This is identical to what I have up in my shaman handbook, but I think this is useful enough to include here as well since there are regular questions about it and this is a better place for a rules discussion. I will update it whenever I update the one in the handbook and vice versa. Here is a link to a dragon article 387
about shamans for DDI subscribers which has statements on spirit companion rules that I mention below several times.
SC=Spirit companion, PHB=Players Handbook, PP=primal power DS=Dark Sun OA=opportunity attack RAW=rules as written RAI=Rules as intendedQ; Where are the rules about conjurations?
A: Page 120 of the PHB2 has the SC companion rules. Page 219 and 220 in PHB2 have updated conjuration rules and they slightly expand on the rules in PHB1 page 59.Q: What does the spirit keyword mean?
A: From 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."Q: Does my SC occupy a square? Who can move through it?
A: Yes it does occupy a square, unlike most conjurations. Your allies can move through it, but can not end their turn in the same square. You enemies can not move through it. See PHB2 p 120.Q: Does my SC provoke OA?
A: No. The PHB2 FAQ
says it does not provoke OA. The reasoning is that only creatures provoke OA and your SC is not a creature.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.Q: How fast does my SC move? Can it Shift? What happens when I am slowed? What happens if I am immobilized? What about difficult terrain?
A: It moves up to your move speed when you take a move action. It probably can not shift normally (no rule says it can), but for the most part that does not matter since it does not provoke OA (there is a feat that lets Githzerai's SC shift when they shift). If you are slowed, you movement drops to 2 and therefore your SC can only move 2. Immobilization does not cause you to loose your move actions and technically does not reduce your speed, so you should be able to move it, but ask your DM. Page 220 of PHB2 says conjurations are not effected by difficult terrain.Q: Can my SC be pushed, pulled, slid, slowed, stunned, dazed, blinded, deafened, petrified, or take ongoing damage?
A; No. It can only be damaged and only you can move it according to the rules on page 120
of PHB2. If it takes 10 + 1/2 your level in damage then it is dismissed and you take damage equal to 5 +1/2 your level Q: Is my spirit an ally?
A: No. Conjurations are not allies, but some powers and feats may let it do things normally only allies can do like flank or provide cover.Q: If I have combat advantage against an enemy does the +2 bonus apply to attacks I make through my spirit companion?
A: Yes. For instance if the shaman is flanking an enemy he gets a +2 bonus to all attacks against that enemy. That includes attacks from conjurations since the rules provide for no exception to this. See pages 279 and 285 in the PHB for the relevant rules: "You gain a +2 bonus to your attack roll when you have combat advantage against a target". Q: If I am being flanked or if someone has combat advantage against me for another reason does the bonus also apply to the companion?
A: No. The bonus applies to attack rolls against that particular target. It does not lower your defenses and the spirit companion is a different target.
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?
Q: How many SCs can I have active at a time?
Blind: This does effect the spirit like blinded normally does, because the SC has no senses of its own. So if the shaman is blind and enemies succeed with stealth checks against his passive perception (-10) and that effects his spirit attacks equally. The attacks still have -5 for total concealment, because the shaman actually makes the attack. The rules say nothing about the SC being able to make perception checks on its own.
Dazed: Works as normal. You can take only one action. Though if it is a move action, you both can move. This is why sudden call/nimble spirit are such good feats.
Immobilized: You can't move, but you can still take move actions, which means you can move your SC.
Marked: Works as normal. Even if you attack through your SC, it would still be -2 to hit a target other than the one that marked you. And since the PC is one marked if the PC attacks a target other than the one that marked it any mark punishment will be directed against the PC.
Dying/Petrified/Unconscious: Your SC is dismissed since you must be conscious for it to remain summoned
Prone: While prone you get a -2 to all attacks, including spirit attacks. The shaman grants CA to melee attacks, but the spirit can’t grant CA. The SC gets a +2 bonus to defenses against all ranged attacks from enemies not adjacent to the shaman since the shaman gets that bonus. Some DMs may rule otherwise on that last point, since that sounds a bit weird, but I think the SC gets all conditional defensive bonuses that the shaman gets.
Restrained: Same as immobilized, but you get a -2 to attack through your spirit too.
Slowed: Your SC has your movement speed, so you both can only move 2.
Stunned: Nothing happens to the SC, but you can’t move it or attack with it.
Weakened: Your SC attacks do half damage.
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: What does it mean for the spirit companion to be "destroyed"?
A: A couple of powers (call forth the spirit world and spirit of destruction) mention the spirit companion being "destroyed" and when that happens the boost the power gives goes away for the rest of the encounter. The power call spirit companion only says the spirit companion can be "dismissed" (shaman is unconscious or voluntarilty dimisses it) or that it "disappears" when it takes enough damage. A few powers like spirit infusion also make the SC disappear. The feat retributive spirit says a spirit is destroyed by another creature as well, so I infer the authors mean that detroying a SC means dealing enough damage to make it disappear, not voluntarily dismissing it. So powers like call forth the spirit world still remain effect after using powers like spirit infusion. Ask your DM. 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. The other main difference is that mc shamans can't take nimble spirit, while hybrid and pure shamans can take both nimble spirit or sudden call.Q: When can I summon my SC?
A: Only during your turn. Either it takes a minor action which has to be on your turn or it if you have a feats like sudden call or nimble spirit, it is a free action on your turn. Animists can summon it as a free action during their turn if it was not present at the beginning of the turn. You can also ready an action to summon it on a trigger, but that will be the only action you can do since readying an action only grants you one action. MC shamans always need a standard action to summon the spirit unless they take sudden call.Q: When does my SC disappear with powers like Spirit Infusion (DS)? Can I bring it back in the middle of the attack with a free action if I have a feat like Nimble Spirit?
This is up to your DM (free actions can always be limited by the DM) and it depends on the power. For most them it looks like the first thing that happens with the power is the the spirit disappears right away since it is the first line in the effect. That means that your boosts to allies do not apply if they require your SC to be adjacent to them, so allies would not get any additional boosts when making a Spirit Infusion triggered basic attack. The rules do not say you can't use a free action in the middle of an attack, but again some DMs may not allow it and in general the answer to this question is ask your DM.Q; Can my SC fly?
A: Pretty much. The PHB2 FAQ now says you can summon the SC midair
It can float and does not need to be supported by a solid surface. The Dragon 387 article on shamans states: "This means when it moves, it ignores difficult terrain and can move vertically and horizontally." When the shaman first came out customer service used to say no you can't move it above ground very consistently, but it looks like that the current official position is that you can summon and move it in the air with no problem.
Q; How far away can my SC go and still be sustained?
A: It needs to be within 20 squares of you at the end of your turn for you to sustain it. There has been a lot of debate about this, but the new rules compendium clarified it with this comment on page 120: "A close power's range rarely matters. If it is ever relevant, the number given for the size also functions as the range" The following is why this use to be controversial if you care.
Q: Do I need line of sight or line of effect when using spirit powers?
There is a lot of argument about this, but for my answer I am relying on this FAQ from the Player's Handbook Races: Dragonborn, which states that "Q The Dragon Storm power has a zone that starts in a close burst 2, but can be moved. How far can I move it? A: You can move the zone 3 squares, and it ends if you end your turn more than 2 squares away from it " So as poorly as this answer is written, we now know that close burst powers do have a range requirment for sustaining.
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. PHB2 page 220 states you can move a conjuration as far as you want to during your turn, but conjurations end unless at least 1 square is within range.
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. Page 273 however says that the "Range is the distance from you to a target (or to the attack's origin square)." The origin square for close burst powers is the creature using the power, so the range = 0. There is a customer service answer quoted in the thread to this FAQ for instance that as long as you have line of sight there is no range limit.
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. A lot of people think that is the common sense answer since the power is close burst 20 that the range is 20 and treat the square the spirit companion is summoned in as the target referred to on page 273. To top it off Dragon issue 387 says "If you end your turn with the spirit companion more than 20 squares away from you, it goes away." Of course that article also contradicts other earlier errata and says you need a minor action to dismiss the SC.
So that's why people disagree about this 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". Ask your DM, but in my experience this does not come up too often in real game play. No matter how far away you think the SC can go, you need to have line of effect to it at the end of your turn or it goes away (see PHB2 page 220).
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.Q: Can my SC be damaged by area/close attacks or zones?
A: No. According to page 120 in PHB2 it can only be damaged by ranged or melee attacks. And you only have to worry about damage from one attack at a time.Q: Can my SC flank or provide cover?
A: Not normally because it is not an ally. The powers stalker's strike and capturing jaws let it flank, which implies that it normally can't flank. The power (Massive Companion) and feat (Stone Heart Spirit) let it provide cover, which again implies it normally does not.Q: Can the spirit companion be flanked?
A: No. This is a bit of complicated reasoning, but to be flanked the target needs to be a creature as defined by the PHB 57. Your SC is not a creature and therefore can not be flanked.Q: If I use healing spirit on two allies who are both next to my bear spirit companion, do both get the additional hp from my spirit boon or does only one get it?
A: Yes. WOTC has not answered the question with a FAQ, but customer service
says yes pretty consistently. The players stragtegy guide says yes as well (I believe in chapter 3, but I don't own the book myself).Q: What if I have the feat Vigorous Spirit (PP) and heal 1 ally and a second ally adjacent to my SC? Do both get the extra healing from my wisdom modifier?
A: No. That feat says "the target regains additional hitpoints". The only target of healing spirit is "you or one ally in burst", the second character adjacent to your SC who gets the extra d6s of healing is not a target.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 sight from it.Q: Can a shaman see through a Spirit Companion's Eyes?
A: Even though you determine line of sight for spirit powers through the SC, RAW nothing says you can actually see through the spirit. The power roaming mind, roaming spirit is an exception since it lets you perceive things the spirit can.Q: Does it have to be a bear or can I make mine a giant otter?
A: Make it whatever animal you want.
Feel free to ask any question that you don't see an answered in the FAQ. I have removed sblocks, because I do not think they make sense for a stickied thread.