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Celestial Servant, aka animal companions...again


Pathfinder Society® General Discussion

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1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.

My aasimar ranger is taking the Sacred Companion feat because it fits his flavor very well in addition to being pretty good.

I thought that it was fairly straightforward and just gave a template to your AC, but then I noticed that it also changes the type of the animal to a magical beast. This raises some questions, since the animal companion rules in PFS are stricter than normal.

Magical Beast:
Magical Beasts are similar to animals but can have Intelligence scores higher than 2 (in which case the creature knows at least one language, but can’t necessarily speak). Magical Beasts usually have supernatural or extraordinary abilities, but are sometimes merely bizarre in appearance or habits.

A magical beast has the following features.

d10 Hit Die.
Base attack bonus equal to total Hit Dice (fast progression).
Good Fortitude and Reflex saves.
Skill points equal to 2 + Int modifier (minimum 1) per Hit Die. The following are class skills for magical beasts: Acrobatics, Climb, Fly, Perception, Stealth, Swim.
Traits: A magical beast possesses the following traits (unless otherwise noted in a creature's entry).

Darkvision 60 feet.
Low-light vision.
Proficient with its natural weapons only.
Proficient with no armor.
Magical beasts breathe, eat, and sleep.

The clear cut part is that the animal companion would get a larger hit die, its BAB would go up and it gets darkvision. It also could take any feat, and not be restricted to the list of feats under the animal creature type.

However, what if I then increased its Int to 3? Would it still be bound by the PFS rule saying that even with an INT of 3 it is still can only perform tricks and falls under the handle animal rules? I assume that this is not the case, since the magical beast type explicitly says it can understand language. I am just wondering what sort of table variation/pushback I would get from DMs who saw this and if it is too variable/disliked to make it worthwhile in PFS.

Cheliax **

I don't see anything under the Magical Beast or Celestial entries that would make it work any different. Magical beasts don't necessarily have Int higher than 2. The point is that the Handle Animal/Feat business is tied to Int, not type.

Likewise I think it just becomes a Magical Beast for purposes relating to such, you should still use the normal AC table for progression. Case in point, the paladin bonded mount. It's a a magical beast at level 11 but progresses as per normal AC rules.

Quote:
At 11th level, the mount gains the celestial creature advanced simple template and becomes a magical beast for the purposes of determining which spells affect it.

Andoran *****

ARG wrote:

Celestial Servant

Rather than being a normal animal or beast, your companion or familiar hails from the heavenly realms.
Prerequisites: Aasimar, animal companion, familiar, or mount class feature.
Benefit: Your animal companion, familiar, or mount gains the celestial template and becomes a magical beast, though you may still treat it as an animal when using Handle Animal, wild empathy, or any other spells or class abilities that specifically affect animals.
Saint Caleth wrote:


The clear cut part is that the animal companion would get a larger hit die, its BAB would go up and it gets darkvision. It also could take any feat, and not be restricted to the list of feats under the animal creature type.

Though I could be wrong, I dont believe you would get those bonuses, since it says you still treat it as an animal for class abilities that affect animals, which the Animal Compaion rules are for.

Like Dezhem said, I think it might just be considered a Magical Beast for purposes of stuff that can affect it. I'm definitely less sure about it than he seems to be, though. :/

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1 person marked this as a favorite.

I would have to agree that this is likely meant to give the animal companion the ability to be treated as a magical beast in regards to spells and effects, besides your own of course.

However, your animal companion is progressing by class level. A class that gives specific HD, BAB, Saves, Skill Points, and such. With that in mind, I would likely say the class supersedes the Magical Beast properties.

Edit: Though I must say you raise an interesting point. Especially considering the Diabolist's Imp Animal Companion that gets a d10 for its hit dice.

Qadira ****

youre just adding a template and altering the creature type. it doesnt change anything else. you still follow everything on the animal companion chart normally.

changes are. The animal companion gets spell resistance, it cant be targeted by things that target animals, it gets smite evil, some resists.

the diabolist specifically alters those things (because it's an imp, it gets it's normal imp rules)

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The animal companion will gain Darkvision as well.

And I agree that you take the normal animal companion progression, I was merely stating its an intriguing question considering Diabolist made an exception for the imp in terms of animal companion progression.

Qadira ****

Joshua Hirtz wrote:

The animal companion will gain Darkvision as well.

And I agree that you take the normal animal companion progression, I was merely stating its an intriguing question considering Diabolist made an exception for the imp in terms of animal companion progression.

I knew I was forgetting one the properties! :(

Yeah, but the PRC specifically calls it out, the feat specifically calls out the template (so does summon monster) but it doesn't alter their HD either :-/

it's still a great feat, but no full BAB or d10's

Qadira **** Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Amsterdam aka Seraphimpunk

if an oracle of nature takes the feat with her mount companion, it has a base int of 6. as a magical beast, that should negate the need to use handle animal at all on it, its as smart as a summoner's eidolon, and no longer just an "animal" type creature.

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Benrislove wrote:

I knew I was forgetting one the properties! :(

Yeah, but the PRC specifically calls it out, the feat specifically calls out the template (so does summon monster) but it doesn't alter their HD either :-/

it's still a great feat, but no full BAB or d10's

I don't remember summon monster specifically stating it changes the creature type either though. But that's not the point I'm trying to make.

I agree with you, the entire point of that small tidbit being added in is to determine how your animal companion is to be considered when determining effects that would happen to it.

And as you said, its still a great feat. Smite, Spell Resistance, Darkvision, Energy Resistances, and Damage Reduction is not something to be taken lightly.

Qadira ****

darn you pathfinder changes! the template used to make them magical beasts in 3.5.


Dezhem wrote:
Likewise I think it just becomes a Magical Beast for purposes relating to such, you should still use the normal AC table for progression.

I suspect that was the intent as well. The wording isn't very clear, though.

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Joshua Hirtz wrote:

I would have to agree that this is likely meant to give the animal companion the ability to be treated as a magical beast in regards to spells and effects, besides your own of course.

However, your animal companion is progressing by class level. A class that gives specific HD, BAB, Saves, Skill Points, and such. With that in mind, I would likely say the class supersedes the Magical Beast properties.

Edit: Though I must say you raise an interesting point. Especially considering the Diabolist's Imp Animal Companion that gets a d10 for its hit dice.

That is what I thought at first, but then the feat has the text about "you may treat it as an animal". I read the word may as meaning what you can treat it as whichever is more beneficial in each instance. Why would that text be there if the creature were stil actually an animal?

Also, most creature-type changing effects specifically say not to change the HD and BAB. This feat does not, but that just might be a typo, which is why I am confused.

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"You may treat it as an animal" because otherwise it gets MUCH harder for you to control your companion:
Handle Animal

PRD Handle Animal wrote:
Special: You can use this skill on a creature with an Intelligence score of 1 or 2 that is not an animal, but the DC of any such check increases by 5. Such creatures have the same limit on tricks known as animals do.

If your pet is a magical beast with an INT of 1 or 2, you can still use handle animal on it, but at -5... that's a hefty penalty on a class feature that is supposed to IMPROVE with this feat; so the feat says "still treat it like an animal."

Also, if something made it not friendly to you for some reason,:
Wild Empathy

PRD Wild Empathy wrote:
Wild Empathy (Ex): A druid can improve the attitude of an animal. [...] A druid can also use this ability to influence a magical beast with an Intelligence score of 1 or 2, but she takes a –4 penalty on the check.

Same issue, same response--your AC still counts as an animal to you.

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The feat allows you to treat your animal companion as an animal for specific skills and abilities. It does not allow you to choose to do such for anything and everything.

Celestial Servant wrote:
though you may still treat it as an animal when using Handle Animal, wild empathy, or any other spells or class abilities that specifically affect animals.

And many, if not all, classes that grant you a companion of some sort tend to give you wording so that you can use your spells on a normally ineligible creature. Its a special bond between your character and a creature that is a fundamental part of his/her life.

Odea's explanation helps give us some really solid reasoning behind why you really want to be able to treat this now "Magical Beast" as a animal for your abilities too.

****

This definitely improves the animal's BAB, HD, etc. The listed values on the chart in the druid's animal companion section only correspond to typical animal companions, so as to make leveling easy for the 99% of animal companions that use standard rules. Do you think that putting ability score bonuses into Int for an animal companion doesn't raise the number of skill points it gets? The chart's only the final authority for HD, natural armour bonus, Str/Dex bonus, bonus tricks, and most parts of the special column, because those are the parts of the chart that are specific class abilities and not just following the rules of the game. If a template makes it a magical beast and doesn't specifically say that you don't recalculate its stats, then you do, because being a magical beast changes a lot of fundamental numbers. Likewise, "nature bond" isn't a class ability that "affects animals." The exception clause is built into the feat so you can still cast spells like anthropomorphic animal on your companion, etc.

What isn't clear to me is how the spell resistance ability combines with the animal companion, since it's based on CR. What is an animal companion's CR? Druid level? Druid level minus one? 0? Its HD? There are no rules for designating a CR for an animal companion.

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Benn Roe wrote:

This definitely improves the animal's BAB, HD, etc. The listed values on the chart in the druid's animal companion section only correspond to typical animal companions, so as to make leveling easy for the 99% of animal companions that use standard rules. Do you think that putting ability score bonuses into Int for an animal companion doesn't raise the number of skill points it gets? The chart's only the final authority for HD, natural armour bonus, Str/Dex bonus, bonus tricks, and most parts of the special column, because those are the parts of the chart that are specific class abilities and not just following the rules of the game. If a template makes it a magical beast and doesn't specifically say that you don't recalculate its stats, then you do, because being a magical beast changes a lot of fundamental numbers. Likewise, "nature bond" isn't a class ability that "affects animals." The exception clause is built into the feat so you can still cast spells like anthropomorphic animal on your companion, etc.

What isn't clear to me is how the spell resistance ability combines with the animal companion, since it's based on CR. What is an animal companion's CR? Druid level? Druid level minus one? 0? Its HD? There are no rules for designating a CR for an animal companion.

I and most people that I play with agree with the above, on the grounds that text trumps table and the text says magical beast.

Herolab uses HD to calculate the SR, and using HD in place of CR where that does not exist was a rule of thumb in 3.5 and 3.0

Qadira **** Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Amsterdam aka Seraphimpunk

I find it hard to believe the intent of the feat is to create a whole new table for animal companion progression.

I find it more likely that since the progressions for eidolons and animal companions is already staggered to progress with the character, that the feat is only meant to give resistances, SR and DR to your pet, not change it's HD.

Shadow Lodge **

Full BAB on an animal companion for a feat is nuts. It gains a celestial template, which i don't think is the same as making it a full on outsider.

Rebuild Rules

Senses gains darkvision 60 ft.; Defensive Abilities gains damage reduction and energy resistance as noted on the table; SR gains spell resistance equal to new CR +5; Special Attacks smite evil 1/day as a swift action (adds Cha bonus to attack rolls and damage bonus equal to HD against evil foes; smite persists until the target is dead or the celestial creature rests)

Thats not bad. Darkvision, a hard to penetrate DR (and thus the ability to go through dri believe) , and a touch of SR, and smite evil.. and there's a LOT of evil to smite (which definitely cuts through dr) .

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BigNorseWolf wrote:
Full BAB on an animal companion for a feat is nuts. It gains a celestial template, which i don't think is the same as making it a full on outsider.

I kind of agree, but the feat says "gains the celestial template and becomes a magical beast. The RAW is pretty clearcut, but I suspect it is just badly written and needs errata.

Cheliax ****

Benn Roe wrote:
This definitely improves the animal's BAB, HD, etc. The listed values on the chart in the druid's animal companion section only correspond to typical animal companions, so as to make leveling easy for the 99% of animal companions that use standard rules.

This is just plain incorrect :). Familiars don't have BaB equal to their hit dice. Magical beast is a type - You are quoting Bestiary monster creation rules, not Animal Companion rules. The animal companion follows a set or rules on a table. This set HAPPENS TO COINCIDE WITH ANIMAL HIT DICE but regardless of anything else, by RAW must be followed unless specified otherwise.

This would not be the ruling on any table I know.

Use the changes made to a familiar as your precedent.

A familiar is an animal chosen by a spellcaster to aid him in his study of magic. It retains the appearance, Hit Dice, base attack bonus, base save bonuses, skills, and feats of the normal animal it once was, but is now a magical beast for the purpose of effects that depend on its type. Only a normal, unmodified animal may become a familiar. An animal companion cannot also function as a familiar.

Table: Animal Companion Base Statistics determines many of the base statistics of the animal companion.

Nowhere does the feat say recalculate BaB or anything else.

The Imp Companion is not a valid argument, as it calls out exceptions to the rules, and follows the table closely.

If the interpretation looks too good, feels too good, and isn't actually backed up by anything, then it probably is too good.

All the feat says is that your animal companion, familiar, or mount gains the celestial template and becomes a magical beast, though you may still treat it as an animal when using Handle Animal, wild empathy, or any other spells or class abilities that specifically affect animals.

All other normal rules apply, except it's type has changed. The Imp familiar specifically calls out that it uses d10s instead of d8s.

Your interpretation means my familiar gets full BaB and d10 Hit Dice etc. That is clearly not the case - it is even already a Magical Beast.

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Emphasis mine.

David Metcalfe wrote:
Benn Roe wrote:
This definitely improves the animal's BAB, HD, etc. The listed values on the chart in the druid's animal companion section only correspond to typical animal companions, so as to make leveling easy for the 99% of animal companions that use standard rules.

This is just plain incorrect :). Familiars don't have BaB equal to their hit dice. Magical beast is a type - You are quoting Bestiary monster creation rules, not Animal Companion rules. The animal companion follows a set or rules on a table. This set HAPPENS TO COINCIDE WITH ANIMAL HIT DICE but regardless of anything else, by RAW must be followed unless specified otherwise.

This would not be the ruling on any table I know.

Use the changes made to a familiar as your precedent.

A familiar is an animal chosen by a spellcaster to aid him in his study of magic. It retains the appearance, Hit Dice, base attack bonus, base save bonuses, skills, and feats of the normal animal it once was, but is now a magical beast for the purpose of effects that depend on its type. Only a normal, unmodified animal may become a familiar. An animal companion cannot also function as a familiar.

Table: Animal Companion Base Statistics determines many of the base statistics of the animal companion.

Nowhere does the feat say recalculate BaB or anything else.

The difference is that the familiar rules, unlike the Celestial Servant feat, specifically calls out that the magical beast type only applies to effects. The familiar is still an animal, just one that is treated like a magical beast most of the time. It greatly strains credulity to argue that the chassis of a creature type is an "effect" of any kind. It is a definition.

Other effects which change a creature's type specifically say "Do not recalculate hit dice, base attack bonus, or saving throws." Exceptions to this include the lich template which says "Do not recalculate BAB, saves, or skill ranks." The Celestial Servant feat says none of those things. I suspect that you are ultimately right that it is not RAI, but unless they errata it, it is RAW.

Cheliax ****

Saint Caleth wrote:

Nowhere does the feat say recalculate BaB or anything else.

The difference is that the familiar rules, unlike the Celestial Servant feat, specifically calls out that the magical beast type only applies to effects. The familiar is still an animal, just one that is treated like a magical beast most of the time. It greatly strains credulity to argue that the chassis of a creature type is an "effect" of any kind. It is a definition.

Other effects which change a creature's type specifically say "Do not recalculate hit dice, base attack bonus, or saving throws." Exceptions to this include the...

Lets put it this way. Nowhere in the feat does it say that it trumps the table.

Nowhere in the Animal Companion Base Statistics table does it say that these stats are by virtue of Animal Hit Dice.

Coincidence, sure, but RAW there is no basis to ignore the table, as by RAW the table isn't indicative of a Racial Hit Dice, it is representative of the rules for a class feature.

This is not the kind of feat that needs to be FAQed, with the exception of the SR entry for the Celestial Template. Which has always caused problems being based on CR in Pathfinder vs 3.75

If you can prove that the Animal Companion Table is merely an explanation of Animal Hitdice (which it really isn't, as it includes stat increases, nat armor bonuses, bonus tricks, etc) then the argument holds. Until then RAW you have to follow it in any game I GM, unless X feat or ability alters it (see: Imp Familiar).

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David Metcalfe wrote:
Lets put it this way. Nowhere in the feat does it say that it trumps the table.

I have always followed the logic that text always trumps table and specific (an applied feat) trumps general (the AC table).

Fair enough that you won't allow it though, thats why I'm asking.

David Metcalfe wrote:
If you can prove that the Animal Companion Table is merely an explanation of Animal Hitdice (which it really isn't, as it includes stat increases, nat armor bonuses, bonus tricks, etc) then the argument holds. Until then RAW you have to follow it in any game I GM, unless X feat or ability alters it (see: Imp Familiar).

Now that you mention it though, I read the first bit of rules for ACs to say basically that.

Animal Companion wrote:
An animal companion's abilities are determined by the druid's level [b]and its animal racial traits[b]. Table: Animal Companion Base Statistics determines many of the base statistics of the animal companion. They remain creatures of the animal type for purposes of determining which spells can affect them.

I'd read this as the fact that the mention of the d8 specifically later on is just a restatement of the animal's racial traits. If the creature becomes a magical beast without qualification, it advances based on its new magical beast racial traits.

Shadow Lodge **

"its animal racial trats" are specifically the thing it gets in its listing under the animal companion section in the druid chapter. They don't get the perks and benefits of the animal from the bestiary like +8 to hide in grass or a racial bonus on survival.


Saint Caleth wrote:
I kind of agree, but the feat says "gains the celestial template and becomes a magical beast. The RAW is pretty clearcut, but I suspect it is just badly written and needs errata.

I don't think the rules for changing the type of a creature are clear at all. Sometimes when a creature changes type you recalculate BAB, etc. and sometimes you don't.

Shadow Lodge **

If something has enough ambiguity to be read as A) A really good feat or B) A game breaking feat that would set a class feature head, shoulders, and tail above most combat classes... go with A.

There is a lot of ambiguity about what changes when you change creature type.

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BigNorseWolf wrote:

If something has enough ambiguity to be read as A) A really good feat or B) A game breaking feat that would set a class feature head, shoulders, and tail above most combat classes... go with A.

There is a lot of ambiguity about what changes when you change creature type.

Thats why I think that it is a mistake and they left out the "don't recalculate BAB, HD or saves". In PFS though, I don't get to determine what is a mistake and what is not, I have to follow the RAW that I read.

Cheliax *

Saint Caleth wrote:


David Metcalfe wrote:
If you can prove that the Animal Companion Table is merely an explanation of Animal Hitdice (which it really isn't, as it includes stat increases, nat armor bonuses, bonus tricks, etc) then the argument holds. Until then RAW you have to follow it in any game I GM, unless X feat or ability alters it (see: Imp Familiar).

Now that you mention it though, I read the first bit of rules for ACs to say basically that.

Animal Companion wrote:
An animal companion's abilities are determined by the druid's level [b]and its animal racial traits[b]. Table: Animal Companion Base Statistics determines many of the base statistics of the animal companion. They remain creatures of the animal type for purposes of determining which spells can affect them.
I'd read this as the fact that the mention of the d8 specifically later on is just a restatement of the animal's racial traits. If the creature becomes a magical beast without qualification, it advances based on its new magical beast racial traits.

The part that you bolded does not actually say what you want it to say. Could it be interpreted to mean that? Maybe. Does it actually say that it's based off of animald HD? No. RAW says you have to use that table for animal companion, nowhere in the rules does it say to recalculate animal companion stats if their creature type changes. Just because some feats or abilities say not to recalculate doesn't mean that in all other cases you should. The rules for one feat or ability only apply to that feat or ability, in strict RAW you don't get to conjecture on what those rules mean for another feat or ability.

Find a rule that says to recalculate animal companion statistics if their type changes, and you can do so in PFS. Otherwise you're deliberately cheating. There isn't wiggle room on this issue.

*****

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Why does this need to be so complicated? Give your AC some DR, SR, Energy Resistance, Darkvision, and Smite Evil 1/day.

Shadow Lodge **

Saint Caleth wrote:


Thats why I think that it is a mistake and they left out the "don't recalculate BAB, HD or saves". In PFS though, I don't get to determine what is a mistake and what is not, I have to follow the RAW that I read.

But it doesn't explicitly tell you to recalculate BAB etc. The animal types are guidelines for monster creation, not absolutes that apply to every individual.

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Someone just showed me the FAQ for the spell awaken and I'm convinced now that I was probably wrong before and that the change of type happens only in name.

That still doesn't answer my original question about needing to use handle animal on a magical beast with INT 3 even if it is an AC though.

Shadow Lodge **

Probably the same as using handle animal for an animal with an int of 3 or higher: you still have to use it, but you have a little more leeway in how the animal acts when you're not giving it instructions.

I mean it should be called "handle semi sentient being" but they didn't want to be mean to the paladins.

Shadow Lodge *****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Saint Caleth wrote:
the magical beast type explicitly says it can understand language.

This came up at a local game recently as well. A Druid with an ape companion wanted it to be able to communicate with the party when it rolled really high on a perception check but no one else did (and the Druid wasn't immediately present to translate).

PRD wrote:
Magical beasts are similar to animals but can have Intelligence scores higher than 2 (in which case the magical beast knows at least one language, but can't necessarily speak).

Would this be a Table-GM call based on the type of animal (YMMV), do you (collectively) think? A gorilla could sign, but not actually speak aloud, a crow/parrot could squawk something out, but not a hawk, etc?

Qadira **** Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Amsterdam aka Seraphimpunk

just noticed the FAQ from 2010 for Awakened.
the spell says it turns the animal into a magical beast.
this is kind of a quick-change . its in name only.
check out the FAQ. i think it sets precedent for the type to change, but numerically none of the other stats are effected.

link

Shadow Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Washington—Eastern Washington aka WalterGM

Kyle Baird wrote:
Why does this need to be so complicated? Give your AC some DR, SR, Energy Resistance, Darkvision, and Smite Evil 1/day.

This is what I've done for a player with this feat.

Grand Lodge ***

They was I interpret it is the animal companion table trumps any other aspect of an animal companion, unless whatever changes the companion specifically says so. In this case, the only change is in using d10 instead of d8s for the HD. The number of HD doesn't change, nor does the BAB or the Saves, as those are all dictated by the table, and none are altered by the addition of the Celestial template.

Qadira **** Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Amsterdam aka Seraphimpunk

the intent isn't to change even the HD, i think. i believe like Awaken its an in-name-only change to magical beast, leaving everything else, d8 hd, saves, etc. the same, conferring just the DR, SR, Energy Resistance etc. Though it deserves an FAQ or clarification, just so there's no confusion about it going forward.

Taldor **

Hi

Looking a creating an Aasimar Oracle of Nature, using this feat.

The variations in this discussion suggest that we get an official ruling on this. Both sides of the debate have valid points.

One thing not mentioned is the Favoured Class Ability for Aasimars*, As a 4th lvl Oracle, I'd get an equivalent 6th lvl Druid Companion. So I can have a companion with more HD than myself?

* Assimar Oracles can add 1/2 Oracle lvl to any Revelation they're using. Animal Companion is one such Revelation.

I take it we get companions as per equivalent Druid HD? EG, I use 6th lvl Druid table for my Oracle 4? This includes HD, Feats, Stat increases, BAB etc?

Thanks
Paul H

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Seraphimpunk wrote:
the intent isn't to change even the HD, i think. i believe like Awaken its an in-name-only change to magical beast, leaving everything else, d8 hd, saves, etc. the same, conferring just the DR, SR, Energy Resistance etc. Though it deserves an FAQ or clarification, just so there's no confusion about it going forward.

That is what I found too which convinced me that I was wrong about what I said at first. I seems that when it comes down to it, most creature tyoe changes in the game are changes in name only.

Mike Bramnik wrote:
Saint Caleth wrote:
the magical beast type explicitly says it can understand language.

This came up at a local game recently as well. A Druid with an ape companion wanted it to be able to communicate with the party when it rolled really high on a perception check but no one else did (and the Druid wasn't immediately present to translate).

PRD wrote:
Magical beasts are similar to animals but can have Intelligence scores higher than 2 (in which case the magical beast knows at least one language, but can't necessarily speak).
Would this be a Table-GM call based on the type of animal (YMMV), do you (collectively) think? A gorilla could sign, but not actually speak aloud, a crow/parrot could squawk something out, but not a hawk, etc?

I would say that the animal probably cannot talk, only understand one language (probably common). You ape can by RAW take a rank in linguistics if it has an INT of 3 or greater to learn sign language, but I forget if there are any sign languages on the PFS legal list of languages you can know, so it is not a problem RAW but might be by PFS house rules. Birds which IRL can learn words, and which have a high enough intelligence I personally would allow to speak intelligibly, but I am not sure how well that is explicitly supported by RAW.

In addition consider that I animal companions is one area where it is popular for PFS DMs to assume that players are trying to "pull a fast one" or cheat when they do unusual things You might just piss off an overly restrictive DM unless you have ironclad RAW support for your companion since this sort of thing engenders quite a bit of animosity.

** RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

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James Jacobs clarified some of this stuff in his thread here.

James Jacobs wrote:

The creature's type is regarded as Magical Beast for the purposes of bane weapons, ranger favored enemies, and spells, but doesn't change the rate or type of enhancements the companion gains as your druid gains levels. It doesn't grant the magical beast type stuff like different HD and the like...

Your character level = your CR for the purposes of determining a celestial companion's SR...

...it'd definitely mean effective druid level, or whatever levels count toward making the mount better.

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