Animal companion


Rules Discussion


Hi

During the course of an adventure a race happened. A ranger with a horse animal companion lost horribly if we stuck to the rules as written. Normal animals get 3 actions while companions get 2. He immediately looses even with the alchemists speed boost.
40×3=120
50×2=100

The race was was done rounds with riders trying to knock each other off and cross the line mounted first. Am I missing a mechanic or is this an oversight. Even a lame horse with a 35 move is faster than super .

Also, goblin and halfling wolves need a way to be given the mount ability.


The encounter mode rules are very good at handling combat encounters, as that's what they were designed for... but are not very good at handling other things, such as races.

However, I think the clearest way to solve this particular instance would be to have treated the NPC mount the same way as the PC's mount, rather than give the mount 3 actions to Stride with while the rider still has actions left to try and shove the PC rider around.

Grand Lodge

Unless I am missing something in the description given here the NPC rider would have to use Command an Animal to successfully control the mount and then he/she/it would have to give all of its action to having the mount Stride three times where the PC with a Horse Animal Companion would use one to activate the companion and would still have 2 more for other things [attacking the NPC, holding on for dear life, etc.] while the companion would gain 2 actions of its own to presumably Stride twice.

I realize this does not help with the sheer speed differential, but potentially the flubbing of a Command Animal check by the NPC could be the linchpin that pulls it all together?

NiftyB

Horizon Hunters

So the rules with mounted combat state that

" Source Core Rulebook pg. 478
You can ride some creatures into combat. As noted in the Mount specialty basic action (page 472), your mount needs to be at least one size larger than you and willing. Your mount acts on your initiative. You must use the Command an Animal action to get your mount to spend its actions. If you don’t, the animal wastes its actions. If you have the Ride general feat, you succeed automatically when you Command an Animal that’s your mount.

For example, if you are mounted on a horse and you make three attacks, your horse would remain stationary since you didn’t command it. If you instead spent your first action to Command an Animal and succeeded, you could get your mount to Stride. You could spend your next action to attack or to command the horse to attack, but not both."

Combined with " Source Core Rulebook pg. 478
You and your mount fight as a unit. Consequently, you share a multiple attack penalty. For example, if you Strike and then Command an Animal to have your mount Strike, your mount’s attack takes a –5 multiple attack penalty."

Which indicate that under normal circumstances there is a shared resource pool with a shared MAP. An enemy rider and their mount would use one action commanding an animal and if successful have two actions to stride or to do something else.

A Ranger on the other hand when he uses command an animal gives his companion with the minion trait two actions in place of command an animal's usual effects.

This has our ranger easily keeping pace with steeds of similar speeds (who should only be able to stride twice) and while their rider will have their actions eaten up going full gallop the ranger will still be able to attack. If he has other feats like companion's cry he could be leaving most other horses in the dust and still get an attack off.

The Exchange

You are correct. In the speed racer situation mentioned, a standard NPC horse will out distance the Animal companion every time due to the three action vs two action limit (assuming every check is made). There is no way around it by the rules.

To be even more painful, if you take a ranger and mount him on an NPC horse he will be much faster than on his animal companion. Note: the Ride feat makes any non-AC mount a speed machine. It would be nice if the ranger had the ability to treat his animal companion as a non-minion on any particular round (it would have to be the whole round to prevent abuse)

The Exchange

Goldryno wrote:

So the rules with mounted combat state that

" Source Core Rulebook pg. 478
You can ride some creatures into combat. As noted in the Mount specialty basic action (page 472), your mount needs to be at least one size larger than you and willing. Your mount acts on your initiative. You must use the Command an Animal action to get your mount to spend its actions. If you don’t, the animal wastes its actions. If you have the Ride general feat, you succeed automatically when you Command an Animal that’s your mount.

For example, if you are mounted on a horse and you make three attacks, your horse would remain stationary since you didn’t command it. If you instead spent your first action to Command an Animal and succeeded, you could get your mount to Stride. You could spend your next action to attack or to command the horse to attack, but not both."

Combined with " Source Core Rulebook pg. 478
You and your mount fight as a unit. Consequently, you share a multiple attack penalty. For example, if you Strike and then Command an Animal to have your mount Strike, your mount’s attack takes a –5 multiple attack penalty."

Which indicate that under normal circumstances there is a shared resource pool with a shared MAP. An enemy rider and their mount would use one action commanding an animal and if successful have two actions to stride or to do something else.

A Ranger on the other hand when he uses command an animal gives his companion with the minion trait two actions in place of command an animal's usual effects.

This has our ranger easily keeping pace with steeds of similar speeds (who should only be able to stride twice) and while their rider will have their actions eaten up going full gallop the ranger will still be able to attack. If he has other feats like companion's cry he could be leaving most other horses in the dust and still get an attack off.

You get three actions a round. A non-minion can use all THREE actions to be commanded to stride while a minion is hard limited to TWO stride actions. Assuming the command checks all succeed (with races, not unusual), round 1 has the non minion ahead by 20' in the example and only pulling further away every round. There is no melee combat since it is never within range

Horizon Hunters

Hsui wrote:
Goldryno wrote:

So the rules with mounted combat state that

" Source Core Rulebook pg. 478
You can ride some creatures into combat. As noted in the Mount specialty basic action (page 472), your mount needs to be at least one size larger than you and willing. Your mount acts on your initiative. You must use the Command an Animal action to get your mount to spend its actions. If you don’t, the animal wastes its actions. If you have the Ride general feat, you succeed automatically when you Command an Animal that’s your mount.

For example, if you are mounted on a horse and you make three attacks, your horse would remain stationary since you didn’t command it. If you instead spent your first action to Command an Animal and succeeded, you could get your mount to Stride. You could spend your next action to attack or to command the horse to attack, but not both."

Combined with " Source Core Rulebook pg. 478
You and your mount fight as a unit. Consequently, you share a multiple attack penalty. For example, if you Strike and then Command an Animal to have your mount Strike, your mount’s attack takes a –5 multiple attack penalty."

Which indicate that under normal circumstances there is a shared resource pool with a shared MAP. An enemy rider and their mount would use one action commanding an animal and if successful have two actions to stride or to do something else.

A Ranger on the other hand when he uses command an animal gives his companion with the minion trait two actions in place of command an animal's usual effects.

This has our ranger easily keeping pace with steeds of similar speeds (who should only be able to stride twice) and while their rider will have their actions eaten up going full gallop the ranger will still be able to attack. If he has other feats like companion's cry he could be leaving most other horses in the dust and still get an attack off.

You get three actions a round. A non-minion can use all THREE actions to be commanded to stride while a minion is hard...

Perhaps vs a wild horse trying to flee at full speed but the scenario he describes with riders knocking each other off would probably be considered mounted combat. Non animal companion mounts cannot decide to use their actions. A rider has to first command an animal as an action. Then from his resource pool he has two more actions with which to make his mount stride, gallop, strike or whatever he wants. That's what the example illustrates.

The Exchange

Just to make sure we are on the same page: For a non-minion, every time you perform a Command Animal it is a command to do something (e.g. your first action may be a command to stride). You do not have to issue a global command "alert" first. Every time you Command it to do something, that is basically transferring your action to the non-minion. You can do this three times in a round. This means a non-minion can stride up to three times in a round. A minion has a hard limit of two actions in a round.

The original premise given was a race. In a pure race (speed racer), the non-animal companion will always be faster. In a mixed race (speed and combat) the combat aspect is only applicable if the PC was able to knock the other rider off in the second action of the first round. After that, the other rider is outfront and never looking back. The other rider NEVER has to perform combat since they will outrun the PC

Horizon Hunters

We are on the same page. The difference is for mounted combat the rules for how command an animal works change. Instead of a check for each action it becomes one command an animal check and then (if successful) you can automatically command your animal for your remaining two actions (or split them between your mount and yourself). Just like running a dangerous trap disarming sequence in encounter mode, I think a race with a possibility of combat is a logical place to make use of these rules as it corrects a glaring issue and brings things into balance. Otherwise why are we even going turn by turn for this sequence and not just rolling checks and having our narrative and storytelling fill in the gaps?

There can still be an issue against catching up to a wild mount running away riderless just using all it's action to flee. But it also makes sense that in most cases a wild mount running full speed desperate to get away is going to be difficult to catch with speed alone.

EDIT: For more clarity if you have an animal companion that animal still needs to be commanded but has more battle awareness and autonomy being a minion than a normal animal you have mounted would normally have.

The Exchange

Goldryno wrote:

We are on the same page. The difference is for mounted combat the rules for how command an animal works change. Instead of a check for each action it becomes one command an animal check and then (if successful) you can automatically command your animal for your remaining two actions (or split them between your mount and yourself).

To be clear, the rules say that for a minion you spend one action to command the animal and that COMMAND action GAINS the animal companion their two actions "Your animal companion has the minion trait, and itgains 2 actions during your turn if you use the Command an Animal action to command it; this is in place of the usual effects of Command an Animal.." P.214 CRB You still have your remaining two actions. Thus, as a unit you get FOUR actions (your animal companion gets two and you get two after the command) of which only the TWO for the animal companion can be used for strides.

The normal rules (p.249) state you give a command or a set up commands (up to three since it can only retain a round's worth) and the animal performs those commands in order on its turn.

Horizon Hunters

Correct that is for you riding your animal companion. When you have an animal companion your command an animal check rules override the normal reading. After commanding an animal you have two actions remaining and your animal companion has two to use.

However for others who don't have an animal companion and who are merely riding a mount the mounted combat rules which I've quoted would apply. This gives the mount and rider a net of 3 actions between them (technically the rider only ever had 3 and the mount wastes it's unused actions). One of these actions must be a successful command an animal check. The other two are then able to be used by the rider to tell the mount what to do or to act himself.

Grand Lodge

It is my understanding that you have to issue as many commands to the non-minion animal as you want it to undertake as illustrated in the Command an Animal action as part of the Nature Skill:

Command an Animal wrote:

You issue an order to an animal. Attempt a Nature check against the animal’s Will DC. The GM might adjust the DC if the animal has a good attitude toward you, you suggest a course of action it was predisposed toward, or you offer it a treat.

You automatically fail if the animal is hostile or unfriendly to you. If the animal is helpful to you, increase your degree of success by one step. You might be able to Command an Animal more easily with a feat like Ride (page 266).
Most animals know the Leap, Seek, Stand, Stride, and Strike basic actions. If an animal knows an activity, such as a horse’s Gallop, you can Command the Animal to perform the activity, but you must spend as many actions on Command an Animal as the activity’s number of actions. You can also spend multiple actions to Command the Animal to perform that number of basic actions on its next turn; for instance, you could spend 3 actions to Command an Animal to Stride three times or to Stride twice and then Strike.

Success The animal does as you command on its next turn.
Failure The animal is hesitant or resistant, and it does nothing.
Critical Failure The animal misbehaves or misunderstands, and it takes some other action determined by the GM.

This paragraph forms the basis of my understanding of how this is supposed to work.

NiftyB

Grand Lodge

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Goldryno wrote:
...One of these actions must be a successful command an animal check. The other two are then able to be used by the rider to tell the mount what to do or to act himself.

This is incorrect as I understand it - the rider of a normal mount must use Command an Animal each time he wants the mount to do something - want it to Stride three times, then use Command an Animal three times with no extra actions left for either the mount or the rider

NiftyB

Horizon Hunters

Nifty Butterfinger wrote:
Goldryno wrote:
...One of these actions must be a successful command an animal check. The other two are then able to be used by the rider to tell the mount what to do or to act himself.

This is incorrect as I understand it - the rider of a normal mount must use Command an Animal each time he wants the mount to do something - want it to Stride three times, then use Command an Animal three times with no extra actions left for either the mount or the rider

NiftyB

These are indeed the rules for command an animal. However the action economy is different than the example listed for mounted combat. From my reading I am seeing it would be faster for you to urge a horse without a rider to keep running three times (as long as it was in ear shot and you were good at handling animals) than to control a gallop while horseback in a high intensity situation.

Also if you want to dig further into the crunch it acts on your initiative but a mount doesn't gets it's own turn, so commands with the normal wording would never be executed by a mount.

The Exchange

Goldryno wrote:
Nifty Butterfinger wrote:
Goldryno wrote:
...One of these actions must be a successful command an animal check. The other two are then able to be used by the rider to tell the mount what to do or to act himself.

This is incorrect as I understand it - the rider of a normal mount must use Command an Animal each time he wants the mount to do something - want it to Stride three times, then use Command an Animal three times with no extra actions left for either the mount or the rider

NiftyB

These are indeed the rules for command an animal. However the action economy is different than the example listed for mounted combat. From my reading I am seeing it would be faster for you to urge a horse without a rider to keep running three times (as long as it was in ear shot and you were good at handling animals) than to control a gallop while horseback in a high intensity situation.

Also if you want to dig further into the crunch it acts on your initiative but a mount doesn't gets it's own turn, so commands with the normal wording would never be executed by a mount.

p478 does NOT change the action economy.

The example is not using a minion but a regular non-minion mount (you can tell by the 1:1 action ratio). It also says you can command the animal automatically with Ride which would be unnecessary if it was a minion (since you auto succeed with ACs). The example says your FIRST action can cause it to stride which means that your next two can also cause it to stride

Horizon Hunters

Correct the animal is only a minion when you the ranger with an animal companion are using your command an animal which overrides the way the rule normally works and the way it works with mounted combat. This is a special scenario because of your class features.

If an NPC is mounted on an horse however then that NPC would not be riding an animal companion and it would not have the minion trait. In that scenario it would behave under the normal mounted combat rules (which are different from the standard command an animal rules). After a successful command an animal check he would then have two actions to direct the animal with what to do as shown in the example in the CRB for mounted combat.

In the mounted combat rules you are sharing a round, an initiative, an action economy, your positioning and a MAP. None of which happen when you command an animal normally.

Its a bit tricky to wrap your head around but supported by the example they give and a necessary rule to patch up glaring inconsistencies (although if my memory serves they did say they were looking at potential further changes to mounted combat).

Edit: It's important to remember that not all mounts will be animal companions. The example is not specific to animal companions that was just the scenario put forth by OP. The example is written to encapsulate the basics of mounted combat with a standard mount. For instance a Fighter taking a standard mount into combat would benefit from the Ride feat for an automatic success due to his mount not being his companion.

The Exchange

Goldryno wrote:

Correct the animal is only a minion when you the ranger with an animal companion are using your command an animal which overrides the way the rule normally works and the way it works with mounted combat. This is a special scenario because of your class features.

If an NPC is mounted on an horse however then that NPC would not be riding an animal companion and it would not have the minion trait. In that scenario it would behave under the normal mounted combat rules (which are different from the standard command an animal rules). After a successful command an animal check he would then have two actions to direct the animal with what to do as shown in the example in the CRB for mounted combat.

In the mounted combat rules you are sharing a round, an initiative, an action economy, your positioning and a MAP. None of which happen when you command an animal normally.

Its a bit tricky to wrap your head around but supported by the example they give and a necessary rule to patch up glaring inconsistencies (although if my memory serves they did say they were looking at potential further changes to mounted combat).

Edit: It's important to remember that not all mounts will be animal companions. The example is not specific to animal companions that was just the scenario put forth by OP. The example is written to encapsulate the basics of mounted combat with a standard mount. For instance a Fighter taking a standard mount into combat would benefit from the Ride feat for an automatic success due to his mount not being his companion.

Where does it say the mounted combat rules have a different action economy/rules? I have looked at the section over and over and there is NO change to the action economy that I can see. Please copy and paste the section where it says that mounted combat uses a different action economy or that command animal works differently in mounted combat. Or highlight in the passage on Mounted combat below. The ONLY difference that I can see is that the mount acts on your initiative and shares a MAP. You do NOT share an action economy different from regular rules (perhaps you are thinking of the play test?)

"Mounted Combat
You can ride some creatures into combat. As noted in the
Mount specialty basic action (page 472), your mount needs
to be at least one size larger than you and willing. Your
mount acts on your initiative. You must use the Command
an Animal action (page 249) to get your mount to spend
its actions. If you don’t, the animal wastes its actions. If
you have the Ride general feat, you succeed automatically
when you Command an Animal that’s your mount.
For example, if you are mounted on a horse and you
make three attacks, your horse would remain stationary
since you didn’t command it. If you instead spent your first
action to Command an Animal and succeeded, you could
get your mount to Stride. You could spend your next action
to attack or to command the horse to attack, but not both."

Horizon Hunters

Maybe this will help you follow my logic.

"Your mount acts on your initiative"
your mount is acting on your turn. It does not have a turn of its own. You only have 3 actions to use during your turn.

Followed by

"You must use the Command an Animal action (page 249) to get your mount to spend its actions. If you don’t, the animal wastes its actions."
Before your mount can use one of its actions (like it's longer stride, gallop, or hoof strike) you must use the command an animal action successfully.

It then goes on to talk about the Ride feat which I think we both agree is clear (an automatic success to Command An Animal).

Lastly it goes on to detail how this would work in an example. Also if they were going to include an example why would they include one that ended midway to be confusing with only two actions spent?

The Exchange

Goldryno wrote:

Maybe this will help you follow my logic.

"Your mount acts on your initiative"
your mount is acting on your turn. It does not have a turn of its own. You only have 3 actions to use during your turn.

Followed by

"You must use the Command an Animal action (page 249) to get your mount to spend its actions. If you don’t, the animal wastes its actions."
Before your mount can use one of its actions (like it's longer stride, gallop, or hoof strike) you must use the command an animal action successfully.

It then goes on to talk about the Ride feat which I both agree is clear (an automatic success to Command An Animal).

Lastly it goes on to detail how this would work in an example. Also if they were going to include an example why would they include one that ended midway to be confusing with only two actions spent?

Yes, EACH command (1 action) is linked to a SINGLE action by the mount. "Success The animal does as you command on its next turn." p249 It does not say that it is now activated and ready to accept commands. You can make multiple commands "If you successfully commanded it multiple times, it does what you said in order" Thus, each command is activated in order

Maybe this will help you follow my logic. Command animal is actually a subset of commands. Command Animal - Stride, Command Animal - Attack (p249). There is NO such thing as a Command animal which is separate from an action by the animal. The phrase "you must use the command an animal" statement says that unless you tell the animal to do something specific, it does nothing. It does NOT say that you need to "activate" the animal by providing a empty or null command. The example ends after two actions only since a third action illustration is unnecessary as an illustration of the point (you do not need to waste the word count to add unnecessary verbiage). It does not say your turn ends after two actions

Horizon Hunters

I disagree. Your interpretation goes against the example provided for mounted combat. The normal text would require for the animal to act on its next turn which it never truly has. Also if that were the case why would they specify that you would not be able to both strike and the horse strike. Unless they were clearing up you can't perform a double action? That does not make sense to me.

I would also say your interpretation breaks the action economy a bit. When you use the command an animal action (in normal conditions) you spend an action issuing a command and the animal spends an action following it on its next turn. Being Mounted should not allow you to "double dip" and let you issue a command and have the animal execute it in one action. Instead the benefit is that after successfully doing the check they give you access to both sets of abilities to finish out your turn with.

It becomes clearer (to me) when you read the rest of the entry and see how effectively you and the mount are one. Your condensing two full turns into one and so in that context the breakdown makes more sense. But in one turn you have to issue the command (an action) and the animal has to follow it (an action) and you only have 3 actions total to use.

Also (and this is me admittedly guessing at design decisions) if it worked exactly as normal Command An Animal I'm not certain further clarification and examples would be needed at all and that part would be much shorter and more direct.


In plaguestone there was a chase, similar to a race. It ends up being a series of skill test instead of any checks on speed or number of actions. That seems like the way to go with anything like a race.

The Exchange

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Kennethray wrote:
In plaguestone there was a chase, similar to a race. It ends up being a series of skill test instead of any checks on speed or number of actions. That seems like the way to go with anything like a race.

Makes it much easier

The Exchange

Goldryno wrote:

I disagree. Your interpretation goes against the example provided for mounted combat. The normal text would require for the animal to act on its next turn which it never truly has. Also if that were the case why would they specify that you would not be able to both strike and the horse strike. Unless they were clearing up you can't perform a double action? That does not make sense to me.

I would also say your interpretation breaks the action economy a bit. When you use the command an animal action (in normal conditions) you spend an action issuing a command and the animal spends an action following it on its next turn. Being Mounted should not allow you to "double dip" and let you issue a command and have the animal execute it in one action. Instead the benefit is that after successfully doing the check they give you access to both sets of abilities to finish out your turn with.

It becomes clearer (to me) when you read the rest of the entry and see how effectively you and the mount are one. Your condensing two full turns into one and so in that context the breakdown makes more sense. But in one turn you have to issue the command (an action) and the animal has to follow it (an action) and you only have 3 actions total to use.

Also (and this is me admittedly guessing at design decisions) if it worked exactly as normal Command An Animal I'm not certain further clarification and examples would be needed at all and that part would be much shorter and more direct.

Ok - let's leave it at we disagree on interpretation

Horizon Hunters

True and what works for my table may not work for yours. I could even see a GM decide to not use mounted combat rules at all if that didn't fit how they wanted mounted fighters to behave.

I will say though that my interpretation is supported by the CRB, removes some inconsistencies, should resolve OPs original issue, and hopefully help that player feel less slow while competing against other mounted combatants.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

As usual, the rules for mounted combat spark incessant discussion, with some folks wanting the mount to get its actions in addition to their own actions. This was already a problem with PF1, especially with nonstandard mounts whose powerful attack forms (poucing tigers, anyone) made them very nasty indeed

The minion rules further complicate things, especially in any situation where the minion is a mount.

IMHO, the mounted combat rules must be treated as a spacial case which overrides the minion rules. PF2 mounted combat rules state that "Your
mount acts on your initiative" and that "the animal wastes its actions" if you don't command it.

So the character and her mount are considered as a single entity regarding actions they can take. If the rider strikes (with a melee weapon, with a bow, whatever) then the animal does nothing for that action, as shown in the example p478.

Since your mount's actions are already restricted, there is no reason to further restrict them with the minion trait. The whole reason for the existence of the minion trait is to prevent players who have a companion or a summoned creature from dominating the combat with their actions. Having a minion gives you a slight disadvantage and a slight advantage, you have 4 actions per round instead of 3, but only two of those actions are your own.

If you're mounted on your animal companion, it gets no extra actions, so there is no reason to use the minion trait.

And no, nowhere in the CRB does it make an exception to the mounted rules for minions like animal companions. It's simply that the mounted combat rules don't work any other way. Perhaps future errata will clear this up.

Horizon Hunters

I can understand this interpretation. With mounted riders always being a single entity with 3 turns. It depends on how you interpret the line on how command an animal works with animal companions

"Source Core Rulebook pg. 214
An animal companion is a loyal comrade who follows your orders. Your animal companion has the minion trait, and it gains 2 actions during your turn if you use the Command an Animal action to command it; this is in place of the usual effects of Command an Animal, and you don’t need to attempt a Nature check."

And whether you consider mounted combat command an animal "normal".

Less permissive gives 3 actions and the only benefit you get from a Horse animal companion is the availability of its support action (which actually isn't bad). More gives you a total of 5 to use but two of them must be performed by the mount and one must be command an animal.

What I would consider doing is rather than stick with the less permissive ruling which will cap you at 3 actions or the more permissive ruling that would give you a total of 5 actions to use, I would house rule a split of the difference with 4 actions as that seems to be a good middle road (even if not truly supported by the CRB). If for some reason mounted combat would be a frequent thing in my campaign id also look at adjusting the horses base movement speed (doubling) to make them faster than most characters (a known problem with how it works now is that a lot of PCs are faster by striding three times).

That being said my gut is telling me 3 is the correct way to go RAW.

All 3 versions. 3 actions, 4 actions, or 5 should get rid of the issue of enemy mounted riders being automatically faster than you.

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