Animal Trainnig vs Animal Talk

Discussion on game mastering Earthdawn. May contain spoilers; caution is recommended!
Sharkforce
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Re: Animal Trainnig vs Animal Talk

Post by Sharkforce » Tue May 14, 2019 7:11 pm

i would still allow regular griffins to be trained, as adults, by adepts. while there is an element of normal training, you are essentially magically modifying the creature. you can improve their talents and skills (potentially including talents or skills they don't natively have but could theoretically have) without knowing anything about the best use of those talents or skills, while a non-adept, no matter how much they know about stealthy stride and animal training, simply cannot teach an animal how to be better at sneaking, as one example.

the animal training talent goes so far as to say: "At the gamemaster’s discretion, the adept can use this ability to teach the animal companion skills the animal doesn’t know, but would conceivably be able to perform."

if you could potentially magically impart something like, say... anticipate blow, which we have no indication griffins can be trained to do, it would seem odd to me that being ridden (something you know the creature *definitely* can learn) is completely out of the question. the talent can already be used to train creatures to do things that normal training couldn't do; it would feel weird to me for it to be so oddly limited when it comes to training creatures to do things that normal training could in certain circumstances.

ChrisDDickey
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Re: Animal Trainnig vs Animal Talk

Post by ChrisDDickey » Wed May 15, 2019 11:31 am

I think our difference is philosophical. You are focusing on what the Talents can do. I am focusing on what the Creatures will and will not put up with.

I fully agree that the magical Talent of Animal Training could teach an adult griffin how to serve as a mount, if, but only if the griffin will put up with it. My point is that the griffin will not put up with it.
Animal Bond Talent description wrote: As a result, mistreatment ... can offset the talent’s effects, worsening the animal’s attitude towards the character. If an animal companion’s attitude drops below Friendly, talents or abilities that target animal companions will no longer work.
Who defines what mistreatment is? The animal does (or the GM, as guided by the rulebook). If all adult griffins define, on first principals, that any attempt to climb on it's back or train it to be a mount, is mistreatment, than the training will not and can not work. Because each time you try to train it, the Animal Bond rating goes down. And if you attempt to continue the activity, it plummets.

Likewise, Dominate Beast only works when you are asking the animal to do something reasonable, it does not work on unreasonable commands such as suicidal actions or (I would argue) acts the animal description specifically says it will not do.

So once again, yes, Animal Training will work on any trainable animals, training them in reasonable activities, which is to say activities they can do, and activities they will do. Adult Griffins (or Jungle Griffins of any age) do not consider being mount trained to be reasonable. They consider it animal abuse. It says so right in the creature description. And you can't stay bonded to an animal that you are abusing. It is not a limitation of the Animal Training talent. It is a limitation of the Griffin. They don't like it. They hate it. They will not put up with it.

Telarus
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Re: Animal Trainnig vs Animal Talk

Post by Telarus » Wed May 15, 2019 4:45 pm

Interesting discussion. "Something on my back" in the wild always means "predator", so I can see the reason it was setup that only griffins trained from young can be ridden.

Sharkforce
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Re: Animal Trainnig vs Animal Talk

Post by Sharkforce » Wed May 15, 2019 8:01 pm

only jungle griffins say they won't tolerate someone on their back (note: it doesn't say you can't do it, just that they won't permit it, so i'd assume someone probably *has* managed to very briefly ride a jungle griffin and then, as the description of the jungle griffin indicates, were killed and eaten once the griffin was able to control itself again. or possibly by other griffins, considering they do live in fairly large groups).

in contrast, nothing says that regular griffins will absolutely not allow anyone on their back. in fact, that is particularly noted as a point of contrast: "The differences between griffins and jungle griffins go deeper than size or coloring. Of particular interest to Namegivers is this fact: no jungle griffin has ever permitted a Namegiver to sit on its back."

given that this is noted as a distinct difference, i'm not certain why we should conclude that regular griffins have the exact same behaviour. that whole "not letting namegivers sit on its back" behaviour is a specific distinction between jungle griffins and regular griffins, noted as being something that goes even deeper than the differences in size and colour.

ChrisDDickey
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Re: Animal Trainnig vs Animal Talk

Post by ChrisDDickey » Thu May 16, 2019 4:13 am

I think you are starting to reach pretty far here.

Yes, I imagine griffin riding might be like bull riding. To the best of my knowledge (I am no expert) nobody trains bulls as riding mounts. But people can stay on one for a number of seconds and it is a test of skill and badge of honor that people who like that sort of thing via for. People have been injured and killed doing it. I am certainly not saying that nobody has ever managed to stay on the back of an untrained griffin. Merely that griffins don't permit the situation to last beyond the shortest amount of time they can manage.

I don't think I am being too unreasonable to say that "sitting on its back" and "being used as a mount" might be taken as fairly equivalent terms. If one wants to be very literal, then one might imagine that a common griffin will allow somebody to be on it's back so long as the the griffin is not moving. But for any practical purposes of being a mount, "being used as a mount" and "sitting on its back" are the exact same thing, with any differences being totally irreverent to the discussion.

The behavior contrast between normal griffins and jungle griffins is not whatever the difference is between "sitting on its back" and "being used as a mount" is, the difference is that for normal griffins
In order for a griffin to be used as a mount, it must be captured young and subjected to extensive and intense training,
But that does not work for Jungle Griffins. If you train a common griffin young, it can be trained to be used as a mount. if you don't train it young, it can't be used as a mount. A jungle griffin will not put up with being used as a mount under any circumstance, even if the training occurs when they are young.
Lets build a table:

Code: Select all

                                                Normal Griffin     Jungle Griffin
Will serve as mount if trained young:               Yes                 No
Will serve as mount if trained as an adult:          No                 No
Pretty simple.

I mean if a GM wants to say "I don't want to do it that way", that is fine. But the arguments that the book does not say that seem pretty thin to me.
Last edited by ChrisDDickey on Thu May 16, 2019 6:51 am, edited 2 times in total.

Sharkforce
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Re: Animal Trainnig vs Animal Talk

Post by Sharkforce » Thu May 16, 2019 6:50 am

only one type of griffin refuses to permit people to sit on its back though. specifically, the type that is not being asked about. instead, we are talking about the type of griffin that is in direct contrast to those ones. nothing says that regular griffins refuse to let anyone sit on their back, so that's not a problem we have to resolve.

and from there, we know that those griffins are potentially capable of learning the task. then why couldn't they be magically gifted with that ability for a limited time when they could be magically gifted with any number of other abilities? again, you're not really teaching them how to do anything. when the magical connection is lost, they go from knowing exactly how to perform the task to not knowing it at all. the question of what kind of training they need is irrelevant; whatever you're doing, it certainly looks like training, but it is very different. it can be dispelled instantly, for example. arguably it only works while the adept is conscious. the animal has not genuinely been trained, it has been given a way to draw on the adept's magic to perform a task it should by all rights not understand how to do.

particularly since the extensive and intense training in question does not match up in any way with how the talent works. there is no way to do months of training with the talent. or, really, any actual training at all. whatever the adept did is erased in an instant if they personally don't retrain the animal, and then since the training is gone there is no way to give it back the ability to act as a mount that it already had. the description only makes sense if it is talking about non-magical training.

that said, i'm prepared to agree that i'm operating off of extrapolation for my explanation of why i think it should work. but i would also point out that you're stuck going beyond the rules in your assumption that the training referred to in the griffin description is the adept talent (which definitely does not work as described) and not mundane training that should last indefinitely, as well as your assumption that regular griffins have the exact same problem that jungle griffins have in spite of the description suggesting that this is a major difference between the two.

(i would also make the argument on the basis that it's pretty lame if the only way for a cavalryman to ever get a griffin is to buy one, with no real chance of taming it themselves, when they can tame basically every other suitable mount in existence for themselves if they can find one, but that isn't a rules-based argument; the quest to find and tame a griffin sounds much more exciting than the quest to get enough money to buy one that somebody else tamed for you)

ChrisDDickey
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Re: Animal Trainnig vs Animal Talk

Post by ChrisDDickey » Thu May 16, 2019 10:41 am

I expect this will probably be the last post I will bother doing in this thread, since I think we have reached the point of just reiterating already stated positions, and real points are being ignored in favor of erecting straw men to knock down. But I will try to sum it up my points one last time.
Sharkforce wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 6:50 am
that said, i'm prepared to agree that i'm operating off of extrapolation for my explanation of why i think it should work. but i would also point out that you're stuck going beyond the rules in your assumption that the training referred to in the griffin description is the adept talent (which definitely does not work as described) and not mundane training that should last indefinitely, as well as your assumption that regular griffins have the exact same problem that jungle griffins have in spite of the description suggesting that this is a major difference between the two.
I also freely admit that I am often operating off of extrapolation. Wiggling some little bits, hoping to make the rules fit a bit better into my head-space.

Following is a probably incomplete list of assumptions I make on this topic that often have almost no textual support, but that I just think ought to be true.
  • As far as I can see, the rules don't say that mundane (skill based) training lasts indefinitely. In fact the rules say the skill works exactly like the Talent, but with one added limitation. However the rules also indicate that you can buy animals with certain training (mount training, etc) that does last forever. Nowhere in the rules does it say anything about how that is done. I believe (with no support other than extrapolation from other rules) that the training of certain behaviors for young animals: taming (don't eat the groom), riding mount package, war mount package, and guard dog and war dog packages, can be done by ether the skill or the Talent. Using the Talent is probably easier, but the end result is the same. These behaviors learned young never expire (even if taught using the Animal Training Talent). Additional "Tricks" can't be taught young so they don't expire, just the basic behaviors. However for the training to never expire the training must be done while the animal is young, and maintained until it is adult for the training to last the entire lifetime of the animal. If using the Talent, it is not so much the training that takes years, it is waiting for the animal to grow up that takes years. Ether one, talent or skill works just as well as the other. Both take the entire adolescence of the animal. No textual support for any of this, for or against. In the absence of any other rules that cover lifetime training, it just makes sense to me. Just to be clear, there seems to be No advantage to using the skill over the Talent. In RaW both work almost exactly the same, but I can easily see other people arriving at different assumptions.
  • I fully admit that I am extrapolating when I say that the phrase "In order for a griffin to be used as a mount, it must be captured young and subjected to extensive and intense training" is most likely the same reason that "no jungle griffin has ever permitted a Namegiver to sit on its back". There could be a totally and completely different reason normal griffins can not or will not be used as a mount unless captured and trained young. But rather than ignore the clear text of the creature description that says they need to be captured and trained young in order to be used as a mount, or rather than bothering to come up with a different and unrelated reason why they can not or will not be used as a mount, it does seem simplest to assume the reason is the same.
  • I honestly do not believe that the descriptions of the two creatures are highlighting a difference between the adult Jungle Griffin and the adult Common Griffin. It is highlighting a difference between the young common Griffin and the young Jungle Griffin. The young common Griffin can be trained. The young Jungle Griffin can not. I don't see anything at all that indicates there is a difference in the attitudes of adult common Griffin and adult Jungle Griffin. It seems extremely clear that both refuse to be trained as mounts, but it is merely an assumption that the common Griffin refuses to be trained because he dislikes the training, there could be some other reason. It seems a very reasonable assumption to me however.
  • The companion says that to "combat train" a griffin (Journeyman Tier creature, with Willful [1]) requires 3 tricks. So I assume, that training an animal while young, means you need to keep (stable and feed) the animal from cub through adolescences until adulthood. You need to give it training during that time by continually renewing 3 tricks worth of training so that it's training never expires.
  • A lot of the expense of buying a trained Griffin is the expense of feeding an adolescent griffin for a few years. A griffins food is about 20 times more expensive than a war horses.
  • The reason that adult Griffins can't be trained as mounts is that in the creature description it says "In order for a griffin to be used as a mount, it must be captured young and subjected to extensive and intense training." GMs can decide that they don't like that, and house-rule it out of existence. But it actually does say that, and the GM ought to be aware that deciding to ignore it is a house rule.
Sharkforce wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 6:50 am
(i would also make the argument on the basis that it's pretty lame if the only way for a cavalryman to ever get a griffin is to buy one, with no real chance of taming it themselves, when they can tame basically every other suitable mount in existence for themselves if they can find one, but that isn't a rules-based argument; the quest to find and tame a griffin sounds much more exciting than the quest to get enough money to buy one that somebody else tamed for you)
It is not that you can't train your Griffin yourself, you just have to plan ahead. Griffins are 5th circle challenges. So a party of 4th or higher might be able to quest to find a mated pair with eggs or hatch-lings. Most Earthdawn games I have been in where the GM actually bothers to track down-time have a surprisingly lot of it (depending upon how much time research takes in your campaigns and how many weapon-smiths a city has that are willing to drop everything and do the party forging many parties spend a whole lot more time in down-time than they do adventuring. Sure you will not be on a Griffin by 5th circle, but it will probably grow up before you know it.

And once again, a GM can just house-rule the "must capture young" rule out of existence if they want. It is totally and completely at the GMs option.
Sharkforce wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 6:50 am
particularly since the extensive and intense training in question does not match up in any way with how the talent works. there is no way to do months of training with the talent. or, really, any actual training at all. whatever the adept did is erased in an instant if they personally don't retrain the animal, and then since the training is gone there is no way to give it back the ability to act as a mount that it already had. the description only makes sense if it is talking about non-magical training.
Once again, there are no real rules for training an animal young, nor for any training that does not disappear after a few months, but we do know that such training does exist, so each GM can feel free to invent his own. My house rule is that the character needs to keep it "trained" during it's entire adolescence and then the training becomes permanent. Others could reasonably vary.


Now lets deal with the parts of the post that I consider the meat of the matter.
Sharkforce wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 6:50 am
and from there, we know that those griffins are potentially capable of learning the task. then why couldn't they be magically gifted with that ability for a limited time when they could be magically gifted with any number of other abilities? again, you're not really teaching them how to do anything. when the magical connection is lost, they go from knowing exactly how to perform the task to not knowing it at all. the question of what kind of training they need is irrelevant; whatever you're doing, it certainly looks like training, but it is very different. it can be dispelled instantly, for example. arguably it only works while the adept is conscious. the animal has not genuinely been trained, it has been given a way to draw on the adept's magic to perform a task it should by all rights not understand how to do.
I don't think a griffin being not suitable to be a mount unless trained young has anything whatsoever, even a tiny little bit, to do with what the magic can do, nor of "magically gifted abilities". If a totally untrained Griffin wanted to let you strap a saddle to it's back and to carry you, the two of you could probably manage. The problem is that it does not want to! It flat out refuses to! Animal Bond and Dominate Beast specifically address that they don't work well if the animal is being forced to do something it really strongly does not want to do, and the creature description of Griffins says adults don't take to mount training.
Sharkforce wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 6:50 am
only one type of griffin refuses to permit people to sit on its back though. specifically, the type that is not being asked about. instead, we are talking about the type of griffin that is in direct contrast to those ones. nothing says that regular griffins refuse to let anyone sit on their back, so that's not a problem we have to resolve.
I agree, we don't have to resolve anything about the Jungle Griffin, which "no jungle griffin has ever permitted a Namegiver to sit on its back".

The only thing to be resolved is the statement
Griffin from the GM Guide wrote:In order for a griffin to be used as a mount, it must be captured young and subjected to extensive and intense training.
I tend to think that this means that in order for a griffin to be used as a mount, it must be captured young and subjected to extensive and intense training.

You, however, do not seem to think that the phrase "In order for a griffin to be used as a mount, it must be captured young and subjected to extensive and intense training" means that In order for a griffin to be used as a mount, it must be captured young and subjected to extensive and intense training.

You seem to be arguing that "my Griffin loves me, and would gladly serve as my mount, so long as I can teach it how, and I can teach it how"!

My argument is that "Adult Griffins probably consider being trained as a mount to be abuse, and will not put up with it. They hate the idea of being trained as a mount more than they love you".

It has absolutely nothing whatsoever about how Animal Training works or what it can and can't do, except that you can only train a bonded animal, and abusing the animal decreases the bond, therefore you can't train an animal to be abused.

I don't really consider the above two paragraphs to be an assumption or an opinion. For my text I take the statement
Griffin from the GM Guide wrote:In order for a griffin to be used as a mount, it must be captured young and subjected to extensive and intense training.
In the absence of a GM implementing a house rule, that seems to me to be the Alpha and the Omega of this topic.

So to concisely restate my argument, "In order for a griffin to be used as a mount, it must be captured young and subjected to extensive and intense training". If that did not happen, then griffin can't be used as a mount. The reason probably (not certainly, but probably) is because they are too old and set in their ways to be trained as mounts. They hate the very idea. They consider it abuse. If an animal is abused their Animal Bond status plummets. You can't train an animal that you are abusing.

There might be some other, totally unrelated reason why "In order for a griffin to be used as a mount, it must be captured young and subjected to extensive and intense training." But it is probably because they consider it abuse. But the one and only thing we truly know on the topic is that "In order for a griffin to be used as a mount, it must be captured young and subjected to extensive and intense training."
Last edited by ChrisDDickey on Fri May 17, 2019 2:32 am, edited 2 times in total.

Avanti
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Re: Animal Trainnig vs Animal Talk

Post by Avanti » Thu May 16, 2019 2:36 pm

ChrisDDickey - I follow the same logic as you do.

Moreover I did a bit of research in our world, and there are animals that do not take to domestication at all (not to mention training for riding). One example is a zebra. Seems close enough to a horse to work right? Nope - zebras cannot be domesticated simply because the do not have the character for it. Even if taken young, as they grow up their nature takes over and they become unbearably mean. A lot of wild predators, even if captured young and raised by humans retain a lot of their predatory instincts and are not considered domesticated. Especially the big cats....
... and Griffins are part-big cat. So I imagine they are being train-able at all because of the part-eagle in the mix. Otherwise forget it :D

fun fact - to consider an animal domesticated it needs to meet 7 point criteria. Household cats meet 6 :P

So I imagine it is similar with Griffins - once adult, they will not allow you to train them as mounts. If you try to do it magically, it automatically contradicts the effects of the animal bond.

As for the talent itself - it makes training faster but less durable. That is because it is used by adepts that tend to adventure a lot and will not stay in one place too long. So the magic provides a convenient way of speeding up the process of training BUT it does not alleviate pre-requisite conditions: you cannot train a fish to climb trees - it does not have that potential at all. Adult Griffins do not have the potential to accept being mounted.

Of course a GM that wants to support a player in getting a "unique" Griffin that would allow the narrative of bonding by a beastmaster or cavalryman and subsequent training it (including as a mount) can do so either by house rule or - as I prefer - a specific story (e.g. an adult, trained griffin that lost its previous master; or the adept saving a young adult from a deadly trap/injury/predator and nursing it back to health resulting in extremely strong bond etc). A good enough back-story could even make a jungle griffin ride-able (look at "Avatar" and Toruk Makto :) )

Slimcreeper
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Re: Animal Trainnig vs Animal Talk

Post by Slimcreeper » Thu May 16, 2019 3:14 pm

I know I’m 20 years late to the party, but I’m reading germs, guns, and steel right now and it talks a lot about this.

Sharkforce
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Re: Animal Trainnig vs Animal Talk

Post by Sharkforce » Thu May 16, 2019 7:42 pm

you pretty much don't really tame *any* creature in adulthood. animal taming does it anyways.

and if you can train a griffin to gladly take a rider on its back, it seems improbable that it is the result of immutable biology. so how are they suddenly developing this absolute hatred for taking a rider on their back? are the adult griffins training the young to hate it somehow? where do they get this behaviour from? if it was like a zebra (or a jungle griffin), then they wouldn't be trainable whether they are young or not. though again, that shouldn't really matter: there are dozens of random creatures in the earthdawn setting (including big cats) which can be trained to do all manner of things.

and again: the animal training talent is subject to restrictions on magic. if someone bought a tame griffin, would you expect the training to go away because of a dispel magic test? how about if the person who did the training is killed, and everything based on their talents end? (i'm assuming sleeping doesn't count for talents that last multiple days or longer, because otherwise there'd be no point in having a talent that lasts that long, but death certainly should) because if it comes from a talent, it should. almost 100% of the time for any griffin you train, really; there are going to be *far* more adepts capable of making the tests required to train a griffin than non-adepts, so you'd expect that in almost every case, the training would be done by an adept if it was possible. so, do dozens of griffins across the lands spontaneously stop being tamed when a renowned adept dies? if not, then again: we're not talking about the training being a use of a talent. it must come from a skill.

and this even assumes that adept training in this way is possible; adept "training" is subject to the rules in the game. it doesn't have a use where you can spend years doing a super-training procedure. and as an added benefit, it isn't subject to many of the limits we'd expect from conventional training (for example, you can train a wild bear how to be ridden in a single day's work... good luck trying that without magic), which frankly shouldn't work much at all like the talent, and was probably done that way mainly because the authors didn't spend much time thinking about how the skill version should work (which is fine, it's mostly a game about adventuring adepts, so i wouldn't expect them to put a lot of work in to develop an entirely different system for mundane training that is frankly not very usable for an adventurer, and as such would likely not see much use. in fact, if i came across an extensive and developed set of rules for spending years training animals, including a requirement that you start from a young age - because again, that's pretty much standard when it comes to taming danged near anything in real life, where we don't have magic - i'd probably be pretty confused and wonder why they bothered since it would be almost unusable for an adventurer).

additionally, years of training are going to need to be done sequentially. you can't just go off on an adventure and interrupt the training process and expect to come back three weeks later and pick up exactly where you left off, doing the training in 4-5 week periods. so unless those games have breaks between adventures lasting multiple years, no, you are not taming a griffin yourself (or at least, not for riding uses). realistically, you are going to either buy one that someone else tamed, or not be able to ride it at all.

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