Last Updated: March 1, 2023
Pets for everyone. The Beastmaster Archetype is all about granting an animal companion to anyone that wants one, or more than one if you so desire. This is handled in a clever and elegant way by limiting you to only having one animal during fights and granting an Exploration action Call Companion. Extra animals simply linger conveniently off-screen and can be switched out between fights. This allows for additional versatility: one could have a mount for outdoor situations and a more compact companion for dungeon crawling.
The Animal Companion rules in Pathfinder 2e are very solid. For one action, the Command an Animal action allows your Companion to take two actions because they’re a Minion. This gives any class that struggles to find a meaningful third action to spend in combat something impactful to do as your companion has a separate MAP from you. Depending on your companion’s type, a wide variety of Support actions are available as well, giving you options beyond simply having the animal make a basic Strike. Be sure to also read through our Practical Guide to Animal Companions to learn more about the various options.
Table of Contents
RPGBOT uses the color coding scheme which has become common among Pathfinder build handbooks.
- : Bad, useless options, or options which are extremely situational. Nearly never useful.
- : OK options, or useful options that only apply in rare circumstances. Useful sometimes.
- : Good options. Useful often.
- : Fantastic options, often essential to the function of your character. Useful very frequently.
- Beastmaster Dedication 2: Fairly simple, for the incredibly small price of being trained in Nature, you gain a young animal companion, either your first companion or a second if you already had one. Not even a reduced or limited animal companion but the full standard feature granted by a handful of classes. Beastmaster is widely regarded as a very strong archetype and this dedication feat is no joke.
- Additional Companion 4: Orange does not mean bad feat. Orange does not mean do not take this feat. Orange means it’s useful sometimes, so consider if you need this feat or not. Do you want or need an additional animal type for different situations? Then yes, take the feat. If you don’t need a full stable of pokemon companions, you can skip the feat.
- Heal Animal 4: If you expect your companion to take some hits in combat, this is a must have. If you expect your companion to be less of a target, you might be able to live without this, but it is particularly strong, with options for single and double action casting for great effect.
- Magic Hide 4: It’s not a bad option, +1 AC is useful and the 1-Action casting time is convenient, but it competes with the most important option of this level.
- Mature Beastmaster Companion 4: All of your companions improve to Mature. Not all of your companions granted by the Beastmaster Archetype. All of your animal companions. In an extreme example, if you were playing with the Dual-Classed rules and were a Ranger Champion Beastmaster, you could have three companions without taking Additional Companion and all of them would Mature upon taking this feat. This is also two levels earlier than either of those two classes could get a Mature companion.
- Wild Empathy 4: You might use this in super rare cases, but again this feat suffers from having to compete with Mature Animal Companion.
- Beastmaster’s Trance 6: With this you can command your companion to scout and then perceive what it sees. The usefulness of this focus spell definitely depends on what kind of companion you have. A literal bird’s eye view comes in handy now and then.
- Companion’s Cry 6: Animal Companions have the Minion trait, which limits them to two actions per round. This feat can augment your Command an Animal action by getting a 1 to 1 trade of one of your actions for an additional one of theirs. Especially on Mount type companions I can see this being useful for chasing someone down. It’s not something you would use every round, but having the option open is worth it.
- Incredible Beastmaster Companion 8: Like Mature Beastmaster Companion, this grants Nimble or Savage to all of your companions. You choose which option independently for each companion, allowing you to further specialize your roster for different situations. Remember that this also unlocks their Advanced Maneuvers.
- Beastmaster Bond 10: It’s telepathy with your companions, which can be useful for issuing commands when also being sneaky or when using Beastmaster’s Trance since the trance doesn’t give you a way to issue commands to your companion until it heightens to 6th level at level 11.
- Enlarge Companion 10: How does a focus spell that makes your companion Huge for 5 minutes sound? You’re right, it does sound pretty awesome. Just don’t do it if there isn’t enough room.
- Beastmaster’s Call 12: This is almost like being able to cheat-in a second companion during combat and requires that you have multiple companions. As an action you can activate the support feature of an inactive companion. For some companion types this is an attack steroid and other companions cause debuffs, but you can get some use out of almost any companion with this. You might even double up on support actions, bringing a Bear into combat while Calling in a Shark, combining their support into the legendary Bear Holding a Shark for +4d8 Slashing. Sure, you’ll only get one action left to yourself, but that’s enough for a Monk to punch twice or anyone else to make a Strike.
- Side by Side 14: With this feat, you and your companion flank the target as long as you’re both adjacent. While this is fantastic and worth picking up for melee Beastmasters, we have a slightly more important feat at this level.
- Specialized Beastmaster Companion 14: All of your companions gain a specialization. Consult the list to see what fits for your companions and don’t forget the rest of the passive benefits from specialization. Also don’t forget that you can and should take this three times to get three specializations per companion.
- Lead the Pack 16 (Uncommon): You get to have two companions in combat but it’s not that great. At best it means you choose each round which one gets to do cool stuff and at worst it means they can both die to an AoE. I would skip this, especially if you already have Beastmaster’s Call.
Who Should Use This?
If you need a third action in combat, and you’re not a Barbarian because Command an Animal has the Concentrate trait, you might find a use for an Animal Companion. If you’re small, a medium companion with the Mount feature is a great way to boost your movement even in dungeons. If you’re using Free Archetype, this is one of the strongest options in the game. No matter who you are, I’m sure there’s a pet for you.
- Alchemist: Riding around on your companion as a mount while hurling bombs like a mad grenadier is awesome. Alternatively, taking advantage of certain support actions while making bomb attacks can be quite useful as well.
- Barbarian: The Barbarian is a class that has a hard time with having a companion. It’s unfortunate because an Animal Instinct Barbarian would be such a great Beastmaster, but Command an Animal has the Concentrate trait making it incompatible with Raging.
- Bard: You’re probably going to Inspire Courage every round, which applies to allies, including Companions. While you might need your other two actions to cast a spell, consider having your companion attack on the rounds where you would otherwise cast a Cantrip, freeing up your other Action for a Demoralize with all of your Charisma.
- Champion: What if you had two mounts? Well technically Steed Ally doesn’t have to be a Mount. You could just have two different companions that mature faster than other Champions’ companions.
- Cleric: Consider spicing up your Cleric with your deity’s favored animal as a companion. I’m sure you can make up whatever animal that is.
- Druid: Maybe you’re an Animal Order Druid and want two animals or maybe you’re not an animal Druid and want an animal companion anyway. If you are using Free Archetype you can easily have three mature companions at level 4 if you want to be the very best like no one ever was.
- Fighter: Champions can have a steed. Why not Fighter, too?
- Gunslinger: As silly as it looks, the Legchair is pretty strong for someone like a Gunslinger that can’t hold a shield because of reloading. The support benefit’s lesser cover is a +1 Circumstance to AC. Shoot, Reload, Ride Away on Your Totally Rad Animated Chair.
- Inventor: Because Animal Companions and Construct Companions are different, you can have both at all times. This might be considered a massive headache for everyone involved, so maybe don’t. On the upside, you can Command an Animal and Command a Minion for a total of 5 actions on your turn.
- Investigator: Investigators Devise a Stratagem and swing for one big strike every round, so adding a Companion Support effect to that one big strike is smart.
- Magus: The Magus’ action economy is very tight already, so it’s hard to justify Command an Animal. However, once the companion matures, it becomes incredibly useful to have a mount that can stride once per turn without a command action, removing your own Stride actions from your gridlocked action economy.
- Monk: Flurry of Blows pairs wonderfully with several support actions that add additional damage. Try Monastic Archer Stance with Bear Support for extra d8s of Slashing Damage.
- Ranger: More companions that get stronger faster. It’s true the Beastmaster gives access to some Ranger feats and it might feel redundant, but the flexibility of having (at least) two companion options between fights and having earlier access to the companion upgrade feats make this a great option, especially if you’re using Free Archetype.
- Rogue: If you need a permanent flanking buddy for Sneak Attack, this can work. Get a cat and it also has Sneak Attack.
- Summoner: You already have a pet that strains your action economy. An Animal Companion is overkill.
- Swashbuckler: Swashbucklers are pretty busy cycling their Panache so it might be hard to juggle in Commands.
- Thaumaturge: Thaumaturges can be a little busy when they have to change targets, but having a mount for better positioning and support options can enhance your options in combat.