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A recent question asked if a Druid could have a Shark for an animal companion on land, to which SevenSidedDie responded:

If you can somehow overcome its suffocation problem and its flopping-around-uselessly problem, only then would it be useful (and likely terrifying) for a land-based druid's adventures.

Sounds like a problem worth solving. What is the most effective way for a Druid to have a common shark for an animal companion, and have it survive and be effective on land? (Actual landsharks, whilst awesome, don't count.) You are allowed to use any items, spells, feats or other features and mechanics that Pathfinder and D&D 3.5e have to offer, with the following objectives:

  • The shark should be able to move about on land, whether by a land speed, fly speed, or something else as appropriate. Higher speeds and mobility are, naturally, preferred.

  • The shark should be able to survive and breathe on land. Ideally, the shark should never be required to revisit the water.

Solutions should preferably be affordable as early as possible, performed at as low a level as possible, and require low maintenance: a spell cast once forever is better than one cast once/day. Improving measures later on is encouraged, such as using a once/day spell until an expensive item can be afforded.

Bonus points apply if your answer works for aquatic animals in general, such as an octopus.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ @ShadowKras I'm going to be GM'ing the AP, but a good answer wouldn't be limited to that. That was just context for why I dredged up this (admittedly awesome regardless) question. I know other content has come out, such as Blood of the Sea and possibly Underwater campaign setting since this was originally posted. \$\endgroup\$ – Ifusaso Dec 13 '17 at 14:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ Doppel, do you think we could take the 'Druid' portion of this out and have it apply to anyone with an Animal Companion? \$\endgroup\$ – Ifusaso Dec 13 '17 at 14:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Ifusaso That could be viable. Could you tell me what kind of other context this might apply to? (Rangers for example, right?) \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Dec 13 '17 at 14:55
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I'd use custom items to accomplish this. First is an item to allow your aquatic animal to walk:

Belt of Piscine Endowment

Aura faint transmutation; CL 5th Slot belt; Price 30,000 gp; Weight 1 lb.

DESCRIPTION

When above water, this belt seems to be made of sharkskin. When below water, it seems to be made of the skin of a furry mammal.

When worn, this item allows aquatic creatures to grow legs and gain a land speed, exactly as the spell fins to feet.

CONSTRUCTION REQUIREMENTS

Craft Wondrous Item, fins to feet; Cost 15,000 gp.

Since all aquatic creatures either have a belt slot or a land speed (at least, all the ones I know of do), this works on all non-walking aquatic creatures. Before you can afford this item, you can use the Fins to Feet spell, which is a level 3 wizard, witch, and druid spell.

For the ability to breathe, there are a few options, depending on how much you want to stick to RAW.

First is a custom magic item of sea steed (18,000 GP). This is intended to allow land-based animal companions to work as sea-based animal companions, but it works just fine either way. This gives the animal the amphibious quality, allowing it to breathe on land as well as under water. This spell doesn't last long enough to make it practical as something to cast regularly before you gain access to the item.

Second is the Waterskin of Woe (80000 gp). This item lets you remove all the water from a creature, and "does not need to breathe, eat, drink or sleep and is immune to non-lethal damage." Since it doesn't specify what you no longer need to breathe, it should work on your shark just fine. The problem with it is that it deals 1 point on Constitution damage per day that it was used once you stop using it, and can only be used for a number of days equal to your Con score. However, there is no limit to the number of times you can use it per day, so you could easily turn it off at night, heal any Con damage with lesser restoration, and turn it back on while the aquatic creature holds its breath.

Third is the Necklace of Adaptation (9000 gp). There are a few problems with this as written. For one, it is a neck slot item, and the magic item slots for animals guidelines say that neither sharks nor octopi have neck slots. However, you might be able to make the argument that you could put it on a belt slot instead, possibly for a higher cost. Next, it specifically talks about creating a "shell of fresh air" around the user, which doesn't really help aquatic creatures. Again, I think the argument could be reasonably made to allow a shell of fresh (or salt, I guess) water to be used instead, if the item is made for aquatic creatures.

Fourth is a custom magic item of life bubble (56,000 gp). This effectively works like water wreathing, but it doesn't specify that it lets a creature breathe air, only that it lets a creature breathe comfortably. It actually creates a 1 inch shell of "tolerable living conditions", which could be fresh or salt water as easily as air. For a shark, it's probably moving water, which will likely be a tad inconvenient.

Since fins to feet is 3rd level, and life bubble is 4th level, you can have a land-based shark or octopus by 7th level for the cost of 4 spells per day. 2 castings of fins to feet will get you through an adventuring day, and 2 castings of life bubble will get you through the 24 hours that you need to keep your animal breathing. Since most aquatic creature have limited equipment slots, you will likely need to put two of these effects on the same item, likely a belt. This will cost the same as the added cost of the two effects, plus half the cost of the cheaper ability (or the new ability, if created in play).

IF you want to go the super-expensive route, you could also gate in a Personification of Fury every morning, since it has a special air breathing spell-like ability, which works like water breathing, but lets aquatic creatures breathe air.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Dec 13 '17 at 12:41
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Ruins of Azlant Adventure Path (book #2, page 29) introduces a new magic item that solves all these problems in a single solution, the Necklace of Air Adaptation:

necklace of air adaptation

Adventure spoilers ahead:

The sea hag Helekhterie designed these amulets to grant her minions the ability to breathe air and increase their mobility on land. In addition to these benefits, the necklaces allow the wearer to slip past a trap protecting the secret entrance of her lair.

The item is still not available on online resources, though it likely will make it to the Archives of Nethys in time, and maybe even the SRD.

Keep in mind that piscine and octopi do not have the Neck magical item slot, according to the magical item slots for animals table. Which means you would have to discuss with the GM for a possible adaptation of this item, most likely as belts instead of necklaces.

The Aquatic Adventures Campaign Setting book (SRD) adds many tips for aquatic creatures surviving on non-aquatic environments, though most of those are for humanoid creatures and magical solutions (such as Crystal Helm), the Elixir of Two Worlds can offer a permanent solution to any creature.

The Blood of the Sea Player Companion book also gives us the Land Limbs (non-magical) item, which could possibly be used by a slow land-speed aquatic creature (like the Electric Eel) to actually move on land with a 20 feet land speed.

If you have a witch in your group (or multiclass), the Water Lung hex will allow an aquatic creature to breathe air for 1 minute. But unlike many hexes, this isn't limited to once per 24 hours.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Wow. I don't say this often, but this item could really benefit from some fluff text. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Dec 13 '17 at 15:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ It has, it was omitted from the statblock. I didn't post everything to avoid spoilers. \$\endgroup\$ – ShadowKras Dec 13 '17 at 15:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ Oh, I see what you mean, how do they gain that land speed? Legs? They float? \$\endgroup\$ – ShadowKras Dec 13 '17 at 15:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ As a note -- since neither sharks not octopi have necks, per se, this would need to be moved to another slot as mentioned earlier. \$\endgroup\$ – Alphaeus Dec 13 '17 at 15:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ Most likely, belt slot. As neither piscine nor octopi have neck slots. \$\endgroup\$ – ShadowKras Dec 13 '17 at 16:09
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First, a few notes on simple ways to do this...

  • @ShadowKras gave a great simple answer with his necklace, assuming you can get the DM to change it to a belt slot.

  • @DuckTapeAl listed most of the normal means.

Random Comments:

  • Do note that Druids can cast a spell that is literally titled Air Breathing. 2 hr/level is a meh spell for this use, but in a pinch it can be worth it. Often I'll use this as a Contingency spell in case something happens that would make my companion suffocate.
  • Land speed? Pft. Remember that a FLIGHT speed is often a more simple answer to the mobility problem.
  • Don't forget that the Giant Octopus has a land speed, as do a few other primarily aquatic companions.
  • Many companions are amphibious and superior to a shark anyway. Shark vs crocodile usually goes in favor of the croc when it comes to companion utility, just saying.

THE BEST WAY I KNOW TO TURN AN AQUATIC COMPANION INTO A LAND/VERSATILE ONE:

First, get an Aboleth Graft of Amphibious Skin (30,000 gp). It turns your aquatic companion into an Amphibian. The problem here is that Aboleth Grafts wither on most creatures after a few days. Not to fear! A solution is here!

Buy Dukar hand coral (CoV pg 64, 2600 gp) for you companion. This melds into them, so it's permanent, and grants regeneration abilities, boosted healing, and the boosted holding of breath. Per the text, withered Aboleth Grafts can be restored with regeneration. This means that your cheap piece of melded coral will keep your graft permanently in good shape! (If you don't want this for some bizarre reason, the Aboleth Mucus Sheath graft for 5,000 GP will also preserve your handy Amphibious Skin with a few bonuses).

If you companion doesn't natively have a land speed, there are many ways around this. Spells and items to grant flight are common and easy to get in both temporary and permanent forms. If you want the best permanency, again turn to Grafts. The following are the best, IMO:

  • Climbing Legs (Illithid, 4,000 GP --- the best one, IMO: grants a 15 foot speed and spider-climbing effects)
  • Feathered Wings (Fiendish, 10,000 GP --- great for a flight speed and attack, but the side-effects of fiendish grafts make them bad on companions generally)
  • Rollers (Maug, 5,000 GP --- also great. They make riding hard, but give a handy trample attack which is useful on larger companions)

Now, the reason I tend to go with grafts for this is that they are as permanent as you can get. I tried the magic/item method once, and the DM hit me with an enemy that was using Disjunction and Antimagic...and my companion quickly suffocated and died. Not pleasant.

Reasons this works:

  • Aboleths are creatures regularly found in certain places of the Material Plane. Flavor-wise there are many ways to get grafts from them due to this commonality.
  • Illithids are also fairly common, making getting these grafts possible.
  • Grafts are part of the creatures. Once there it's a permanent thing that allows you to defy the normal restrictions and worries that come with sustaining a creatures life and functions with magical stuff. They also allow better interaction with OTHER spells and buffs.

One Final Note:

Since you are a druid, the easiest way to make sure you can get Aboleth and Illithid grafts is to take the Aberration Wild Shape feat (which is awesome anyway) from Lords of Madness page 178.

With that said...

This isn't simple, but it is fun...

This is an unusual answer, but one I've found useful in some campaigns. Note: This answer is NOT intended to be the most simple route, because that has already been stated by other answers. This is intended to be the most interesting.

Ghostwalk (which did have a 3.5e update for the original 3.0 text) has an unusual spell called Ghost Companion:

The touched creature dies painlessly. Instead of passing immediately beyond the Veil of Souls, the creature's soul remains on the Ethereal Plane and attempts to enter the Material Plane as a ghost. ... When the spell expires, the ghost creature dies the true death and its soul passes beyond the Veil of Souls. It can be raised or resurrected before the spell duration expires.

What is unusual here is that last line -- "it can be raised or resurrected." Normally Raise Dead and Resurrection do not work on ghosts (which are undead), but this spell obviously precludes that to a certain degree.

Getting all the spells on the same list isn't particularly difficult with PF rules. The other two spells you'll need (Raise Dead: preferably the PF version | Restoration: preferably also PF version) are both cleric spells from a domain/subdomain. Any method of gaining domain spells will work (Domain Icon from FoE, Domain Staff from CC, level dips in Contemplative, etc).

You'll have to be level 9 for this to be viable, but at that point this suddenly becomes extremely powerful.

Of note is that "Ghost Companion" is a days/level spell, which is what makes this work. Also note that Raise Dead has a days/level limit, which means the two will ALWAYS be in sync.

Pair these with as many CL boosters as you can for better durations.

Now, here's why this is worth the effort:

  • Ghosts have perfect flight, making movement anywhere a moot point, but retain their previous speeds as well, meaning just in case you've still got those.
  • Being Undead means that you don't need to worry about ANY life-sustenance issues
  • The Ghost template is an LA +5 template you're applying to your companion essentially for free
  • You can turn your animal beatstick into a negative level, ability draining, armor ignoring, damage defying monstrosity
  • Depending on which types of Ghosts you use (I prefer Forgotten Realms ghosts due to their superior abilities), you gain many things that no feasible companion would EVER have
  • They are literally killed, which means there is no Mordenkainen's Disjunction, Greater Dispel Magic, item destruction/loss, antimagic, or anything else that could end this.
  • Per Ghost rules, all equipment they had can be retained and used so long as you keep it safe.
  • Being incorporeal means that not only can it fly anywhere, but it can pass through barriers that would have restricted it before.

Demo: My personal preference is to use this on a Giant Squid with my druid. In addition to the normal collar qualities I like to use on it, I almost always give it an Amulet of Natural Attacks or Amulet of Mighty Fists. The Enchantment I use is Ghost Touch to retain its full melee power. I then turn it into a Ghost. Suddenly my companion has 10 stretchy reaching touch attacks that are inflicting its various touch-related powers on top of its normal damage.

Tossing this on an octopus also works great, no matter the size, because Ghosts, ofc, aren't really impacted much by size except in matters of reach and (and a few save DCs).

The pattern would work like this:

  • Cast Ghost Companion
  • At the end of the duration, have Ghost Companion, Raise Dead, and Restoration prepared
  • Cast Raise Dead before the duration of "Ghost Companion" ends
  • Cast Restoration on the creature to get it back up to speed
  • Cast Ghost Companion again
  • Repeat endlessly
  • Laugh in the face of physical companions and their limitations.
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  • \$\begingroup\$ These are both interesting ideas, but its hard to argue that 36,600 g in grafts is all of readily available, RP-conscious for your Animal Companion, and fiscally responsible investment into an A.C. Granted, some of the primary benefits (of which moving on land is a fringe benefit) are really nice, you'd have to play a specific way to justify making your A.C. part Aboleth and/or periodically a ghost. I feel like these are ways to make your A.C. super powerful, and goes beyond the request of 'lets get this sea creature on land'. \$\endgroup\$ – Ifusaso Dec 13 '17 at 20:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Ifusaso " justify making your A.C. part Aboleth and/or periodically a ghost" "are ways to make your A.C. super powerful," .......... IMO, you answered your own question. ;) Jokes aside, before all of this you have to play a specific way to justify having a shark AC during a land-campaign rather than a giant crocodile or anaconda. Which is easier -- justifying dragging a shark around on land, or justifying doing whatever it takes to keep your bonded animal around? \$\endgroup\$ – Alphaeus Dec 13 '17 at 21:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ Long story short, when a shark is with an elf that's turned into a bear and fighting dragons on a mystic mountain top with the help of summoned intelligent plants, "RP-conscious justification," "fiscal responsibility," and "specific justification" don't really come into the picture ;) \$\endgroup\$ – Alphaeus Dec 13 '17 at 21:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ I suppose it depends on your setting, but if you don't at least RP the other PC's and NPC's questioning why you're adding random monster parts to your otherwise normal (if a surprisingly strong) companion, then you're playing a different kind of RPG than me. I've played games where noone batted an eye when I started being an Elemental literally all the time, but I feel like Grafts are on a higher level than most class features (except Bloodlines and maybe a couple others) in the WTF department. Like I said, your answer is good but a little more scenario dependent. \$\endgroup\$ – Ifusaso Dec 13 '17 at 21:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ Ofc. That is why I remarked on the other two answers first, since they covered more "traditional" means. I wanted to add something different. ;) I do RP this. Usually, my druids tend to view manipulation of flesh and whatnot as merely a part of the evolution of nature, and explain that they'll do anything required to keep their bonded companion alive, much like a LG paladin would do what he wouldn't like if the high priest of his god needed his help to survive, no matter the self-sacrifice. \$\endgroup\$ – Alphaeus Dec 13 '17 at 21:57
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Use an Apparatus of the Crab filled with water, modified to have an aquarium filter. Stick the shark inside and let him drive the thing around :D

Decanter of Endless Water, for endless water supply (can be salt water), in case it spills out. Bowl of Commanding Water Elementals could be used to provide a constant flow inside the tank. Or you could summon an elemental to carry the shark inside :D

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