This pretty much follows the Druid progression except as follows:
*There is also the Magical Companion option for Paladins and Mage-types.
*HD advancement has been smoothed out a little to remove dead levels. Instead of 2 HD every 3 levels, the Animal Companion gains 1/1/0 over the course of 3 levels. And on levels where HD does not advance, he gains access to alternate companion list.
*While basic progression follows the Druid, there is also the option of beefing up the companion through feats, subject to the HD cap of Trissociate level + Trissociate bonus. Hence with sufficient feat investment, it is possible to get a fairly strong at later levels.
Animal Companion Association Progression (Based on Associate Level)
Animal Companion Skills:
||Animal Companion Bonus HD / Alternate Animal Companions (as Druid)
||Wild Empathy OR Magical Companion
||Recover Companion (20 hours)
||+2 / 4th Level or Higher (Level –3)
||Recover Companion (16 hours)
||+4 / 7th Level or Higher (Level –6)
||Recover Companion (12 hours)
||Recover Companion (8 hours)
||+6 / 10th Level or Higher (Level –9)
||Recover Companion (4 hours)
||+8 / 13th Level or Higher (Level –12)
||Recover Companion (2 hours)
||Recover Companion (1 hour)
||+10 / 16th Level or Higher (Level –15)
||Recover Companion (30 minutes)
||Recover Companion (15 minutes)
Add Handle Animal to your Trissociate class skill list.
Wild Empathy OR Magical Companion:
When you select the Animal Companion association, pick either the Wild Empathy or the Magical Companion class feature.
Wild Empathy (Ex):
You gain Wild Empathy as a Druid
equal to your Trissociate level. This option is more suited for nature-themed characters.
Magical Companion (Ex):
Your Animal Companion has its type changed to Magical Beast. If its intelligence score was lower than 3, it is increased to 3. Instead of bonus tricks, it gains a similiar bonus to intelligence score (e.g. bonus tricks +1, means that it gains an intelligence bonus of +1, for a total intelligence score of 4). It learns to speak a language of your choice. The choice of which language it knows is made when you first gain this feat and cannot be changed there after. It retains these benefits as long as it remains your Animal Companion, and loses them the moment it leaves your service (whether by death or release).
With DM permission, you may alter the appearance of your companion in some minor way with no mechanical benefit. This alteration is selected when you first gain a particular Animal Companion, and cannot be changed thereafter (but it still disappears when a particular animal leaves your service). Paladin Associates commonly take this option to create a powerful and intelligent mount, in place of the Special Mount that their compatriots normally get. Hence they make their Magical Companion look like either Celestial (for good Paladins) or Fiendish (for evil Paladins) creatures. Mage-type Trissociates may also use this as a substitute familiar.
Animal Companion (Ex):
You gain an animal companion similiar to a Druid, except as noted here. You may only have 1 companion at a time. As with a Druid, you can release your Animal Companion. When you do not have a companion (whether it was released or killed) you may gain a new one by meditating for 24 uninterrupted hours (not prayer, as your Animal Companion is not a Divine gift, but follows you based on some undefined inner quality). However, the advancement of your Animal Companion does not follow the standard progression for Druids. Instead, it gains bonus HD, following the table above.
Your companion has bonus natural armor equal to its bonus HD (NOT total HD). Your companion also has a bonus to Strength, Dexterity and Constitution, and knows bonus tricks (or has an equivalent bonus to Intelligence if it is a magical companion), equal to half its bonus HD rounded down. E.g. So +0 at bonus HD +1, +1 at bonus HD +2/+3, etc. Unlike a Druid, your companion gains a bonus to Constitution as well as Strength and Dexterity. Your companion also receives additional abilities based on its bonus HD, as indicated below:
|Animal Companion Bonus HD
||Share Spells, Link
Like a Druid, an Animal Companion Associate of sufficiently high level, can choose more powerful animals. These alternative Animal Companions work similiarly to those available to a druid, but they only become available at the levels indicated in the table above. Apply the indicated adjustment to your Associate level (in parentheses) for purposes of determining the companion's bonus HD (and associated natural armor, Strength, Dexterity and Constitution adjustment, bonus tricks, and Special Abilities). However, your Animal Companion total HD has a maximum limit equal to your Trissociate level + Trissociate bonus.
Lets say we have a Trissociate with Animal Companion as his primary association. He reaches level 4, and decides to change his Animal Companion to a black bear (a 3 HD animal). Following the table above, he takes a -3 adjustment to Associate level, for the purposes of calculating bonus HD. Hence he is treated as a 1st level Associate, and his black bear has a bonus HD of +0 from Trissociate levels.
You do not qualify for the Natural Bond feat. Instead, should you wish to improve your animal companion, you may take the following feats:
Improved Animal Companion:
Trissociate Animal Companion Associate
Your Animal Companion gains a bonus of up to +2 HD. You may take this feat multiple times, and its effect stacks. However, your companion's total HD can never exceed your Trissociate level + Trissociate Bonus. You can purchase this feat even if your Animal Companion would not currently benefit from it, so that it may gain these benefits later on, when you gain additional Trissociate levels. This bonus HD also adds toward calculating your companion's bonus to natural armor, Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, bonus tricks (or intelligence if it is a magical companion), and additional special abilities. This feat does not actually improve your Associate level, and hence it does not qualify you for more advanced alternate list of Animal Companions.
You may buy this feat with Focus Features.
Lets say we have a Trissociate with Animal Companion as his primary association. He selects a wolf as his animal companion, which starts with 2 HD. When he reaches Trissociate level 3, his wolf gains +2 HD as per the table above, bringing its total HD to 4 (the cap of Trissociate level + Trissociate bonus). However, at Trissociate level 4, his Wolf would not gain any HD. Hence, if he wants, our Trissociate can take the Improved Animal Companion feat on level 3, even though his wolf is already at the HD cap. The wolf would gain no benefit now, but when this Trissociate gains another level, his wolf would gain a total of +3 bonus HD (+2 from Trissociate levels and +1 partial benefit from this feat), bringing its total HD to 5.
Trissociate Animal Companion Associate with Magical Companion.
Your Magical Companion gains additional abilities as if it was a familiar. Firstly, it counts as a familiar for spells and items that specifically target familiars. Hence you could cast Enhance Familiar (SpC 82) on your companion. However, it continues to use its own hit dice, hit points and skills ranks. If it is killed, you still do not lose XP, and can replace it as per normal. Additionally, at the Trissociate levels indicated below, it gains additional abilities as a familiar:
04. Empathic Link
07. Deliver Touch Spells
10. Speak with Animals of its kind
13. Scry on Familiar
You may buy this feat with Focus Features.
Summary for building an Animal Companion
1. Select an animal
2. Find the Associate level penalty for this animal
3. Find the bonus HD for this animal, based on Associate level (adjusted by the penalty)
4. Add the bonus HD from Improved Animal Companion feat
5. However, the animal's total HD cannot exceed your Trissociate level + Trissociate Bonus
6. Add bonus natural armor (which is equal to bonus HD)
7. Add bonus to Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, and tricks known (which is equal to bonus HD/2 round down).
8. Add Special Abilities (based on bonus HD)
One of the core premises of the Trissociate, is to allow the creation of character concepts not normally supported by the rules. Hence, with DM permission, you may also use other animals as your companion (or even more esoteric creatures such as magical beasts and vermin) besides those listed above. In essence, you could add other creatures to the list of selectable companions, even if they are not animals. You can approximate which levels they should be available at, by comparing their CR with other animals available at each given level. If you are using the Wild Empathy Option, then your chosen companion should be non-sentient (intelligence of 2 or lower). Otherwise, if you are using the Magical Companion option, your chosen companion can either be sentient (intelligence of 3 or higher) or non-sentient (Magical Companion will grant it sentience regardless).
Lets say we have a Character who wants to ride around on a Monstrous Scorpion
. Assuming that the Character is medium sized, we need a Monstrous Scorpion of at least Large size or greater in order for it to be rideable. A Large Monstrous Scorpion has 5 HD, Improved Grab and a CR of 3. Comparing it with other creatures on the list, we find that it is most similiar to the Lion
, which is on the list at 7th level or higher (level -6). Hence, with DM permission, we could add Large Monstrous Scorpion to the 7th level or higher (level -6) list, for this character to pick. Since the Scorpion is non-sentient, we could use the Scorpion with both the Wild Empathy or Magical Companion options.
Lets say that we have a Character based off the Dragon Knight concept. Now having a full blown Dragon as a Companion is probably too powerful. But we could use a Dragon-like creature such as a CR 7 Dragonne
instead. Comparing it with other creatures on the list, we find that a Dragonne's CR is most similiar to the Dire Bear
, which is on the list at 13th level or higher (level -12). Hence, with DM permission, we could add Dragonne to the 13th level or higher (level -12) list, for this character to pick. Since the Dragonne is sentient, we should only its use with the Magical Companion option.
Recover Companion (Ex):
When you do not have an Animal or Magical Companion (regardless of whether it was killed or released), you may use this ability to obtain a new companion faster than normal, provided that your new companion is similiar to your previous companion (e.g. if your previous companion was a wolf, then you can only use Recover Companion to gain another wolf). If you want a different animal companion, you may still obtain it via the normal method of meditating for 24 hours. When using Recover Companion, the time it takes to gain a new companion is noted in the table above.
Mechanically, this grants you a brand new companion. However, if the your previous companion was killed and its remains are available, you may also treat this ability as raising the old companion back to life. It returns at full strength, and hence loses no level, hit dice or constitution from this process.
Automatic Mastery Talents
Animal Fast Healing:
An Animal Companion Associate may spend 1 Mastery point to grant his Animal Companion fast healing equal to half his Trissociate level (round down, minimum 1) for 5 rounds. This fast healing stacks with one other source of fast healing of his choice (changeable every round). If he activates this talent while his Animal Companion is dying, the Companion is automatically stabilized.