Animals as Henchmen

From Beast Friendship:
“He gains +2 to all reaction rolls when encountering normal animals, and can take animals as henchmen.”
How does having an animal as a henchman work? Do they level up? What class are they? Etc.
What is the difference between an animal as a henchman and just buying a wardog that’s loyal?
Also, on a similar note, how do you handle how many wardogs a character can lead around? How many is too many? Do wardogs go into dungeons? We had a player last session take 3 wardogs into a dungeon, and boy, those things are powerful. I allowed it in the dungeon because of the emphasis on training. I rolled normal morale and all that, but I wasn’t really sure how to handle them overall.
Any advice?

  1. Like any henchman, an animal henchman can level up through adventuring. Leveling would increase its HD. You can use the rules under Reincarnation spell or Transformations on pg252. It’s 3,000xp + 500xp per special ability for a 1HD monster to advance to 2HD, doubling with each HD. For instance, a Panther (4HD) would require (3000x2x2x2) 24,000xp to get to 5HD. HD would be limited by the adventurer’s own Level in most cases.
    This allows the PC to develop legendary pets/sidekicks over time. If that is too fantastical for your particular campaign, of course, you can rule that animals can’t advance in HD, or put a limit on their advancement in some manner.
  2. A wardog, not being a henchman, would not be entitled to a share of XP and would not level up. Also, its morale would not benefit from the character’s CHA bonus, if any.
  3. There’s no hard and fast rule on how many wardogs a character can lead around. As a rule of thumb, you could say that a character with Animal Training or related proficiency can handle the same number of animals as he can have Henchman (e.g. 4+CHA modifier). For each additional rank of Animal Training add 1 animal. If the character doesn’t have Animal Training, he can only handle 1 animal, and it has to have been trained already.

Great. I like the idea of using the Animal Training / Henchman rule and also using the Transformations works great! Thanks.

Haha, you’ll definitely want to be wary of the amount of wardogs you purchase, lest you end up with a Doomsday Pack ala KODT.

I’m raising this thread form the grave (think Pet Cemetery).

Anyhoo, another question about animal henchmen. Do they get a share of treasure? I can easily explain the monthly wage for upkeep, but what might an animal need 100’s or 1000’s of gp on top of that for?

a nice platinum collar with diamonds? a winter coat with ermine? once per weak to the dog-hair-cutter…seriously good question and i have no idea. i would not give the animal actual treasure (only XP-share)…

If the animal lives for less time than you, that could be the cost of raising and training a brood such that Sparky II can stand ready to take her father’s place when old age takes him. And in that vein: the money could be money spent on superior feed, lavish living spaces (as many people will spend on their beloved pets), and a host of trainers/breeders for regular maintenance during adventuring downtime.

Perhaps the money is spent on shiny things for the nest, 50-pound bags of catnip, and similar luxuries?

Already seen this:

As with all henchmen, animal henchmen count as if they got a 1/2 share of treasure for purposes of dividing XP. They do not need to be actually allocated a share of treasure by the party.

(True story: One of my gaming groups once actually came close to dissolving over a heated debate as to whether a player's War Dog henchman was deserving of a share of treasure.)


so when one is “negotiating” with the animal companion to call them into service or having them make loyalty checks, it’s best to assume they don’t even get the 15% of a share of treasure?

That makes sense, of course. My original thought was that the players might see the animal henchmen as a better deal as they are less of a drain on the coffers. But after thinking about it, animals have more than a few obvious disadvantages over people.

Do animal henchmen from Beast Friendship actually receive XP and increase in HD, or is that one of their disadvantages? We’ve had war dogs not ‘level’, but they’ve also been handled without Beast Friendship…

Alex answered that in the reply to the OP, actually.

Since Beast Friendship can get you animal henchmen, doesn’t that mean that you can make an animal henchman a vassal of your domain? I now present Baron Fido!

This might be a little too silly.

Maybe just Consul Incitatus …

Seriously, google it.

So as the animals improve in HD, do they ever improve their AC and Damage? A 14th level wolf that inflicts 1d6 damage with no bonuses seems wrong to me, especially since he needs more XP to get there than a Fighter.

on the upside, the 14th level wolf would hit on a 0+ instead of a 1+ like the 14th level fighter, and it would also have 5 more hit dice than the fighter.

So that’s worth 24 million xp? I’m not sure if it is.

If you can find credible historical accounts of a horse competently managing the day-to-day affairs of a fief containing hundreds of human families, then I’d consider it.