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Right okay so here's a question I'm hoping someone can provide clarity to under the D&D 3.5 rule set. I've used the PHB, DMG and the 3.0 Rules of the Game Animals Part 4 to research an answer though I'm no closer to a solution.

From the ranger or druid class ability animal companion, spells can be shared with the companion via the share spells ability. This is also true of magic items, from Rules of the Game Animals Part 4:

You and your animal companion can share effects from magic items only if the effect is a spell that you can target on yourself. For example, you and your animal companion can share a barkskin spell cast from a wand, but cannot share the armor bonus from bracers of armor.

How does this apply to magic items with continuous ongoing effects? Say for example the character is wearing a Mantle of Spell Resistance granting the wearer spell resistance 21, the wearer approaches and stays within 5ft of his animal companion choosing to share his spells with the animal companion. Does the animal companion also receive spell resistance 21 provided the wearer stays within 5ft of his animal companion?

Or is the understanding that sharing spells is only applicable if the character casts a spell or produces some effect at the time or after the character approaches and remains within 5ft. For example the character is riding along on his animal companion heavy horse suddenly the ground beneath them gives and both the animal companion and the character plunge down a 30ft pit. But luckily the character is wearing a ring of feather falling and therefore the feather fall spell is activated and BOTH the character and the animal companion drift slowly and safely to the bottom?

Last example using the character and heavy horse animal companion again from above, the character and animal companion are riding along the trail when suddenly an orc shaman jumps out of the bushes and casts magic missile, the character is wearing a brooch of shielding which protects against magic missile however the orc shaman casts the spell at the horse. Does the shield spell effect of the brooch of shielding protect the horse?

All of the above examples use reactive spells or effects, the character hasn't actively cast a spell or produced an effect to share.

Hoping someone can shed some light on this.

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Typically only a spell from a spell completion or spell trigger magic item can be shared because share spells requires casting the shared spell

The description of the share spells extraordinary ability says, in part, says, "At the druid's [or ranger's] option, she may have any spell (but not any spell-like ability) she casts upon herself also affect her animal companion" (Player's Handbook 36). Skip Williams's Rules of the Game Web column "Animals (Part 4)" doesn't change this when it says

You and your animal companion can share effects from magic items only if the effect is a spell that you can target on yourself. For example, you and your animal companion can share a barkskin spell cast from a wand, but cannot share the armor bonus from bracers of armor.

The column's previous paragraph says, "To share a spell, you must cast the spell and you must select yourself as its target. The spell must have a target entry; you cannot share effect and area spells," and that's really important.

Neither brooch of shielding (Dungeon Master's Guide 250) (1,500 gp; 0 lbs.), mantle of spell resistance (DMG 261) (90,000 gp; 0 lbs.) nor ring of feather falling (DMG 232) (2,200 gp; 0 lbs.) sees the animal companion's master actually cast a spell, so a master can't share those magic items' effects with an animal companion… much like how Williams says that the master can't share the effects of the bracers of armor (DMG 250) (1,000+ gp; 1 lb.).

This isn't a contradiction. In much the same way that slapping onto his wrists the bracers of armor is not the same as the wearer casting the 1st-level Sor/Wiz spell mage armor [conj] (Player's Handbook 249), when the ring of feather falling activates, the wearer is not himself casting the 1st-level Sor/Wiz spell the spell feather fall [trans] (PH 229). Instead, when the ring activates, the wearer does nothing and gains automatically the feather fall spell effect from the ring. Similarly, when a creature dons a mantle of spell resistance, this isn't the same as the creature casting upon itself the 5th-level cleric spell spell resistance [abjur] (PH 282), and when the creature pins to that mantle a brooch of shielding, this isn't the same as the creature casting upon itself the 1st-level Sor/Wiz spell shield [abjur] (PH 278).

However, when an animal companion's master activates a wand of barkskin [trans] (PH 203) (2nd-level spell at caster level 3) (90 gp/charge), the master is activating that wand to cast the spell barkskin, and that barkskin spell effect can be shared with the animal companion. (The Dungeon Master's Guide on Wands actually says, "Wands use the spell trigger activation method, so casting a spell from a wand is usually a standard action that doesn’t provoke attacks of opportunity" (245 and emphasis mine).)

Spell completion items like scrolls and spell trigger items like staffs and wands are the usual magic items that literally allow their users to cast spells so that they can be shared with an animal companion, but some rare magic items that aren't spell completion or spell trigger magic items also allow their bearers to cast spells. For example, the shield of the sun (Dungeon Master's Guide 282 as shield of Prator) (major artifact; 15 lbs.) allows the bearer to cast spells like a level 20 paladin.

However, most other magic items—for example, all but the most obscure potions, the vast majority of magic armors and weapons, almost all wondrous items—are either use activated or command word activated and don't see their bearers casting spells, despite spell effects sometimes taking place when their command words are spoken or the items used.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ What are you thoughts in regards to a Ring of Elemental Command (Air) command word activated air walk spell is in effect wherein 'You can cast air walk on a specially trained mount so it can be ridden through the air. You can train a mount to move with the aid of air walk'? \$\endgroup\$ – MichaelDorf May 19 at 2:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MichaelDorf The ring is a command word activated magic item so it's not casting a spell; that makes effects it generates ineligible for the share spells ability. Further, the ring says that—unlike the spell—its air walk ability only affects the ring's wearer. So I'm pretty sure, combined, when the wearer speaks the ring's command word, only the wearer can gain the air walk effect. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan May 19 at 2:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MichaelDorf That said, is this the scenario from the table that caused the question? If it is, I recommend updating the question so that it can be addressed head on. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan May 19 at 2:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ 1) According to Share Spells it doesn't need to be solely a spell, effects also qualify as eligible for sharing. 2) I don't know how it should be phrased as part of the original question as it's not a scenario instead it's a comment addressed to you as a counter point. \$\endgroup\$ – MichaelDorf May 19 at 3:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MichaelDorf When you say It doesn't need to be solely a spell are you talking about how share spells says, "If the spell or effect has a duration…"? Because that really is preceded by, "[A]ny spell (but not any spell-like ability) she casts upon herself also affect her animal companion." (I think spell or effect is making a distinction between a spell like cure light wounds that has no ongoing effect and one like mage armor that has an ongoing effect, but or effect could also be legacy text from 3e when spell-like abilities could be shared.) \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan May 19 at 4:59
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As an opinion, the wording, "a spell that you can target on yourself" implies that it has to be activated by conscious user choice. Even though a continuous effect item obviously targets the wearer or an area, it doesn't really have an activation- pick a target type effect.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ What are your thoughts on a ring of feather fall which is activated immediately if the wearer falls more than 5 feet? Would you agree the distinction is dependent on the terms 'grants' and 'activated' contrast to mantle of spell resistance and if so does this grant pertain to a brooch of shielding rather than activate it when a magic missile is cast? \$\endgroup\$ – MichaelDorf May 19 at 0:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ Not really. An item that activates automatically when a condition is met is no different from a continuous effect. The idea of activate is user action, a conscious choice, not item reaction. \$\endgroup\$ – nijineko May 19 at 4:10

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