Broadly speaking any player character or non-player character can have one or more animal companions. These companions could have a variety of functions or uses such as mounts, working animals, guard animals, attack animals, sport animals, or even simply beloved pets. Most wild animals can be trained to become animal companions, though this requires “taming” the animals first. Where as domesticated animals are general bred to become either livestock or a companion of some sort. Domesticated animals do not require taming, though they may still require training before they can become useful as an animal companion.
Each animal will have a one or more methods of training and controlling that they will respond to. Each method is linked to a particular stat requirement of the animals trainer and/or owner. These methods apply to taming, breaking, training, and controlling animals:
- Force (Strength)
- Dominance (Stamina)
- Will (Resolve)
- Affection (Charm)
- Insight (Intellect)
- Cunning (Wisdom)
Taming and Training
Taming is the first step in making a wild animal into a animal companion, followed by training. However not every wild animal can be tamed and trained, and those that can require a wide variety of different techniques. Some animals require a gentle hand and soft words, while others respect only strength. In some cases it is a test of wills between trainer and animal.
Any animal with an Intellect Stat greater than 5 cannot be Tamed or Broken. Instead they choose whether or not they will allow themselves to be trained for whatever purpose the trainer has in mind. In these cases, once permission is given, theya re trained as normal.
Regardless in order to Tame, Break, or Train an animal you must have the Animal Trainer Secondary Skill.
Before an animal can be tamed and/or trained you must of course actually have access to that animal. This means either hunting/finding one in the wild and attempting to tame it in its natural habitat or capturing it and bringing it back to a more controlled environment. In some cases you may be able to purchase an animal and then tame and/or train it your self.
Taming a Wild Animal
- The trainer must select a method of training (GMs may enforce that the player does so without consulting the Codex of Creation)
- Check the Codex of Creation – Beasts or Fey Creatures (Fey Beasts only) to determine if the trainer selected one of the correct methods of training that the animal in question will respond to. If not the training automatically counts as having failed.
- Taming a wild animal requires 1 hour plus 1 consecutive hour per Threat rating of the animal (i.e. an animal with a Threat rating of 4 requires a minimum of 5 uninterrupted hours to tame)
- During each hour of taming a stat roll-off is required, using the stat associated with the training method versus the animal’s Resolve stat.
- If even one test fails, the taming process has failed and cannot be attempted again for the rest of the day (a stalemate/tie roll does not count as a failure or a success but simply extends the process for another hour)
- Failing to tame the animal will result in it attempting to flee or attacking, depending on the animal and where the training took place (i.e. if in a secure pen an animal that would normally flee may instead attack)
- A successfully tamed animal will become docile and not attack the trainer, though may still attack other perceived threats if not further trained
- Taming is not required if the animal is already naturally docile or domesticated, such as in the case of livestock or an animal raised in the care of humans (etc…) from birth
Breaking a Mount
- Animal companions that are to be used as mounts require an additional step before they can be trained, this is called Breaking the mount
- To determine if the creature is eligible to be used as a standard mount see the supplementary rules for Mounts.
- In order to break a mount it must first be tamed, unless it is already domesticated.
- If an animal willingly allows a rider on its back it does not need to be broken first.
- Breaking a mount follows the exact same process as taming, but cannot be attempted on the same day that the mount was tamed
- If failing one or more of the mount breaking stat roll offs the mount will usually just buck the trainer off and call it a day (may result in a minor impact injury and cannot be attempted again that day)
- Once tamed (and broken if used as a mount), the animal must be trained before it will follow even the most basic commands. Even animals that willingly allow themselves to be used as mounts be trained before they can respond to commands from a rider.
- Training the animal requires 1 week of concerted effort plus 1 additional week per Threat rating of the animal
- During each week of training a stat roll-off based on of the corresponding training method is required
- A failed stat roll-off or a stalemate results in no progress, effectively extending the training time by another week
- If multiple weeks are required fails or stalemates do not result in losing progress from previous weeks
- Training can be carried out while on the road or on an adventure/quest so long as there is justifiably enough spare time available (GM discretion)
- Separate training is required for commands that differ too much (i.e. a horse trained to carry a pack then later broken in as a mount would require additional training to be ridden in combat)
Controlling Animal Companions
Even after an animal has been tamed and trained their handlers must still maintain a degree of control relative to the animal itself. The wilder and more ferocious the animal the more control will be required. The Animal training Secondary skill is not required to control an animal companion once it has been tamed and trained. However, without the Animal Trainer Secondary Skill (Rank2 or higher) a character can only use one control method at a time.
When a character takes ownership of an animal companion they must state what method they will be using to control their animal and remain consistent with this method. This method does not necessarily have to be the same method that its previous owner or tamer/trainer used.
Control Rolls are required to be taken when an animal is placed in a dangerous or potentially threatening situation. This includes:
- at the start of each new combat
- at the start of each round of combat if having taken damage or negative effects in the previous round
- at the start of each new day if in an environment they would find unnatural or disconcerting (i.e. a bird underground)
- in any situation where the GM feels that greater control is required (i.e. jumping across a pit of flame)
Control is maintained if the player wins or ties the roll-off and is lost if the animal wins. If losing the Control Roll, all animals controlle dwith that particular method become “out of control“.
A Control roll is effectively a Stat Roll off where the controlling stat is rolled off against the Control Requirement which is equal to total Threat Rating of all animals controlled by a particular method +1 per animal.
Control Requirement = Sum(ThreatA+1, ThreatB+1, ThreatC+1, etc…)
Example 1: if using Force to control one Warg with a Threat Rating of 2 the total Control Required is 2+1=3. Therefore, the player with Strength 11 rolls 1d12+11 while the GM rolls 1d12+3 for the Warg
Example 2: if using Affection to control a pack of 4 Hunting dogs each with a Threat rating of 1, the total Control Requirment is (1+1)x4=8. Therefore, the player with Charm 13 rolls 1d12+13 while the GM rolls 1d12+8 for the pack of dogs
Generally player stats are considerably higher than the Control Requirement and therefore control rolls are not required if it is not possible for the animals to win. To reduce the risk of losing control of an animal it is recommended to maintain the minimum stat thresholds to negate rolling. Some GMs may actually insist upon this to prevent rolling fatigue and/or potential slow-down of game play. Use the following table as reference:
Minimum Stat Threshold Required to Negate Control Roll
(note: Advantage & Disadvantage can come from a variety of sources such a Training Skills, Racial Preferences, Mounted Bonus, Exhaustion, etc…)
|Control Requirement||-2 Disadvantage||-1 Disadvantage||no Advantage (standard)||+1 Advantage||+2 Advantage||+3 Advantage||+4 Advantage|
The stat thresholds to negate Control Roll requirements are subject to Advantage and Disadvantage modifiers, as well as temporary Stat changes (i.e. from buffs or de-buffs)
Some animals have racial preferences that will grant Advantage (+) or Disadvantage (-) to the players control rolls depending on how they view that race (i.e. Unicorns prefer Elves, granting Advantage to the player while despising Orcs, granting Disadvantage to the player). This bonus applies only once per control method not per animal.
Example 3: For an Orc using Dominance to Control 2 Raptor pets (Threat 4 each), the Control Requirement is (4+1)*2=10. The orc gains +2 Advantage when controlling raptors, therefore in order to negate a Control Roll (assuming no Animal Training Skill or other sources of modifiers) the Orc must have 20 Stamina.
When an animal companion is used as a mount it is treated as a separate entity for Control Rolls and grants the rider an additional +1 Advantage. This also applies to animal that are harnessed to a wagon, chariot or other such device, except that if harnessed as a team the Control roll applies to the entire team. Harnessed animals grant the owner +2 Advantage.
Out of Control
If at any point control is lost, ALL animals controlled by that method are effected. GMs then decide how the animals instincts cause them to respond. Alternately you can roll for a random response (for all out of control animals, or each one separately) using the following random roll table:
|1||Animal refuses whatever commands it was given and stays put|
|2||Animal attempts to flee at full sprinting speed|
|3||Animal goes wild and attacks the nearest target|
|4||Animal attacks its owner (bucking them off first if it is a mount)|
When control has been lost it remains so until winning a control roll on the following round (if in combat) or after 1 minute has passed (outside of combat). If failing 3 control rolls in short succession, the animal is no longer considered Tamed (though if re-Tamed it does not need to be Broken or Trained again)
Animals that are out of control get their own Initiative Score and therefore their own place in the turn order, regardless of what behavior they follow when out of control
If a character has the Animal Trainer Secondary Skill they are not only granted Advantage on Control Rolls, they can also utilize an increasing number of control methods at the same time. This allows them to control not only more creatures, but making them much better at controlling animal companions than those without the skill. If aiming for a “pack-master” type build it is highly recommended to invest heavily in the Animal Trainer Secondary Skill.
While under your control all animals can be issued commands and take their turns during the controlling characters turn, effectively treated as one unit for the purposes of turn order, using the controlling characters initiative. If issued a command that potentially places an animal in danger or forces it to act in a manner strongly opposed to its natural instincts, a control roll may be required. Likewise, while use an animal companion as a mount, both rider and mount are considered to be one unit for the purposes of turn orders.