Sometimes mistaken for undead, spirit animals do not arise out of hatred, cruelty, or despair. Rather, they are natural manifestations of the collective will of animals that lived and died in nature as they were intended. Their spirits continue to exist in nature, suffusing the land and sea and sky with their power, and bracing nature against the incursion of civilization or unnatural magic. Spirit animals rarely manifest as actual creatures, and when they do it is almost always at the behest of a powerful spellcaster.
Creating A Spirit Animal
"Spirit animal" is an acquired template that can be added to any animal (referred to hereafter as the "base creature").
A spirit animal uses all the base creature's statistics and special abilities except as noted here.
Size and Type: Spirit animals become fey (incorporeal, augmented animal). Do not recalculate base attack bonus, saves, or skill points. Size is unchanged.
Change all current and future Hit Dice to d6s.
Natural armor is the same as the base creature but applies only to ethereal encounters. When a spirit animal manifests (see below) its natural armor value is +0, but it gains a deflection bonus equal to its Wisdom modifier or +1, whichever is higher.
Attack: A spirit animal retains all the attacks of the base creature, although those relying on physical contact do not affect creatures that are not ethereal. When it manifests (see below), a spirit animal gains incorporeal touch attacks identical to its own natural attacks. These are touch attacks, not melee attacks. A spirit animal adds its Dexterity modifier to attack rolls against non-ethereal targets (and no modifier to its damage rolls).
A spirit animal's natural attacks and incorporeal touch attacks are treated as magic weapons for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.
Damage: Against ethereal creatures, a spirit animal uses the base creature's damage. Against non-ethereal creatures, a manifested spirit animal's attacks use the base creature's damage, but all damage dealt is nonlethal (and no Strength modifier is applied to the damage).
Special Attacks: A spirit animal retains all the special attacks of the base creature, although those relying on physical contact do not affect creatures that are not ethereal.
When it manifests (see below), a spirit animal may be able to use its special attacks against non-ethereal opponents. Special attacks that deal normal damage or allow extra attacks (such as constrict, pounce, rake, or rend) function as normal, but any required attack rolls are resolved as touch attacks, and damage they cause is nonlethal damage. Special attacks that deal ability damage or physically manipulate the foe, such as improved grab, poison, or trip, do not function against non-ethereal foes. A spirit animal also gains the manifestation ability.
Incorporeal Traits: A spirit animal is harmed only by other incorporeal creatures, magic weapons, spells, spell-like abilities, and supernatural abilities. It has a 50% chance to ignore any damage from a corporeal source, except for force effects or attacks made with ghost touch weapons. It can pass through solid objects, but not force effects, at will. Its attacks ignore natural armor, armor, and shields, but deflection bonuses and force effects work normally against it. An incorporeal creature always moves silently and cannot be heard with listen checks if it doesn't wish to be.
Manifestation (Su): A spirit animal dwells on the Ethereal Plane. As an ethereal creature, it cannot affect or be affected by anything in the material world. When a spirit animal manifests (usually at the request of a powerful spellcaster), is partly enters the Material Plane and becomes visible but incorporeal on the Material Plane. A manifested spirit animal can strike with its natural attacks (see above); these attacks deal nonlethal damage to physical creatures. A manifested spirit animal remains partially on the Ethereal Plane, where is it not incorporeal. A manifested spirit animal can be attacked by opponents on either the Material or Ethereal planes. A spirit animal's incorporeality helps protect it from foes on the Material Plane, but not against foes on the Ethereal Plane.
Special Qualities: A spirit animal retains all the special qualities of the base creature. It gains the fey type and incorporeal subtype.
Abilities: Same as the base creature, except that the spirit animal's Wisdom and Charisma scores increase by 4. A manifested spirit animal has a Strength score of for attacks and actions against creatures or objects on the Material Plane.
Skills: Spirit animals receive a +4 racial bonus on Hide, Listen, Search, and Spot checks. This improves any racial bonuses the base creature possesses. Otherwise, its skills are the same as the base creature.
Environment: As base creature. Although a spirit animal has two home planes, the Material and the Ethereal, it is not considered extraplanar when on either plane.
Organization: Solitary, or same as base creature.
Challenge Rating: Same as the base creature +1.
Alignment: Always neutral.
Level Adjustment: -