Typically used with: Charm.
In short: command critters. A character with ranks in Animal Control is a comrade to furry creatures everywhere, whether they obey the call of the wild or live comfortably in our homes. You can use this skill to get on their good side, make them listen, and even issue commands. This skill can only be used against creatures of a bestial Nature, meaning you can't use it on legendary creatures, undead animals, or humanoids (no matter how stupid, ugly, or hairy they are).
In order to use Animal Control, the beast needs to be able to at least see, hear, or touch you.
You can make an Animal Control check to improve your relationship with an animal and improve its Disposition toward you. Wild animals are generally going to begin as neutral or malign. Domesticated animals are often friendly or neutral. Depending on training, some domesticated animals would start as malign (e.g. guard dogs).
To make a furry friend, roll an Animal Control check opposed by the creature's Mind Control check. If your result is higher, you may improve their Disposition. For each 5 points of difference, you improve the creature's Disposition by one level. If your check is a Critical Failure, you actually worsen their Disposition by one level. You can only attempt this once per day per animal. Each attempt generally takes a few minutes.
You can placate nearby animals and encourage them to resist the effects of a failed Guts, Mind Control, or Virtue check. If the result of your Animal Control check exceeds the DL the animal needed to surpass, any consequences of their failed check are avoided. You can calm one animal for each rank of Animal Control (e.g. 6 ranks; 6 animals).
This skill can be used to train domesticated or intelligent animals with one or more commands. Teaching an animal a command usually takes 5–7 days. If the check fails, the animal must be trained for an additional period and the check retried. If you have nowhere else to be, you can Take the Best on this check.
An intelligent animal (i.e. one that has an Intellect score of 2) like a rat, cat, dog, horse, or dolphin can learn several commands, sometimes dozens. Less intelligent animals like lizards can only learn a handful — usually just two or three. A domesticated animal can learn any of the following commands, or new ones with your GM's approval.
These have a DL of 20 to teach
- The animal will stay and defend itself, you, someone you point out, or an object.
- Sick 'Em
- The animal will attack whatever you point out, but animals will not attack anything unnatural without extra coaxing.
- The animal can track by scent (if capable).
These have a DL of 16 to teach
- The animal will go get what you point out, or the first thing it sees if no specifics are given. You can point out an object or a person.
- The animal will go where you point and look for anything odd (or something specific if capable of tracking by scent).
- The animal can perform the usual stupid pet tricks.
- The animal will pull or bear a load.
These have a DL of 12 to teach
- The animal will come to wherever you are.
- The animal will back off and lay down out of harm's way.
- The animal will go to wherever you point.
- The animal will follow and remain close.
- The animal will sit down where it is (if its physiology allows for it).
- The animal will remain where you point until you return and won't provoke any passersby.
Once a command has been taught, getting an animal to perform a command requires a DL 10 Animal Control check (the character who trained it can skip the check). Animals will only accept commands from creatures with whom they have a neutral or better disposition (see the Negotiate skill).
You can use this skill to corral, guide, and direct creatures you meet that haven't been trained. This could be steering a racoon into a cage, leading some sheep into a barn, or forcing a mountain lion to stay put. Since complicated commands require several days of patient training, the only commands you can issue are those with a DL of 12 or less to teach.
Make an Animal Control check against their Mind Control check. If your result is higher, the animal follows your command. An animal will not follow a command that puts it in harm's way unless it has been specifically trained to do so.
To be able to issue commands to an animal, its Disposition must be neutral or better. Anything worse, and your only choice is to scare it off, which requires an Intimidate check instead. If an animal has been elevated to the friendly Disposition, it will follow any reasonable command it can understand without you having to roll.
The Animal Control skill is also used when riding an animal suited for mounted travel or combat. If it has the strength to carry you, any wild animal that has been elevated to the friendly Disposition will let you climb aboard. Any domesticated animal bred for riding only needs to have a neutral Disposition toward you. Once you're in the saddle, the more complex the request, the higher the DL. Below are a few examples:
|Guide mount in proper direction||5|
|Encourage mount to change speed||10|
|Urge mount to leap (failure results in being thrown)||15|
If you ride a mount into combat that hasn't been bred for war, it has to make a Guts check against a DL of 20 or flee in terror. Thankfully, you can calm a mount who fails this check as detailed above.
You need to make an Animal Control check if you try to push your mount past its limits, such as walking or galloping to the point of exhaustion, or forcing it to carry more weight than it's used to. Any time a mount has to make a Stamina check, you have to make an Animal Control check against the same DL to keep it moving. If you fail a check, the animal refuses to continue and comes to a halt. You can read more about overland movement and its Knockout effects in Chapter 12: Adventures.