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So, my character is a level 1 Primal Companion Hunter with a T-Rex Animal Companion that starts at Medium due to advancement and has a Str of 14. I want to fight mounted on this T-Rex starting at level 1, and I have taken Undersized Mount to do so.

For carrying capacity, he has a light load of 58 lb. I can triple that to 174 lb with a Scroll of Ant Haul, but with a 140 lb~ish weight for my character plus my gear, it doesn't seem enough.

I really don't want him to be encumbered, as I intend to fight with him. How can I make this work?

This question is for Pathfinder Society, so please, consider only RAW answers, and keep in mind any special PFS considerations.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ What race is your character? \$\endgroup\$ – Mindwin Nov 24 '17 at 11:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ It's a male human. \$\endgroup\$ – Nejosan Nov 24 '17 at 11:31
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A typical starting character just doesn't have the resources to meet this demand well for any meaningful length of time. The magical and monetary resources just aren't available yet. (For example, while both muleback cords cost 1,000 gp and a heavyload belt costs 2,000 gp—the least expensive options—can be worn by a typical biped animal companion, those magic item slots are unavailable to a Society PC's player-bound creature without a feat.) As a starting character, the choice—if your vision is so fixed—is, really, either get a bigger mount or play a littler character. (Also note that a Pathfinder human can weigh as little as 95 lbs. if female and 130 lbs. if male, so you can eke out a precious few more pounds by being short and skinny.)

…But you can just ride Rexy anyway

An animal companion tyrannosaurus only sees its speed reduced to 20 ft. if it's at medium encumbrance, and, while it suffers a −2 penalty to Armor Class if at heavy encumbrance, it still has a speed in combat of 20 ft. while bearing such a load. In other words, as long as you keep things light—keeping you and your gear under 178 lbs.—you can ride your more-than-lightly-encumbered T-rex into battle anyway… it'll just look even funnier when you do, as it strains under the comparatively massive bulk.

Further, for those times when the creature must move at full speed, on the hunter spell list is the spell longstrider that increases the mount's speed (due to the supernatural ability share spells) for 1 hour by +10 ft. Scrolls of the spell are a mere 25 gp (and subject to Society availability, of course).

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Animal Companions in PFS can't wear muleback cords or heavyload belt, since the only slots available are Neck and Barding. I could take Extra Item Slot at level 1, but I would be losing on Power Attack and it would become useless later on when Rexy advanced to Large. \$\endgroup\$ – Nejosan Nov 23 '17 at 11:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Nejosan You are, indeed, correct, sir,… making this even more difficult. (And, really, you wouldn't take the feat at level 1 but at 3 when you could afford either item then—I think—retrain the feat to something useful when Rexy becomes Large, but, again, not a Society expert.) \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Nov 23 '17 at 19:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ The magic item slot never becomes useless, you simply replace the magic item by another. \$\endgroup\$ – ShadowKras Nov 23 '17 at 20:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ Can't retrain Animal Companion feats, and I'm not prone to replacing it :'( \$\endgroup\$ – Nejosan Nov 23 '17 at 21:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Nejosan Sounds like you're pretty much on top of this… and stuck. I mean, there are some visions the game just can't accommodate at level 1. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Nov 23 '17 at 21:56
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Yes, but it's not cheap...

To ride an Tyranosaurus Rex at first level with a Human character easily, the character must take the alternate human trait eye for talent for a +2 untyped bonus to Strength, and either get a scroll of ant haul for 25 gp or select the ant haul spell. This upgrades the Tyranosaurus' carrying capacity to a nifty 228 lb.

This should be enough to carry most female characters. However, a male could have problems since they are heavier than females, so the character could either, as a vanilla hunter use their animal focus class feature or, as a primal companion hunter, select the totem beast feat, to select the aspect of the bull for their companion for another +2 untyped bonus to Strength, settling the Tyranosaurus' carrying capacity at a nifty 300 lb.

While 300 lb should be enough to carry any 1st level character without encumbering the mount, it should be noted that this can only be performed for 2 hours per caster level (so 2 hours at level 1) per cast of ant haul, which costs 25 gp per cast if the character did not select the spell, or expends a spell slot. When not affected by ant haul, the Tyranosaurus' carrying capacity would be 100 lb, so it wouldn't be able to carry the character unencumbered.

Moreover, by selecting the totem beast feat, the character discards the undersized mount feat, so they will take a -5 penalty to Ride checks for mounting an unsuitable mount. This can be partially offset by an exotic military saddle for a +2 circumstance bonus to Ride checks, but it will cost 60 gp, which compounded with the 25 gp per scroll of ant haul will quickly eat through the starting gold of a first level character.

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You can either reduce person yourself: it reduces your weight by a factor 8 ; or animal growth the T-rex which makes it bigger and gives it strength, enough so it can easily carry you. Each of these options make Undersized Mount less useful.

Animal growth is not accessible at lvl 1 but reduce person is (even if it will only last one minute). You can't cast it yourself but a friendly wizard can cast it on you. You can also buy scrolls for the wizard to cast, as a lvl 1 wizard will probably have chosen other spells known.

Anyway all this is more suboptimal tinkering than a real useful build, costing the team one action to cast the spell, plus a scroll, at each fight. You will probably have more success by riding a regular horse until you have access to better solutions (like natural evolutions, a belt of strength, bull's strength, a wand of ant haul...) to make the T-rex strong enough with a more reasonable cost.

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    \$\begingroup\$ The spell reduce person isn't on the hunter spell list (drawing as it does from druid and ranger). Could you also offer some ways a new starting hunter could get access to that spell? \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Nov 23 '17 at 10:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ I can think of at least 5 different ways, but none are available for first level characters, some aren't even available at PFS at all. The only exception would be the the GenCon Boon Races, which lists samsaran as an available race. But I dont think the OP wants to change his race. \$\endgroup\$ – ShadowKras Nov 23 '17 at 10:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ Even if I wanted to, I don't really have a boon. \$\endgroup\$ – Nejosan Nov 23 '17 at 11:02
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You're going about this wrong

You don't want to take undersized mount. You don't want to have to boost your T-Rex's strength score. You want to ride a T-Rex. Fortunately, society rules let you do that:

How many animals and companion creatures can I have at any given time? At the beginning of each adventure, you may select one companion creature to be your active pet. This creature may be a class-granted creature, such as an animal companion, familiar, eidolon, or phantom, or it may be a creature that you purchase, such as a combat-trained bison. This creature may participate fully in combat, skill checks, and other challenges in the scenario. In addition to the active pet, you may bring up to two additional creatures. The first is a mount or beast of burden, such as a horse or mule, which may only take move actions. The second is a familiar or mundane pet that does not participate in combat or other challenges. Such familiars grant their basic special ability, such as a bat's +3 bonus on Fly checks, the Alertness feat, and access a witch's spells. They do not grant other bonuses, such as a wysp's resonance ability (Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Bestiary 5 282).

The way to do this is to release your animal companion to take another on, brought along as your 'beast of burden'. Animal companion T-Rex's have the animal companion stats, while not-animal-companion T-Rex's use the not-animal-companion stats. You can release your animal companion in PFS at any time, and as a hunter replacements are free at the end of a scenario. This means you can't teach your T-Rex extra tricks beyond those it starts with, but that should be okay until you're a high enough level that your animal companion T-Rex stats aren't garbage.

At the beginning of each scenarion you release your companion from companion status and rely instead on Handle Animal to keep the T-Rex on your side. It's a Gargantuan creature with 32 strength, so it can carry you (and your party) without effort as it possesses a light carrying capacity of 5,536 pounds. At higher levels, the companion stats are better, but it will take a good long while to get there. After releasing the T-Rex, you take the other animal you brought (probably a cat, cause they're really cheap and animal companion-able), companionize it, feed it to your T-Rex or otherwise kill it off, and proceed with your evolution points and other features applied to yourself.

As a result, you don't need undersized mount. You need methods of dealing with your incredibly dangerous dinosaur ally. In this regard you have several resources:

1) Tricks. Your T-Rex enters play with 1 trick at level 1, and gets a second trick at level 3. You can also add one trick by making a successful training check once per scenario, which (since you have to acquire a new, different T-Rex after each session) means one more trick, potentially, at each level. 'Down' is definitely the most useful trick here, followed by 'Come' or 'Heel'. Additional tricks can be spent on whatever best serves your needs for the specific scenario at hand (since you'll have a mechanically new T-Rex next time).

2) Handle Animal checks. With a DC 25 check, you can "push" the T-Rex to keep it out of trouble. To achieve such a check at level one with any sort of reliability, you're probably gonna need to spend resources on increasing your Handle Animal skill.

3) Wild Empathy. As a last-ditch measure, you can try to use Wild Empathy to save you from your T-Rex. A successful check can improve the animal's attitude, preventing it from deciding to eat you, but the DC is 20 to 25 and your bonus is just level+Charisma.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm sorry, because you clearly put effort in this, but what I intended was to fight with my mount, not atop my mount. Just riding it doesn't cut it for me. If it won't be able to attack, I might as well ride a horse. \$\endgroup\$ – Nejosan Nov 24 '17 at 11:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ Besides, that's a very lenient GM that allows you to find a T-Rex at the beginning of every session, especially in PFS play. \$\endgroup\$ – Ifusaso Nov 24 '17 at 13:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Ifusaso actually, the GM doesn't get to decide that. It's all via the PFS special mount replacement rules, which are between sessions. \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Nov 25 '17 at 3:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Nejosan Your mount can attack, though you'll need to push the attack trick or hope it's feeling cooperative or use speak with animals or something. Your animal sacrifice can't attack. I'll try and be more clear. \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Nov 25 '17 at 3:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ If it's between sessions, then by the time you 'start' you would be back down (magically) to Animal Companion stats... \$\endgroup\$ – Ifusaso Nov 25 '17 at 5:10

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