Handle Animal

(Cha, Trained Only)

You are trained at working with animals, and can teach them tricks, get them to follow your simple commands, or even domesticate them.

Check: The DC depends on what you are trying to do.

Task Handle Animal DC
Handle an animal 10
“Push” an animal 25
Teach an animal a trick 15 or 20*
Train an animal for a general purpose 15 or 20*
Rear a wild animal 15 + HD of animal
* See the specific trick or purpose below.

Handle an Animal: This task involves commanding an animal to perform a task or trick that it knows. If the animal is wounded or has taken any nonlethal damage or ability score damage, the DC increases by 2. If your check succeeds, the animal performs the task or trick on its next action.

“Push” an Animal: 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. This category also covers making an animal perform a forced march or forcing it to hustle for more than 1 hour between sleep cycles. If the animal is wounded or has taken any nonlethal damage or ability score damage, the DC increases by 2. If your check succeeds, the animal performs the task or trick on its next action.

Teach an Animal a Trick: You can teach an animal a specific trick with 1 week of work and a successful Handle Animal check against the indicated DC. An animal with an Intelligence score of 1 can learn a maximum of three tricks, while an animal with an Intelligence score of 2 can learn a maximum of six tricks. Possible tricks (and their associated DCs) include, but are not necessarily limited to, the following.

  • Attack (DC 20): The animal attacks apparent enemies. You may point to a particular creature that you wish the animal to attack, and it will comply if able. Normally, an animal will attack only humanoids, monstrous humanoids, giants, or other animals. Teaching an animal to attack all creatures (including such unnatural creatures as undead and aberrations) counts as two tricks.
  • Come (DC 15): The animal comes to you, even if it normally would not do so.
  • Defend (DC 20): The animal defends you (or is ready to defend you if no threat is present), even without any command being given. Alternatively, you can command the animal to defend another specific character.
  • Down (DC 15): The animal breaks off from combat or otherwise backs down. An animal that doesn’t know this trick continues to fight until it must flee (due to injury, a fear effect, or the like) or its opponent is defeated.
  • Fetch (DC 15): The animal goes and gets something. If you do not point out a specific item, the animal fetches a random object.
  • Guard (DC 20): The animal stays in place and prevents others from approaching.
  • Heel (DC 15): The animal follows you closely, even to places where it normally wouldn’t go.
  • Perform (DC 15): The animal performs a variety of simple tricks, such as sitting up, rolling over, roaring or barking, and so on.
  • Seek (DC 15): The animal moves into an area and looks around for anything that is obviously alive or animate.
  • Stay (DC 15): The animal stays in place, waiting for you 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. (This requires the animal to have the scent ability.)
  • Work (DC 15): The animal pulls or pushes a medium or heavy load.

Train an Animal for a General Purpose: Rather than teaching an animal individual tricks, you can simply train it for a general purpose. Essentially, an animal’s purpose represents a preselected set of known tricks that fit into a common scheme, such as guarding or heavy labor. The animal must meet all the normal prerequisites for all tricks included in the training package. If the package includes more than three tricks, the animal must have an Intelligence score of 2 or higher.

An animal can be trained for only one general purpose, though if the creature 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 does, but no less time.

  • Combat Training (DC 20): An animal trained to bear a rider into combat knows the tricks attack, come, defend, down, guard, and heel. Training an animal for combat riding takes 6 weeks. You may also “upgrade” an animal trained for riding to one trained for combat by spending 3 weeks and making a successful DC 20 Handle Animal check. The new general purpose and tricks completely replace the animal’s previous purpose and any tricks it once knew. Many horses and riding dogs are trained in this way.
  • Fighting (DC 20): An animal trained to engage in combat knows the tricks attack, down, and stay. Training an animal for fighting takes 3 weeks.
  • Guarding (DC 20): An animal trained to guard knows the tricks attack, defend, down, and guard. Training an animal for guarding takes 4 weeks.
  • Heavy Labor (DC 15): An animal trained for heavy labor knows the tricks come and work. Training an animal for heavy labor takes 2 weeks.
  • Hunting (DC 20): An animal trained for hunting knows the tricks attack, down, fetch, heel, seek, and track. Training an animal for hunting takes 6 weeks.
  • Performance (DC 15): An animal trained for performance knows the tricks come, fetch, heel, perform, and stay. Training an animal for performance takes 5 weeks.
  • Riding (DC 15): An animal trained to bear a rider knows the tricks come, heel, and stay. Training an animal for riding takes 3 weeks.

Rear a Wild Animal: To rear an animal means to raise a wild creature from infancy so that it becomes domesticated. A handler can rear as many as three creatures of the same kind at once. A successfully domesticated animal can be taught tricks at the same time it’s being raised, or it can be taught as a domesticated animal later.

Action: Varies. Handling an animal is a move action, while “pushing” an animal is a full-round action. (A druid or ranger can handle an animal companion as a free action or push it as a move action.) For tasks with specific time frames noted above, you must spend half this time (at the rate of 3 hours per day per animal being handled) working toward completion of the task before you attempt the Handle Animal check. If the check fails, your attempt to teach, rear, or train the animal fails and you need not complete the teaching, rearing, or training time. If the check succeeds, you must invest the remainder of the time to complete the teaching, rearing, or training. If the time is interrupted or the task is not followed through to completion, the attempt to teach, rear, or train the animal automatically fails.

Try Again: Yes, except for rearing an animal.

Synergy: Handle Animal grants a synergy bonus to Riding an animal mount.

Special: You can use this skill on a creature with an Intelligence score of 1 or 2 that is not an animal, but the DC of any such check increases by 5. Such creatures have the same limit on tricks known as animals do.

Untrained: If you have no ranks in Handle Animal, you can use a Charisma check to handle and push domestic animals, but you can’t teach, rear, or train animals.

 

 

 

 

 

Check: The time required to get an effect and the DC depend on what the character is trying to do.

Task Time DC
Handle an animal Move action 10
“Push” an animal Full-round action 25
Teach an animal a trick 1 week See text
Train an animal for a purpose See text See text

 

Handle an Animal: 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: 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: The character can teach an animal a specific trick, such as “attack” or “stay,” with one week of work and a successful Handle Animal 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 Handle Animal 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: 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 labour 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.

Try Again?: Yes

Special: A character can take 10 or take 20 when handling animals.

An untrained character uses Charisma checks to handle and push animals, but he or she can’t teach or train animals.

Time: See above. Teaching or training an animal takes a number of days. The character does not have to spend the entire time training the animal; 3 hours per day is enough. (Spending more than 3 hours per day does not reduce the number of days required.) The character cannot spread the days out; if the character does not complete the training during a period of consecutive days, the effort is wasted.

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