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Second Edition

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My issue with Minion actions is more with animal companions than summons. The explanation we got for summons that they require 1 action to concentrate to keep the spell going or manually controlling the creature's movement is enough for me to accept it.

That living animals who are not magical in any way and have some measure of intelligence follow the exact same system, though, that's where things fall apart.

Sure, summons and Animal Companions are both "minions" in that they obey you, but I would say "persistent pets" can't just operate the same way as "temporarily conjured summons".


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Don't all the animal companion classes eventually get a "even if you don't use an action for your AC, it still gets 1 action to stride or strike"?

I feel like the issue with ACs is that they are animals, and if you're not telling them to do something they are just going to do normal animal stuff... which is probably not combat.

I'm just curious how things like Eidolons and Phantoms are going to work with this, since those things are much smarter than animals and in a sense have a telepathic bond with you.


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ChibiNyan wrote:


Sure, summons and Animal Companions are both "minions" in that they obey you, but I would say "persistent pets" can't just operate the same way as "temporarily conjured summons".

They don't. Per page 416, "If given no commands, minions use no actions except to defend themselves or escape obvious harm." The animal companion acts under its own accord and does whatever your GM thinks is most appropriate for it to do.

Your objections to the minion trait seem to keep coming back to ignoring this particular bit.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:

Don't all the animal companion classes eventually get a "even if you don't use an action for your AC, it still gets 1 action to stride or strike"?

I feel like the issue with ACs is that they are animals, and if you're not telling them to do something they are just going to do normal animal stuff... which is probably not combat.

I'm just curious how things like Eidolons and Phantoms are going to work with this, since those things are much smarter than animals and in a sense have a telepathic bond with you.

"Eventually, for a feat" is a steep cost to get some semblance of verisimilitude. If this was automatic for all pets then it would be a pretty good step forward.

People here really think animals are stupid and useless. If anything, real animals trained to attack will attack to the best of their ability unless told to stop rather than stop every 5 seconds unless told to attack.
I realize we probably can't get a system like that because I guess it would be "too good" (presumably, in this edition where numbers matter less than level), but also doesn't mean have to go the total opposite.

Also, I liked the "tricks" system which gave the GM a lot of control in making the animal feel real rather than just "a second PC". But I think now commanding gives you full control of the 2 actions?

I feel like this system is going backwards. 5E also had pretty dumb companions on launch, but the revised Ranger one is pretty good and balanced without all these restrictions.

TO CAPTAIN MORGAN EDIT: So do they get all 3 actions to do that? That part needs to be codified or it's so vague as to be unusable. How doe sit interact with the feat that gives them 1 action? That line just makes it confusing.


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Fundamentally the decision tree for uncommanded animal companions seems like:

If a scary thing is near you, hit it to drive it away or run away if it's too scary.

Otherwise, just watch what's going on, find a good place to hide, lick your paws, go see what your friend is doing, etc.

Fundamentally the disconnect I struggle with is if your animal companion tiger had never even met your druid, in a fight it would have 3 actions, so would be able to stride, strike, then step. So when the druid isn't saying anything, when should I just run it as an NPC? If the druid has that feat that gives it one action, should I give it 1 action of the player's choice and 2 actions of "whatever I think it should do"? If the druid does command it, what happens to the remaining action- is it spent listening or do I still have it?


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ChibiNyan wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:

Don't all the animal companion classes eventually get a "even if you don't use an action for your AC, it still gets 1 action to stride or strike"?

I feel like the issue with ACs is that they are animals, and if you're not telling them to do something they are just going to do normal animal stuff... which is probably not combat.

I'm just curious how things like Eidolons and Phantoms are going to work with this, since those things are much smarter than animals and in a sense have a telepathic bond with you.

"Eventually, for a feat" is a steep cost to get some semblance of verisimilitude. If this was automatic for all pets then it would be a pretty good step forward.

People here really think animals are stupid and useless. If anything, real animals trained to attack will attack to the best of their ability unless told to stop rather than stop every 5 seconds unless told to attack.
I realize we probably can't get a system like that because I guess it would be "too good" (presumably, in this edition where numbers matter less than level), but also doesn't mean have to go the total opposite.

Also, I liked the "tricks" system which gave the GM a lot of control in making the animal feel real rather than just "a second PC". But I think now commanding gives you full control of the 2 actions?

I feel like this system is going backwards. 5E also had pretty dumb companions on launch, but the revised Ranger one is pretty good and balanced without all these restrictions.

TO CAPTAIN MORGAN EDIT: So do they get all 3 actions to do that? That part needs to be codified or it's so vague as to be unusable. How doe sit interact with the feat that gives them 1 action? That line just makes it confusing.

They get however many actions the GM deems appropriate. There are probably relatively few situations where a GM will have a creature attack 3 times, since most animals approach other threats with caution. A wolverine enraged might, for example. But if it is fleeing a fire elemental or something, 3 actions to run away seems more than fair. I'm not really sure what the qualitative difference are between this and the GM discretion the "tricks" you miss.

The 1 action thing allows the player to assert control of their animal companion for a single action, rather than leaving it up to the GM if they stay or go or what have you. (Within the actions the animal knows, of course. To pull fancier stunts you need use the Train Animal feat.)

We've been running a cavalier for months now and we have yet to have any major problems with verisimilitude or disagreements for how the horse would operate in the moment, even when it is separated from its rider.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:

Don't all the animal companion classes eventually get a "even if you don't use an action for your AC, it still gets 1 action to stride or strike"?

I feel like the issue with ACs is that they are animals, and if you're not telling them to do something they are just going to do normal animal stuff... which is probably not combat.

I'm just curious how things like Eidolons and Phantoms are going to work with this, since those things are much smarter than animals and in a sense have a telepathic bond with you.

I feel that there should at least be an ability to train certain basic behaviors. An ‘attack’ behavior would be move the shortest distance and attack, or attack twice. They wouldn’t be able to use their ‘Work Together’ since that takes actual coordination.

If you could train basic behaviors then that would make the feat much more valuable, since then an animal told to ‘attack’ could actually use that one action to ‘Work Together’ where they couldn’t before.

The issue with the Minion action trade at the moment is that it feels too polarizing. You command the animal to do something or it sits there unmotivated. This oddness gets spotlighted if you threw your companion into a group of enemies and couldn’t give it an action on the following turn.


My untrained dogs defend me more fiercely than these Animal Companions...


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It feels like the "attack to kill something that is fighting back" is a pretty unnatural thing for an animal. In nature animals fight to kill things which are generally fleeing rather than fighting (wolves bring down caribou, not bears), and when you have two aggressive animals they usually just try to drive the other one away.

So it seems like the thing the animal should not do on its own, is "keep fighting the monster until it dies" but a big cat would absolutely run the "hide, pounce, re-hide" game if left to its own devices.

Standing near someone and trading blows until someone is incapable of continuing is a pretty human (etc.) thing to do.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:

Fundamentally the decision tree for uncommanded animal companions seems like:

If a scary thing is near you, hit it to drive it away or run away if it's too scary.

Otherwise, just watch what's going on, find a good place to hide, lick your paws, go see what your friend is doing, etc.

Fundamentally the disconnect I struggle with is if your animal companion tiger had never even met your druid, in a fight it would have 3 actions, so would be able to stride, strike, then step. So when the druid isn't saying anything, when should I just run it as an NPC? If the druid has that feat that gives it one action, should I give it 1 action of the player's choice and 2 actions of "whatever I think it should do"? If the druid does command it, what happens to the remaining action- is it spent listening or do I still have it?

I think the big difference is how predators attack prey vs other predators. A tiger (whether it is an NPC or animal companion) hunting deer will catch that deer and kill it as quickly and thoroughly as possible, using all 3 actions to do so. The deer doesn't pose enough of a threat to act otherwise.

But if it got into a fight with a tiger or another bear, it is going to approach the fight much more cautiously. Animals don't get their Wounds Treated or Healed, and injury that makes it harder to hunt can be a death sentence. So when a tiger is confronted by a threat, it is going to lose an some amount of actions just staring the threat down, snarling at it, and looking for an opening.

The difference between the NPC tiger and the animal companion is largely the context we see them in. An NPC tiger is attacking the PCs because it sees them as easy prey. The animal companion has been trained not to just attack everything that looks like easy prey, and will more than likely be on the defensive here.

Now if your pet tiger were to wind up in a grapple with another tiger, as a GM I'd almost certainly have it act as a cat does when fighting another cat and have the two go at it with all 3 actions until one tries to break away from the other.


I mean, Animal Companions aren’t meant to be regular animals though right? As in they have spent time with you and bonded with you on a personal enough level to never try and attack you in your sleep, and listen to your commands w/o a check. Treating them similar to an attack dog would probably seem more appropriate. There is something to be said about running in fear though, and i think that should be more the exception than the rule. To the animal you are part of its pack, so it running just for being ‘scared’ seems wrong.


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ChibiNyan wrote:
My untrained dogs defend me more fiercely than these Animal Companions...

That is almost certainly not true unless your dogs have actually killed someone. And there's a pretty narrow range of scenarios where your dog could kill someone and not be put down by requirement under the law. Like killing a home invader.


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Pumpkinhead11 wrote:
I mean, Animal Companions aren’t meant to be regular animals though right? As in they have spent time with you and bonded with you on a personal enough level to never try and attack you in your sleep, and listen to your commands w/o a check. Treating them similar to an attack dog would probably seem more appropriate. There is something to be said about running in fear though, and i think that should be more the exception than the rule. To the animal you are part of its pack, so it running just for being ‘scared’ seems wrong.

Again, context is important. I'm not saying your wolf is going to flee because of a bandit or another wolf, but a fire elemental? A being literally made of fire that burns you for coming within 10 feet of it? That's not something I can see most animals sticking around in melee for sans direct commands. Maybe the animal doesn't run for the hills and keep running, but backing off an appropriate distance certainly seems reasonable.


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Captain Morgan wrote:
ChibiNyan wrote:
My untrained dogs defend me more fiercely than these Animal Companions...
That is almost certainly not true unless your dogs have actually killed someone. And there's a pretty narrow range of scenarios where your dog could kill someone and not be put down by requirement under the law. Like killing a home invader.

By fiercely I mean in determination, not effect. Of course they're not much compared to a Wolf or dinosaur AC in power. However, they will jump in to defend me if I'm under attack and probably use several actions in the process.

The joke was a jab at how people here keep saying the Animal Companion would just "run away" and abandon you mid-fight like that's completely natural.


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Captain Morgan wrote:
Pumpkinhead11 wrote:
I mean, Animal Companions aren’t meant to be regular animals though right? As in they have spent time with you and bonded with you on a personal enough level to never try and attack you in your sleep, and listen to your commands w/o a check. Treating them similar to an attack dog would probably seem more appropriate. There is something to be said about running in fear though, and i think that should be more the exception than the rule. To the animal you are part of its pack, so it running just for being ‘scared’ seems wrong.
Again, context is important. I'm not saying your wolf is going to flee because of a bandit or another wolf, but a fire elemental? A being literally made of fire that burns you for coming within 10 feet of it? That's not something I can see most animals sticking around in melee for sans direct commands. Maybe the animal doesn't run for the hills and keep running, but backing off an appropriate distance certainly seems reasonable.

A fire elemental would be an exception to the rule; unless you’re on the plane of fire. In which case fluffy needs to get her act together and stop being a little scaredy cat.

Also on the part of context, if the animal is getting healed by the druid and has fire resistant gear on, i can see it being scared the first time or two, but after a certain point it should feel safe enough to jump into the maws of the unknown with me at its back unless it gets intimidated.

I’m not saying i disagree with your post, but there is the danger of too much GM control and subjective interpretation that can potentially drag down the usefulness or fun of the class feature. In the example you gave, if you did something like that to my AC i’d be a bit miffed and ask what’s up. You’d give the reasonable excuse of a sentient ball of campfire is unnatural and scary. We’d end up agreeing and moving on with the game. The real fear comes from a player and GM that can’t see eye to eye; the player will always lose out.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

So the verdict of "the companion runs away a bit" shows why the GM discretion rule is so terrible.

That rule makes not commanding your Animal Companion to be nine times in ten worth negative actions and never an option. If my raptor runs its speed away from combat everytime I have something I want to do personally with my 3rd action then you've seriously nerfed it as I also have to bring the little blighter back into melee each time I want to use it. Or worse, I have to bring myself back because my mount wandered away.

Highlighting this rule as if it is some kind of advantage is honestly ridiculous.
IT IS A BAD RULE.


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I would not make the companion have the 3 actions if not commanded because it can give it situations that it would be better not command it.

1 action to be like the feat but with this pattern and have it after the master turn in that order:

- Get out of the pool of acid (joke)
- If low on HP run away (around 1/3 of hp I think would be enough).
- Attack the last thing that attacked it.
- Attack/move to the same target than the master attacked.


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I feel like the ability to command your wolf to do something it would never normally do (e.g. bite the fire elemental 2 times) and the eventual ability where your wolf will do stuff like that without you telling it to is what makes your animal companion "not a regular animal".

Well, that, and how big it gets.


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Pumpkinhead11 wrote:
I’m not saying i disagree with your post, but there is the danger of too much GM control and subjective interpretation that can potentially drag down the usefulness or fun of the class feature. In the example you gave, if you did something like that to my AC i’d be a bit miffed and ask what’s up. You’d give the reasonable excuse of a sentient ball of campfire is unnatural and scary. We’d end up agreeing and moving on with the game. The real fear comes from a player and GM that can’t see eye to eye; the player will always lose out.

There's definitely some danger here, but GM's discretion is always going to be a thing with rule 0 in place. And players treating their animal companions as robots with 100% battefield efficiency is a very real problem I've encountered.

Malk_Content wrote:

So the verdict of "the companion runs away a bit" shows why the GM discretion rule is so terrible.

That rule makes not commanding your Animal Companion to be nine times in ten worth negative actions and never an option. If my raptor runs its speed away from combat everytime I have something I want to do personally with my 3rd action then you've seriously nerfed it as I also have to bring the little blighter back into melee each time I want to use it. Or worse, I have to bring myself back because my mount wandered away.

Highlighting this rule as if it is some kind of advantage is honestly ridiculous.
IT IS A BAD RULE.

I never said it was an advantage. The complaint I was responding to verisimilitude-- people insisting that animal companions wouldn't act like animals. They do, per RAW, but sometimes acting like an animal isn't an advantage.

I honestly don't have that big a stake in arguing whether this rule is good or not. But as has been much discussed, what best emulates reality vs what makes for the best game experience are often wildly divergent. My point was about the former, not the latter.


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Using the tiger vs prey example::

* wild tiger, uses its 3 actions to hide and/or stride/step. When ready it uses 1 actions to stride/step and 2 to strikes

* AC tiger, when told uses 2 actions to hide and/2 stride/step. When told it uses 1 actions to stride/step and 1 to strike.

The AC is suddenly suddenly can't use instinct, and it can't kill its prey.


Using the tiger vs tiger example::

* 2 wild tigers, both use 1 action to intimitdate/diplomacy/"sense motive", uses 1 action to step and uses 1 action for defense. When ready to attack one of them would use 1 action to stride and 2 to attack.

* AC tiger vs wild tiger, AC tiger would use 1 action to intimidate and 1 to step or defend; the wild tiger would act like before. When told the AC would stride and strike, the wild tiger would stride and do 2 strikes.

The AC would most likely die vs the wild tiger since its unable to defend itself or killing the other tiger.

The defense rule while better than no rule, doesn't fix the problem. The AC is still limited to 2 actions unless they get a feat, and the rule is ambiguous enough that it might result in an AC running away when they can clearly kill the enemy or stand there while the lone enemy attacks its friend/master (because they didnt say anything).


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I guess one solution would be to limited to two actions as long as you have a minion, but the minion always has access to two actions?


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Captain Morgan wrote:


Pumpkinhead11 wrote:
I’m not saying i disagree with your post, but there is the danger of too much GM control and subjective interpretation that can potentially drag down the usefulness or fun of the class feature. In the example you gave, if you did something like that to my AC i’d be a bit miffed and ask what’s up. You’d give the reasonable excuse of a sentient ball of campfire is unnatural and scary. We’d end up agreeing and moving on with the game. The real fear comes from a player and GM that can’t see eye to eye; the player will always lose out.

There's definitely some danger here, but GM's discretion is always going to be a thing with rule 0 in place. And players treating their animal companions as robots with 100% battefield efficiency is a very real problem I've encountered.

Malk_Content wrote:

So the verdict of "the companion runs away a bit" shows why the GM discretion rule is so terrible.

That rule makes not commanding your Animal Companion to be nine times in ten worth negative actions and never an option. If my raptor runs its speed away from combat everytime I have something I want to do personally with my 3rd action then you've seriously nerfed it as I also have to bring the little blighter back into melee each time I want to use it. Or worse, I have to bring myself back because my mount wandered away.

Highlighting this rule as if it is some kind of advantage is honestly ridiculous.
IT IS A BAD RULE.

I never said it was an advantage. The complaint I was responding to verisimilitude-- people insisting that animal companions wouldn't act like animals. They do, per RAW, but sometimes acting like an animal isn't an advantage.

I honestly don't have that big a stake in arguing whether this rule is good or not. But as has been much discussed, what best emulates reality vs what makes for the best game experience are often wildly divergent. My point was about the former, not the latter.

They weren't asking them to act like Animals. They were asking them to act like autonomous beings. In fact the arguement has been made a couple of times already that they shouldn't act like regular animals because they aren't. At worst they should act like well trained real life animals, because their ability to process precise commands indicates they are well trained and the fact that past low levels you have an horse that has likely beaten many things to death with its hooves.

So I think without any additional guidance it sucks as both a verisimilitude rule and a balance/mechanical rule.


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Malk_Content wrote:

They weren't asking them to act like Animals. They were asking them to act like autonomous beings. In fact the arguement has been made a couple of times already that they shouldn't act like regular animals because they aren't. At worst they should act like well trained real life animals, because their ability to process precise commands indicates they are well trained and the fact that past low levels you have an horse that has likely beaten many things to death with its hooves.

So I think without any additional guidance it sucks as both a verisimilitude rule and a balance/mechanical rule.

Autonomous beings mean they get to choose their own actions, rather than simply being an extension of their owners will. There's an inherent conflict between the ideas that they are autonomous and they will always do exactly what is tactically optimal. I'm also not saying an animal companion will never defend its master or utilize 3 actions in combat. I am saying what it does when not commanded will depend on context and the final decision rests with the GM, and I don't personally have a problem with that.

Anyway, I think this line of argument has basically run its course, as far as complaining about one line from the playtest that may or may not have changed in the final version. I'd suggest instead coming up with alternative rules for running animal companions. That at least might inspire some folks to fix what they consider a problem in their own game. Personally, I'm not sure what that looks like without causing the action economy imbalances of PF1, but I'm happy to at least offer feedback on other people's ideas.


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The way my group (I'm the GM) handles the concept of controlling your AC:
First of all we understand that the needing to spend an action is entirely for game balance

Unless the owner is changing the target or the type of actions that the AC is doing we still have the owner spend the action (For balance) but we role play it as the pet continuing to act without orders.
And on the not getting an action when the owner doesn't spend the action, If something is actively attacking attacking the AC I give it one free attack unless its really hurt in which case it moves its speed away from the enemy (Usually towards the owner if its safe). if its being hurt by something environmental (or an aura like that of a fire elemental). If neither of those thing are true it does nothing and we RP it as a moment of hesitation a turn is only 6 seconds after all. In my games at least AC don't go without "orders" very often less than once per combat.

In my opinion if something needs to happen a certain way for the sake of number balance, then we should work on a way for it to make sense in the RP of the situation. And so far everyone at my table seems to accept the AC as a real animal and not a robot and a way to boost that more is to either have the owner if they want or the GM role play the animal as well describing what its doing in social situations as much as in combat.


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Lady Wrath wrote:

The way my group (I'm the GM) handles the concept of controlling your AC:

First of all we understand that the needing to spend an action is entirely for game balance

Unless the owner is changing the target or the type of actions that the AC is doing we still have the owner spend the action (For balance) but we role play it as the pet continuing to act without orders.
And on the not getting an action when the owner doesn't spend the action, If something is actively attacking attacking the AC I give it one free attack unless its really hurt in which case it moves its speed away from the enemy (Usually towards the owner if its safe). if its being hurt by something environmental (or an aura like that of a fire elemental). If neither of those thing are true it does nothing and we RP it as a moment of hesitation a turn is only 6 seconds after all. In my games at least AC don't go without "orders" very often less than once per combat.

In my opinion if something needs to happen a certain way for the sake of number balance, then we should work on a way for it to make sense in the RP of the situation. And so far everyone at my table seems to accept the AC as a real animal and not a robot and a way to boost that more is to either have the owner if they want or the GM role play the animal as well describing what its doing in social situations as much as in combat.

I agree with this post in general, but I that bolded sentence really hits home for me and articulates something I've gotten frustrated with. People oftentimes see something that gives them pause and then don't use their imagination to try and understand why these things might work this way in fiction. And quite often it isn't hard to come up with these answers.

Oftentimes they instead construct these strawmen scenarios. Here's a literal strawman example: I've seen some pretty negative opinion on the old natural 1 fumble house rule. One person posited that a soldier attacking a practice dummy would be having their sword fly out of their grip 5% of the time, every 20 or swings, every couple of minutes. But this ignores that fighting a practice dummy isn't combat, and a natural 1 can be an enemy capitalizing and knocking the sword from your hand as much as you actually losing your grip on it or doing something incompetent. The soldiers attacking practice dummies shouldn't be rolling, full stop. But instead of imagining that, it makes more sense to imagine a training yard to look like a Three Stooges bit?


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Taking a look at the 1.6 update, it looks like there’s a possibility Rangers will have a build path that synergizes with the AC action economy. The Precision path gave an extra d6 on the first strike against your marked target, and Twin Takedown and Hunted Shot are two attacks for a single action. So a Rangers turn might turn into: Mark, Hunted Shot (two attacks), command AC. Each subsequent turn you can move and still shoot twice while you give your AC commands.

The Druid should be fine with: Cast spell, command AC.

There might be better rules for balance and fluff, but as long as Ranger doesn’t feel like a constant juggling act and like a regular character then i think most players will be okay with it.


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Umm... wow. I thought I was gonna read about 2nd edition spoilers from UK Expo, but got to read about the action economy of minions, summons, and the verisimilitude of their action economy and how to use the rules for those things in the playtest instead... when those things weren't even really spoiled for 2nd edition yet, as far as I can tell. The images I saw from UK Expo didn't really explain that, at least.

Liberty's Edge

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Spellmonger wrote:
Umm... wow. I thought I was gonna read about 2nd edition spoilers from UK Expo, but got to read about the action economy of minions, summons, and the verisimilitude of their action economy and how to use the rules for those things in the playtest instead... when those things weren't even really spoiled for 2nd edition yet, as far as I can tell. The images I saw from UK Expo didn't really explain that, at least.

The spoilers from the UK Expo include the page stating that Familiars have the Minion Trait and what that Trait does. It's thus actually somewhat on topic.

Technically we don't know that Animal Companions likewise have Minion, but they did in the playtest, so it's very possible.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
Spellmonger wrote:
Umm... wow. I thought I was gonna read about 2nd edition spoilers from UK Expo, but got to read about the action economy of minions, summons, and the verisimilitude of their action economy and how to use the rules for those things in the playtest instead... when those things weren't even really spoiled for 2nd edition yet, as far as I can tell. The images I saw from UK Expo didn't really explain that, at least.

The spoilers from the UK Expo include the page stating that Familiars have the Minion Trait and what that Trait does. It's thus actually somewhat on topic.

Technically we don't know that Animal Companions likewise have Minion, but they did in the playtest, so it's very possible.

You could read that through the glare on the page...? Impressive.

Liberty's Edge

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Spellmonger wrote:
You could read that through the glare on the page...? Impressive.

The glare is on different parts of the two images, you can piece it together switching back and forth.


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Thanks Captain Morgan its nice to have someone like you agree with something I said, that sentence is the most important part of the game to me and if I knew how to bold things I likely would have done it myself. I also get frustrated when people come up with crazy edge cases to make a rule look bad.


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Lady Wrath wrote:
Thanks Captain Morgan its nice to have someone like you agree with something I said, that sentence is the most important part of the game to me and if I knew how to bold things I likely would have done it myself. I also get frustrated when people come up with crazy edge cases to make a rule look bad.

No problem, Lady Wrath. Not sure what "someone like me" qualifies as but I'll take it as a compliment. :) That really is a perfect distillation of something that has been bothering me for a while.


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Explanations I like for the "why would my AC have less actions if it's acting on its own" and "why does the 'one action stride or strike when not commanding' cause it to only have one action" arguments:

First one, the AC doesn't KNOW you aren't going to command it until, well, you don't. It's trained to expect and follow your commands, so if you aren't commanding then naturally it would have a certain amount of hesitance as it waits for your commands before realizing you're too occupied and acting on its own. This is manifested as losing one or two of the three actions it would normally have.

Second one, the AC is now so in tune with you that even if you don't command it, it can still observe you and deduce what you would want it to do. But dping so is obviously less time-efficient than just following your commands or acting on its own, so it only gets in one action (but that action is in line with your wishes rather than being reactionary to the situation at hand).

And lastly, to the dislike of GM adjucation, as always I kinda get where it comes from but my gosh, the rules CANNOT FULLY ACCOUNT FOR BAD GMs.
If a rule doesn't work well with a bad GM, I'm sorry but that doesn't make the rule bad! Frankly the game overall doesn't work well with a bad GM because rule 0 is and needs to be a thing!

Bleh. Sorry if I sound harsh, but the merit of rules being argued by how they would play with a bad GM bugs the heck out of me. The game is designed around decent or good GMs, if you have a bad GM your problems extend beyond anything in the system.


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@Captain Morgan: You just seem like a smart reasonable person who posts here a lot and I tend to agree with you.

@Edge93: It does get so annoying to see over and over the bad GM argument. I'm sure people have had bad GMs (Hell I've had bad GMs), But there is a super simple list of things you can do if you think your GM is bad
1. Talk to your GM about the thing that bothered you and see if it can be fixed
2. If that doesn't work, DON'T PLAY WITH THAT GM and if its a friend whose just a bad GM see if the other players feels the same way and if they do just have someone else GM

Also I don't think what you said was harsh at all


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Not exactly satisfied with "the player has to do mental gymnastics to make sense of this" as the conclusion of why animal companions operate so poorly. Was there even alternative ideas for balancing them?

Also, I'm on the camp that the PC should not control the exact movements of their animal companion. The "trick" system was their interface which made them not be tactically optimal. The issue to me was how they could get huge stats and pounce, not the action system.


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I mean, as a player you can do some things that will not fix, but at least minimize the problems a bad GM creates. So if your GM makes minions useless, and you know this, you can just avoid investing in an animal companion or summoning. Plenty of strong characters have no minions after all.

It's sort of like illusions in PF1. With some GMs, illusions are useless, and with others they are incredibly powerful. I wouldn't play an illusionist with a GM I don't know or know to be someone who makes illusions useless.


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ChibiNyan wrote:
Not exactly satisfied with "the player has to do mental gymnastics to make sense of this" as the conclusion of why animal companions operate so poorly. Was there even alternative ideas for balancing them?

I'm not sure taking 5 minutes to come up with a flavor explanation that makes sense for a mechanic that doesn't immediately fit the knee-jerk assumption of how things should work qualifies as "mental gymnastics".


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
It's sort of like illusions in PF1. With some GMs, illusions are useless, and with others they are incredibly powerful. I wouldn't play an illusionist with a GM I don't know or know to be someone who makes illusions useless.

While good advice, that's not really a good thing from a design perspective. You shouldn't feel like you can't play a character because you aren't sure the GM will strike a good balance in the way the rule how a certain feature interacts.

Saying "It's the same as illusions in Pathfinder" is saying that the PF2 is failing as a system to properly equip GMs to handle these abilities... and ideally design failures are things you address before the game gets published instead of just shrugging and worrying about it later, which is another problem PF1 really struggled with.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I don't think it is fair to call the counter arguments edge cases, when the case argued against was the proposed usage of the rule. A GM who rules consistently is going to have these issues constantly with a companion user.

I'm also not making an argument based on someone being a bad GM. Saying your Animal walks away from the fight is totally reasonable, but it is a mega nerf. Conversely an overly nice GM can read the same rule and have your Companion make three strikes against the last enemy that hit it as a reading of "defends itself" and thus mega buffs Companions to the point where you don't need to use any actions at all to have them do what you want most of the time.

And Edge that maybe works for before the Companion recieves any order, but even the most well trained real life (and thus hopefully the lowest benchmark for capability in our fantasy game) don't stop for 4s out of every 6s to make sure they should keep on chasing the guy they were told to chase. In fact they are normally trained to a degree that they don't have to "actively listen" for commands but react to them when they come. Currently Companions are as smart as my idiot King Charles Spaniel.


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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Characters with animal companions already have four actions per round between them when commanding the animal. Do these players really need to be a rules lawyer or amateur park ranger to eke out one or two more actions per round?

This thread makes me really happy to have the players that I do; I think I'll tell them how much I appreciate them the next time we play.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Fumarole wrote:

Characters with animal companions already have four actions per round between them when commanding the animal. Do these players really need to be a rules lawyer or amateur park ranger to eke out one or two more actions per round?

This thread makes me really happy to have the players that I do; I think I'll tell them how much I appreciate them the next time we play.

I'm not trying to eke out more actions. One of my issues is that there are NO action limits on the uncommanded Animal Companion, meaning it actually leaves space for rules lawyers to demand more actions. I originally advocated for a solution with four actions total regardless as a baseline.

The scope of interpretations of the rule means that the upper and lower bounds of possible Animal effectiveness are leagues apart.


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Fumarole wrote:
Do these players really need to be a rules lawyer

It has nothing to do with being a rules lawyer, though?

In fact you can't be a rules lawyer, because there is no rule. There isn't even a guideline. Without some system mastery, a player or GM won't even know what's a balanced answer to this question because the game gives the group no indications of what the designers think is an acceptable amount of power here.

I'm glad you have a steady group that all knows what to expect from each other but I don't see how thumbing your nose at people who don't necessarily have a consistent group of players or a consistent GM contributes anything positive here.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
I mean, as a player you can do some things that will not fix, but at least minimize the problems a bad GM creates. So if your GM makes minions useless, and you know this, you can just avoid investing in an animal companion or summoning. Plenty of strong characters have no minions after all.

Well "you know this" only AFTER you've played with them: meaning you are forced to have a bad time before you can do anything... So when you're like me and get a new dm all the time, I have to go through a lot of 'bad times' before I know not to ever play a minion class?

Squiggit wrote:
You shouldn't feel like you can't play a character because you aren't sure the GM will strike a good balance in the way the rule how a certain feature interacts.

*nods* When the rule is 'dm fiat', that just tells me it's more trouble than it's worth and to avoid it like the plague. 'Expect table variation' is the bane of those without a set group.

Malk_Content wrote:
And Edge that maybe works for before the Companion recieves any order, but even the most well trained real life (and thus hopefully the lowest benchmark for capability in our fantasy game) don't stop for 4s out of every 6s to make sure they should keep on chasing the guy they were told to chase. In fact they are normally trained to a degree that they don't have to "actively listen" for commands but react to them when they come. Currently Companions are as smart as my idiot King Charles Spaniel.

Yep, last time I watched COPS and they sent the dog after someone, it didn't let go and keep looking back at it's handler: it kept biting until commanded to stop.

Malk_Content wrote:

I'm not trying to eke out more actions. One of my issues is that there are NO action limits on the uncommanded Animal Companion, meaning it actually leaves space for rules lawyers to demand more actions. I originally advocated for a solution with four actions total regardless as a baseline.

The scope of interpretations of the rule means that the upper and lower bounds of possible Animal effectiveness are leagues apart.

Yep, vague 'dm fiat' 'rules' just encourage debate and argument. It's just begging for issues to come up. I assume that PFS will still be a focus here, so why set up rules that don't play so well with it?

Squiggit wrote:
I'm glad you have a steady group that all knows what to expect from each other but I don't see how thumbing your nose at people who don't necessarily have a consistent group of players or a consistent GM contributes anything positive here.

Yes, I see this a lot: people that assume you, of course, have a steady group and then already know how and why everything will play out with a group. Online play/PFS often makes this impossible and is seemingly overlooked by those that have always played in person with people they already know.


graystone wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
I mean, as a player you can do some things that will not fix, but at least minimize the problems a bad GM creates. So if your GM makes minions useless, and you know this, you can just avoid investing in an animal companion or summoning. Plenty of strong characters have no minions after all.
Well "you know this" only AFTER you've played with them: meaning you are forced to have a bad time before you can do anything... So when you're like me and get a new dm all the time, I have to go through a lot of 'bad times' before I know not to ever play a minion class?

I figure a good part of this is ameliorated since PF2 has some pretty generous retraining rules. As long as it's possible to change from an animal order druid to a storm druid (or whatever) you can fix stuff like this on the fly.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
graystone wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
I mean, as a player you can do some things that will not fix, but at least minimize the problems a bad GM creates. So if your GM makes minions useless, and you know this, you can just avoid investing in an animal companion or summoning. Plenty of strong characters have no minions after all.
Well "you know this" only AFTER you've played with them: meaning you are forced to have a bad time before you can do anything... So when you're like me and get a new dm all the time, I have to go through a lot of 'bad times' before I know not to ever play a minion class?
I figure a good part of this is ameliorated since PF2 has some pretty generous retraining rules. As long as it's possible to change from an animal order druid to a storm druid (or whatever) you can fix stuff like this on the fly.

If I joined a game to be a ranger with a animal companion and the dm accepted me as one, it's hard to call time out mid game and say: 'yeah, these animal companion rulings have sucked, so I want to refocus my character...'. Secondly, I made a character that I wanted: the fact that I can remake it into a character I DIDN'T want isn't a huge benefit IMO.

And my original point still stands: I HAVE to have a bad time before I know there's any issues with how a DM handles the animal companion. Either that or have a philosophical debate on what 'defend yourself' means in a wide variety of situations every time I want to use anything with the minion feature... IMO, the easier, safer and saner route is to just never take those features.


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Measuring by PFS standards is actually a good baseline. When PFS 2e games become a regular thing there should be one general standard that they are ruling by. This may end up not being an issue in the end, hopefully, but if it does become an issue with PFS games than it does need to be addressed. Hopefully both sides can agree on that.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Pumpkinhead11 wrote:
Measuring by PFS standards is actually a good baseline. When PFS 2e games become a regular thing there should be one general standard that they are ruling by. This may end up not being an issue in the end, hopefully, but if it does become an issue with PFS games than it does need to be addressed. Hopefully both sides can agree on that.

Will deffo keep an eye out on the PFS rules doc. I imagine it will be raised as an issue almost immediately so hopefully will get a swift ruling.


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Malk_Content wrote:
Pumpkinhead11 wrote:
Measuring by PFS standards is actually a good baseline. When PFS 2e games become a regular thing there should be one general standard that they are ruling by. This may end up not being an issue in the end, hopefully, but if it does become an issue with PFS games than it does need to be addressed. Hopefully both sides can agree on that.
Will deffo keep an eye out on the PFS rules doc. I imagine it will be raised as an issue almost immediately so hopefully will get a swift ruling.

As will I. While I don't play PFS, if they make a reasonable ruling for PFS it'll be an easy thing to ask new dm's if that follow it. Even if I'm not thrilled with it, it at least gives an actual starting point for debate: 'could we do it like the PFS rule but...'.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I’ve already got my houserule in mind. If unordered, an animal companion will typically growl and posture, making it obvious that it’s readying an action to attack anyone who moves or stays adjacent. (I will be granting it a reaction for this.) If it’s taking ranged damage, it will instead find cover. If the master is down unconscious or dead, they’ll get free control of their animal companion during the fight to keep them an active participant.


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graystone wrote:


And my original point still stands: I HAVE to have a bad time before I know there's any issues with how a DM handles the animal companion. Either that or have a philosophical debate on what 'defend yourself' means in a wide variety of situations every time I want to use anything with the minion feature... IMO, the easier, safer and saner route is to just never take those features.

One time, this is true, before you realize that an element of the rules requires a lot of collaboration between the GM and the player to make sure that it is fun for everyone, but once you do know that, you either avoid that element going into a new game with a new GM, or you bring it up when you are talking to them about joining their game and what character you are thinking of making.

For example, I absolutely love illusionist characters in PF1. But the system for determining how illusion spells work, collectively and for many individually is an absolute nightmare of subjective GM calls, because most of it is happening inside of character's heads. Even though it is one of my favorite characters to play, I don't play it when we have someone new to the GM chair, and when playing with a more experienced GM, it is still necessary to talk through things like the spell Haunted Mist and how they want to define "interact with" as a concept.

Learning this can be very frustrating, but if you find yourself often having to make new characters for games with new GMs (maybe in play-by-post situations or conventions), it pretty much becomes essential to finding good groups to work with and learning how to communicate about those elements of the game collectively helps everyone at the table/Virtual table.

For games with new groups that promise to be long running campaigns where you might invest 100+ hours playing and years of thinking about character development, then putting in the effort at the beginning is even more important, and having a list of "subjective" game elements that need to be discussed preemptively is a part of learning how to be a good team player.

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