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Old 06-07-2014, 07:43 AM   #1
johndallman
 
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Default [Basic] Skill of the week: Animal Handling

Animal Handling is as ubiquitous at low tech levels as Mechanic is at medium ones and Computer Operation at the high end. It lets you train and generally work with animals, with a required specialisation by category of animals. The more intelligent the animal, the tighter the specialisation; some highly intelligent animals, such as apes, give penalties.

If you're good at this, you may be able to calm down wild animals (that gets a lot easier if you have Animal Empathy, allowing you to use influence skills on animals). It also helps in combat against animals: their attack and defence rolls against you are penalised because you can predict their actions. It provides defaults for other skills that deal with animals: Falconry, Riding, Packing, Teamster and Veterinary.

Low-Tech Companion 3: Daily Life and Economics fills out Animal Handling. It's the skill for herding animals, and helps with advanced hunting, plus other details. Fantasy tells us it's a necessary skill for priests that do animal sacrifices. Banestorm has specialties for some legendary beasts.

In 3e, you really wanted to have Animal Empathy if you had Animal Handling, because it meant animals reacted to you at +4. Reaction bonuses in 4e come from Animal Friend talent, making Animal Empathy into a sensible 5-point advantage instead of an overpowered one. At -80% for a single species ("Good with X") it's a pretty good perk.

Have you done strange or interesting things with Animal Handling? I've seen a campaign that had "Peasant Handling" as a skill, but it was the kind of Ars Magica game where unworldly PCs don't understand why the pitchforks and torches come out occasionally...
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Old 06-07-2014, 10:14 AM   #2
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Animal Handling

There was one stunt I saw in a modern-day game with someone who had Animal Handling (Dogs)-14 and License (Dog Catcher). The guy had access to the pound, and over time had managed to train a pair of golden retrievers, a German shepherd, and a chocolate Labrador there with some stunts. So when the vampire with Frightens Animals in his template was chased into the pound by the party, the dog catcher managed to call upon his furry friends to "retrieve" the vamp. The GM let the dog catcher use his margin of success as a bonus to the dogs' Will rolls.
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Old 06-07-2014, 11:40 AM   #3
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Animal Handling

Animal Handling (Pigs) was the most horrifying use of the skill I've ever seen (from GURPS Action 1, the Cleaner template)
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Old 06-07-2014, 11:47 AM   #4
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Animal Handling

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mailanka View Post
Animal Handling (Pigs) was the most horrifying use of the skill I've ever seen (from GURPS Action 1, the Cleaner template)
There's a story here. What is it? :)
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Old 06-07-2014, 12:10 PM   #5
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Animal Handling

Quote:
Originally Posted by tbrock1031 View Post
There's a story here. What is it? :)
I suspect it's lifted from a scene in Thomas Harris' novel Hannibal. The Wikipedia article does not detail that scene, for good reason.
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Old 06-07-2014, 12:27 PM   #6
Anders
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Animal Handling

DF mentions that it can be used to draw the attention of animals who are attacking a party (dis)member.
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Old 06-07-2014, 12:29 PM   #7
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Animal Handling

Quote:
Originally Posted by tbrock1031 View Post
There's a story here. What is it? :)
Quote:
Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
I suspect it's lifted from a scene in Thomas Harris' novel Hannibal. The Wikipedia article does not detail that scene, for good reason.
Or from Deadwood.

Basically, tbrock, it's strongly implied that a cleaner would feed murder victims to pigs to get rid of the evidence. Apparently this is actually fairly effective.
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Old 06-07-2014, 01:02 PM   #8
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Animal Handling

I use my kitties instead.
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Old 06-07-2014, 06:15 PM   #9
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Animal Handling

See also Snatch. Specifically this.
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Old 06-08-2014, 09:04 AM   #10
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Animal Handling

Here's a question... is Animal Handling (gamecocks) used solely for raising and dealing with fighting roosters, or is is used in getting them to fight as well? Or is there a more specific Cockfighting skill? The same with dogs (cats/basilisks/etc...).
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