Friday, December 18, 2020

So You Want to be a Disney Princess

Clerics of certain faiths (most often nature-based ones) have access to a series of spells to Enthrall Animals. With a lengthy casting and a failed saving throw, the cleric can bond one or more animals to them for the rest of the creature’s life. The spell grants them an incredible rapport and, even without their own skill in training animals, the cleric is able to teach the animal various tricks and tasks, making them a more useful companion.

For many clerics, this is a means of attracting and connecting with a useful animal companion; a pet and helper. Some within the Brotherhood of the Bear will also raise animals for sale, or to give as gifts to those who will care for them. Priests of the Merry Marksmen are less likely to do so, as they do not like to train their beasts for hunting. A Golden Arrow may enthrall a dog or mountain lion, and may hunt with that animal, but the animal will not be trained to the hunt; rather, they will hunt free of training, and the cleric will hunt with them.

However, these spells contain some ambiguities that might, otherwise, fall prey to Hackmaster Rule One: Always rule against the player in cases of ambiguity. This article is written to provide some guidance for Game Masters, clearing up some ambiguities and allowing these fun and useful spells to be used.

The Limits of the Spells
Each spell has three limits, that can fail in different ways. These three limits are Size, Intelligence, and Hit Points. Of the three, size only matters at the moment of casting; Intelligence is always relevant, and Hit Points are considered only at the maximum. Additionally, however, the spells are limited to living, non-humanoid, creatures. One cannot Enthrall a Crawling Claw, as it is not living. One cannot enthrall an orc of 5/25 Intelligence, despite that being the upper limit of the range.

Size: When the spell is cast, what size would the creature being enthralled be if it were healthy and well? While this may exclude some creatures that are malnourished, or allow the inclusion of very overweight animals, this does not necessarily indicate that the creature is an adult; creatures that are enthralled when they are young remain enthralled, so long as they do not violate the other strictures of the spell (hit points, intelligence, or non-humanoid). Some clerics will use Enthrall Medium animal to Enthrall a foal, who they will mount when it has grown. There is some Game Master’s discretion on whether or not an animal will begin within the size range of a given spell; dogs, even war dogs and guard dogs, obviously begin within the size range of Enthrall Tiny Mammals (being less than five pounds), but how big is a baby elasmotherium? How long until it’s mature? Are smilodon kittens within the range for Enthrall Small Animals? It is possible for a cleric to Enthrall a baby elephant, for example (size medium, born at 250 pounds), though the elephant may grow to exceed their hit point limitation (given that a full grown elephant may have 120 hit points, though that may take 20 years or more).

Intelligence: Creatures enthralled must have less than a 5/26 Intelligence score. In Hacklopedia terms, this is non-intelligent, semi-intelligent, animal (low) and most of animal (high). In theory, animal (high) extends to 5/100, which exceeds the intelligence range of the spell; you cannot enthrall the smartest of dogs, but many very bright dogs will be within the power of Enthrall Medium Animal. Should an enthralled animal somehow rise above this intelligence, they will remain positively disposed towards the cleric, but not enthralled by them.

Hit Points: The three spells have a maximum hit point total that grows with the cleric’s experience, and are considered based on both the cleric’s maximum hit points, and the maximum hit points of the creatures enthralled. Enthrall Tiny Animals allows a total amount equal to the cleric’s own hit points; Enthrall Small Animals allows 150% of the cleric’s hit points, while Enthrall Medium Creatures allows twice the cleric’s hit points. The maximum hit points the cleric can enthrall are limited to the most generous of the limits they have access to; a cleric of 40 Hit points with access to all three spells cannot enthrall 40 + 60 + 80 hit points worth of creatures for Tiny, Small, and Medium creatures, respectively, but only 80 hit points worth of creatures for the most powerful of the spells they can cast.
As the totals are based on the creature’s and cleric’s maximum hit points, not current total, it is not possible to purposely damage the creature, then attempt to enthrall it, nor does finding an injured creature allow the cleric to enthrall more than their usual maximum. While training or nature may incline some creatures to being enthralled, being in pain does not.

Should a cleric attempt to enthrall more hit points than they are allowed, the animal with the least hit points that will clear the difference will cease being enthralled. Note that, unlike some more traumatic charms, the animal is not necessarily hostile to the cleric, and will remember the tricks that they have learned under the cleric’s care. If a creature dies while enthralled, the cleric may immediately attempt to enthrall more.

In addition to these limitations, the cleric must care for the animal, and interact with it on a regular basis. In most cases, more than a week of abandonment will allow the creature an additional saving throw (though this may be mitigated if others are around to care for the animal). An enthralled creature subject to neglect and abuse will eventually break free of the charm, though someone who intermixed cruelty and affection for the creature will keep it far longer than the simply abusive or neglectful. Saving throws for such situations can come at the Game Master’s discretion, though they should be no more frequent than once a week.

This spell does not grant the cleric any sort of magical insight into whether or not the creature is enthralled; detecting it is an Average or easier Animal Empathy test, made while examining the animal (this particular test may be made untrained, though at one difficulty greater). Others may also detect the bond between the cleric and the animal by observing them making an Average Animal Empathy test, though they will not necessarily know that it is a magical bond, only that the animal likes and trusts the cleric.

Training Your Monkey Butler
All enthralled creatures, without training, will happily accompany the cleric wherever they go, and engage in natural behaviors around them. An enthralled spider will travel with the cleric, catching its own food (as it is able), and may bite those who threaten the cleric in defense. However, such behavior is unpredictable, and subject to the creature’s own discretion. The rapport created by the spell, however, allows the cleric to instill in their companions certain tricks; 1d3p tricks per point of intelligence. If the cleric is skilled in Animal Training for that type of animal, these tricks are in addition to those allowed by that skill, and are learned far faster.

Training an enthralled creature to a trick requires seven hours of work, and at least one hour of work each day. If a cleric has more time to devote to training, they may engage in no more than one hour of training per per day for each point of intelligence the creature has; so, for a creature of 3 intelligence, the cleric may train them to a new trick in seven hours of work over at least three days. Time spent training beyond one hour per point of Intelligence each day is wasted; the animal simply cannot absorb more information. If the cleric has enthralled multiple animals, each animal requires its own training period with the tricks; training five puppies at a time requires at least five hours a day of work, just on the tricks.

As the spell says, the tricks must be of the sort that can be taught to a dog or a horse, and may be limited by physiology. You can certainly teach a dog to go outside (or ask to be let out) when it needs to poop, but you cannot teach that to a bird; they simply do not have the ability to control themselves in that manner. Likewise, if the blind hermit has enthralled a basilisk, it cannot be trained to not convert others to salt, as it is a simple consequence of meeting its gaze.

Like spells, many tricks will have both verbal and somatic components, sometimes integral to the trick themselves. For example, a command to attack will often be accompanied by a gesture, as the handler points to who the animal is supposed to attack. Issuing commands to an enthralled animal is a one-second action which resets count for both animal and cleric. If one aspect of the trick is missing (for example, trying to get a dog to attack an orc, while the cleric’s hands are bound), commanding the trick requires 3 seconds, resets the count, and may require a intelligence test on the part of the animal, at the GM’s discretion.

Sample tricks include
Attack (usually with a target pointed out, though sometimes with the animal being trained to attack a specific race, such as orcs)
Come, returning the animal to its cleric
Defend, indicating a place or person to defend
Fetch, either a just thrown or indicated item
Heel, returning the animal to the side of the cleric

Saddle Training is also available, and some smaller clerics make use of it with larger animals, while medium sized-clerics may use it on larger animals they enthrall while the animal is young.

The Behavior of People, Clerics, and Other Animals
In general, enthralled animals will continue to act like other animals of their species. Owls prefer not to be awake during the day. Housecats will chase small animals and display their butt inappropriately. Birds will cheep and flutter and mute on your clothes. They are enthralled and enjoy the cleric, and they may be trained in many ways, but they are, at their heart, animals. This can make travelling with enthralled animals difficult; your owl companion is not going to be pleased to fly all day and sleep at night, and your friendly boar will not like being told to stop eating all the delicious food the farmer left sitting in his stall at the market. As such, those with more exotic enthralled animals tend to account for the creature in their plans. While the magical nature of the bond will prevent the animal from leaving in the case of casual mistreatment, prolonged abuse and disrespect may allow a saving throw.

Enthralled animals also do not automatically accept other humanoids who are not “their” cleric. Other characters attempting to interact with the animal may need an Animal Empathy check to make the interaction positive, especially at the outset. While a dog might warm up to other friendly people relatively easily, a raptor will remain cautious for far longer. Again, the cleric can help here, introducing the people to the animal and helping to mitigate reactions; the rules for encounter reactions might be appropriate, depending on the interactions the non-cleric party member desires.

Furthermore, however, the people around the cleric will still react to the animal as the animal they are; fellow adventurers may put up with your odd new pet, but the common folk won’t always make allowances. Placing a bright collar on your wolf companion will convince few that they are under control, and an unattended giant rat may be slaughtered as vermin. Again, this may be mitigated by familiarity; that the local Brother of the Bear is friends with an actual bear may be viewed as an eccentricity, even a marvel, the wanderer who comes into town trailing a dire wolf or wolverine is likely to be met with less aplomb.

Tiny (0-5 Pounds)
Giant Centipede*
Skitter Rat
Big Spider*
Large Spider*
Giant Wasp*

Small (0-25 pounds)
Giant Worker Ant
Giant Soldier Ant
Giant Beetle*
Giant Bombadier Beetle*
Giant Boring Beetle*
Giant Fire Beetle*
Massive Centipede*
Rat, Giant
Very Large Spider*
Giant Tick*
Giant Weasel
Reef Terror

Medium (Size M)
Arakian Warrior
Arakian Worker
Arakian Brood Watcher
Cheetah, Wooly
Mountain Lion
Lesser Orkin Wardawg
Giant Scorpion
Boa Constrictor
Huge Spider
Gigantic Spider
Giant Toad
Dire Wolf
Owlbeast Chick
Giant Vampyre Bat
Giant Crab
Giant Fly
Massive Rat
Oliphant Rat
Rooftop Prowler
Blue Shark
Shoagg Spider Runner/Prowler
Giant Exploding Termite

Those marked with a * are listed as being non-intelligent; that the GMs discretion, this can be increased to "Semi" (0/01-1/100)

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