Shaman Spirit Companion FAQ

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Both the PHB2 page 220 and the compendium say "If your conjuration can be attacked or physically affected, it uses your defenses." and make no mention of unmodified defenses.



Sorry.  I was confusing the Conjuration keyword with the Summoning keyword.  The Summoning keyword says

The summoned creature’s defenses equal yours when you summon it, not including any temporary bonuses or penalties.

Got a question in regards to what can damage a spirit companion.  Now I know what the text says, in regards to Companions being hit only by melee or ranged attacks.  And I know what was said about area/close attacks.  But what about auras?  This came up in our last game, a white dragon has an aura that thankfully didn't do enough damage to destroy my companion anyway, but we and the DM disagreed that the companion takes damage from auras.  I stood by the rules that only melee or ranged attacks can hurt the companion but our DM says that auras hit everything so companions get hit as well.  Can anyone help clear this up, thanks in advance
Got a question in regards to what can damage a spirit companion.  Now I know what the text says, in regards to Companions being hit only by melee or ranged attacks.  And I know what was said about area/close attacks.  But what about auras?  This came up in our last game, a white dragon has an aura that thankfully didn't do enough damage to destroy my companion anyway, but we and the DM disagreed that the companion takes damage from auras.  I stood by the rules that only melee or ranged attacks can hurt the companion but our DM says that auras hit everything so companions get hit as well.  Can anyone help clear this up, thanks in advance



Auras aren't melee or ranged attacks (it isn't an attack at all), and thus do not affect the spirit.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
Got a question in regards to what can damage a spirit companion.  Now I know what the text says, in regards to Companions being hit only by melee or ranged attacks.  And I know what was said about area/close attacks.  But what about auras?  This came up in our last game, a white dragon has an aura that thankfully didn't do enough damage to destroy my companion anyway, but we and the DM disagreed that the companion takes damage from auras.  I stood by the rules that only melee or ranged attacks can hurt the companion but our DM says that auras hit everything so companions get hit as well.  Can anyone help clear this up, thanks in advance



Auras aren't melee or ranged attacks (it isn't an attack at all), and thus do not affect the spirit.



Right.

The spirit can be targeted by melee or ranged attacks, although it lacks hit points. If a single melee or ranged attack deals damage to the spirit equal to 10 + one-half your level or higher, the spirit disappears, and you take damage equal to 5 + one-half your level. Otherwise, the spirit is unaffected by the attack.

So, if something other than "a single melee or ranged attack deals damage to the spirit equal to 10 + one-half your level or higher," nothing happens.

Let's say the dragon aura does enough damage to me the spirit disappears.  Well, since the damage was not from "a single melee or ranged attack," nothing happens.

I hope this helps.
It does, thank you.  I didn't think it damaged the SC, since the text says only melee or ranged, but figured it'd be good to double check.  Now I'll just have to chat with our DM next game.

Ask your DM for the specific wording of the aura.  If it says anything about a "creature" starting or entering the aura, then the spirit companion is ignored because it isn't a creature.  This also applies to attacks against "creatures."  I don't think I've seen a monster attack block mention targetting "one creature" but if it does use that wording, the spirit companion is exempt from being targetted.

Updated the sudden call and nimble spirit Q to reflcect the most recent errata.  I think that is the only errata that is relevant to shamans.

Q: So what's the deal with the feats Sudden Call (PP) and Nimble Spirit (PHB2)?

A: They used to be pretty much the same, but they issued errata to make sudden call work only 1/encounter, so you should retrain it to nimble spirit in paragon.  See page 267 of the PHBs for a full explanation of free actions.   And you can only summon your SC during your turn with or without these feats.
I don't know if it's relevant for this FAQ, but the shaman MC feat "spirit talker" has been errated, so that you gain use of a shaman opportunity power only once per encounter, not as at will.

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Q: Aside from making it look like whatever I want, how does the spirit companion look?

Basically, we are playing against some very unintelligent undead, but they only go after things which look "living".  Would they go after my spirit companion (can I make it look very solid and "living" or does it look transparent and "not-living"?
Just going by the images in PHB2, the spirits seem to be ghostly representations of living creatures. So I guess it matters what you mean by look living.

Is the party going to put on makeup and say "Brrains..." to walk past all the undead? =) 
"At a certain point, one simply has to accept that some folks will see what they want to see..." Dragon 387
There's not a RAW answer to how living a spiritc companion looks afaik.  That being said, I'd lean towards SC's being obviously not mortal since the game is generally supposed to be fairly transparent mechanically.
Yeah, I'll point that out to the DM.  Playing it that way (where it appeared to be a living creature) makes the SC a very good defender at level 1.  Especially against unintelligent undead who can't deal more than 10 damage on a hit. 
Yeah, I'll point that out to the DM.  Playing it that way (where it appeared to be a living creature) makes the SC a very good defender at level 1.  Especially against unintelligent undead who can't deal more than 10 damage on a hit. 



I doubt that stupid undead would attack the spirit at all. They would either have some way to "sense" living creatures and attack them in favor of spirits, other undead or constructs. Or they might not even perceive the spirit as an enemy, as it's not substantial so they just ignore him.

Want anime-style Power cards? Then try the Touhou Power Cards!

Yeah, I'll point that out to the DM.  Playing it that way (where it appeared to be a living creature) makes the SC a very good defender at level 1.  Especially against unintelligent undead who can't deal more than 10 damage on a hit. 



I doubt that stupid undead would attack the spirit at all. They would either have some way to "sense" living creatures and attack them in favor of spirits, other undead or constructs. Or they might not even perceive the spirit as an enemy, as it's not substantial so they just ignore him.

So the central feature of the class is now less useful against anything that "sees life"?  That's...  Well, that's making a character worse in a fight for fluff reasons.  As far as I knew undead don't have special senses or perceive the world differently than their description says they do (so either through normal vision, Low-Light Vision or Darkvision -- maybe Tremorsense on rare occasions).  So, while I understand that most creatures will not attack a spirit companion because they are difficult to kill and little is gained from doing so, making a creature ignore it for no good reason is kinda...  Well it cheapens the class feature.

And besides, if you're going to run with the zombies not perceiving it, then obviously they won't try to walk around it and avoid OAs.
"Besides, pushing someone over a pit is still entirely 2D... it just becomes 3D rather quickly afterwards." ~ yesnomu "Mind you, that doesn't change the fact that the poor str-priest is cowering in the corner wondering what horrible thing it was that he did that makes daddy keep hitting him so much, but it's not like the nerf was senseless." ~ SanityFaerie
RAW there is no reason for any creature to totally refuse to attack the SC since it is a threat, but this is always a DM call as to how monsters should think.  My DM treats the SC differently depending on the enemy.  The ones who are familar with shamans make sure to shift to avoid the attacks and try to get around it if they can instead of attacking it.  Most enemies who see this spirit attacking them simply attack it back if it is the easiest target to get to.  If I successfully use the SC to pin down an intelligent enemy where he has no good chioce, but to attack the SC the DM will attack. 

My favorite shaman moment this campaign was right after we hit level 12 when a large enemy was stuck in between two trees with my SC in front of him.  His only reasonable option was to attack the SC which he did, dealing 15 points of damage, and wasting his turn even though he hit it.  Earlier in that same fight I think I critted the same enemy with spirit fangs as well.
Heh, very nice.  And I dunno.  With the supposed transparency of the powers and rules, basically that every combatant knows every effect that's currently in operation or that they could trigger, it's hard to say sometimes what a creature would do.  With some things, like marks or OAs, it's a very simple choice especially if it's a minion.  With other things, like the spirit companion and the various tricks it can have, it's a complicated decision.
"Besides, pushing someone over a pit is still entirely 2D... it just becomes 3D rather quickly afterwards." ~ yesnomu "Mind you, that doesn't change the fact that the poor str-priest is cowering in the corner wondering what horrible thing it was that he did that makes daddy keep hitting him so much, but it's not like the nerf was senseless." ~ SanityFaerie
From a mechanical DM point of view, the spirit is a very effective damage soaking... thing. So whatever monsters do, it is always better todo something else than attacking the spirit. There are certainly exceptions, but many monsters have better things todo than attacking it.

There are no undead (intelligent our not) in the real world, so it's difficult to imagine how they would react in specific situations. But i guess it depends mostly on how they were created (or by whom). Some unintelligend undead are raised by necromancers, while other dead bodies simply stand up again, after being subject to "necroctic" energy. In both cases they have some kind of senses, as well as instincts or some kind of "programming" to discern friend, foe, prey, etc.. So it all depends on the DM, wether his undead perceive the SC as threat and attack it, or rather turn to the shaman, who has delicious BRAINS.

Want anime-style Power cards? Then try the Touhou Power Cards!

For what its worth, we ended the campaign last night and the final enemy enjoyed destroying my spirit companion multiple times, to the point where it was leaving my character pretty beat up.  My DM gave me different "spirits" for each part of the campaign.  For the final fight the spirit companion was the BBEG's dead husband who she had murdered when he had decided their time on the mortal world was over.  They had both been minor deities and he was now trying to force her to leave the mortal world and she had different ideas.
If they cant pass thru it, and its attacking them....I would think unintelligent creatures would still have a sizeable chance of attacking it back.

Ask your DM for the specific wording of the aura.  If it says anything about a "creature" starting or entering the aura, then the spirit companion is ignored because it isn't a creature.  This also applies to attacks against "creatures."  I don't think I've seen a monster attack block mention targetting "one creature" but if it does use that wording, the spirit companion is exempt from being targetted.




Auras do say that it only hits a creature entering the aura.  Though I will say that it doesn't specifically say in the books, at least that I can find, that SCs aren't creatures.  But its my understanding that conjurations aren't considered creatures so I'll just go with that.  I just wish i had something totally solid to show my DM just to back my point, oh well.

Spirit Companions are Conjurations.

The conjuration rules state that conjurations cannot be harmed unless otherwise stated by the power.

The description of a Spirit Companion states:
 "The spirit can be targeted by melee or ranged attacks, although it lacks hit points. If a single melee or ranged attack deals damage to the spirit equal to 10 + one-half your level or higher, the spirit disappears, and you take damage equal to 5 + one-half your level. Otherwise, the spirit is unaffected by the attack."
~ Compendium, 05/11/2010

An Aura is neither a Melee or Ranged attack and thus cannot target a Spirit Companion.  Although Auras do not "target" anything in particular the Spirit Companion has no hit points and thus any damage from an Aura would have no effect.  Since the Aura is not a Melee or Ranged attack, and the conditions to cause the Spirit Companion to disappear are stated as requiring the damage dealt to come from a Melee or Ranged attack, an Aura cannot cause the Spirit Companion to disappear.

Finally, as a Conjuration, it is not a creature and cannot have status effects applied.  Any penalties or benefits must affect the Shaman, not the Spirit Companion, and thus Auras which cause penalties to creatures within them do not affect attacks through the Spirit Companion unless they are affecting the Shaman themselves.

TLDR: Spirit Companions are completely unaffected by Auras, though anything affecting the Shaman can affect attacks through the Shaman.

"Besides, pushing someone over a pit is still entirely 2D... it just becomes 3D rather quickly afterwards." ~ yesnomu "Mind you, that doesn't change the fact that the poor str-priest is cowering in the corner wondering what horrible thing it was that he did that makes daddy keep hitting him so much, but it's not like the nerf was senseless." ~ SanityFaerie
If I'm a gnome with Fading Spirit, and I'm hiding around a corner, I wouldn't have line of effect on my SC.  Does this mean the SC goes away?
If I'm a gnome with Fading Spirit, and I'm hiding around a corner, I wouldn't have line of effect on my SC.  Does this mean the SC goes away?



nope, just stay within 20 squares.

you can use the SC like that to scout, since you have line of sight from him
If I'm a gnome with Fading Spirit, and I'm hiding around a corner, I wouldn't have line of effect on my SC.  Does this mean the SC goes away?



nope, just stay within 20 squares.

you can use the SC like that to scout, since you have line of sight from him



I disagree.  If it is still out of line of effect by the end of your turn, it disappears (see bullet for movable conjurations page 220 PHB2).

Also, nowhere does it state you share senses.  In fact if you read the section "Talking with Spirits" (pg 62-63 PP), you'll see that communication is somewhat ambiguous.   You do have line of sight for attacking and other shaman powers, but that doesn't me YOU see or even know what you are tagerting via the SC.  Personally as a DM I would give vague ideas of what it sees if used for scouting.
You may use the spirit companion's space to determine LoS and LoE for a power with the the word "spirit" in its range; but that doesn't give you LoS and LoE from the spirit companion (as wizarddude mentioned).

Returned from hiatus; getting up to speed on 5e rules lawyering.

You may use the spirit companion's space to determine LoS and LoE for a power with the the word "spirit" in its range; but that doesn't give you LoS and LoE from the spirit companion (as wizarddude mentioned).



This reminds me of older RPG video games like diablo.  All your companions would get lost and then teleport to you. 
You may use the spirit companion's space to determine LoS and LoE for a power with the the word "spirit" in its range; but that doesn't give you LoS and LoE from the spirit companion (as wizarddude mentioned).



But funnily enough, in a home campaign last weekend, the shaman used a power that put two spirits out on the battlefield. It was a quandary whether the shaman was keeping LOS and LOE to the spirits to maintain them until I realized that each spirit was granting LOS and LOE to each other!
You may use the spirit companion's space to determine LoS and LoE for a power with the the word "spirit" in its range; but that doesn't give you LoS and LoE from the spirit companion (as wizarddude mentioned).



But funnily enough, in a home campaign last weekend, the shaman used a power that put two spirits out on the battlefield. It was a quandary whether the shaman was keeping LOS and LOE to the spirits to maintain them until I realized that each spirit was granting LOS and LOE to each other!


How would that help the shaman maintain the spirits?  The spirits could target each other with attacks with the word "spirit" in their range, but if there's no LoE between the shaman and a spirit it's kaput at the end of the shaman's turn (as per PH2 pg. 220, under Movable Conjurations). 

Returned from hiatus; getting up to speed on 5e rules lawyering.

I just got a response from cust serve that supported all my thoughts and fears. I will post it again here for ease of access. 














 Subject
Spirit Companion and Line of Effect
 
 Discussion Thread
 Response (Support Agent)05/12/2010 01:26 PM
Hello
Here are the answers I found:

1) Does the spirit companion need to stay within line of effect? For example, if you fall in a 10ft well and can't see your spirit companion, does it go away?
A: The spirit companion would dissappear.
2) Does the spirit companion have a range it can be away from you? The only range listed is the range you can summon it.
A: As long as you can retain line of sight to it then not real limit
3) Can you see through the spirit's eyes or otherwise know what it's seeing when you're not making an attack?
A: If it does not say you can, then you cannot.

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 Customer 05/12/2010 01:15 PM
The spirit companion is very confusing as the spirit keyword and conjuration have some conflicting rules.
1) Does the spirit companion need to stay within line of effect? For example, if you fall in a 10ft well and can't see your spirit companion, does it go away?
2) Does the spirit companion have a range it can be away from you? The only range listed is the range you can summon it.
3) Can you see through the spirit's eyes or otherwise know what it's seeing when you're not making an attack?
I just got a response from cust serve that supported all my thoughts and fears. I will post it again here for ease of access. 














 Subject
Spirit Companion and Line of Effect
 
 Discussion Thread
 Response (Support Agent)05/12/2010 01:26 PM
Hello
Here are the answers I found:

1) Does the spirit companion need to stay within line of effect? For example, if you fall in a 10ft well and can't see your spirit companion, does it go away?
A: The spirit companion would dissappear.
2) Does the spirit companion have a range it can be away from you? The only range listed is the range you can summon it.
A: As long as you can retain line of sight to it then not real limit
3) Can you see through the spirit's eyes or otherwise know what it's seeing when you're not making an attack?
A: If it does not say you can, then you cannot.

We would appreciate your feedback on the service we are providing you. ..."onClickUnsafeLink(event);">Please click here to fill out a short questionnaire.

To login to your account, or update your question please ..."onClickUnsafeLink(event);">click here.

Jamie
Online Response Crew
Wizards of the Coast
1-800-324-6496 (US and Canada)
425-204-8069 (From all other countries)
Monday-Friday 9am-6pm PST / 12pm-9pm EST
Saturday-Sunday 10am-4pm PST / 1pm-7pm EST


 Auto-Response05/12/2010 01:15 PM
Your message has NOT been submitted yet.

To receive immediate help, please check out the answer(s) listed below. If there are no answers listed, or the suggested answers do not help you, please click the "Send Email" button below, if available.
 Customer 05/12/2010 01:15 PM
The spirit companion is very confusing as the spirit keyword and conjuration have some conflicting rules.
1) Does the spirit companion need to stay within line of effect? For example, if you fall in a 10ft well and can't see your spirit companion, does it go away?
2) Does the spirit companion have a range it can be away from you? The only range listed is the range you can summon it.
3) Can you see through the spirit's eyes or otherwise know what it's seeing when you're not making an attack?

With respect to 3):

The book says you can choose how you communicate and gives some examples. i.e. You have a telepathic link or you get feelings or hints or you can talk to it directly or it's an indepentant entity that does what is in the best interest of the party etc.
Show me text in a book that says the spirit disappears if you dont have LOS.  Doesnt say that anywhere.

PHB 2 pg120
The spirit lasts until you fall unconscious or until you dismiss it as a minor action


PHB2 pg 221
Spirit
You can use a spirit power only if your spirit companion is present in the encounter. If a spirit power
includes “spirit” in its range, you determine line of sight and line of effect from your spirit companion’s
space, which is the power’s origin square.

You do not need LOS to maintain your spirit. 

One can also extrapolate that you have vision thru your spirit at all times.
PHB3:


• Movable Conjurations: If the power you use to create a conjuration allows you to move it, it’s a movable conjuration. At the end of your turn, the movable conjuration ends if you are not within range of at least 1 square it’s in (using the power’s range) or if you don’t have line of effect to at least 1 square it’s in. When you move a conjuration, you can’t move it through blocking terrain.


Which also contradicts what CS says above.
PHB3:


• Movable Conjurations: If the power you use to create a conjuration allows you to move it, it’s a movable conjuration. At the end of your turn, the movable conjuration ends if you are not within range of at least 1 square it’s in (using the power’s range) or if you don’t have line of effect to at least 1 square it’s in. When you move a conjuration, you can’t move it through blocking terrain.


Which also contradicts what CS says above.



Good find on that one.  WHere did you get the text about choosing how you communicate?  I think it comes down to the issue of 'can you see/sense thru your spirit at all times'
PHB3:


• Movable Conjurations: If the power you use to create a conjuration allows you to move it, it’s a movable conjuration. At the end of your turn, the movable conjuration ends if you are not within range of at least 1 square it’s in (using the power’s range) or if you don’t have line of effect to at least 1 square it’s in. When you move a conjuration, you can’t move it through blocking terrain.


Which also contradicts what CS says above.



Good find on that one.  WHere did you get the text about choosing how you communicate?  I think it comes down to the issue of 'can you see/sense thru your spirit at all times'

It's in Primal Power under the "Playing a Shaman" section from what I remember. There's a "Talking with spirits" sub section.
PHB3:


• Movable Conjurations: If the power you use to create a conjuration allows you to move it, it’s a movable conjuration. At the end of your turn, the movable conjuration ends if you are not within range of at least 1 square it’s in (using the power’s range) or if you don’t have line of effect to at least 1 square it’s in. When you move a conjuration, you can’t move it through blocking terrain.


Which also contradicts what CS says above.




No it doesn't contradict it.  If you fall in a pit, LOE and LOS are the same thing. 
PHB3:


• Movable Conjurations: If the power you use to create a conjuration allows you to move it, it’s a movable conjuration. At the end of your turn, the movable conjuration ends if you are not within range of at least 1 square it’s in (using the power’s range) or if you don’t have line of effect to at least 1 square it’s in. When you move a conjuration, you can’t move it through blocking terrain.


Which also contradicts what CS says above.




No it doesn't contradict it.  If you fall in a pit, LOE and LOS are the same thing. 

Hmm it seems to use "or" instead of "and" like I thought. So apparently, even if you don't have line of sight or line of effect to your spirit compantion, but it's within 20 squares of you, it doesn't end. Or if it's further than 20 squares, but you have line of effect to the Spirit, it remains.
Except the power lacks a range, which the CS answer takes into account by allowing any distance so long as the Shaman has LoS/LoE.  Burst 20 is not a range.
"Besides, pushing someone over a pit is still entirely 2D... it just becomes 3D rather quickly afterwards." ~ yesnomu "Mind you, that doesn't change the fact that the poor str-priest is cowering in the corner wondering what horrible thing it was that he did that makes daddy keep hitting him so much, but it's not like the nerf was senseless." ~ SanityFaerie
Except the power lacks a range, which the CS answer takes into account by allowing any distance so long as the Shaman has LoS/LoE.  Burst 20 is not a range.



Close burst 20 = burst centered on you (point blank) up to 20 squares in any direction.  Yes the power has a range.
Here is the deal: The rules on close burst powers and range are a bit of a mess and need an official FAQ.  People have been arguing about the range of close burst sustainable/movable zones & conjurations since consecrated ground was published in PHB. 

If you read page 270 of the PHB there is never a range specified for close powers.  They have area of effect, not range.  In fact the word "Range" never appears in that section, while it occurs in the sections for melee powers, ranged powers, and area powers.

Now if you go back to PHB page 56 it says "Following a power’s action type on the same line is the power’s attack type and its range." That makes it look like the range is the number on the line following the attack type.

So that's why people disagree with it and why we need an official FAQ: page 56 makes it look like close burst 20 is a range, page 270 makes it look like close powers do not have a range.
Here is the deal: The rules on close burst powers and range are a bit of a mess and need an official FAQ.  People have been arguing about the range of close burst sustainable/movable zones & conjurations since consecrated ground was published in PHB. 

If you read page 270 of the PHB there is never a range specified for close powers.  They have area of effect, not range.  In fact the word "Range" never appears in that section, while it occurs in the sections for melee powers, ranged powers, and area powers.

Now if you go back to PHB page 56 it says "Following a power’s action type on the same line is the power’s attack type and its range." That makes it look like the range is the number on the line following the attack type.

So that's why people disagree with it and why we need an official FAQ: page 56 makes it look like close burst 20 is a range, page 270 makes it look like close powers do not have a range.



Sorry all the rules lawyer douchebaging will not change the fact that

CLOSE = you are the square of origin
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