Nomad character with a sparrow, and bird attacks


I will tell the “Pit of Kotallu” for four people, this will be my first Conan game mastering.
One of the players requested a custom character (the rest are the quick start characters):

A nomad, with a sparrow as a pet. She insists the sparrow, and do not want to hinder from the decision at all costs.

I checked the rules, and do not exactly see, how could I solve the sparrow issue. As far as I understood, if the player has a domesticated, trained pet, he can write it to the creatures section, and use it as a minion. Also the pet will stay with the player.
But a sparrow is… I do not even sure if you can domesticate one. So game mechanically, it would count, as a wild beast (Not being able to give commands to it (low intelligence), and has to throw every ten minutes to keep it tamed.)

I would really appreciate it, if I could receive some advices, how to handle this situation a way, that both the game rules won’t be violated, and everyone will be contempt, including the player in question, by having a pet sparrow, which might even be able to attack. In this case, I would require advice, how to keep the sparrow alive in a fight.

I read the “Bird, Wise Old” creature’s description. So I understand that I can “downgrade” it to a minion, which would be perfect for a sparrow.
Is it possible then to use this “minion” sparrow as a pet?

Also regarding the attack of the pet, shouldn’t the “Talons and Beak” attack to be able to cause “Blind” condition? It would make sense (Go for the eyes Boo! For the ones who get the reference :slight_smile: ).
Would houseruling it be appropriate?

Don’t fall into the “D&D trap” and try to find rules for everything and block yourself. Sometimes just go with the flow and narrate the situation or the companions. Too many rules and rules stall a good story. Make it plausible.

I would not allow someone to have attack sparrow, unless the thing is magical beast and just sparrow looking. Still if you need to craft such a pet and have some form of balance, I would do the following:

  • Create the profile of the creature accordingly.
  • Demand active action from the player, using Animal Handing check as standard action. This will keep it from abusing the pet. If the pet is guard dog or something with more mental power and capacity than a bird, you can consider it as minion but again - directing the pet is standard Animal Handling check. To keep things balanced.
  • Limit the type and amount of tricks it can do.

It is not your job to keep the sparrow alive in a fight. The player must do it. You make stats for the sparrow plausible for a bird, which means - easy to squash and hard to hit depending on the size. Damage will have to vary accoridngly, if it is small - the minimum damage of 2CD, effect can be Blind if the hit lands on eyes.

Example from my game:
A player had a monkey taken from Mekutu’s palace in Devils under green starts adventure. As monkey is much smarter than a sparrow, I allowed him to use Animal Handling to teach monkey tricks and later direct it to execute them. The more complex the trick was, the higher the difficulty. The monkey in the end was trained to pick shiny objects and metal looking things - coins or keys from guards, similar to the good pirate movies. It was also trained to make funny tricks to cheer a crowd. But that’s about it. No real use in combat. The player even used fortune points to avoid the monkey to be hit, as it was carried in a sack around his body.


Its way too early, but in my long life I have nevah heard of combat-sparrows!


In Conan the Wanderer there is a new Talent tree connected to Animal handle that is called Falconry (see my Talent list under the locked thread by admin).
Falconry allows other birds than falcons of course.
There is also a good section of different birds, with stats.

@Mogge this book is unfortunately not out yet for non-kickstarters :frowning:

I do hope it will be soon for you. It was a great book with martial artist talent tree as well as many other (check my talent tree graphic at the resource thread).

Thank you for the replies! Yes, I did not favour to use the bird for attack defnitely. For a bigger bird of prey I would say ok, but not this time (That one would be even lore-wise as it happened in one of the Conan stories).

Can you tell me any recommendations, what could she do with the animal handling skill, with the bird? I was thinking to teach it to scout or collect items, but I do not think, that a sparrow could pull this one out.
As far as I saw, some of the talents of the Animal Handling talent tree will give more opportunities to make the bird “smarter”, but she can access the “Born in the saddle” for now.

The Conan the Wanderer Animal Handling talent tree, sounds definitely interesting. But sadly, I won’t be able to use it until the book is out.

A flying alarm, your mileage may vary tho.


Thank you, I was thinking about this too.

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If it were me I’d make the sparrow a ‘flying alarm’ which gives the PC a bonus to appropriate checks to determine if something is out of the ordinary, such as if something noisy is approaching from around a bend. No attacks or tricks.

It seems like a prime place to confer an additional difficulty upon an opponent due to the sparrow diving and wheeling at their heads while they fight.

That would be highly dangerous for the sparrow at the very least.

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If you’ve ever tried to catch a nimble flying beast, it is not easy. Combining that with attempting to attack it WHILE defending from your opponent, would be exceptionally difficult.

Perhaps a complication during the fight could remove the sparrow from play for the scene.

Although be aware that if your party ends up facing any natural threats, many of them may well have evolved to hunt small flappy targets. A hunting falcon may be no real threat to heroic adventurers, but their small winged snack will have to be protected. And shooting a noble’s falcon is a swift way to become unpopular …

I’d say that the sparrow would at most distract enemies, or possibly act as a flying alarm. Otherwise, it’s much more a character description item, like a jewelled belt or a pair of fancy boots. Adds uniqueness, but not much in the way of game effect.

Well, I allowed the followings so far:

1, The sparrow is hidden in the characters hair, under the hoodie.
2, Since the sparrow is with her constantly, she can use the “Eyes in the forest” talent anytime.
3, I allow to throw for Animal handling instead of Observation during an Exploit action. But the Eyes in the forest allows this anyways… The sparrow distracts the enemy, while she is observing the weaknesses.
4, Once I allowed her to throw for animal handling instead of Acrobatics/Athletics when she was grappled. The sparrow flew out of the hoodie, and surprised/scared the enemy to the extent, that he released her.

I do not allow to attack with the sparrow.

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Yr very welcome!

Sounds good to me. Good luck with it all - hope it goes well!

I don’t think its a problem them having it tame. If yoi raised it from an egg it might well stay with you it’s whole life.

Slightly larger birds like ravens can be very intelligent. Solving multiple stage problems.

It’s hard to know what a sparrow could do. Probably best as a lookout, or alarm. Perhaps fetching small objects. Acting as a distraction.

I think combat would probably not be very effective but some minor effect might be possible.

Seems a waste to make it a companion. I’d let keep a bird like that for free.