Starting Animal Companions and Mounts

Discussion on game mastering Earthdawn. May contain spoilers; caution is recommended!
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graywulfe
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Starting Animal Companions and Mounts

Post by graywulfe » Wed Nov 27, 2019 8:21 pm

What is reasonable to allow a starting first circle PC to have as a mount or animal companion, specifically I am thinking of the Beastmaster and Cavalryman Disciplines.

The Cavalryman section talks about common mounts and looking at those it seemed that 1st or 2nd Circle creatures that are suitable as mounts seem to be what is expected there.

Should Beastmasters even start with an Animal Companion? It feels like a big part of what they do would be lost if they were not allowed to start with one, but I am curious about what other GMs would allow.

Belenus
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Re: Starting Animal Companions and Mounts

Post by Belenus » Wed Nov 27, 2019 9:55 pm

Circle 1 / 2 creatures is the right way to go.
In the old Adepts path book, there were even examples for mounts to give.

I allowed my beastmaster player to have an animal companion. It was "just" a hawk, but still useful in many ways and a dear friend to him.
Even so the biggest difference between a beastmaster and a cavalryman is, that the cavalryman's mount is like his brother, connected by heart and soul, while the beastmaster's companion is more like a "tool". Ofc he still treats it as an animal and will never deal him harm. But if not needed anymore or just not possible to take it with him, he discards it. (For example a beastmaster might tame a firebird at the death sea, but he will never take it with him away into a jungle, town or anything else, which would burn to ashes :evil:

Lursi
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Re: Starting Animal Companions and Mounts

Post by Lursi » Fri Nov 29, 2019 7:47 pm

At the end of each character creation we have a dice roll (w20) how resourceful a character is.

That was more fun for us than 120 silver everyone. That roll gives a good indication how fancy the ride can be.
Of all things I lost, sanity I held dearest.

ragbasti
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Re: Starting Animal Companions and Mounts

Post by ragbasti » Sun Dec 01, 2019 12:05 pm

Here is how we handle it in my game:

Every character can start out with animal companions worth their rank in Animal Bond (Both Skill and Talent). I've had some start out with multiple small ones, and it was usually fine. Some will, of course, try to game this system a little bit but that's a social issue you need to talk about your players with, nothing will fix that.

We made this list for our game a while ago:
CR1
Spoiler:
Bat (Messenger)
Blood Raven
Cat
Dogs (Guard + Hunting)
Earth Q'wril
Falcon
Goat (+ Riding)
Horses (Draft + Riding)
Kue
Krilworm
Lizard
Monkey
Mule
Pony
Venomous Snake

CR2
Spoiler:
Ape
Boar
Cheetah
War Dog
Eagle
Granlain
Huttawa
Preces
Sea Snake
Troajin
War Horse
Wolf
Zoak
Definitely don't let anyone start out with multiple Earth Q'Wrils, they are nasty! That first attack with Ambush easily kills any early game enemies you can come up with :D
We've also added the rule that Willful animals cost their rank in Willful more to obtain. So an Eagle (Willful 1) can only be obtained with Animal Bond 3 when creating the character, as they are very hard to tame.
If you crunch the numbers, an Eagle is almost impossible to get to Loyal before you have an Animal Bond step of 11+, so this is actually a really good deal and Eagle are really powerful.

Belenus
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Re: Starting Animal Companions and Mounts

Post by Belenus » Mon Dec 02, 2019 9:50 am

Since it is possible to start the game with Animal Bond 3, you should create a list for it aswell :lol:
And I would add an additional rule: This animal must be acquirable at the location the character grew up or was trained.

ragbasti
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Re: Starting Animal Companions and Mounts

Post by ragbasti » Mon Dec 02, 2019 10:36 am

Belenus wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 9:50 am
Since it is possible to start the game with Animal Bond 3, you should create a list for it as well :lol:
We don't allow CR3 creatures when creating a character. Those have to be earned. It would also break too many things early on, since you basically have a character with a creature that is noticeably stronger than all the other players

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