Are you tired of your dull and boring animal companion? Sick of having the same wolf, raven, snake, or lizard as every other druid/ranger? Then fear not, my friends, for I am here to put some chutzpah in your companion, some pizzazz in your pet pal, some awesome in your animal. Below is compiled the list of the greatest and most underused animals just waiting to accompany you on your adventures and fight alongside you. Don’t believe me? Then read on!
1. Tufted deer (Elaphodus cephalophus).
Who said that predators are the only ones who should be feared? This little guy’s bite is most definitely worse than his bark. What could be better than the look in your enemies’ eyes as they are savagely mauled by this fanged herbivore? If the effort of finding this species is too onerous, you could always infect a normal deer with vampirism, as it should have the same effect.
2. Naked mole rat (Heterocephalus glaber).
Fur is overrated, at least according to the naked mole rat. Not only will this companion make its human feel beautiful and charismatic by comparison, the fact that it is the only mammal that is a thermoconformer (the body temperature changes according to the ambient temperature) rather than a thermoregulator (the body temperature is maintained at a set temperature) could come in handy when you need an interesting fact to break the ice at parties.
3. Giant coconut crab (Birgus latro).
A real beaut, this one. With a leg span of about one meter across, this disgusting creature is sure to horrify and freak out your enemies. They don’t need to know that it eats mostly fleshy fruits. As you can imagine, it is a handy beast to have around when having a party, as it can easily open up those coconuts in which you and your party members can mix your Mai Tai’s and other fruity beverages. Also, it makes large quantities of delicious chowder in a pinch.
4. Sloth (Bradypus variegatus).
While the more battle-centric heroes might be turned off by this animal’s slow and placid demeanor, it has a few qualities every adventurer will find appealing. It only urinates and defecates once a week, which certainly makes picking up after it easier. It will also be a total chick magnet, as women find these creatures somehow irresistible. Comes in two-toed and three-toed varieties, for your convenience.
5. Geoduck clam (Panopea generosa).
Pronounced ‘gooey-duck’, these giant clams are the largest burrowing clams in the world, which will come in handy should you need to dig for anything underwater. They can grow over one meter in length and can live to be over 140 years old, which will allow you to pass your animal companion down to your children and your children’s children as a sort of living family heirloom. If you’re lucky enough to get a female geoduck, she can produce five billion eggs over the course of her lifetime. Imagine having five billion of these guys aiding you in battle! Finally, their look is so distinctive and unlike any other animals or body parts.
6. Sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus).
You may not think these tubes with mouths (scary, ridiculously nasty mouths) would be good for anything, but you’d be wrong. Dead wrong, if the lampreys had anything to say about it. They can grow almost a meter and a quarter in length and weigh up to five pounds. They attach to their victims using their suction-cup mouths and dig into the flesh using their rasping teeth and tongue. They also prevent their victim’s blood from clotting, typically resulting in the eventual death of whatever they’ve attacked. For best results, walk up to your enemies and stick your lamprey animal companion right onto their face. Reapply as needed.
7. Aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis).
These primates might look like they are most of the way through transforming into a lich, but there is nothing undead about them! Fantastic climbers and naturally nocturnal, this would be the perfect companion for accompanying you on your nighttime endeavors. Its fingers, meant for pulling bugs out of crevices, could just as easily be trained to extract gold from the purses of the unsuspecting. Their nipples are in their groins though, so there is that.
As you can see, the animal world is ripe with companion possibilities that shouldn’t be limited to the basic and boring creatures you’ll find in the rulebooks. Spice things up for your druids and rangers! Make the GM do all the extra work of research and rule creation; they’ll thank you for it in the end.
- Jake is a scientist by training, role-player by choice, and idiot by birth. He lives in Texas and loves all animal companions, even the boring ones.
I am become death, destroyer of worlds.