Shaman Spirit Companion FAQ

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c'mon people arguments that close burst 20 is not a range is just silly. 

Page 56 of PHB, on how to read a power:

ATTACK TYPE AND RANGE
Following a power's action type on the same line is the power's attack type and its range.  The four attack types are melee, ranged, close and area.  Each of these attack types (fully described in Chapter 9) has rules for range and targeting.
  Even though these terms are called "attack types," they apply to utility powers as well as attack powers.


Note it says that each attack type has rules for range.  Thus close has rules for range.

So the close burst, is its attack type and 20 is its range.  The only reason they sometimes use close burtst x rather then range x in many instances, where only one target or square is effected, is to clarify that it does not provoke.  They are not trying to say it has no range.

So although it is not a "Ranged" attack type, it doesn't mean the power doesn't have a range!

In chapter 9 under "CHOOSING tARGETS" subsection "RANGE" (P273).

The first step in choosing targets for an attack is to check the attack's range.  Range is the distance from you to a target (or to the attack's origin square).

Further down it says:

Personal: When you use a power with a range of personal, you affect ony yourself.


So it seems logical that ALL powers have a range.  melee 1 is a range, melee spirit 1 is a range, close blast 5 has a range of 5.

I feel sad that I had to get all rules lawery to explain something that is common sense.


EDIT: as further proof, on the power cards, the box that determines if it is melee, close burst, area etc, is labeled "RANGE".

I expanded the answer to how far can my spirit companion go to include both sides of the argument.  It is an expanded variation to what I put 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.

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 it ends if either situation comes to pass.  You need *both* Line of Effect and to be within Range (which is either infinite or 20 depending on your interpretation) for it to stay around.  But it's gone at the *end* of your turn -- if you get pushed down a well you can use an action on your turn to move the SC to be within Line of Effect/Range before your turn ends.  It doesn't pop the instant you lose either condition but at the end of your turn.
"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
I expanded the answer to how far can my spirit companion go to include both sides of the argument.  It is an expanded variation to what I put above.



That is a nice summary of the two positions.  However, you didn't mention that you need LoE at the end of your turn, which is the one part that is agreed upon. 
Added that at the very end of the entry and another line in the first paragraph about how you can move the SC as far as you want, but it needs to stay in range (however you define it) at the end of your turn or else it ends.
If a creature attacks your SC but cannot kill it (unless it got say a crit) would it realize this and get a new target or just keep attacking it on the off-chance that it could kill it. Also, if there are 2 SCs in play would it consider them the same or different creatures. The 2 SCs are different animal forms.
If a creature attacks your SC but cannot kill it (unless it got say a crit) would it realize this and get a new target or just keep attacking it on the off-chance that it could kill it. Also, if there are 2 SCs in play would it consider them the same or different creatures. The 2 SCs are different animal forms.



Monster decision making is always up to the DM, so there are no hard and fast RAW answers to your questions.  That being said, the game has a general theme of transparent mechanics.  So I'd say that creatures can tell SC's are supernatural manifestations just by looking.  If they decided to attack, they would be aware that they did no HP damage.  What the creature does next would depend on its sophistication and knowledge of supernatural creatures.  But as a general rule, most creatures would not continue to waste attacks on something they hit but did not damage.  Similarly, they should recognize 2 SC's in different animal forms as different creatures but they could tell they are the same TYPE of creature.  So if they couldn't hurt the first one, they probably wouldn't waste attacks on the other one. 

From a balance perspective as a DM, SC's are already pretty powerful and versatile, so I wouldn't make them even better by wasting a lot of attacks on them. 
If a creature attacks your SC but cannot kill it (unless it got say a crit) would it realize this and get a new target or just keep attacking it on the off-chance that it could kill it. Also, if there are 2 SCs in play would it consider them the same or different creatures. The 2 SCs are different animal forms.



Monster decision making is always up to the DM, so there are no hard and fast RAW answers to your questions.  That being said, the game has a general theme of transparent mechanics.  So I'd say that creatures can tell SC's are supernatural manifestations just by looking.  If they decided to attack, they would be aware that they did no HP damage.  What the creature does next would depend on its sophistication and knowledge of supernatural creatures.  But as a general rule, most creatures would not continue to waste attacks on something they hit but did not damage.  Similarly, they should recognize 2 SC's in different animal forms as different creatures but they could tell they are the same TYPE of creature.  So if they couldn't hurt the first one, they probably wouldn't waste attacks on the other one. 

From a balance perspective as a DM, SC's are already pretty powerful and versatile, so I wouldn't make them even better by wasting a lot of attacks on them. 



I would disagree completely.  Your SC can look like anything you want., noone says it has to be a starwars style 'blue glowie'.  It can act just like a normal animal and yelp in pain when it gets hit.

After 1 hit not killing it, smarter creatures have a chance of knowing its a spirit.  The average bear, zombie or goblin is not smart enough to do this.  Primal animal type creatures will never figure it out.  Leader or controller types should be about the only monsters in dumber races that possess the intelligence to figure it out.  I say INT 9/10 is a good number for whether they know its not real after a hit.
I think you'd have to be down in the animal intelligence range (picking a creature at random, a Level 6 Cave Bear has a 2 Int) to be so single minded. PCs can have 8 Int and are capable of far more tactical savvy.
"At a certain point, one simply has to accept that some folks will see what they want to see..." Dragon 387
I think you'd have to be down in the animal intelligence range (picking a creature at random, a Level 6 Cave Bear has a 2 Int) to be so single minded. PCs can have 8 Int and are capable of far more tactical savvy.



Sorry I dont think Forest Gump can tell the difference between a spirit and regular animal
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. 



Um, No.  Line of Effect and Line of Sight are two very different things.

Line of Sight = Someone plops an illusionary wall in front of you.  Now, you cannot see anything past that wall but you still have line of effect to anything past it, you just might not know that part.

Line of Effect = Someone plops a real wall in front  of you.  Now, you no longer have line of effect since anything you happen to throw at the wall will stop at the wall and not pass through it.



It's a spiritual manifestation of a powerful nature spirit, not an illusion designed to trick opponents.  That being said, there are no hard rules for what your spirit looks like, so whatever works in your game is fine.  But from a balance perspective, having a SC absorb a lot of attacks from creatures that can't even disrupt it is very overpowered and probably not intended. 
For what its worth the new shaman article in dragon specifically says that the spirit disappears if your turn ends with it more than 20 squares from your PC.

Edit: The aritcle also states that the spirit can move vertically and that it takes a minor action to dismiss it.  I have updated the FAQ to include this information 
For what its worth the new shaman article in dragon specifically says that the spirit disappears if your turn ends with it more than 20 squares from your PC.

Edit: The aritcle also states that the spirit can move vertically and that it takes a minor action to dismiss it.  I have updated the FAQ to include this information 



The article also states that Summon Spirit Companion is a Close Burst 10 when in fact it is a Close Burst 20, so I'm not sure how much stock I would put in the article; it seems to be written by someone who never read the errata.

BTW, what precisely does the errata say? I am trying to find the wording it but can't... oops, never mind, found it.

From the way the errata is worded, it seems they were trying to ensure that the Shaman could not have 2 or more companions in play simultaneously, but one unintentional effect of the errata was that it suggested shamans do not need to spend a minor to dismiss the companion. So yes, I think it is good the way you have done it, to note the apparent contradiction between our sources. My bet is that a Shaman still has to use a minor to dismiss the companion and that this will be clarified in a future errata (though that's just a guess).

 

"What is the sort of thing that I do care about is a failure to seriously evaluate what does and doesn't work in favor of a sort of cargo cult posturing. And yes, it's painful to read design notes columns that are all just "So D&D 3.5 sort of had these problems. We know people have some issues with them. What a puzzler! But we think we have a solution in the form of X", where X is sort of a half-baked version of an idea that 4e executed perfectly well and which worked fine." - Lesp

My bet is that a Shaman still has to use a minor to dismiss the companion and that this will be clarified in a future errata (though that's just a guess).


I hope not.  Nothing like your Shaman getting dazed and being unable to do anything other than move or second wind because nothing is adjacent to his spirit companion.  (This had happened to my character).  You might as well be stunned.   No other class is (was, pre-errata) rendered completely neutered by being dazed. Shamans should not be either.


For what its worth the new shaman article in dragon specifically says that the spirit disappears if your turn ends with it more than 20 squares from your PC.

Edit: The aritcle also states that the spirit can move vertically and that it takes a minor action to dismiss it.  I have updated the FAQ to include this information 



The article also states that Summon Spirit Companion is a Close Burst 10 when in fact it is a Close Burst 20, so I'm not sure how much stock I would put in the article; it seems to be written by someone who never read the errata.



There is an errata thread for each Dragon/Dungeon article for people to catch these things prior to publication in the compiled issue. Channel that energy and make sure the article is up to snuff!
"At a certain point, one simply has to accept that some folks will see what they want to see..." Dragon 387

I hope not.  Nothing like your Shaman getting dazed and being unable to do anything other than move or second wind because nothing is adjacent to his spirit companion.  (This had happened to my character).  You might as well be stunned.   No other class is (was, pre-errata) rendered completely neutered by being dazed. Shamans should not be either.



You could always take a single non-spirit power....
The difference between madness and genius is determined only by degrees of success.
I hope not.  Nothing like your Shaman getting dazed and being unable to do anything other than move or second wind because nothing is adjacent to his spirit companion.  (This had happened to my character).  You might as well be stunned.   No other class is (was, pre-errata) rendered completely neutered by being dazed. Shamans should not be either.


I disagree, everybody will eventually find themselves in the same situation when dazed.  I play a Barbarian and have been unable to attack while dazed.  You can always take ranged powers.  While not optimal, you can still charge, or use a melee atack if someone is adjacent to you or throw a javelin.

As a barbarian I feel "neutered" when fighting flying creatures.  I am often reduced to ranged basic attacks with a thrown weapon.  And I don't even need to be dazed to feel neutered.

I feel allowing the shamon to teleport the SC willy-nilly over the battlefield is OP.  I mean consider that at the start of the turn the SC and shaman can be 20 squares away.  As a move action the Shaman could move its speed further away, and the SC could also move further away.  Then attack, then shamon resummons SC with a minor to be 20 squares away in opposit direction, so in effect the SC just teleported 40 + 2*speed.   I think being able to move the SC your speed whenever you move gives it all the mobility it needs.

I hope not.  Nothing like your Shaman getting dazed and being unable to do anything other than move or second wind because nothing is adjacent to his spirit companion.  (This had happened to my character).  You might as well be stunned.   No other class is (was, pre-errata) rendered completely neutered by being dazed. Shamans should not be either.



You could always take a single non-spirit power....



That's what I did with my human shaman; I took that haunting spirits power just for situations like this (and when my spirit needs to be waaaay over there but I want to hit something over here....)


There is an errata thread for each Dragon/Dungeon article for people to catch these things prior to publication in the compiled issue. Channel that energy and make sure the article is up to snuff!



Someone already pointed those things out in that article's thread, or I would have done so.


 

"What is the sort of thing that I do care about is a failure to seriously evaluate what does and doesn't work in favor of a sort of cargo cult posturing. And yes, it's painful to read design notes columns that are all just "So D&D 3.5 sort of had these problems. We know people have some issues with them. What a puzzler! But we think we have a solution in the form of X", where X is sort of a half-baked version of an idea that 4e executed perfectly well and which worked fine." - Lesp


You could always take a single non-spirit power....


Unfortunately the Shaman ranged powers (except for dailies) are all Ranged 5 up until late paragon, so even though I had a ranged at-will, it didn't help.  If a sorcerer is dazed, his range isn't suddenly cut from 20 to 5.  Melee characters can still charge... sure, they can't move then charge (so their "range" goes from 12 to 6, or 10 to 5), but there should be an enemy within 5 of a melee character anyway.  Ranged characters prefer to stay near the outside of their range... sure, Shamans need to be within 5 to heal, but they can move in and heal.

I don't think it is terribly overpowered for the Shaman to be able to move the Spirit around the battlefield as a free action, especially since he needs to spend a feat to do so.
Trust me, melee characters cant always charge.  As a rageblood barbarian, i have wasted quite a few opportunities to use my swift charge ability because there wasn't a legal target of a charge.  many times they are actually only 2 squares away (so I could only move 1), sometimes too far, and other times there is blocking terrian or the squares you need to attack from are occupied, or for some may require too many attacks of opportunity (not a prob for me since I have badge of the berserker.)

I am sure if you ask around for players of every class, you will find they have situations when dazed or slowed or immobolized or fighting flying creatures that they too feel powerless.  Heck a slowed melee character can be worse then a dazed Shaman at times.
The Shaman Spirit Companion FAQ has now been added (here) to the forum FAQ (and has it's own spot in the main index).
If my shaman has a cloak of displacement:

Property: Each encounter, you gain a +2 item bonus to AC and Reflex  defenses until an attack hits you.

I would gain the bonus defenses, and subsequently should the spirit, since it uses my defenses, yes?
After all it doesnt exactly specify that the defenses only count when i am target of the attack.

If the spirit gets hit, does that count as me getting hit? Id say no personally but am not sure.
If my shaman has a cloak of displacement:

Property: Each encounter, you gain a +2 item bonus to AC and Reflex  defenses until an attack hits you.

I would gain the bonus defenses, and subsequently should the spirit, since it uses my defenses, yes?
After all it doesnt exactly specify that the defenses only count when i am target of the attack.

If the spirit gets hit, does that count as me getting hit? Id say no personally but am not sure.



Hm, sounds controvers to me. The spirit uses your defenses, but i think only permant bonuses count (cant find source now). Question is if this would count as a perament bonus (cause it has no specific duration) or not.

In either case i agree with you, that you dont count as being hit for the purpose of loosing the AC and REF Bonus, cause the enemy is targeting the spirit and not you. The part where you take damage from a dissappearing SC is an effect, not an attack with an attack roll. Auto hit attacks like auras dont remove the +2 item bonus to AC and Reflex from the cloak, because they dont involve attack rolls, so you are not considered "hit" by them (same goes for ongoing damage).

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


Hm, sounds controvers to me. The spirit uses your defenses, but i think only permant bonuses count (cant find source now). Question is if this would count as a perament bonus (cause it has no specific duration) or not.

In either case i agree with you, that you dont count as being hit for the purpose of loosing the AC and REF Bonus, cause the enemy is targeting the spirit and not you. The part where you take damage from a dissappearing SC is an effect, not an attack with an attack roll. Auto hit attacks like auras dont remove the +2 item bonus to AC and Reflex from the cloak, because they dont involve attack rolls, so you are not considered "hit" by them (same goes for ongoing damage).



Spirits use your defenses, if you have it your spirit does too. It's summons that use the controllers permanant defenses. So if you have a defensive buff up your spirit gets the bonus while it's up.

You are correct. You are not hit if your spirit is so you will keep it up for longer that way too.

Diabalos
Hello,

I've got some questions all related to the non-creature state of a SC :

Let's say, you're just behind your SC and an archer wants to hit you (you're all 3 aligned). Does your SC provides cover?

In the same way, can a SC completly block the line of effect of an archer when in front of him (adjacent and in the same row than the target : A-SC-------T)?

As ennemies can't walk through a SC, I'd say yes to both questions but I'd be gladful if you could provide me with some enlightments on that matter.

Thanks in advance,

Zai

I would say normally the spirit can not provide cover.  There is a epic level world speaker feat in primal power called stone heart spirit and it says "Your spirit companion can provide cover to you and your allies"  That implies that it normally can't provide cover.
Thank you for your answer, I didn't see that feat. It clearly implies it can't provide cover.
Thank you for your answer, I didn't see that feat. It clearly implies it can't provide cover.

I believe the reason the SC does not normally provide cover is that it's a conjuration and conjurations typically have only what effects they say they do. SC does say it occupies a square but makes no mention of cover so it doesn't provide it because a conjuration normally would not.

Of course, this is just reinforced by the numerous powers, as well as the Epic feat, which allow the SC to temporarily or permanently provide cover of some sort.
Another (maybe dumb) question regarding the on hit effect of the World Speaker's Command (Primal Power - page 65):

It says: the target stops moving and must use a different action to resume moving.

To be sure: it means the target has to use another move action (a standard action converted in a move action for example) if he/she/it wants to effectively move, isn't it?
Another (maybe dumb) question regarding the on hit effect of the World Speaker's Command (Primal Power - page 65):

It says: the target stops moving and must use a different action to resume moving.

To be sure: it means the target has to use another move action (a standard action converted in a move action for example) if he/she/it wants to effectively move, isn't it?

That does seem to be exactly what it is saying, yes.  Pretty awesome ability for stopping skirmishers or charge attacks.
"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
There's also a Utility power (Level 6, I think) which allows your SC to provide cover to any of your allies adjacent to it until the end of your next turn.  I don't remember if it's sustainable or not.  I don't think it is...
Undrhil, I think you are thinking of Spirit of Dawn, which does not involve the SC and disallows enemy cover. 

I did a compendium search for "shaman cover" and the only power that grants cover through the spirit is Massive Companion Dragon 383 level 1 and it lets the spirit grant cover all encounter.  The other powers that grant cover are level 1 Stone Root Spirit (a zone), level 15 Tree Fathers Bounty (zone), and level 16 Screening Branches (wall).

Eagle's Aerie shows up on the search, but it is a false positive since it denies cover to an enemy.
Claws of the eagle at-will has an ally adjustant to SC or 3 squares from you make basic attack, is the ally able to make a ranged or melee, or just a melee?  the range says melee 1, but power also says a basic attack?
Your range is spirit melee 1.   The attack can be either ranged basic or melee basic, but the target needs to be adjacent to your spirit companion (ie spirit melee 1). 

thanks for the response, that is how I took it, with a ranged party it rocked

Okay, something that's just a curiosity to me about the Eagle shaman.  So okay, if you have your spirit companion say be a bird, which would fit the build idea, it seems...weird since your companion would only really be able to fly 1 sq up and still be effective when it comes to shaman attacks and ally bonuses.  Am I right on this?  It seems to kinda defeat the point of having your SC be a bird.  Now mind you of course its fluff as to what your companion looks like, but from that angle it just seems weird to have the whole Eagle Shaman idea of having a bird SC that in battle at least, might as well be a four legged beast for all the good flying does it.  Other than moving around the field I guess.
Okay, something that's just a curiosity to me about the Eagle shaman.  So okay, if you have your spirit companion say be a bird, which would fit the build idea, it seems...weird since your companion would only really be able to fly 1 sq up and still be effective when it comes to shaman attacks and ally bonuses.  Am I right on this?  It seems to kinda defeat the point of having your SC be a bird.  Now mind you of course its fluff as to what your companion looks like, but from that angle it just seems weird to have the whole Eagle Shaman idea of having a bird SC that in battle at least, might as well be a four legged beast for all the good flying does it.  Other than moving around the field I guess.



Why would it only be able to fly 1 SQ up? Quote from Dragon 387:

Unaffected by the Environment: The spirit
companion ignores terrain and environmental
phenomena. It also does not need to be supported
by a solid surface. This means when it moves, it
ignores difficult terrain and can move vertically and
horizontally.

So you could conjure it 20 squares in the air, instead of ground level. Movint it around the air like a flying bird is no problem either, because it doesn't provoke OAs (though it can't shift).

Or did you mean, that it has to stay effectively 1 or 2 squares above the ground, for tactical benefits? Like attacking (most attacks are melee spirit 1) and hinderering enemies? If you didn't know, the totemic spear enchantment increases melee spirit 1 to melee spirit 2, so the spirit could stay higher in the air.

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

crayne-
Yeah, I meant for the SC to be effective it needs to stay low enough to be adjacent to enemies and allies.  Never knew about the totemic spear though, nice.  But still kinda odd to have a flying SC when its effective range is quite short.  There should be ranged SC attacks or something.  Maybe if they do a Primal Power 2...