View Full Version : How do you have Awaken work?

2008-10-10, 02:23 PM
Hi all. I have a druid in one of the campaigns I'm DM'ing (first campaign I've ever DM'd but I have another one running now) that recently learned about Awaken (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/awaken.htm). My question is, how do you make it work in a campaign? It specifically says that an awakened animal can't be an animal companion...but that makes it sound like a druid that didn't care about her XP and had a week of time on her hand could create a friendly party of awakened Bear Druids and Fighters :smalleek:...and still have a comapnion of top of that. Do you have the animals leave for their own adventure? Stay as DMNPC's? Stay as a familiar and to heck with the rules? Stay as a second character for the druid? Do you put a limit on one awakening per game year or something? Or should I just ban the spell now and save myself a head-ache?

She's only level 5 (almost 6, she'll get that far next session), so there's some time. How do you handle Awaken?

2008-10-10, 02:31 PM
The animals generally are awakened by the druid for a purpose, and generally that purpose is not the same as that of the party. An enemy army is approaching, burning and slaughtering all in their path? The Druid casts Mass Awaken, and the very plants and animals of the world protest and protect their home. But then the animals stay there to protect their homes while the party moves off to destroy the army's home base. Let the spell have a meaningful short-term impact(it's as expensive as Limited Wish and requires more planning; it needs to be useful), but it says only that the creature is treated as friendly, not that the Druid gets their undying devotion.

2008-10-10, 02:47 PM
The relevant part of the spell description:

The awakened animal or tree is friendly toward you. You have no special empathy or connection with a creature you awaken, although it serves you in specific tasks or endeavors if you communicate your desires to it.

The last clause is the potentially troublesome one - how far will "serves you in specific tasks or endeavors" stretch? But the easiest approach is to simply say that the spell creates an NPC who is friendly towards the druid and will do him favours. You don't get a slave, servant, minion, acolyte or follower. You could rule that the creature is bound to perform one service for the caster, and afterwards must be handled via diplomacy in order to get further assistance from them (and all that that may entail in the line of houserules for the diplomacy skill in your game).

How it's handled otherwise in your game is up to you and your players; it's not a hard-and-fast matter that calls for rule interpretations. Having the druid casting awaken on everything she can would be a headache and an abuse, so make sure the player is aware of that and won't do it (in character, after all, you're draining away some of your vitality and essence to empower the creature. It's not something you could do casually, or on a whim.) On the other hand, there are uses that could be fun or amusing. Awakened pack horse as persistent NPC and source of snarky comments? Build your stronghold around an awakened tree acting as sentinel and majordomo?

2008-10-10, 02:51 PM
Obviously, you run your next campaign as an Awakened Animal campaign! :smallsmile:

More seriously, they become NPCs who are initially friendly with the party (or at least the Druid) and will typically help you out with whatever you need them for at the moment. After that, it depends on if the Druid really befriends them (they might want to accompany the party), or if they have some pre-existing concerns (such as homes/families to protect, etc.) that they feel are more important. Essentially, they become able to decide that for themselves.

2008-10-10, 02:56 PM
Think of it as the druid equivalent of hiring henchmen.

You make an initial payment of XP instead of gold, and from there on how things go depends on the player and the DM. There's nothing stopping a Druid from creating an army of intelligent animals, just like there's nothing stopping a high-Charisma character from building up a collection of supporters and allies.

- Saph

2008-10-10, 03:59 PM
Along the lines of what Saph said, if your PC does seem interested in creating the Army of Animals, just have her take the leadership feat, and let Awakened animals join her as cohorts or followers, depending on their comparative CRs and Hit Dice.

Otherwise, keep in mind that while these animals are newly-sentient, they're also still animals, and probably won't be eager to completely abandon their territories, dens, etc. So you might have the friendly wolf pack in the forest to the north of the city, and they will happily help you out while you're in their domain, they're not about to go venturing off into dungeons or the city or wherever. And, again, if the character does want to awaken some animals to go adventuring with, then the Leadership feat would probably be her best bet, since that represents a specific relationship between her character and a devoted NPC, and the effort needed to maintain that relationship.

The purpose behind the "No awakened animal companions" bit is that, well, Awaken is a nice buff to an animal, and letting druids awaken their animal companions would make an already powerful class feature even more powerful. There's nothing saying your Druid can't adventure with an awakened animal, only that they can't give them the Animal Companion benefits.