Skill: Animal Handler

Animal Handler
An animal handler forms powerful bonds with the animals he befriends. He can use the animals to help him scout (such as a bird in the sky), to fight (a ferocious bear), or to steal (a small squirrel chewing a hole in a pocket full of keys).

Animal handlers can use supplies from Hunters, Scavengers, Peasants, and Survivalists to provide food and water for their animal companions.

To use an animal, they must first be tamed or befriended. The rules for Rider would probably work for that. Keep in mind that we’re talking about natural animals, not monsters. As for riding animals, you have to use the Rider skill for that.

Suggested Help for Animal Handler: Lore Master, Commander. May vary depending on task being performed.
Beginner’s Luck for Animal Handler: Will

Animal Handler factors
Animal (start counting at 2): Might 1, Might 2, Might 3, Might 4
Amount: One, many, too many
Result: Labor (hauling), control (obeying), production (making something for you)

This skill was more or less lifted from the Mouse Guard Insectrist skill. This could act as a skill for Rangers that have animal companions. Let me know what you guys think and if there’s anything that could be added or subtracted to make it better.

Rider and Peasant covers this already I think.

This is something I wrote up while TB was in Playtest.

Befriending animals and taming wild beasts
Befriending animals is possible using the Peasant skill or Beginner’s Luck. Taming a wild beast requires Hunter or Beginner’s Luck. When training an unbroken mount, use Rider or Beginner’s Luck as per the normal rules.

The type of animal is important when determining factors, as is the creature’s temperament and condition. Although animals don’t get conditions the way characters have them, they can have the equivalent of a condition in terms of their response to the character. If attempting to befriend an animal using Beginner’s Luck, take note of the character’s condition(s) and roll a d6. On a roll of 1-3, an angry and/or afraid trainer will “infect” the animal with the same condition(s) while in its presence.

First of all, it’s easier to train or tame a hungry animal by offering food. Most animals are assumed to be hungry at any given time unless they’ve just had a feed (and even that doesn’t matter to some!). +1D to tests if offering food to a Hungry animal. Likewise, an animal full of pep and vigor is harder to train than an animal that’s spent its energy. +1D to the test if the animal is Exhausted (i.e. after a successful chase conflict).

Skittish, fleeing or harshly abused animals are Afraid. Guard animals, abused animals or those defending their territory and/or young are Angry. Any animal suffering a wound is Injured and any animal afflicted with disease (ie: rabies) is Sick.

A cruel trainer may try to beat an animal into submission, though this is not encouraged (distastefulness aside, these methods are seldom effective). Beating an animal or beast forces it to make an ob 1 Nature test. Failure means the animal is Exhausted while success causes it to become Afraid and then try to flee. If an animal or beast with a fighting/hunting nature is beaten, it always becomes Angry. If it fails its nature test it becomes Exhausted and success means it will attack the trainer.

Peasant factors
An animal that is cared for but has no special training as an attack or guard animal is considered to be tame (temperament is never a factor). Befriending an animal means the animal will view you as a caretaker or as its ward. It is not “trained” per se. It will just react to you as a supply of food, care or as something to be protected or at least tolerated.

Species: dog, bird or rodent, cat, beast (wolf, bear, bird of prey, etc.), dire beast
Temperament: feral, trained, enchanted (i.e.: a familiar)
Condition: Afraid, Angry, Injured, Sick

Hunter factors
Notes:: Temperament is always a factor for beasts. They are never considered to already be tame (even if “tamed” by someone else). Taming simply means the creature will not immediately try to eat you, fight you or flee your presence.

Might: Order of Might is equal to hunter’s, Might +1, etc.
Temperament: feral, trained, enchanted (i.e.: a familiar), intelligent (i.e.: a dragon)
Condition: Afraid, Angry, Injured, Sick

Looks good, Jared. How would you go about testing for commanding an animal to do things? Like attacking something or stealing some keys from a guard or scouting the way ahead? Would the animal just become a help die in tests and conflicts? I was trying to figure out a skill that would work for creating a Beastmaster class or maybe even a summoning class - Necromancer or demon summoner of some sort.

When the animal is trained you can make a test using its nature instead of the skill. Of course the task must be within the animals nature or you roll half nature. When using an animal to do something it gains the condition, not you. You can however help the animal when the task is also in your nature.

My first thought is that the animal becomes like a Henchman. It can help you, providing +1D. Ordering it to act against its nature would require a test.

What would you end up testing in that case? The skill that you’re trying to get the animal to do or just Will?

Hunter or Peasant, depending on the nature of the beast. Will if using Beginner’s Luck.