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Rakeesh
2007-03-21, 10:16 AM
OK, so I have a Druid who's got an animal companion. In reviewing the rules, I learn that:
An animal companion gains additional skill points and feats for bonus HD as normal for advancing a monsterís Hit Dice.

So, managing the bonus hit dice is easy. As is the feat, I can choose a feat the animal has the prerequisites to earn, right? Skill points too, within reason, are pretty easy. (Can't have an Eagle taking Knowledge ranks, now can you?)

But for example, do animal companions get to increase an attribute by one point every fourth hit die like PCs do with levels? Could this attribute be, for example, placed in Intelligence, bringing up an animal to intelligence 3?

And saving throws. What does it mean when the instructions say an animal has "Good Fortitude and Reflex" bonuses?

Any other special things I should keep in mind?

Thanks in advance for the help.

marjan
2007-03-21, 10:29 AM
I think that animal hit dice gives you ablility score increase every four levels, but I'm not sure. And good saves means that you increase them every even level. Just take a look at rangers progresion for saves and assign animal his base saves at apropriate level (animal with 5 HD has same saves like Ranger at level 5).

JellyPooga
2007-03-21, 10:35 AM
Could this attribute be, for example, placed in Intelligence, bringing up an animal to intelligence 3?

Yes, animals do get an extra point (so far as I understand) and yes, you could put it into Int. However, you could not raise it's Int above 3 (that being the max Int of an animal...or is it 2? I can never remember) and even if you did, it wouldn't really do anything (still the same amount of skill points, still a -(something high) on all Int based skill checks, etc.


And saving throws. What does it mean when the instructions say an animal has "Good Fortitude and Reflex" bonuses?

Reflex as Rogue, Fort and Fighter


Any other special things I should keep in mind?

Animal Companions do NOT gain size increases with increased HD (so a wolf Animal Companion is always a medium creature, for example)

Starbuck_II
2007-03-21, 01:15 PM
But for example, do animal companions get to increase an attribute by one point every fourth hit die like PCs do with levels? Could this attribute be, for example, placed in Intelligence, bringing up an animal to intelligence 3?

No because animals can't have more than 2 Int. Any where else is okay.


And saving throws. What does it mean when the instructions say an animal has "Good Fortitude and Reflex" bonuses?

They mean use "Rangers Save" per level saves as a template (they work same way).
Look at the ranger: he has good Fort/Ref, bad Will.

At level 1: +2/+2/+0
Level 2: +3/+3/+0
Level 3: +3/+3/+1

etc.

Stephen_E
2007-03-21, 08:43 PM
Advancing the Animal Companion -

It's unclear whether a Animal Companion gets a +1 stat per 4 HD but one can onfer that without feeling to cheesy.
As for increasing Int with this. The MM says an animal has Int 1-2. The DMG says a mount isn't treated as a NPC until it reachs Int 5+.
This leaves Int 3-4 an inbetween zone that a GM can treat as acceptable for an animal or not. In RL it has been shown that some smart animal CAN learn a language, which is in DnD defined as Int 3+.

None of this stops you raising an animal Companions Int, BUT, if you raise it's Int above what your GM rules is the max for an animal (be that 2 or 4) it can no longer be an animal companion (note: - There are feats in Ebberon and a prestige class in RotW - Arcane Heirophant, that overide this).

Skill points - Because of the Int penalty animals only get 1 skill point/HD.

Saving Throws - See PHB pg22 table 3.1. Replace class level with HD and you get the Good/Poor save for your Animal Companion. Note - If you have a Dire Animal ALL its save are "Good".

Natural Bond - A feat from Comp Advent. If your PC takes this feat it boosts your level for calculating advancement by +3. Limitation is that this doesn't allow your level to exceed your HD. Legal fudge - The limitation only kicks in AFTER making adjustments for penalties for Alternative Companions.
i.e. A 1st level Druid with Natural Bond can have a Animal Companion with a -3 lev adjustment.
This is a great way of getting a Dire Companion without losing advancement (or at least minimising it).

Hope this helps.

Stephen

Jasdoif
2007-03-21, 08:52 PM
I'm going to reference a WotC here: http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/rg/20070206a

It says that the animal companion gains full benefit for the extra HD, except for size. So it does gain stat boosts.

However, it can't raise its Int above 2. An animal companion is always an animal, and the type description of animal (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/typesSubtypes.htm#animalType) says...

(no creature with an Intelligence score of 3 or higher can be an animal)

If its Int got to 3 or above, it would have to change type (probably to magical beast), and then it would no longer be allowed to serve as animal companion.

Viscount Einstrauss
2007-03-21, 08:56 PM
At least, it would be disallowed until epics, when you can take the Magical Beast Companion feat and then have something like that.

marjan
2007-03-21, 09:24 PM
If you want to improve your animal companion you could take one level of Beastmaster from Complete Adventurer. The class gives +3 to efective druid level for determining abilities of your companion but it requires Skill Focus(Handle Animal) and 8 ranks in Handle Animal.

Rakeesh
2007-03-21, 10:34 PM
Thanks for the information, everyone. I appreciate it. What I'm really looking for is a way to speak--without casting the spell, that is--with the animal companion, intelligence 2. Something more than just a deep bond between pet and master. After all, an African Gray can be taught to speak and have a pretty darned extensive vocabulary.

Are there any rules for that sort of thing?

Barring that, what would be the rules for purchasing a Rod of Speak with Animals, or an item that would confer that ability permanently? The rules for rods are pretty confusing to me.

Draz74
2007-03-21, 11:04 PM
By the custom item guidelines, an item that continuously allowed Speak with Animals would only be 2000 gp (like so many other infamous items, like the Ring of Truestriking). Unlike many of them, though, this doesn't seem overpowered to me.

If I were DM I wouldn't even be picky about what body slot this 2000-gp item took up. At worst you could have a slotless item (like a Rod) for 4000 gp.

marjan
2007-03-21, 11:24 PM
2000 gp is for Speak with animals at will. For item of continuous Speak With Animals it is 4000 gp. But these are only guidelines so you would have to check with your DM for actual price.

kpenguin
2007-03-21, 11:55 PM
Hey, anybody got an idea for a rogue to sneak into some druid's forest, put a headband of Int. on his animal companion, and thus sever the bond? It would be pretty interesting prank. *jots it down in gnome NPC notes*

Jasdoif
2007-03-22, 12:25 AM
Yeah. Makes you wonder if a temporary bonus would be sufficient, or if it's like skill points and only permanent effects (like inherent an bonus) are enough for it.

Which then makes you wonder if it's worth casting wish just to see the look on the druid's face. Or just casting awaken (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/awaken.htm).

AtomicKitKat
2007-03-22, 04:17 AM
I wonder. That Feat that raises your effective Druid level, does it apply to the Beastmaster's secondary Companions? It's still slow(and possibly inefficient), since you would have to take it once for the second, twice for the third, and thrice for the fourth, but it would increase them all to the same as the primary Companion.

Lord Lorac Silvanos
2007-03-22, 04:21 AM
But for example, do animal companions get to increase an attribute by one point every fourth hit die like PCs do with levels? Could this attribute be, for example, placed in Intelligence, bringing up an animal to intelligence 3?


No they don't. You get what is described under Bonus HD and nothing more.
Ability increases are already given for you bonus HD and far more generously than 1 in 4 HD.


And saving throws. What does it mean when the instructions say an animal has "Good Fortitude and Reflex" bonuses?


The advancement of good a bad saves has already been explained, but I just want to point out that Dire Animals have all good saves and not just Reflex and Fortitude.


Any other special things I should keep in mind?


The fact that size does not increase has already been mentioned.
You should also note that there is no cap on the number of Bonus HD you can have. (Animals are normally restricted in the number of HD they can have)

marjan
2007-03-22, 04:23 AM
I wonder. That Feat that raises your effective Druid level, does it apply to the Beastmaster's secondary Companions?
It should work since Beastmaster gives you effective druid levels considering animal companion. 'Though I think you cannot take it more then once.

its_all_ogre
2007-03-22, 04:51 AM
feats are good depending on animal.
wolf with improved ability +2 DC to avoid trips for example

marjan
2007-03-22, 05:53 AM
One question regarding animal companion. If you take animal companion that treats your druid level as if it were three levels lower (like an ape) can you benefit from Natural Bond.

Lord Lorac Silvanos
2007-03-22, 06:11 AM
Certainly.

It only applies after selecting the companion, however. It does allow you to pick an animal you could not otherwise choose.