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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.

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