A new third-party Dungeons & Dragons supplement provides a ton of new options for players looking for a more robust set of Animal Handling rules. Many Dungeons & Dragons players want an animal companion, a hybrid pet/sidekick capable of making a difference on and off the battlefield. While certain spellcasters and rangers have set abilities or subclasses that involve familiars and companions, the Player's Handbook is a bit light on options for a rogue who wants to train a crow to bring back shiny objects or for a barbarian who finds an abandoned wolf cub and decides to raise it. Often, training an animal simply comes down to the DM either having the player make an Animal Handling check, or simply fudging the rules a bit to allow a player to have a fulfilling Animal Companion
Randall Wright has written a fantastic new supplement for those looking for a more comprehensive set of rules for training an Animal Companion and guiding it in battle. The Comprehensive Animal Handling Manual is a new 148-page supplement that provides players with a ton of animal options, along with new subclasses and magic items specifically made with animal companions in mind. The guide contains dozens of "tricks" that an Animal Companion can potentially learn if a player trains their animal companion properly, along with a guide for how an Animal Companion can activate magic items in combat and strategies for how to utilize animal companions in various classes. There's also a comprehensive guide for purchasing animals and outfitting them with barding, saddles, and other useful equipment.
While the Comprehensive Animal Handling Manual is a third-party supplement, it contains the sort of robust rules that many players look for when wanting to dig into a certain type of character concept. The book balances the elegance and simplicity of Fifth Edition D&D with the "crunchiness" of older D&D editions, giving players a firm set of options without forcing them to optimize their character build to ensure it works properly. Basically, this gives players a firm foundation to guide and train an Animal Companion that's neither too simplified nor too complicated.
The Comprehensive Animal Handling Manual is available on the DMs Guild for $15.00.