How do you deal with PETS?


So i had a bit of a question how do you guys handle pets in ICRPG

For the most part my problem with allowing a pet in the game makes one player have a stronger action economy then the other players. But i love having pets in games and i think it makes for a great game component. So i want to fix this, and maybe with some of your guys help we can develop a way that pets can be welcomed at the table without feeling like a gimmick for extra moves.

My first thought is Pets take up 2 loot slots when creating the character, and this is for a pretty “basic” pet, like a raven or a dog that would have only 1 HP. Pets with 10 hp take up 3 slots, say a wolf or a large cat. Unfortunately this doesn’t address the action economy portion of the game.

Which leads me to part two, pets only get 1 action in the turn, they can move OR attack, pick up OR run, but never both like a player can. This unfortunately still leaves players with pets with 1 more action than those without.

This leads me to my next problem, pet stats, do they deserve stats? should they have a modifier on their rolls at all, which i tend to lean more into “pets are loot, they give YOU a bonus, but don’t have their own capacity to roll checks”

For example; me and my dog are going to attack a creature; bump the dice up by 1, if i’m using a weapon (d6), now lets use a d8, and this can be easily modified by pet type, a BEAR would have a better block then a BIRD, so maybe the bonus is a d10 now, while still adding your normal weapon bonus.

My other thought is COMMANDS; a player can use their turn to COMMAND the pet, and the pet can roll (its own stats?)(the players stats?)

Maybe pets would roll hard if their master is K/O’d

How do you guys handle when players want pets, how do you manage action economy? I’d love to hear your thoughts, I really dont want players to need an entire extra stat sheet for a pet, and i’d love to keep them as loot with a simple bonus like (hunting dog - tracking is always easy) But lets hear those takes!


I guess it boils down to what kind of pet are we talking about?

A combat pet, a scout, or a familiar (2e Core has those as well ICRPG Magic, Raven Spell)

Non-magical combat pet just has to be able to do trainable things, like “sic um’!” or “fetch” damage might need to be scaled along with pet type, for example if old Deathbare had a Grizzly with him - it would be a bit over-powered (and hilarious in a city) to have the thing rolling a D6 damage, it would literally be another player. Maybe D4 and no bigger than a dog or bobcat.

Scout pet almost has to be magical as you couldn’t find out anything from it, but maybe some Ferrets like Kodo and Podo from beastmaster. Not really responsive but capable of starting a ruckus, stealing shiny things. Make the target or they steal a random shiny thing, get distracted, etc.

Familiar has D&D familiar rules, magical in nature, telepathy, can cast a non-damage touch spell through it something like that.

My two drachma,


But to answer your actual question, sorry I got distracted…

I run pets like monsters in my games. If a player has one it needs to work for the story, for example ranger and druid types makes sense, maybe an attack dog with a fighter something like that. As long as a good why beyond I want more attacks exists its fine. I do this because I generally have small groups of no more than 3 sometimes 2 players and combat pets help even the odds a bit.

They are run after or before the owners turn, shooters choice. They are loyal and will protect their master/buddy and will defend the player if the player is down. I give them an AC or defense stat between 10 and 13 and a plus 1 or 2 to attack. Player controls and rolls for them.

That’s how I actually do it - hope it helps!



The few times that my players have wanted a companion animal or pet, I’ve relied on using @GmGrizzly 's NPC as LOOT as the base method.

TL:DR; The current Grizzly Companion is pretty simple:

  1. All NPC Companions are Player run, have one Heart, and have no roll bonuses of their own (special circumstances only);
  2. Companions are Carried LOOT Chests “shared” among the party and provide small LOOT bonuses to all who open and keep the Companions in their Gear;
  3. NPC ACTIONS can be used out of turn by any “friend” of the Companion, are always CHA Attempts, and usually apply one Heart of Effort to the Action;
  4. There is a 1D4 Round Cooldown that applies to all NPC ACTIONS after one is used;
  5. They use a series of 6 Tags to combine and create a complete unique character from appearance, character, personality, backstory and motivation.

Of course, Companions can be removed from a player’s Gear. This is the same as saying “Hey, your friendship isn’t as important to me as this other bauble.” Friendships can be broken, forgotten, lost or destroyed. And broken friendships must be mended before things can go back to normal. A dead Companion no longer provides bonuses (obviously), but it might be interesting to see how long it takes for players to remove them from their inventory.


I love the 1d4 cool down on actions, this is such a simple way to mitigate the actions, you might get lucky and be able to do it in 1 round, but it could be four! also the stat blocks are small enough for my taste and allows for a lot of variation with certain pets/companions. I tend to not allow NPC companions to be controlled by the party, but using a CHA check to command a companion seems like a cool way to make that work too.

“We’re setting a trap we only need it for a second!” “Well alright… !”


They are generally a bad idea. Players never have them for good reasons, they are used simply for advantage in gathering info you as players shouldn’t know or for abilities their characters cannot do. Don’t let players complicate the game.

However, if you do, make them “unreliable”. The wolf you send out to scout, catches back up with you hours later after getting distracted by chasing a rabbit. The raven familiar comes back with information that is incomprehensible in the information it imparts or completely misunderstands your commands, (like baby Groot in Guardians of the Galaxy2 with the detonation device) , coming back with colorful string or some stuff completely unrelated to what you told it to do.

See how much they think of a pet when they can’t get anything good from it. I am sure we all know the anwer.


Hey there! Great question.

I have to be completely honest on this one. I have only found one way to make this work.

You dice-up and have an owlbear kill and eat their pet, just like it will kill and eat the PCs. There is a reason that people don’t bring their pet owls into war. Pet owls get killed in war.



I’m in the “Pets are never good” camp.

However, the best fix is this: Either the player takes an action on his/her turn, OR the pet takes an action. Both can still make a move. But that’s it. You don’t get two attacks just because you have a pet.

Perhaps with a milestone, then the pet could also take an action later in the game when others have their own milestones.


I mostly agree with Alex here. But there are occasional times that a pet can be reasonable.

On those infrequent times that I allow a pet, it goes something like this:

Cost: +3 worth of Base Stats, or Starter Class Loot at Character Creation. In lieu of Milestone Class Loot later.

Pet Name (TAG) - Can only have cosmetic (non-mechanical) effect on game world with two exceptions:
—once per session as a free action, follows the direction of its PC, gaining +3 on an Attempt or Effort roll.
—The PC may donate their turn to the Pet, taking no other action for their self that would change any game effect or state. Pet gets the same +3 as above.

(Basically, keeping the focus and spotlight about the player, by making his class, effectively, “Pet-Haver.”)


I am of the opposite opinion of Alex, pets are awesome and I would like to see them more often. But that ruling is exactly right.

If you have a pet you can use your action to command it on your turn. Probably you can still move. This goes hand jn hand with having the pet be a piece of equipment.

You could use Mastery to let someone with a pet to do more on their turn perhaps. Or maybe make the pet repeat the same task over and over until you command it otherwise.


I have strong opinions, as usual. lol.

I’ve just been in too many games where:

  • pets make the game gimmicky;
  • pets steal the spotlight from other players;
  • pets are a vehicle for certain personalities to hog the spotlight/be the center of attention;
  • pets become a crutch and the answer to all the problems; and
  • pets slow down the game as folks argue over the mechanics or essentially get two turns or both.

When the problems start to outweigh the benefits for me, my cost-benefit-analysis makes me shy away from them. I have been in a few games, though, where sophisticated players used pets sparingly, and they were an awesome highlight. But that outcome has generally been the exception for me.


Totally, you have to lay down clear rules if you are going to allow them. They should be a risk/reward type feature not just a way for the player character to hang back and avoid damage. I can see it getting out of hand pretty easily!

I imagine a nice alternative to pets would be something like a summoned creature. They only stick around for a few turns, have a specific task they can do, and the user has to concentrate on controlling them. Come to think of it you could probably apply that to a pet as well. Like, sure you have a cool robo dog but it can only do so many actions before its CPU needs to reboot. Summon it as your action and roll a d4 timer to see how long they are able to help you out.


Wow looks like I’m alone in the pet department. Reading the responses some folks must have had some horrible experiences. For that I’m sorry, sucks to play with folks who are trying to get one over on you - in a play pretend game, but I still say they are fine if they fit.

Alex and Luther apparently really hate them,… wow make it so they have use their turn to command the pet, that’s some Gygax I hate Wizards stuff there. I’ll have to remember that if you ever play in a game I’m GMin’ - all the NPCs and monsters will have pets :wink: Great discussion though, I had no idea pets were so contentious!


i think smart pets or mind controlled pets are a bad idea.

i could get behind a game where every player had a bonded pet at least they are all on the same page.

I played in a game once where a ranger/druid had some animal companion nonesense where he could call on animals. squirrels did amazing things in those few sessions, i was bored though.


I would just make it a LOOT, same as everything else. But let me tell you what I expect from the player that wants multiple pets, they’re making a promise to me that I’m getting at minimum a Marc Singer style Beastmaster character out of them.


sorry if we burst a bubble for you there Deathbare. Pets/animal companion/familiars are so easily abused, that it is just not worth it.
It is no coincidence that druid wildshape ability does not allow you be a flying creature until much higher levels.
9 times out of 10 a player who wants a “flying pet” is only using them to recon. The pet flies above the area and sees everything you have laid out as a DM. All surprise and mystery of what is “around the bend” is gone.


Arc, your idea does not make it better. Pets are only acknowledged by the players who has one when they need it to do something they cannot. All other times it might as well be a sack tied to their belt. Only summoning it just makes it easier to justify why they are not dealing with the animal at other times in the adventure.
BTW, i personally don’t allow the standard summoning spells in my game. I only allow a general spell called “summon monster”. This spell brings something local and nearby (and if there is nothing, the spell is wasted). The monster arrives as if it is “sleep walking” and then “awakens”. It generally will be in a panicked state at this moment and attacks ANYTHING nearby. The spellcaster never has the ability to control the summoned monster.
Why do i do this? I dont want Summon Monster to be summon “EXTRA ATTACKS”. Instead, it is like in the movies when you throw a hornets nest into the camp of the enemy, it is distraction and possibly results in the opponents being killed. In essence, it is like a “SLOW EXPLODING BOMB”.


Just look how it turned out for Hedwig


What a cool discussion, remarkably different opinions.

Not at all about bubble bursting - all about the differences in play style we all encourage at the table.

For example what Luther is toting as examples of bad players, I actually think the opposite! Yes use your pet to recon an area - know the horrors that lie in wait at the cost of resources and time! Getting anything out of your pet will require magic of some sort - and for the pet to survive, I see that all as goodness.

Is everyone else bored at the table, well that’s all in the technique of the GM, you gotta keep the game moving and the world gets a turn. Will the pet get back in time with anything useful - will the party get discovered? All great things!

I see it as no different than the arcane eye or similar divination type spells, or if the players are just doing the recon themselves, or if they captured some mook and interrogated them. Can the players find a way around it or prepare adequately for the challenge in time? Will the pet get back in time? I love those choices and love to see folks work through it and come ready for what’s ahead. Other GMs do not - and that’s fantastic!

I also don’t mind extra attacks via the pet, and that’s because the bad guys don’t roll in singles. A single or duo of any intelligent creature just isn’t a thing, they come in war parties and scout patrols. Its a dangerous world for the bad guys too.

All this being said for as lose as I’m making it sound - hardly any of my players even use pets. Not because I forbid it but because they are more focused on the story and their characters in it than how to “get one over” on the GM. It sucks if you play with folks that do that, but not all bad experiences apply at every table or group.

Great to hear the different opinions!



ugh. don’t get me started about divination spells. Generally, i dont allow them. I do allow magical loot such as a crystal ball that can do it, but it takes an entire minute to “tune it” and the experience is so exhausting it takes a 3 hour rest to recover. During this time you are lethargic and cannot cast any spells.
All “magic-users” can DETECT MAGIC if they concentrate (i call it arcane sight). No TONGUES spell (you learn languages like anyone else). No IDENTIFY spell (You must consult books or experts) All other divination spells = NO.

I know, i know, i’m mean.

… and with that, i raise a frosty mug to Gary Gygax.