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The Sword Coast Adventurers Guide (p. 122) describes a number of Uthgardt tribes for the Path of the Totem Warrior barbarian from the Player's Handbook. Saying:

The totems of the Uthgardt barbarians of the North … correspond to the spirits of the Path of the Totem Warrior as shown in the following table.

The Tree Ghost totem in the table has the spirit listed as:

Bear, with speak with plants in place of the normal rituals for the Spirit Seeker feature

Do I need to choose Bear for the 6th and 14th level Totem Warrior features, or just the Totem Spirit at 3rd Level, to gain access to speak with plants in place of the normal rituals for the Spirit Seeker feature?

Normally, the totem animal choice can vary between level features because it says (PHB p. 50):

You can choose the same animal you selected previously or a different one.

I just want to be a weird moss-whispering barbarian, chatting away to the plants all the time (but I also want Eagle eyesight at level 6).

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2 Answers 2

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Nothing in the new options presented in Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide obliges to take the same spirit at 6th and 14th levels.

The options presented in Table "Uthgardt Totems" are available at 3rd level, and such table shows the equivalent of these options to the animals of the original PHB's subclass and to the new option Tiger.

The new options add new totem spirits: you have to follow the same subclass rules depicted in the PHB for the choices you are taking during leveling up. This means that you can choose a Tree Ghost totem at 3rd level, and subsequently the Eagle spirit at 6th level, since the PHB rules states, for the Aspect of the Beast feature, that

you can choose the same animal you selected at 3rd level or a different one.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I think this is correct. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 17, 2023 at 21:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ This came up in playtest 7. Many folks assumed it was a one-time choice, others chose as desired at each level. The designers intended it to be chosen independently. To make this more clear in PT7, they use unique names at each feature option, so you cannot choose the same option each time. \$\endgroup\$
    – Wyrmwood
    Sep 18, 2023 at 20:00
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You can pick other Spirit Totems at higher levels

The SCAG says about the Totem Spirit (p. 121):

If you follow the Path of the Totem Warrior from the Player's Handbook, you have access to the options presented here.

Spirit Totem

These options are available to you when you choose a totem animal at 3rd level.

Totem Spirit
[...] [...]
Tree Ghost Bear, with speak with plants in place of the normal rituals for the Spirit Seeker feature

These are options, which means they are additional choices. Nothing restricts you from picking another totem at later levels, as per the normal PHB rules. However, there is nothing special for the Tree Ghost option for any other level than 3rd where you get Spirit Seeker.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Where are you getting this? Aspect of the Beast has options for Bear, Elk, Tiger, Eagle, and Wolf, as does totemic Attunement. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 17, 2023 at 21:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ That's what my SCAG copy shows. Maybe there was some update? \$\endgroup\$ Sep 17, 2023 at 21:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ Because the Tree Ghost at 6th level (and higher) is equivalent to Bear, per the table. If you have the English version of SCAG, I think that your reading comes from the fact that you find the wording "TOTEM SPIRIT- These options are available to you when you choose a totem animal at 3rd level." just before the table, whilst actually it refers to subsequent text, presenting elk and tiger options. \$\endgroup\$
    – Eddymage
    Sep 17, 2023 at 21:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ The table provides the equivalent for Uthgradt barbarians' totem with the animals in the PHB. \$\endgroup\$
    – Eddymage
    Sep 17, 2023 at 21:32
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Eddymage, Ah thank you. Yes, this was the case, I misread this to address the table that follows. Updated. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 17, 2023 at 21:40

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