Animal Companions are creatures drawn from the wild that develop a bond with a player character and aid them in exploration and combat. All player characters are eligible to have an animal companion in Untitled unless the Storyteller says otherwise. The types of animals available will vary by campaign setting and may include horses, owls, wolves, dogs, mountain lions, tigers, birds, bats and bears just to name a few. Speak with your Storyteller to determine what companions are available in your setting and what opportunities to obtain one might exist for your character.
Creating an animal companion is similar to creating a player character except that the player will use the companion character worksheet. Roll for base attributes as if for a new player character. The base is determined by the Storyteller, though eight (8) is recommended for most common animals. Larger or more powerful animals may have a higher base value, and smaller or weaker ones a lower one.
|Animal Companion||Virtue||The ability to interact with animal companions.|
Companion characters are considered non-combat until at-least five skill ranks have been assigned to the Animal Companion skill, which unlocks the extension skills below in addition to making them able to participate in combat.
|Animal Empathy||Virtue||Empathize with and access your animal companion’s skills.|
|Animal Barding||Virtue||Fit your animal companion with armor.|
Players may spend one skill point on their companion character sheet for ever skill rank they assign their character in the Animal Companion skill. As skills are advanced this will increase. The skill rank in either Animal Empathy or Animal Barding may not exceed the skill rank of Animal Companion at any time and the skill points available are equal to the skill rank, not the skill points required to attain that rank.
When a player character has four (4) or fewer ranks in Animal Companion, they may spend one skill point on their companion character sheet for every skill rank in Animal Companion but may not advance general or combat skills.
When a player character attains a skill rank of five (5) or higher in Animal Companion they unlock both the Animal Empathy and Animal Barding extension skills. Players will now receive two skill points on their companion character sheet for every skill rank their character possesses in the Animal Companion, Animal Empathy, and Animal Barding skills. Players may also gain access to all general and combat skills on the companion character sheet provided they have attained at-least one (1) skill rank in the Animal Empathy skill.
When a player character attains a skill rank of eleven (11) or higher in Animal Companion, they now receive three skill points on their companion character sheet for every skill rank their character possesses in the Animal Companion, Animal Empathy, and Animal Barding skills.
Should a player character dismiss their animal companion, or it dies and cannot be brought back, a new companion may be acquired after waiting one full in-game day provided the character is presented the opportunity. A new animal companion will start with a new companion character sheet and the player may assign one skill point for each in-game hour spent training their new companion. Players may have more than one animal companion prepared but only one may be active at a time and switching between them may not always be easy. Your Storyteller may require that inactive companions be kept in a stable for instance. When in doubt, ask your Storyteller.
Empathy is the ability to better understand and share the feelings of another. Those without empathy are often seen as cold or calculating and so-to in the realm of animals. Empathy allows the possibility of certain feelings being shared between a character and their animal, which may come in flashes of emotion courtesy your Storyteller at lower skill ranks.
Without Animal Empathy, an animal companion is essentially just a trained animal. It will respond to verbal or non-verbal commands as a trained animal or pet might.
With at-least one skill rank the player character gains the ability to directly empathize with their companion and better direct their actions or read their responses. For the player, one skill rank in Animal Empathy on their character allows them access to the general skills of their companion; such as Perception, Stealth and Intimidation. Without at-least one point in Animal Empathy, the player may roll for their companion when directed by the storyteller but will not be able to directly utilize these skills for things like scouting ahead or hiding when directed rather than purely out of instinct.
At five skill ranks, these flashes become a steady empathic link between a character and their animal, allowing Animal Empathy to also become a skill check and situational bonus accessible to the player. When using the animal to aid you in tracking, for instance, the number of skill ranks in Animal Empathy may be added to a character’s Survival or Hunting skill roll. In this way the skill ranks operate as a flat bonus to the roll. These bonuses may not always apply and operate at the Storyteller’s discretion.
At eleven or more skill ranks, this link extends to both verbal and non-verbal correspondence. The character’s animal companion may now communicate in a language the character understands. This allows for simple but direct exchanges of observations or feelings, even over distance.
This skill allows the player to equip their character’s companion with armor that has been specially crafted for them or animals of their type and to attempt to craft said armor themselves. The most common form of barding you will find is horse barding, others may be hard to come by.
With at-least one skill rank, the player character gains the ability to equip their animal companion with Light Armor and advance skill rank in that armor type. The skill rank applied to a chosen armor type may never be higher than the character’s skill in Animal Barding.
At five skill ranks, the player character gains additional skill points to advance their chosen armor type and gains the ability to equip their companion with the Medium Armor type. Points previously applied to skill ranks in light armor are not reusable without releasing the companion and training another.
At eleven or more skill ranks, the player character gains additional skill points to advance their chosen armor type and gains the ability to equip their companion with the Heavy Armor type. Points previously applied to skill ranks in light or medium armor are not reusable without releasing the companion and training another.
Note that like all skills, the maximum possible rank in a skill is determined by the controlling attribute for that skill. This applies to both player characters and their companions.