is the ankylosaurus eligible for the feats Endurance and Die Hard? (I personally don't like animal companions and usually shun them)

Endurance would give the cold-blooded dinosaur some helpful save vs. heat/cold while Die Hard would keep it alive after it reaches 0 HP so that you could heal it in some way.

Both and if you raise their int to 3 they can learn any.

Also dinos aren't cold blooded recent science believes they are a special mix of cold and warm blooded that allowed them to more properly regulate their body temperatures.

Die hard also doesn't do anything to keep you alive, it keeps you conscious.


If your hunter won't be fighting maybe they can cast cure spells during a fight. That might extend the companion's effective hit points some. A rod of reach spell would help, and do get a stone of alliance.

Animal companions do not themselves 'have an animal companion' so I can't see that they could take beastmaster style even if they somehow had the 13 Cha required.

A second animal companion would have few effective levels & so little combat ability, right? So get a scout, something which flies. If it gets a second feat then combat reflexes and bodyguard give it something to do when it can't avoid a fight entirely.


avr wrote:

If your hunter won't be fighting maybe they can cast cure spells during a fight. That might extend the companion's effective hit points some. A rod of reach spell would help, and do get a stone of alliance.

Animal companions do not themselves 'have an animal companion' so I can't see that they could take beastmaster style even if they somehow had the 13 Cha required.

A second animal companion would have few effective levels & so little combat ability, right? So get a scout, something which flies. If it gets a second feat then combat reflexes and bodyguard give it something to do when it can't avoid a fight entirely.

There are ways to get two full scaling animal companions. If you really want to put a lot of effort into it you can have 4 scale fully up to mid-high levels after that they lose some of their potency.


doomman47 wrote:
avr wrote:

If your hunter won't be fighting maybe they can cast cure spells during a fight. That might extend the companion's effective hit points some. A rod of reach spell would help, and do get a stone of alliance.

Animal companions do not themselves 'have an animal companion' so I can't see that they could take beastmaster style even if they somehow had the 13 Cha required.

A second animal companion would have few effective levels & so little combat ability, right? So get a scout, something which flies. If it gets a second feat then combat reflexes and bodyguard give it something to do when it can't avoid a fight entirely.

There are ways to get two full scaling animal companions. If you really want to put a lot of effort into it you can have 4 scale fully up to mid-high levels after that they lose some of their potency.

It's possible to get all 4 to scale fully, you just have to be willing to take the feat boon companion 3 times.


doomman47 wrote:
Toolbag wrote:

Ok. I have a serious reply now.

Is the ankylosaurus eligible for the feats Endurance and Die Hard? (I personally don't like animal companions and usually shun them)

Endurance would give the cold-blooded dinosaur some helpful save vs. heat/cold while Die Hard would keep it alive after it reaches 0 HP so that you could heal it in some way.

Both and if you raise their int to 3 they can learn any.

Also dinos aren't cold blooded recent science believes they are a special mix of cold and warm blooded that allowed them to more properly regulate their body temperatures.

Die hard also doesn't do anything to keep you alive, it keeps you conscious.

Hhhmmmm. New science that I wasn't aware of. And my point to Die Hard was that it would be a way to call the dinosaur out of combat for much needed healing.


I do plan on using Boon Companion as many times as necessary to keep my two companions both fully leveled. I decided I should probably put both my Eye For Talent bonus and his 4th level bonus into Con, which nets him ~60 HP at 7 -- Mildly squishy, but not pathetically so.

As for a companion to go alongside him, what about something high Con, a beefy meat tank like the Uintathereum? 17 base Con plus 7th level bonuses makes him have approximately 85 HP at 7th level. And something like 22 Str.


Even with two Boon Companions, they'd start falling behind full-scale once you hit 9th level, wouldn't they? Are there other tricks to keep this going?


blahpers wrote:
Even with two Boon Companions, they'd start falling behind full-scale once you hit 9th level, wouldn't they? Are there other tricks to keep this going?

Not if you play your cards right, you can get 2-3 times your level for animal companion scaling so just divide that among multiple animal companions and you are good to go. Its feat intensive as in you will be devoting all your feats to do so but you will be able to have 4 fully scaling animal companions till about 15th level.


doomman47 wrote:
blahpers wrote:
Even with two Boon Companions, they'd start falling behind full-scale once you hit 9th level, wouldn't they? Are there other tricks to keep this going?
Not if you play your cards right, you can get 2-3 times your level for animal companion scaling so just divide that among multiple animal companions and you are good to go. Its feat intensive as in you will be devoting all your feats to do so but you will be able to have 4 fully scaling animal companions till about 15th level.

Do you have time to post or link an example? I don't seem to be following the math required for this.


blahpers wrote:
doomman47 wrote:
blahpers wrote:
Even with two Boon Companions, they'd start falling behind full-scale once you hit 9th level, wouldn't they? Are there other tricks to keep this going?
Not if you play your cards right, you can get 2-3 times your level for animal companion scaling so just divide that among multiple animal companions and you are good to go. Its feat intensive as in you will be devoting all your feats to do so but you will be able to have 4 fully scaling animal companions till about 15th level.
Do you have time to post or link an example? I don't seem to be following the math required for this.

gaining the animal domain and the sylvan bloodline each grant you level -3 for animal companions meaning if you are playing a class with access to animal companions already you get level x3-6 progression with which you can take an archetype to get more than one companion with for nearly full scaling and if you take 4 and use one as a mount you can take horse master and have it scale with your character level meaning with boon companion x2 and horse master you now have 4 full scaling animal companions you could even take a 5th if you don't mind weakening them slightly.


blahpers wrote:
Even with two Boon Companions, they'd start falling behind full-scale once you hit 9th level, wouldn't they? Are there other tricks to keep this going?

It depends on if you're willing to multiclass or not. If you're not willing to multiclass you could take Beast Rider it would grant another +2 per animal companion but it severely limits what you can pick.

However, if you're willing to take a 4 level "dip" in cavalier you can take the feat horsemaster, which despite it's name doesn't require you to have a horse as an animal companion.

Alternatively, you can do a 4 level "dip" in oracle[nature or lunar] and take feat animal ally. Once you have animal ally you then take the feat extra revelation in order to gain the oracle ability which grants you an animal companion (effectively replicating the effects of boon companion and giving you a bigger range of animal companion options). The downside to this approach is that it means you don't get an animal companion of any sort until 4th level (assuming you retrain a feat into the animal ally feat).

Taking either of these options means you only need to take boon companion once since it will allow your animal companion to progress regardless what you take levels in.

For 4 full progression animal companions you're looking at a build like the following

Beast Knight (Oracle/Hunter/Cavalier/Inquisitor)

Spoiler:

Key concepts: An inquisitor with multiple powerful beasts
Key Stats: Charisma (Oracle) & Wisdom (Inquisitor)
Race: Human
Racial Traits: Eye for Quality and heart of the fey
Class: Oracle (4), Cavalier (1), Inquisitor (3), Hunter (1), Mammoth Rider(1), Cavalier (3), Inquisitor (X)
Archetype(s): Packmaster (Hunter), Mother’s Fang (Cavalier), Sacred Huntsmaster (Inquisitor)
Mystery: Nature or Lunar
Revelations: Nature: Nature’s Whispers (1st), Natural Divination (3rd), Bonded Mount (5th)
Lunar: Prophetic Armor (1st), Eye of the Moon(3rd), Primal Companion (5th)
Key Curse: Lycanthropy (wolves)
Other Curses: Covetous, Deep One, Tongues, Shadow Bound
Domain: Chivalry Inquisition
Key Feats: Nature Soul (1st), Animal Ally (4th), Extra Revelation(5th), Boon Companion(7th), Boon Companion(9th), Horse Master(13th),Boon Companion(15th), Boon Companion(17th)

At 20th level this build gives you 79 effective druid levels which you could split among 4 animal companions to have 3.95 full leveled animal companions. As a side benefit all of them are huge and can be options from the mammoth rider list.

edit: I was wrong you need to take boon companion 4 times with this build and you still end up 1 level off. This can be fixed by swapping out mammoth rider with another level in inquisitor but IMO the level in mammoth rider is better.


Oof, I totally missed the fact that I can't stack Boon Companion... I was planning to go Hunter most or all of the way if possible.

Are there ways as a human to keep my two companions effective and viable for longer without multi classing? If not, what's the most minimal multi classing to keep just two companions scaled?


Kiesman wrote:

Oof, I totally missed the fact that I can't stack Boon Companion... I was planning to go Hunter most or all of the way if possible.

Are there ways as a human to keep my two companions effective and viable for longer without multi classing? If not, what's the most minimal multi classing to keep just two companions scaled?

Well, it's against the RAI (but not RAW) and so I would ask for DM permission to do this. But you could take exotic heritage and eldrtich heritage[sylvan]. This will give you an animal companion equal to your level - 5. So, these two feats, along with boon companion gives you an animal companion that will scale with you (Character level -1) without having to multiclass. There's a few feats that can increase your effective druid level but in general they aren't as good as boon companion, since they impose additional restrictions and they only give an extra +1.

Otherwise, I would recommend taking the 4 level dip in cavalier and grabbing the horse master and boon companion feats. Cavalier synergizes well with hunter(see the tactician ability) making the 4 level hit a lot less painful. It's also, fewer feats (2 instead of 3) and it makes both animal companions equal to your level instead of one of them being behind by 1. Unfortunately your mount choices will be limited unless you take an archetype, feat, prestige class, etc. that grants additional options.


Cool, thank you so much for finding that for me! I'll probably be taking the Eldritch Heritage [Sylvan(Fey)] route, since for this character's concept he's not going to be doing much (or ideally, any) fighting on his own, so I don't need my feats for myself. I also don't want to be restricted by a mount.

Doesn't it only take 2 feats? Exotic Heritage + Eldritch Heritage?


Kiesman wrote:

Cool, thank you so much for finding that for me! I'll probably be taking the Eldritch Heritage [Sylvan(Fey)] route, since for this character's concept he's not going to be doing much (or ideally, any) fighting on his own, so I don't need my feats for myself. I also don't want to be restricted by a mount.

Doesn't it only take 2 feats? Exotic Heritage + Eldritch Heritage?

Well, the bloodline ability gives you an animal companion equal to your sorcerer level -3. Eldritch heritage Says you get the bloodline ability you pick but your effective sorcerer level is -2. So, taken together you're left at a -5 (min of 1). So, you will still want to take boon companion to offset this penalty, though doing so still leaves you at a -1.


doomman47 wrote:
blahpers wrote:
doomman47 wrote:
blahpers wrote:
Even with two Boon Companions, they'd start falling behind full-scale once you hit 9th level, wouldn't they? Are there other tricks to keep this going?
Not if you play your cards right, you can get 2-3 times your level for animal companion scaling so just divide that among multiple animal companions and you are good to go. Its feat intensive as in you will be devoting all your feats to do so but you will be able to have 4 fully scaling animal companions till about 15th level.
Do you have time to post or link an example? I don't seem to be following the math required for this.
gaining the animal domain and the sylvan bloodline each grant you level -3 for animal companions meaning if you are playing a class with access to animal companions already you get level x3-6 progression with which you can take an archetype to get more than one companion with for nearly full scaling and if you take 4 and use one as a mount you can take horse master and have it scale with your character level meaning with boon companion x2 and horse master you now have 4 full scaling animal companions you could even take a 5th if you don't mind weakening them slightly.

I see; I misunderstood you as saying that this was possible with packmaster rather than multiple single-companion classes. Carry on!


blahpers wrote:
doomman47 wrote:
blahpers wrote:
doomman47 wrote:
blahpers wrote:
Even with two Boon Companions, they'd start falling behind full-scale once you hit 9th level, wouldn't they? Are there other tricks to keep this going?
Not if you play your cards right, you can get 2-3 times your level for animal companion scaling so just divide that among multiple animal companions and you are good to go. Its feat intensive as in you will be devoting all your feats to do so but you will be able to have 4 fully scaling animal companions till about 15th level.
Do you have time to post or link an example? I don't seem to be following the math required for this.
gaining the animal domain and the sylvan bloodline each grant you level -3 for animal companions meaning if you are playing a class with access to animal companions already you get level x3-6 progression with which you can take an archetype to get more than one companion with for nearly full scaling and if you take 4 and use one as a mount you can take horse master and have it scale with your character level meaning with boon companion x2 and horse master you now have 4 full scaling animal companions you could even take a 5th if you don't mind weakening them slightly.
I see; I misunderstood you as saying that this was possible with packmaster rather than multiple single-companion classes. Carry on!

Well with exotic heritage and vmc cleric it can be done with either pack masters for the most part.

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