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How are tamed animals treated in terms of abilities?

Role-playing Games Asked by Jack Kuni on December 19, 2020

In a campaign I am playing in the DM allows the taming of wild animals, but you have to devote time and resources to training them to follow commands after the initial taming.

Would these animals, after the training, just have the basic stats for that creature, or would they get the same special abilities over time as a beast master ranger’s or druid’s animal companion?

For example in my current situations I tamed an owl, so would it just use the owl statblock or would it get the abilitys of a beast master ranger or druids animal companion of being able to take class levels and all the other stuff that goes with it?

3 Answers

This is a house rule and needs your DM to tell you

Unfortunately, there aren't specific rules about training animals and how specifically it works, what they can do, or how it may change their stat blocks.

Your DM is allowing this and will need to let you know how it works.

Some guidance for your DM

Action economy is incredibly important in 5e. I'd be wary to add more combatants as that is going to skew the encounters. If they are allowed, as it seems they are, I would not give them the full blocks and abilities that Druids or Beast Rangers get. That steps on the toes of those classes.

Your DM is also going to need to figure out who is in control of the beast and how they're going to act/react. The simplest is that the player gets to do that, but remember that this is a beast and still has it's own mind. A DM may, at times, take agency over you for control of the animal if it makes narrative sense.

Technically, these may also be considered NPCs and may require a share of XP. They can't actually use the XP, just take it away from your shares, but they can/may detract from the actual party's XP total as well. This can be seen as a bit of a balancing factor for adding to the action economy.

Steve's answer also brings in the new optional rule from Tasha's Cauldron of Everything about sidekicks which could be another option to consider.

Correct answer by NautArch on December 19, 2020

Your DM could, optionally, include the sidekick rules from Tasha's Cauldron of Everything

Tasha's Cauldron of Everything includes a new optional section about sidekicks (p. 142), NPCs that join your group and aid you in your quests. This may not strictly adhere to how you and your DM envisioned trained animals working but it offers guidelines. As it is optional, your DM is free to use or ignore at their discretion.

From the rules on sidekicks:

A sidekick can be incorporated into a group at the party’s inception, or a sidekick might join them during the campaign. For example, the characters might meet a villager, an animal, or another creature, forge a friendship, and invite the creature to join them on their adventures.

[...]

A sidekick can be any type of creature with a stat block in the Monster Manual or another D&D book, but the challenge rating in its stat block must be 1/2 or lower. You take that stat block and add to it, as explained in the “Gaining a Sidekick Class” section.

To join the adventurers, the sidekick must be the friend of at least one of them. This friendship might be connected to a character’s backstory or to events that have transpired in play. For example, a sidekick could be a childhood friend or pet, or it might be a creature the adventurers saved. As DM, you determine whether there is sufficient trust established for the creature to join the group.

The rest of the chapter goes into what type of sidekick you have (its class basically) and how it levels with the party.

As an optional extra, it is still very DM-dependent, but it may give you some ideas on how exactly a trained animal might work in your campaign.

Answered by Steve on December 19, 2020

Ask your DM.

You wrote:

the dm allows the taming of wild animals, but you have to devote time and resources to training them to follow commands after the initial taming.

So it is up to the DM to tell you what this looks like and how to use it.

Answered by Thomas Markov on December 19, 2020

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