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Tormsskull
2007-09-21, 11:32 AM
Hi all,

I don't own the splat book that has the feat "Natural Bond" in it, so I am hoping someone on here can clue me in if I am incorrect in any of my info + answer a couple of questions.

I'm told that the feat grants a +3 to a character's effective Druid level for Animal Companion purposes, but can't result in having a higher effective druid level then character level. Is that correct?

If so, here are a few questions:

Are there any prerequisites for this feat?
Can it be taken more than once?


I'm mainly looking at this for a ranger or ranger/rogue character.

Lord Tataraus
2007-09-21, 11:36 AM
1) Having an animal companion class feature is the only prerequisite.
2) yes, and if you have multiple animal companions, each feat only applies to one of them.

Keld Denar
2007-09-21, 11:54 AM
The wording on this one is a little funny. It basically works like Practiced Spellcaster with respect to animal companions instead of caster level. Its mostly intended for multiclass druids and rangers.

To figure out what your animal companions abilities are, add your levels in druid, 1/2 levels in ranger, and then add 3, with a maximum level up to your HD.

Example:
A ranger4/fighter2/druid2 (8th level) with natural bond would be a 7th level character with respect to animal companions. (4/2 + 0 + 2 + 3) and would qualify for a druid level-6 animal companion per the table in the PHB under animal companions.

Hope this helps.

Kaelik
2007-09-21, 12:19 PM
Ranger 5/Beast Master 1 with Natural Bond would be 9 depending on how you count it. We never quite ruled it as Practiced Spellcaster.

Dr. Weasel
2007-09-21, 03:58 PM
Does it reduce level penalties on companions like the Leopard or Dire Weasel for non-multiclassed Druids? I was looking at the feat a couple days ago and I didn't see this addressed. I was in a rush though, so I could have just overlooked something.

Kaelik
2007-09-21, 04:45 PM
Does it reduce level penalties on companions like the Leopard or Dire Weasel for non-multiclassed Druids? I was looking at the feat a couple days ago and I didn't see this addressed. I was in a rush though, so I could have just overlooked something.

It doesn't affect your animal companions at all. It increases your Druid level by three when determining your animal companions level.

de-trick
2007-09-21, 04:54 PM
the feat is also for ranger who specialized in animal companion a 6th level ranger with natural bond has the same druid level for animal companion

Shas aia Toriia
2007-09-21, 05:03 PM
It can't be used to lower the level needed for an animal companion, because it tops out at your HD.

Jack_Simth
2007-09-21, 05:21 PM
Does it reduce level penalties on companions like the Leopard or Dire Weasel for non-multiclassed Druids? I was looking at the feat a couple days ago and I didn't see this addressed. I was in a rush though, so I could have just overlooked something.

Technically? Yes.

The adjusted animal companions (such as the Ape or Dire Bat) have a negative "...adjustment to the druidís level (in parentheses) for purposes of determining the companionís characteristics and special abilities."

Natural Bond provides a bonus "to your effective druid level for the purpose of determining the bonus Hit Dice, extra tricks, special abilities, and other bonuses that your animal companion receives" provided it doesn't make your effective druid level exceed your character level.

If you've got one thing giving you a penalty to a set of things that brings you below threshold X, and another giving you a bonus to the same set of things that can't exceed threshold X, what happens?

Technically, you can use Natural Bond to mitigate the level adjustment on the advanced animal companions.

That does, however, make the DMG NPC Barbarian-5 lunch for the Druid-5's Natural Bonded Ape (if Leather Barding is applied to the Ape - proficiency doesn't matter, as their is no ACP for it, and if you stick to a Full Attack Slugfest). This is before the Druid casts any spells on the Ape.


DMG NPC Barbarian-5 has 43 HP, 18 AC, +2 Initiative, Greataxe +10 (1d12+4); when Raging, that's 53 HP, 16 AC, +2 Initiative, Greataxe +12 (1d12+7).

Meanwhile, the Natural Bonded Ape with Leather Barding (only 40 gp, at worst choice of math method) gets 42 HP, AC 19, +3 Initiative, 2 claws +9 melee (1d6+6) and bite +4 melee (1d6+3).

Ignoring crits...

The Raging Barbarian-5 hits the Ape on a roll of 7, for an average damage per hit of 13.5; average of 9.45 damage per round. The Ape goes down in about 4.44 rounds in a full-attack slugfest.
The Ape hits the Raging Barbarian on a rolls of 7 (left claw)/7 (right claw)/12 (bite), dealing an average of 9.5/9.5/6.5 on each hit; average damage per round on a full attack of 16.225 damage. The Raging Barbarian goes down in about 3.26 rounds in a full-attack slugfest.
The Druid-5's Natural Bonded Ape with Leather Barding beats the Raging Barbarian-5 in melee ... and the Druid has had this exact Ape build since 4th, potentially, and the Ape gets another two points of attack and two points of AC when the Druid hits 6th.

The calm Barbarian hits the Ape on a roll of 9, for an average damage per hit of 10.5; average damage of 6.3 per round. Ape is expected to go down in about 6.67 rounds in a full-attack slugfest.
The Ape hits the calm barbarian on rolls of 9/9/14, for the same damage on a hit of 9.5/9.5/6.5; average damage 13.675 per round. calm Barbarian is expected to go down in about 3.14 rounds in a full-attack slugfest.
The Druid-5's Natural Bonded Ape with Leather Barding beats the calm Barbarian-5 in melee ... and the Druid has had this exact Ape build since 4th, potentially, and the Ape gets another two points of attack and two points of AC when the Druid hits 6th.

Oh yeah - and I'm ignoring the Ape's 6th Hit Die feat in this analysis.


Now, while a PC Barbarian is liable to be much more effective than the DMG NPC Barbarian, the above simply shouldn't happen. It's a bad idea to do the whole "I have special abilities that are more powerful than your entire class" (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0346.html) thing that easily. Thus, as a DM, don't let it work that way (Note: if you don't have a melee build in the party, or the players in your party make REALLY GOOD melee characters, you can fairly safely let it work that way).

Mind you, somewhere in the 8-12 range, the DMG NPC Barbarian catches up... but at that point, the Full Caster Druid can basically do whatever to the Barbarian anyway. And he can swap out for a better version.

sPaRK
2007-09-22, 05:12 AM
This MAY be of use to you. (http://forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=550048)