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Most animals have an intelligence of 1-2 in PF. But should you cast Fox's Cunning on one and raise it's int to (say) 6, does it become a magical beast automatically (with better hit dice and attack progression)?

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The reverse could be interesting too: does a Magical Beast with Int damage turn into an Animal at some point? – leokhorn Nov 27 '13 at 20:31
up vote 12 down vote accepted

By RAW - It doesn't directly say.

It says animals can't have an intelligence over 2. A spell like Awaken changes the type and grants it more intelligence permanently. The restriction on animal intelligence isn't fleshed out beyond "intelligence score of 1 or 2." So there's really no good RAW answer that I'm aware of.

Given that spells (like Awaken) that change your type usually say so, I'd have to expect that it's not intended for a temporary buff to change your type, HD, and BAB, not to mention break any spells that require the target to be an animal to work (so no Animal Growth on your animal if I first give it more intelligence?).

As for how that restriction works, I see two ways of doing it:

  1. Because the animal type has a cap on intelligence in its description, anything that pushes it over that simply fails.
  2. Allow it to work without changing the type, but with the restrictions still in place. Practically this wouldn't have much effect since a temporary buff to the animal's intelligence isn't going to give it automatic new languages or more skill points.

Either way, actually having it change the type on the fly would be really odd.

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I would argue that the 1-2 Int is descriptive, not prescriptive. It' not that you physically can't have intelligent animals, it's just that no animals are. I would also argue that the correct answer is the one that messes up the game least. Changing type or spells not working are bigger consequences than simply letting animals have temporary Int higher than 2. – Ansis Malins Nov 27 '13 at 12:46
Yeah really, if a person loses enough INT to go to 2 do they become an animal and have their HD change? That's pretty silly. "No because it's completely unsupported by the rules that it would be the case." – mxyzplk Nov 28 '13 at 15:45
I think the animal entry is unclear. Instead of a cap, it should instead be the base. But like all of the answers, this is just an educated guess. – Ellesedil Nov 30 '13 at 2:31
@mxyzplk Your example is invalid, since nothing says a Humanoid can’t have animal intelligence, as it does for the opposite direction. I still don’t support changing types on the fly, since that is just unnecessary complication, but the rules definitely do indicate that, well, something weird is going on, or supposed to. Though it’s probably just that the animal is capped at Int 2 no matter what you do, which is dumb and I don’t recommend. – KRyan Mar 8 '15 at 23:37

I doubt it.

If it did, it would have some additional wording stating the affect when applied to animals like is found on the awaken spell.

An awakened animal gets 3d6 Intelligence, +1d3 Charisma, and +2 HD. Its type becomes magical beast (augmented animal). An awakened animal can't serve as an animal companion, familiar, or special mount.

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Usually there's no practical difference between providing a bonus to a score and actually raising that score, but your particular example hits upon one of the few points where it matters. The spell you mention provides a bonus to the creature's Intelligence, rather than actually raising the creature's score above 2, so the creature's type does not change.

In addition to Magical Beasts, 3.0 had the Beast creature type, which was used for creatures that didn't correspond to things we'd find in nature, but were not actually magical in nature. The Owlbear was probably the most famous example of a Beast, but other "smart animals" could have fit in here as well. 3.5 folded the whole creature type into Magical Beast, though, and PF seems to have followed suit.

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+1 for pointing out the distinction between a bonus to a score and an increase to a score, which is important in 3.X. – GMJoe Nov 27 '13 at 1:22


Fox's cunning provides a temporary boost to an ability score.

d20pfsrd says the following about such increases:

Temporary increases to your Intelligence score give you a bonus on Intelligence-based skill checks. This bonus also applies to any spell DCs based on Intelligence.

So, RAW neither the Fox's Cunning spell nor the relevant general rule says that it changes type so no type change occurs.

Now, I assume the next question people are going to ask is what happens when someone casts permanency on Fox Cunning in order to trigger the following bolded text from d20pfsrd:

Permanent Bonuses: Ability bonuses with a duration greater than 1 day actually increase the relevant ability score after 24 hours. Modify all skills and statistics as appropriate. This might cause you to gain skill points, hit points, and other bonuses. These bonuses should be noted separately in case they are removed.

Whether or not those other bonuses and statistics include creature type is irrelevant. This is because RAW you can't use Permanency on Fox's Cunning. The Permanency spell linked lists all of the spells that can be made permanent. All other uses are only allowed via DM discretion.

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No. See the descriptive text for the following items, which raise or mention an animal's intelligence in a way which indicates or implies that increasing an animal's intelligence score doesn't automatically change its type:

Collar of the True Champion (Ultimate Equipment) Circlet of Speaking (Animal Archive)

See also the text in the Advancing Companions section on Animal Companions towards the bottom of this page (Also in Ultimate Campaign), which also clearly implies this isn't the case, with sections like:

"If the companion's Intelligence score is 2 or lower..." and "Training an animal to be smarter, more intuitive, or more self-aware is less easy to justify—except in the context where people can cast spells and speak with animals"

and the section titled "Intelligent Animals" (also from Ultimate Campaign. Link goes to same page, scroll down) which just flat-out says this doesn't happen:

"Even if an animal's Intelligence increases to 3 or higher, you must still use the Handle Animal skill to direct the animal, as it is a smart animal rather than a low-intelligence person (using awaken is an exception—an awakened animal takes orders like a person)."

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Nice clarification find! – Rob Nov 11 '14 at 11:43… - that way you don't have to scroll – Julix Mar 8 '15 at 23:08
@Julix Thanks! Feel free to just edit in changes like that in the future, and leave the comment as an edit note. I don't mind updating my questions but you're under 3K rep so if you do it that way you'll get +2 rep per approved edit (which lets us reward you for helping fix stuff like this). – the dark wanderer Mar 8 '15 at 23:24
Sure thing, will do next time. – Julix Mar 9 '15 at 0:01

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