Talk:Beast Master

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If people want to talk about additions or improvements to the skill, I suggest starting new pages for this from this article. --Errol 13:05, 17 Jun 2007 (NZST)

The skill would be a lot more fun and desirable if it had a more fantasy feel than 'trainer of beasts that causes you to invest months into something with a life expectancy measured in seconds'.

A fantasy beast-master should be able to do a number of things

  1. Control Critters - A beastmaster should be able to influence critters causing them to calm down and flee / not attack and att a higher difficulty charm them. As the rank of the BM increases so does the outlandishness of the critter that can be affected. If needed the ability could cost FT.
  2. Communicate with critters at a lang rank = 1/2 rank +1. Yes, a rank 10 BM can speak to all the beasts but who really cares.
  3. Increase the effective stats of pets. Could at rank value to a limit of doubling the stat (so no 11 PS spiders).
  4. Train pets in adventuring skills or pets can use 1/2 the BMs adventuring skill or BM rank whichever is less.
  5. May use healer skill on critters or aid a healer to heal critters to a limit of BM rank. Yes they can resurrect fido but again, big deal.
  6. A BM gains a bonus to the horsemanship skill +2/rank

And while technically a BM can train critters, that's an off game thing. Bottom line is, anybody can have a pet but a beastmasters should be better because of the off sceen time they spend training them just as anyone can buy stuff, yodel or yell orders but there are skills that let you do these things better.

William 21:30 17/06/07

I like this idea. I think abilities 1)and 6) should deffiantly be part of the skill.
Abilities 2,3,4 could be do with a bit more of a tweaking/work but are okay in pricipal

For 2) if you limit it to an understanding of a single concept or idea for all animals of that type eg. you wish to help it or it wants you to follow, and the being able to more fully comumicate with the Animal that they have trained.
Thus you could send Fido, Tweety, or Dobin to the party with a message but if that message isn't to follow or wait or something simple you had better write it down, even if there's a better beastmaster in the party. And you avoid the Rk5 beastmaster talking fluently to all beasts (we change the subskill rules remember).

With 5) So it means the Healer needs more than Rk 0 beastmaster or a Beastmaster partner to work on a horse dog etc., big deal. A master healer shouldn't be able to regrow a gelding back to a stallion just because he has some beastmaster, which is the way the current rule reads. As for the resurection of Fido, it will only happen for masters of beastmaster, so not a problem.--Helen 10:44, 18 Jun 2007 (NZST)

What is a beast? One thing to note is that the current write-up includes sentients, at least in some contexts ("A beast master can be a slaver if they specialise in training humanoids."). So we should think about what can be affected by a BMer. Explicitly exclude sentients, and make slaver an Artisan skill? --Errol 13:47, 18 Jun 2007 (NZST)

As a counterpoint argument, does having pets in the game actually make for a better game? Is beastmaster a skill we really need to have or is it better relegated to the Artisan skills?

As a GM while I don't stop players bringing them I defiantly don't actively encourage them. My issues stem from an extension of the issues we have with a shared world. The pet is effectively an NPC that the character has a strong attachment to and probably a firm concept of how they act and behave. The GM on the other hand sees an NPC that they now have to look after with no guide other than the player as a guide. This results in one of the following

  • The player upset with how the GM plays the pet.
  • The pet basically not existing until required.
  • The Pet getting time from the GM which detracts from other players GM time.
  • Everybody being happy and the GM playing the Pet perfectly. (Does not occur often)

It is possible that changing the rules, improving Beastmaster, the pet will become a more defined set of abilities and it might remove some of the problems with pets. However is it easier to leave Beastmaster and simply get those who want to train an animal to speak to a GM to get a write-up. The volume of beastmaster characters is reasonably low and most of those have specific writeups for things anyway.

For in-game use the skill is clearly defined by it's name and can be handled like a few other skills in that you have a rank and the GM can determine what that rank might be able to achieve in appropriate situations.

Just a thought. --Mandos 11:19, 18 Jun 2007 (NZST)

Yes, I guess we could ignore the skill politely in the hopes it will go away. While this has been an effective strategy it has led to any pets a PC has being minor godlings. The main problem with the skill is what I stated, your character invests months of training time for a thing that will last pulses. What I want is a skill that enhances the still disposable animals without requiring this utterly unusable time requirement and making it desirable enough that it is competitive among the 2nd tier skills.

As to speaking to critters. only a BM can speak to critters. It has no rational justification and is purely there for the fantasy flavour of it all.

If a rank 8+ Beastmaster / Healer wants to disrupt the economy by 're-booting' geldings? Hell, let em. They are rank 10 in two skills. They should be making waves. Remember I want the limit to be either rank so a rank 8 healer, rank 3 Beast master can do rank 3 healing on critters.

As for what constitutes a critter, it can be whatever we want it to be if we re-write the skill.


I am with Mandos when it comes to pets (but more so). I understand that a roleplaying game can work with people having a number of NPCs, pets, godlings, familiars, etc., as well as a primary character, but its a lot more work for the GM, and in a multi-GM campaign, I don't really feel that I can do much with these pets. I can occasionally use them to creat moral quandries for PCs, or a little tension in the story, but generally they are just additional actions and skills available to the PC which either have no personality (make them an amulet), or which someone gets to play. They also can be a drain on the resources of the party, disrupt the game-flow, and cause problems. The mains reasons for having trained pets appear to be that some players want them, and that some fantasy stories have them. Note that precious few high-magic stories have them, though, and there is probably a good reason for this. I'm happy to encourage Beastmaster into a soothe-the-savage-beast type of skill (although there are spells that allow most of this already), rather than a collect-a-menagerie skill. I understand I have an extreme position, and would like to hear why people want pets or animal companions in the game (or NPC companions for that matter - though that might be off-track). I understand that Menolly and Kelsie (amongst others) have beast-master types characters - perhaps you could explain what sorts of things you want to be able to do (and if you feel like it, I'd love to know why?). This might help us to work out what we want the skill to do in the game, and then we can fix the mechanics. In the meantime, mechanics proposals are assuming certain approaches to Beastmaster without agreeing (or even stating) what we want to achieve. Andreww 20:58, 15 Apr 2009 (NZST)

I am interested in this, and I'm in the camp of wanting to spend the time and exp/training of my pets so they can do something specific. If I was to write up some ideas on what sorts of things could be trained in this way, and what sorts of benefits they might have to the pets, where would be the best place to pop them for people to look at and give feedback? I'm currently working on some ideas specifically for dogs, but I would like to set up a framework of things that could be applicable to a range of animals. Menolly 01:21, 08 April 2009

One of the things I always thought of was the assistance animals that are trained to help the physically and interlectually handicapped, then of course there is the beastmaster films, hell just about any hollywood animal movie should give an idea of what a trained animal could do. Unfortunately by the current rules as william says, unless they are some kind of god they just get gakked. Even avatar pets aren't safe. Maybe slashing the training costs and times would make it less of a sting losing a trained pet every second combat. Michael 05:01, 8 Apr 2009 (NZST)

Hi all, here are a couple of unstructured thoughts:

  • If the only problem with having "disposable" animals is due to time required to train them, why not just cut down the training time??
  • Regarding resurrection; Given they don't have "souls" perhaps an animal resurrection (as proposed above) can be pitched as "the body remembers" so you need to quick train a resurrected animal (effectively like a new animal but pre-used body) in a small fixed time to get back to full ability.
  • Perhaps the time needed to train can depend on if (and how many) other pre-trained animals are with them. That could be a method of reducing training time. So first animal is hard, second is easier. (I'm thinking of a dog trainer here with a newly introduced dog into a trained group quickly following others in minutes for the simple stuff.)
  • As with people, if you don't want to die easily, I'd make sure the animals have a trollskin and greaters etc. Depends on cost as with people.
  • Perhaps trained animals also can naturally flee if they "sense" they might die... hmm.

--Neil 16:31, 14 Apr 2009 (NZST)

Training Time

If you can train animals at the same time as ranking then it has a lot less impact on the characters.

It takes a long time to get a replacement Dog or Horse at low ranks but at rank 6 you could have another 6 Timmies trained within 1.5 months. Only a big deal if you have to do this instead of ranking.

I suggest:

A Beastmaster must spend half of each day training the animals, so only half of the day is available for training.
At rank 4 they may train animals while ranking related skills.
At rank 6 they may train animals while ranking any non-magical skills.
At Rank 8 they may train animals while ranking magic.

So at ranks 0-3 it means most of a season only ranking one thing to train up to 3 easily domesticated animals you have raised. At rank 4/5 you could also rank Beastmaster, Horsemanship, Animal Husbandry (Artisan), etc. At rank 6 you can rank any non-magic for the half a season you need. A Master does not need to interrupt their ranking time at all.

-- Stephen 10:16, 15 Apr 2009 (NZST)


Loyalty Checks

Attempted rewrite for clarity and brevity (and slight changes): -- Stephen 11:35, 15 Apr 2009 (NZST)

A beast must make a successful loyalty check to obey the command whenever it recognises that its master is endangering it, or whenever its master commands an action that runs counter to its instincts.

BC: WP (of Master) + Rank (of Trainer)
+ Rank if their master is their trainer
+ Rank for easily domesticated beasts
+ Rank if beast is neither intelligent nor rebellious

This is the base chance for Domesticated Beasts, this is doubled for Trained Beasts.

Failure means the creature will balk or sometimes flee (seeking safety).

Critical failure (over 90 + Rank) means the creature may turn on its master, panic and cause injury, or flee indefinitely (if an appropriate action is unclear, roll on the fright table).

A beast master who intimidates their animals adds one to their Rank when calculating training or domestication time, but adds 10 to the dice-roll for any loyalty check.

Horsemanship Bonus

Sounds good. +1% per rank or +2% per rank if the beast being ridden is one of the types/groups you can train. -- SM


  • Reaction Roll Modifiers?
  • Bardic Voice like ability?


I think a BM should be able to affect stats at two different levels as follows:

Through selective breeding and training a Beastmaster may adjust the primary and secondary characteristics of a beast within the normal range for the beast by 5 + 3 per rank (Halved if only trained not bred).

NB 5 + 3 per rank means you need to be a Master to achieve 'racial max' in all stats for a Wardog or Warhorse.

Through breeding a Beastmaster may increase the maximum of one primary or secondary characteristic by one per generation, to a maximum of + Rank across all stats and not increasing the maximum of any one characteristic by more than 100%.

-- Stephen 10:16, 15 Apr 2009 (NZST)