Are non-nimble Animal Companions still bad?


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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So with the second errata having been released, I wanted to follow up on something. I read something that said the other options for mature animal companions are basically trap options because of low AC and armor proficiencies. I have a potential idea for a character, that being a Wizard w/ Cavalier archetype riding a riding drake, but riding drakes seem pretty clearly STR-based with their attacks.

I briefly caught something in an errata discussion mentioning barding, so I wanted to follow up on that and see if non-nimble animal companions are more viable. So... are they?

Liberty's Edge

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They are not, no. The correction only dealt with a disparity between text and the existing Barding to the tune of +1 AC, it changed nothing else.

Non-Nimble companions are still an objectively bad choice.


Deadmanwalking wrote:

They are not, no. The correction only dealt with a disparity between text and the existing Barding to the tune of +1 AC, it changed nothing else.

Non-Nimble companions are still an objectively bad choice.

Well that's irksome. So if I want to do a riding drake and not have it be easily struck and/or killed, I'll have to go nimble and sacrifice its ability to actually hit people?

Which granted isn't a huge deal given the penalties to mounted combat, but still.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Animal companions are not intended to be on a par with player abilities - more like 3 or more levels behind. The nimble bonuses are nice, but don't fundamentally change that fact.


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Wheldrake wrote:
Animal companions are not intended to be on a par with player abilities - more like 3 or more levels behind. The nimble bonuses are nice, but don't fundamentally change that fact.

But it's not like being on par and being impactful are the same goal, though.

You can be underleveled and still be impactful to the combat. You won't contribute as much as a full on-level character does, but you still contribute nonetheless.


Are Indomitable companions non-viable? They get expert proficiency in barding so unless I'm missing something they aren't hit with the inherent -2 to AC that Savage has to deal with.

Liberty's Edge

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Wheldrake wrote:
Animal companions are not intended to be on a par with player abilities - more like 3 or more levels behind. The nimble bonuses are nice, but don't fundamentally change that fact.

This isn't the issue. The issue is that a Savage Companion basically has +3 damage over a Nimble one in exchange for -5 AC or thereabouts. The tradeoff between Companion types is unbalanced.

How they compare to PCs is almost irrelevant.

Arachnofiend wrote:
Are Indomitable companions non-viable? They get expert proficiency in barding so unless I'm missing something they aren't hit with the inherent -2 to AC that Savage has to deal with.

It's better, but not sufficient (Nimble Companions actually get to Master in AC...Indomitable ones never hit Master in AC). They still wind up like -3 AC behind and don't have any real advantages to compensate for that.


Vaguely on topic: What do you think of barding for a nimble companion? Light barding might be all right for mid levels, but if you haven't hit the dex cap by mature, you'll definitely hit it once your companion is specialized.

(I have a vulture companion at level 8, for the record.)

Liberty's Edge

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Barding is fine right up until you hit high enougth Dex to no longer benefit from it.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
Non-Nimble companions are still an objectively bad choice.

Aren't all animal companions useless?

The players in my group would love to invest in an animal companion.

But not one that's the obvious weak link in the chain. And PF2 fights are already so lethal, that bringing in a pet that is significantly less sturdy than the warriors of the team is just a hard no.

What we want is animal companions that work like Hunter's pets in World of Warcraft. Pets that doesn't die significantly more often than the other melee brawlers of the group.

The idea that pets are disposable is a huge turn-off for us. An animal companion is a beloved member of the team, and needs to be at least as survivable than the next party member such as the wizard. If not more, since after all, its role is in melee.

Any mechanism that gives you a discount on recruiting a new pet, or resurrecting it misses the point: that the pet shouldn't be dying in the first place!

Once that's achieved, the pet should be its own independent combatant. "Sustaining" it like in PF2 is acceptable, robbing its masters action (as in 5E) is a cruel joke.

So far neither PF2 nor 5E comes close to delivering anything remotely close to an acceptable animal companion.

It is utterly obvious to me that any satisfactory animal companion needs a share of the spotlight. The way both games keep trying to keep it "balanced" is just pathetic. The only solution means accepting that master + pet > 1 when it comes to "spotlight factor".

Just about the only reasonable solution in either game is just to take a "monster" (the lion or bear or whatever) and give control of that to the player, leveling it alongside the party. In PF2 it needn't be the same level as the party (a monster of a certain level is in some ways better than a character of the same level), but it certainly needs to be significantly sturdier than the anemic excuses provided by the rules...

This is still not ideal, of course, since it pretty much means balancing the whole concept by yourself with zero help from the publisher.


Y'know, this brings a question to mind, only semi-related but all the same. Again, my idea is a mounted caster. Do the rules say anything- for or against- the idea that I can command my animal companion to move, then I cast, then the animal companion moves again?


The STR animal companion (like Bear-Savage) manages to keep up in AC with player characters until lvl 13 (where everyone gets expert armor with a few exceptions getting earlier) after that their AC falls fast.

Nimble Companions are actually ahead on AC (around 2 more) compared to player characters from lvl 8 to 12 and 14 to 18.

So if you play from lvl 1-13 an STR companion will do fine after that they falls off hard.

A table to compare HERE. (It's actually Bear - Savage - Bully in one of the columns)

A simple way to fix is to homebrew that Savage and the STR specializations gives expert and master in barding respectively. Of course that is not without downsides because that makes STR companions better than DEX until the specializations.

Liberty's Edge

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Zapp wrote:
Aren't all animal companions useless?

Compared to what? Compared to another PC? Sure. Compared to a single action spent on other stuff and the Feats it takes to have them? Not so much.

An animal companion is a damage buff in creature form, most of the time. How good it is will vary, but it's often pretty useful.

Their offense is certainly behind a PC's, but not so much as to be completely useless. I mean, they provide flanking and give some bonus damage...a Beastmaster's Nimble companion can have as much as +34 to hit at 20th, only two behind most martials of that level, and a +32 is basically the minimum, add in the free flanking and their accuracy is actually not bad, and they're survivable enough to take incidental hits. A boss dedicated to taking them out will succeed...but on a mechanical level, that's a win. Getting a boss to spend multiple turns removing a buff from you is a huge win in PF2.

Having your third attack replaced with automatic flanking and an attack at +34 for 3d8+8 is not too bad for most characters, honestly (it is quite bad for Flurry Rangers specifically...it's amazing for Precision Rangers, though, as that damage goes up to 6d8+4, your Animal Companion getting to benefit from Precision). And that ignores the utility benefits outside combat (two tries at any reactive Perception check, for example), and the Support benefits (many of which are quite good).


Zapp wrote:
But not one that's the obvious weak link in the chain. And PF2 fights are already so lethal, that bringing in a pet that is significantly less sturdy than the warriors of the team is just a hard no.

Nimble Animal Companion have quite a high survival ability. Full plate AC, acceptable saves and they die at dying 4 like everyone. They just lack hps without being that low. So, they can take a bit of hits. I've never seen a Nimble Animal Companion dead and I've seen some tanking quite big things.

The main issue of Animal Companions is damage output. It's acceptable at low level, but it goes down slowly ending at abysmal levels. But from single digit levels, ACs are right where they are.


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In my experience the players will have flanking as often as not. So saying that this is a bonus for the animal companion is being generous.
They help you both get flanking, unless of course you are taking the Side by Sidefeat for it. But thats a level 12 feat, that a significant cost to go with the 5 other feats you are spending on your animal companion.

I don't mind that there is a gap in AC and to hit I expect it. Is just that it it is too big. Two to hit is maybe 20% more damage. But from level 14 up the AC difference is more than five between a nimble and a savage companion.
Then you need to consider that animal companions have less hitpoints anyway.
My experience is that the animal companion gets criticalled a lot, and have to withdraw after just 1 round.
The savage companion does not have a to hit bonus. It will have a few more base points of damage. But damage is low still because all it is normally doing is two basic attacks. Martials characters are doing Swipes and PowerAttacks etc etc.


Kyrone wrote:


So if you play from lvl 1-13 an STR companion will do fine after that they falls off hard.

A table to compare HERE. (It's actually Bear - Savage - Bully in one of the columns)

So its not the custon MegaFauna Bear that it says?

I find the Two points of AC a problem for strength animal companions a problem before level 13. Its just minor compared to how bad it drops off after that.

Liberty's Edge

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Gortle wrote:
In my experience the players will have flanking as often as not. So saying that this is a bonus for the animal companion is being generous.

I was mostly noting that it artificially inflated the Animal Companion's own to-hit, since it could always provide it. Which seems relevant.

I do agree that an animal companion isn't quite as good in a party where there's an even number of martials and everyone thus gets to flank almost every turn. An odd number of martials make it better.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I think the trick to effective animal companion use, outside of treating them disposable summons which feels bad on a pet, is don't send them rushing in ahead of the party. If enemies focus their attention on a pet it is going to get wrecked, but the silver lining of not doing amazing damage is the enemy will probably focus on the creature hurting them more.

If you want a class where the companion is a big part of the power budget, you'll want the summoner.

All that is aside from the issue of Nimble/savage balance, which is a legitimate problem. I also think the species don't feel super well balanced... Wolf support actions feel pretty bad compared to bears, for example.

Gortle wrote:

In my experience the players will have flanking as often as not. So saying that this is a bonus for the animal companion is being generous.

They help you both get flanking, unless of course you are taking the Side by Sidefeat for it. But thats a level 12 feat, that a significant cost to go with the 5 other feats you are spending on your animal companion.

I don't mind that there is a gap in AC and to hit I expect it. Is just that it it is too big. Two to hit is maybe 20% more damage. But from level 14 up the AC difference is more than five between a nimble and a savage companion.
Then you need to consider that animal companions have less hitpoints anyway.
My experience is that the animal companion gets criticalled a lot, and have to withdraw after just 1 round.
The savage companion does not have a to hit bonus. It will have a few more base points of damage. But damage is low still because all it is normally doing is two basic attacks. Martials characters are doing Swipes and PowerAttacks etc etc.

Power Attack and Swipe are both pretty situational feats, though. I feel like I'd benefit more from an additional flanking body more often than I need to punch through damage resistance or enemies line up for me to Swipe. Some of that will vary based on group composition, of course, but not every party has multiple front line combatants and even those that do may not always be able to get into position to support each other.

Edit: Honestly, I think the bigger issue for me is how many feats you need to spend if you want attacking with the companion to be viable. The competition for those higher level feats is much higher. You can always just rely on the support benefit so you don't need attack rolls and the critter is unlikely to draw aggro, but then you wind up with wolves remaining bad and such.


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The downside is they take quite a bit of feats but I am not sure why anyone would call them useless. It is strange how widely peoples opinions are, I would say a character is normally just stronger for taking beastmaster. Obviously there are a lot of variables.

Their AC is comparable to players for the most part. Their hit chance is a bit lower but they also have great utility benefits too. They can easily provide flanking when needed. Just taking some hits can be great.

I would be curious if someone ran a 4 player one shot if EVERY play went beastmaster would the battles become super easy? I have a feeling they would be far easier.

Now savage vs nimble I think is fine for the most part. On Str based damage animal companions savage should be fine, but on any other animal companion I feel nimble is the obvious choice.


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I think there's going to be a lot of variability due to party composition too, and the base class getting the AC, i.e. the Flurry Ranger as DMW stated gains little because their own MAP remains so low. I'd add that many Fighter builds would be giving up some great Press options.

How much room is there on the front line?
Is it a bird able to get a safe swoop except vs. enemies w/ Reactions like AoOs? Or a Large AC hard to fit into battle alongside the Giant Barb?
How diverse are the environments and can the AC handle them? Perhaps w/ buffs, but does the party have enough? Lots of battles at social events?
How much in-combat healing is available? Is it AoE healing so that the AC isn't a drain on it? Does somebody have Heal Animal?
Is there a Champion nearby to help mitigate damage? A party-wide buffer like a Bard? Does the AC bring y'all over the maximum Teleport number?
Are you in a dragon or wizard themed campaign where the AoEs are endless and the AC is another creature that needs support the party may or may not have? Or it keeps getting confused and turning on the party.
Do undead bosses keep transforming it or keep gaining strong boons from killing it?

My experience w/ ACs has seen them destroyed quickly which given my RPing enjoyment of them, hits my PCs in the feels. So I can't advocate them taking a front line role, "Meat Shield IV". A skirmish or rearguard role seems suitable.

As for whether ACs die at Dying 4 or immediately, ask your GM because technically ACs are NPCs which die immediately unless the GM deems them noteworthy enough to the story (which I'd think nearly all GMs would, but you don't know until you ask).


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Castilliano wrote:
As for whether ACs die at Dying 4 or immediately, ask your GM because technically ACs are NPCs which die immediately unless the GM deems them noteworthy enough to the story (which I'd think nearly all GMs would, but you don't know until you ask).

"Player characters, their companions, and other significant characters and creatures don’t automatically die when they reach 0 Hit Points."

So, unless you consider an Animal Companion is not a companion, they die at Dying 4.
Without that, I would agree with Zapp.


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SuperBidi wrote:
Castilliano wrote:
As for whether ACs die at Dying 4 or immediately, ask your GM because technically ACs are NPCs which die immediately unless the GM deems them noteworthy enough to the story (which I'd think nearly all GMs would, but you don't know until you ask).

"Player characters, their companions, and other significant characters and creatures don’t automatically die when they reach 0 Hit Points."

So, unless you consider an Animal Companion is not a companion, they die at Dying 4.
Without that, I would agree with Zapp.

Apologies, I'd either missed or forgotten their inclusion.

Funnily enough, if that's a quote it uses a generic form of companion, meaning it'd apply to traveling companions & spouses too. Much to their relief as associating w/ protagonists can be risky for one's health!


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
Zapp wrote:
Aren't all animal companions useless?

Compared to what? Compared to another PC? Sure. Compared to a single action spent on other stuff and the Feats it takes to have them? Not so much.

An animal companion is a damage buff in creature form, most of the time. How good it is will vary, but it's often pretty useful.

Sure, but that's looking at them as just another choice of feat or ability.

I'm looking at it this way:

If I'm going to play a Beastmaster, I want to be able to send in my cat or wolf (or whatever) into melee and not have to worry more about it than, say, Bob.

If the pet isn't roughly as sturdy (AC, hp, saves) as the Ranger or Rogue (that also enters melee) it's just a weak link in the chain. Adding a creature to the party where the main effect is just worrying when it will die is NOT worth the hassle.

Treating the pet as disposable is abhorrent. We're not talking about a generic summoned critter here. We're talking about the fifth and equal member of the party, and a trusted friend.

Just about the only useful comparison I can come up with would be the way you can recruit a Cohort in Pathfinder 1.

Obviously this should come with a giant sidebar saying "only for games where the GM and all players agree to use it".

But the point is that neither WotC nor Paizo has offered a working animal companion mechanism (evaluated by the above criteria). Not even as a variant. :(


Odd opinion coming from Zapp. Given the obsession with "offering warm flesh", one would think they'd be much more enthusiastic about a set of feats that give you another bag of HP and AC comparable to a party member.


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Zapp wrote:

We're talking about the fifth and equal member of the party, and a trusted friend.

Companion characters are not designed in any way as being equivalent to a extra member of the party mechanically.

They are designed to simulate an extra party member narratively, but that doesn't include the sort of mechanical balance you appear to be setting the bar at... and it should not.

If you want your companion to be another party member, ask to play a second character. That isn't what an Animal Companion - or any other companion - is designed to be


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AC is always the thing I'm going to prioritize on my Animal Companions first and foremost- I just don't want my bear friend or my kitty friend or my vulture friend to get hurt, if I can avoid it.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
AC is always the thing I'm going to prioritize on my Animal Companions first and foremost- I just don't want my bear friend or my kitty friend or my vulture friend to get hurt, if I can avoid it.

In addition to Armor class progression, I tend to try to ensure my Animal Companions is never the first one into combat - let the the big, metal encased fighter types take the first round of attacks, then send my precious animal bud into flanking.

Then force the enemies to decide if they're going to try and fight the humanoid characters actually representing a threat to them, or waste their actions trying to deal with the Animal annoying them, but which doesn't live up to being a real threat...

Tactically, attacking an animal companion is generally a waste since removing them doesn't significantly reduce the number of threatening foes on the field...


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Zapp wrote:
If the pet isn't roughly as sturdy (AC, hp, saves) as the Ranger or Rogue (that also enters melee) it's just a weak link in the chain.

Animal Companions have higher AC, similar saves, just less hit points (but still a nice pool of 7 to 10hp per level). So, they are nearly as sturdy as a Ranger or Rogue, but they also attract way less attention. I expect an Animal Companion to outlast a Rogue everyday.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
AC is always the thing I'm going to prioritize on my Animal Companions first and foremost- I just don't want my bear friend or my kitty friend or my vulture friend to get hurt, if I can avoid it.

Yes basic survivabilty has to be important or they can't do anything else.

I have seen animal companions not put into a fight as the healer wasn't willing to spend resources on them constantly - they just did not consider it an efficient use of their abilities.

I've also seen a GM firmly deny the benefits of the dying rules to Animal Companions. I think that was the playtest, when it wasn't explicit in the rules. Not good.

Silver Crusade

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Zapp wrote:

Treating the pet as disposable is abhorrent. We're not talking about a generic summoned critter here. We're talking about the fifth and equal member of the party, and a trusted friend.

A member of the party and a trusted friend I agree with.

But an equal member? No. Not even close.

Why should 1 character be twice as powerful? And why should the poor GM have to handle a group that is twice as powerful once ALL the players take Animal Companions? And why should the game drag as all combats take longer with 8 characters and twice the number of enemies to keep things balanced?

If you want some set of mechanics to make the AC more powerful while also significantly weakening the player character I can certainly get behind that. But the goal is that the PC plus Animal Companion be on a par with other PCs


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Zapp wrote:


But the point is that neither WotC nor Paizo has offered a working animal companion mechanism (evaluated by the above criteria). Not even as a variant. :(

They just did a big playtest for the summoner, which is basically the uber pet class. A little reflavoring seems like it could get you most of the way there. Or at the very least, as close as you can reasonably expect short of just making animals as player characters. (Which doesn't work amazing, because while they are quite strong on the battefield they bring nothing to the table for skills.)


So, just going to bring up the question I asked earlier that seemed to get lost in the thread:

Inquisitive Tiefling wrote:
Y'know, this brings a question to mind, only semi-related but all the same. Again, my idea is a mounted caster. Do the rules say anything- for or against- the idea that I can command my animal companion to move, then I cast, then the animal companion moves again?


Inquisitive Tiefling wrote:

So, just going to bring up the question I asked earlier that seemed to get lost in the thread:

Inquisitive Tiefling wrote:
Y'know, this brings a question to mind, only semi-related but all the same. Again, my idea is a mounted caster. Do the rules say anything- for or against- the idea that I can command my animal companion to move, then I cast, then the animal companion moves again?

I thought that the mounts actions occured when you did the command animal action. The rules are actually vague here.

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

So it looks like it is allowed.


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Zapp wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Non-Nimble companions are still an objectively bad choice.

Aren't all animal companions useless?

The players in my group would love to invest in an animal companion.

But not one that's the obvious weak link in the chain. And PF2 fights are already so lethal, that bringing in a pet that is significantly less sturdy than the warriors of the team is just a hard no.

What we want is animal companions that work like Hunter's pets in World of Warcraft. Pets that doesn't die significantly more often than the other melee brawlers of the group.

The idea that pets are disposable is a huge turn-off for us. An animal companion is a beloved member of the team, and needs to be at least as survivable than the next party member such as the wizard. If not more, since after all, its role is in melee.

Any mechanism that gives you a discount on recruiting a new pet, or resurrecting it misses the point: that the pet shouldn't be dying in the first place!

Once that's achieved, the pet should be its own independent combatant. "Sustaining" it like in PF2 is acceptable, robbing its masters action (as in 5E) is a cruel joke.

So far neither PF2 nor 5E comes close to delivering anything remotely close to an acceptable animal companion.

It is utterly obvious to me that any satisfactory animal companion needs a share of the spotlight. The way both games keep trying to keep it "balanced" is just pathetic. The only solution means accepting that master + pet > 1 when it comes to "spotlight factor".

Just about the only reasonable solution in either game is just to take a "monster" (the lion or bear or whatever) and give control of that to the player, leveling it alongside the party. In PF2 it needn't be the same level as the party (a monster of a certain level is in some ways better than a character of the same level), but it certainly needs to be significantly sturdier than the anemic excuses provided by the rules...

This is still not ideal, of course, since it pretty much means...

They are far from useless, but aren't a Hunter pet in WoW that can tank and hold aggro.

The class that uses them best is the precision ranger. They are somewhat cool for druids and other casters as an extra melee option as they will hit better than a caster ever will.

The main problem is that nimble companions are way better than savage or indomitable. Nimble end up with a 44 AC and 3 damage less than a savage. A Nimble bird companion is a very useful companion that can flank in three dimensions and adds a little damage each round on a consistent basis.

Wolf isn't terrible either. If it hits, it can automatically trip with no Athletics check required.

An animal companion is mostly like a permanent flanking companion and sustained damage spell that ends up doing about 3d6 to 3d8 +7 to 10 damage per round with hit points and other abilities you can use like skills.

It's not useless at all. Animal companions are a pretty solid expenditure of resources, especially for a precision ranger which gives the animal the precision damage bonus to its first attack.


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Deriven Firelion wrote:
They are far from useless, but aren't a Hunter pet in WoW that can tank and hold aggro.

Here's hoping the new Summoners Eidolon can do that.


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Gortle wrote:
Deriven Firelion wrote:
They are far from useless, but aren't a Hunter pet in WoW that can tank and hold aggro.
Here's hoping the new Summoners Eidolon can do that.

It's max AC currently will be 26 Master proficiency +5 Dex 20 Dex +3 item =44 like a nimble companion. Give it a shield or shield spell and it's max AC is 46.

It has shared hit point pool with 10 per level. If a 20 Con that will be 300 hit points plus toughness and ancestry.

It will have the weakness of two points of attack with a summoner with much weaker AC and saves as well as rolling AoE saves with disadvantage. If I'm a DM and per the rules I know I'm fighting a summoner, I go after the summoner first over his summoned creature. There is no way for the eidolon to hold aggro and the eidolon's move isn't great. I'm betting won't be able to tank so well unless the creature is kind of dumb.

It should be able to tank, but lower tier tank unless they build an eidolon type capable of doing so. Right now summoner and eidolons are so limited, I'm having trouble seeing it.


pauljathome wrote:


If you want some set of mechanics to make the AC more powerful while also significantly weakening the player character I can certainly get behind that. But the goal is that the PC plus Animal Companion be on a par with other PCs

Its never going to be perfectly the same. They will alway have a bit more toughness but some vulnerabilites as well.

Yes a party with 4 PCs and 4 companions is going to be a bit tougher and much more unwieldy to GM and play. I prefer to control that at a GM level. I'd probably only allow 1 Animal companion in a party of 4, and probably ban them in a party of 5 or more. But in a party of 3 or less I'd be encouraging them.
Yeah I know, I'm talking not PFS....


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I think a medium-large party also heavy in Animal Companions would have a difficult time in most of my campaigns unless they all had birds (which would be kind of cool thematically TBH). Sure they'd swamp many villains rapidly, but when the lava, ladders, Teleport spells, splitting oozes, tight spaces, AoEs, and other situations unfriendly to huge groups or animals arise, it'll be that much rougher since ACs are bringing less to the table than PCs.

Animal Companions are simple tools which IMO don't fare well in complex situations where they can be more burden than boon. Even a couple of ACs can make navigation tougher.

LOL, just remembered my PFS1 party that all had Animal Companions. We carried a winch in a Bag of Holding so we could set it up to raise or lower the beasts. It took oodles of in-game time, but we brought tons of food too. :)


Currently playing a Ranger with an AC in AoA. Currently level 10, and the issues until now haven't been that many, but are pretty severe.

1. Hit disparity is too low. This wouldn't be too much of an issue if they could benefit from item bonuses, but since they can't and will remain with suboptimal stats till possibly end game, Hits tend to miss more often than they land; this tends to include flanking bonuses from personal experience. I chose a Badger for mid to late-game which only exaggerated this flaw since early levels.

2. AC(Armor) is surprisingly close to Rangers'. Magic Hide and/or Outwit should shore multiple Companions up to an Off-Tank role decently well against average enemies. Druid has access to a bunch of Heals, Focus and Regular Spells, which can keep them alive pretty well.

3. HP is 50/50. Only two battle has downed my companion thus far. The first one was against an Ooze that hit like a truck, and the second one was because a string of bad rolls. In a recent Battle i had to send my companion to safety halfway through because of too many hits. HP seems to be too low, but is actually proving to be just right more often than not. I will agree with Zapp in saying HP is too low to tank bosses; but more as an observation rather than as an issue.

4. I do feel AC and Mature AC should be consolidated into a single feat. 'Incredible' and 'Specialized' are fine being separate. Mature just doesn't feel like it adds enough to be a separate feat.

Animal Companions are definitely worth their investment, but could definitely use much needed improvements in certain areas that are brought out by how the PF2 system is intended to work. Rangers, from my experience, will feel the disparities the most.


Zapp wrote:
Just about the only reasonable solution in either game is just to take a "monster" (the lion or bear or whatever) and give control of that to the player, leveling it alongside the party.

Fascinating... Has anyone tried this?


Gortle wrote:
Inquisitive Tiefling wrote:

So, just going to bring up the question I asked earlier that seemed to get lost in the thread:

Inquisitive Tiefling wrote:
Y'know, this brings a question to mind, only semi-related but all the same. Again, my idea is a mounted caster. Do the rules say anything- for or against- the idea that I can command my animal companion to move, then I cast, then the animal companion moves again?

I thought that the mounts actions occured when you did the command animal action. The rules are actually vague here.

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

So it looks like it is allowed.

You are looking at the wrong section:

Minion:

Quote:
Minions are creatures that directly serve another creature. A creature with this trait can use only 2 actions per turn and can’t use reactions. Your minion acts on your turn in combat,once per turn, when you spend an action to issue it commands.

So, when you issue the command (and give it the two actions) it needs to take them both, or lose any unspend ones since it can only act once and that's immediatly after you use the Command Action.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Tavaro Evanis wrote:
Zapp wrote:
Just about the only reasonable solution in either game is just to take a "monster" (the lion or bear or whatever) and give control of that to the player, leveling it alongside the party.
Fascinating... Has anyone tried this?

Yup. I have a two player Extinction Curse party with two NPC meat shields, one of which is the druid's bear. It has worked ok so far. The bear is good in a fight but doesn't help the small party with skill coverage. But they have a rogue, so that will hopefully be less of an issue as they level up. Bears also have a nice creatures covering most of the early levels of play, so I shouldn't have to do any work until like level 8.

Wouldn't recommend it in an already optimal sized party, though. You're just distorting balance and adding complications at that point.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

My cleric took the animal trainer archetype, as it was the only thing like it available when we hit second level. The hands down best part of that archetype is level 4 constant speak with animals, but my companion is pretty valuable as well. 1 action to move twice is a really sweet deal. The ability to have a mount for overland travel that isn't going to die the first time the party gets ambushed with an AoE is the primary benefit I enjoy.

The rules are pretty light on whether an animal companion's limbs are suitable for climbing, but my GM lets my Animal companion use its athletics skill (better than mine) to climb, and its acrobatics skill is pretty good too, so getting to use 2 useful skills, have a very high movement rate, and have a mount that is capable of surviving some heavy hits are all very useful. Plus its attack bonus is about exactly the same as my clerics and it's damage is a little bit better than a weapon, so you can ride a mount and have a decent melee attack for when creatures get close to you, without investing any hands or gold in a weapon. It won't be martial good, but it will be better than trying to punch a monster that has a AoO when you get trapped in difficult terrain and can't move away without provoking. No my companion is not better than adding a 5th party member to the party, but its value to my character includes a lot of in and out of combat utility.

And if a party of beast masters included a healer cleric, a bard, and an alchemist, you could have some nasty battle ready companions running around.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Unicore wrote:

My cleric took the animal trainer archetype, as it was the only thing like it available when we hit second level. The hands down best part of that archetype is level 4 constant speak with animals, but my companion is pretty valuable as well. 1 action to move twice is a really sweet deal. The ability to have a mount for overland travel that isn't going to die the first time the party gets ambushed with an AoE is the primary benefit I enjoy.

The rules are pretty light on whether an animal companion's limbs are suitable for climbing, but my GM lets my Animal companion use its athletics skill (better than mine) to climb, and its acrobatics skill is pretty good too, so getting to use 2 useful skills, have a very high movement rate, and have a mount that is capable of surviving some heavy hits are all very useful. Plus its attack bonus is about exactly the same as my clerics and it's damage is a little bit better than a weapon, so you can ride a mount and have a decent melee attack for when creatures get close to you, without investing any hands or gold in a weapon. It won't be martial good, but it will be better than trying to punch a monster that has a AoO when you get trapped in difficult terrain and can't move away without provoking. No my companion is not better than adding a 5th party member to the party, but its value to my character includes a lot of in and out of combat utility.

And if a party of beast masters included a healer cleric, a bard, and an alchemist, you could have some nasty battle ready companions running around.

Yeah, mounted mobility can be really useful. One hot tip though: be wary of flying mounts. They seem great until you realize that intelligent enemies will target the frailer mount to drop you out of the sky, which is really rough if you tried to rush a dragon with it.

Scarab Sages

Captain Morgan wrote:
Unicore wrote:

My cleric took the animal trainer archetype, as it was the only thing like it available when we hit second level. The hands down best part of that archetype is level 4 constant speak with animals, but my companion is pretty valuable as well. 1 action to move twice is a really sweet deal. The ability to have a mount for overland travel that isn't going to die the first time the party gets ambushed with an AoE is the primary benefit I enjoy.

The rules are pretty light on whether an animal companion's limbs are suitable for climbing, but my GM lets my Animal companion use its athletics skill (better than mine) to climb, and its acrobatics skill is pretty good too, so getting to use 2 useful skills, have a very high movement rate, and have a mount that is capable of surviving some heavy hits are all very useful. Plus its attack bonus is about exactly the same as my clerics and it's damage is a little bit better than a weapon, so you can ride a mount and have a decent melee attack for when creatures get close to you, without investing any hands or gold in a weapon. It won't be martial good, but it will be better than trying to punch a monster that has a AoO when you get trapped in difficult terrain and can't move away without provoking. No my companion is not better than adding a 5th party member to the party, but its value to my character includes a lot of in and out of combat utility.

And if a party of beast masters included a healer cleric, a bard, and an alchemist, you could have some nasty battle ready companions running around.

Yeah, mounted mobility can be really useful. One hot tip though: be wary of flying mounts. They seem great until you realize that intelligent enemies will target the frailer mount to drop you out of the sky, which is really rough if you tried to rush a dragon with it.

I'm pretty sure there's a section in the core book that says picking on ACs and mounts is a jerk play, so don't do that.


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Captain Morgan wrote:
Unicore wrote:

My cleric took the animal trainer archetype, as it was the only thing like it available when we hit second level. The hands down best part of that archetype is level 4 constant speak with animals, but my companion is pretty valuable as well. 1 action to move twice is a really sweet deal. The ability to have a mount for overland travel that isn't going to die the first time the party gets ambushed with an AoE is the primary benefit I enjoy.

The rules are pretty light on whether an animal companion's limbs are suitable for climbing, but my GM lets my Animal companion use its athletics skill (better than mine) to climb, and its acrobatics skill is pretty good too, so getting to use 2 useful skills, have a very high movement rate, and have a mount that is capable of surviving some heavy hits are all very useful. Plus its attack bonus is about exactly the same as my clerics and it's damage is a little bit better than a weapon, so you can ride a mount and have a decent melee attack for when creatures get close to you, without investing any hands or gold in a weapon. It won't be martial good, but it will be better than trying to punch a monster that has a AoO when you get trapped in difficult terrain and can't move away without provoking. No my companion is not better than adding a 5th party member to the party, but its value to my character includes a lot of in and out of combat utility.

And if a party of beast masters included a healer cleric, a bard, and an alchemist, you could have some nasty battle ready companions running around.

Yeah, mounted mobility can be really useful. One hot tip though: be wary of flying mounts. They seem great until you realize that intelligent enemies will target the frailer mount to drop you out of the sky, which is really rough if you tried to rush a dragon with it.

The Cavalier Archetype includes a few feats that let you protect your mount while you're riding it.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

I mean, my PC is an unarmored cleric with a low con score. It is a big win for the party when the nasty monster attacks my companion instead of me. As a goblin riding a hyena, the closest I get to flying is casting air walk on my mount. I'd only do that to avoid enemies, not chase after them.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Angel Hunter D wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
Unicore wrote:

My cleric took the animal trainer archetype, as it was the only thing like it available when we hit second level. The hands down best part of that archetype is level 4 constant speak with animals, but my companion is pretty valuable as well. 1 action to move twice is a really sweet deal. The ability to have a mount for overland travel that isn't going to die the first time the party gets ambushed with an AoE is the primary benefit I enjoy.

The rules are pretty light on whether an animal companion's limbs are suitable for climbing, but my GM lets my Animal companion use its athletics skill (better than mine) to climb, and its acrobatics skill is pretty good too, so getting to use 2 useful skills, have a very high movement rate, and have a mount that is capable of surviving some heavy hits are all very useful. Plus its attack bonus is about exactly the same as my clerics and it's damage is a little bit better than a weapon, so you can ride a mount and have a decent melee attack for when creatures get close to you, without investing any hands or gold in a weapon. It won't be martial good, but it will be better than trying to punch a monster that has a AoO when you get trapped in difficult terrain and can't move away without provoking. No my companion is not better than adding a 5th party member to the party, but its value to my character includes a lot of in and out of combat utility.

And if a party of beast masters included a healer cleric, a bard, and an alchemist, you could have some nasty battle ready companions running around.

Yeah, mounted mobility can be really useful. One hot tip though: be wary of flying mounts. They seem great until you realize that intelligent enemies will target the frailer mount to drop you out of the sky, which is really rough if you tried to rush a dragon with it.
I'm pretty sure there's a section in the core book that says picking on ACs and mounts is a jerk play, so don't do that.

I try not to do it, but it becomes hard to justify not doing it in certain situations. One of those situations is when the super durable champion with no ranged weapons is using it to get up in a flier's face.


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Captain Morgan wrote:
I try not to do it, but it becomes hard to justify not doing it in certain situations.

Like area attacks: it similar to a familiar on your shoulder and you getting fireballs or dragon breathe shot at you.


graystone wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
I try not to do it, but it becomes hard to justify not doing it in certain situations.
Like area attacks: it similar to a familiar on your shoulder and you getting fireballs or dragon breathe shot at you.

Yeah, AoEs seem more common in PF2 than before, including Trample or "attack all within Reach" and so forth.

I believe one shouldn't target pets & familiars because they're weaker and you know that doomed monster can only etch a point by targeting them. But if it's tactically sound because another enemy relies on it for flight (doubles the value of one's attacks) or the AC/familiar is the only one you can use your spiffy attack routine on (i.e. the Warg wants to Swallow Whole and the AC/familiar is the only target small enough) or that Wolf companion keeps using Knockdown on your allies next to a party of Fighters, then yes, your Animal Companion becomes fair game, with emphasis on the fair because it'd be unfair to tactically savvy villains for them to ignore the ACs' effects on combat.

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