Animal Companions and Slowed


Rules Discussion


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Alright, I've been going around in circles in my head on how quickened and slowed work for animal companions.

Path 1: Animal Companions don't "regain actions at the start of their turn" they gain actions during their master's turn when their master uses "Command an Animal"

Thus Slow/Quickened are irreverent.

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Path 2: Their turn starts once commanded and they have 3 actions.

The minion trait however limits them to taking 2 action so slowed 1 makes no difference (but slowed 2+ does) and neither does haste.

Wrinkle: Animal Companions have additional text.

CRB 214 wrote:
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;

Probably an unintended difference but the Animal Companion rules specifically give the animal 2 actions in addition to the minion rules limiting it to taking 2. following that distinction leads to quickened doing nothing, but that slowed 1 does cut it down from 2 actions to 1 when commanded.

So, quickened comes out the same in all 3 paths. Does nothing.

Slowed however...

Path 1: Irrelevant, animal companions don't gain actions in a way that interacts with slowed.

Path 2: Animal Companions gain 3 actions but are limited to 2. So Slowed 1 doesn't matter but slowed 2 does.

Path 2b: Animal Companions gain 2 action, so slowed 1 matters and slowed 2 completely disables them.

Problematic Complication that may even be different from above: The Mature Animal Companion feat says they can take an action on their master's turn if not commanded.

Path 1: They are acting on their master's turn and slowed/quickened are Irrelevant.

Path 2: They have 3 actions, but get to take 1. Slowed 1/2 don't matter, neither does quickened.

Path 2b: They get 1 action, slowed takes it away, and quickened increases it to 2 (still within minion limits)

Happy to hear thoughts, thanks.

Bonus question: Animal Companion gets knocked to dying. What happens to its initiative?


Great questions, as the situations seem straightforward until you plot them out.

As for the bonus question, there's an earlier question:
Do Animal Companions die at 0 (being NPCs) or go to dying (being aspects of a PC or important enough NPCs)? I think nearly all GMs would side with dying, yet do the rules clarify either way?
Though I'd add I don't think the Animal Companion has an initiative to move. So it seems they do have a greater chance of dying though its PC should be able to go first. Really rough if an AoO dropped them.

Silver Crusade

This just came up in game. With a druids mature companion. With a gaze attack causing slowed 1.

Rightly or wrongly I ruled that BOTH druid and companion lost an action.

Which essentially made the Animal Companion totally useless on the rounds that BOTH the druid and companion failed their saves and reduced it to 1 action if EITHER made their save.

Which seems about right to me, power wise. At their current level, for this particular character, the companions second action is close to useless anyway (it has pounce so can move/attack with one action. And the Druid doesn't go into melee. Numbers are such that it quite rarely hits on its second attack).

I'd also add an action on haste. May not be correct RAW but it seems fair if I'm penalizing on slow. And casting haste on an Animal Companion is only likely to matter with the heightened spell and at that point I just think it acceptable for a level 7 spell :-).


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pauljathome wrote:

This just came up in game. With a druids mature companion. With a gaze attack causing slowed 1.

Rightly or wrongly I ruled that BOTH druid and companion lost an action.

Wait, the animal companion failed a save, so the Druid also lost an action? If that’s what you are saying, that feels very wrong to me. I play an animal companion Druid in PFS and if my GM told me that is what happened, I suspect I would be quite upset. If it was two different gazes, then sure.

I had the discussion of Minions and Slowed on two different Discord servers in the past week, and I think they came to different conclusions, so this issue is likely worth a FAQ/errata.


This applies to more than just the items mentioned.

For example, my AC becomes Confused. RAW, if I just don't Command it, it won't try to kill me, as it has no Actions.

Same for Controlled and Fleeing.

A Frightened AC can never reduce its Frightened value, as it doesn't have a Turn. But on the plus side, they can't take Persistent Damage, for the same reason.


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Aratorin wrote:
A Frightened AC can never reduce its Frightened value, as it doesn't have a Turn. But on the plus side, they can't take Persistent Damage, for the same reason.

I'd say that the AC's turn ends when the Druid's turn ends for both of those effects. There's RAW, and then there's rulings that make sense. Saying that ACs are immune to persistent damage because they don't have an "end of turn" step doesn't pass the sniff test for me.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

To the main topic of the thread:
I'm currently in the Path 2 camp, but I hadn't noticed the Wrinkle.
I can't see Slowed being irrelevant, since that would make them completely immune to a Cockatrice. On the flip side, having them calcified after only two failed saves also seems incorrect. So that's the reason I am where I am at the moment; my opinion could change.

As for the bonus question: I'd say it stays with the Druid's initiative. The point of the initiative move is to make sure your party has a chance to heal you. If the animal stays in the same Initiative count, the Druid will always get a chance to cast Heal Animal or similar, unless it was an AOO and the Druid used their other actions before commanding.


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One last thing: This question will be even more relevant when the APG drops and Necromancers can summon Zombies.

Sczarni

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First World Bard wrote:
Aratorin wrote:
A Frightened AC can never reduce its Frightened value, as it doesn't have a Turn. But on the plus side, they can't take Persistent Damage, for the same reason.
I'd say that the AC's turn ends when the Druid's turn ends for both of those effects. There's RAW, and then there's rulings that make sense. Saying that ACs are immune to persistent damage because they don't have an "end of turn" step doesn't pass the sniff test for me.

Pretty much this. For the same reason I would limit an animal companion to one action if it were slowed 1 or have it run off if it has the fleeing condiion.


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Thanks for laying out all the paths, expanded slightly from my original query elsewhere.

I ran a fight with cockatrices and ACs about two weeks ago, and while I applied and had slowed 1 effect them, it left a very bad taste in my mouth. I was leaning towards Path 2 in my interpretation going forward. The 2b thing is interesting, but generally equally harsh.

Your aside on AC dying/initiative:

Spoiled because its off-topic and longer than my on-topic answer)

Regarding your dying AC initiative question, we're caught between two opposing rules:
a) Animal companions act during your turn
b) Move the dying creatures initiative to right before the thing that dropped them.

In a home-game I would go with what i think is more lenient -- add a 'animal companion recovery roll' to the initiative tracker at the place before the creature that dropped it. It doesn't act them, just when the check is made. This still gives the party the normal full round to try to help before it makes its check, but it doesn't get a new initiative separate from the character.

In a society game (which I think I've had come up twice), I had it just stay with its character's initiative, and I didn't move the character's initiative. Moving both character + AC could match a reading of the rules, but ends up skipping the characters turn in most cases. This is fairly punishing especially at a time when a player is worried about their companion. If the AC was dropped by an opponents reaction during the AC's turn I didn't have it make a recovery check until the next turn.


I think I'd simply say Slowed 1 gives them "1 less action than usual", and the reverse for Quickened, since that is kinda obviously the intent. And saves made by Animal companions are independent of saves for the masters of said companions,


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Yeah, it's a weird situation. Regarding other conditions, though, Minions "acts on your turn in combat, once per turn, when you spend an action to issue it commands." I'd read this as they share your initiative, and act when you command them, so yeah, they're bleeding at the end of your turn.

Regarding the rest though:
1. Yeah, confused/fleeing/... are... confusing? I have no ideas how this should interact, but RAW suggests that if your companion *isn't* getting a "free" action, it does nothing.
2. I could see either the "it gets 3 actions, but can only use 2" or "it gets 2 actions" being valid, meaning slowed would either have an immediate effect, or it wouldn't have an effect until slowed 2. I don't think the distinction between gaining their actions at the start of the turn vs when you command them is relevant, or I think it's a case of slowed stating how it works for a general rule, but there's a natural application for animal companions who may gain their actions later.


First World Bard wrote:
Aratorin wrote:
A Frightened AC can never reduce its Frightened value, as it doesn't have a Turn. But on the plus side, they can't take Persistent Damage, for the same reason.
I'd say that the AC's turn ends when the Druid's turn ends for both of those effects. There's RAW, and then there's rulings that make sense. Saying that ACs are immune to persistent damage because they don't have an "end of turn" step doesn't pass the sniff test for me.

I was not making any comment on how I think it should be played. I was simply pointing out additional things that need errata because they do not work properly by RAW.


I'm going to run it in the most intuitive way that makes the rules run in an consistent way. That means a slowed companion loses an action and a quickened companion gains an action with the limitations applied of effects which provide the conditions.

Silver Crusade

First World Bard wrote:
pauljathome wrote:

This just came up in game. With a druids mature companion. With a gaze attack causing slowed 1.

Rightly or wrongly I ruled that BOTH druid and companion lost an action.

Wait, the animal companion failed a save, so the Druid also lost an action?

No. They were facing an opponent with an area of effect gaze attack that took place at the end of a characters turn.

So, on the druids turn BOTH the druid and animal companion attempted their save.

If the animal companion failed its save, it got 1 less action (so either 0 if not commanded or 1 IF commanded).

If the druid failed its save, he got 1 less action.

So, if they both failed then, functionally, the animal companion never did anything because the druid had better things to do with his 2 actions than to command the animal companion.

IF they both succeeded, then no effect.

If EITHER succeeded then, functionally, the druid took 2 actions and the animal companion 1 (that was the most efficient use of their shared 3 actions).

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