Animal handling abuse

Let’s say a character with Born in the saddle as career talent has 10-12 Personality while Intelligence was dumped big time to a wooping 5 (using the option ‘’ shadow of the past ‘’).

After a while, our hero is now proficient with those talents (he, of course, meets all the prerequisites )

– Born in the saddle Rank 3
– Animal healer
– Charge
– Eyes in the forest
– Speak to wild
– Anatomist
– Chirurgeon
– His animal companion is a small monkey.

Now, correct me if i’m wrong, but this character can:

– perform any feat of healing allowed by his talents using his high Animal Handling skill (minimum 13) without any penalty (anatomist ‘‘compensate’’ for the Animal healer penalty) and he even has everthing he wants to actually beef up any roll if needed. He basically can become a famous healer with the intelligence attribute at 5.

– roll every observation test using his high Animal Handling skill

– perform an insane amount of actions with a difficulty reduced by one when he is riding his horse. If the horse is going faster than walking speed, that leaves only a handful of actions he can perform, but they can still be very useful (like observing or any kind of animal handling test that would apply)

– and now, :drum: :drum: :drum: the most broken thing i’ve seen so far in this game : outside of any combat scene, unless circumstances are unfavorable, you can basically resplenish the momentum common pool at will…by asking your little monkeys to perform ‘’ tricks’'…it takes a minute to ask your faithful companion to perform a task, which will generate a lot of momentum with the help of your 3 ranks of Born in the saddle. One or two of these tricks (all performed within 5mn) and your pool is at 6.

Now, please, tell me that i got that wrong, at least for the last part…

You have only scratched the surface how to become THE dominant player character in any group with a Beast Master / Animal Handling build. I’ve seen it happen, and it was … well … impressive. A greater challenge than even the most maxed-out combat-monster PC.

This is very scary, i must admit…

Nowadays, i tend to have much more fun being THE useful player in any group than THE dominant one. That was what led me to these thoughts… Imagine a characher who can fight right upon creation, i insist on this one, and then learn to heal, and while we’re at it also take care of traumas and who will constantly resplenish the momentum common pool.
At the moment, i don’t see how a character could be more useful than this for a group, but maybe with experience and more thinking i can find better…

For the record, i think there is an archetype that is more powerful than the beast master. :wink:

Now, and this is a serious question : do you think, we should delete this topic ?

Assuming the character has Animal Handling 5/5 and Healing 1. That’s a 125xp discount on Animal Handling and a 25xp discount on healing.

Born in the Saddle to level 3 costs 150xp
Animal Healer costs 275, plus 75 for Faithful Companion
Charge costs 75
Eyes in the Forest costs 75
Speak to the Wild costs 275
Anatomist costs 375, plus 175 for This Will Hurt and 175 for Bind Wounds
Chiurgeon costs 575, plus 375 for Apothecary and 175 for A Little To Ease The Pain.

So 2775 xp. Most games I’ve seen tend to run around 150xp per session. So 18 sessions in to acquire those things. That’s not nothing.

Healing - Yes they can heal. They’ve invested pretty heavily into it.

Not every observation test. Only those where animals are present. It’s up to you as the GM to decide what the situation is.

Again, not every action. If your character is riding his horse around a ship so he can get the difficulty of sailing tests reduced then you have bigger problems.

As above. If you’re letting your players roll for meaningless things, then yes they can absolutely keep the pool filled. The onus as to what is worthy of a roll and what isn’t is a big part of being a GM.

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First of all, thank your for your insight, it’s apreciated.

My post was in no way meant as a complaint or anything like that. I don’t think anything is broken, i was just marveled by all the possibilities of an animal handling build character.

Maybe i’m wrong, but i think i spot a lot of inaccuracies in those numbers…as you must have 2 exp Healing to get Chirurgeon, so you would get them right from the start for maximum xp reduction . Also, the ‘’ Born in the Saddle to level 3 costs 150xp ‘’ is incomprehensible to me since we’re talking about a 1st rank talent 200 xp + 2nd rank at 400 xp + 3rd rank at 600 xp for a total of 1200 xp minus all the focus reduction (maximum 3 focus since, as specified in the op we’re playing shadow of the past) But it is irrelevant since the 3 ranks of Born in the saddle are all there upon characher creation for free.

Now, i only included the healing stuff to show ONE of the possibilities of the animal handling build. I was fascinated by what a character with Intelligence 5 could do regarding healing using the animal handling skill.

Imagine if the character wants to go as heavily as possible into destroying others rather than healing them ? The healing stuff is very expensive and i can think to a lot of things to do with those xp that would make the character much, much more dangerous.

Never said every action. But still a lot of thing could happen when you’re on you’re horse. I mean, as long as you’re at walking speed, any kind of observation test, any persuade with a non violent encounter or with a PC, some animal handling with a small animal…lot of stuff possible.

I’m not a GM at Conan, i’m just a player, and very new to Conan (my third session will be in 10 days).
Our GM is new to Conan as well but he would never ever let run that kind of infinite momentum engine that easily. First of all, he would dutily check-out carefully at every roll and knowing him, i will be in for a ride at any sight of a complication, and the day i’ll roll that dreadfull double complication, well my beloved little companion will be as dead as it can be. An eagle will snatc h and devour him, or an anvil will fall of a window right on him…

Also, those tricks with your animal companion don’t need to be boring or meaningless, or at least not all the time.

Our GM gives us roughly 50 xp / hour and we’re playing 5-6 hours sessions. Plus, we got some objectives that can bring us 25-50 pts total if we complete them while not knowing what they are !
On top of that, we also have what we call the MVP (Most Valuable Player) voted by the players at the end of each session for 25xp After 11h of play, my character has gathered 675 XP. Does this seem too much ?

I had to double check just in case but my reading of it is that the XP cost is based on where the Talent is on the tree rather than number of ranks. So Born In The Saddle is 200xp for rank 1, 200xp for Rank 2, 200xp for Rank 3.

The “please tell me I’m wrong” indicated that there was an issue with this sort of build. There’s not. It’s a sizeable XP investment to be very good at this. Any issues would arise from overt abuse, which the GM has significant control over.

Ultimately though, if everyone is having fun then that’s all that matters :slight_smile:

wrong post…

No, that is actually the standard amount recommended by the core rules.

I can understand some GMs to award significantly less XP, as Conan characters start very competent and having the usual “power creep” most of the older 2d20 games have built-in is not desirable for many GMs. (And in Conan you already only get half the amount of XP you get in MC3 or Infinity - there, the power creep is much faster, as the costs for Talents or Skill/Attribute increases are the same as in Conan).

But even without the XP discount due to Focus, Conan characters rise in power rather quickly - only forced into power increase steps by the Downtime requirement to improve the abilities (Infinity and MC3 do not have this dedicated “between adventures” phase, so you can increase the character’s abilities continously).

If you compare the Animal Handling build to, for example a Stealth build, the Animal Handling build is much more versatile, while the Stealth build is mainly for taking out a single target, though the come up at similar total XP investment.

For added craziness, give the character the Saddle-Born origin (Hyrkanian/Turanian) for -1 TN on ALL Animal Handling skills. Hyrkanian raiders don’t mess around.
Although, deprive the character of animal companions and the fun comes to an abrupt end. The little guys only have 1 wound most of the time. The mechanics for acquiring/taming new animal companions also aren’t too clear.

Well, that can put an end to the power play of an Animal Handling character - but this is similar to taking away all ranged weapons from an archer or forcing a sailing-oriented character to only ever act on land.

Ruining a player’s character concept is probably the least recommended way of dealing with this.

And regarding the NPC type of Animal Companions, the books are not clear about them all being Minions, and there are even some Talents in the Falconry tree (Deadly Ally), that explicitly state that your bird of prey is an Toughened NPC.

Then there are a lot of rather tough animals in the first place - not necessary to limit the companions to a faithful dog or so.

And you can take this Faithful Companion as often as you like and so walk around with an actual “zoo” of Animal Companions - walking, running, jumping, flying, swimming ones - for all occasions. There is no limit in the number of Ranks you can take this Talent.

The Beastmaster chapter expands on this, giving such a character build more options and making it even more powerful.

Yes, you could kill off any and all of the character’s Animal Companions, you could kill off every Hyrkanian’s horse(s), but why allowing such characters in the first place, if the way to deal with it is to simply “disable” them in their field of expertise?

(EDIT: weird, how normal, common words are automatically removed in this forum, so I hope the edited version is still clear enough)

Yeah I don’t think my DM went out of his way to ruin it, just that our campaign had no downtime in which to acquire companions, and a lot of set pieces, capture etc… where all the characters are deprived of their usual toys. Hard to bring a horse on a pirate ship.

All is fair in love and war - if you build your character based on circumstantial advantages, expect those to be taken away from time to time.

Are you sure about this one ? My player’s handbook says that the maxuimum rank for faithful companion is 3

We decided that this homeland skill was to be heavily limitated in this topic : A few unrelated questions - #39 by FrankF

There is no reason for hyrkaniens to have a ‘‘wizzard’’ status when it comes to handling animals.

So, we decided that this homeland talent would apply only to animal handling test regarding the horse you’re riding (or sitting on, or be close to).

You are right. I was at work and used the Talent description in the character generator page, which didn’t state the limit of 3 Ranks.

So you need to be careful in choosing your Animal Companions. - At least one should be an Eagle (see the Falconry Talents), another one for damage dealing with high Vigor and Brawn, a Tiger or something like that, and then one versatile, maybe a monkey or so, to do the stealth and infiltration stuff while being able to interact with human devices.

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That is just one interpretation of the text. - I can see that some groups might allow a general -1 Difficulty on any and all Animal Handling tests, which will make this beastmaster build even more overpowered.

I actually intend to never play a beastmaster, i would feel like i’m cheating…I’ll go through an animal handling build but with another archetype like a seasoned youth, a slaver or even a Clever one. Something that will require slow and patient build before ever getting the kind of power the Beast master has right from the start.

If all hyrkaniens have -1 difficulty to all animal handling tests with no limittion, why would anyone take any other homeland than hyrkania ? I can see hordes of hyrkaniens surging for many years and invading the whole hyperborean world…After all, with this magical power, hyrkaniens could, given time enough, turn any animal into a weapon.

I don’t like to risk any companion in direct combat - they’re just too squishy, even if toughened. I’ve been using a dog just to stay within reach and give me the bonus on defend reactions, or situational assists, but a small monkey would do the job fine too. I can use the protect reaction if they get targeted.
Horse can be a useful companion, especially for a Hyrkanian, but I don’t find it thematic. Mongols treated horses as an expendable commodity and always had many spares.

Yeah that makes sense. Bonus on horse riding is already amazing together with Charge! And out of combat you get a -2 TN on all riding. Our GM was letting me go in with RAW so far but probably best to self-limit.

It’s a shame there’s no charge equivalent to let mounted archers shoot while moving, to round out that archetype. With melee I can use the charge to move in, do another charge with swift action, have the horse make a secondary attack, maybe land in a riposte or two, and still use my minor action to move 2 zones away.

There is still only one move action per round - that is for your character and your mount, too. So if you charged once, that was the mount’s move action. No second move action using Swift Action Momentum spend or another Standard Action for a Fortune point.

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