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At level four, can a ranger's animal companion be a giant owl, or just a regular owl?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to the site! The dungeons-and-dragons tag has been removed from your question since that tag is for questions spanning multiple editions of D&D. Other than that, great first question! \$\endgroup\$ – Miniman Dec 14 '15 at 1:17
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Through Ranger's Animal Companion class feature grants him the said companion, he lags behind Druid in its efficiency:

This ability functions like the druid ability of the same name, except that the ranger’s effective druid level is one-half his ranger level. A ranger may select from the alternative lists of animal companions just as a druid can, though again his effective druid level is half his ranger level. Like a druid, a ranger cannot select an alternative animal if the choice would reduce his effective druid level below 1st.

This means, among other things, that on his 4th level, Ranger gets an unimproved Animal Companion just like a 1-2nd level Druid. The Owl companion he gets on this level is just a regular Owl (although, it does possess Link and Share Spell abilities).

Getting a Magical Beast companion
If you want a Celestial, or a Giant owl, you'll need an Exalted Companion feat from Book of Exalted Deeds. On 14th Ranger level, you'll be able to get the Giant Owl companion (which is awfully late, but at least it's there)

NOTE:
Since this class feature is so weak, it's recommended either to ask the DM to houserule that the companion gets the Druid's progression (1x your class level instead of 0.5x your class level), or just trade off this class feature for one of the Ranger's Alternate Class Features (like Phynxkin Companion ACF from Dragon Magic), through if you are interested in the roleplay aspect of the class, you're stuck with either the houseruled option, or vanilla version of the Companion

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I didn't know Druids could take Fiendish or Celestial animals as companions? That doesn't sound very Druid-y? \$\endgroup\$ – Erik Dec 14 '15 at 12:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ It's not very Druid-y, but it's still an option (a Celestial Owl is of a Magical Beast type, which is within Druid's competence). I included those mainly because I don't remember any Dire Owls in the books, and since an Owl is one of the weaker Companion options (the better ones being a horse, a badger, an eagle and, of course, a wolf), it seems like the fact that Rainger's companion is an Owl is an important part of the question. Sure, Magical Beasts require more than just a Handle Animal roll, but it is still within a Druid's (or a Ranger's) reach \$\endgroup\$ – Baka-Mastermind Dec 14 '15 at 13:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ Through yeah, there IS a Giant Owl, which is basically the Dire version of it. Huh. \$\endgroup\$ – Baka-Mastermind Dec 14 '15 at 13:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ Do you have any link to the rulebook that says a Druid can take a Magical Beast as a companion? The alternatives all list Animals and I've never heard before that a Druid can have a non-Animal companion. (Not by default, anyway) \$\endgroup\$ – Erik Dec 14 '15 at 14:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ Huh, you're right. A Druid (or a Ranger) actually needs a feat for that. \$\endgroup\$ – Baka-Mastermind Dec 14 '15 at 14:15
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The Giant Owl is not an Animal, but a Magical Beast. It also does not appear in the list of Animal companions for the Druid.

As such, it seems unavailable for any Druid or Ranger. Only creatures of the Animal type can be used as Animal Companions.

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