How to handle animal cohort.

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How to handle animal cohort.

Postby DrewVolker » Wed Aug 01, 2012 12:41 am

Hello everyone, me again, here with yet another question.
Haha, I feel a bit bad that this is my third question in such a small frame of time, but I want to make sure I am prepared as much as I can be for when I get my game going.

Anyway, I was reading through the benefits awhile back and one caught my fancy, Animal Cohort. I always loved the idea of an animal companion in any roleplaying game, and to see it included in here made smile. Anyway getting onto the actual question. I was wondering something, and wanted to get some other opinions on.
The animal cohort benefit does not mention your animal cohort gaining xp at all, unlike the normal cohort benefit (which gains xp at a rate equal to half of the xp you gain). I was wondering what others thought about letting the animal cohort gain xp, but limiting what they can spend it on (for example animals could raise their fighting, but not language).

So what are your thoughts on this? What do you think would be the best rate of xp gain for a animal companion (I think it should probably be less than the normal cohort, seeing how there are less options to spend it on), and what things would you say they can and can not spend xp on?
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Re: How to handle animal cohort.

Postby Kajani » Wed Aug 01, 2012 1:11 am

I think at first it should be consensus in the round that the animal cohort could get xp at all (some people might see that different). I think he should get perhaps a third or a quarter of a normal character, if any...
What could be raised is a question of what sort of cohort it is. Fighting for dangerous animals may be ok, and I would also say you could raise attributes - but with a piece of salt, so to say. Raising the endurance or athletic of a horse, and perhaps also of a dog, shadowcat, wolf and so on is ok. I would say it is not if you would raise it in the case of a raven, which could not be grow much stronger and "hardy" than he is. In addition, I would say that perhaps you could also think about spending xp for learning "tricks" to your cohort. A fighting animal could learn special attacks out of command (full out attack for example), dogs may perform tricks which could entertain people (and distract them), a horse could learn to "playing dead" and giving cover for his rider and so on...
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Re: How to handle animal cohort.

Postby DrewVolker » Wed Aug 01, 2012 1:20 am

Kajani wrote:I think at first it should be consensus in the round that the animal cohort could get xp at all (some people might see that different). I think he should get perhaps a third or a quarter of a normal character, if any...
What could be raised is a question of what sort of cohort it is. Fighting for dangerous animals may be ok, and I would also say you could raise attributes - but with a piece of salt, so to say. Raising the endurance or athletic of a horse, and perhaps also of a dog, shadowcat, wolf and so on is ok. I would say it is not if you would raise it in the case of a raven, which could not be grow much stronger and "hardy" than he is. In addition, I would say that perhaps you could also think about spending xp for learning "tricks" to your cohort. A fighting animal could learn special attacks out of command (full out attack for example), dogs may perform tricks which could entertain people (and distract them), a horse could learn to "playing dead" and giving cover for his rider and so on...


Thank you for your input, I agree with pretty much all that you have said.
You put it in better words than I, and I think that is exactly what I will go with.
Animal cohorts gain xp at a rate of either one third or one forth of the player characters, the player has to come up with a justification of any advance/skill they wish to purchase for their cohort (example: My cohort is a wolf, and I think they could become better fighters if trained), and may purchase special "tricks" whose price will be determined on the base animal and what "trick" they would like to teach them.

Thanks again, glad to have gotten someone else's opinion on this.
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Re: How to handle animal cohort.

Postby coldwind » Wed Aug 01, 2012 3:55 am

If you're going to heavily restrict what the animal cohort can spend its experience on, I wouldn't both with experience; just give it attribute bonuses at story relevant points - expert trainer taught horse to run better? +1B Run. Dire Wolf fought for its life against a knight to save its companion's life? +1 Fighting. Etc...
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Re: How to handle animal cohort.

Postby Kajani » Wed Aug 01, 2012 5:14 am

This is possible, but it needs a very good consensus between the GM and Plaver, about what is "just". Using experience to improve the stats of your cohort give (or so I think) some people more a feeling that the cohort develops himself, that he grow and learn from the adventures he survive. It gives a more solid ground on which benefits you can get from being active over a growing number of challenges, as would a human cohort have, you can in fact see how he gets stronger.
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Re: How to handle animal cohort.

Postby Lord Ben » Wed Aug 01, 2012 4:01 pm

DrewVolker wrote:(for example animals could raise their fighting, but not language).


Blasphemy! Lord Commander Mormont's raven learns several new words throughout the course of the books!

Language 1 which was then improved to (+1B saying Snow, +1B saying King, +2B saying Theon)
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Re: How to handle animal cohort.

Postby DrewVolker » Wed Aug 01, 2012 9:26 pm

Lord Ben wrote:
DrewVolker wrote:(for example animals could raise their fighting, but not language).


Blasphemy! Lord Commander Mormont's raven learns several new words throughout the course of the books!

Language 1 which was then improved to (+1B saying Snow, +1B saying King, +2B saying Theon)


At the time of the post you quoted I did not know that ravens could actually learn to speak, well at least they can speak the True Tongue and can say some common tongue words.
So I guess any ability could potentially be raised, as long as the player provides a good reason why it is being raised, and both the player and the narrator agree that it is possible.
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Re: How to handle animal cohort.

Postby Legate » Wed Aug 01, 2012 10:51 pm

Actually I don't think Ravens are capable of parroting, I think it was literary licence on the writers part for that Raven. But, I could be wrong.
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Re: How to handle animal cohort.

Postby Zorbeltuss » Thu Aug 02, 2012 5:35 am

We've seen Sam teach the ravens they took on ranging to say Snow. So they can say words in Westeros, but it looks more like repeating words they have learned rather than true communication.
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Re: How to handle animal cohort.

Postby BeardedDork » Thu Aug 02, 2012 7:16 am

Legate wrote:Actually I don't think Ravens are capable of parroting, I think it was literary licence on the writers part for that Raven. But, I could be wrong.

Quite capable of it. One of the Tower of London ravens does a very good impression of the raven keeper. A quick YouTube search brings up several videos of ravens speaking.
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Re: How to handle animal cohort.

Postby Legate » Thu Aug 02, 2012 9:16 am

I stand corrected. Learn something new every day. 8)
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Re: How to handle animal cohort.

Postby Lord Ben » Sun Aug 05, 2012 1:00 pm

**SPOILERS**

And there are theories that the ravens speaking are really the Children of the Forest/Bran/Bloodraven and things like that influencing events from afar. But Ravens are quite uniquely tied to old magic anyway and not really normal animals in this setting.
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Re: How to handle animal cohort.

Postby BeardedDork » Sat Aug 18, 2012 3:48 pm

There was a raven in a tree outside my apartment morning before yesterday, that somebody apparently taught to say "Jenna". I wish I knew the story behind that.
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Re: How to handle animal cohort.

Postby Legate » Thu Oct 25, 2012 11:22 pm

I think I have to say the best rules I've seen for an animal companion are in The One Ring, the Hound benefit for the Woodsman. There are no special stats for the Hound, the RAW take into consideration the Woodsman and Hound operate as a unit, not two separate entities. The Hound can be trained to fight (causes enemies to become weary as the Hound harries them from the flanks), to Hunt (adds a bonus to Hunters track roll), can cover the Woodsman if he is hanging back for some arrow work. You spend your own XP to have the Houn gain more abilities.
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Re: How to handle animal cohort.

Postby InfinityzeN » Sun Nov 18, 2012 10:22 am

All I know is that the Tourney Knight PC in my group took this for his mount. Considering that they have a Greater Stables (see my addition in the Wealth Holdings thread), the thing is a beast and gives him an additional kept die while jousting. Nothing worse than a 7D + 2B +3 attack, 16 damage on charge with Tourney Lace, Jousting Defense 30 guy to mess up all your Tournaments.
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