View Full Version : [3.5] Druid summoning new animal companion?

2009-12-01, 11:40 AM
I've been having trouble in my most recent campaign, my animal companion died and it came time to finally summon a new one. Unfortunately for me, the process is very vague in the book, and left my DM open to interpret anyway he pleased.

"If a druid releases her companion from service, she may gain a new one by performing a ceremony requiring 24 uninterrupted hours of prayer. This ceremony can also replace an animal companion that has perished. "

The way he thinks it happens is, the animal has to be within 24 hours of walking distance, cutting everything off the list but wolfs and small snakes. The way I view it is just a summoning spell that winks in anything from the list after the 24hour ritual.

My question is did WOTC ever elaborate on how exactly this process happens in a splat or source book? Thanks in advance, longtime reader first time poster!

2009-12-01, 12:37 PM
no they didn't But I would say (as a gm) that i would allow any thing on the basic list. with out to much fuss.. Any thing above that (like off the 4th level or higher list) would require actually finding that animal and using eaither handle animal or wild empathy.

But by raw its up to the GM

2009-12-01, 03:15 PM
You can't realistically perform 24 hours of uninterrupted prayer while walking around looking for an animal. "...performing a ceremony requiring 24 uninterrupted hours of prayer" suggests that it requires a level of concentration that can only be achieved by remaining stationary, otherwise you could continue adventuring during that time by muttering the prayers under your breath, just as you would while walking around looking. It looks to me like your DM is trying to twist the meaning in order to impose an unintended limit on what you can get.

I've always seen it as the Druid sits down and prays for 24 hours, at the end of which the new companion wanders in. This could limit you to whatever companions could make it to your location in 24 hours of traveling, or just say it's a summoning effect similar to obtaining a familiar and any companion you pick could wander up, regardless of whether it could normally be found in that area. If you DM insists that you have to find your new companion locally, just insist that the current adventure be put on hold while your character travels to whatever region your choice of a new companion can be found in. If he's going to be a jerk and twist the rules into something that it couldn't logically mean, make it look like he's forcing you to inconvenience the rest of the party by playing along.

2009-12-01, 05:57 PM
I don't think that it's too unreasonable for the DM to request a conceivably local animal. It depends on the level of course, if you want a camel or a polar bear in a temperate climate you could always just teleport/tree stride/whatever to a suitable place for the 24 hours required if your higher than 10th level.

2009-12-01, 06:25 PM
You can't realistically perform 24 hours of uninterrupted prayer while walking around looking for an animal.

Having several Hare Krsna friends, I'd have to say that you can perform uninterrupted prayer while doing almost any task at all. The hard part is staying awake for 24 hours, but we've all done that at some point or another.

@ hendershot: My advice to you would be to try to strike a compromise with your GM. Here are 2 I can think of:

-Sometimes animals wander far out of their normal biome either due to hunger, getting lost or being driven out. A bear in a desert, a shark in a freshwater river, a mountain lion wandering into town... there's lots of reasons. Maybe your DM could houserule finding such an animal, if you RP it as being hungry, sick and lost when you first find it? (This also gives a convincing reason why it likes you so much, if you nurse it back to health.)

-If your GM is strict on enforcing biomes, maybe he could offer a few homebrewed alternatives to the normal list? For instance, it sounds like you're in a desert. What about some kind of large reptile that looks like a small dino but has the stats of a bear? What about a vulture or buzzard? That kind of thing. If you know which stats you want off the normal list, it should be easy for your DM to imagine a local animal that has the same stats.

I hope this helps.

2009-12-01, 06:38 PM
Summoning an Animal Companion is a ritualistic spell.

You sit, focusing your spirit into the wild, an obscuring mist rising around you. You hear the call of the beasts, every beast imaginable, within a few hours, and spend time focusing on the one who will aid you, drowning out the others, guiding the animal towards you through the planes. After the 10th hour, you can see its shadow through the mists, darting about, judging you. if you are not worth (high level enough), it vanishes back into the ether, but if you are worthy, it approaches you, sniffing, cautious. You focus your spirit into the beast, forming the bonds that will last a lifetime.

Because nuts to sitting around and just praying :-P

2009-12-01, 07:03 PM
All being great suggestions, and I thank you for them, Unless its hard text evidence that new animal companions are summoned in, im stuck with his interpretation of "animal must be close enough to wander in during the 24 hours." Reasoning with him is out, once he comes out with his "good idea" rulings, he'll cling to them regardless if they make sense or not, only magical written texts can change it!

The Glyphstone
2009-12-01, 07:05 PM
So how many levels till you can Tree Stride? That's how many levels your wolf/small snake has left to live.:smallamused:

2009-12-01, 07:23 PM
Basically, the rules are generally interpreted as though they contained the words "any" and "of the player's choice" in many places where those phrases do not, in fact, appear. "At each new wizard level, she gains two new spells of any spell level or levels that she can cast (based on her new wizard level) for her spellbook." Does it say anywhere that the wizard's player gets to choose which spells the wizard gets? I don't think so, but that's what's generally assumed.

This principle is not, to my knowledge, specified in any of the rulebooks. It's just a general RPG convention. Similarly, a GM of any sort of RPG will generally be seen as having the power to adjudicate and even alter the rules, and the responsibility to do so fairly. If this is explicitly addressed in one of the books, then this is mostly for the benefit of participants new to roleplaying games and unaware of the core concepts common to all tabletop RPGs.

The above-mentioned power to alter the rules means that questions about ZOMG THE RAW are only really relevant when the GM wants to follow the official material, since GM rulings trump what the books say anyway. This gives the GM great potential to cut down on rules lawyering by simply resolving a rule issue by fiat. Ideally, GM fiat is used to support game balance, consistency, and/or verisimilitude, and certainly not to force the plot or punish players in any way that detracts from one of those three things. But you know what they say about power corrupting.

My personal feelings on the subject of this thread are as follows: Neither your nor your DM's personal preconceptions about how animal companions are acquired strike me as better serving setting consistency nor verisimilitude. However, if his intent was to limit how easily animal companions can be acquired, under the general principle that characters' acquisitions should have to be earned, then this strikes me as sufficient justification for overriding the normal "any"/"of the player's choice" assumption.

Arguably, that justification makes this a good ruling even if it wasn't the DM's motivation. Of course, this is only if you buy into the "character acquisitions should be earned" principle.