Cannot increase INT in vermin companion


According to and it should be possible to increase the intelligence of a vermin and remove its mindless quality.

However, when I try to increase the intelligence of a spider or centipede companion it does not work. If I increase through raising the ability score I receive the dialog message "Cannot modify a nonability". If I increase during the level 4 level up, it does not return any error but the intelligence score remains unchanged.

Maybe related to ?



Windows 10 Home 1903


Andrew Maitland
October 26, 2019, 6:21 PM

Good lord…

Vermin companions follow the same rules as animal companions, advancing their Hit Dice and other abilities per Table: Animal Companion Base Statistics. Vermin companions can be trained as if they were animals using the Handle Animal skill.

Mindless: Vermin companions have no Intelligence score and possess the mindless trait. In spite of this, vermin companions may learn one trick, plus additional bonus tricks as noted on Table: Animal Companion Base Statistics. If a vermin animal companion gains an ability score increase (at 4 Hit Dice, 8 Hit Dice, and so on), the druid can apply this increase to the companion’s Intelligence, changing it from — to 1, at which point the companion loses the mindless quality and is able to know up to 3 tricks per point of Intelligence, plus the additional bonus tricks, as per Handle Animal. Vermin companions have no skill points or feats as long as they have the mindless quality.

I need to percolate how to address this. What happens when the 4 HD happens? Do they retroactively gain the missing skills points? What about feats?

Joao Barcia
October 28, 2019, 9:22 AM

Hi Andrew, thanks for the quick reply! It seems that they do retroactively gain skills/feats.

I’m not by any means an experienced Pathfinder player. My gut feeling would have told me that, no, they wouldn’t retroactively gain skills/feats. But a quick search seems to point otherwise:

All bonuses are retroactive when an ability score increases, be they bonuses to damage, to skill ranks, to hit points, to saves, to skill checks... all of them. Skill ranks not being retroactive are a 3.5 convention we specifically removed from the game because it was a weird exception to the rule, and since now there are no exceptions to this rule, there's no need to specifically state that skill ranks are retroactively granted if your Intelligence goes up.


Andrew Maitland
December 26, 2019, 11:55 PM

Okay, I’m going to tackle this. Are you able to supply a character with a companion for me to test?



Andrew Maitland
April 26, 2020, 9:26 AM


Andrew Maitland


Joao Barcia



Source Books

PF - Core Rule Book



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