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I asked a similar question the other day, but this is broader and clearer. Is there ever a circumstance where an animal companion will do something or can be controlled without a trick besides riding it?

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1 Answer 1

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Push

You can use Handle Animal to push an animal to do something it doesn't know a trick for.

Ask Nicely

You can use the Speak With Animals spell to communicate and ask the animal for a favor. This isn't magical control, so you will have to persuade them. Druids can use Wild Empathy to make the animal more friendly.

In the case of an animal companion it's already friendly provide it's not being mistreated, so unless the request is obviously suicidal or counter to the animal's nature, it likely won't be difficult to make such a request successful.

Ask Less Nicely

You can also use Charm Animal to do the same thing with more forceful magical persuasion, or Dominate Animal for even more forceful magical persuasion. On your own companion, neither of those should be necessary.

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The "request" you reference in the last paragraph of the ask nicely section, those would only be tricks either learned or not, right? –  Daniel Feb 21 at 16:11
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@Daniel No. You're talking to the animal, it's any task the animal is capable of performing that you can convince it to do. You don't have to ask if it's a trick, since using the trick is how you tell the animal what you want it to do. Think of a trick as something it's been trained for, like a dog sitting on the command "sit!" Speak with Animals would let you explain to a dog that doesn't know "sit" that you want it to put its rear on the ground. –  Tridus Feb 21 at 16:14
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Note that Speak with Animals is not limited by the animal's training so much, but is still limited by their intelligence, such that some things might take a little longer that way than with a trick, since it might take a few rounds of conversation and explanation before they properly grasp what you're trying to tell them to do. –  Matthew Najmon Feb 22 at 6:23
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I'd like to add that, by nature of their relationship, a companion should "defend" the life of his PC Companion if (s)he is attacked. However, this may not extend to his companions, and definitely not to guard/defend an area. Also, an animal defending in this manner will not be able to be called off. (imagine a wild animal defending it's pack and them willingly letting the attacker retreat while they have the upper hand..er..paw) –  Ben-Jamin Feb 22 at 8:39

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