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 Animal companions in civilization?
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Wenin
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Posted - 24 Apr 2018 :  04:52:35  Show Profile Send Wenin a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
This is a question I've had in the past, but I've never really needed to deal with it... until recently.

So you have a character entering a town, village, or city, they get to the gates or approach the tavern, but they have a panther like animal companion. What is expected of them?

The answer would obviously vary based on where they are.

For a city like Waterdeep, there could be a special stables that provides a place for the panther to be held. Would such a place be in the city, or outside? Would the city watch escort them if it was in the city?

What about a village, no way they would have such facilities. Of course for villages, the character could let their companion loose in the nearby wilds. What if those wilds are too dangerous to allow for that, or the character wasn't open to doing that?



Or perhaps these creatures are left alone, rather than to confront the owner? Not likely, I'd imagine.

How have you handled this question in your game?

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Kentinal
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Posted - 24 Apr 2018 :  20:29:32  Show Profile Send Kentinal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
This often depends on the community and also how well or if known visitor.

For Waterdeep there might be an official policy, however I have not read of any.

I would though expect a large city would require either the dangerous animal be leased or under some type of control. More likely however would not allow such an animal in. Housing for such visitors might be established outside the city walls. That the adventurer would have to rent. There is no way city Watch would detail people to make sure the animal does no harm in the city. The only exception of course would be visiting ally or noble in which in that case Watch would be assigned to protect an honored guest of the city. Even then if the animal caused problems it might be killed.

Smaller communities it would be case by case. While none would like a large cat within its proper, the force to impose such a rule might not be there. If the head of the local law is level three he is not in a good position to forbid a level ten about what is permitted. At best could ask the animal to be kept away. It clearly is possible that there will be Inns that would rent out rooms or a place in stable to provide room to keep the animal.

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Barastir
Master of Realmslore

Brazil
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Posted - 25 Apr 2018 :  11:43:06  Show Profile  Click to see Barastir's MSN Messenger address Send Barastir a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I think there is an old (2e?) sourcebook (Complete Ranger's, maybe) which says that wild animal companions can stay outside cities when their masters enter such places, hiding in its borders until their masters call them again. But I think it also considers the master taking them into the cities (but being prepared for trouble). I'll try to check it out, though.

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Ayrik
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Canada
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Posted - 27 Apr 2018 :  04:30:15  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message  Reply with Quote
It would depend on the creature as well. A horse or dog or cat or bird or rabbit or goat or cow might be so ordinary that no guardsman would even care to mention it, unless to assess a toll or tax when allowing it to pass. They might snicker, they might tease, they might simply not care about travellers and their pets.

A ferret or rat or raven might be unusual enough to raise eyebrows, but no major reaction other than perhaps a stern warning to keep the "vermin" leashed at all times.

Of course some "ordinary" creatures like an owl or toad or black cat might instantly mark the character (in the minds of the superstitious locals) as a wizard of sorts ... perhaps a "harmless" or even beneficent sorcerer ... or perhaps a witch, warlock, or necromancer to be feared and avoided.

And of course one could not normally walk the streets of Waterdeep (or any other "civilized" town/city) accompanied by a lion, tiger, bear, giant spider, anaconda, or godzilla. It's just not allowed, people don't like being around animals which might eat them.

And of course any sort of weird or exotic creature - like a pseudodragon, quasit, or talking salmon which swims through the air - would automatically indicate magic (danger). The "animal" might be forbidden entry, or impose some special license/tax/fee (paid once or paid daily/weekly/etc), or require one or more armed guardsmen nearby at all times, etc.

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Icelander
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Posted - 27 Apr 2018 :  10:55:26  Show Profile  Visit Icelander's Homepage Send Icelander a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Yeah, I agree it depends heavily on the type of creature. But any sort of dangerous predator, like a panther, wolf, bear or anything remotely similar, would probably be viewed with extreme suspicion by the average watchman, gate guard or man-at-arms.

In one of the adventures I am running, the PCs are accompanied by a wide range of animals. Sir Michael Carragher, the owner of lands near Ravens Bluff, a famous and influential Knight of the Rooster, a fantastically rich part-owner in a merchant house and the fiancé of the Saeress Raerevel Cathone, has Ughtrog Trueheart, his Master of the Hunt, with him, along with a pack of six Vastar boarhounds, a bloodhound and the huntsman's personal favourite coonhound.

There is also a dwarven boar-rider from Earthfast City, Bolg mac Uther, and his warboar mount, Skair Bloodtusks. Finally, the small band of (mostly) 'friendly' orcs that travel with them include a druid, Huthraug Skinwalker, who is accompanied by Gihgtru, a brown bear, Gelli and Brip, who are wolves.

When they arrived at the Inn of the Nine Swords in Swords Pool, Melicent, the eldest Mellicot sister (and thus chief innkeeper), absolutely refused to house an armed band of orc warriors, to say nothing of the fearsome array of other beasts. Only persuasive diplomacy by Sir Michael* could persuade the three sisters to house them for a single night, at a price so extravagant that Mellicent proved willing to overlook the danger of her, her family and all her guests being murdered, raped and eaten, not necessarily in that order.

While Sir Michael did secure a single room for the orcs to sleep in, he didn't even try to get the bear and the wolves housed in even the stables or wagon house. In fact, Huthraug Skinwalker took it upon himself to stay out of sight with his fearsome menagerie and he and his three scary animals constructed a rude shelter in the surrounding woods, taking care not to stray into the path of any locals.

The hounds and the boar were housed in outlying buildings of the inn. An empty part of the stables was converted into a kennel and a part of the wagon house was used to stable the warboar Skair Bloodtusk.

Of course, as no ordinary country stableboy or groom would know how to feed and care for a monstrously huge boar trained for war, Bolg mac Uther slept in the wagon house and took care of his mount. And, needless to say, the huntsman employed to keep the inn in game was not up to taking care of an unfamiliar pack of fierce hounds who can bring down boars, so Ughtrog Trueheart had to sleep in the stables, to keep his hounds well behaved.

This is in a country inn. As for anything more urban, well, I'd generally consider it pretty much impossible to take predators of a large size into a city without causing so much disruption that the local men-at-arms or watch would kill your beast. Most cities are also home to innumerable pigs, sheeps, goats, cows and fowl, providing the city with various foodstuffs, not to mention the vast numbers of horses and other beasts of burden providing transportation. Bringing something that smells like a scary predator into a city is a good way to start a massive stampede of terrified prey animals.

Bolg mac Uther has an arrangment with a distant cousin of Clan Hammerhand, a retired mercenary, who lives outside Ravens Bluff on a farm, to stable Skair Bloodtusk when Bolg visits Ravens Bluff. Bolg generally borrows his cousin's wagon and a mule pair to drive into town on such occasions.

The hounds kept by Ughtrog Trueheart, as Master of the Hunt, have kennels and a staff devoted to taking care of them, on the estates of Sir Michael, about 5 miles north of Ravens Bluff. If he were to adopt one or more of them as particular favourites, he might take one or two into the city, but so far, he's not taken hounds bred to kill wild boars anywhere but into hunting areas of the Vast. If he does want to take his hounds into the city, Redspires House, the Cathone city mansion, has extensive kennels and liveried staff to care for the hounds.

The orcish druid Huthraug Skinwalker has never visited a city and would not expect to take his wild animal friends with him if he ever found the need. He'd leave them outside the city, in some wilderness area with enough game and no known threats, and come back to pick them up later, finding them with his druid spells.

*And the fact that he's a devilishly handsome, incredibly charismatic knight, rich, famous and accepted as the next Lord Cathone, i.e. he's the Realms equivalent to a rock star or teen heartthrob to most young women in the Vast.

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Edited by - Icelander on 28 Apr 2018 12:56:36
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moonbeast
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USA
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Posted - 27 Apr 2018 :  17:08:23  Show Profile Send moonbeast a Private Message  Reply with Quote
In a city like Waterdeep, there's a good business opportunity to be the "Menagerie Caretaker".

Just park your dire wolf companion in my Menagerie… (located just outside the city proper) and I'll take good care of him/her/it while you do business in the city, good Sir!

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Wenin
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533 Posts

Posted - 27 Apr 2018 :  22:32:07  Show Profile Send Wenin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Excellent points and a lot to ponder. I hadn't taken into account all of the domesticated livestock that would be found throughout a city beyond the horses.

I think I'll go with the Menagerie outside the city's wall. Definitely ran by well skilled animal handlers.

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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
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Posted - 28 Apr 2018 :  15:40:39  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I would have this Menagerie be a regular stable that has additional capabilities. Even in a large city, are you really going to expect to have that many odd animals that need to be left outside the city walls?

So the stable earns the primary income, caring for odd stuff is the icing on the cake. It brings in more, but on a very irregular basis.

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moonbeast
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USA
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Posted - 28 Apr 2018 :  17:08:32  Show Profile Send moonbeast a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Regarding my idea of a "Menagerie handler"….. let's all remember that the idea of "Beastmaster" as either a D&D prestige class, or as a D&D feat, or even simply as a character background…. is almost as old as the game itself.

The fantasy worlds of D&D is full of rangers and similar "nature-types" that would be ideally suited to "babysit" wild animal companions of other adventurers. So why not have them make a nice vocation of setting up these small menageries (outside of the big cities like Waterdeep) and offer to babysit someone's pet Hippogriff? The idea fits well in a high fantasy setting.

Edited by - moonbeast on 28 Apr 2018 17:10:10
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Storyteller Hero
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Posted - 29 Apr 2018 :  06:30:11  Show Profile  Visit Storyteller Hero's Homepage Send Storyteller Hero a Private Message  Reply with Quote
A village would have stables for livestock and mounts. It wouldn't be out of the question for a presumably well-trained animal companion to stay in one, for a bit of coin.

It might cost a bit extra depending on the companion's species.






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Edited by - Storyteller Hero on 29 Apr 2018 06:32:09
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LordofBones
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Posted - 29 Apr 2018 :  15:11:05  Show Profile Send LordofBones a Private Message  Reply with Quote
It becomes goddamn hilarious when it's perfectly legal to select dinosaurs and megafauna as animal companions. Just imagine a druid with a Tylosaurus companion swimming off the docks, or a T-rex parked outside Waterdeep.
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Icelander
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Posted - 29 Apr 2018 :  16:25:05  Show Profile  Visit Icelander's Homepage Send Icelander a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Storyteller Hero

A village would have stables for livestock and mounts. It wouldn't be out of the question for a presumably well-trained animal companion to stay in one, for a bit of coin.

It might cost a bit extra depending on the companion's species.


Well, you'd need more than just 'stables', because if the normal prey animals, like horses, are kept in the same area as predators like lions or wolves, they'll go crazy with fear.

It doesn't matter how well trained an animal companion is, if it's of a species that normal mounts or cattle recognise as a predator, it will require special quarters, special staff and generally a lot more trouble than just stabling a horse.*

Realistically, even if a druid or ranger has a mystical gift that allows him to master a wild animal as a companion, that doesn't have the effect of somehow enabling ordinary people to care for these creatures. Shepherds, cattlemen or stable lads won't know how to feed and care for wolves, lions or stranger creatures.

Without mystical class abilities, it takes years of experience and education to be able to handle exotic and potentially dangerous animals, especially if these animals respond to situations they feel are threatening by killing people. There's no suggestion in the rules of which I am aware that animal companion react to other people than their master in a different way than other wild animals with their Intelligence.

So, yeah, I think that operating a menagerie and taking care of exotic animals could be a lucrative business near great urban areas with large concentrations of adventurers. But it requires much more expensive construction and design than a simple barn or stables and the staff need to be either people with mystical powers, like druids or rangers, or world-class experts at a rare and difficult profession.

*Which, in itself, is not as simple as just parking a car. Taking care of mounts is a specialist job, but, admittedly, that a lot of people in any society where animals are used for transportation will have. So rich people, like adventurers, should not have much trouble with finding professionals capable of taking care of horses, mules or beasts of burden.

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moonbeast
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Posted - 30 Apr 2018 :  17:28:44  Show Profile Send moonbeast a Private Message  Reply with Quote
So how much more would a well-trained "exotic animal" Menagerie caretaker charge, relative to what a normal domesticated horse/donkey handler charge? 5 times more? 10 times more?

A minumum of 3gp a day? 10gp a day? (I'd be curious relative to 5th Edition DMG economy, where a chicken is a mere 2 copper pieces!)
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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 30 Apr 2018 :  17:36:40  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by moonbeast

So how much more would a well-trained "exotic animal" Menagerie caretaker charge, relative to what a normal domesticated horse/donkey handler charge? 5 times more? 10 times more?

A minumum of 3gp a day? 10gp a day? (I'd be curious relative to 5th Edition DMG economy, where a chicken is a mere 2 copper pieces!)



Does 5E provide costs for training animals? If so, I'd use those as a basis.

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sleyvas
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USA
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Posted - 01 May 2018 :  12:46:36  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'd imagine the price would be tailored to the community. For instance, a small farming community that doesn't see a lot of travelers staying overnight might have to make accomodations available, whereas a city like say Waterdeep may have 10 businesses tailored to this need with multiple "pens" that are pretty constantly 3/4 full. In the farming community, the owner may be expected to lead the animal into a cage, feed it, care for it, etc... whereas in the city there may be some urban rangers/druids/animal handlers that are on staff. The city may even perform services like grooming and veterinarian work for these animals (removing burrs and knots from their hair and brushing them, bathing them, performing simple cleaning and bandaging of wounds, etc..). These factors may play into how much the cost is (for instance the farming community just having to keep 2 or 3 good sized cages.... that may double as outdoor jails or slave pens at other times, or a place in which sick herd animals are kept away from others.... it may actually be significantly cheaper than the city which requires more work on the part of the owner). In the city, many activities may be performed via unseen servant, mage hand, tenser's floating disk, etc... and/or other cantrips & rituals.

I would also note that I wouldn't be surprised if cities REQUIRED places that take in these animals to provide the extra amenities, and to also require a city tax be paid on top of that by the company providing the service, such that adventurers bringing wild animals into town will be getting fairly fleeced by the government. This would discourage the casual bringing in of wild animals unless someone is willing to pay for the privilege, which also tends to make the city more secure.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas

Edited by - sleyvas on 01 May 2018 23:42:45
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moonbeast
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Posted - 02 May 2018 :  09:49:47  Show Profile Send moonbeast a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Ah, there's nothing wrong with the idea of a DM occasionally fleecing Player-Characters and separating them from their gold. :)

If done with consistency, and if DM can provide compelling reasons for doing so, it's one of the few ways a DM can actually tamp down on high-level Adventuring parties from amassing huge stockpiles of gold and platinum (essentially becoming wealthier than some Faerunian city-states).

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sleyvas
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Posted - 02 May 2018 :  12:47:40  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Totally agree. I could even see some cities allowing the character (if they're willing to pay for the privilege) to let their wild animal travel with them (especially if the character and his animal were known to be civil). Of course, this would require an "emergency contingent" of mercenary guards to escort the character throughout the city... at player character expense of course of say 10 gp per guard per day with at least 5 such guards. If these mercenary guards aren't to wear the colors of the city (if the character wants to be somewhat clandestine... despite having a lion at his side for instance ), well due to the confusion this may cause, this cost may need to be quintupled of course. Naturally, these guards aren't there to protect the character or the animal either, but rather to make sure that they don't endanger the populace, and if the character gets up to any illegal business these same guards may have to report him.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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