In relation to this question here, can someone use Animal Friendship spell to first calm a beast, then use their Animal Handling skill to then command it?

According to the description of Animal Handling, it seems to only apply to domesticated animals, while Animal Friendship can be applied to any beast. Would casting Animal Friendship on an animal cause it to become, in a sense, domesticated, and then allow the use of Animal Handling to command it?

For example, a snake charmer who uses his snakes for various purposes. It could be argued that many snakes are domesticated, and at least his own snakes. But, should they die or be lost, could he then cast Animal Friendship on some wild snakes and begin to use Animal Handling on them for his demises.

Or perhaps a Bear/Lion Tamer who performs with said animals for room and board, and to collect gold. Would they be able to replace their lost meal-tickets should something befall them using Animal Friendship on a wild bear, and then using their Animal Handling skill to influence their actions or try to convince them to stay with them?

Would someone be able to use this combo to make wild animals their effective pets or minions?

  • \$\begingroup\$ I think the answer to the linked question answers this fully. \$\endgroup\$
    – Szega
    Aug 16, 2017 at 9:34

2 Answers 2


Animal Handling skill probably won't help

The Animal Handling skill means you are proficient in controlling and nurturing domesticated animals. There are difference between tameable, captive-bred and domesticated animals. Even when animals are domesticated, you still need skill to work with them, but that skill doesn't give you supernatural powers neither allows you to control and command any wild and/or untrained animal you can encounter.

Animal Handling proficiency can't be a substitute for any magic spell (like Dominate Beast) or class feature (like Ranger's animal companion).

If you are a player, then ask your GM

It is the GM's job to decide, what check you should make. They might ask you "make the Wisdom (Animal Handling) check" in response to you announcing "I am trying to make this bear do X" (to run away, for instance). They also might ask you for a Nature check. Or Intimidate check. Or give you Advantage because you are proficient in Animal Handling. Or ask "How do you do that?" Or simply state "the bear didn't run away".

In the end of the day, it is completely up to the GM — despite the fact wild animals usually don't cooperate with people in real world, things might differ in the setting you are playing in. If you are the GM, and you choose the check can be made, the DC should depend on the announced action. "I try to scare this bear and make it flee" should be much easier than "I try to convince the bear to go with us and fight our enemies".

Normally, players don't "use" skills

In games like Pathfinder there are various tables, describing what you can and can not do with the respective skill. In D&D 5e, however, skill descriptions are loose by design, and the reason is it's the GM who decides what check a player should make.

In 5e players aren't supposed to announce "I use my Animal Handling skill", "I use my Survival skill" or "I use my Persuasion skill". Instead, a player should describe what their character does - "I try to calm down my horse", "I search for any tracks and footprints", "I say the elf guard we mean no harm" - and the GM might ask for a ability/skill check in order to resolve the situation:

The GM calls for an ability check when a character or monster attempts an action (other than an attack) that has a chance of failure.

Sometimes, the GM might ask for an ability check using a specific skill — for example, “Make a Wisdom (Perception) check.”

For example, if a character attempts to climb up a dangerous cliff, the GM might ask for a Strength (Athletics) check.

See more information in Player's Handbook, page 174 - "Ability Checks".



The spell Animal Friendship only says that it lets you:

[...] lets you convince a beast that you mean it no harm. [...]

The Animal Handling skill only allows to command and influence a domesticated animal (emphasis mine):

[...] calm down a domesticated animal, keep a mount from getting spooked, or intuit an animal’s intentions, [...]

There is a lot more to domesticating an animal than just to convince it that you mean it no harm. You can use Animal Friendship to calm down an animal so that the snake or bear would not try to kill you because it think you are attacking it. But it would still not listen to you.

Here is a little excerpt from the Wikipedia article about domestication (no emphasis added):

Domestication is a sustained multi-generational relationship in which one group of organisms assumes a significant degree of influence over the reproduction and care of another group to secure a more predictable supply of resources from that second group.

This is quite different to what Animal Friendship allows you to do. This means that according to RAW your combo is not a valid tactic.

As always you can talk to your DM about how he wants to constitute Domestication for his campaign. What definition you use for this word is very important in the analysis of your proposed tactic.


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