Class Option – Dog Handler
I picked up Mutant: Year Zero this week and one unusual class caught my imagination…
Humans are not the only inhabitants of Tau. Your ancestors brought their canine companions to the vault, where they survived alongside your people. The dogs breed constantly and can survive by feeding on refuse and – when needed – each other. You can’t even remember how your sorry excuse for a dog became yours, but now it’s worth more to you than any human. You live in a symbiotic mutual dependency – you give your dog grub, and it will tear the jugular off anyone who stands in your way.
This class is similar to the scout, though weaker in ability. Their disadvantages are compensated for by the handler’s canine companion.
Dog Handler Progression
|Dog Handler Rank|
Game Rule Information
Hit Points: Dog handlers start with 8 hit points and gain +4 hp for each additional rank above 1st. (Humans gain +2 bonus hit points, while Near-Humans get +1 hp.)
Combat Ability: Handlers add ½ their rank (rounded down) to attack rolls with light or ranged weapons, otherwise they add ⅓ their rank (rounded up).
Adventuring Feats: Dog handlers add ½ their level (rounded down) to all adventuring feats, with +4 to Skill checks.
Saving Throws: Handlers have a +3 bonus to saving throws, plus their rank. (Humans and Near-Humans gain an additional +1 bonus.)
Canine Companion: Dog handlers may control a number of canine companions with HD equal to his class level. A starting handler begins with a 1-HD mutt; at higher ranks his pack will grow and may contain more powerful dogs.
The beast obeys your commands as best as it can. A Skill check is required for most commands. You can command your dog as a free action, and it takes its actions on your initiative (though it won’t take an action unless you command it to). If treated badly, a canine companion may make a reaction check to abandon its handler.
Tracking: A dog handler’s companion allows him to track both outdoors and in subterranean ruins – even under conditions that would prevent most characters from following a trail. A Skill check is required.
Foraging: Similarly, a handler with his dog gains an improved chance to forage. Foraging reduces movement to ⅔ normal, and the handler provides a 3-in-6 chance of finding sustenance (instead of the regular 2-in-6 chance).
Creep Detector: Dog handlers learn to trust their companion’s instincts with respect to harmful Creep-inducing agents. Starting at 3rd rank, a handler with his dog(s) can make two hazard checks to notice signs of Creep contamination and take the best result.
Elusive: By 3rd rank, a handler and his dog(s) can rely on each other’s senses to avoid harm. No attack roll against the character has advantage, and no saving throw by him has disadvantage, unless the handler or his companion are incapacitated.
Dog Whisperer: By the time a handler reaches 5th rank, he has established an innate bond with his pack. He can use this ability to issue commands granting one of his canine companions advantage on one d20 roll (a feat check, saving throw, or attack).
This ability can only be used once per encounter or hazard. The handler must spend a full round to activate this ability, and the bonus must be used in the subsequent round. The dog must be able to see and hear his handler to gain the advantage.
A dog handler can gain further benefits at higher ranks (in the unlikely event that he survives long enough). These must be discovered through gameplay.