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Thread: Awakened Animal

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    Default Awakened Animal

    In the "Awaken" spell description, it states that an Awakened animal may not serve as an Animal Companion, Familiar, or Special Mount.

    Does anyone know the reason for this rule? In particular, I would think that an Awakened cat wouldn't be more powerful than (say) a Pseudodragon, as an Improved Familiar.

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    Default Re: Awakened Animal

    If you could awaken a hawk, you could also awaken a dire bear. And it's really not as if the druid needs more combat power.
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    Default Re: Awakened Animal

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    If you could awaken a hawk, you could also awaken a dire bear. And it's really not as if the druid needs more combat power.
    Awaken allows said animals to take class levels...
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    Default Re: Awakened Animal

    Couldn't the Druid just get a regular Dire Bear as an animal companion at level 13? The +2HD could be rolled into the regular 3rd-5th level HD increase, to make an Awakened Dire Bear available at level 16. I guess it would be a bit easier for the Druid to work out battle tactics with it (more complicated plans, etc), but otherwise I don't see much of a mechanical difference.

    Just to clarify, the reason I'm asking this is one of my players is interested in building a Wizard and taking an Awakened cat as an Improved Familiar. I like the concept, and have no problem allowing it as a houserule. I'm just trying to figure out if there's some big important issue I haven't thought of.

    EDIT: Class levels don't seem to be an issue there. Pseudodragons are already an approved Improved Familiar, and they're intelligent enough to take on class levels if they want.
    Last edited by Telonius; 2010-05-28 at 10:41 AM.

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    Default Re: Awakened Animal

    Quote Originally Posted by Telonius View Post
    Just to clarify, the reason I'm asking this is one of my players is interested in building a Wizard and taking an Awakened cat as an Improved Familiar. I like the concept, and have no problem allowing it as a houserule. I'm just trying to figure out if there's some big important issue I haven't thought of.
    Familiars have their own specialized rules for intelligence. A familiar gets 6 intelligence right off the bat and gains one point more for every other wizard level. It would seem to be a waste of a feat to take an awakened familiar.

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    Default Re: Awakened Animal

    Quote Originally Posted by WarKitty View Post
    Familiars have their own specialized rules for intelligence. A familiar gets 6 intelligence right off the bat and gains one point more for every other wizard level. It would seem to be a waste of a feat to take an awakened familiar.
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    Default Re: Awakened Animal

    Quote Originally Posted by WarKitty View Post
    Familiars have their own specialized rules for intelligence. A familiar gets 6 intelligence right off the bat and gains one point more for every other wizard level. It would seem to be a waste of a feat to take an awakened familiar.
    Well, it could talk with people other than its master, and it'd have one more feat than a regular cat familiar, so that's something.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Telonius View Post
    Well, it could talk with people other than its master, and it'd have one more feat than a regular cat familiar, so that's something.
    I always figured the talking thing was more mouth shape than anything else. RAW is a bit unclear there, as an intelligence 6 should still qualify something to learn languages. That or I'm missing something.

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    Default Re: Awakened Animal

    Familiars become Magical Beasts and are no longer Animals so they are not subject to the Awaken spell.

    A Psuedodragon in particular is never an Animal but is a Dragon and thus is never able to be affected by the Awaken spell whether they are a familiar or not. Plus, their advancement is in HD, not class levels (one of the earlier posts seemed to link Int with being able to take class levels and there is no connection there).

    An Awakened cat would no longer fit the description for a familiar. Of course, if you are the DM, then do as you please. In my book there is no such thing as a DM cheating or bending the rules. The rules are what the DM says they are.
    Last edited by Hendel; 2010-05-28 at 10:56 AM.

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    Default Re: Awakened Animal

    I'd allow it.

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    Default Re: Awakened Animal

    I would not allow an Awakened Cat as a familiar... but I would as an Improved Familiar. I'm not as clear on the reasoning behind the Paladin Mount (since you wind up trading summonability for intelligence), but an ANIMAL companion is just that... it's an animal. Once the thing is awakened, it's no longer an Animal, and it no longer counts as a companion... it might become a cohort, but one of the disadvantages of the animal companion is supposed to be that they're relatively stupid... they CAN'T figure out most things you might want them to do, and you've got to put some effort into getting them to do things (when's the last time anyone rolled a Handle Animal check to get their companion to do a trick, huh?)
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    Default Re: Awakened Animal

    I tend to agree. HOWEVER, if you can explain it in a coherant backstory (no "Well, I cast the spell and I happened to hit a Wolf and voila"), like its a freak of nature

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    Default Re: Awakened Animal

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hall View Post
    I would not allow an Awakened Cat as a familiar... but I would as an Improved Familiar. I'm not as clear on the reasoning behind the Paladin Mount (since you wind up trading summonability for intelligence), but an ANIMAL companion is just that... it's an animal. Once the thing is awakened, it's no longer an Animal, and it no longer counts as a companion... it might become a cohort, but one of the disadvantages of the animal companion is supposed to be that they're relatively stupid... they CAN'T figure out most things you might want them to do, and you've got to put some effort into getting them to do things (when's the last time anyone rolled a Handle Animal check to get their companion to do a trick, huh?)
    I've heard of an elf wizard trying to do that with a half-orc barbarian, but point taken.

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    Default Re: Awakened Animal

    An awakened animal cannot become a familiar because the spell turns them into a Magical Beast. Magical Beasts cannot become animal companions (likewise with familiars and paladin mounts).

    Although strange, a houserule that allows a wizard to take an awakened animal as an improved familiar is probably not going to break the game. Just keep in mind that givens that familiar more of its own skill points (int) and an intelligence that may or may not allow them to perform PC-level tasks/skill checks.
    Last edited by Voice of Reason; 2010-05-28 at 12:38 PM.
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    Default Re: Awakened Animal

    Quote Originally Posted by Voice of Reason View Post
    Although strange, a houserule that allows a wizard to take an awakened animal as an improved familiar is probably not going to break the game. Just keep in mind that givens that familiar more of its own skill points (int) and an intelligence that may or may not allow them to perform PC-level tasks/skill checks.
    Familiars *already* get PC-level intelligence; it's one of the more overlooked benefits of being a familiar (which is weird, as it's the one that primarily enables the familiar-scout strategy.) Even a starting familiar is as intelligent as your average Orc Barbarian.

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    Default Re: Awakened Animal

    Technically there is also no rule against giving your animal companion a Headband of Intellect to make it smarter either. Of course, it can't learn anything permanently, because the instant it takes off the headband it loses its sentience. But there's a way around that, too:

    This is an often overlooked benefit to the Exalted Companion feat. By applying the Celestial Template to your companion, you are raising its intelligence to 3. 3 isn't very high (in fact it's quite stupid), but it is sentience, and thus the animal can gain some language skills.

    It could understand Common enough to follow instructions, although these can't be too complex. Essentially it will have an infinite number of Tricks, and can learn new ones on the fly. Combined with the Headband trick, and you'd have a reasonably intelligent animal companion.
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    Default Re: Awakened Animal

    Arcane Heirophant (sp?) from Races of the Wild makes your Druid familiar and your Wizard Animal Companion one and the same thing...

    (and yes, I know, I did it on purpose)

    So your AC has a sensible INT score... (My plan is to be able to give my wolf Imp. trip... And I know a wolf will be horribly outclassed by the time I can do that, but I don't care, it's something to aim for!)
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    Default Re: Awakened Animal

    Quote Originally Posted by Sc00by View Post
    Arcane Heirophant (sp?) from Races of the Wild makes your Druid familiar and your Wizard Animal Companion one and the same thing...
    In addition, you can combine it with MT to get Dual 9s

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    Default Re: Awakened Animal

    Quote Originally Posted by Sc00by View Post
    Arcane Heirophant (sp?)
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    Default Re: Awakened Animal

    The reason behind that is that familiars/companions/mounts get nifty bonuses, and awakened animals get nifty bonuses, so an awakened familiar would be too many nifty bonuses in one creature.

    An awakened cat for instance would have 6 Int + 3d6 Int. It could potentially be much smarter than the wizard it served.

    I think it would be fine to simply give a few bonuses to the cat, in addition to normal speech, if the player took Improved Familiar, but not all the bonuses that an Awaken spell would grant a dumb animal. Or alternatively, trade in some of the normal familiar bonuses to grant it the ability to speak. Why not see if the player will trade in the usual +3 bonus to move silently checks a cat familiar grants in exchange for allowing the cat to speak one language.

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    Default Re: Awakened Animal

    Quote Originally Posted by Greenish View Post
    Hierophant, via late Latin from Greek hierophantēs, from hieros ‘sacred’ + phainein ‘show, reveal.’
    Yeah and i before e and all that... I tried it both ways, didn't like either. I COULD have just looked it up, but that would've meant caring more than I do! Also I could've missed out the (sp?) and almost no one would've noticed... ;)

    Still Animal Companions with more than 2 INT! Happy days (Well, sort of animal companions anyway)

    EDIT:
    Quote Originally Posted by Lysander View Post
    An awakened cat for instance would have 6 Int + 3d6 Int. It could potentially be much smarter than the wizard it served.
    With my standard dice rolling I'd be chuffed with 10 INT on that basis ;)
    Last edited by Sc00by; 2010-05-28 at 06:23 PM.
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    Default Re: Awakened Animal

    Actually, it's probably simplest to just be nice and let the wizard's cast speak common but not have any of the other benefits of awakened animals. Technically it won't be "Awakened", but just a familiar you've house ruled to grant speech.

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    Default Re: Awakened Animal

    Quote Originally Posted by Lysander View Post
    The reason behind that is that familiars/companions/mounts get nifty bonuses, and awakened animals get nifty bonuses, so an awakened familiar would be too many nifty bonuses in one creature.

    An awakened cat for instance would have 6 Int + 3d6 Int. It could potentially be much smarter than the wizard it served.

    I think it would be fine to simply give a few bonuses to the cat, in addition to normal speech, if the player took Improved Familiar, but not all the bonuses that an Awaken spell would grant a dumb animal. Or alternatively, trade in some of the normal familiar bonuses to grant it the ability to speak. Why not see if the player will trade in the usual +3 bonus to move silently checks a cat familiar grants in exchange for allowing the cat to speak one language.
    You would apply the Awaken bonuses to the base stats, and like other smart familiars (such as a psudodragon) it uses whichever Int is higher, the natural or the Int from being a familiar. Because it would still be awakened if the wizard died, but would lose the familiar abilities.
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    Default Re: Awakened Animal

    Quote Originally Posted by lightningcat View Post
    You would apply the Awaken bonuses to the base stats, and like other smart familiars (such as a psudodragon) it uses whichever Int is higher, the natural or the Int from being a familiar. Because it would still be awakened if the wizard died, but would lose the familiar abilities.
    But it's not just the level of intelligence, it's what it can do with it. For example familiars can use their master's skill modifier. Having a smart animal that had your spellcraft or knowledge arcana bonus for example would effectively allow you to make those checks twice, and get the information from your familiar if you failed.

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    Default Re: Awakened Animal

    could always awaken multiple and take leadership

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    Default Re: Awakened Animal

    Quote Originally Posted by Lysander View Post
    But it's not just the level of intelligence, it's what it can do with it. For example familiars can use their master's skill modifier. Having a smart animal that had your spellcraft or knowledge arcana bonus for example would effectively allow you to make those checks twice, and get the information from your familiar if you failed.
    Awakening the familiar wouldn't change that one way or another. By 11th level, familiars are getting into above average Int anyways. Using the familiar to double up on skill checks is one of the bonuses to having a familiar.

    Really, the best reason to awaken the familiar would be to gain the skill points for the other skills, as well as a boost to BAB, possible feat, and the ability to speak. Not inconsiderable for the cost of a feat, but not exeptional either.
    Last edited by lightningcat; 2010-05-28 at 10:16 PM.
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