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We've recently encountered a pack of wolves that were trained by goblins, but their masters weren't anywhere nearby. Is it possible to use Handle animal to make them less hostile?

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With their goblin masters gone, the wolves' dispositions toward strangers is probably at best indifferent, unless they were given a command like guard before the goblins left, in which case they'd be at best unfriendly toward anyone but the goblins. The Handle Animal skill won't improve their dispositions toward the party; that's what the extraordinary ability wild empathy is for, but it's also what providing food, comfort, and shelter for the animal is for. In other words, in this GM's campaign, the Handle Animal skill couldn't change these wolves' attitudes toward the party, but role-playing befriending these wolves could.

To be clear, according to the Handle Animal skill rules, literally anyone can make a Handle Animal skill check either as a move action to handle a domesticated animal so that it performs a trick it knows (DC 10) or as a full-round action to push a domesticated animal so that it performs a trick it doesn't know (DC 25). Further, creatures trained in the skill Handle Animal—that is, those possessing 1 or more ranks in the skill—can make these same Handle Animal skill checks against non-domesticated animals. Finally, the Handle Animal skill can be used on any creature that possesses an Intelligence score of 1 or 2 by increasing these skill check DCs by +5 (to DC 15 and 30, respectively).

However, actually instituting in a campaign such rules as they're written leads to the PCs succeeding on Handle Animal skill checks to obviate encounters with—and perhaps then lead around by their noses—hydras and other should-be-terrifying true monsters that just so happen to also be inconveniently dumb, and that's always struck this GM as a little silly.

So this GM doesn't allow creatures to make Handle Animal skill checks against any poor, dumb beast if the GM's determined that the beast's initial attitude toward the creature is indifferent or worse. A beast probably won't attack you if it's just indifferent—and, luckily, it usually is—, but that doesn't mean that the beast will do what you say, no matter how good at the Handle Animal skill you are. Make the animal (or monster) friendly first then try bossing it around.

Also, so you know, this GM has a creature's pet—like a beast to whom a creature's taught a trick or like a beast that has toward the creature a disposition of friendly or better—be immune to other folks' Handle Animal skill checks while the pet has line of sight to the creature and the creature is conscious and mobile. This isn't hard, fast, and forever—sending the beast to fetch your slippers doesn't mean it'll abandon you when it loses sight of you—, but more of just a rule of thumb. Beast management is subject to many vagaries. However, this does typically prevent skilled animal handlers in the middle of combat taking move actions to boss around the druid's T-rex, which is—for the druid—a good thing.

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You must have Wild Empathy or a similar ability

Assuming they are not outright attacking you and your group, in which case it would be impossible to spend a full minute using an ability like Wild Empathy or similar (see druids), as if using the Diplomacy skill, you could make a check and Influence their Attitude towards you:

Influence Attitude: Using Diplomacy to influence a creature’s attitude takes 1 minute of continuous interaction.

The feat Pacify Animal, from Monster Hunter's Handbook, allows a similar check, but using the Handle Animal skill bonuses, and using a Full-round Action instead.

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