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I have two players who want to play a druid and his animal companion. While I have no problems with it, I'm concerned that the animal companion player won't be as interested as the others, because he:

  • can't speak
  • doesn't have any magical powers (ordinary druid wolf)
  • has few ways to interact with others (only by describing his actions)

My question: Are there any ways to enhance his participation as a player? I thought of giving him the ability to speak, but I'm not sure if it's okay.

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Welcome to the site! Please take a look at the tour and the help; they're a useful introduction to the site. And once you have 20+ rep, feel free to join the chat! –  Tridus Nov 26 '13 at 12:56
What's that you say wolfy? The Paladin fell down the well? –  Rob Nov 26 '13 at 13:35
On what level does the campaign start? –  Louis Huppenbauer Dec 12 '13 at 20:43

2 Answers 2

up vote 9 down vote accepted

The problem with that is that animals have to have an intelligence of 1 or 2:

Intelligence score of 1 or 2 (no creature with an Intelligence score of 3 or higher can be an animal).

To speak, you need an intelligence of 3:

If you have a penalty, you can still read and speak your racial languages unless your Intelligence is lower than 3.

So if you do that, the companion PC is no longer an animal. It's a magical beast, and thus not eligible to be an animal companion.

You could house rule away that restriction of course, but I don't think it's a good idea. If the PC in question wants to play as a magical animal that happens to be the Druid's friend, that would be an easier way to go about it. That lets him play a fully realized character with his own will & ability to interact with the party, instead of what is functionally a trained animal. You could use the monster advancement rules to let him gain levels, or let him take class levels if he wanted to become a Cleric Unicorn or something.

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As a note: Animal companions when they hit level 4 do get an ability score increase; this could be added to intelligence... –  Rob Nov 26 '13 at 14:28
" If the PC in question wants to play as a magical animal that happens to be the Druid's friend, that would be an easier way to go about it. " - I think that's a very workable answer - the players can happily interpret/play it like the Druid has 2 companions without needing the mechanics. –  Neil Slater Nov 26 '13 at 15:21
@Tridus Interesting! I wonder on the implications; such as wandering around and casting Fox's Cunning on random creatures... –  Rob Nov 26 '13 at 15:22
Or frankly the druid could take a domain and act like he is the animal companion –  Duncan Nov 26 '13 at 23:15
As an addition, d20pfsrd has a pretty good section on intelligent animals towards the bottom of the page. It explicitly notes that increasing intelligence to 3 allows it to learn a language, but it still has all the restrictions of being a normal animal (and notes differences between an int 3 animal and an awakended animal) and makes no mention of a creature type change. –  Ellesedil Nov 30 '13 at 2:24

Note: I'm coming from a D&D 3e background, so I might be off regarding Pathfinder. The SRD seems to describe what I expected.

Consider XP. The Druid's class levels take the animal companion to be part of his power. By separating the animal companion as another PC, you're removing power from both players. If the Druid PC played both roles, he'd be on par with the rest of the party. Separate, the druid will be maybe two-thirds as powerful as any other PC, and the animal companion maybe one-third as powerful.

You can compensate for this be treating the Druid and Animal Companion as a single member for CR and XP calculations. Just make sure the players realise they will each individually be behind the rest of the party.

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Yes, from the mechanics point of view they are treated as single entity. They know, that their individual power will be behind other players and don`t mind. –  Leorisar Nov 27 '13 at 11:29
It should be pointed out that Druid is a Tier 1 class, and then some. You can take away 1/3 of its power and it's still even against most characters. The animal companion might have a power problem; the druid won't. –  Tynam Nov 29 '13 at 8:58

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