3
\$\begingroup\$

The PHB has this to say about Animal Companions:

The beast obeys your commands as best as it can. It takes its turn on your initiative. On your turn, you can verbally command the beast where to move (no action required by you). You can use your action to verbally command it to take the Attack, Dash, Disengage, or Help action. If you don't issue a command, the beast takes the dodge action.

My question is, although it specifies that movement takes no action while a list of actions take your actions, can a Ranger also verbally command the beast to Hide, Search, or Ready an Action (that isn't in the list of actions that take your actions)? Nothing in the feature specifies that you can't order the beast to take any of the other actions listed.

\$\endgroup\$
3
\$\begingroup\$

Can you command it otherwise? Yup.

We can see from your quote that if you command the beast (with some cajoling, perhaps; it does consume your action) to Attack/Dash/Disengage/Help, the animal will do so.

If you do not command the beast anything, it will Dodge.

What, then, if you command it other than Attack/Dash/Disengage/Help?

RAW: nothing special.

There's no special rule saying what happens if you command the animal to Hide, so the usual rules are in play: the GM decides what happens.

What should the GM decide?

We can see, structurally, that the developers thought that commanding the animal to do "useful" things should take your action, so as to avoid wrecking the action economy. See many articles and guides and posts abounding on the internet regarding "summoners" in 3.Xe and 4e for many of the reasons why this was on their mind.

We also know, from many 5e player surveys and Unearthed Arcana attempts to revise Rangers, that the PHB ranger is... underwhelming.

All that's to say: it'd be reasonable to say that you have to use your action to command the animal to take any of the standard (listed) combat actions. It'd be reasonable to say that you can freely command the other actions, as they're not that impactful anyway. (Hiding one round to attack with advantage another round isn't a huge difference, numerically, from just attacking twice. It may be different tactically, though....) It'd be reasonable to say "I don't like how companions/summonees screw with spotlight time, so I'm going to ask you to kindly restrict yourself to the listed actions."

\$\endgroup\$
0
1
\$\begingroup\$

If you are asking whether you can tell your companion to do something besides a movement action for free, then the answer is no. Commanding your companion to do anything besides move costs you an action. Sometimes a DM will allow for something simple like, "keep your eye on him" , but if you plan on it acting, then you have to spend that action or it would be like you controlling a second, albeit weaker, character.

The extra attack feature allows you to make a weapon attack and also command your companion.

Once you have the Extra Attack feature, you can make one weapon attack yourself when you command the beast to take the Attack action.

\$\endgroup\$
2
  • \$\begingroup\$ Could you clarify this statement: "The extra attack feature allows you to make a weapon attack and also command your companion." I don't see how Extra Attack has anything to do with shouting commands. \$\endgroup\$ – Thomas Markov Jun 26 '20 at 13:22
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ It is in the rules for animal companions "Once you have the Extra Attack feature, you can make one weapon attack yourself when you command the beast to take the Attack action." \$\endgroup\$ – ADDO Jun 26 '20 at 20:55

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.