Can an animal companion, without a handle animal check, carry your gear like a mule would?

Is there a minimum required Int score for this action, in that case?

  • \$\begingroup\$ You're not trying to put saddlebags on your snake, are you? Or stack a dozen corpses on your light horse? (That is, there's probably some hesitation to answer without knowing what kind of animal companion and what kind of gear. Can this be more specific?) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 22, 2015 at 20:32

2 Answers 2


Yes, as camel, light, and heavy warhorses are listed as animal companions.

It is reasonable to assume that certain animal companions "completely typical for its kind" (PHB) such as riding dogs would be able/be trained/know how to haul equipment. More complex are cases of non-working animals such as wolves.

An animal companion could be trained to fulfill roles or preform tricks (using the handle animal check) and then later simply ordered to do so. Wolves do not typically haul equipment and must be trained or pushed with handle animal checks to haul equipment or even fetch, guard, or stay. Consult DM for campaign or house standards.

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    \$\begingroup\$ While this is typically common knowledge, some citations would be a more fulfilling answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ruut
    Commented Nov 23, 2015 at 7:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Ruut Is there anything in particular here for which a citation is wanting? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 23, 2015 at 7:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Simon I'm not the author, so don't ask me! You may want to point out which bits you'd like to see rules for. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 29, 2015 at 2:11

No, and mules don't either. The question is mistaken, in that a mule still requires handle animal checks to carry gear. There is no alternate mechanism described.

Handle Animal You can train a mule (or other animal) any way you feel like, but the generic mule is probably trained for the "Heavy Labor" purpose. (d20SRD: Handle Animal), and so knows the tricks "come" and "work." (Because that purpose is easiest and fastest, and useful enough for merchants to sell). In general, it is DC 10 to make an animal perform a trick which it knows, or raw charisma if Handle Animal is untrained (ibid). Anyone without a charisma penalty can take ten in to make an animal perform a trick it knows in normal circumstances, and anyone with at least a +2 can take ten in the majority of circumstances (because the DC is rarely more than 12). However, with a net -1 or greater, nothing suggests that a character can routinely get an animal (including a mule) to perform tricks.

Animal Companions Animal companions work like any other animal, but they also get a few relevant bonuses: - Extra tricks, per the animal companion table. Normally an animal gets three tricks at 1 intelligence and six at 2, but animal companions get extras. - The owner gets a +4 bonus to Handle Animal checks with that animal. - The owner can push the animal (make it perform a trick which it doesn't know) , even if handle animal is untrained. - Faster handling: normally handling is a move action and pushing is full-round. for an animal companion, handling is free and pushing is a move action.

Barding There's one last important caveat: if an animal wears barding, it "cannot be used to carry any load other than the rider and normal saddlebags." (d20SRD: Barding) You almost certainly want your animal companion in barding, so that may affect the practical application of this answer.

So How Do I Make It Carry My Stuff? Depending how you trained your animal companion, you either take free actions to make him do tricks he knows or take move actions to get him to do tricks he doesn't know. That's... pretty much it.

If your DM thinks that the animal would try to get rid of the load (reasonable, but not mechanically supported), I would argue that the worst case is a single DC 25 handle animal check (move action) to push the animal into doing the "work" trick. There is nothing preventing you from taking ten or twenty on this check.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I thought the work trick's pull or push a medium or heavy load implies that the creature needn't learn a trick to carry any load or push or pull less than a medium load. Am I mistaken? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 7, 2017 at 19:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ No, I read it the same way you do. But I also wouldn't think it was a crazy ruling that you have to do something to convince an animal not to reject whatever harness lets him carry stuff, and the work trick is a fairly close match. \$\endgroup\$
    – fectin
    Commented Jan 7, 2017 at 21:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ Really, then the answer should mention at least that these are a very specific reading of the existing rules, if not that these are your house rules (not that there's anything wrong with house rules!). Requiring a Handle Animal skill check to have a horse carry anything may seem to some a bit extreme. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 7, 2017 at 21:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ Sorry, unclear comment: I read work the same way. I don't know of anything that suggests you can plop a load onto a random animal and have it predictably do anything. The "training for a purpose" rules don't list an explicit pack animal role, but I would expect the Heavy Labor and Riding purposes to cover "is okay with stuff on its back." I would not necessarily expect anything else to. \$\endgroup\$
    – fectin
    Commented Jan 7, 2017 at 21:59

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