Would a familiar / animal companion be a grumpy cuddler?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

Scarab Sages

I was thinking about this in response to the evil druid thread. People like to hug their pets especially if they're feeling sad. However a familiar/animal companion is not an animal but a sentient being capable of forming their own opinions, goals, desires, etc. So do you think they'd want to cuddle up to someone going "Who's a fuzzy kitty? You're a fuzzy kitty." as they snuggle them or would they hightail as fast as a real cat would in that situation albeit without the claws to the face?


Depends on the animal companion. Some would love to snuggle, others wouldn't.


Size matters. A domestic cat can be threatened or even hurt by a hug. A full-grown lion...not so much. It might leave (or pin you down and start grooming you, or just swat you) if it was annoyed though.

I'd hope a druid with an animal companion had some ranks in handle animal and would know how to literally handle their animal.

Also, familiars are sapient, animal companions can be marginally sapient (Int 3 or so, 6 for some odd cases) but are mostly Int 1-2.


Go ask your mother GM.

Longer answer: The GM is the final arbitrator of how NPCs act. While a player with an animal companion or familiar is usually allowed to dictate their behavior, the GM can 'play' them anytime they feel it is appropriate, and stop you anytime they feel it is appropriate.


Senko wrote:
I was thinking about this in response to the evil druid thread. People like to hug their pets especially if they're feeling sad. However a familiar/animal companion is not an animal but a sentient being capable of forming their own opinions, goals, desires, etc. So do you think they'd want to cuddle up to someone going "Who's a fuzzy kitty? You're a fuzzy kitty." as they snuggle them or would they hightail as fast as a real cat would in that situation albeit without the claws to the face?

Having experienced and lived with cats that loved people and consequently being snuggled and ones that don't I'd say that when it comes to animal companions it depends on the personality of the particular animal companion (which may be colored by their species). Some might and some might not, they may even be very particular about who they allow to be affectionate with them. One of those aforementioned cats (the non-snuggler) was very aggressive toward most people (to the point that the vet required sedation every visit). There were a select few it decided were ok and it would seek affection from those select individuals. After it decided I was ok, I remember it hopping up on a counter next to me and looking at me. When I began to pet it, it started purring very very quietly as if it didn't want anyone to know it was purring. Of course once it was done it hopped down and walked off.

When it comes to familiars its probably less of an issue since IIRC, over time they start to develop physical characteristics and mannerisms similar to their master. So, if the character is a snuggler, then over time, its likely that their familiar will become one as well.


Familiars aren’t normal animals of their kind. For most purposes they aren’t even animals anymore. They could like or dislike anything the player thinks makes sense. For instance, maybe you have a lizard familiar who likes to smoke a pipe and pretend he’s a dragon. There are tons of possibilities.

Animal companions are mostly normal animals, but normal animals still have personalities.


We're thinking too general here. Cats and Lions are one thing, but what about vermin? Would a house centipede want snuggles? How about a Small Water Elemental? An awakened dinosaur AC may or may not, depending on their type and if that kind of dino forms family bonds or something.

I'd like to think that an Imp or Quasit might have an issue with cuddling. A Lyrakien Azata though might kind of be into it. I'd say it really comes down to how you and your GM play things, but it might also be influenced by the base creature that you've modified into your life-mate.

Oh, and I DEFINITELY think all Figment archetype Familiars should be huggy-buggies. The image of a PC twirling in a circle, curled around a creature that simply isn't there to the rest of the party is too perfect!


I played a sort of witchdoctor-y druid with an extremely well-fed alligator companion named Sue.
There was a series of videos I'd seen where a man in Brazil (I believe) befriended a massive crocodile. I really hadn't thought that reptiles had that much capacity for affection, but this guy proved me wrong. That thing was like a dog with him; she loved getting scratches and being "pet" (when your best bud is covered in scales and weighs half a ton, a few hearty thumps to the head are the only way she'll feel anything). Then again, the guy's wife left him because he spent too much time with the crocodile. So. Yeah it's possible. If you're a bit odd.

A long while back, a friend of mine played a sorcerer with a snowy owl familiar. A familiar is a magical beast; a physical manifestation of part of the sorcerer's soul. And on top of that, a snowy owl is not typically a cuddly sort of creature. None of this stopped it's master from hugging it like a teddy bear, despite it's hoots of indignation.

Another time in a sort of primitive jungle campaign, one of the characters was a druid with a panther animal companion and who turned into a panther. They had a cub. "It's fine. I was a panther at the time."

I've seen character who treat their familiars as business partners (sometimes I even senior partners, if the familiar had a tendency to roll higher on skill checks), animal companions like prophets of nature, or both like resources to be used and discarded (for evil characters).

It's a rich vein for storytelling, and one that can say a lot with very little.


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Did the panther cub grow up to wield enhanced nunchucks and invent a cat-shaped tank with clawed paws?

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Dark Archive

Mark Hoover 330 wrote:
We're thinking too general here. Cats and Lions are one thing, but what about vermin? Would a house centipede want snuggles?

I had a wild snake that I'd caught and was removing from my garden when it began twining around between my fingers instead of trying to escape, and after about ten minutes of this, it's skin peeled away and it slithered off. Turns out it was itchy, I guess, because it was ready to shed, and it needed something to rub against, and I was it. :)

It would be amusing to see a centipede, another animal that sheds, have the same urges, constantly rubbing up against it's master, to help peel off it's old carapace (and then being sensitive and not wanting to be touched for a couple of hours as it's new carapace dries and hardens).

It'd be neat to see that, like cats who will rub against you for their own purposes (to spread their scent on you and mark you), not 'to be affectionate' necessarily, other animal companions might have similar motivations to do stuff that *appears* like cuddling.

"Aw, so cute, he's all curled up around your throat, like a scarf!"

"Yeah, he's a snake. That's how he keeps warm. He doesn't care that it makes it hard for me to breath or turn my head or look down..."


Because of empathic link, the familiar’s master should always know how much the familiar likes or dislikes something.

Scarab Sages

LordKailas wrote:
Senko wrote:
I was thinking about this in response to the evil druid thread. People like to hug their pets especially if they're feeling sad. However a familiar/animal companion is not an animal but a sentient being capable of forming their own opinions, goals, desires, etc. So do you think they'd want to cuddle up to someone going "Who's a fuzzy kitty? You're a fuzzy kitty." as they snuggle them or would they hightail as fast as a real cat would in that situation albeit without the claws to the face?

Having experienced and lived with cats that loved people and consequently being snuggled and ones that don't I'd say that when it comes to animal companions it depends on the personality of the particular animal companion (which may be colored by their species). Some might and some might not, they may even be very particular about who they allow to be affectionate with them. One of those aforementioned cats (the non-snuggler) was very aggressive toward most people (to the point that the vet required sedation every visit). There were a select few it decided were ok and it would seek affection from those select individuals. After it decided I was ok, I remember it hopping up on a counter next to me and looking at me. When I began to pet it, it started purring very very quietly as if it didn't want anyone to know it was purring. Of course once it was done it hopped down and walked off.

When it comes to familiars its probably less of an issue since IIRC, over time they start to develop physical characteristics and mannerisms similar to their master. So, if the character is a snuggler, then over time, its likely that their familiar will become one as well.

It could always go the other way too. A big tough ranger who imagined they'd get a wolf or a lion instead winds up with a squirrel as their animal companion. They love the fuzzy little guy and wouldn't trade them out for even a fully grown dragon but they still get embarassed and feel it compromises their image as a man of the wild. So while they give them hugs and affection when they think no one's looking their all standoffiish in public.

Set wrote:
Mark Hoover 330 wrote:
We're thinking too general here. Cats and Lions are one thing, but what about vermin? Would a house centipede want snuggles?

I had a wild snake that I'd caught and was removing from my garden when it began twining around between my fingers instead of trying to escape, and after about ten minutes of this, it's skin peeled away and it slithered off. Turns out it was itchy, I guess, because it was ready to shed, and it needed something to rub against, and I was it. :)

It would be amusing to see a centipede, another animal that sheds, have the same urges, constantly rubbing up against it's master, to help peel off it's old carapace (and then being sensitive and not wanting to be touched for a couple of hours as it's new carapace dries and hardens).

It'd be neat to see that, like cats who will rub against you for their own purposes (to spread their scent on you and mark you), not 'to be affectionate' necessarily, other animal companions might have similar motivations to do stuff that *appears* like cuddling.

"Aw, so cute, he's all curled up around your throat, like a scarf!"

"Yeah, he's a snake. That's how he keeps warm. He doesn't care that it makes it hard for me to breath or turn my head or look down..."

Could generate some interesting situtaions especially with some of the improved familiars that aren't even normal animals. The faerie dragon for instance is called out in its description as potentially following adventurers if it finds that they're fun to prank and generate good reactions. Some poor beligeured wizard protesting "I keep telling you they're not my familiar, they just followed me home and I can't get them to leave." Especially if you gave the faerie dragon the egoist archetype so it agrees its not the wizards familiar but insists the wizards its if only to provoke a reaction.


Didn't Beastmaster have 2 ferrets, Pogo and Pongo, as trained companions? So a ranger with a squirrel seems perfectly normal to an old dude like me...

Yes, animals will nuzzle you for their own needs like the dark god's story upthread about a snake shedding on him. But those are Animal type creatures as defined by this game.

An Animal Companion retains its Animal type but can have it's Int score boosted up above 2, denoting it as no longer of animal intelligence and able to take any feats it qualifies for. Certain ACs and all familiars form an empathic bond to the PC. Familiars are Magical Beasts as far as their type is concerned.

All of this means they're not normal animals. They can be vastly more intelligent, communicative, or even empathic. With the right feats and magic items they can be as smart as the party wizard. They are as much an extension of the character as they can be developed into a character themselves as per the rules around making them into your Cohort.

So can they be cuddly? Certainly, in as much as they can be trained in any feat they're capable of performing, have unique personalities, and can even wield extraordinary or supernatural abilities.

If at level 6 my warpriest's (Divine Commander) wolf mount gains the Celestial template and is literally infused with the power of my god, I feel like he could like being scratched under his chin and play-wrestling like a RL dog :)

I still like the idea though of something like a Scarlet Spider or a Greenblood Scorpion snuggling under a PC's chin though.


Senko wrote:
I was thinking about this in response to the evil druid thread. People like to hug their pets especially if they're feeling sad. However a familiar/animal companion is not an animal but a sentient being capable of forming their own opinions, goals, desires, etc. So do you think they'd want to cuddle up to someone going "Who's a fuzzy kitty? You're a fuzzy kitty." as they snuggle them or would they hightail as fast as a real cat would in that situation albeit without the claws to the face?

Between the link and Wild Empathy, I figure most animal companions would tolerate this, even if it's a cat that's not fond of cuddles. Most animal companions only have Int 1 or 2 as well, so they don't really have opinions. Having said that, most druids "venerate nature" which should include respect for the animal. I think a real-life animal trainer would not treat their "pets" that way.

Most druids seem to be diurnal (especially if they don't have low-light vision) and most animal companions are not. Chances are the animal will be awake part of the night and so won't run the risk of being treated like a furry blanket.

(Speaking of which, humans have great walking endurance, while many animal companions belong to "lazy" species. How does the companion get enough sleep? Don't lions sleep 20 hours a day? At least a wizard can probably carry their sleeping familiar.)


Unspecified, and really it ought not to be. A player ought to be able to dictate the personality of their animal companion in most circumstances. It's a core class feature into which they invest a lot of resources. If they want their wolverine or velociraptor to be a cuddly widdle cutie, let 'em. Not everybody wants to play the same way.

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