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View Full Version : What would be a fair trade? (Animal companion)



Adumbration
2007-12-21, 01:37 AM
I'm designing myself a Master of Many Forms character, and the fluff I've thought out so far is pretty much against Animal Companion. Any suggestions for what I could exchange it for?

Something to do with a closer connection to the nature would be nice. Thanks ahead! :smallsmile:

Talic
2007-12-21, 01:41 AM
How about that you're so in tune with nature, that an animal decides to follow you on your travels out of friendship, and from this bond develops additional powers?

Oh, wait, animal companion DOES represent a close bond with nature. My bad.

Bag_of_Holding
2007-12-21, 01:43 AM
There was a plant companion variant in Dragon somewhere, but I can't remember the issue...:smallfrown:

Irreverent Fool
2007-12-21, 01:45 AM
There's only a couple of things I know of that you can exchange an animal companion ability for. One - you get an elemental instead and two - you exchange both animal companion and wild shape for the 'shifter' variant (PHBII, I think).

Druids pretty much have everything there is in regards to a 'close connection to nature'. Aside from what I mentioned above, I can't really think of anything.

Dark Tira
2007-12-21, 01:54 AM
Using a Druidic Avenger (http://www.systemreferencedocuments.org/35/sovelior_sage/unearthedCoreClass.html#druidic-avenger) you can trade the animal companion and some minor features for rage and fast movement.

Nerd-o-rama
2007-12-21, 02:07 AM
Just skip the Animal Companion all together and be slightly less wtfbroken, perhaps?

Talic
2007-12-21, 02:28 AM
Using a Druidic Avenger (http://www.systemreferencedocuments.org/35/sovelior_sage/unearthedCoreClass.html#druidic-avenger) you can trade the animal companion and some minor features for rage and fast movement.

And who should be thrown under a bus for creating THAT hybrid? It's bad enough that clerics get everything that makes a fighter good and then some, but now druids get a patch that says "I'm a barbarian with spells!" !?

Toliudar
2007-12-21, 02:44 AM
Interesting. In most druid builds I've seen, an animal companion is MUCH more important than the ability to rage and move 10' faster.

Yami
2007-12-21, 02:49 AM
Well, pad that bus and fill it with money then, cuz I'm liking that variant. Though in our group we actually prefer the PHII shifter one.

Talic
2007-12-21, 02:53 AM
Interesting. In most druid builds I've seen, an animal companion is MUCH more important than the ability to rage and move 10' faster.

Speed increase applies to all forms of movement. It can quickly lead to imbalance, when you add shapeshifting to it.

Rage provides bonuses similar to Warshaper's class bonuses, and could lead to very sickening boosts, as essentially a standard action, shifting, and a free action to rage.

Frankly, I don't see animal companion as being as beneficial, especially to the MoMF druid. This seems to scream "Abuse me".


Well, pad that bus and fill it with money then, cuz I'm liking that variant. Though in our group we actually prefer the PHII shifter one.

From a player perspective, most people like variants that scream "Abuse me".

Adumbration
2007-12-21, 03:16 AM
For the record: The build is Druid 5 / Master of Many Forms 7. What I was looking for was maybe more on the terms a couple more ranks in Knowledge Nature, or maybe the ability to Wildshape one time more often per day than usual.

Thanks for the input so far, though. I might be going for completely forsaking the animal companion without any bonuses.

Talic
2007-12-21, 03:45 AM
Another option is having the animal companion for a non-combat purpose. Perhaps a messenger, or a scout. It's not going to be powerful, but that's less important when it's not fighting. Eyes and ears in the forest is an interesting way to show a harmony with nature, and unwillingness to use it to combat others should show a desire to protect it.

Yami
2007-12-21, 06:19 AM
From a player perspective, most people like variants that scream "Abuse me".

Fair enough. You should probably asume then that I am rarely in the player's seat but the DM's instead. It would have been true had you done so.

A unicorn could make a rather usefull non combat animal companion, but then if you want none. I myself would take the fast movement variant, but then I love to squeeze out all the mobility I can. And how often do you plan on spontaniously casting summons?

Talic
2007-12-21, 06:38 AM
Exactly... There are a couple druidic variants that minimize spells and animal companion anyway. When you're using one of those variants, it's like you're giving up a Little Debbie to get a full buffet.

Also, the abilities listed are pretty much everything that's good from barbarian. Everything that makes barbarian what it is. Giving that to another class seems to devalue the original class. Now, I know the counter arguement, that any melee character worth his salt is moving to ToB anyway, so why not just migrate those few decent abilities over to classes that actually see play?

But dang it, Barbarian is still a decent class, and now there's almost no reason to even cherry pick it, if you can pick druid instead and get spellcasting to boot. The str boost most druids get from wildshape more than offsets the BAB difference, and adding rage means that the barbarian can't even come close there.

Well, I suppose the druid could cherry pick barb still to get an extra 10' movement. But that's an arguement that powers the druid more than the barb anyway.

Adumbration
2007-12-21, 07:01 AM
Just a little background fluff for my character: it may clarify a bit what I wish to do.

He is an old killoren, one of the first that came into existance. He started out as a perfectly sane fellow, getting to know this brand new world before him. He joined an adventuring party for a while, but even though it was interesting, it didn't feel like he was meant to do it.

Then he discovered Wildshape, and became obsessed with it. He turned into every animal he could find, in search of a more perfect understanding of the nature.

Eventually he seized turning into a humanoid inbetween. He became a creature of the wilds, spending months, years, even decades in an animal form, living just as the animal would. In animal shape, he lost his sense of time, literally becoming the animal, for a while. He was quite happy with this life. Temporarily freed from the burden of sentience, he travelled across the lands, every once in a while changing his form.

He has hibernated as bear in the northest of lands. He has flown as an eagle in a desert sky. He has been a stag, a wolf, a hare, a horse, a camel, everything imaginable.

Then one day, while he was a shrew amongst the grass, he awakened. For a moment, he didn't know what had changed, so gradually it had happened. He sniffed the air, and remembered what he had once been. He wondered what had woken him from his sleepless slumber. Little by little, the answer dawned on him. The nature that had nurtured him now needed him for something. He could feel it in the air. Whether he was to be a messenger, hunter or a destroyer, he knew not.

A falcon took flight from the grasses, and started to scan the horizon for a city.

Vasdenjas
2007-12-21, 09:06 AM
Speed increase applies to all forms of movement. It can quickly lead to imbalance, when you add shapeshifting to it.


Fast Movement (Ex): A barbarianís land speed is faster than the norm for his race by +10 feet.

Land speed only. Still, it can be useful, but you are dropping what's considered another useful ability, Animal Companion, for this. I currently play a Druidic Avenger 5/MoMF 5/Warshaper 2. I've never once raged (I have a certain reason for raging, and it hasn't occurred), and always turn into different forms, instead of relying on one broken form (War Troll or such). A build is only as broken as the GM/player allow it to be.

Talic
2007-12-22, 12:15 AM
Land speed only. Still, it can be useful, but you are dropping what's considered another useful ability, Animal Companion, for this. I currently play a Druidic Avenger 5/MoMF 5/Warshaper 2. I've never once raged (I have a certain reason for raging, and it hasn't occurred), and always turn into different forms, instead of relying on one broken form (War Troll or such). A build is only as broken as the GM/player allow it to be.

We shouldn't have to rely on player's and gm's limiting abilities. Some won't. The abilities should be self limiting and balanced. Using the arguement, "It's ok in the hands of a responsible player" is a straw arguement, because everything can be balanced after a good dm or player put their hands on it. What determines balance is BEFORE.

While I give you kudos for not breaking the character, the fact remains that it can be done, and easily.

Wordmiser
2007-12-22, 01:06 AM
You might also consider the Wild Shape Ranger (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/classes/variantCharacterClasses.htm#ranger) variant along the PHB2 Distracting Strike. It will free up a feat, get you an extra point of Base Attack, 16 skill points, Track, better armor proficiencies and two Favored Enemies at the cost of the spellcasting you'll already be stunting with non-caster levels. The only long-term loss is the hit to your Will save.