First campaign ever that I am part of, is going on for about a year (once or twice per month), and I still consider myself a roleplaying n00b. Just found out that, except for these heavy books that the GM has, there are also numerous websites which have valid information about Pathfinder.

I play with a Halfling Barbarian and my Handle Animal skill is not too shabby.

I was wondering how I could use that skill on wild animals or lower intelligence monsters that the GM sets upon our party's path. The idea would be to deal with them in a non-lethal way, perhaps even taming them? And then use them as a mount or a mascot.

As far as my googling down the rabbit hole has lead me into the Rules As Written (RAW?), the only way to tame a wild animal would be to rear it from infancy. However, I don't want to rear an infant animal, I want to calm down and then tame an adult animal. And yes I accept that it will be difficult and unpredictable - like a boar that tries to bite off my leg if I poke it too much. It really doesn't have to be fully domesticated.

What combination of rules and skills could make this possible in Pathfinder and wouldn't hopefully upset my GM too much? (He's open minded enough to allow experiments) I already found a similar question for DnD, but I am asking for Pathfinder.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Possible duplicate of How to tame a wild animal? \$\endgroup\$ Feb 23, 2016 at 16:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ @LegendaryDude Despite the similarity we don't usually close PF questions as duplicates of D&D 3.x questions or vice versa, because they only sometimes are the same. If the answers are the same that's actually good to know, and to have it demonstrated via the normal competition among answers on a normal open question is valuable. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 23, 2016 at 16:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie I know that duplicate D&D/PF questions aren't closed, I did my research before I asked my question. Quite the veteran on SO and other SE sites so I know how to ask a question. :) \$\endgroup\$ Feb 23, 2016 at 16:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ @AmedeeVanGasse Welcome, then! Always nice to see a new someone who groks the system already. :) \$\endgroup\$ Feb 23, 2016 at 21:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ Matpat did a video on this on game theory, not raw, but interesting to watch, you should check it out \$\endgroup\$
    – Nemenia
    Feb 23, 2016 at 23:26

1 Answer 1


A creature needn't be domesticated to be taught tricks

The issue might be the Handle Animal skill use Rear a Wild Animal that says

To rear an animal means to raise a wild creature from infancy so that it becomes domesticated. A handler can rear as many as three creatures of the same kind at once. A successfully domesticated animal can be taught tricks at the same time it’s being raised, or it can be taught as a domesticated animal later.

Emphasis mine. But don't let that distract you! Nothing stops an animal handler that successfully manages to befriend a non-domesticated creature from training that non-domesticated creature. The difference in Pathfinder between a domesticated creature and non-domesticated creature is that folks untrained in the skill Handle Animal can instead make Charisma checks to handle the animal to make it perform tricks it knows (DC 15) and push the animal to make perform tricks it doesn't know (DC 25—good luck!); such folks are normally out of luck, the skill Handle Animal being a trained only skill. Besides that, domesticated and non-domesticated animals are identical.

That's not to say rearing a creature so that it's domesticated isn't valuable. For example, it's a good idea to rear a wild cat so that it's domesticated and teach it the trick Down so little Billy (or a wizard) can (maybe) make a Charisma check instead of getting mauled to death. But if you find a bulette in the wild, improve its (likely quite negative) attitude toward you sufficiently, and then try to teach Mr. Bu-Bu some tricks, that's totally a thing. To be sure, a time-consuming thing (and probably an expensive and dangerous thing, too, depending on the GM's view of the granularity of the task), but you needn't worry about domesticating Mr. Bu-Bu prior to teaching him tricks. Just be sure to keep him away from little Billy until Billy's got some ranks in Handle Animal.


The Dungeons and Dragons, Third Edition skill Handle Animal made a much sharper distinction between domesticated and non-domesticated animals, for example, requiring a longer amount of time to train non-domesticated animals and providing different DCs for handling and pushing domestic and wild animals. The skill Handle Animal was simplified by the Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 revision, but the text for Rear a Wild Animal remained largely unchanged (animal or beast becoming animal), still including the now-pointless mention of taught tricks as a domesticated animal. That unchanged text made its way into the Pathfinder version of the skill Handle Animal without commentary where it sits, confusing readers for over a decade.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you! Also for the background! I am going to check this with my GM if he's ok with it, and I will probably accept your answer in a couple of days. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 23, 2016 at 19:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ @AmedeeVanGasse You're welcome. You might also be interested in my answer to this question, which addresses a similar issue in a bit more detail. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 23, 2016 at 19:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ My GM is ok with it, although he says it won't be easy. I am going to accept this answer and followup with comments once I have actually used it. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 24, 2016 at 8:19

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