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D&D 3E
Falconry and/or Animal Companion Boosting Feats/Classes 
8th-May-2006 03:33 am
it's lol_comics again
Hey folks,

I'm looking for resources for building a falconry-focused PC, one where (ideally) the character's animal companion would be doing most of the work (being supported and buffed by my character) rather than running up and smashing face with the character itself.

However, I've hit a bit of a dry spell where resources are concerned. I haven't burned through any third-party resources (the GM isn't too fond of adding content from them as he'd rather limit the number of option supplements we use aside from the core books and the Complete Archetype set) nor my issues of Dragon (the GM also isn't too fond of adding content from them), but I can't seem to find any prestige classes or feats that can be used to augment an animal companion (or the abilities of an animal companion).

So far, the build seems to be straight druid (possibly the sidhe scholar from an issue of Dragon -- I seem to remember it providing a little extra kick for the pet as well), possibly splashing for one level of Beastmaster (falling behind in spellcasting for one level, but providing me with an effective four levels where animal companion traits are concerned). I was hoping to find a class that would provide spellcasting with some companion augmenting abilities, versus classes that provide spellcasting + wild shape or other druid-related abilities.

Where feats are concerned, the ONLY one I've seen that would be useful is the Exalted Companion feat from the Book of Exalted Deeds -- but that requires I play an exalted character (which the GM doesn't like to allow without in-game development, so no new characters can usually come into the game with exalted status), which turns my companion into a celestial falcon (and a magical beast -- excellent).

Is there anything that anyone knows of that works for this purpose? Any feats/PrCs that give a jump in effective druid level for animal companionship (the GM will likely let me treat myself as a druid beyond twentieth level if I somehow have that much of a boost) or would somehow be excellent for developing an animal companion better than straight druid?

Concering the companion itself, I know the falcon will likely have five feats due to my level (at 1 HD, 3 HD, 6 HD, 9 HD, and 12 HD), but one of these is bound to be Weapon Finesse, so that only gives me three other feats to play with as well. Suggestions there (beyond Improved Flight and Flyby Attack) would also be appreciated.

Thanks in advance.
Comments 
8th-May-2006 08:43 am (UTC)
To me, the "feel" of the Ranger class fits better with this concept. Too bad they get a horrible animal companion progression.

Maybe you could see about swapping out the Ranger's weapon style feats for full animal companion progression? Also, the leadership feat might be acceptable to the DM as a way of "buying" a power upgrade for the animal companion/cohort.
8th-May-2006 02:31 pm (UTC)
The feel of the ranger class does fit better with this concept, but the spell progression of the druid will probably give it an additional power boost, plus also give me some backup tools to fall back on (besides being a fairly potent melee force myself).
8th-May-2006 09:05 am (UTC)
Whiile flavorful, I'm having a lot of trouble seeing a tiny bird doing all the fighting for you, buffed or not. Maybe you'd wanna upgrade to a larger raptor?
8th-May-2006 10:40 am (UTC)
TIM
There he is!

They all turn,, and see a large white RABBIT lollop a few yards out of the
cave. Accompanied by terrifying chord and jarring metallic monster noise.

ARTHUR
Where?

TIM
There.

ARTHUR
Behind the rabbit?

TIM
It is the rabbit.

ARTHUR
... You silly sod.

TIM
What?

ARTHUR
You got us all worked up.

BEDEVERE
You cretin!

TIM
That is not an ordinary rabbit ... 'tis the most foul cruel and bad-tempered thing you ever set eyes on.

ROBIN
You tit. I soiled my armour I was so scared!

TIM
That rabbit's got a vicious streak. It's a killer!

GALAHAD
Oh, fuck off. Get stuffed.

TIM
He'll do you up a treat mate!

GALAHAD
Oh yeah?

ROBIN
You turd! Mangy scots git!

TIM
Look. I'm warning you.

ROBIN
What's he do? Nibble your bum?

TIM
Well, It's got huge ... very sharp ... it can jump a... look at the bones.

ARTHUR
Go on, Bors, chop its head off.

BORS
Right. Silly little bleeder. One rabbit stew coming up.
8th-May-2006 01:01 pm (UTC)
Of course, depending on how the enemies are run, they may ignore the little bird in favor of the big warrior until it is too late.

The concept is interesting enough to try.
8th-May-2006 02:33 pm (UTC)
If I wanted to have an *extremely* potent animal companion, I'd run the ranger/drow adjudicator (I think, it's from Underdark) build I had before.

I just want a *powerful* falcon to mix it up a little. ;)
8th-May-2006 12:28 pm (UTC)
You'd almost be better off going with Wizard on this and having your falcon be your familiar.
8th-May-2006 03:00 pm (UTC)
Glancing at both classes' "companion" progression, I'm not sure why that would be the case.

The only reason I can see a wizard being advantageous would be the touch spell perk.

(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - Anonymous - Expand
8th-May-2006 01:12 pm (UTC)
As above, this kind of character often seems like it may work better with a more powerful animal (like a bear or a wolf), but I like the idea of the falcon.

Advantages: falcon should have pretty high AC, with the natural armor bonuses and size/dex modifiers. Won't necessarily take that many hits, especially since who's going to attack the bird when the guy with the sword is charging you? Flanking bonuses would be awesome here.

Disadvantages: The falcon does very little damage--Bear's Strength would only negate the penalty. Looking for some way to increase damage (I'm thinking a falcon with sneak attack would be awesome, but not sure how to get that) would be key. I'd suggest Power Attack, but you don't have the strength for it. So maybe Imp Natural Attack would be a little helpful, though you may get more milage from other feats and just depend on delivered spells to actually deal damage. Note that the falcon (or at least the Hawk) already gets Weapon Finesse.

Because your bird won't gain HD as fast as the rest of the party, it's likely that one hit would take down the animal. So maybe boost HP somehow (Improved Toughness), or just make sure the animal doesn't get hit. Mobility could be really helpful for running away (as well as for Flyby Attack stuff).

In any case, sounds interesting and I'm interested in how it works out.
8th-May-2006 03:17 pm (UTC)
Well, I'm sure I could convince the GM to allow me to use the elite stat array, in which case I'd probably give the falcon a higher base Strength score.

Also, looking at hawk stats as a base, keep in mind that the falcon (even using base stats) is going to end up with a +6 (or +8) Strength (and Dexterity!) bonus simply from being my animal companion, putting it 'above average' before any buffs.

I also found a feat that allows me to make a DC 20 Handle Animal check (not a problem) as a standard action to give my animal companion a +3 morale bonus to hit/damage, so I may look into grabbing that.

Assuming I can snag the Exalted Companion feat (or, with some DM leeway, awaken it and take the Leadership feat to keep it as a hybrid companion/cohort so it becomes a magical beast) it will have strong BAB as well.

The comment about the HP is noted, but the falcon will have thirteen (or more) d8/d10 hit dice (+ con mod, if I go with an elite stat array or some stat boosting item), so it'll be fairly sturdy (coupled with the aforementioned high AC).

I like the other suggestions (sneak attack especially), but I'm not really sure how we'll swing 'em.
8th-May-2006 08:10 pm (UTC)
Or a gorilla with an axe.

>_>
8th-May-2006 08:23 pm (UTC)
Hah, now that would be funny. ;)
8th-May-2006 11:30 pm (UTC)
Don't falcons get weapon finesse as a bonus feat?

Yeah. Check out the hawk:
http://www.d20srd.org/srd/monsters/hawk.htm
Weapon Finesse is a bonus feat, not a HD-dependent one. So you can play around with the feats a bit more.
8th-May-2006 11:36 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I think I had a 3.0 MM when I glanced at which feats they came with. It had only Weapon Finesse, nothing about Alterness or Weapon Finesse being a bonus feat.
8th-Dec-2009 01:33 am (UTC) - The Beast of Both worlds, my friends...
Anonymous
Didn't read all the way through, but you have been led astray. Animal companions are better fighters than familiars. Familiars are better at having their master supplement them. Combine the two into a powerhouse of destructive might!

The Arcane Hierophant specifically gets rid of your familiar, and then lets you stack familiar bonuses onto an animal companion. It becomes a magical beast, though still a companion, gains intelligence so you don't have to use a wild empathy or handle animal check to get it to do specific tasks (most DMs don't run the animals that way anyway, but hey) and the class increases both druid and wizard levels for casting. Take the feat which increases your affective druid level by +4, and Obtain familiar as well, that way the levels of wizard do not detract from your AC levels, and the levels of druid don't detract from your familiar levels.

Get busy with the buffing. Mass Greater Magic Fang, Bears endurance, bulls strength, owls insight, Cats Grace mindblank, Natures avatar, and a chained truestrike - you now have a glowing, firey green missile of death who gets a +25 minimum bonus to hit (just from the buffs, cant recall Natures Avatar right now), ignores all miss chances (and can strike incorporeal creatures) 2 rounds in a row. If you lay these down fast enough, you can also drop a Ghouls Gauntlet, the game's most broken spell. Auto-paralyze any humanoid or giant, since the Fort save is to avoid the ghast stench, not paralyzation... The falcon screams in, drops the target to the ground, does a lopp-the-loop and dives, dropping both talons into the enemies now-helpless throat for a coup de gras at +30ish damage.

In the mean-time. youre invisible, stone-skinned, mindblanked and mirror-imaged, while laying down (admittedly weak) cover fire on anyone who readiess a strike against your bird. Ward him versus fire, and he can plummet into flame strikes and fire storms. Something takes to the air to catch him and you rip them from the sky with a well-placed hail storm.

I think I have a new character to try out... I've known about this in theory, but it just sounds so... Awesome.


Oh hey. Be an elf, and take the Skylord prestige class. See if your giant eagle counts as an animal companion, and do the same thing. Crazy-freaky power, there.
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