Some of the more savage deities of nature grant the ability to know and commune with the beasts of the world, both magical and mundane. For clerics of these deities, the power inherent in the creatures of the world manifests in the form of a divine familiar and the ability, through that familiar, to commune directly with the cleric’s deity.

Bestial Acolyte

At first level, you learn any one cantrip from the Druid list. This cantrip is in addition to those you normally get as a cleric.

Bonus Proficiency

At first level, you gain proficiency in Handle Animals

Channel Divinity: Familiar Communion

For clerics with this domain, a communion familiar serves as a direct conduit between a cleric and his god. When the cleric gains Channel Divinity at second level, they also receive a familiar as a gift from their deity.

It foregoes most of the normal benefits of a cleric’s familiar, but through the familiar, the cleric can speak directly with his deity.

And, at times of the god’s choosing, the familiar can actually serve as a minor avatar –the god can see through its eyes, speak with its voice, and take action with its body.

Communion Familiar Abilities

Any standard, greater, or supreme familiar can serve as a communion familiar. When a cleric of the beast domain receives their familiar at second level, it is a standard familiar. Greater and Supreme familiars may be chosen by gaining the advantages. These clerics are presumed to have the Summon Familiar ability for purposes of meeting the prerequisites for greater and supreme familiars.

A communion familiar possesses only the natural armor, intelligence, and empathic link of a cleric’s familiar. While they do not possess the other abilities of a normal familiar. they instead possess the following abilities:

Augury (Sp): The familiar can tell whether a particular action will bring good or bad results for itself or its master in the immediate future. This ability operates as per the spell augury.

Commune: Upon reaching at least 10th level, the cleric can use the familiar to gain needed information, as per the commune or commune with nature spell (cleric’s choice). Calling upon this ability requires two uses of channel divinity. Over-using this ability can result not only in gaining no answer (as per the spell) but in falling out of favor with the deity which can, at the GM’s option, bring all manner of ill fortune upon the PC.

Beast Domain Spells

1stanimal friendship, animal messenger

3rdconjure animals, dominate beast

5thfaithful hound, giant insect

7thanimal shapes, dominate monster

9thshapechange, true polymorph

Note to the Gamemaster

Because of the Commune ability they possess, using a communion familiar requires a very fine balancing act, and you should consider carefully before allowing a PC to gain one. If you do introduce a communion familiar to the campaign, take some time to define exactly what role the familiar will be playing. This depends on the nature of the god granting the communion familiar, and his reasons for doing so. A temptation to avoid when using a communion familiar is continual interference from the god the familiar serves. If the god is constantly popping in to save the cleric or drop a clue, then you’re taking control and responsibility away from the PCs. If that happens, the campaign will suffer. There are a few ways to avoid this problem in a logical fashion: Gods Work in Mysterious Ways: Sure, the cleric’s god can see that the cleric is in trouble. But maybe he’s testing his faith. Or maybe he knows the cleric will triumph in the end. Or perhaps he knows that the cleric will fail, but that’s the way he wants it for some reason.

  • The God Hammer: No, we’re not talking about Mjolnir. We’re talking about the fact that clerics who overuse their abilities and run to their gods for help all the time tend to, well, tick off their gods. and no cleric wants to deal with the repercussions of an angry or even displeased deity.
  • Gods Are Busy Beings: Speaking of Mjolnir, Thor has better things to do with his time than to hop down to the Material Plane and mop up some trolls because one of his clerics can’t cope with the situation.
  • Even Gods Have to Play by the Rules: Gods may be prevented from various forms of interference by the rules they exist by and the agreements they have made. and the nature of those rules and agreements may not be entirely comprehensible to mortal minds (see “mysterious ways,” above).
  • Alter the Ability: The deity may not grant Commune as a Channel Divinity feature. Instead, it may grant only Commune with Nature, or another spell-like ability altogether-perhaps Scrying, Planar Binding, or a similar fourth- or fifth-level spell from the Cleric or Druid spell lists.

Healing/inflicting Touch: The communion familiar of a good god can touch any creature and heal 1d8 points of damage, plus the cleric’s Wisdom modifier. A communion familiar of an evil god instead inflicts 1d8 points of damage plus the cleric’s Wisdom modifier with its touch. Clerics of a neutral deity must choose whether their familiar imparts healing or inflicting damage when the familiar manifests, and this choice cannot be changed. This ability works in all ways like the Cure Wounds spell, and the cleric can devote additional uses of channel divinity to increase the effective spell level (each additional use increases the effective level by one).

The cleric may call upon any of these abilities while within 30 feet of his familiar by expending one use of his channel divinity class feature. In addition to these abilities, the communion familiar is a living connection between this world and the cleric’s god. What this means exactly depend on the god, the familiar, the cleric, and the situation. Ultimately, the communion familiar is a tool of the Game Master to be used however he sees fit to help flesh out a campaign.

Friend of Beasts

At 6th level, no beast will attack you under any circumstances, unless you attack it first. Beasts will always submit to your authority in whatever way is common to their species-dogs, for example, will crouch to the ground, their ears folded back. This ability does not automatically give you the ability to command beasts; it simply means they will be docile around you and not attack you. They may, if threatened, flee from you.

Talon and Fang

At 8th level, you gain the ability to manifest natural weapons as a beast. You may as a bonus action, sprout claws, fangs or horns (your choice). These natural weapons deal 1d8 damage plus your strength modifier. The natural weapons last for your cleric level in rounds. When you use this ability, you must complete a long rest before using it again.

Master of Beasts

At 17th level, you have control over the beasts of the world.

You may command and control any beast you encounter.

In addition, you may communicate with all beasts freely, expressing detailed concepts and thoughts. If the beast you encounter is under the control of another, you may make an opposed Charisma check against the current controller to wrest control of the beast from their power. Familiars bonded to another may not be controlled in this manner.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

Familiars & Companions, Copyright 2017, Troll Lord Games; Author Casey Christofferson, Justin Bacon, Tommy Ruteledge, Josh Hubbel, Lance Hawvermile, Luke Johnson, Stephen Vogel and Dave Zenz.