Falconry Gear (3.5e Equipment)

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rustborne_aquilae_by_mr__jack.jpg
A master falconer
at work.

Falconry is the practice of using various kinds of birds of prey to hunt wild quarry. Those who use falcons in the hunt are called falconers, while those who fly an eagle or a hawk are called austringers. Falconry is traditionally the sport of nobles and kings, but is often practiced by people from every walk of life in areas where it's especially useful, such as open plains. The statistics given here are for well-reared birds of prey that are being used by a gifted amateur. Someone who practices falconry as a lifestyle would treat their bird of prey much like an animal companion or pet, using their Handle Animal skill.

To use a bird of prey to hunt, a falconer (or indeed their bird) locates a wild animal, then directs the bird to attack with a Handle Animal check, the DC of which depends on the type of bird used. A check that fails by 4 or less means that the bird wont set off or only flies a small circle, and one that fails by 5 or more means the bird deals its damage to you. Directing a bird of prey to attack is a move action.

You can only direct a bird of prey to attack a quarry within 120 feet that you can see. The birds outlined here are trained well enough not to set off on their own, but a poorly-reared bird could fly away or ignore orders altogether. The bird flies to the target and makes an attack roll, using its own attack bonus plus your Dexterity modifier. If the attack succeeds, the bird deals damage equal to its type, then flies back to your hand at the beginning of your next turn. If the attack fails, the defender can make an attack of opportunity against the bird (use the statistics for eagle for eagles and gyrfalcons and the statistics for hawks for sparrowhawks and kestrels). A bird of prey that takes damage from any source will escape to the best of its ability.

In a fantasy setting, a bird of prey can double as a weapon. Use the same rules as you would for directing a bird of prey to attack quarry. At your DM's discretion it can be possible to have offensive feats and abilities apply to birds of prey: for example, you could take Weapon Focus (bird of prey). It's also possible, if difficult, to train fantastical birds or other flying creatures for falconry use. For example, a stirge could be trained similar to a bird of prey, or a mountain giantMM2 could be using a roc as a bird of prey. In such cases, the DM should vary the statistics accordingly. Note that under normal conditions, only creatures of animal intelligence (Int 1 or 2) can be trained as birds of prey: for creatures with a higher Intelligence score, such an arrangement is a question of negotiations, not animal handling.

Table: Falconry Gear
Goods Cost Weight
Leather gauntlet 1 gp 1 lb.
Leather gauntlet, masterwork 100 gp 1 lb.

Leather gauntlet: Falconers wear a specialized leather gauntlet, since the talons of a bird of prey are unpleasant to face. Whenever you successfully direct a bird to attack or a bird returns to your hand while not wearing such a gauntlet, you take damage as if you had been attacked by the bird unless you succeed on a DC 20 Handle Animal check. The gauntlet must be leather - the metal gauntlets that are part of some types of armor, as well as spiked gauntlets, are not suitable for falconry.

Leather gauntlet, masterwork: The wealthier falconers can afford to spend a little extra on their gauntlets. A masterwork gauntlet provides a +2 circumstance bonus on the bird's attack and damage rolls.

Table: Birds of Prey
Bird of Prey Cost Attack Bonus Damage Handle Animal DC
Eagle 400 gp +8 1d10 20
Gyrfalcon 200 gp +6 1d8 15
Kestrel 60 gp +2 1d4 10
Sparrowhawk 120 gp +4 1d6 15

The prices of the birds above include the basic gear of a bird of prey: a hood, strips of leather on the legs (called jesses) to control the bird, and often bells to locate the bird over long distances.

Eagle: The most majestic and respected of the falconry birds of prey. An eagle is harder to control and more dangerous than other birds of prey, but is also fast and deadly both in hunting and in combat. The statistics for an eagle can represent any bird of prey of roughly the same size and strength, both mundane and magical.

Gyrfalcon: While not as massive as the eagle, a gyrfalcon is a well-respected bird of prey. The statistics for a gyrfalcon can represent any bird of prey of roughly the same size and strength, both mundane and magical.

Kestrel: The bird of choice for beginner falconers, due to their small size and lower price. Kestrels are more often found in the hands of those of lesser birth, as they are not the status symbol an eagle is. The statistics for a kestrel can represent any bird of prey of roughly the same size and strength, both mundane and magical.

Sparrowhawk: The sparrowhawk is a difficult bird to rear, but a rewarding one for an enterprising falconer. Sparrowhawks are often used by female nobles due to their petite size. The statistics for a sparrowhawk can represent any bird of prey of roughly the same size and strength, both mundane and magical.

Training a Bird of Prey[edit]

An animal trainer can train a bird of prey of their choice to be suitable for falconry using the train an animal for a purpose function of the Handle Animal skill. An animal trained to engage in combat knows the tricks attack, come, fetch, seek and stay. Training an animal for falconry takes five weeks and requires a DC 20 Handle Animal check.


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