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I have a two-weapon fighting ranger. Currently I am level 6 and am just getting my animal companion. I chose the wolf. At level 7 he becomes large because of the feat, boon companion. His stat bump was to intellect so he can choose any feat he qualifies for. He also has a rank in linguistics and understands common.

I am having a tough time trying to decide on his feats. I think I want improved natural attack, weapon focus: bite, and vital strike. I am not sure about the other feats. I was thinking of following the "step up" chain. However, I am not sure if I should make sure to make room for power attack and combat reflexes. Any suggestions?

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This is a very subjective question; it would be better if we know what you were trying to accomplish with your companion. – dlras2 Mar 8 '13 at 15:11
Animal companions really only serve combat-related purposes as far as mechanics goes (caveat emphasized for clarity). There's not a lot of feats in Pathfinder to increase the wolf's utility as a tracker and/or sentinel, and the question doesn't relate to the skill points that could be spent for such, so there's really only the combat application left to talk about. – Lord_Gareth Mar 8 '13 at 15:29
I'm pretty sure wolves get Improved Trip for free as part of being a wolf. Or perhaps just a special ability that has the same effect. – user8902 Jul 17 '13 at 20:42
up vote 5 down vote accepted

Weapon Focus isn't really a great choice for a combat-focused companion, chiefly because its benefit is so small. Likewise, Power Attack tends to be all-or-nothing and might not see a lot of use. If you're looking for a melee companion, here's my suggestions:

  • Improved Natural Attack

  • Combat Reflexes, and if you can, try to find a way to give your wolf more reach so you can take advantage of its tripping prowess.

  • Check and see if Improved Trip will stack with wolf-tripping. If the bonuses stack, Improved Trip might be worth looking into.

  • Blind-Fight can usefully burn a feat slot

  • Improved Initiative, as always, remains an option for every character or creature to get involved in combat ever.

  • Friendly Switch may provide interesting angles of tactical movement, as well as get your ranger into place so you can TWF and move in the same round.

I'm uncertain on other feat slots, so you may end up padding it out with things like Weapon Focus. Take Vital Strike only if you're really at the end of your rope for figuring out what to do with a feat slot.

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I appreciate the suggestions, however, I do not think he can take Improved Trip since the pre-req is a 13 in intelligence. Was there some way around that? – Josh Mar 8 '13 at 15:48
Hrm. Not that I can think of for an animal companion, since you'd need to find a way to give it to him as a bonus feat with no pre-requisites and crafting an Intelligence-boosting item will only get you so much Intelligence out of the deal. Shame. – Lord_Gareth Mar 8 '13 at 15:50
I agree. I would really love to turn him into a trip machine. Are there any other feats he can take that might improve his combat maneuvers? – Josh Mar 8 '13 at 16:16
I'm honestly unsure, and it runs into the issue that CMD advances faster and better than CMB. What'd I'd say is that if you want him to be able to use maneuvers well, you should find ways to increase his size as much as you possibly can. Ultimately, it won't be enough (especially once things start flying and you don't) but it'll at least keep him trippin'. – Lord_Gareth Mar 8 '13 at 16:25
Yeah, he grows to large at level 7, which is really nice, and is a reason why combat reflexes is probably a need and not a want. I was wondering about Vital Strike though. Being large and having improved natural attack and vital strike means that he will be dealing 4d6 damage on a hit. Is there a reason why these other feats would be better than Vital Strike? – Josh Mar 8 '13 at 16:36

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