Bulette Mount at Level 2


Rules Discussion


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Society Subscriber

So I have been reading the rules, and unless there is something I missed, which is possible, my rogue could have a Bulette (Creature 8) as a mount at level 2.

At level 2 Rogue, I raise Nature to expert and take the Bonded Animal feat. Then all I need to do is roll a DC 20 Nature check during downtime and bam, the animal is permanently helpful to me. And if I have the Ride feat, then I don't even need to roll a check to get it to stride for me.

Also with it being helpful to me, I only need to hit a DC 14 to get it to do an action for me.

The Base DC is the Will DC which is 24 - Will Save (+14) + 10. However the if the animal is helpful to me, which it is, then it increases my degree of success by one step, which means a failure becomes a success and I just need to get over a critical failure, so 24-10=14!

Also with Assurance (Nature), then I can't fail.

I am trying to see if I am missing anything in the rules as written.


The Bonded Animal feat does not provide an animal for you; you have to have one, or be able to find one in the area. Where are you finding a bulette?


Finding and taming a bulette is an 8th level encounter - you shouldn't be encountering them at level 2, especially if the bulette is also the reward for the encounter (as a level 8 pet well exceeds the treasure a level 2 party should have).


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Ignoring the "you shouldn't be encountering them" bit, how do you get the bulette to bond for 7 days in the first place? Generally the first time you encounter a bulette it will initiate encounter mode, probably win initiative and kill you, or eventually break your lucky string of successful command an animal checks and kill you/run away.


This requires your GM to allow you to spend 7 days with a bullette without it attacking you and breaking the downtime cycle.

I am not sure if you have read the lore regarding bulletes but this isn't happening with any reasonable gm unless they play the monster like a pokemon trainer in a gameboy game "I will sit in this one place and never move or take action unless someone walks within 5 meters directly infront of me."

Your other issue is that downtime isn't adventuring and finding the creature. So any hostile creature is never affected by the feat without extreme precautions.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Thanks for your comments. I am quite aware how dangerous bulettes are, which is why I used them for my example. The feat in question states:

Quote:

You forge strong connections with animals. You can spend 7 days of downtime trying to bond with a normal animal (not a companion or other special animal). After this duration, attempt a DC 20 Nature check. If successful, you bond with the animal. The animal is permanently helpful to you, unless you do something egregious to break your bond. A helpful animal is easier to direct, as described under Command an Animal on page 249.

Bonding with a new animal ends any previous bond you had. You can’t have both a bonded animal and an animal companion (though you can have both a bonded animal and a familiar).

It does not clarify that the animal in question has to be in your possession (aka reward in a scene etc), I actually figure this is good for getting animals that are wild. It is probably meant for boars, bears, etc. It does not have any limitation on the level of the creature, or meanness. Just that you can do this if you succeed at the check after the 7 days.

So while the above comments would be fine for an individual GM restricting a player from doing this, I am still looking for somewhere in the rules, where it is restricted or prevented.

Thanks again for your consideration.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

RAW, that is fine, I believe. Taking the rule literally, you don't actually have to have the animal anywhere nearby or even have found it, all you have to do is "try".

That said, the definition of what is "egregious" enough to break your bond again is totally up to the GM. I would imagine a bulette might find being used as a mount quite egregious and the would-be rider could very well end up as a tasty meat snack.

Sczarni

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Dr. Tamatoa wrote:
So while the above comments would be fine for an individual GM restricting a player from doing this, I am still looking for somewhere in the rules, where it is restricted or prevented.

Can you explain this line of thinking? You're far from the first person I've encountered who analyzes things in this way, but I don't understand why or what the point is.

Your GM is the final arbiter of what's allowed. If this feat explicitly restricted Bulettes, your GM could still allow one, and if this feat used Bulettes as a legal example, your GM could still say "no".

That's what GMs are for. People seem to skip over that in favor of *other* rules, but the section on Gamemastering is just as relevant as any other text in the book.


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Dr. Tamatoa wrote:
So while the above comments would be fine for an individual GM restricting a player from doing this, I am still looking for somewhere in the rules, where it is restricted or prevented.

That would be this bit:

CRB page 444, Game Conventions, Ambiguous Rules wrote:
Sometimes a rule could be interpreted multiple ways. If one version is too good to be true, it probably is. If a rule seems to have wording with problematic repercussions or doesn’t work as intended, work with your group to find a good solution, rather than just playing with the rule as printed.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Bonded Animal does not provide you with an actual animal, as opposed to the Animal Companion feat which explicitly does.

The only interpretation I can see being used to justify this nonsense is the vagueness of what "trying to bond with" entails. The vagueness is clearly intended to let people sculpt the narrative to whatever best suits this particular animal.

Dr. Tamatoa is putting forward the idea that "trying to bond with a normal animal" can entail meditating from the other side of the planet to telepathically enslave it. Which, as Fuzzy points out, is way too good to be true.


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Captain Morgan wrote:
Dr. Tamatoa is putting forward the idea that "trying to bond with a normal animal" can entail meditating from the other side of the planet to telepathically enslave it. Which, as Fuzzy points out, is way too good to be true.

Well, that's just plain mischaracterization. They did not say anything about meditating from far away, they just said the animal could be wild, which is totally true.

I personally think that, if your character had some way of interacting with a bulette for 7 days straight without dying, they would be allowed to tame it per the feat. So for example if you had a caged bulette you were being very nice to, you could tame it. There isn't any need to throw in comments about GM being final arbiter of rules or whatever, since that's always the case. I think Tamatoa's GM will decide whether they want to allow it on their own.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Captain Morgan wrote:
Dr. Tamatoa is putting forward the idea that "trying to bond with a normal animal" can entail meditating from the other side of the planet to telepathically enslave it. Which, as Fuzzy points out, is way too good to be true.

Actually, I am saying that I could be leaving pieces of halfling out for it to eat and luring it to make friends with it. These are abstracted downtime rules. But what about a Mammoth? Or a bear? Or other woodland creature that I can befriend. Bulette is just an extreme example.

Too good to be true is always the case and the issue.

However, Nefreet actually brings up a good point, that I want to answer.

Nefreet wrote:
Can you explain this line of thinking? You're far from the first person I've encountered who analyzes things in this way, but I don't understand why or what the point is.

I am one of those that many would call a cheese weasel or a rules lawyer. I really like reading rules and poking holes in them or finding combinations that work, like a fighter going for an ability that gives them a free trip on a frightened foe, etc. As you said, I am not the only one that does it. Now, I don't usually make these combinations and use them in actual play because they are ridiculous and would kill fellow player enjoyment. And my own.

HOWEVER, I GM A LOT. And I run into this behavior A LOT. Now if I am running a home game for a bunch of people, then they will respect the GM's authority. Especially if I let them know that there are none of these creatures in the area.

BUT, if I am playing in Society or some other Living setting, then I may only play with these people once or twice. If I forbid a player from using his Cave Bear Bonded Animal, then I will be considered arbitrary, and that player will just go back to doing it at the next table. Instead I need to find someplace in the RULES AS WRITTEN that allow me to stop the player from doing this going forward. If I point out something that they missed, then they can say that they missed it and can correct their playing going forward. If they don't, then they are willfully cheating and actions can be taken.

HOWEVER, in Society and Living campaign play, there is no single GM to stop this behavior using the GM rules, so that means that they will just avoid me as a GM and go back to it once my back is turned.

This is why I asked if there was anything in the rules that stopped this behavior. And, it doesn't seem that there is currently.

Thanks everyone for your responses. And Nefreet, or anyone else, if you want to further discuss cheese weasel behavior and mindset, I would be happy to continue the discussion in private messages.


"Cheese weasel" is officially my new favorite way to refer to this behavior.

I agree that finding an official answer to potential abuses is a good use of time, but I think that (realistically) restricting its use at your own table is pretty much the practical limit for success.

As much as we would all like to constantly strive for the Conan Trifecta (crush, driven, lamentations, etc) in all our interactions, I think keeping shenanigans off the table in front of me is enough of a victory.


Doesn't the bulette do most of its traveling by burrowing? Since that is digging through the ground instead of some kind of magic phasing, it seems like that would be hard on the rider.

If the bulette's preferred form of travel is burrowing, making it stay above ground seems egregious like riding a seal on dry land.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I think the best way to prevent excessive rules lawyering is to educate more GMs to not be bullied by it and to encourage them to use the essentially blank cheques the rules ultimately give them. GM decisions always overrule RAW. Of course, a good GM will not use this to randomly terrorize the players, but curbing the worst excesses of abusing a system is perfectly adequate.

The more GMs do this, the more players will have to adapt or find other groups to play with, ultimately collecting players and GMs who prefer similar playstyles in the same groups.

Some players will modify their behavior over time and a common ground can be found. But some players never learn and end up shunned (or getting a GM and group that appreciates their particular play style).

The same holds true in society play, though it can take longer for players and/or GMs to get a certain reputation. In general, even there, unless you want to resort to drastic measures like killing off a character or their favourite bulette mount, educating more GMs to prevent rules-abusive behaviour is the best way to go. If all society rounds offered locally follow "sane" rules interpretations and "disruptive" players are well known, some of those problems just go away... :)


albadeon wrote:
The same holds true in society play, though it can take longer for players and/or GMs to get a certain reputation. In general, even there, unless you want to resort to drastic measures like killing off a character or their favourite bulette mount, educating more GMs to prevent rules-abusive behaviour is the best way to go. If all society rounds offered locally follow "sane" rules interpretations and "disruptive" players are well known, some of those problems just go away... :)

Can a PFS GM ban a player from their table?


It says not another "special animal". One could determine that a bulette is a "special" animal. As in not a normal animal. It has abilities that are basically magical. No normal critter moves though the ground the way a bulette does.

A lion is a normal animal, a bulette is not. Mammoths, sabertooth tigers and dinosaurs are another matter. They are normal animals, albeit ones displaced in time.

That special animal is the elasticity clause that lets a GM rule things as he or she wants.

You can also focus fire where ever feasible on the cheese weasel's pet. The ability doesn't give the character a way to get the animal back after death. Most parties won't go out of their way to help out a cheese weasel. After a few sessions folks are usually looking to ostracize them as fast as possible.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:
Can a PFS GM ban a player from their table?

Well, I believe there are no regulations regarding that, but there is really nothing to prevent a GM from doing it. That is certainly an extreme measure and in general GMs should be welcoming and trying to work with players. But if I feel that one particular player is repeatedly harmful or disruptive to the game, I don't see why not. Ultimately, I decide who I want to play with.

PFS does not have a feed-back system where GMs are judged by their players and usually there are not enough people willing to GM, so I would not expect that to have any consequences for the GM. At least not for rare, exceptional occasions.

That said, usually you don't need to ban such players, just disallow their exploits and over-rule their unreasonable complaints. They'll either adapt or leave.

Sczarni

Dr. Tamatoa wrote:
HOWEVER, in Society and Living campaign play, there is no single GM to stop this behavior using the GM rules

Since you do not appear to have GMed many Society adventures, I can tell you as someone who has GMed almost 400 tables, your understanding is incorrect.

You can indeed be that "single GM" who says "no". You can even write it down in their most recent Chronicle. And if they're a problem player, you can bring up their behavior to your local Venture Officers.

There is no such thing as "Rules as Written", and there is no such stated policy in any of Paizo's living Campaigns.

Sczarni

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Additionally, there would have to be a GM that initially signed off on the idea, during a low-level Adventure where a Bulette was encountered, where the party would have agreed to work together to achieve this result.

I can tell you that never occurred in all of PFS1, and most assuredly will not occur in PFS2.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Nefreet wrote:

Additionally, there would have to be a GM that initially signed off on the idea, during a low-level Adventure where a Bulette was encountered, where the party would have agreed to work together to achieve this result.

I can tell you that never occurred in all of PFS1, and most assuredly will not occur in PFS2.

One of my points is that it doesn't have to occur during game play, since it is a downtime action. There is nothing in the rules, or the organized play rules, that say that you have to encounter a similar creature in the module or do anything related to the module that you played. Just have the feat and make the DC.

Secondly, a GM at the end of the game will probably just sign off that the player succeeded at their DC 20 Nature check for their downtime action.

I make no assertions about PFS1, however, I have read the rules for PFS2. The downtime actions in PFS2 go much further than just a roll for income at the end of the adventure. They are abstraction of many actions that players can take after the game. And since this feat was added to the book and has not been banned in society, then Paizo expects players to use it. And I expect someone to try a variation on this technique.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

I would say the CRB has no need to micromanage the requirements of the downtime interaction for this feat. GM judgement on where you are in the world, and what's going on is plenty to avoid abuse.

Some PFS specific guidance is likely in order regarding the use of this feat in downtime, though with the current state of the Guide, it's not the only thing that could stand to have a few words in the Character Options section.

In the meantime, if anyone actually tries to do something like that at one of my tables, they will get a hard no, and the option to continue the session without the nonsense, or leave and try to appeal to a VO who will probably also laugh at them. So I'm not too worried.


The Character Options (Resources) section of the Guild Guide only gives access to Bestiary animals that are mentioned in the CRB.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
what the guide says about that wrote:
When a rules option from another book references the statistics for a common creature in the Bestiary, such as the riding horse that PCs can purchase in the Core Rulebook or the spell summon animal, all relevant common creatures from the Bestiary are available for play.

This establishes that anything that would use creature statistics, summons, purchased animals, etc are limited to cretires marked common. It doesn't mean that every creature that is an option is called out by name somewhere in the CRB.


HammerJack wrote:
what the guide says about that wrote:
When a rules option from another book references the statistics for a common creature in the Bestiary, such as the riding horse that PCs can purchase in the Core Rulebook or the spell summon animal, all relevant common creatures from the Bestiary are available for play.
This establishes that anything that would use creature statistics, summons, purchased animals, etc are limited to cretires marked common. It doesn't mean that every creature that is an option is called out by name somewhere in the CRB.

It gives Player access to bulettes ONLY for use in Summon Animal 7+.


Dr. Tamatoa wrote:


One of my points is that it doesn't have to occur during game play, since it is a downtime action. There is nothing in the rules, or the organized play rules, that say that you have to encounter a similar creature in the module or do anything related to the module that you played. Just have the feat and make the DC.

Yeah... But that's the thing 'You can spend 7 days of downtime trying to bond with a normal animal (not a companion or other special animal).' You won't just find a bullet to bond... If you do i can say your DM or the PFS DM is being too nice and shouldn't. I would be baffled if a player even suggests that...

Dr. Tamatoa wrote:


Secondly, a GM at the end of the game will probably just sign off that the player succeeded at their DC 20 Nature check for their downtime action.

Except when they mention. Oh yeah and i just happened to stay 7 days next to a bullet without it attacking cause... You know.. That's easy enough.

Dr. Tamatoa wrote:


I make no assertions about PFS1, however, I have read the rules for PFS2. The downtime actions in PFS2 go much further than just a roll for income at the end of the adventure. They are abstraction of many actions that players can take after the game. And since this feat was added to the book and has not been banned in society, then Paizo expects players to use it. And I expect someone to try a variation on this technique.

I can agree players weasel they way out of things... But it's just... Well if someone can survive 7 days near a bullet without being eaten that bullet is docile or those players were so craft in that that they deserve that bullet...


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Well, even if some GM had signed off on it initially (and well, if you really want to, you can probably find a GM somewhere to sign off on it, maybe because of not paying attention, or maybe he's their boyfriend, or whatever - the requirements to become a low-tier GM for PFS are really kind of non-existent), the next GM can still always not accept it, or declare it ran off permanently, or killed its rider, or whatever.

If a 2nd level player using a tamed bulette as a mount showed up at my table, he would not have that mount at the end of the session anymore. There's just no way...


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
whew wrote:
HammerJack wrote:
what the guide says about that wrote:
When a rules option from another book references the statistics for a common creature in the Bestiary, such as the riding horse that PCs can purchase in the Core Rulebook or the spell summon animal, all relevant common creatures from the Bestiary are available for play.
This establishes that anything that would use creature statistics, summons, purchased animals, etc are limited to cretires marked common. It doesn't mean that every creature that is an option is called out by name somewhere in the CRB.
It gives Player access to bulettes ONLY for use in Summon Animal 7+.

I'm trying to see how you would use that entry for this feat, but I don't understand how you are reading this entry, as it applies to Bonded Animal. What animals do you think it is legal to bond with?


HammerJack wrote:
[Q What animals do you think it is legal to bond with?

Since there aren't any rules for finding animals to bond with, I'd say you currently have to buy an animal from table 6-17.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Dr. Tamatoa wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
Dr. Tamatoa is putting forward the idea that "trying to bond with a normal animal" can entail meditating from the other side of the planet to telepathically enslave it. Which, as Fuzzy points out, is way too good to be true.
Actually, I am saying that I could be leaving pieces of halfling out for it to eat and luring it to make friends with it. These are abstracted downtime rules. But what about a Mammoth? Or a bear? Or other woodland creature that I can befriend. Bulette is just an extreme example.

And telepathically taking control of the creature is also just an extreme example. Both are contingent upon the loosest interpretation of the feat not explicitly saying you need to supply the animal yourself before it can take effect. The important bit of this isn't that it fails to specify the level of the animal, it is that it doesn't specify what you have to do with the animal, or even that you have to be around with.

If you can capture a Mammoth and get it reasonably OK with your presence, then there's nothing wrong with using the feat to bond with it. What is an issue is assuming you don't need to actually find the Mammoth first.


Dr. Tamatoa wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
Dr. Tamatoa is putting forward the idea that "trying to bond with a normal animal" can entail meditating from the other side of the planet to telepathically enslave it. Which, as Fuzzy points out, is way too good to be true.

Actually, I am saying that I could be leaving pieces of halfling out for it to eat and luring it to make friends with it. These are abstracted downtime rules. But what about a Mammoth? Or a bear? Or other woodland creature that I can befriend. Bulette is just an extreme example.

Irrelevant, it is still up to the gm whether you can procure the animal.

"You can spend 7 days of downtime trying to bond with a normal animal"

Nothing about the animal being made available to you or sticking around for that period and entirely up to gm discretion as to whether you can even successfully do so for 7 days (the nature check comes after the 7 days pass).

My point is, it is possible to get a bullette on your side. But as the feat is written it requires buy in and support from the GM for it to still happen.

This extends to bears, you still need to gain that bears trust and attempt to bond with it over those 7 days. The GM can still adjust the nature DC based on how you tried to bond with the creature and what attiude the creature had in the first place.

For instance you find a bear, it has to be beaten and restrained so it doesn't attack or flee. You spend 7 days training it to obey your will and the gm increases the DC by 10 because of the harsh methods used and your having to overcome its inherrent hatred of its captor.

But the GM still needs to provide you with a bear and you still need to figure out how you will bond with it during those 7 days.

In the same way that Earn an Income can be affected by circumstance and location and a player does not get to determine what jobs are available to them.


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I've decided I would allow you to use this to bond a bulette that you've never seen and that's an unknown distance away in an unknown direction. However, since the feat doesn't say anything about bringing the bonded animal to you, or you sensing where it is, once bonded it remains an unknown distance away in an unknown direction. And it doesn't sense where you are either, so it can't come to you even if it wants to---which it doesn't necessarily since you haven't used Command an Animal to tell it "Come!" And Command an Animal has the auditory trait, which means it has to be able to hear you for it to work and it can't because it's hundreds of miles away.

But hey, you'll sleep better at night knowing that somewhere out there a bulette likes you.

Sczarni

Can't argue with that. It's rules as written.


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Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:

I've decided I would allow you to use this to bond a bulette that you've never seen and that's an unknown distance away in an unknown direction. However, since the feat doesn't say anything about bringing the bonded animal to you, or you sensing where it is, once bonded it remains an unknown distance away in an unknown direction. And it doesn't sense where you are either, so it can't come to you even if it wants to---which it doesn't necessarily since you haven't used Command an Animal to tell it "Come!" And Command an Animal has the auditory trait, which means it has to be able to hear you for it to work and it can't because it's hundreds of miles away.

But hey, you'll sleep better at night knowing that somewhere out there a bulette likes you.

And because it doesn't specify which bulette, it will ALWAYS be one on another indeterminate plane of existence.

Even if there is a bulette nearby.


Nefreet wrote:
Dr. Tamatoa wrote:
HOWEVER, in Society and Living campaign play, there is no single GM to stop this behavior using the GM rules

Since you do not appear to have GMed many Society adventures, I can tell you as someone who has GMed almost 400 tables, your understanding is incorrect.

You can indeed be that "single GM" who says "no". You can even write it down in their most recent Chronicle. And if they're a problem player, you can bring up their behavior to your local Venture Officers.

There is no such thing as "Rules as Written", and there is no such stated policy in any of Paizo's living Campaigns.

So I agree with a lot of what you're saying here, that an individual GM has the right to interpret rules within reasonable expectations, but it's flat out false to say that there are no RAW and that GMs don't have to follow by it. While areas that are open for interpretation are that, and subject to individual GM discretion, the basic and clear rules of Pathfinder *must* be followed by the GM. Full Stop.


To ask something more reasonable: I'm looking at this feat myself for in-character reasons. While I realize there will be a lot of open debate about what should/shouldn't be allowed and right now there's no obvious rulings for PFS, do people generally think it's reasonable if, for example, my character encountered a board on an adventure, decided they wanted to take it home, either subdued it and then used speak with animal or used speak with animal directly to improve its attitude, *then* tried the check during downtime?

There doesn't seem to be anything prohibiting carrying benefits across scenarios and this seems to be something intended for just that, so long as it's not abused. Curious about people's opinions.


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tivadar27 wrote:

To ask something more reasonable: I'm looking at this feat myself for in-character reasons. While I realize there will be a lot of open debate about what should/shouldn't be allowed and right now there's no obvious rulings for PFS, do people generally think it's reasonable if, for example, my character encountered a board on an adventure, decided they wanted to take it home, either subdued it and then used speak with animal or used speak with animal directly to improve its attitude, *then* tried the check during downtime?

There doesn't seem to be anything prohibiting carrying benefits across scenarios and this seems to be something intended for just that, so long as it's not abused. Curious about people's opinions.

Depends on the board. I'd be fine if it were a charcuterie board, as it would have a limited use, but a whole board of directors would be too much.


BellyBeard wrote:
tivadar27 wrote:

To ask something more reasonable: I'm looking at this feat myself for in-character reasons. While I realize there will be a lot of open debate about what should/shouldn't be allowed and right now there's no obvious rulings for PFS, do people generally think it's reasonable if, for example, my character encountered a board on an adventure, decided they wanted to take it home, either subdued it and then used speak with animal or used speak with animal directly to improve its attitude, *then* tried the check during downtime?

There doesn't seem to be anything prohibiting carrying benefits across scenarios and this seems to be something intended for just that, so long as it's not abused. Curious about people's opinions.

Depends on the board. I'd be fine if it were a charcuterie board, as it would have a limited use, but a whole board of directors would be too much.

Also trying to use Bonded Animal on a board of directors would be rude. Sure, they are upper management, but they are still people.

Maybe a wild motherboard could be found in Numeria.

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