Can a familiar learn tricks via handle animal, despite it being a magical beast?

A player asked me that question the other day, and I wanted to say no, but now I am not too sure. There are epic applications for rearing magical beasts and vermin for handle animal, which is really throwing me for a loop. In the player's handbook, there is no mention of a familiar getting tricks, but there is no mention that it doesn't either.


1 Answer 1


No they cannot learn tricks, and they don't need to.

Familiars' Int scores start at 6, and go up from there. A familiar doesn't learn tricks, and it doesn't need them. Tricks represent training an animal to do something that its instincts would not cover it knowing to do, or knowing how to do, but a familiar isn't a dumb animal operating on instinct. It has human-like intelligence. In most groups, at least by mid-levels, it's probably smarter than at least one of the PCs. Just tell it what you want it to do, same as you would with the 6-Int barbarian.

Those Epic applications you mentioned are completely irrelevant to the issue, because all any of them do is let you use Handle Animal faster, but you're already not using Handle Animal. Even if the GM does decide to allow the master's familiar to do it the hard way, there's nothing to gain by this, because talking is a free action, and nothing in Handle Animal, even Epic Handle Animal, is faster than that.


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