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Specifically, for those animal companions that have real life counterparts (wolves, camels, whatever) is the expected lifespan meant to be the same? In the case of a wolf, google tells me that wolves generally will live 6 - 17 years depending on it being life in the wild, captivity, etc. Would this be the expected value for an animal companion, or because of the magical nature of Golarion, could they potentially have natural lifespans as long as their masters?

Of course, there's always the route of just casting some anti-aging spell on them, but I'm talking more from the side of a "naturally occurring" creature.

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    \$\begingroup\$ A comment to would-be answerers: back up your answer. If you think something changes things for animal companions, cite where you found that information. If you think nothing changes things for animal companions, demonstrate how sure you are of that statement (i.e. where you have looked for the information and not found it). Speculation and personal preference are not appropriate answers on this site. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Apr 29 '15 at 15:13
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I can't seem to find anything for animal companions or familiars. In the core rules at least there seems to be nothing about their aging.

The closest i could find were a discussion about animal companions, and one about familiars in Paizo's forums, talking about their lifespans and how a familiar might live longer due to it becoming a magical beast. But there's nothing like that for animal companions.

So as far as i can tell, animal companions age regularly. I then started a search for anti-aging spells and have found nothing so far. Your best chance to keep your animal companion seems to have a friendly druid cast reincarnate on it.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I guess it's just dependent on the species of companion, then. I like the idea of a life-long animal companion, but it looks like I would need a parrot, not a wolf. sigh \$\endgroup\$ – Barillas May 4 '15 at 13:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Barillas You're an adventurer, you're not going to outlive any animal companion but a fruitfly. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk - Justice for Monica Jun 15 '15 at 1:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ @mxyzplk Don't be so sure, it all depends on the adventure. Our group is playing the kingmaker adventure path, and we've already been government for 3 years while barely starting the third campaign. \$\endgroup\$ – Gusk Jun 16 '15 at 2:57
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Ages and age categories are given for only a very small subset of creatures; the core player races, a handful of other player races, and the occasional monster. Ages are not given for any animals and it is not reasonable to assume that their age progression is intended to model real life progression, though it is clear that they do age and and have the normal age categories all creatures have (it's much more clear in the actual text in the book than in this SRD link, though, but basically, everybody has 'Adult, Middle Aged, Old, and Venerable' as age categories as a general rule, and animals don't have any indication that they are exceptions to this). It is thus entirely unsurprising that how becoming an animal companion affects a creature's natural lifespan is not addressed anywhere in the rules. Technically this means it doesn't extend the lifespan, RAW, but basically animal aging is outside the scope of the RAW and your GM will have to come up with a subsystem (or at least generate/'research' a lot of content) if they want to include it in their game.

Your companion living longer naturally won't really break anything mechanically, and there are a bunch of cool ways to handle it, so it'll probably be ok. Just be aware that 'animal companions live longer than normal' will be weird and probably shouldn't be a thing (since animal companion status is temporary and you can swap animal companions whenever, and are supposed to do so when changing environments. The rule would thus mean that animal companions don't actually live any longer, since they normally stop being companions first and also that if they had exceeded their natural lifespan and you stopped having them be your companion they'd fall over dead from old age), whereas 'serving as an animal companion extends an animal's natural lifespan by one year for each year served, at the cost of one year of the master's lifespan' or some such would be fine, since the added age remains when the animal is no longer a companion.

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There are aging rules for characters, complete with lifespan, age categories and bonuses/penalties. Class features (animal companions, familiars, patrons, gods, spirits, totems) do not have rules on aging. I would argue they don't age at all, as the rules don't allow for it, unlike characters.

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