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Gornn
2010-04-13, 11:29 PM
So, I'm playing a Druid for the first time ever in a 3.5 campaign, I've been reading through these boards and seeing some good advice.

I've decided to go the summoning/caster routine, I'm a little unsure as to some of the rules of leveling an Animal Compaion

I'm thinking of sticking with a regular ol' Wolf and leveling it up for a few levels anyway.

So anyways I'm a level 4 Druid, so my wolf would have 1 advancement (2 HD, 2 AC, +1 str/Dex etc.)

The trick is that when a wolf gets to 4 HD it grows large, and adds the large size template. (so +8 str -2 dex +4 con etc...)

MAIN Question is do animal companions gain feats and skills as per the Montrous Manual, would my wolf gain 1 feat and ?? skills.

Basically my wolf right now looks like

4 HD + 20
Initiative 2
Speed 60ft (+10 for large size)
AC: 16 (+2 Dex, +5 natural, -1 size), touch 11, flat-footed 14
BAB: +3
Attack: Bite +10 melee (1d8+9) - there's a line in the monstrous manual that says an animal with a single attack add 1.5 str mod to their attack
Space/reach: 10ft/10ft
Special Attack: Trip
Saves: (not entirely sure yet)
Abilities: Str22, Dex14, Con20, Int2, Wis, 12, Cha6 (1 stat point added for hitting 4HD)
Skills: Hide +2, Listen +3, Move Silently +3, Spot +3, Survival +3* (put 2 skill points in survival for extra 2 HD) Not sure if thats correct or not
Feats: Track, Weapon Focus (bite), Evasion (as per PHB)

So am I doing this correctly?
Or if there's a guide out there for leveling animal companions that includes all the details from the Monster manual I'd be overly appreciative to know about it.

cheers

Mark Hall
2010-04-13, 11:45 PM
Think of leveling an animal companion as like leveling a person, in pretty much all respects. Your companion gets the feats (though there's a limit to what they can take, both due to form and due to intelligence limits), and the stat boosts (though no higher than a 1 or 2 Int). They don't get a size increase. They do get skill points.

As I've mentioned before, my prefered way to improve animals is to give them levels in prestige classes.

Gornn
2010-04-13, 11:54 PM
Except that Wolf in the monster Manual states that at 4HD its gets large, is this not the case on an Animal Companion?

Superglucose
2010-04-14, 12:18 AM
They don't get a size increase.
Reading: It's what's for dinner :smalltongue:

(Nah, I'm just teasing, your question was very common and it's good to get clarification).

It's worth pointing out that you get to pick the feats. So pick good ones. As an example, I'm using a Dire Eagle (Races of Stone) which has average maneuverability, but I want it as a flying mount. So I gave it the "Wingover" feat so that it could turn around and the maneuverability wouldn't be as big an issue. If you were, say, using a bear, you might give it Improved Grapple to increase its grapple check. Or give your dire lion Multiattack.

Mark Hall
2010-04-14, 12:20 AM
Not the case with an animal companion.

Look at it this way... does a human get bigger at 4hd, when he's got the HD of an ogre? What would happen to your wolf when it reaches 14 HD?

You Animal companion gets more HD because it becomes a better, more experienced fighter, not because it grows.

sofawall
2010-04-14, 12:28 AM
Look at it this way... does a human get bigger at 4hd, when he's got the HD of an ogre? What would happen to your wolf when it reaches 14 HD?

That entire example bears absolutely zero relevance. You are right, but your example is not.

A better example might be that a wolf animal companion can go past 6 HD, therefore it doesn't use the MM advancement rules.

Gornn
2010-04-14, 12:47 AM
Ok, so I ignore that part in the Monster Manual about the size growth then, no problem.

I thought it applied only because the wolf specifically stated it gets larger at 4hd, but thats probably just for altering regular NPC's for fighting PC's or w/e

So apply the Druid adjustments from that chart in the PHB (HD/AC/ etc...)
Then apply 1 extra feat for every 3 levels.
Do I still apply 1 Stat point for every 4 levels?
How are skills treated? 2 + int modifier?

And thats it then, correct?

Also in general is it better to trade off for a bigger better animal at every opportunity? (Yes I've seen the Fleshraker, and probably not going to use it since I don't want the DM to slap me around for using OP things :P) I do love the idea of a Leopard or Panther for my Halfling to ride though via Halfling druid lvl 1 class.

Gornn
2010-04-14, 12:50 AM
Also thank you so much for the fast responses, I'm really eager to play this Druid and almost went the Shifter route from PHB2, for ease of homework.

But since I've never played one, I'd like to try the Vanilla Druid (which seems more fun as long as I can keep the dice rolls to a minimum with summons)

Superglucose
2010-04-14, 01:05 AM
So apply the Druid adjustments from that chart in the PHB (HD/AC/ etc...)
Then apply 1 extra feat for every 3 levels.
Do I still apply 1 Stat point for every 4 levels?
How are skills treated? 2 + int modifier?

Yes to all. Remember that skill mod max is 1, and that an animal cannot have an int higher than 2.



Also in general is it better to trade off for a bigger better animal at every opportunity? (Yes I've seen the Fleshraker, and probably not going to use it since I don't want the DM to slap me around for using OP things :P) I do love the idea of a Leopard or Panther for my Halfling to ride though via Halfling druid lvl 1 class.
Yes and no. I'm playing a level 9 druid and using a Dire Eagle because there are no flying mounts that are "better" that are available as animal companions. In fact, a Dire Bat (even lower level) is arguably a better flying mount than the Dire Eagle. I'm mostly using the Dire Eagle because I love eagles. If you want your animal companion to act as a fighter alongside you, then you usually want to trade them up.

Gornn
2010-04-14, 02:01 AM
Cool I think I'll play it as more of an rpg factor and not a power-gaming factor anyways, so I'll just have to wait and see what happens with that.

One last qestion: touch attack spells and animal companions. With share spell I cast produce flame on myself and my pet, it make a claw attack. Des the produce flame fire off as additional damage instantly? Or does the pet have to specifically do a touch attack for the fire?

I'm assuming it's only 1 claw attack it affects also

any clarification on touch spells and share spells is much appreciated.

Raendyn
2010-04-14, 04:30 AM
Someone has already told it. the MM animals get more hd = they grow up
getting more hd via experience = you get more powerfull
theres a slight difference.

if you area dragon & you change size/age gategory increase in your next HD. you wont get it! you just grew more powerfull . your body didnot grow up!

now about that companion.best thing to do it train it!(although its not good for adruid to train his compaion, rangers should do that, flavor prespective)
you can add templates just by training it.considering your dmgive you the time & the means to do so. there are so many templates in that way....

example: heavy hose=> heavy warhorse etc.

now i could recomend that you add templated to you summons ass well!
in Lost epires of faerun there is a template (you take it as a feat & all your summons have it) grenbound summoning. in an other faerun book theres a template for summons those rasemi withses use (hathrans).

A good way to add lot of flavor here is to take ANY book look what theme you preferfor your summons & ask your dm to take it as a feat (dms guide says that best classes & classabilitiesa re those you create yourshelf :smallcool: )
fiendfolio has many inteesting templates.

i hope i ve helped ya!

Fizban
2010-04-14, 05:22 AM
Your companion gets the feats (though there's a limit to what they can take, both due to form and due to intelligence limits)

No limits unless they're actually listed as a prerequisite. While I'm sure plenty of DM's won't be letting you teach them Martial Study, there's absolutely nothing in the rules stopping them from taking it. Tripper builds would be hard since you can't get Combat Expertise for Improved Trip, but they can ubercharge or grapple build just fine. If you want to get fancy (and less effective), you could go Dodge/Mobility/Spring Attack/Bounding Assault and give something with one natural weapon two attacks, but it would be easier to just give them Improved Unarmed Strike/Superior Unarmed Strike/Snap Kick and have a kung-fu wolf.

Oh, and with a mount that has average maneuverability, Wingover is a trap. Take Improved Flight, from Races of the Wild. There's a few different versions in other books, but basically all of them give you a one step increase for a single feat, and that gives you good flight instead of just a single 180* turn when taken by an average flier.

For the OP: even if you're not going to use something like a Fleshraker, you'll definitely want to change companions once you reach a higher level. Only having one attack per round (without spiffy feat lines) means wolves start to suck really fast. Brown bears are pretty standard, and anything with pounce is also good. Larger is pretty much always better, so you might grab a leopard or panther (they use the same stats) and then upgrade to a lion or tiger later. Basically just switch out for the biggest version of whatever you want as you go. There's even a Dire Puma in Sandstorm and a Smilodon (Saber-Toothed Tiger) in Frostburn (not sure if they level-priced them though).

Produce Flame says you can use the flames as a touch attack, which is not the same as the deliver touch spell ability that familiars get, so it would not add damage to your animal companion's touch attack. It would let them make touch attacks or hurl flame, but you might have to train them to do it first (see their examples with Air Walk).

If you want to avoid paperwork and dice rolling, I'd suggest just not summoning. If you hang back and cast the right spells you can keep all that to a minimum: battlefield control will be either no-save or one save, with a set of penalties applied, or go straight damage and cut out keeping track of penalties. As long as only one of you is in melee range you aren't doing very much extra rolling at all.

Gnaeus
2010-04-14, 09:01 AM
Produce Flame says you can use the flames as a touch attack, which is not the same as the deliver touch spell ability that familiars get, so it would not add damage to your animal companion's touch attack. It would let them make touch attacks or hurl flame, but you might have to train them to do it first (see their examples with Air Walk).

PHB 141-142 says that you can make a natural attack while holding the charge on a touch spell, and if the attack hits you do normal attack damage and discharge the spell. Your wolf automatically adds your produce flame to his bite damage, no training required. Now if you wanted him to make touch attacks (for better to-hit chance) or throw fire, you would probably need special training. The Delivering a touch spell text isn't required in this case, only share spell.

Voice of Reason
2010-04-14, 09:02 AM
One last qestion: touch attack spells and animal companions. With share spell I cast produce flame on myself and my pet, it make a claw attack. Des the produce flame fire off as additional damage instantly? Or does the pet have to specifically do a touch attack for the fire?

That's a difficult question to answer. You'd have to cast the spell on your animal companion via your share spells class feature, and then it'd be holding the flames; you can't use it through your ability to deliver touch spells. I think that by the letter of the rules, you'd not be able to add the damage, but it's plausible enough some DMs may allow it though. Strange as it sounds, you'd be better off using something like Call Lightning or Dragon Breath (Draconomicon) to give your animal companion additional options.

By contrast, things like Shocking Grasp do get added to your first attack, because it specifically says that it discharges on contact, even accidental contact (just be sure not to touch the ground by accident).

Gornn
2010-04-14, 10:52 AM
Again thank you all for the responses, I'm just coming back to DnD from a 7 year hiatus. So its all fuzzy to me.

@ Raendyn: The clarification for the animal growing up vs. the animal getting more experienced at combat was great! (There needs to be an idiots guide to leveling an animal companion imo, with clear do's and don'ts)

I'll double check the Touch Attack Spell with my DM to make sure he's cool with it, but the way I've interpreted it, is that yes if I cast Produce Flame on myself and my pet via Share Spells, I can throw a flame on round 1 and my pet can attack and discharge a Flame on round 1.

The stipulation that I found somewhere was that since its a touch attack the spells are placed on your hands, and should be mimicked on the pet it the pets paws. So a wolf could not since he gets no claw attack. (I can't remember where I read it, and it was someone else's interpretation but it was a literal one, and after playing enough Magic: the gathering it makes sense with WotC logic :P)