Hey, guys.

Hey, guys.

Hey, guys.

Having trouble with the ranger’s companion. He uses his wolf mostly to scout out areas and rooms ahead of the group. Do I make the ranger roll discern realities for that? Only when it makes sense? Or not at all? Also, when the companion is in combat,  does the companion just work completely within the fiction? I can’t seem to find anything mechanical for this.

Thanks in advance.

11 thoughts on “Hey, guys.”

  1. Unless they can talk to it, they shouldn’t be able to effectively see through its eyes (though when they do get that ability, why not!)

    The rules say you add their stats to various rolls when they help the ranger do something. In combat that means extra damage when the pet helps them attack. Just make them describe what happens and be descriptive and reward them for that with the ferocity bonus. In my view, it’s not just the pet doing something, though, it’s the two of them doing something in tandem or working together directly. When that’s not happening, you hold the fictional reigns. You definitely want to give them something, but just couch it in the land of make believe.

  2. Liam Hayes As Justin Ford wrote, the mechanics (or lack thereof) of the animal companion are all on the Ranger sheet. The animal companion is a shared NPC (shared between the MC and the Ranger). Make the mechanics too specific and the companion becomes dull and the relationship between the companion and the Ranger becomes diluted.

    A Ranger can’t see through their eyes or speak with them directly (unless the have the ability to) but that doesn’t mean that the companion isn’t very well trained and communicative. The Ranger has probably developed a number of complex signals for the companion to use and is also likely very attuned to their body language.

  3. Another thing, when the Ranger’s companion attacks separately, should I just treat that with the fiction? (A wolf could pretty much savage anything human or smaller with little trouble.)

  4. I think that’s the idea, yeah. They give up a nice damage bonus for that wolf but maybe are able to tangle up an attacker or even take it out if it’s an appropriately small threat.

  5. When the companion does something apart from the Ranger, then it’s NPC-vs-NPC action, and you get to just decide what happens.  Roll a die for it if you feel like it (“ok, 4-6 and the guy’s down”), but don’t spend a lot of time on it.  If it’s an unarmed cultist, yeah, the wolf tears him up.  If it’s a knight in full plate, then maybe the wolf circles her warily, growling and waiting for an opening.

    Similarly with scouting ahead:  if the Ranger isn’t going with, then you basically decide what the wolf is capable of noticing.  Good sense of smell, so it would definitely know whether there’s anyone there or not, but probably it can’t tell you what they’re doing or how many of them there are.  But if the Ranger does go ahead with the wolf, then it’s like one of those sheep-herding videos, where the Ranger just has to click his tongue and waggle a finger, and the wolf knows exactly what to do.

    That is, presuming the Ranger gave the wolf the “scout” skill.  

  6. He gave him the guard skill. Think I can have some fun with his pet if he tries to abuse the scouting ahead tactic. The wolf does have the stubborn weakness, with which I can think of some fun uses. Evil GM laughter

  7. This is how I interpret the animal companion skills:

    Hunt:  The animal is trained to cooperate with the ranger in finding, chasing and killing animals, anything from ducks to bison.  In some circumstances (cougar vs hare, perhaps) the animal can be unleashed to hunt on its own, and will return with prey to share. 
Can provide bonus to: “attack the same target”, “track”,  “take damage”

    Search:  The animal is a skilled tracker, a bloodhound.  Here’s the missing person’s sock, now let’s go.  Or, somewhere near here is a base of bandits – let’s find it.
 Can provide bonus to:  available: “track”,  “discern realities”

    Scout:  The animal can be sent out some distance ahead of the party, and will spot and stalk any potential ambushers. 
Can provide bonus to: “discern realities”

    Guard: The animal can be told to protect any friendly person (or group), and will follow them and attack anything that threatens them.  If the animal is guarding the ranger, he can get the “attack” and “take damage” benefits, but if the animal is guarding anyone else, they don’t have Command, so they don’t get any mechanical benefit, just the advantage that attackers will have to deal with the wolf first.
Can provide bonus to: “attack the same target”, “take damage”

    Fight monsters:  The animal is particularly trained to fight the more horrifying and unnatural sort of opponent, and is much less likely to be cowed or to flee before the undead, dragons, slime lords, and the like.
Can provide bonus to: “attack the same target”, “take damage”

    Perform:  The animal knows entertaining tricks, and may be used to get a good reaction in civilized places (where otherwise a wolf may be completely unwelcome), or to be threatening in ways particularly useful to attempts at intimidating NPCs.  May also know useful tricks such as fetching items, or snatching them from someone’s hands (GM will determine success).
Can provide bonus to: “parley”

    Labor: Typical farm-animal tasks, such as carrying heavy loads or herding sheep.
Can provide bonus to: probably none

    Travel:  The companion is big enough to ride, and will bear the ranger with unusual swiftness, dexterity and/or endurance.  May also be trained to kick or trample.
Can provide bonus to: “attack the same target”, “track”,  “take damage”

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