Animals (skill)

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The Animals skill replaces Ride and Handle Animal. It is the skill to use when you are dealing with animals.

Animals (Wis; Armor Penalty)

Typical riding actions don’t require checks. A character can saddle, mount, ride, and dismount without a problem. Mounting or dismounting an animal is a move action. Some tasks, such as those undertaken in combat or other extreme circumstances, require checks. In addition, attempting trick riding or asking the animal to perform an unusual technique also requires a check.

Animals ill suited as mounts provide a –2 penalty on their rider’s Ride check.

Guide with Knees (DC 5): The character can react instantly to guide his or her mount with his or her knees so that the character can use both hands in combat or to perform some other action. Make the check at the start of the character’s round. If the character fails, he or she can only use one hand this round because the character needs to use the other to control his or her mount.

Stay in Saddle (DC 5): The character can react instantly to try to avoid falling when his or her mount rears or bolts unexpectedly or when the character takes damage.

Fight while Mounted (DC 20): While in combat, the character can attempt to control a mount that is not trained in combat riding. If the character succeeds, he or she uses only a move action, and the character can use his or her attack action to do something else. If the character fails, he or she can do nothing else that round. If the character fails by more than 5, he or she loses control of the animal.

For animals trained in combat riding, the character does not need to make this check. Instead, the character can use his or her move action to have the animal perform a trick (commonly, to attack). The character can use his or her attack action normally.

Cover (DC 15): The character can react instantly to drop down and hang alongside his or her mount, using it as one-half cover. The character can’t attack while using his or her mount as cover. If the character fails, he or she doesn’t get the cover benefit.

Soft Fall (DC 15): The character reacts instantly when he or she falls off a mount, such as when it is killed or when it falls, to try to avoid taking damage. If the character fails, he or she takes 1d6 points of falling damage.

Leap (DC 15): The character can get his or her mount to leap obstacles as part of its movement. Use the character’s Ride modifier or the mount’s Jump modifier (whichever is lower) when the mount makes its Jump check (see the Jump skill). The character makes a Ride check (DC 15) to stay on the mount when it leaps.

Fast Mount or Dismount (DC 20; armor penalty applies): The character can mount or dismount as a free action. If the character fails the check, mounting or dismounting is a move action. (A character can’t attempt a fast mount or dismount unless he or she can perform the mount or dismount as a move action this round, should the check fail.)

Handle an Animal (DC 10; move action; Trained Only): This means to command an animal to perform a task or trick that it knows. If the animal is wounded or has taken any ability score damage, the DC increases by +5. If the check is successful, the animal performs the task or trick on its next action.

“Push” an Animal (DC 25; full-round action; Trained Only): To push an animal means to get it to perform a task or trick that it doesn’t know, but is physically capable of performing. If the check is successful, the animal performs the task or trick on its next action.

Teach an Animal a Trick (1 week; Trained Only): The character can teach an animal a specific trick, such as “attack” or “stay,” with one week of work and a successful Ride check. An animal with an Intelligence of 1 can learn a maximum of three tricks, while an animal with an Intelligence of 2 can learn a maximum of six tricks.

The character can teach an animal to obey only that character. Any other person attempting to make the animal perform a trick takes a –10 penalty on his or her Ride check. Teaching an animal to obey only the character counts as a trick (in terms of how many tricks the animal can learn). It does not require a check; however, it increases the DC of all tricks the character teaches the animal by +5. If the animal already knows any tricks, the character cannot teach it to obey only that character.

Possible tricks include, but are not limited to, the following.

Attack (DC 20): The animal attacks apparent enemies. The character may point to a particular enemy to direct the animal to attack that enemy. Normally, an animal only attacks humans and other animals. Teaching an animal to attack all creatures (including unnatural creatures such as undead and aberrations if they exist in your campaign) counts as two tricks.

Come (DC 15): The animal comes to the character, even if the animal normally would not do so (such as following the character onto a boat).

Defend (DC 20): The animal defends the character (or is ready to defend the character if no threat is present). Alternatively, the character can command the animal to defend a specific other character.

Down (DC 15): The animal breaks off from combat or otherwise backs down.

Fetch (DC 15): The animal goes and gets something. The character must point out a specific object, or else the animal fetches some random object.

Guard (DC 20): The animal stays in place and prevents others from approaching.

Heel (DC 15): The animal follows the character closely, even to places where it normally wouldn’t go.

Perform (DC 15): The animal does a variety of simple tricks such as sitting up, rolling over, and so on.

Seek (DC 15): The animal moves into an area and searches for something of interest. It stops and indicates the first thing of interest it finds. What constitutes an item of interest to an animal can vary. Animals almost always find other creatures or characters of interest. To understand that it’s looking for a specific object, the animal must make an Intelligence check (DC 10).

Stay (DC 15): The animal stays in place waiting for the character to return. It does not challenge other creatures that come by, though it still defends itself if it needs to.

Track (DC 20): The animal tracks the scent presented to it.

Work (DC 15): The animal pulls or pushes a medium or heavy load.

Train an Animal (Trained Only): Rather than teaching an animal individual tricks, the character can train an animal for a general purpose. Essentially, an animal’s purpose represents a preselected set of known tricks that fit into a common scheme. An animal can be trained for one general purpose only, though if the animal is capable of learning additional tricks (above and beyond those included in its general purpose) it may do so. Training an animal for a purpose requires fewer checks than teaching individual tricks.

Combat Riding (DC 20, 6 weeks): An animal trained to bear a rider into combat knows Attack, Come, Defend, Down, Guard, and Heel. An animal trained in riding may be “upgraded” to an animal trained in combat riding by spending three weeks and making a Handle Animal check (DC 20). If the animal was trained in other tricks (in addition to those provided by training the animal for riding), those tricks are completely replaced by the combat riding tricks.

Fighting (DC 20, 3 weeks): An animal trained for combat knows the following tricks: Attack, Down, and Stay.

Guarding (DC 20, 4 weeks): An animal trained to guard knows the following tricks: Attack, Defend, Down, and Guard.

Laboring (DC 15, 2 weeks): An animal trained for heavy labor knows Come and Work.

Hunting (DC 20, 6 weeks): An animal trained for hunting knows Attack, Down, Fetch, Heel, Seek, and Track.

Performing (DC 15, 4 weeks): An animal trained for performing knows Come, Fetch, Heel, Perform, and Stay.

Riding (DC 15; 3 weeks): An animal trained to bear a rider knows Come, Heel, and Stay.

Special: If the character is riding bareback, he or she takes a –5 penalty on Ride checks.

A character can take 10 when making a Ride check, but can’t take 20.

Time: Ride is a move action, except when otherwise noted for the special tasks listed above.

Modern Horror

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