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ShriekingDrake

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Re: The Druid Handbook
« Reply #380 on: April 09, 2011, 02:18:02 AM »
Bumping this to see if I'm off in Lala Land.  I haven't seen this notion expressed by anyone other than myself.  But now that I've stumbled on it, it seems like it's copacetic RAW.  Other thoughts?

If you choose to ignore the following sentence where it describes how a druid's companion gains power as he levels up, sure. Beyond that, it's very much a "the rules don't explicitly say I can't" kind of claim.

I'm afraid I don't take you're point.  Here's the entire section.  Perhaps you could explain your point.
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Animal Companion (Ex)
A druid may begin play with an animal companion selected from the following list: badger, camel, dire rat, dog, riding dog, eagle, hawk, horse (light or heavy), owl, pony, snake (Small or Medium viper), or wolf. If the campaign takes place wholly or partly in an aquatic environment, the following creatures are also available: porpoise, Medium shark, and squid. This animal is a loyal companion that accompanies the druid on her adventures as appropriate for its kind.

A 1st-level druid’s companion is completely typical for its kind except as noted below. As a druid advances in level, the animal’s power increases as shown on the table. 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.

A druid of 4th level or higher may select from alternative lists of animals. Should she select an animal companion from one of these alternative lists, the creature gains abilities as if the character’s druid level were lower than it actually is. Subtract the value indicated in the appropriate list header from the character’s druid level and compare the result with the druid level entry on the table to determine the animal companion’s powers. (If this adjustment would reduce the druid’s effective level to 0 or lower, she can’t have that animal as a companion.)
  I'm not seeing what you think prohibits templated animals other than at first level.   I see how the animal would progress, but not what your describing.  I'd appreciate any light you can shed. 



The_Mad_Linguist

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Re: The Druid Handbook
« Reply #381 on: April 09, 2011, 02:26:45 AM »
Is your templated animal on one of the alternative lists?  If it isn't, you can't pick it up.
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CrimsonDeath

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Re: The Druid Handbook
« Reply #382 on: April 09, 2011, 02:39:58 AM »
Basically, when you have a class feature, you get what it says you get, and you don't get what it doesn't say you get.

When you get an animal companion at level 1, it's a normal animal off the list, and it gets the bonuses from the first line of the animal companion chart.  As you gain levels, he gets more benefits from farther down the chart.

When you gain "a new one", nothing says it's any different from your first one, so it's not.  As you advance in level, you can get animals off a different list and take a penalty to your effective druid level before consulting the chart to see what other benefits it gains.  Nothing says it's different in any other way from your first animal companion, so it isn't.

Nothing stops you from applying an acquired template to an animal companion during the game, if you have a way to apply it (a spell, ritual, item, quest, or whatever).  If the ritual upsets the companion (enough that it stops wanting to be your friend) or changes its type to something other than animal, then it might voluntarily leave or become ineligible as an animal companion, depending on the template in question or the manner in which it was applied, but that's probably largely the realm of DM discretion.

Without an alternate class feature (like Phynxkin Companion, from Dragon Magic, for instance) or a particular spell or ritual, there isn't a specific way to attract an animal with an inherited or acquired template, so it doesn't happen.

In summary: "The book doesn't say I can't" isn't valid optimization.  Aside from typical activities like walking and breathing, the books generally describe what you can do and how well you can do it, since such descriptions are more succinct than a list of all the things you can't do.

ShriekingDrake

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Re: The Druid Handbook
« Reply #383 on: April 09, 2011, 05:12:23 AM »
Thanks so much for this thoughtful analysis.  Let me consider what you've said more carefully below.

Basically, when you have a class feature, you get what it says you get, and you don't get what it doesn't say you get.
This seems like a good starting place.  While I agree with this, I would not say, nor do I think you would say, that the only place to look for how to interpret the rules of any given class feature is only in the text at that class feature.  For instance, the description of the cleric's and sorcerer's class ability to cast spells have a great deal of information, but say nothing at all about metamagic, as does the wizard's class description.  We would all likely agree clerics and sorcerers can use metamagic because of how metamagic feats are described in other rules.  (I do understand that the rules around metamagic an templates are different, but I am using this as an example of how we get rules information about the class abilities from the class descriptions, which may be altered by other rules or mechanics in the game.)

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When you get an animal companion at level 1, it's a normal animal off the list, and it gets the bonuses from the first line of the animal companion chart.  As you gain levels, he gets more benefits from farther down the chart.
  This too I agree with.  The description says that a "1st-level druid's companion is completely typical for its kind except as noted below."  For first level druids this is completely unambiguous.  Of course, what I find interesting is that the text as written appears to limit the restriction to druids of first level.  It would have been easy and not awkward to describe the class ability in ways that unambiguously limit the companion to being normal at all levels.  For instance, "Animal companions are completely typical for their kind excepts as noted below." or "Beginning at first level a druid may summon an animal companion that is completely typical of its kind except as noted below." . . . etc. etc.  But it doesn't say these things.  In fact, the reference to "1st-level" is completely unnecessary as you've interpreted it, because the prior paragraph identifies that the druid begins play with a companion from the list of animals there--so we've already been told that a druid may gain a companion from the get go.  One could tenably--and I would argue reasonably--conclude that the inclusion of the "1st-level" modifier here is purposively there to do what what I'm suggesting, limiting the typicality of the companions to first level druids.  Why this is a rule, I can't tell you.  But, to me, it appears the stronger of the interpretations, RAW.

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When you gain "a new one", nothing says it's any different from your first one, so it's not.  As you advance in level, you can get animals off a different list and take a penalty to your effective druid level before consulting the chart to see what other benefits it gains.  Nothing says it's different in any other way from your first animal companion, so it isn't.
  This is where we have a parting of the ways.  I think the text indeed says quite clearly that the limitation of being "completely typical for its kind" applies specifically to "1st-level" druid companions, no matter how many she gains at the first level.  Moreover, based on your proposition/interpretation ("When you gain 'a new one', nothing says it's any different from your first one, so it's not"), a druid would not be able, at least until fourth level, to gain an eagle when she first chose a riding dog because nothing in the rules says you can select anything "different from your first one."  While I suppose there are good flavor/story reasons to interpret the rules this way, I don't think that's what the rules say.   

I do agree that the druid can gain animals off a different lists as she advances.  But, as I've indicated, I think the RAW clearly focuses the typicality limitation on druids of the first level, rather than druids as a class. 

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Nothing stops you from applying an acquired template to an animal companion during the game, if you have a way to apply it (a spell, ritual, item, quest, or whatever).  If the ritual upsets the companion (enough that it stops wanting to be your friend) or changes its type to something other than animal, then it might voluntarily leave or become ineligible as an animal companion, depending on the template in question or the manner in which it was applied, but that's probably largely the realm of DM discretion.
  While I agree with your interpretation here, I am not sure how this sits comfortably with your "nothing says it's any different from your first one, so it's not" proposition.  Be that as it may, we agree that it is possible for a druid to apply an acquired template a companion under the rules.

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Without an alternate class feature (like Phynxkin Companion, from Dragon Magic, for instance) or a particular spell or ritual, there isn't a specific way to attract an animal with an inherited or acquired template, so it doesn't happen.
  Here, I think my proposition is at its weakest.  I agree that nothing in the rules says that you get any say over what type of riding dog you summon: male, female, dire, brown, gentile, warbeast, white, playful, etc. You just get to choose an animal off the list.  I think that any of those characteristics does not change the animal's species. 

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In summary: "The book doesn't say I can't" isn't valid optimization.  Aside from typical activities like walking and breathing, the books generally describe what you can do and how well you can do it, since such descriptions are more succinct than a list of all the things you can't do.
  No need for you to conclude with a straw man here, as I haven't proposed that the absence of a prohibition makes the rule argument.  What I have said is that given the RAW language about "1st-level" druids being limited to typical companions, I have not seen a rule that augments, expands, or interprets this at all.  So, while it may be poorly drafted and a bad notion, we are left with a rule that overtly singles out only first-level druids.  But, you are certainly welcome to infer that this rule applies to druids at other levels under the "nothing says it's any different" principle.

CrimsonDeath

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Re: The Druid Handbook
« Reply #384 on: April 09, 2011, 08:03:39 AM »
For instance, the description of the cleric's and sorcerer's class ability to cast spells have a great deal of information, but say nothing at all about metamagic, as does the wizard's class description.
This is a very poorly worded four terms fallacy.  You're comparing a "class ability" to a "class description".  If you want to compare a "class ability" (more properly a class feature) to something, let's compare it to the same thing.

Specifically, consider the "Spells" class feature.  The Wizard's "Spells" ability gives him a certain number of spell slots, a certain number of spells known, and a means of storing spells known in spell slots so he can expend them later to accomplish whatever the spell in question accomplishes (and places certain restrictions on when this can be done, under what circumstances, and what spells among those avialable can be learned and prepared).  There is no mention of metamagic.  (There is a mention of spellbooks.  If we look at the "Spellbook" class feature, it clarifies how many spells a Wizard knows and where he gets them, but still fails to mention metamagic.)

Now let's look at the Cleric's "Spells" class feature.  It's very simiilar to the Wizard entry, except for a few details, and that rather than a spellbook, it references "Chaotic, Good, Evil, and Lawful Spells" and "Deity, Domains, and Domain Spells".  None of these class features mention metamagic either.

Finally, let's look at the Sorcerer's "Spells" class feature.  It's pretty similar to the last two.  The biggest difference is that rather than storing known spells inside spell slots at ahead of time, he does so when he casts it.  Thankfully, it don't reference another class feature-- all the rules for what spells a sorcerer can learn, know, and cast are right there in the "Spells" class feature with no further clarification.

Now, returning to the wizard, let's look at the "Bonus Feats" class feature.  It's very similar to the Fighter's "Feats" class feature, in that both grant the respective characters additional feats above and beyond those that accrue with hit dice.  The main differences are how many additional feats are gained, when they are gained, and the list of feats that may be acquired in this manner.  However, every character gets feats.  The Fighter and Wizard simply get more of them.  The way feats work is that, once you have it, it either improves one of your traits or lets you do something that you couldn't do before.  Normally, nobody can use metamagic, but if Jim the Wizard (or Mike the Sorcerer or Steve the Cleric) takes a metamagic feat, he can.  Similarly, under normal conditions, nobody can subtract from their weapon attack rolls to increase their weapon damage rolls, but if Kevin the Fighter (or Alex the Barbarian or even Jim the Wizard) takes Power Attack, they can.

And actually, Kevin the Fighter could take metamagic feats if he wanted-- the core ones have no prerequisites.  He just has no "Spells" class feature that would permit him to benefit from the feat.  Even if he knows, hypothetically, how to modify a spell to operate differently, he doesn't know any spells to modify or have any spell slots from which to cast them.

Of course, what I find interesting is that the text as written appears to limit the restriction to druids of first level.  It would have been easy and not awkward to describe the class ability in ways that unambiguously limit the companion to being normal at all levels.  For instance, "Animal companions are completely typical for their kind excepts as noted below." or "Beginning at first level a druid may summon an animal companion that is completely typical of its kind except as noted below." . . . etc. etc.  But it doesn't say these things.  In fact, the reference to "1st-level" is completely unnecessary as you've interpreted it, because the prior paragraph identifies that the druid begins play with a companion from the list of animals there--so we've already been told that a druid may gain a companion from the get go.  One could tenably--and I would argue reasonably--conclude that the inclusion of the "1st-level" modifier here is purposively there to do what what I'm suggesting, limiting the typicality of the companions to first level druids.  Why this is a rule, I can't tell you.  But, to me, it appears the stronger of the interpretations, RAW.
My guess would be that the text went through multiple revisions and the editors felt that the intent was clear enough, or didn't anticipate your interpretation.  Yes, a lot of class features start with "Beginning at X level..." or, for those available at first level, "A Y can..."

But the Druid isn't alone in this awkward wording.  Consider the Barbarian's "Rage" class feature (the last paragraph, beginning at the second sentence):

"At 1st level he can use his rage ability once per day.  At 4th level and every four levels thereafter, he can use it one additional time per day (to a maximum of six times per day at 20th level)."  (bold mine)

Given your reading, we have no idea how often or even whether a Barbarian can rage at 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th, 7th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 17th, 18th, or 19th level.  We just lack that information.  Perhaps they should have started with "Beginning at 1st level..." or simply "He can..."  Do you really think the writers intended the Barbarian to go without this iconic class feature for nearly 3/4 of his career?  Or did they intend for him to have unlimited access to the ability at those levels?  Or, like most class features, is he intended to gain access to it as described and continue to make use of it in that manner until further descriptions modify it?

Do you really want to steal from the Barbarians to give to the Druids?

Moreover, based on your proposition/interpretation ("When you gain 'a new one', nothing says it's any different from your first one, so it's not"), a druid would not be able, at least until fourth level, to gain an eagle when she first chose a riding dog because nothing in the rules says you can select anything "different from your first one."  While I suppose there are good flavor/story reasons to interpret the rules this way, I don't think that's what the rules say.
That's clearly not what the rules say, and I'd like to thank you for providing an excellent example of one of my points above.  I didn't read what I'd written and think about it carefully enough, and I didn't anticipate the manner in which you interpreted it.  When I said it's "not any different", perhaps I should have said "it follows the same rules outlined for acquiring the original".  Being forced to recruit an animal of the same kind as an earlier companion is in contradiction of the rules, since you are explicitly permitted to attract an animal companion "selected from the following list" (bold mine).  What I also meant when I said it's "not any different" is that no new procedure is listed for generating companions that weren't available at 1st level (except the expanded list of kinds of animals available to higher-level druids).  Until new options are added, only the original options are available.

While we're on the subject, if a 2nd level Druid's companion (and, by extension, a 4th level Ranger's) isn't "typical for its kind" (aside from those traits gained from the chart), in what ways is it "atypical"?  Does it generate ability scores like a PC?  Is it strange colors?  Does it breathe fire?  Is it a creature type other than Animal?  Does it have an unusual selection of feats?  Just like the level 2 Barbarian, we have no idea.

While I agree with your interpretation here, I am not sure how this sits comfortably with your "nothing says it's any different from your first one, so it's not" proposition.  Be that as it may, we agree that it is possible for a druid to apply an acquired template a companion under the rules.
The way it sits comfortably is that the "Animal Companion" class feature only describes the traits of an animal with with the Druid "may begin play" or "may gain a new one".  Once play has begun or a new companion has been gained, other events may modify the companion's traits.  The class feature only describes the companion when it enters play.

No need for you to conclude with a straw man here, as I haven't proposed that the absence of a prohibition makes the rule argument.  What I have said is that given the RAW language about "1st-level" druids being limited to typical companions, I have not seen a rule that augments, expands, or interprets this at all.
My apologies if I offended you.  I wasn't trying to construct a straw man argument in my earlier post.  (I'm still not trying to offend you.  If I seem excessively specific, it's because I'm trying to develop a clear, logically sound argument without excessively broad interpretations or ambiguous phrasing.)  However, it kind of sounded like that's exactly what you were doing.  Maybe experienced Druids aren't restricted to "typical" animals, but without knowing what makes their potential companions atypical, we don't know definitively how to generate properly atypical animals for use as companions.  From what I can tell, this leaves us either continuing to generate typical animals, which we know how to do, or the madness of every option ever (perhaps 36-point-buy advanced pseudonatural half-dragon magebred war badgers-- and no, I didn't actually check to see if such a creature can legally exist).  I don't necessarily think that's where you, specifically, were going with this, but there are a lot of weird people around.

Okay, I suppose there's also the option of resigning ourselves to being unable to generate companions for experienced Druids, but at the rate I've seen Druids go through companions, that would make for a lot of lonely Druids very early in their careers.

ShriekingDrake

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Re: The Druid Handbook
« Reply #385 on: April 09, 2011, 01:17:48 PM »
Again, I appreciate your thoughtful response and the time you took to make it.  Let me share some of my thoughts below. 
For instance, the description of the cleric's and sorcerer's class ability to cast spells have a great deal of information, but say nothing at all about metamagic, as does the wizard's class description.
This is a very poorly worded four terms fallacy.  You're comparing a "class ability" to a "class description".  If you want to compare a "class ability" (more properly a class feature) to something, let's compare it to the same thing.

Specifically, consider the "Spells" class feature.  The Wizard's "Spells" ability gives him a certain number of spell slots, a certain number of spells known, and a means of storing spells known in spell slots so he can expend them later to accomplish whatever the spell in question accomplishes (and places certain restrictions on when this can be done, under what circumstances, and what spells among those avialable can be learned and prepared).  There is no mention of metamagic.  (There is a mention of spellbooks.  If we look at the "Spellbook" class feature, it clarifies how many spells a Wizard knows and where he gets them, but still fails to mention metamagic.)

Now let's look at the Cleric's "Spells" class feature.  It's very simiilar to the Wizard entry, except for a few details, and that rather than a spellbook, it references "Chaotic, Good, Evil, and Lawful Spells" and "Deity, Domains, and Domain Spells".  None of these class features mention metamagic either.

Finally, let's look at the Sorcerer's "Spells" class feature.  It's pretty similar to the last two.  The biggest difference is that rather than storing known spells inside spell slots at ahead of time, he does so when he casts it.  Thankfully, it don't reference another class feature-- all the rules for what spells a sorcerer can learn, know, and cast are right there in the "Spells" class feature with no further clarification.

Now, returning to the wizard, let's look at the "Bonus Feats" class feature.  It's very similar to the Fighter's "Feats" class feature, in that both grant the respective characters additional feats above and beyond those that accrue with hit dice.  The main differences are how many additional feats are gained, when they are gained, and the list of feats that may be acquired in this manner.  However, every character gets feats.  The Fighter and Wizard simply get more of them.  The way feats work is that, once you have it, it either improves one of your traits or lets you do something that you couldn't do before.  Normally, nobody can use metamagic, but if Jim the Wizard (or Mike the Sorcerer or Steve the Cleric) takes a metamagic feat, he can.  Similarly, under normal conditions, nobody can subtract from their weapon attack rolls to increase their weapon damage rolls, but if Kevin the Fighter (or Alex the Barbarian or even Jim the Wizard) takes Power Attack, they can.

And actually, Kevin the Fighter could take metamagic feats if he wanted-- the core ones have no prerequisites.  He just has no "Spells" class feature that would permit him to benefit from the feat.  Even if he knows, hypothetically, how to modify a spell to operate differently, he doesn't know any spells to modify or have any spell slots from which to cast them.
I think you've committed a few fallacies here yourself, but I don't want to digress into a forensics debate here.  What I will say is that my only point, and it was a small one, was that aspects of class features are not exclusively found within the description of the class.  I agree that I gave a rather poor example, but I believe that we can agree that, as your earlier post may have suggested, it is not the case that all aspects of class features are described exclusively within the class description.  That is, class descriptions may, and often do, include a nexus to aspects of the game that shape our understanding of the class feature.  I had taken your proposition that "Basically, when you have a class feature, you get what it says you get, and you don't get what it doesn't say you get." to be too blunt an instrument.   

Quote
Of course, what I find interesting is that the text as written appears to limit the restriction to druids of first level.  It would have been easy and not awkward to describe the class ability in ways that unambiguously limit the companion to being normal at all levels.  For instance, "Animal companions are completely typical for their kind excepts as noted below." or "Beginning at first level a druid may summon an animal companion that is completely typical of its kind except as noted below." . . . etc. etc.  But it doesn't say these things.  In fact, the reference to "1st-level" is completely unnecessary as you've interpreted it, because the prior paragraph identifies that the druid begins play with a companion from the list of animals there--so we've already been told that a druid may gain a companion from the get go.  One could tenably--and I would argue reasonably--conclude that the inclusion of the "1st-level" modifier here is purposively there to do what what I'm suggesting, limiting the typicality of the companions to first level druids.  Why this is a rule, I can't tell you.  But, to me, it appears the stronger of the interpretations, RAW.
My guess would be that the text went through multiple revisions and the editors felt that the intent was clear enough, or didn't anticipate your interpretation.  Yes, a lot of class features start with "Beginning at X level..." or, for those available at first level, "A Y can..."

But the Druid isn't alone in this awkward wording.  Consider the Barbarian's "Rage" class feature (the last paragraph, beginning at the second sentence):

"At 1st level he can use his rage ability once per day.  At 4th level and every four levels thereafter, he can use it one additional time per day (to a maximum of six times per day at 20th level)."  (bold mine)

Given your reading, we have no idea how often or even whether a Barbarian can rage at 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th, 7th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 17th, 18th, or 19th level.  We just lack that information.  Perhaps they should have started with "Beginning at 1st level..." or simply "He can..."  Do you really think the writers intended the Barbarian to go without this iconic class feature for nearly 3/4 of his career?  Or did they intend for him to have unlimited access to the ability at those levels?  Or, like most class features, is he intended to gain access to it as described and continue to make use of it in that manner until further descriptions modify it?

Do you really want to steal from the Barbarians to give to the Druids?
Not at all.  But what I did do was read both the descriptions of the Druid and the Barbarian in the context in which they were presented and also considered the game mechanics a little differently than you did.   For instance, when I read the description of the Barbarian, I noted that the description of the barbarian rage class ability says quite clearly that "A barbarian can fly into a rage a certain number of times per day." and that the "Table: the Barbarian:" quite straightforwardly shows "rage/1/day" and so forth. It isn't described as a first-level limitation the way the druid's typicality of companion is. 

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Moreover, based on your proposition/interpretation ("When you gain 'a new one', nothing says it's any different from your first one, so it's not"), a druid would not be able, at least until fourth level, to gain an eagle when she first chose a riding dog because nothing in the rules says you can select anything "different from your first one."  While I suppose there are good flavor/story reasons to interpret the rules this way, I don't think that's what the rules say.
That's clearly not what the rules say, and I'd like to thank you for providing an excellent example of one of my points above.  I didn't read what I'd written and think about it carefully enough, and I didn't anticipate the manner in which you interpreted it.  When I said it's "not any different", perhaps I should have said "it follows the same rules outlined for acquiring the original".  Being forced to recruit an animal of the same kind as an earlier companion is in contradiction of the rules, since you are explicitly permitted to attract an animal companion "selected from the following list" (bold mine).  What I also meant when I said it's "not any different" is that no new procedure is listed for generating companions that weren't available at 1st level (except the expanded list of kinds of animals available to higher-level druids).  Until new options are added, only the original options are available.
I take your point, but don't share your conclusion.  That is, while "it follows the same rules outlined for acquiring the original" is sometimes the case for class features, the language here is quite distinct from other class features, both within and outside of the druid class, and there are, at least to my reading, no other bits of language that clarify this in the text, unlike in the barbarian example you gave above.

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While we're on the subject, if a 2nd level Druid's companion (and, by extension, a 4th level Ranger's) isn't "typical for its kind" (aside from those traits gained from the chart), in what ways is it "atypical"?  Does it generate ability scores like a PC?  Is it strange colors?  Does it breathe fire?  Is it a creature type other than Animal?  Does it have an unusual selection of feats?  Just like the level 2 Barbarian, we have no idea.
AS I indicated earlier, I think this is the thinnest point in my reading.  There are just not a lot f surrounding rules to buffer my interpretation.  Granted, that is not an uncommon occurance in the game . . . that is, that the rules create a structure that requires the DM to do a lot of thinking. 

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While I agree with your interpretation here, I am not sure how this sits comfortably with your "nothing says it's any different from your first one, so it's not" proposition.  Be that as it may, we agree that it is possible for a druid to apply an acquired template a companion under the rules.
The way it sits comfortably is that the "Animal Companion" class feature only describes the traits of an animal with with the Druid "may begin play" or "may gain a new one".  Once play has begun or a new companion has been gained, other events may modify the companion's traits.  The class feature only describes the companion when it enters play.

No need for you to conclude with a straw man here, as I haven't proposed that the absence of a prohibition makes the rule argument.  What I have said is that given the RAW language about "1st-level" druids being limited to typical companions, I have not seen a rule that augments, expands, or interprets this at all.
My apologies if I offended you.  I wasn't trying to construct a straw man argument in my earlier post.  (I'm still not trying to offend you.  If I seem excessively specific, it's because I'm trying to develop a clear, logically sound argument without excessively broad interpretations or ambiguous phrasing.)  However, it kind of sounded like that's exactly what you were doing.  Maybe experienced Druids aren't restricted to "typical" animals, but without knowing what makes their potential companions atypical, we don't know definitively how to generate properly atypical animals for use as companions.  From what I can tell, this leaves us either continuing to generate typical animals, which we know how to do, or the madness of every option ever (perhaps 36-point-buy advanced pseudonatural half-dragon magebred war badgers-- and no, I didn't actually check to see if such a creature can legally exist).  I don't necessarily think that's where you, specifically, were going with this, but there are a lot of weird people around.

Okay, I suppose there's also the option of resigning ourselves to being unable to generate companions for experienced Druids, but at the rate I've seen Druids go through companions, that would make for a lot of lonely Druids very early in their careers.
No offense taken or apologies necessary.  I think we're both trying to get to the bottom of this. , even if we view it differently.  I do agree that my interpretation leaves the DM with having to make more difficult decisions. and that it may just be simpler and certainly more balanced to just leave it at typical.  All in all, I'm confident that the game designers did not realize just how much scrutiny their language would get, because they clearly did not draft with the kind of care we give to interpreting the language.  Generally, the legislative bodies rely on the judicial bodies to fill in the spaces between the bricks.  So, it likely just boils down to bad drafting.  I don't think my interpretation here is untenable, given the RAW.  But, my reading may be too exacting, as I haven't seen anyone else take this tack. 

Again, I do appreciate your colloquy here.


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Re: The Druid Handbook
« Reply #386 on: April 09, 2011, 10:06:54 PM »
nice to see a heated discussion manage to more or less stay in the discussion end of things. ^^
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ShriekingDrake

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Re: The Druid Handbook
« Reply #387 on: April 10, 2011, 02:17:36 AM »
always best to try to keep things civil when ealing with someone who has "death" in his/her name.   :D  Besides, I just stumbled upon my observation and was really looking for someone to come along and help me think through it. 

CrimsonDeath

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Re: The Druid Handbook
« Reply #388 on: April 10, 2011, 07:12:19 AM »
always best to try to keep things civil when ealing with someone who has "death" in his/her name.   :D  Besides, I just stumbled upon my observation and was really looking for someone to come along and help me think through it. 
His, in this case.  But generally, I prefer to be polite, and even if we are disagreeing, it's reasonably fun to dissect the language of the game like this.

If I did use any logical fallacies earlier, I'd like to know about it, since I like to have clear and correct logic.  The main reason I pointed out the four terms fallacy is because it can be particularly insidious and may crop up accidentally even without the user's knowledge.

The main reason I mentioned the Barbarian was because it had the only class feature I could quickly find that used the "at X level" language rather than "beginning at X level" or "at X level and above", and also uses "can" rather than "gains the ability to".  (Does anyone ever lose the ability to do something without Falling?)  Anyway, I kind of wonder if that particular turn of phrase is used anywhere else aside from Barbarian Rage and Druid Animal Companion.

Benly

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Re: The Druid Handbook
« Reply #389 on: April 10, 2011, 08:33:26 AM »
(Does anyone ever lose the ability to do something without Falling?) 

If your DM uses the "permanent tradeoff" reading of how devotion feats work, it's possible to lose the ability to turn undead after having had it by cashing in all your uses for devotion-feat uses.

It's also possible to lose class features by ceasing to qualify for them without "falling" as such. For example, if you lose Strength points and fall below 13, you no longer meet the prerequisites for Power Attack and therefore lose its benefits and those of any prestige class that requires Power Attack for qualification (as I recall, anyway).

McPoyo

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Re: The Druid Handbook
« Reply #390 on: April 10, 2011, 02:48:09 PM »
Wasn't that "permanent tradeoff" errata'd, so no one had to worry about that anymore?
[Spoiler]
A gygaxian dungeon is like the world's most messed up game show.

Behind door number one: INSTANT DEATH!
Behind door number 2: A magic crown!
Behind door number 3: 4d6 giant bees, and THREE HUNDRED POUNDS OF HONEY!
They don't/haven't, was the point. 3.5 is as dead as people not liking nice tits.

Sometimes, their tits (3.5) get enhancements (houserules), but that doesn't mean people don't like nice tits.

Though sometimes, the surgeon (DM) botches them pretty bad...
Best metaphor I have seen in a long time.  I give you much fu.
Three Errata for the Mage-kings under the sky,
Seven for the Barbarian-lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for Mortal Monks doomed to die,
One for the Wizard on his dark throne
In the Land of Charop where the Shadows lie.
[/spoiler]

Benly

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Re: The Druid Handbook
« Reply #391 on: April 10, 2011, 10:21:52 PM »
Wasn't that "permanent tradeoff" errata'd, so no one had to worry about that anymore?

Was it? I'm just used to there not being any useful errata for anything published after a certain point.  :)

Anyhow, you can still lose ability score points (or lose levels due to failed saves on level drain) so it's possible to lose abilities from them without falling. Not as part of normal advancement, though.

McPoyo

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Re: The Druid Handbook
« Reply #392 on: April 11, 2011, 02:34:07 PM »
Wasn't that "permanent tradeoff" errata'd, so no one had to worry about that anymore?

Was it? I'm just used to there not being any useful errata for anything published after a certain point.  :)

Anyhow, you can still lose ability score points (or lose levels due to failed saves on level drain) so it's possible to lose abilities from them without falling. Not as part of normal advancement, though.
Yup. Page 4 of the CC errata:
Quote
Page 51 – Domain Feats
[Substitution]
Replace “permanently sacrificing”
with “expending” in the last line of
the third paragraph.
[Spoiler]
A gygaxian dungeon is like the world's most messed up game show.

Behind door number one: INSTANT DEATH!
Behind door number 2: A magic crown!
Behind door number 3: 4d6 giant bees, and THREE HUNDRED POUNDS OF HONEY!
They don't/haven't, was the point. 3.5 is as dead as people not liking nice tits.

Sometimes, their tits (3.5) get enhancements (houserules), but that doesn't mean people don't like nice tits.

Though sometimes, the surgeon (DM) botches them pretty bad...
Best metaphor I have seen in a long time.  I give you much fu.
Three Errata for the Mage-kings under the sky,
Seven for the Barbarian-lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for Mortal Monks doomed to die,
One for the Wizard on his dark throne
In the Land of Charop where the Shadows lie.
[/spoiler]

snakeman830

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Re: The Druid Handbook
« Reply #393 on: April 16, 2011, 06:47:55 AM »
There should be a note in the guide about the various Shifter feats and how they can apply to Druids.  For example, Longtooth Elite says that your bite attacks deal 1 point of Con damage.  Not "your bite attacks while shifting", just "bite attacks".  How many wild shape forms don't have that?
I am constantly amazed by how many DM's ban Tomb of Battle.  The book doesn't even exist!

Quotes:[spoiler]
By yes, she means no.
That explains so much about my life.
hiicantcomeupwithacharacterthatisntaghostwhyisthatamijustretardedorsomething
Why would you even do this? It hurts my eyes and looks like you ate your keyboard before suffering an attack of explosive diarrhea.
[/spoiler]

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nijineko

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Re: The Druid Handbook
« Reply #394 on: April 18, 2011, 02:01:58 AM »
There should be a note in the guide about the various Shifter feats and how they can apply to Druids.  For example, Longtooth Elite says that your bite attacks deal 1 point of Con damage.  Not "your bite attacks while shifting", just "bite attacks".  How many wild shape forms don't have that?

enter the warshaper. ^^
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pixledriven

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Re: The Druid Handbook
« Reply #395 on: April 22, 2011, 12:05:58 AM »
Quote from: CrimsonDeath
While we're on the subject, if a 2nd level Druid's companion (and, by extension, a 4th level Ranger's) isn't "typical for its kind" (aside from those traits gained from the chart), in what ways is it "atypical"?

This is a rather unfair question, as the traits gained from the chart are exactly what does make the animal atypical.


The problem you guys are running into is that you are taking one sentence of the ability description, and are examining it in a vacuum.
"It says 'At 1st level...'" does not mean that a 2nd level Druid gets to make his/her own rules, it simply references 'The Beginning'.
It Also states, several times, "see below." Which, is referring to the animal companion sidebar.

It becomes fully fleshed out when you add in the DRUID’S ANIMAL COMPANION sidebar which states:
Quote
A druid’s animal companion is different from a normal animal of its kind in many ways. A druid’s animal companion is superior to a normal animal of its kind and has special powers, as described below.
This is then followed up by a table which outlines exactly how the companion is different, based on the Druid's level.


Torvon

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Re: The Druid Handbook
« Reply #396 on: May 11, 2011, 01:19:53 AM »
Quote
Initiate of NaturePGtF: This feat allows you to rebuke animals and plants. You have the ability to control 2HD per class level, which results in quite a few creatures.

I can't find anything that says "2HD per class level" - neither on p. 81 PGTF (feat "Initiate of Nature") nor on p. 160 PHB (rebuke undead).
Where do you have that from?

Thanks
Torvon
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Bauglir

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Re: The Druid Handbook
« Reply #397 on: May 12, 2011, 02:57:21 AM »
On an unrelated matter, War Chitin (Secrets of Xen'drik) costs as much as Full Plate, but is nonmetal (with -1 to its armor bonus and +1 to its max Dex). Could be handy if you ever need to save the gp for dragonhide and don't care so much about +1 AC. It's a minor thing, but when you get to the equipment section, it could come in handy.
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cru

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Re: The Druid Handbook
« Reply #398 on: May 12, 2011, 10:00:37 AM »
of course, it's a full plate so druids are not proficient

Tshern

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Re: The Druid Handbook
« Reply #399 on: May 12, 2011, 03:14:40 PM »
Who cares about the proficiency? Psions aren't proficient with fullplates either, but it doesn't stop them.
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