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Boon Companion and the Pack Lord


Rules Questions

Grand Lodge

6 people marked this as FAQ candidate.

Boon Companion

Your bond with your animal companion or familiar is unusually close.

Prerequisites: Animal companion or familiar class ability.

Benefit: The abilities of your animal companion or familiar are calculated as though your class were four levels higher, to a maximum bonus equal to your character level. If you have more than one animal companion or familiar, choose one to receive this benefit. If you lose or dismiss an animal companion or familiar, you may apply this feat to the replacement creature.

Special: You may select this feat more than once. The effects do not stack. Each time you take the feat, it applies to a different animal companion or familiar.

A friend and I were having a discussion about how this feat works. One of us made the claim that a Pack Lord could use this feat to full effect, which the other one of us argued that as a full classed Druid, the feat would have no effect.

The idea was that taking Boon Companion several times for different animals, would increase their abilities by 4 levels, since none of them are twenty hit dice yet.

But, it was pointed out that Boon companion changes "your class level" not your animal companion ...

Basically, the Pack Lord wants to have 3 animal companions, one at 16 HD, one at 3 HD and the last one at 1HD. Then, he wants to take Boon Companion 3 times, suggesting that since none of teh companions have reaches his character level yet in HD, they would still gain the benefit, bumping each one by 4 levels, giving him 3 animal companions at 20HD, 7HD and 5HD.

Can Boon Companion work this way?

Thanks


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

yes.


Your effective level for the animal companions is lower as a Pack Lord's animal companions, so Boon Companion(taken three times), would increase all of their Hit Dice.

Grand Lodge

Another question about the Pack Lord (since I'm here) ...

Under Improved Empathic Link, It says ...

This ability replaces the 6th-level additional use of wild shape.

Does that mean at 8th level, I still gain "wild shape 3/day" or does losing the additional use at 6th reduce the entire progression ... does that mean they do not get wild shape at/will at 20th level as well?


When an archetype feature replaces one interation of a level dependent class feature, but not all iterations of that feature, you simply move everything down one step.

In this case, since it replaces the use of wildshape at 6th level, you would gain 2 uses at 8th level, and at 20th level you gain your 8th use (and lose out on the at-will wildshape).


Brox Varr'Uk wrote:

Boon Companion

Your bond with your animal companion or familiar is unusually close.

Prerequisites: Animal companion or familiar class ability.

Benefit: The abilities of your animal companion or familiar are calculated as though your class were four levels higher, to a maximum bonus equal to your character level. If you have more than one animal companion or familiar, choose one to receive this benefit. If you lose or dismiss an animal companion or familiar, you may apply this feat to the replacement creature.

Special: You may select this feat more than once. The effects do not stack. Each time you take the feat, it applies to a different animal companion or familiar.

A friend and I were having a discussion about how this feat works. One of us made the claim that a Pack Lord could use this feat to full effect, which the other one of us argued that as a full classed Druid, the feat would have no effect.

The idea was that taking Boon Companion several times for different animals, would increase their abilities by 4 levels, since none of them are twenty hit dice yet.

But, it was pointed out that Boon companion changes "your class level" not your animal companion ...

Basically, the Pack Lord wants to have 3 animal companions, one at 16 HD, one at 3 HD and the last one at 1HD. Then, he wants to take Boon Companion 3 times, suggesting that since none of teh companions have reaches his character level yet in HD, they would still gain the benefit, bumping each one by 4 levels, giving him 3 animal companions at 20HD, 7HD and 5HD.

Can Boon Companion work this way?

Thanks

So...your Druids Level is 32?=(20+7+5), or 20?=(16+3+1). Boon adds to your total druid level NOT the animal level that is how I read this (hopefully I did the link right). Your Total Animal Druid Level can not be over you level. If your are 6 level you can not have over 6 levels in animals (1 6th level, 2 3rd Levels, 6 1st levels). I think this feat needs redone for Pathfinder it is a paizo 3.5 feat.

Grand Lodge

Hawkson wrote:
Brox Varr'Uk wrote:

Boon Companion

Your bond with your animal companion or familiar is unusually close.

Prerequisites: Animal companion or familiar class ability.

Benefit: The abilities of your animal companion or familiar are calculated as though your class were four levels higher, to a maximum bonus equal to your character level. If you have more than one animal companion or familiar, choose one to receive this benefit. If you lose or dismiss an animal companion or familiar, you may apply this feat to the replacement creature.

Special: You may select this feat more than once. The effects do not stack. Each time you take the feat, it applies to a different animal companion or familiar.

A friend and I were having a discussion about how this feat works. One of us made the claim that a Pack Lord could use this feat to full effect, which the other one of us argued that as a full classed Druid, the feat would have no effect.

The idea was that taking Boon Companion several times for different animals, would increase their abilities by 4 levels, since none of them are twenty hit dice yet.

But, it was pointed out that Boon companion changes "your class level" not your animal companion ...

Basically, the Pack Lord wants to have 3 animal companions, one at 16 HD, one at 3 HD and the last one at 1HD. Then, he wants to take Boon Companion 3 times, suggesting that since none of teh companions have reaches his character level yet in HD, they would still gain the benefit, bumping each one by 4 levels, giving him 3 animal companions at 20HD, 7HD and 5HD.

Can Boon Companion work this way?

Thanks

So...your Druids Level is 32?=(20+7+5), or 20?=(16+3+1). Boon adds to your total druid level NOT the animal level that is how I read this (hopefully I did the link right). Your Total Animal Druid Level can not be over you level. If your are 6 level you can not have over 6 levels in animals (1 6th level, 2 3rd Levels,...

Yeah, I've been reading the feat a lot and talking with several people, and I've come to the realization that this feat (even in a 3.5 setting) has never been designed to work with a full classed Druid. They would recieve no benefit.


Great for multiclass druid, non 12th beastmaster rangers & any other -4 "Druid Level" combos though. ;)


I'm pretty sure no. Although, look into the synergy between going 4 druid, 3 wizard (or 4 sorceror dual blooded empyreal/arcane), 10 Arcane Heirophant. AH is from a backwards compatible splatbook Races of The Wild. Levels in it give you: +1 to wild shape level, +1 to companion level, +1 to arcane caster level, +1 to divine caster level, merge companion(s) and familiar(s) into companion familiar(s) with druid companion physical stats, wizard familiar int and special abilities.

Yeah, all of those bonuses, for ten levels. So, at PFS max of 12, assuming they let you back compatibilify, you would be:
Druid spellcasting @ L9 -> 5th level spells (most of the good ones, too)
Wizard casting @ L8 -> 4th level spells, not bad.
Wild shape @ L9.
Companion (with boon) total of 12 levels of both companion and familiar to divvy up.
And ability to cast through your companion, target it with self spells, and load your companion with touch bombs, using its to hit.

Hmmm.

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

Brox Varr'Uk wrote:

Boon Companion

Your bond with your animal companion or familiar is unusually close.

Prerequisites: Animal companion or familiar class ability.

Benefit: The abilities of your animal companion or familiar are calculated as though your class were four levels higher, to a maximum bonus equal to your character level. If you have more than one animal companion or familiar, choose one to receive this benefit. If you lose or dismiss an animal companion or familiar, you may apply this feat to the replacement creature.

Special: You may select this feat more than once. The effects do not stack. Each time you take the feat, it applies to a different animal companion or familiar.

A friend and I were having a discussion about how this feat works. One of us made the claim that a Pack Lord could use this feat to full effect, which the other one of us argued that as a full classed Druid, the feat would have no effect.

The idea was that taking Boon Companion several times for different animals, would increase their abilities by 4 levels, since none of them are twenty hit dice yet.

But, it was pointed out that Boon companion changes "your class level" not your animal companion ...

Basically, the Pack Lord wants to have 3 animal companions, one at 16 HD, one at 3 HD and the last one at 1HD. Then, he wants to take Boon Companion 3 times, suggesting that since none of teh companions have reaches his character level yet in HD, they would still gain the benefit, bumping each one by 4 levels, giving him 3 animal companions at 20HD, 7HD and 5HD.

Can Boon Companion work this way?

Thanks

Ok, just to clarify the question here, there are two possible ways this feat could work for a Pack Lord Druid:

1) Since you're dividing your effective druid levels between multiple companions, you're considered to have a different effective druid level for each companion, per this line in the Pack Lord's Pack Bond ability:

Pack Bond wrote:
...The pack lord may have more than one animal companion, but she must divide up her effective druid level between her companions to determine the abilities of each companion. For example, a 4th-level pack lord can have one 4th-level companion, two 2nd-level companions, or one 1st-level and one 3rd-level companion....

Essentially, if you have two companions that are both "2nd-level companions" that means that you have two entirely separate "effective druid levels" which are 2 and 2. In this case, you could take Boon Companion once for each companion, raising each of your effective druid levels to 4.

NOTE: This is how I interpret the combination of Pack Lord and Boon Companion to work, personally.

2) You are considered to have a single effective druid level, and you are only splitting the BENEFIT of that effective druid level between multiple companions. This means that a 4th level Pack Lord has an effective druid level of 4 no matter how many companions she has, and in that case Boon Companion would be completely useless to her.
NOTE: This is most likely how it was MEANT to work, but as written I don't think that it works this way.

My reasoning for preferring interpretation #1 is that in the Boon Companion description it specifically calls out that you could have multiple companions or familiars, and you can take the feat for each of them. This to me suggests that you have a different effective druid level for each companion you have, and in that case you should be able to "Boon" each one of them separately, regardless HOW you've gotten the ability to have multiple companions (either through an archetype or from multiclassing).

Silver Crusade

Okies, lets clarify some issues for the OP.

Boon Companion is fabulous for any character who does not count as a full level druid when calculating their animal companion. Its also great for the Pack Lord, as they divy up their effective druid levels to multiple companions.

The +4 effective druid levels apply individually to each animal companion you are applying them to.

@cartmanbeck, you got the rule right, but its RAW, no need to search for an implicit

Quote:
Special: You may select this feat more than once. The effects do not stack. Each time you take the feat, it applies to a different animal companion or familiar.

emphasis mine

So, if you have a total of 20 effective druid levels - as a Pack Lord - and as your example you divide them up 16HD (20th level companion) 3HD (2nd or 3rd level companion) and 1HD (which doesn't exist, they start at 2HD) you've broken some rules.

The feat doesn't effect the HD of the creature, directly. It effects the Effective Druid Level of the Pack Lord when calculating the power of the creature as per the Animal Companion chart, so a Pack Lord could take Boon Companion twice and have:
1 max'd animal companion (16 lvls + 4 Boon Companion lvls) for a 16 HD animal companion,
a 6HD animal (2 lvls + 4 Boon Companion lvls),
and a level 2 animal having 3HD.
If he took Boon Companion a third time it would effect the last remaining animal companion, as the other two have already applied it.

Interestingly, if he was so inclined to give his GM a combat nightmare headache, a player could take the feat 9 times, applying it to 9 different companions, making them each at least level 6 (6HD) and train them up with Teamwork Feats for some really neat synergies.


Benefit: The abilities of your animal companion or familiar are calculated as though your class were four levels higher, to a maximum effective druid level of equal to your character level. If you have more than one animal companion or familiar, choose one to receive this benefit.

It adds to your class level, NOT the "Animals half of those levels" .

Quote: cartmanbeck
2) You are considered to have a single effective druid level, and you are only splitting the BENEFIT of that effective druid level between multiple companions. This means that a 4th level Pack Lord has an effective druid level of 4 no matter how many companions she has, and in that case Boon Companion would be completely useless to her.
NOTE: This is most likely how it was MEANT to work, but as written I don't think that it works this way.

+1 to this

Quote: Booksy
Special: You may select this feat more than once. The effects do not stack. Each time you take the feat, it applies to a different animal companion or familiar.

3.5 Feat. In 3.5 their was 1 (the Beastmaster) Prestige class that could have more companions. The "Special" was for Druid / Wizards, or the like, to add to both animal & familar


Or use this feat

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.

@ Hawkson - It does not add to your class level. Read the feat again. Also, this is a Rules question, not a Homebrew forum. Continuing to bring up content from previous editions of the game - not even published by the current distributer - can only muddy the waters. Please keep insights from other rules systems where they belong.

I think the confusion is occuring here because its an 'order of operations' issue. To a single class Druid with a single animal companion, I agree, Boon Companion is useless. If you took it, it would be applied and have no effect because the Animal Companion calculates its abilities by the effective Druid level assigned to it, and in this case a Druids effective druid level is his Character level, thus the plus 4 cannot exceed the amount it has already achieved. This is why it works for Rangers, whose effective Druid level is Ranger-3, the Animal companion is now calculated as Ranger-3+4, max Charactere Level. Great if you were planing on dipping a single level anywhere else.

The Boon Companion bonus does not apply to your character level. It is not added to your effective druid level, it specifically states in the feat that you calculate the animal companion's abilities as if your effective druid level is up to 4 levels higher. It goes on to state a special rule, which is that if you take this feat multiple times, it does not stack, and it applies individually to each animal companion.

As a Pack Lord divides his available effective druid levels up as he sees fit amongst as many or as few animal companions as he sees fit, each of these Animal Companions is operating under a seperate effective druid level, even though they all come from the same pool (his total effective druid level, ie his character level). If these are treated as one unit (example Voltron) or individual pieces that are part of a greater whole (example Lions of Voltron Force) is immaterial, as the feat effects the individual calculation of the animal companion, not the direct effective or character levels of the individual.

All the quotes I made previously, and in this post are from the Pathfinder OGC. In this specific rules question I am not quoting anything from 3.5, nor referencing to it, nor implying that Pathfinder rules have failed to 'catch the debree' as it were.

Ultimate Magic wrote:

Pack Lord: Pack Bond (Ex)

...The pack lord may have more than one animal companion, but she must divide up her effective druid level between her companions to determine the abilities of each companion. For example, a 4th-level pack lord can have one 4th-level companion, two 2nd-level companions, or one 1st-level and one 3rd-level companion...

Pathfinder Chronicles: Seeker of Secrets wrote:

Boon Companion

Your bond with your animal companion or familiar is unusually close.

Prerequisites: Animal companion or familiar class ability.

Benefit: The abilities of your animal companion or familiar are calculated as though your class were four levels higher, to a maximum effective druid level of equal to your character level. If you have more than one animal companion or familiar, choose one to receive this benefit. If you lose or dismiss an animal companion or familiar, you may apply this feat to the replacement creature.

Special: You may select this feat more than once. The effects do not stack. Each time you take the feat, it applies to a different animal companion or familiar.

The Pack Lords Pack Bond is different then a normal Nature Bond. It has specific rules which overrule the general. His effective druid level is divided amongst his companions.

Boon Companion does not state 'add 4 to your character level in regards to your animal companion'. Nor does it state 'add 4 to your effective druid level to a maximum of your character level'. It clearly states you apply the benefits of the feat when you're calculating the Animal Companions level. This is not when a Pack Lord is dividing his effective levels, and it is not a bonus that blinks on and off under certain conditions.

So a Pack Lord who wanted to build himself as the OP described could do as follows:

First level, take Boon Companion, it applies automatically to his only Animal - we'll call him Alpha - and doesn't raise him up because his effective Druid level and his character level are the same.
Second level, gains a second Animal(Beta), they are now both using 1 effective Druid level, but Alpha is now effectively level 2, as Boon Companion calculates the Animal Companions Abilities as though your effective class is 4 higher, to a maximum of your character level.
Third level, gain a third Animal(Gamma) and take Boon Companion again, as per special, applying it to Beta. Each Animal has a base 1 effective Druid level, Alpha is now effectively level 3, as is Beta(having the second Boon Companion applied to him/her) and Gamma is level 1.
At this point he could merely divide his gained effective Druid level amongst Alpha and Beta until Character Level 8, where Alpha is level 8 (base 4 + Boon 4), Beta is level 7 (base 3 + Boon 4) and Gamma is still just level 1.
If your friend continues to build as originally planned he would have Alpha level 20 (base 16 + Boon 4), Beta level 7 and Gamma level 1.

My personal recommendation would be to take Boon Companion once more and have Alpha level 20 and both Beta and Gamma level 6 (base 2 + Boon 4). This strategy would benefit most until level 6, where all 3 Animals would be same level as the character.


See this The Breatmaster & Pack lord have the same ability (more than one animal companion). Why would it be useless after 12th level if it add to the animal, the levels could be added to other animals. But Jason was said after 12th it is useless. Like Tanis Said "Be aware that Chronicles is 3.5 material." The special line needs taken out for pathfinder. Your total druid levels divided about your animals CANNOT go over you character level.

Silver Crusade

Hawkson...let me start on a positive note. Thank you for linking to posts surrounding a very similar topic. This can add perspective to tricky rules, subjects and tells me that you've given the issue much thought.

Seeker of Secrets, although created during the days of 3.5 is completely PFS legal and has had the only errata added (unofficially) as to change the phrase "to a maximum bonus equal to your character level*." to "to a maximum effective druid level of equal to your character level."

The reason Boon Companion is useless to Beastmasters, as quoted by Warforged Gardener, who is quoting 'Jason Bulmahn' is that at level 12 his effective druid level is his ranger level. We are not given any further information about this conversation, did it involve a Beastmaster with more then one animal companion? Do we believe this quote as errata when it is not posted by the Lead Designer himself? I could say, "I was hanging out at Starbucks and I bumped into James Jacobs, they'd mixed up our orders, hahaha, when we started talking about Boon Companion and how it worked with the Pack Lord archetype and he took time out of his busy day to sit down with a random fan and nitpick every possible outcome and rule conflict, including this one and XYZ he agreed completely with everything I said, making me right and infering that I understand everything that may have been implied in that conversation that wasn't explicitly stated and therefore its 100% true."

Again I will point out the feat does not say "add up to 4 to your effective druid level, not exceeding your character level." If it did, I would 100% support every point you've made. It does state, 3 times in the rules of the feat, that the benefit is applied to the animal companion. It also tells us to calculate the animal's abilites as if the effective druid level were 4 higher up to a max of characters level. It also specifies taking the feat multiple times applies it to a separate creature. A Packlord's effective druid level is divided amongst his animal companions, giving each one a seperate level of ability to calculate.

So, in closing, if you can find an errata or official post by an official Paizo judicator, or a rule overlooked here in these postings, I will be happy to admit I missed something and that my reading of these rules is incorrect. Please don't post unfounded opinions and anecdotes in a rules question forum, as they will only obfuscate the facts.

Andoran

Can't believe that no one has FAQ flagged it. I just hit it.

Andoran

Looking at things in a bubble can make things look more obvious than they are.

FEAT:
"Benefit: The abilities of your animal companion or familiar are calculated as though your class were four levels higher, to a maximum effective druid level of equal to your character level. If you have more than one animal companion or familiar, choose one to receive this benefit."

ABILITY:
Pack Bond (Ex)

A pack lord druid may not select a domain and must choose an animal companion. The druid gains a +2 bonus on wild empathy and Handle Animal checks made regarding her animal companion. The pack lord may have more than one animal companion, but she must divide up her effective druid level between her companions to determine the abilities of each companion. For example, a 4th-level pack lord can have one 4th-level companion, two 2nd-level companions, or one 1st-level and one 3rd-level companion.

When you look at them together, it seems to be that the feat would do nothing.

Silver Crusade

Let me explain it this way.

A level 4 Packlord has 2 level 2 Animal Companions.

At fifth level he takes the Boon Companion feat and assigns it to Wolf A, and assigns his effective druid level to Wolf B. Wolf A is now calculated as base effective druid level 2, plus 4 as applied to the animal by feat, for a total of level 5, as feat bonus cannot cause the total to exceed the character level. Wolf B is level 3.

Again, the feat is not applied to the character's effective druid level, it is applied to the Animal Companion as though its effective druid level were up to 4 higher.

Another way to read this, which if errata'd would clear up any such confusion, would be "An Animal Companion or Familiar gains up to 4 levels, without exceeding your character level. This feat can be taken multiple time, its effects do not stack. Each time you take this feat choose a new Animal Companion or Familiar."

or it could be changed to "You gain up to 4 effective druid levels, without exceeding your character level. This feat may only be applied to one Animal Companion or Familiar. Each time you take this feat choose a new Animal Companion or Familiar."

Either change would explicity clear up this confusion.


If you're a level 6 packlord druid, this feat would do nothing.

"The abilities of your animal companion or familiar are calculated as though your class were four levels higher, ..."

It applies a bonus of 4 to your druid class level (which may only be used to benefit your animal companion's abilities)

"...to a maximum effective druid level of equal to your character level."

The bonus to the effective level of your druid can not exceed your character level.

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