Eclipse – Animal Companions

   Next up, it’s the third part of the information on Companions – in this case, the breakdown on Eclipse-style Animal Companions.

   Creatures in this category use the base statistics for a creature of Int of 2 or less and a CR of 1 or less (optionally higher, but reduce the Master’s effective level by 3 for determining their bonuses per +1 CR, the remainder must be at least 1 to have such a companion) and are only loosely linked with their masters.

   A weak link has it’s benefits. Animal Companions are easy to replace; it’s no particular shock if one is killed, and you can get a new one in a day or so – although it may take a few weeks to train it up properly.

   On the other hand, while even a minimal link is enough to induce instinctive loyalty, and to share spells and powers within a very limited range, it’s not strong enough to enhance the companions intelligence, to allow free communication, or to allow the companion to use it’s masters skills and saves. Animal Companions are independent creatures – which is why they sometimes do the wrong thing entirely.

   That, of course, is why it’s very unwise to imbue them with powers that their instinct’s don’t cover. Even if they think to use them (which is unlikely), they’re unlikely to do so properly. It’s best to stick with expanding on their natural skills and with enhancing abilities, such as Grant of Aid, Imbuement (normally focused on Unarmed Combat), teaching them to wear armor, getting them Fortune/the Evasion variant, extra attacks, Innate Enchantments, enhanced damage, and similar upgrades. Things like the Warbeast Template may be appropriate as well.

   It actually get worse if you apply a template or effect that makes them permanently smarter; full sapience will overpower the instinctive loyalty – leaving you with a fairly powerful creature that may or may not be inclined to help you out and which will certainly have it’s own priorities.

   On the other hand, that same focus on personal physical power makes Animal Companions some of the toughest companions around. If a character wants an Animal Companion, it’s almost always because they want a combat aide – and they’re pretty good at that.

   Offhand, animal companions are actually fairly rare in our local games. They are slightly more powerful in combat than a Companion Creature – but the disadvantages of animal intelligence tend to predominate when a lot of the activity revolves around things other than combat. A familiar or companion creature can spy for you, run complex errands, assist you when you’re unconscious, be trusted to behave itself at court, and do many other things – and most of the local players have opted to take intelligence over slightly greater combat abilities.

   Animal Companion Statistics:

  • Use the base statistics for a creature of Int of 2 or less and a CR of 1 or less. Optionally, a character can use a base creature of CR 2+, but it will receive less in the way of benefits. Each +1 CR reduces the master’s effective level on the following chart by three levels. If that would leave it at zero or below, such a creature cannot yet be taken as an Animal Companion.
  • Handling or “pushing” an animal companion is a free action and the master gains a +4 bonus on Handle Animal checks or “social” checks involving the companion.
  • The owner may opt to share the effects of spells and powers used on him or her with his or her animal companions if they’re within five feet.

Master’s Level

HD

BAB

Natural Armor

Ref & Fort

Will

Str & Dex

Tricks

CP*

0

             

0

1

             

3

2

             

6

3

+2d8

+2

+2

+2

+1

+1

+1

9

4

             

12

5

             

15

6

+4d8

+4

+4

+4

+2

+2

+2

18

7

             

21

8

             

24

9

+6d8

+6

+6

+6

+3

+3

+3

27

10

             

30

11

             

33

12

+8d8

+8

+8

+8

+4

+4

+4

36

13

             

39

14

             

42

15

+10d8

+10

+10

+10

+5

+5

+5

45

16

             

48

17

             

51

18

+12d8

+12

+12

+12

+6

+6

+6

54

19

             

57

20

             

60

   *Animal Companions do not automatically gain skill points – or, for that matter, any other special benefits – with increasing hit dice. Skill increases, feats, and other special abilities should be purchased with their character point allotment.

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One Response

  1. […] Advanced Companions: Templates for Companions, Familiars (Spirit Fetches, Liflings, and Shadow Guardians and the Wealth Level Templates from the Practical Enchanter), Mounts and Companion Creatures (Flying Steeds, Firehawks, Stormcrows, and other beasties), and Animal Companions. […]

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