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I'm a ranger and have gotten my first animal companion, a Roc. I'm having a bit of trouble using it.

Flying

I would assume that flying is to a Roc as walking is to a human. But my GM keeps telling me to do Fly skill check "for the simplest tasks". There is even a feat called Wingover that allows it to turn 180 degrees once each turn. Can anyone tell me what it can and can't do in the air? (I'm not riding the Roc.)

Attacking

A Roc has 2 talons (1d4), and a bite (1d6):

  • Can the Rock attack 3 times when flying?
  • Without the Multiattack feat, do I get −5 to secondary attacks?
  • Do I state what is primary and secondary before the attack?
  • If I don't have the Wingover feat, can I still attack each round?

Tricks

I have selected the Flanking trick:

You can instruct an animal to attack a foe you point to and always attempt to be adjacent to (and threatening) that foe. If you or an ally is also threatening the foe, the animal attempts to flank the foe, if possible. It always takes attacks of opportunity.

Since the Roc is flying, will it require Fly skill check to see if it can use this skill?

And, if I understand it correctly, it will always get an attack of opportunity when trying to flank, even if it's engaging the enemy for the first time?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Can you tell me where you got your animal companion stats from? your stat block differs from the one here: d20pfsrd.com/classes/core-classes/druid/… \$\endgroup\$ – Colin D Nov 18 '14 at 21:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ By the way, do you have another tricks? Druid's animal companion gets 1 bonus trick, in addition to whatever tricks you teach it normally (6 tricks for a companion with the Int score of 2). \$\endgroup\$ – Jeor Mattan Nov 18 '14 at 21:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ColinD The entry for Roc includes a statblock for Roc Companions. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Nov 18 '14 at 21:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ I have around 4 tricks if I remember correctly \$\endgroup\$ – Steven Nov 19 '14 at 9:48
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That is a lot of questions, actually.

Fly

PFSRD on the matter:

You generally need only make a Fly check when you are attempting a complex maneuver. Without making a check, a flying creature can remain flying at the end of its turn so long as it moves a distance greater than half its speed.

The complex maneuver table there lists the actions possible (fly slowly, hover, turn sharply, ascend steeply). Less drastic maneuvers should be generally possible without a check. Please also note, that it gets a modifier to the Fly check from its maneuverability and size.

The Wingover feat allows it to turn 180 degrees for free once per turn, as opposed to expending movement and making a Fly check.

Attack

Talons are claws on the bird's feet. They are accessible when it is airborne; they are even accessible when it is standing on the ground (jumping a bit with a bit of help from wings).

It can attack 3 times if it takes a Full attack action; it is possible maintain an airborne position in that case with a successful Fly check to hover (since Fly checks do not consume an action). Please note that this method is not dependant on Wingover feat.

Without the Multiattack it does get a -5 modifier to all secondary attacks. Which attack is primary or secondary depends on the attack type, and is indicated in the Universal Monster Rules for Natural Attacks. Bite, claw, gore, slam, sting and talon attacks are always primary. Other attacks can be primary if a creature doesn't have any of the aforementioned types. Primary attacks use the full Str modifier to damage (or 1.5x if the creature only has a single natural attack, or for special cases), secondary attacks get only 0.5x Str to damage, and are made at a -5 modifier (or -2 with the Multiattack feat).

For the Roc, all listed attacks are primary and get full Str to damage. The Multiattack feat has no effect since it only affects secondary attacks.

Tricks

Simple movement does not trigger a Fly check; a steep ascend and a sharp turn, on the other hand, does.

The attack of opportunity is triggered by many things, but in relation to movement it is triggered when someone leaves a threatened square. So if it initially was not in anyone's reach, an optimal movement to flanking position probably won't trigger any AoO's, since it will only enter a threatened space.

Maintaining a flanking position, given the opponent does not move, is a matter of a Fly check to hover (or standing on the ground), so no AoO's here.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I would personally rule that the first listed attack is the primary - in this case the talons. \$\endgroup\$ – Mooing Duck Nov 18 '14 at 22:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ I see creatures with wing attacks designated to the secondary, is it wrong to assume that all three count as primary? \$\endgroup\$ – DanceSC Nov 18 '14 at 22:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ @JeorMattan DanceSC is correct. In Pathfinder, natural attacks are primary or secondary depending on type, categorized according to this list. Both Talons and Bite are primary attacks. \$\endgroup\$ – MrLemon Nov 19 '14 at 10:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ @jeor-mattan, how do one determine maneuverability? \$\endgroup\$ – Steven Jan 9 '15 at 8:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Steven it is usually written right next to the fly speed in the creature stat block. \$\endgroup\$ – Jeor Mattan Jan 9 '15 at 22:51
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I am not going to quote everything you can do while flying, I suggest your read up about the fly skill. Quotes below come from the following wiki page on fly. http://www.d20pfsrd.com/skills/fly

Making fly checks for even simply things is wrong:

You generally need only make a Fly check when you are attempting a complex maneuver

To have it attack: simply fly withing range and declare your attacks.

If you do not want to have to worry about making fly checks after the attack make sure you have moved half your fly speed before or after.

Without making a check, a flying creature can remain flying at the end of its turn so long as it moves a distance greater than half its speed.

It will be difficult to flank if you have to constantly be moving. However, you can 'hover' with just a DC 15 fly check according to the Table: Flying Maneuver DCs.

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