[RPG] Is the Shaman spirit animal an animal companion


Generating my first Shaman character for Pathfinder and I am a bit confused about the Spirit Animal. Is the Spirit Animal a single, living animal that must be with the Shaman when the commune each day? Since it has a process for if the "spirit animal is slain" that would lead me to believe it is an individual animal.

So if the Shaman is unable to have their Spirit Animal with them does that mean they are unable to have any spells for the day? Does that make it an Animal Companion like for a Druid? Does that mean the Spirit Animal can attack during combat or perform other game related tasks?

It never talks about the Spirit Animal in the same way a Druid's Animal Companion is discussed, which is why I am unsure.

Or is the Spirit Animal just any animal of the selected type? Or maybe it is an actual spirit of that animal?

Best Answer

Be careful not to confuse the two entities shamans work with: one is a spirit, the other is a living animal representing that spirit in the physical world.

First, no, the spirit animal is not an animal companion. It is a living creature that mostly works like a wizard's familiar:

[The Spirit Animal] ability uses the same rules as the wizard's arcane bond class feature and [the spirit animal] is treated as a familiar, except as noted below.

So it can only fight for you as much as a familiar normally can, using its natural abilities. It doesn't advance like a druid's animal companion, and if it's killed you're hooped for spellcasting for at least a little bit.

Yes, you need to have your spirit animal with you to prepare spells, as it is the conduit to the source of the shaman's spells:

A shaman must commune with her spirit animal each day to prepare her spells.

So, a concrete example might help. If you have a bond with the Spirit of Otters, you would commune with that spirit via a living otter, which is called your spirit animal. If the otter is slain, a new otter would have to be found to serve as a conduit to the Spirit of Otters. The otter can fight for you, but that's risky and otters are not great fighters, nor will the otter ever become a great fighter.

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