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Old Hat Monsters: Companion Treasure

Old Hat Monsters: Companion Treasure

Philips Wouwerman, Cavalier Holding a Dappled Grey Horse“Man is a tool-using animal. Without tools he is nothing, with tools he is all.” —Thomas Carlyle

Last week, I wrote an article that was effectively a bandage. Equipping animals with humanoid gear is something I have playtested, and it makes an animal more likely to survive the brutal realities of adventuring life. Although the animal in question survives more encounters using this gear, the mental picture of a horse deflecting arrows because it is wearing vambraces of defense or a monkey using the robe of stars might strike a more comical image than desired.

Sadly for us, the list of items specifically designed for animals is paltry and disappointingly predictable. Horseshoes of speed are a useful, but why not airwalk horseshoes, or +3 adamantine horseshoes of troll slaying? I have waited since the heyday of 2nd Edition for a D&D or Pathfinder version of an animal-based equipment guide.

Join me after the jump as I propose a few new types of animal-specific magic items. In the comments, I will provide specific examples. Perhaps, with enough demand, we can inspire more design.

With only a little design, we have tons of opportunity to make interesting animal-based equipment. Here are some simple design concepts.

  • Potion-style feed (like feed of fire breathing for a horse)
  • Manuals of Animal Training (could add new tricks, improve stats, but it requires animal handling checks to complete the exercises)
  • Paired equipment (think ranger and wolf companion with a benign transposition effect)
  • Saddles that help both rider and steed (such as a saddle that has a property that protects from arrows)
  • Horseshoes and permanent claw polishes that add weapon and/or movement effects (keen claw polish of spiderclimb and shocking horseshoes of jumping)
  • Harness and clothing designed for the animal that does less obvious effects (a monkey vest that allows a monkey to use dimension door and a horse blanket that lets the horse go ethereal)
  • Burnable protection items (stabilizing earring)
  • Barding that does more than AC protection (barding could easily grant ant haul)

I also believe a new animal trick activate item would be appropriate. For speaking creatures such as the raven, this could be quite potent. For others, if the item is designed for the animal, that creature can activate it on an successful Handle Animal check. If not designed for the animal in question, the Handle Animal check is at a –5 penalty. Each item is a separate trick.

10 thoughts on “Old Hat Monsters: Companion Treasure”

  1. Magic saddles seem like an awesome idea, I made this for one of my players who was never getting the really cool magic items because they didn’t really fit his character.

    Raiders Saddle
    Aura moderate transmutation; CL 8th
    Slot none; Price 11,520gp; Weight 40
    Description
    This military saddle gives the rider and his mount the effects of saddle surge for 8 rounds each day. These rounds need not be used consecutively, activating this ability is a swift action.

    You and your mount form a perfect synergy that endows both of you with advantages based upon how far you travel each round. For every 5 feet your mount moves in a given round, you gain a +1 competence bonus on Ride checks and both you and your mount gain a +1 morale bonus on damage rolls made with weapons or natural attacks for 1 round (to a maximum of +8).

    Example: if your mount traveled 40 feet in a round, you would gain a +8 bonus on Ride checks and you and your mount would both gain a +8 bonus on damage rolls for 1 round. You must be mounted to enjoy the benefits of this spell. If you dismount, get knocked off, or take any other action that separates you from your mount, the effect immediately ends.

    Construction
    Requirements Craft Wonderous Item, saddle surge Cost 5,510gp

  2. Awesome ideas, ive allways liked the idea of passing on magic items to animal companions / familiars after acquiring upgrades. Love to see new ideas!

  3. Ok with 5 comments I’ll deliver some crunch examples…

    +2 Thundering Horseshoes of Speed
    Aura moderate enchantment, faint necromancy and transmutation ; CL 6th
    Slot feet(cloven only); Price 18,000 gp; Weight 4 lbs.
    Description
    Forged for only the finest war trained mounts these shoes serve to enhance a mount’s land speed by 30 feet and as a weapon in combat. In addition to its +2 enhancement these shoes add an additional 2D8 sonic damage on a successful critical hit. Against any item or creature vulnerable to the shatter spell add the addition 2D8 on a normal hit, 4D8 on a critical hit.

    The sound of these shoes reverberate loudly and imposes a -20 on any attempt at stealth.
    Construction
    Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, haste, enchant weapon, blindness/deafness ; Cost 9,000 gp

    Manual of Advanced Animal Husbandry
    Aura strong evocation ; CL 17th
    Slot none; Price 55,000 gp; Weight 8 lbs.
    Description
    Written by a group of renowned druids and rangers and enchanted by elvish wizards, these tomes are difficult to come by. There are two ways to use the manual.

    First the manual may be used to add the advanced template to one animal. The other choice is to use the manual to ensure a stronger line of animals by breeding two animals and following the nutritional guidelines each animal born of that mating will be endowed with a +2 bonus to strength and dexterity and a +4 bonus to constitution.

    Once the book is read and the advice used the magic disappears and the book mearly becomes an excellent sourcebook on the handle animal skill.
    Construction
    Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, bear’s endurance, bull’s strength, owl’s wisdom, fox’s cunning, eagle’s splendor, cat’s grace, and wish or miracle, must consult at least 3 authors with 10 or more ranks in handle animal; Cost 27,500 gp

    Want more crunch? Leave some feedback, am I alone in wanting a sourcebook for these types of item? Would you like to see more animal specific feats? More tricks?

  4. Charles Carrier

    I never really thought about it before, but you are absolutely correct – there should be many more magic items intended for animal companions. In fact, I seem to remember an old Russian folk tale in which the hero feeds some magic grain to his horse to allow it to talk. Or maybe the horse already talked and it needed the grain for some other reason… It’s been a few decades and my memory isn’t so good these days.

    Oh, and Thomas: Love the idea of Tasha’s Hideous Monkey Cymbals.

  5. I remember writing an article on magical saddles and barding for the Polyhedron years ago, but I don’t know if it was ever published. Anyway, here are some suggestions for magical items for animal companions/familiars:
    * Sea Barding – Finely scaled mail that transforms a horse into a hippocampus anytime it is submerged underwater.
    * Horseshoes of Impact – +1 on attack, damage, and critical confirmation rolls. On a confirmed critical hit, the target creature is stunned for 1-3 rounds.
    * Mirage Saddle Blanket – Once per day, this magical blanket can create an effect similar to a mirror image spell, except the extra horses and riders may have different appearances than the original.
    * Dire Collar – Fits any animal from tiny to large size. Three times per day the animal gains the dire template for up to 5 minutes.
    * Cloak of the Companion – At any time a familiar or animal companion that is at least one size category smaller than its PC can jump “into” the cloak, vanishing from the physical plane and appearing as an embroidered version of itself on the cloak. If the cloak is destroyed, the creature inside must make a fortitude save or immediately die. If the save is successful, the companion/familiar is forcibly expelled from the cloak and takes 2d6 damage.
    * Elixir of Wounding – Drinking this magical potion bestows the wounding power on a creature’s natural attacks (claws, fangs, stingers, etc) for 1-3 turns. Any creature damaged by the companion’s/familiar’s attacks during this time bleeds for an additional 1 hp per round until it receives a DC 15 healing check or magical healing.

    That’s it for now. It’s late and I’m going to bed. Cheers.

  6. This thread is filled with awesome! Thanks to everyone that’s tossing in ideas here. Some of the standouts to be are Gary’s horseblanket of mirage (though I’d specify it would work with any large size mount b/c camels) and Thomas’ hideous laughter monkey cymbals. I feel like I found a void that gaming needs to fill in here.

    Fellow designers might find this useful:
    http://www.macmillandictionary.com/us/thesaurus-category/british/Equipment-for-horse-riding-racing-and-training

    or just click on my name in the post :)

    Some crunch:

    Bursting Spurs
    Aura moderate Adjuration; CL 9th
    Slot feet; Price 25,000 gp; Weight 1 lbs.
    Description
    Bursting spurs provide localized 5 ft healing bursts when a command word s spoken and they both come into contact with flesh. The spurs also remove any fear or fatigue effect on the creature spurred. The healing works as detailed in the chart below the rider must select the number of times per day they wish to use the effects of the spurs at the start of the day.

    Burst Healing
    5D6 1 a day
    3D6 3 a day
    2D6 5 a day
    1D6 10 a day
    Construction
    Requirements Craft Wonderous Item, The ability to channel a 5D6 burst, calm emotions, surmount affliction; Cost 12,500 gp

    I realize this is worn by the rider and might be cheating the concept a bit but I like the idea of equipment that makes the animal companion and character more of a Team as well!

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