Tome of Prowess (3.5e Sourcebook)/Creature Handling

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Creature Handling[edit]

Creature handling is a social skill, where you spend a lot of your time talking to creatures unlikely to talk back. It allows you to make a creature perform a trick (even those it hasn't been trained for), influence how creatures feel about you, train creatures to perform tasks, and even keep rabid beasts at bay without drawing blood. It is also the default skill used in riding, though there are alternative methods of acquiring the ability to ride well. Those with exceptional skill in animal handling can even train animals almost instantly, a skill prized among those who would teach their creature friends to defend their territory against invaders.

Key Attribute: Wisdom

DC Modifiers[edit]

Murderous -20 Attacks you on sight.
Hostile -15 Will attack you if you let your guard down.
Suspicious -10 Defensive and suspicious, will attack if provoked.
Indifferent -5 Skittish and wary, but not aggressive without reason; more likely to flee if threatened than attack.
Comfortable +0 Comfortable with your presence, may even approach.
Trusting +5 Thinks of you as a member of the pack, and may defend you if necessary.
Rushing Check Modifier
Rushing a 10 minute action to 2 1/2 minute1 -5
Rushing a 2 1/2 minute action to 5 rounds1 -5
Rushing a 5 round action to 1 round1 -5
Target Type Check Modifier
Target has Animal type +0
Target has Magical Beast or Vermin type -2
Target has Dragon, Plant, or Ooze type -5
Target has a type not listed above -8
  1. These conditions stack.

Untrained Uses[edit]

Perform Trick[edit]

Many creatures regard the tricks they have been taught as "work" and, like people, may not want to do them without some pushing. You can get animals to do things that they already know how to do. The base DC to convince an animal to perform a trick that they know is 5 + their CR. You suffer a penalty to this check based on their attitude towards you and their type. The time it takes you to make them use their action(s) on the trick or tasks is determined by your check result. As such, it depends greatly on your level of skill and your connection with the animal.

Note that you do not need to use this ability while you are riding a creature. Use of any riding related tricks is covered by the ride ability.

Base DC: 5 + creature CR
Check Result:

  • DC+10 and above: You coax them as a free action. They perform the trick as their next action.
  • DC+5 to DC+9: As a swift action, you convince the creature to perform the trick. They do it as their next action.
  • DC+0 to DC+4: You spend a move action getting the creature on the right page. They perform the trick as their next action.
  • DC-1 to DC-5: It takes you a full round to get the creature to perform the task. They perform the trick as their first action of the upcoming round.
  • DC-6 and below: You spend a full round failing to convince the creature to do what you want. You may retry the following turn.


Ride is really less of a singular ability, and more a collection of abilities you can use while sitting or standing on another creature that you nominally direct. A ride check is made each round you sit atop a mount. The results of your check are further explained in the revised riding rules section; it is included here to indicate that this skill is used for the check unless you have taken the Mounted Combat feat.

Rank 1 Uses[edit]

Creature Insight[edit]

When you spend enough time and effort training creatures, you learn to recognize similar traits in other creatures, even if you've never heard of them before. Animals are the most common of your trainees, and you can make inferences about rare, exotic, and even dire varieties. Magical beasts are those animals who have been enhanced by magic, but generally have the same base motivations as normal animals. Vermin are giant insects and bugs, possibly created eons past, that most others ignore, but are well suited to repetitive tasks and certain styles of training. As an immediate action, you can attempt to identify a creature you are facing. The DC for this check is 15 + the creature’s CR. The creature does not have to be alive for you to try to gather information about it, though deceased creatures need to be largely intact.

Special: The Creature Handling skill only allows you to identify animals, magical beasts, and vermin. If your GM is a nice guy, he’ll just tell you which skill you need to roll to gather information about a creature. As this may reveal more information than they want, they may not tell you which skill you need. In that case, only roll once for all skills; just add your modifier from each skill to your roll and give him all 5 results separately.

Base DC: 15 + the creature’s CR
Check Result:

  • DC+10 and above: You correctly guess everything in the lower success results, as well as every other special quality and attack that the creature has. In a less serious game, you can just ask the GM for their notes and read up on it while everyone else gets into position.
  • DC+5 to DC+9: In addition to the information learned from a basic success, you also correctly guess 3 special attacks or qualities of the creature. These are either determined randomly from those you have not yet witnessed, or you may ask for further details on one you have witnessed (type of DR if you have witnessed it, type of breath weapon, etc.).
  • DC+0 to DC+4: You correctly guess the creature’s type, subtypes, and any traits that would come as a result of those categories. If the creature is sufficiently common, you also know its name, and that may provide other information.
  • DC-1 and below: You are unable to reach any conclusion that you are happy with. You can not retry this check until you witness one of its special abilities or qualities first hand; sometimes getting bathed in acid jogs a memory.

Push Creature[edit]

Creatures, even the mindless ones, have instincts that are hard to overcome. Sometimes, these instincts get in the way of a creature performing a trick or task that it has been trained to do. You can get creatures to do things, even when an instinct makes them really not want to do them. Examples of these things are making a forced march, hustling while fatigued, attacking those they don't feel like attacking, or even sparing someone they really want to kill. This ability requires one minute (10 full rounds) of interaction to use, and you may affect up to 1 creature per rank in the skill at any one time. The base DC to get a creature to do something it really doesn't want to do is 12 + the creature's CR. Your check result is modified by their attitude towards you and their type. The ability may also be rushed, subject to the modifiers above.

Base DC: 12 + creature CR
Check Result:

  • DC+5 and above: They perform the task you ask of them without reservation or resentment. They probably still deserve a reward, though.
  • DC+0 to DC+4: They perform the task you ask of them, but without gusto. Increase the DC by +2 if you attempt to push this creature again within 24 hours. Bribes or rewards may shorten or eliminate this period.
  • DC-1 to DC-5: They perform the task you require of them, but they're not happy about it. Their attitude towards you shifts negatively 1 step for up to 24 hours. Bribes or rewards may shorten this period.
  • DC-6 and below: They refuse to cooperate, and their attitude towards you shifts negatively 1 step for up to 24 hours. You'll need to apply the carrot or the stick to make them reconsider, and you may not retry without providing them substantial "incentive".

Rank 4 Uses[edit]

Perform Unknown Trick[edit]

After working with creatures for a while, you start to learn how to guide them to do things they wouldn't otherwise consider doing. You can get animals to do things that they haven't been taught to do. This ability functions like the Perform Trick ability, but the DC is increased by the DC of the trick.

Train Creature[edit]

You can train animals, magical beasts, and vermin to perform specific tricks and prepare them for a specific task. The DC is the basic training DC of the trick (see Revised Animal Training for more information on tricks and purposes), plus the CR of the animal. This DC is further adjusted by the creature’s attitude towards you and type. You may train up to 1 creature per 2 ranks in the animal handling skill at a time, provided that the creatures are the same type and are learning the same tricks.

You make the check after you have committed to teaching the trick to the creatures. This result is the length of time you have invested in teaching it to the creatures. You can not retry this check until you have invested the time indicated in the check result.

Note that you can not actually 'train' any creature with an intelligence score of 3 or above. Those creatures are actually sentient, and can’t be ‘trained’ to perform tricks in this way. You can show them the trick, provide incentives to perform it on command, and help them to get it right, but that’s about it. There are no hard and fast times for a creature to learn these things. If they like you, they’re more willing to learn or perform tasks and will probably pick them up in a similar time to a non-sentient creature, and if they hate you, they may never learn it at all out of spite.

Base DC: Task DC + creature CR
Check Result:

  • DC+10 and above: You teach the creature to perform the task in just one day. Well done, he deserves a treat!
  • DC+5 to DC+9: You teach the creature to perform the task in only four days.
  • DC+0 to DC+4: You teach the creature to perform the task over the course of one week.
  • DC-1 to DC-5: You teach the creature to perform the task, but it takes two weeks to do so.
  • DC-6 and below: You give up teaching the creature to perform the task after a fruitless two weeks, since it has failed to show any signs of mastering the task. You may not attempt to teach this creature this task again until 1 month has gone by or you have increased your ranks in Animal Handling.

Rear Creature[edit]

If you have a creature from birth, you can make it more accepting of training. You can rear wild creatures of these types so that they become slightly domesticated, and take on a more trusting attitude to people. You must be able to provide the daily care of the creature from near birth into adolescence to properly rear a wild creature; failing to do so allows instinct to overcome your attempts. The benefit for successfully rearing a wild animal is a permanent shift in their attitude towards people of 2 degrees. This makes them more suitable for life in civilization or with humanoid companions, as well as significantly easier to train. The DC for this check is 15 + the creature's CR. Your check result is modified by their type and the attitude they will take on if the rearing is successful. This check is made when they reach adolescence, and that means that there is a very long and variable time involved in this ability, determined by the species you are rearing. If your check is successful, the new attitude becomes the default attitude of the creature.

If you are attempting to rear a creature while traveling, you can rear no more than 1 creature per 4 ranks in animal handling, and each creature must be the same species. If you are not traveling and have sufficient facilities and land, you can rear up to 2 creatures per rank in animal handling, and they can be whatever species you feel like raising.

Base DC: 15 + creature CR
Check Result:

  • DC+0 and above: You successfully rear the creature, making it somewhat more domesticated. The attitude shift is permanent.
  • DC-1 to DC-5: Your work has made them more accepting of people, but it's not a complete success. They only have a permanent shift of one attitude degree.
  • DC-6 and below: You fail to keep instinct at bay, and it's only a matter of time before instinct snaps back into place. Their attitude does not shift at all.

Quick Mount & Dismount[edit]

Leaping into the saddle requires a knowledge of creatures and mutual trust that you can engender. You can leap atop your mount, transitioning into or away from them as if they were a natural extension of yourself. To quickly mount a steed no more than one size category larger than yourself, you must succeed on a DC 30 check. If you do so, you leap astride them as part of another move action, or as a free action if you are already adjacent to them. For larger creatures, you must also succeed on a jump or climb check sufficient to reach the saddle. Failing any required check counts as a failure of this ability, which indicates that you instead spend the regular actions required to mount or dismount your steed. There is no benefit for extra success on this check.

A quick dismount is similar. If you succeed on a DC 30 check, you may dismount as a free action and you also treat the fall to the ground as 10’ shorter. If you fail this check, you must spend the regular movement actions dismounting. If you are out of actions for the round when you attempt a quick dismount, you instead fall to the ground prone. There is no benefit for extra success on this check.

Base DC: 30, though a jump or climb check may also be required
Check Result: See above.

Rank 6 Uses[edit]

I’m A Friend[edit]

Creatures of all types like you, and you know how to treat them to build trust and good feelings. With ten minutes of interaction and an animal handling check, you can attempt to positively change the attitude of creatures towards you. This shift is a natural shift in attitude, and is not enforced by anything. If you mistreat or disappoint an animal while their attitude has been changed, they are likely to respond more negatively than before. Even if you don’t mistreat them, their attitude will likely revert back to its original level unless you spend time earning it. The base DC for this check is 12 + the creature’s CR. Your check result is modified by the creature’s attitude towards you and their type. You may hurry this check as well, using the modifiers in the table above. You can affect no more creatures than your ranks in animal handling at one time. The results of your check are detailed in the table below.

You may not retry this check during the same encounter, but you may use it on a beast multiple times over multiple meetings. It is very difficult, however, to repeat the effect and make progress with a creature you have previously used this ability on. After the initial time you use this on an animal, they are treated as Suspicious for purposes of this check (though their actual attitude towards you may be different) or Hostile (if their attitude towards you actually is Hostile or Murderous).

Base DC: 12 + creature CR
Check Result:

  • DC+10 and above: You shift their attitude 3 steps in the positive direction. You can not shift an attitude beyond helpful.
  • DC+5 to DC+9: You shift their attitude 2 steps in the positive direction. You can not shift an attitude beyond helpful.
  • DC+0 to DC+4: You shift their attitude 1 step in the positive direction. You can not shift an attitude beyond helpful.
  • DC-1 to DC-5: You fail to shift their attitude at all.
  • DC-6 and below: You make an offensive move accidentally, and shift their attitude 1 step in the negative direction. You can not shift an attitude beyond hostile, and the creature almost certainly attacks you if they become hostile towards you.

Rank 8 Uses[edit]

Whoa There[edit]

A hungry, rabid animal is just as likely to see you as a meal or a target as something to be avoided. You know how to soothe hostile beasts and can delay them from attacking you. Delay is the key word here, as you can not hold an animal from attacking you if it has already started gnawing on your leg or if it has seen you hacking at its pack mate.

Using this ability is a standard action, allowing you to make an animal handling check against a DC of 12 + the highest of your opponents' CRs. If the creatures are being directed by an opponent who has the animal handling skill, they may replace this base DC with the results of their own check, though they must stick with the result even if it is lower than the base DC would otherwise be. Each subsequent check this encounter increases the DC by +2.

If you succeed on the check, they will not approach within 10 feet of you nor attack you for a time dependent on your check result. If you wish to delay them after that point, you must succeed on the opposed check again or give them some other reason not to attack, such that they change their mind on their own. Any obvious attempt at escape, as well as any obviously aggressive action by you or your allies, automatically ends this effect, leaving the creatures free to do as they like.

Base DC: 12 + creature CR, +2 for each prior check this encounter
Check Result:

  • DC+10 and above: The creatures aren't really sure how to proceed with your group. They don't even try to encircle or glare at you. This effect lasts up to 4 rounds, as long as you don't take any offensive actions or attempt to flee.
  • DC+5 to DC+9: The creatures do not attack you this round or the next. They probably circle around you, growl at you, or just go attack something else, but they don’t take any offensive action against you or your non-participating allies this round or the next unless you attack them first or attempt to flee.
  • DC+0 to DC+4: The creatures do not attack you this round. They may circle you or threaten you, but they don’t take any offensive action against you or your party unless you attack them first or attempt to flee.
  • DC-1 and below: If their intent was to try to eat you or run you off of their territory, that is what the creatures do.

Rank 10 Uses[edit]

Through The Hoop[edit]

Animals like doing what you ask of them, and they get the hang of things quickly. You gain new, extraordinarily fast methods of training creatures. Append these results to your check results for the Train Creature ability.

Base DC: As base ability
Check Result:

  • DC+20 and above: You teach them the trick in just 5 minutes. YOU should get a treat.
  • DC+15 to DC+19: You teach them the trick in just 1 hour. Very well done.

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