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D&D 3E
Hawk animal companion 
3rd-Aug-2006 11:04 am
I'm currently stating up an NPC/enemy for the PCs in my game. This NPC has a hawk animal companion (I could picture him with a bird of prey on his shoulder, but not with a wolf by his side or anything). I'd like this hawk to be an actually help in combat, more than just doing flyby attack for 1d4 damage or giving a +2 flanking bonus. I thought it would be cool if the hawk could try and snatch stuff out of people's hands (like small weapons), or maybe fly by and trip/distract the PCs. Would something like this be reasonable? What would the mechanics be?
3rd-Aug-2006 05:52 pm (UTC)
Its reasonable.

What level Druid/Ranger?

At first level, you can can swap out the Hawk's alertness feat for something more useful (Improved Trip, and a feat to use Dex rather than Strength for trips. A feat that is, essentially, modified Improved Grab with the hawk's dex v character's strength or dex to take something out of their hands, etc.) You may need to play a little fast and loose with prequisites (hawk isn't going to be strong enough for Power Attack or smart enough for Expertise, but).

At 3rd level Druid, you add another bonus feat (3rd hit die for the hawk), and again at 9th (7 HD) and again at 12th (9HD).

3rd-Aug-2006 05:59 pm (UTC)
It's a 6th level ranger, but the Ranger's in my game get animal companion as a Druid instead of spells. So effectively a 6th level Druid.

Do you think I should just use the normal trip/disarm rules, but use the hawk's DEX?
3rd-Aug-2006 08:47 pm (UTC)
So, animal companion has +4 HD. A 1 HD creature like the hawk should have an extra feat (3rd HD). Hawks get, by default, Weapon Finesse(B) and Aletrness, so one more. (the hawk also gets 4 more skill points. 2+Int modifier per HD, min 1. And with an int of 2, that's 1 per HD)

I'd be fine with using that third feat slot to allow the hawk to use dex instead of Str for Disarm & Trip. Still, it isn't a great idea for the hawk -- they're still going to draw AoOs.
3rd-Aug-2006 10:02 pm (UTC)
I decided to go with it (Disarm uses an attack roll, so with Weapon Finesse that is Dex). I tweaked and gave it Improved Disarm, so it doesn't provoke an AoO for the disarm. It does have to move into the creatures square, but it has a pretty high AC because of it's size and really high Dex. I think it works pretty well. Thanks for your help :)
3rd-Aug-2006 10:13 pm (UTC)
Sounds reasonable.

(and don't forget, the ranger may be able to get potions of barkskin or magic fang, and the like. He may not get much use of share-spell, since you've got non-casting rangers, but there are things you can do to enhance companions).

The only issue is that if you let an NPC do this, you should be willing to let a PC do the same thing.
3rd-Aug-2006 08:58 pm (UTC)
Give it the Snatch feat.

Considering the size of the hawk, it's utterly useless against other creatures, but against objects I can easily see it being able to grab things in this manner.

For unattended objects, it could simply swoop down and grab the item without stopping. For attended objects, it would make an attack roll against the item (AC of the item equal to 10 + item size + Dex of attending character) and then begin a free grapple check if it succeeds.

It's a slight variation of the rules, but I think it works fairly well.
3rd-Aug-2006 10:03 pm (UTC)
Looking through the SRD, it turns out that grabbing items from other creatures is a modified Disarm attempt, so I'll just use that :)
4th-Aug-2006 03:51 am (UTC)
Oh well in that case, Improved Disarm is your way to go. :]
3rd-Aug-2006 11:44 pm (UTC)
FYI A hawk can't flank (if a regular Tiny animal): it doesn't have the reach.
3rd-Aug-2006 11:52 pm (UTC)
Ah, good point. Thanks :)
5th-Aug-2006 03:10 pm (UTC)
*cough cough*


I haven't had a chance to playtest it, but you may want to steal some of the stuff from there.
5th-Aug-2006 03:23 pm (UTC)
Just read the note about it being sixth level. So that may not work.

Disregard! :p
5th-Aug-2006 03:55 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the reminder :)

I don't think I'm trying to make the character focus on his bird; I just wanted to bird to be able to do something. But this might not be a bad chance to playtest your class, which I always thought looked interesting. We'll see.
5th-Aug-2006 09:43 pm (UTC)
Well, you could always swipe the ability tree that gave it the 5' threatened area and just apply it as an "acquired template", if you will.

Just a thought. ;)

If you ever do test the class, you may want to make some "game specific" adjustments and maybe up the BAB on the class as a tradeoff for losing ranger abilities and the fact that your rangers have no spellcasting ability.
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