Shaman Spirit Companion FAQ

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I have a question and I apologize if it was already asked.

Can a shaman "see" through the SC's eyes?  In other words, can a shaman use the spirit companion like a scout?  For example, can the shaman send the spirit companion down a hallway and look around a corner to see what's beyond the corner?  I can find no RAW for this.  The only precident I can find is that spirit powers use LoS from the SC, which assumes that the shaman can see what the SC is attacking.

You have the free will to agree or disagree.
You have the ability to act freely on the above choice regardless of the consequences.

There is not much RAW either way.  Your spirit can't make skill checks by RAW, but you make attacks through it using it for LOS.  The one exception to this is the power Roaming Mind, Roving Spirit where the effect is "You perceive the surroundings of your spirit companion as if you were in its place."  That implies that normally you don't "see" what it does, but it does not necessarily mean that your companion can't see and communicate back to you very precisely what it sees.

If I was DM I would let you do it and even make passive perception checks, but this is a gray area so ask your DM.

As you all know, specific beats general. The general rule about conjurations says:

"Your Defenses: Normally, a conjuration cannot be attacked or physically affected. If your conjuration can be attacked or physically affected, it uses your defenses. [...]"

So unless somewhere a specific rule says otherwise (or the conjuration keyword receives errata), the SC's defenses always match the shaman's.

Please note that such an exception is used in the summoning keyword, but not in the conjuration keyword.

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Question:  I'm hidden and/or invisible and have an active spirit companion.  Does he gain the defensive benefits (ie. of total concealment) vs. attacks against him?  A specific rule doesn't appear to say otherwise, and invisible and hidden aren't official conditions (p277 PH).  They're also not really total  concealment, but are described as effects that grant total concealment (p281 PH).  So are these effects considered part of my defenses?

Consequently as a related question - if I'm invisible and/or hidden is the spirit companion by extension invisible and/or hiddden as well?  This impacts how an opponent might be able to target the spirit companion in the first place...

My kneejerk reaction argues 'no', but the more I think about it, the more I wonder.  My defenses can be affected by other sorts of temporary feat and/or power boosts or situational modifiers.  And these would more than likely get passed on to my spirit companion.  How are invisibility and/or the hidden effect any different?

EDIT As per usual, I think I may be in the process of answering my own question (LOL).  Total Concealment is described as a "-5 Penalty to Attack Rolls" (p281 PH).  Because it's described as an attack modifier vs. a defense modifier, I'd suppose that effects granting total concealment and the like would NOT get passed on to the spirit companion.
Q: Can my spirit companion make skill checks?  Can it be stealthy or notice things with perception?


A: Ask your DM, but the rules are pretty silent on this from what I can tell.  My first RAW answer is no since it does not have any ability scores and is not a creature.  It uses your ability scores for determining the outcome of attacks, but it does not mention on page 59 of the PHB or 220 in the PHB2 that it uses your scores for skill checks.  But for things like stealth and passive perception checks you can argue that RAI it is reasonable for it to make some checks using your skills since you can get line of site from it.



Soo.... while it doesn't automatically hide when you hide, you should be able to take a move action to hide it if you saw fit to do so.  The tricky thing here though is if you are say a Cunning Sneak or have stealth powers like the Rogue's power Fleeting Ghost, can you apply the rules of these powers to your spirit companion?  And to make things more complex... your spirit companion moves when you move.  A shaman with the Rogue power Fleeting Ghost  can make a stealth check in the same turn as he moves his spirit companion...  so can he also apply the rules of Fleeting Ghost to his spirit companion when it moves as well?  Again, my gut says no.  The spirit companion may meerly move your speed when you take a move action.  It doesn't get it's own move action when you get your move action to apply whatever move action power it sees fit...  But on the other side of things, stealth checks are normally made as part of a move action and don't require separate action 'space' on to be achieved.  Could a shaman-rogue hybrid with Cunning Sneak apply the constraints of that class feature to his spirit companion to hide it when it's moved?  I suppose it's up to the individual GM to determine if a shaman has sufficient accumen to hide himself and his spirit companion at the same time should he attempt to do so - but it would be nice to hear some rulings on this given the tangled web of rules, powers, feats and class features that surround the issue.

aside from all that.. does total concealment not rather decrease the accuracy of the attacker than raise the defenses of the defender?

edit: i see you already got that^^

edit2: dont hide your spirit too well..  you still have to see it or its gone ;)
@Severion1: Your questions sound very complicated, but the anwsers are pretty simply, no the SC cannot hide.

There are two reasons:

1. It's debatable wether the SC can make skill checks or not. I would say no, because it's not a creature.

2. "Hidden" is a condition. But the SC is not a creature, so it cannot be effected by conditions. So even if it would succeed a stealth check, it would not be hidden.

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...edit2: dont hide your spirit too well..  you still have to see it or its gone ;)



Actually, you just need line-of-effect to your spirit companion, not line-of-sight So if he's hidden, that's ok.

From p.220 of PH2: "At the end of your turn, the movable concuration 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."
1. It's debatable wether the SC can make skill checks or not. I would say no, because it's not a creature.



I'd argue It's not making the skill check.  The shaman is.  Note that "it uses your ability scores for determining the outcome of attacks" (original poster).  And again as the original poster wrote (see my quote above), "for things like stealth and passive perception checks you can argue that RAI it is reasonable for it to make some checks using your skills since you can get line of site from it."

2. "Hidden" is a condition. But the SC is not a creature, so it cannot be effected by conditions. So even if it would succeed a stealth check, it would not be hidden.



Actually, "hidden" is not a condition.  It's an 'effect' that generates an environmental situational penalty to attacks (see cover and concealment rules p.280-281 PH).  Ther specific set of "conditions" are outlined in the Player's Handbook on page 277.
Technically, that's an inclusive list, not an exclusive list. Hidden may or may not be a condition. It's left rather undefined.
Technically, that's an inclusive list, not an exclusive list. Hidden may or may not be a condition. It's left rather undefined.



So by your own argument we can't say that it's a condition any more than anything else.  Since they've described that for spirit companions 'conditions' don't apply we have to arrive at a definable set of conditions, which they'll be free to add-to and subtract-from through erratta.  The baseline set is on p277 of the PH. *shrug*  You're right, they may rule that hidden is a condition.  And certainly any GM is within their rights to make that judgement.  But it seems to me that conditions are qualitative situations that can be imposed and typically have detrimental effects.  RAI, when the authors suggested that conditions don't apply to spirit companions, I think they were suggesting that the detrimental effects couldn't be applied directly to the spirit companions.  Because the spirit companion is tied to the shaman, however, things became a bit more complex and they had to handle each condition as the original poster outlined.

Edit: I may have read more into the author's intent here than is actually attributable to them, but I think the argument has at least some merit.
Alert!

I posted the questions relating to hiding and invisibility vis-a-vis spirit companions to customer service.  Here's their response:

Thank you for contacting us. A Spirit Companion will follow all the rules for a conjuration as that is what it is. Though any rules outside of conjurations are detailed in the Call Spirit companion power. I’ve passed along this conversation to the game’s developers. Hopefully, we’ll see an update or FAQ entry covering it soon, but until then it’s up to the campaign’s Dungeon Master to decide. The DM is always the final arbiter on how they want their campaign to run. Have fun!


Soo... no magic bullet answer (that's a "punt" if I've ever heard one - *chuckle*).  Everyone handles the issue as they see fit till we hear more.
Where'd you get the idea that conjurations can't be affected by conditions to begin with? I mean, most conditions are rendered irrelevant (ongoing damage explicitly doesn't apply, and conjurations don't have start of turns or speeds or even actions) but that's not quite the same thing as being unaffected by conditions.

That being said, by RAW, conjurations aren't creatures. They're not hidden or unhidden-they're noticed or unnoticed, as per an object. I mean, if you're in near total darkness, your DM might make you make a perception check to find the baseball on the stairs so you don't slip on it and go barreling head over heels.

On the other hand, it's up to the DM to decide whether your conjuration is "Barely hidden" or "Well Hidden" after all.
True, spirit companions don't have actions on their own, but you as a character act through them.  They don't have speeds but they do move at your speed when you move.  If you have skills at hiding yourself and are perfectly able to lend assistance to hide others, it's not a huge departure from common sense to expect that you should be able to hide a conjuration that you act through.  They're really much more than 'objects'.  You place them and direct their movement and otherwise attack and defend through them, so it's not that unrealistic to imagine this working.  That said, it's not explicitly allowed or disallowed to make skill checks through your SC, so right now it's totally up to the GM like you said.

There is definitely grey area here and a case to be made both ways.
The DND Compendium lists "hidden" as a condition, so i assumed it's one. I don't have latest errata now, but PHB 3 doesn't list it as a condition, so compendium could be wrong (and it has been, in the past).

About conjurations and conditions: I don't know if conjurations can be effected by conditions or not, but somewhere in this thread there was the discussion about wether an SC can be grand combat advantage. The outcome was, that it cannot because it's not a creature, but only creatures can  be effected by conditions (CA is a condition too). That SCs are not creatures was clarified  by the developers in an official FAQ (but i don't remember anymore which one).

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Re: being affected by conditions.

I picked this up from the original poster, who prefaced a discussion of the effects of conditions on the shaman with "Q: I know my SC can’t be effected by conditions but what happens to my SC if my shaman is effected by one of these conditions?"  I'm not sure what specific ruling or text this derived from, but I hear it frequently brought up.  Maybe I was reading more into this than was there *shrug*.
so actually my spirit is not dispelled when our wizard casts stinking cloud on top of it?

That would be great :P
so actually my spirit is not dispelled when our wizard casts stinking cloud on top of it?

That would be great :P

Correct: The spirit doesn't have a start of turn so it doesn't take damage from zones, and even if it did conjurations are specifically unaffected by the environment. A conjuration wouldn't even be affected by Freezing Cloud (which makes an attack) because only melee or ranged attacks can be used against your Spirit Companion.
It was a reply to "you only need line of effect to sustain the spirit"

Because i thought one needs line of sight, stinking cloud removes line of sight, ergo the spirit disappears.

I know i dont take damage from it.

edit: dont ask me why my post is suddenly so far to the end, it was right after post 209 when i sent it.
"Q: Do I need line of sight or line of effect when using spirit powers?

A: Normally with conjurations you need line of sight to use a power, but with SCs it is different and you use your SC to determine line of sight.  You determine also line of effect from your SC.  See page 220 of PHB2"

I know itis implied because of the question, but you might want to emphasize this is only during use of spirit powers, so you cannot use them for LOS for scouting or making monster knowledge checks, etc.
you say that a spirit companion can not get targeted by aoe attacks.  But can aoe attacks be ranged attacks or is there something I missed in the books that says ranged attacks are not aoe at all.
you say that a spirit companion can not get targeted by aoe attacks.  But can aoe attacks be ranged attacks or is there something I missed in the books that says ranged attacks are not aoe at all.

Ranged attacks and Area attacks are mutually exclusive.
Thats neat, where does it say that?  I also found it said in the dragon thingy that they are affected by close or area attacks.
Thats neat, where does it say that?  I also found it said in the dragon thingy that they are affected by close or area attacks.

There are four types of attacks-each individual attack falls into only one of four types: Close, Area, Melee, Ranged.

Note that it gets a little more complicated because you cantechnically have a ranged attack, that then makes an area secondary attack, typically centered on the target of the ranged attack, but though these two attacks are from one power, they are still two seperate attacks (and also two seperate damage instances, where relevant). Hope that helps.
thanks for the information
When I use Wrath of the Spirit World Daily Power, and say there is an enemy within burst range of my Shaman and it is also adjacent to me SC, does it take double damage.  My initial thought is that it does since the damage is coming from both the shaman and the SC...?
No, sadly it does not. Area attacks deal damage only once, as per PHB 271 (large or larger creatures also take damage only once when hit by an area attack, even if more than one of their squares is effected by an area attack).

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Q: If I use Spirit Summons to summon a 2nd spirit companion and subsequently cast Call Forth the Spirit World, do both of my companions benefit from the zone effect of this power?


Call Forth the Spirit World


Your enemies cannot bear the spirit world’s wonder, but your allies find themselves reinvigorated.


Encounter   bullet.gif     Fear, Healing, Primal, Spirit, Zone
Minor Action      Close burst spirit 3


Effect: The burst becomes a zone until the end of your next turn or until your spirit companion is destroyed. The zone moves with the spirit companion, remaining centered on its space. Enemies within the zone take a -2 penalty to attack rolls. Any bloodied ally that starts its turn within the zone regains 5 hit points.


Sustain Minor: The effect persists.



No doubt been asked before, but I couldn't find an 'official' answer:

Can a Shaman see/sense through the spirit? When using a power LoS and LoE are from the spirit, but does that mean the Shaman can effectively "see" around corners? Can the Shaman target enemies (with spirit melee powers) without penalty that have clear LoS to the spirit but not to the shaman?

No doubt been asked before, but I couldn't find an 'official' answer:

Can a Shaman see/sense through the spirit? When using a power LoS and LoE are from the spirit, but does that mean the Shaman can effectively "see" around corners? Can the Shaman target enemies (with spirit melee powers) without penalty that have clear LoS to the spirit but not to the shaman?




No, it does not allow the shaman to see around corners. Mechanically, the spirit has no senses of it's own, it's just a puppet controlled by the shaman.

In 4E combat, all combatants know the exact positions of each other, unless someone succeeds a stealth checks against the opposing party. Even invisible creature's positions are known, if they don't make stealth checks (and invisibilty does not grant bonuses to stealth).

This means that a shaman spirit can target enemies around corners, when he knows that they are there (they didn't try or succeed on stealth checks against him). Just because an enemy moves around a corners doesn't mean, that you don't know it isn't there.

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Q: If I use Spirit Summons to summon a 2nd spirit companion and subsequently cast Call Forth the Spirit World, do both of my companions benefit from the zone effect of this power?



It should not effect both, but you can make the attack through either one of them.  The wording of spirit summons says: "When an effect applies to creatures adjacent to your spirit companion, that effect applies to creatures adjacent to both spirit companions."  The effect of the power is enemies within the zone, not enemies adjacent to the spirit companion.
Looks like the October errata has cleared up the question about whether you have to dismiss your spirit companion with a minor action before you summon another. The errata make it clear that you cannot summon your spirit companion again if he is already present, so I am assuming you have to dismiss your companion with a minor before summoning it again with a minor.

 

"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

Updated the wording on these FAQ questions:

Q: How many SCs can I have active at a time?

A: One, unless you have a specific power or ability that lets you summon a second one.  The October 2010 errata confirmed this.

Q: Can I dismiss my SC and then bring it back the same round in some other location?

A: Yes.  Normally that requires 2 minor actions unless you have one of the feats mentioned below that let you summon it as a free action or you are an animist. (The march 2010 Errata makes it so that you can dismiss and then recall the SC as one action.  Then they undid the march 2010 errata in the October 2010 errata so it is back to 2 minor actions)
Q: Do I need line of sight or line of effect when using spirit powers?

A: Normally with conjurations you need line of sight to use a power, but with SCs it is different and you use your SC to determine line of sight.  You determine also line of effect from your SC.  See page 220 of PHB2




From the Rules Compendium:

Attacking with a Conjuration: Normally, a conjuration cannot attack. If a conjuration can attack, its creator makes the attack, determining line of effect from the conjuration as if the creator were in the conjuration's space. If line of sight is relevant, determine it from the creator, not the conjuration.

...Please explain your reasoning or rules source to backup your claim. 
Q: Do I need line of sight or line of effect when using spirit powers?

A: Normally with conjurations you need line of sight to use a power, but with SCs it is different and you use your SC to determine line of sight.  You determine also line of effect from your SC.  See page 220 of PHB2




From the Rules Compendium:

Attacking with a Conjuration: Normally, a conjuration cannot attack. If a conjuration can attack, its creator makes the attack, determining line of effect from the conjuration as if the creator were in the conjuration's space. If line of sight is relevant, determine it from the creator, not the conjuration.

...Please explain your reasoning or rules source to backup your claim. 



The spirit keyword states this (which oyu can find on page 220 of PHB2):

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.

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Q: Do I need line of sight or line of effect when using spirit powers?

A: Normally with conjurations you need line of sight to use a power, but with SCs it is different and you use your SC to determine line of sight.  You determine also line of effect from your SC.  See page 220 of PHB2




From the Rules Compendium:

Attacking with a Conjuration: Normally, a conjuration cannot attack. If a conjuration can attack, its creator makes the attack, determining line of effect from the conjuration as if the creator were in the conjuration's space. If line of sight is relevant, determine it from the creator, not the conjuration.

...Please explain your reasoning or rules source to backup your claim. 



The spirit keyword states this (which oyu can find on page 220 of PHB2):

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.



Thank you, I missed that.

So I assume you could use your SC even if you don't have Line of Effect (or LoS) to the SC -- even though the SC would vanish at the end of your turn, it can still be used on your turn this way?

Yes, that is correct. You can attack enemies around walls, your attack range is effectively 20 + movement speed and you can use healing spirit's secondary target at the same range (20 + move), even around corners. The same is true for ranged spirit attacks.

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Does the SC Opportunity Action trigger when an Enemy leaves an adjacent square due to Forced Movement or Teleportation?
Does the SC Opportunity Action trigger when an Enemy leaves an adjacent square due to Forced Movement or Teleportation?



No it does not. See page 1 of this FAQ, for reference and the sources:

Q: When does my SC get to make an OA?

A: Technically your SC never makes an OA.  He has an attack that functions as an opportunity action.  He gets to make that attack only when an enemy moves away from it without shifting.  Note that "Forced movement does not provoke opportunity attacks or other opportunity actions" according to page 285 of the PHB.   The updated rules say teleportation does not provoke.  Ranged powers also do not provoke attacks from SCs.  Remember that it is always you making the attack and that the SC is a proxy or a puppet that you are attacking through, so if you are stunned, dazed etc. you don't get to take the opportunity action.

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