View Full Version : [D&D 3.5] Advancing Animal Companion

2009-09-15, 10:28 PM
How do you advance a Druid's animal companion? Could someone give me step by step directions?

2009-09-15, 10:36 PM
Generally you don't ... you just give it the bonus HD, skillpoints and feats.

2009-09-15, 10:38 PM
Right but the rules on the bonus HD are a bit unclear. For instance how am I supposed to know how saves scale based on whether they are good or bad? I just need someone to help me through the process of adding bonus HD.

2009-09-15, 10:41 PM
Good save=same progress as a Fighter's fortitude save.
Bad save=Same as a fighter's will save.

For the record the BAB meanings are

good BAB, as fighter.
medium BAB, as cleric
bad BAB, as Wizard.

Bonus hit dice are like levels, you gain feats saves ect, just not class features.

2009-09-15, 10:58 PM
An animal companion has good Fortitude and
Reflex saves (treat it as a character whose level equals the animalís HD).

What about an animal companions will save? Should I just stack the bonus saves on top of the saves in the monster manual? I don't understand.

Crocodile Companion 3HD
Saves: Fort +6, Ref +4, Will +2

New Crocodile Companion 5HD?
Saves: Fort +7, Ref +5, Will +2

2009-09-15, 11:01 PM
It's will save progress is equal to a fighter's will save progression IIRC.

2009-09-15, 11:06 PM
What about an animal companions will save? Should I just stack the bonus saves on top of the saves in the monster manual?
Take the druid, swap the will and reflex columns ... pretend the total HD (including bonus HD) of the animal are levels ... read the saves. Those are their base saves.

PS. except the Dire Animals, who have all good saves ... so just take the druid's fort column for all of its base saves.

2009-09-15, 11:13 PM
Well animals save progression is exactly the same as the ranger so if you need to just look it up compare it to a ranger of its hitdice, so a 5HD animal would have saves of

fort 4+con mod ref 4+ dex mod will 1+ wisdom mod

The hardest thing to figure out is animal skills I have seen it done where they only get 1 skill point per level because of int and other times they get 1 more rank per listed skill because they are supposed to actually be good at those activities:smallconfused:

2009-09-15, 11:24 PM
By RAW it's 1.

Hey, they can always take that wonderful feat which gives you 4 extra skillpoints :)

2009-09-15, 11:32 PM
HD are like levels, so your 5HD Crocodile is a 5th level Animal. Animals have 3/4 BAB (as Rogue), good Fortitude and Reflex saves and poor Will saves.

A 5th level character with 3/4 BAB has a BAB of 3. The Croc's 19 STR means a total attack bonus of +7, but if your Druid is 3rd level or higher, that STR becomes 20 and the attack bonus is +8. A 5th level character also has +4 on good saves and +1 on bad ones, meaning your Crocodile has base saves of +4 Fort/+4 Ref/+1 Will, modified by stats to +7 Fort/+5 Ref/+2 Will.

2009-09-15, 11:33 PM
By RAW it's 1.

Hey, they can always take that wonderful feat which gives you 4 extra skillpoints :)

I'll probably be ninja'd before I hit 'Post,' but it's 5 skill points. :smalltongue: [edit: Yay! No ninjas!]

Also, I read over the rules for animal companions, and they gain X Hit Dice whenever a druid reaches every other level.

And when some animals gain HD, they gain size categories. So by 3rd level, you have a 4 HD wolf of Large size. With +9 to Str, and +4 to natural armor...

...How is this not better than a 3rd level fighter again?

2009-09-15, 11:42 PM
Sage/FAQ has ruled they don't advance in size.

2009-09-15, 11:47 PM
Sage/FAQ has ruled they don't advance in size.

Sage/FAQ isn't RAW, nor is it trustworthy.

However, it's an excellent houserule.

2009-09-16, 12:14 AM
Sage/FAQ has ruled they don't advance in size.For some reason I thought that was in the SRD. I can't find it though, so I've been playing ACs massively underpowered(read:equivalent to entire other classes) for the whole of my gaming career.

2009-09-16, 12:50 AM
I love animal companions. 80% of my DnD characters have animal companions.

This is RAW - No houserules
1) You take your base animal from the MM.

2) Work out your Effective Druid Level (EDL). This is your Druid level - penalties for alternative animal companions + additional levels from feats and class abilities (more later on this).

3) Apply the result to the table at top of the animal companions sectin.

3a) Add the specified number of Bonus d8 HD and roll hps as per normal (note Bonus HD act in most ways as additional animal levels, but aren't, which is why you don't get size increases). The bonus HD don't stack with themself. Thus at EDL3 you get +2 bonus HD, at EDL6 you get an additional 2 bonus HD for a total of 4 bonus HD.

3b) Calculate total HD (base+bonus). Apply this to tabel 3-1 pg22 PHB under average Base Attack Bonus, using total HD for levels.

3c). Spend additional skill points, 2-Int penalty (Minimum 1). As a general rule any skill mentioned in the MM is considered a class skill.

3d) At every multiple of 3 HD including the base animal HD, you get a feat. Note: The feats for the multiple using just rhe base creature are already built into the animal. Thus a animal with 5HD normaly will have gained a starting feat and a feat for 3HD. On gaining 1 bonus HD, bringing it to 6HD, it will gain another feat.

3e1) Increase saves. Work out what saves are strong/weak. As a rule normal animals have Strong Fort/Reflex, Weak Will. Dire Animals have Strong all. To check you can look at the MM stat block and subtract stat bonuses. Then look at HD and compare to table 3-1.

3e2) Having worked out whether your animals saves are string or weak take the total HD (base+bonus) apply to table 3-1 and find out the base save for each ability. Add stat bonuses (note this can be left to the end because they may change in later steps).

3f) This step in uncertain and should be checked with your GM. For every multiple of 4 HD add +1 to a stat of your choice. Use total HD for calculating multiples, but ignore multiples achieved within base HD (as was done with feats - step 3c).

4) Add the NAC bonus from the animal companion table to any NAC in the MM stat block. Note the table mod is not cumalitive with itself. Thus EDL3 gives you a +2 to the basic NAC. EDL6 gives you a +4 instead of the +2.

5) Add the indicated Str/Dex bonus from the AC table to the basic MM stats. Again this is not cumalitive with itself. Note. Any stat increase from step 3f are on top of this.

6) Gain additional tricks, on top of what they may know due to their Int score. These tricks need not be taught but are instead instantly acquired. Again they're not cumaltive with themself.

7) Gain any special abilities listed in the AC table. These abilities are cumalative. i.e. you gain the special ability of your EDL and keep all previous abilities.

That's the initial set up.

As you increase your EDL you check the AC table. When reaching a new band repeat steps 3-7 (you should be able to skip step 3e1). You only add skill pts for additional bonus HD gained. You don't recalculate previous skill points received.

If there's anything unclear ask.

Stephen E

2009-09-16, 07:19 AM
I forgot to talk about Feats and class abilities that increase your EDL.
Some habe limitations. Finish calculating your EDL for the animal companion, taking into account penalties, brfore checking restrictive limits.

Some additional classes have there levels coubt toward your EDL. They normally count 1 for 1 or 2 for 1.

Stephen E

Fax Celestis
2009-09-16, 09:15 AM
Sage/FAQ isn't RAW, nor is it trustworthy.

However, it's an excellent houserule.

It's not a FAQ/Sage ruling. Size increases only come from natural hit dice (such as taking actual levels in your racial HD). Bonus HD don't do that, which is what the druid gives his animal companion. Increasing your pet's size because of bonus HD is tantamount to using righteous might to qualify for a prestige class with a BAB requirement.

2009-09-16, 09:16 AM
using righteous might to qualify for a prestige class with a BAB requirement.
You mean Divine Power, right?

Fax Celestis
2009-09-16, 09:19 AM
You mean Divine Power, right?

Whichever the BAB-boosting one is. Blah blah blah clerics are awesome yadda yadda Fax is still half asleep etc.

2009-09-16, 09:44 AM
You all were extremely helpful, thank you.