Natural Bond feat from Complete adventurer p 111 states:

Add three to your effective druid level for the purpose of determining the bonus Hit Dice, extra tricks, special abilities, and other bonuses that your animal companion receives (see page 36 of the Player's Handbook). This bonus can never make your effective druid level exceed your character level.

A druid can select a dire wolf as animal companion at level 7, however the druid gets -6 level adjustment. With the Natural Bond feat, will this adjustment go from -6 to -3 as it increases effective druid level by 3? If not what is the purpose of this feat, since adding 3 to effective druid level would always pass character level unless multiclassed?


1 Answer 1


The feat works fine without multiclassing, if you use more powerful animal companions

Lets say you are a single classed level 7 druid. Your effective druid level with a Dire Wolf and the feat would be1:

7 (your actual druid level) 
-6 (adjustment for having a dire wolf) 
+3 (adjustment from Natural Bond feat) =
4 (Overall effective druid level)

The feat says that " This bonus can never make your effective druid level exceed your character level.", and it does not. So the feat maybe does not reduce the adjustment for your animal companion, but it modifies the overall resulting effective level, which has the same effect: Your effective level of 4 with the Dire Wolf is not exceeding your character level of 7. You can enjoy the better Dire Wolf, as if you were a level 4 druid.

The limiting clause means you can not to take a plain animal like a dog, which has no negative adjustment to your effective druid level, and be able to enhance it so it works as if you were level 10, instead of level 7. In that case, your effective druid level would be larger than your character level, so that does not work, and you will be capped at level 7.

1 The rules for the Animal Companion on describe the level adjustments for more powerful animal options like this:

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. (...)

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.)

The last sentence makes it clear that "effective level" means the natural druid level adjusted for the value from the list header (otherwise that adjustment would not reduce the druid's effective level). On that list, as you describe the Dire Wolf is in the column for 7th level or Higher with a modifier of -6.

7th Level or Higher (Level -6)

  • \$\begingroup\$ Does this mean the hit dice of the dire wolf calculated as level 4? According to Monster's Manual, Dire Wolf's base HP is 6d8+18 (45 hp), which looks like level 6. So resulting level 4 dire wolf would have 4d8+12? Or does this just put the direwolf at druid animal companion table, where 3rd-5th level category which gets +2 Bonus HD, +2 AC +1 Str/Dex adj, + 2 Bonus Tricks and Evasion spell. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 30, 2023 at 17:51
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @UniQuadrion Based on the level table, you would use the base creatures stats (6d8+18) and adjust it for being a level 4 druid, in this case the level 3-5 row in the table: +2 HD, +2 AC, +1 Str/Dex, +2 Tricks, Evasion. So the Dire Wolf would have 8d8+24 hp. The level 4 is your effective druid level, it has nothing to do with the dire wolf level (it even does not have levels, it just has hit dice). \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 30, 2023 at 18:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ Would the same logic work in PF1 with something like d20pfsrd.com/feats/general-feats/boon-companion ? \$\endgroup\$
    – Alan
    Commented Jan 31, 2023 at 6:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Alan You'd best ask this as its own question. PF1 and PF2 are separate systems, so each will need their own question and answer. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 31, 2023 at 7:44

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