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Improved Familiar?


Rules Questions

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In the wizard section it gives a special ability(+2 or +3 to something)for each kind of animal. Under the Improved Familiar I'm not seeing it. I understand the celestrial hawk would at least give the same special ability, but there are many(bestiarys have even more options)that are not that similar to the fams in the wizard section. It says they use the rules for regular familiars. Am I over looking something or do they not give the master a bonus? And really what makes them better, it seems mostly everything is based off the wizard.


Regular familiars grant the master a small (+2 or +3) bonus. Improved familiars do not. However, all improved familiars tend to have better combat stats, as well as spell-like abilities, extraordinary abilities, and/or supernatural abilities that they can use. Most are able to speak and can therefore assist their master with skills and might be able (if the master knows Use Magic Device) be able to activate wands.

Master Arminas


Hm, I had never noticed before that improved familiars grant no bonus. That rather sucks from the viewpoint of anyone that takes one for RP purposes. You spend a feat to make yourself weaker. Heh.


Brogue The Rogue wrote:
Hm, I had never noticed before that improved familiars grant no bonus. That rather sucks from the viewpoint of anyone that takes one for RP purposes. You spend a feat to make yourself weaker. Heh.

You might personally be weaker, but the Improved Familiars tend to be vastly more useful than the normal one. Most have multiple spell-like abilities, the hands to use magic items like wands, the ability to speak various languages, and other benefits over a basic familiar. That you lose a small bonus to a skill is a small price to pay for all that utility.


I've always used Arcane Bond(or nothing). Having an animal running around just doesn't seem right to me. But I thought I'd try something different, but wanted something more then a common rat. A hawk, raven or owl might be alright though.


Take a monkey. No seriously. Monkeys make wonderful familiars.

Master Arminas

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I too am confused as to why one wouldn't get the same bonus if one was just applying the celestial template to it, but that appears to be how it's written.

I'd say it's probably one of the better feats available to a wizard, actually. I swapped out my hawk for a faerie dragon. I'll happily give up the +3 on perception checks in well-lit conditions for a familiar with darkvision, telepathy, SLAs, and hands, as well as an int stat of 16.

The more common option I see is using an imp, who has at-will invis, energy immunities and resistances, and, again, hands.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I like dodo birds. Hard to beat a +4 bonus to initiative. With the Reactive trait and the Improved Initiative feat, that comes up to +10 higher initiative over the next guy.


DrSwordopolis wrote:
as well as an int stat of 16.

The wording of the Familiar section seems to suggest that the familiars INT is set by the wizards level, regardless of it's natural INT. I may be missing something (and somewhat hope that I am) but it looks like becoming a familiar dumbs some creatures down.


Unless the familiar has a higher Int than normal for an animal. Which only Improved Familiars do. A Pseudo-dragon starts with an Int of 10. Show his Int does not increase until his master hits 11th level, where it goes to an 11. I don't know where Dr Swordopolis got a 16 from.

Master Arminas

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Faerie, not Pseudo, dragon.

http://www.d20pfsrd.com/bestiary/monster-listings/dragons/dragon-faerie

Though Pseudodragons are nice, too.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I don't think the intent is for the Intelligence score to decrease. If it did, you would be forced to change the familiar's skill ranks around to match. I distinctly recall a developer saying that their intent was that you couldn't change a familiar's base feats and/or skills.

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Yeah, I've been searching for the past 30 minutes looking for the thread that answered this question, but I can't seem to find it. The general consensus seems to be to take the better of the two stats, since it seems hard to justify a your familiar getting dumber when he (or she, or it) joins you. A question for Paizocon, I guess.

That or I can drive the 3 miles to Paizo HQ and hold up a sign with the question on it until security escorts me out, either way.

Taldor

Hi

On a related matter, do Farie Dragons gain Sorceror levels as they gain HD?

Ie As the Arcanist gains levels, the FD gains effective HD (I think).

Thanks
Paul H

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

For purposes of your question, no, I'm afraid not. Wizard familiars don't actually gain hit dice as the wizard levels, they simply use the master's hit dice for purposes of "effective" hit dice. (A 7th level wizard's familiar is immune to sleep, for example, because it effectively has 7 HD.)

Wizard Familiar Rules wrote:
Hit Dice: For the purpose of effects related to number of Hit Dice, use the master's character level or the familiar's normal HD total, whichever is higher.

Source: http://www.d20pfsrd.com/classes/core-classes/wizard/familiar

Taldor

Hi

Thought so. In my defence - it WAS rather early in the morning!

Thanks
Paul H


Feats are scarce. Why not just polymorph your regular familiar in something more interesting?


1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.

Though I believe that the familiar "HD for effects" Applies for ability scaling. So if the familiar has fire-ball as a Sp ability, it would cast that fireball as a level 10 wizard when the master was level 10.

A concrete example is that cat that gets lay-on-hands.

Cheliax

VRMH wrote:
Feats are scarce. Why not just polymorph your regular familiar in something more interesting?

Because Improved Familiar is like getting an extra half-turn, as long as you give your new imp a wand of some sort. Imps have invisibility at will, and with investment in UMD an imp would be able to use a wand of invisibility to turn your wizard invisible at the start of any combat, leaving you free to start summoning unmolested.


I think Silvanshee (Agathion) are awesome for improved familiars. Either that or Earth or Air elementals (for different reasons). For regular familiar my favorite is a bat due to the blindsense. - Gauss

Andoran

I've got to be honest here, I love improved familiars. They're one of the first things I go for as a spellcaster. Let's break down just a few of the reasons you might want to take a look through the list for Improved Familiars:

Communication: Most improved familiars start with a reasonable Int and the ability to converse somehow. Many celestial familiars have truespeech, which allows them to communicate with any creature who speaks a language, while others can Speak With Animals, Plants or the Dead. Some even have telepathy, which is invaluable to a party.

Senses: Normal animal familiars often have low-light vision and scent, but many improved familiars have the ability to Detect Chaos, Evil, Good, Magic, and so on! As a paladin can tell you, being able to Detect Evil at will can come in handy.

Magic: Improved familiars come with a host of supernatural and spell-like abilities. Most of these are low-level spells usable a few times per day, but their DCs and effects increase as you level, and can make them quite powerful. Plus, they let you save on a few spell slots each day, and many have limited abilities that help protect them from danger, like Invisibility or Dimension Door.

I just realized there's no Improved Familiar guide. Think I might work on that.

Sczarni

I <3 my Voidworm.


Does improved familiar work with the tattooed sorcerer's familiar feature?


sunbeam wrote:
Does improved familiar work with the tattooed sorcerer's familiar feature?

Yep. All you need is the ability to acquire a familiar and an arcane caster level, both of which the Tattooed Sorcerer posses. So go nuts.


Cool.

If there is a flying monkey familiar, he is so going to come out of the tattoo on my ass.


sunbeam wrote:

Cool.

If there is a flying monkey familiar, he is so going to come out of the tattoo on my ass.

My GF (who also plays) just pointed this out: I am going to take a cat tattoo and then lift my skirt! (I'll leave you folks to puzzle out the cat tattoo's location.)

- Gauss

Qadira

though they dont have hands my silvanshee is still my favorite familiar i have ever had. tons of spell like abilitie, dr, spell resistance, can grant me a bonus to saves 1/day for 10 minutes= to her cha mod, can lay on hands, permanent magical flight, can turn to smoke,
http://www.d20pfsrd.com/bestiary/monster-listings/outsiders/agathion/agathi on-silvanshee
when i see battle coming ill throw a second level +4 charisma bonus spell on share it with the cat then have the kitty grant me a stacking +3 saves bonus. not too shabby. its like packing around your own little paladin that doesn't irritate you.
also the little guy can increase his own strength score by 8 and carry stuff i cant (since i dump strength during point buy.)


Nephril, if I understand you correctly, you are casting Eagle's Splendor and having it simultaneously affect both you AND your familiar? You cannot do this. Share spells does not work this way.

Share Spells has two effects. The first is to allow you to cast personal spells on your familiar. The second is to allow you to affect your familiar with spells that normally do not affect magical beasts but do affect you (example: enlarge person).

Sorry to bring this up.

- Gauss

Shadow Lodge

Gauss wrote:

Nephril, if I understand you correctly, you are casting Eagle's Splendor and having it simultaneously affect both you AND your familiar? You cannot do this. Share spells does not work this way.

Share Spells has two effects. The first is to allow you to cast personal spells on your familiar. The second is to allow you to affect your familiar with spells that normally do not affect magical beasts but do affect you (example: enlarge person).

Sorry to bring this up.

- Gauss

There's another feat, Improved Share Spells, but that isn't available at 1st level like Improved Familiar is.

Qadira

Gauss wrote:

Nephril, if I understand you correctly, you are casting Eagle's Splendor and having it simultaneously affect both you AND your familiar? You cannot do this. Share spells does not work this way.

Share Spells has two effects. The first is to allow you to cast personal spells on your familiar. The second is to allow you to affect your familiar with spells that normally do not affect magical beasts but do affect you (example: enlarge person).

Sorry to bring this up.

- Gauss

no thats not what im doing my wording is a bit funky now that i read it. i merely meant that i cast eagles on my cat then let her use the saves bonus ability on me. thats what i meant by sharing.


Nephril: Ahhhh yeah, thats better. :)

Mongoose: I forgot about Improved Share Spells, namely because when I read it some time back I instantly rejected its value (that 5 foot limitation is a killer for most purposes).

- Gauss


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Gauss wrote:
...namely because when I read [Improved Share Spells] some time back I instantly rejected its value (that 5 foot limitation is a killer for most purposes).

My greater invisibilitied, greater heroismed, enlarge personed, fire shielded summoner and eidolon mount think it's positively GREAT! :P


I should've stated: most purposes relating to Familiars. I figured that was implied since it was part of a discussion relating to familiars and was specifically referenced as relating to familiars. But, I guess not.

I can clearly see the benefits when used with a mount or something who is always within 5feet. Most of my uses for familiars involve the familiar leaving that 5' radius around me to do things.

- Gauss


2 people marked this as a favorite.

In 3.5 I had a halfling conjurer that had an earth elemental as his improved familiar. It was in the shape of a chair. I rode around on that while summoning other creatures to do my bidding. I was permanently reduced so that it could carry me. I also had custom goggles with clairvoyance and telekinesis on them so I could read my spell books from the field while they were kept at home. My halfling was fat and lazy. I don't think he ever actually lifted a finger to do anything.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Gebby wrote:
I've always used Arcane Bond(or nothing). Having an animal running around just doesn't seem right to me. But I thought I'd try something different, but wanted something more then a common rat. A hawk, raven or owl might be alright though.

AFAIK, using nothing is not an option. It says that Wizards take an Arcane Bond at first level in the same sort of language that Clerics choose a domain or Wizards choose a school. The paragraph has no "may" element within it. Presumably they take some form of bond to fully ground their magick.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Bob_Loblaw wrote:
In 3.5 I had a halfling conjurer that had an earth elemental as his improved familiar. It was in the shape of a chair. I rode around on that while summoning other creatures to do my bidding. I was permanently reduced so that it could carry me. I also had custom goggles with clairvoyance and telekinesis on them so I could read my spell books from the field while they were kept at home. My halfling was fat and lazy. I don't think he ever actually lifted a finger to do anything.

I think Enchanters and Conjurers are close ties as to which school produces the laziest wizards.


LazarX, using nothing IS an option. By RAW: At first level you are granted a either an arcane bond or a familiar. You choose: familiar (ostensibly to prevent having the arcane bond focus requirement). At first level you don't want your familiar so you kill it. You then choose to never replace it. Thus, you have no familiar although you do have it as a class feature.

- Gauss

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Gauss wrote:

LazarX, using nothing IS an option. By RAW: At first level you are granted a either an arcane bond or a familiar. You choose: familiar (ostensibly to prevent having the arcane bond focus requirement). At first level you don't want your familiar so you kill it. You then choose to never replace it. Thus, you have no familiar although you do have it as a class feature.

- Gauss

There is just something way so wrong with that. My own house rule is that a Wizard who loses a familiar or without any arcane bond suffers the same penalties as the loss of an item arcane bond.


A familiar is not a focus. It has its own special abilities and is more vulnerable than an arcane bond. However, you are free to house rule it any way you want as it is your game.

- Gauss

P.S. I agree that thematically killing your familiar in order to not have one is probably an evil act. Im just stating how it could be done via RAW.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Bob_Loblaw wrote:
In 3.5 I had a halfling conjurer that had an earth elemental as his improved familiar. It was in the shape of a chair. I rode around on that while summoning other creatures to do my bidding. I was permanently reduced so that it could carry me. I also had custom goggles with clairvoyance and telekinesis on them so I could read my spell books from the field while they were kept at home. My halfling was fat and lazy. I don't think he ever actually lifted a finger to do anything.

OMG that is totally my next character concept. I would prefer an air elemental, but thats kind of awesome.


Tiny Coffee Golem wrote:
Bob_Loblaw wrote:
In 3.5 I had a halfling conjurer that had an earth elemental as his improved familiar. It was in the shape of a chair. I rode around on that while summoning other creatures to do my bidding. I was permanently reduced so that it could carry me. I also had custom goggles with clairvoyance and telekinesis on them so I could read my spell books from the field while they were kept at home. My halfling was fat and lazy. I don't think he ever actually lifted a finger to do anything.
OMG that is totally my next character concept. I would prefer an air elemental, but thats kind of awesome.

If I did this in Pathfinder, I would consider using the Summoner and making his chair a hover chair.


Out of curiosity, when do/must/can can you actually take this feat?

It says: Prerequisites: Ability to acquire a new familiar, compatible alignment, sufficiently high level (see below).

So, if you have a familiar/ability to acquire a familiar at first level, could you technically take this feat at 3rd level, and hold off enacting it until a later level?

My logic is that, at any time once you have a familiar/ability to acquire a familiar, you then have the ability to kill/dismiss that familiar, and thus you have the "ability to acquire a new familiar".

For the sufficiently high level, since the lowest is third, it seems that you could take this from third on.

Or, do you have to kill/dismiss your familiar, then take this feat, and only are able to take whatever familiar your level is "locked" into?

Kinda confused by its wording ;)


The level requirements are improved-familiar-specific; you have to be (nth) level to acquire (particular familiar type). So you could take it at third, but at that point you're limited to whatever familiars are available @3rd level, until you advance further.

(I think of the feat as limited to 7th level and higher, since I'm always looking for the imp.)


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber
Alitan wrote:

The level requirements are improved-familiar-specific; you have to be (nth) level to acquire (particular familiar type). So you could take it at third, but at that point you're limited to whatever familiars are available @3rd level, until you advance further.

(I think of the feat as limited to 7th level and higher, since I'm always looking for the imp.)

Or you could always take the Infernal Binder Conjurer Archetype out of Inner Sea Primer & get one for free at 7th level.


I asked this in another post, but do you think the Feat: Noble Scion (Thrune) allow a player to then take Feat: Improved Familiar?


Irnk, Dead-Eye's Prodigal wrote:
Alitan wrote:

The level requirements are improved-familiar-specific; you have to be (nth) level to acquire (particular familiar type). So you could take it at third, but at that point you're limited to whatever familiars are available @3rd level, until you advance further.

(I think of the feat as limited to 7th level and higher, since I'm always looking for the imp.)

Or you could always take the Infernal Binder Conjurer Archetype out of Inner Sea Primer & get one for free at 7th level.

That would require me to spend (waste) money on a supplement for a setting I don't use. Nothing against Paizo's efforts to make a nifty game world, but I make my own. Worldbuilding is my favorite part of the game, frankly...

Andoran

DrSwordopolis wrote:

For purposes of your question, no, I'm afraid not. Wizard familiars don't actually gain hit dice as the wizard levels, they simply use the master's hit dice for purposes of "effective" hit dice. (A 7th level wizard's familiar is immune to sleep, for example, because it effectively has 7 HD.)

Wizard Familiar Rules wrote:
Hit Dice: For the purpose of effects related to number of Hit Dice, use the master's character level or the familiar's normal HD total, whichever is higher.
Source: http://www.d20pfsrd.com/classes/core-classes/wizard/familiar

So yes agree that is the rule, they dont gain levels... BUT what about a breath weapon for say a faerie dragon which is DC 10 + 1/2 breathing creature's racial HD + breathing creature's Con modifier. The Dragons HD went up, does the DC on the Breath weapon follow suite???

I think by raw yes, but i dont see this question as being asked before.

Andoran

Humm.... no response on this is the answer yes???

Cheliax

Pathfinder Modules Subscriber
neferphras wrote:
DrSwordopolis wrote:

For purposes of your question, no, I'm afraid not. Wizard familiars don't actually gain hit dice as the wizard levels, they simply use the master's hit dice for purposes of "effective" hit dice. (A 7th level wizard's familiar is immune to sleep, for example, because it effectively has 7 HD.)

Wizard Familiar Rules wrote:
Hit Dice: For the purpose of effects related to number of Hit Dice, use the master's character level or the familiar's normal HD total, whichever is higher.
Source: http://www.d20pfsrd.com/classes/core-classes/wizard/familiar

So yes agree that is the rule, they dont gain levels... BUT what about a breath weapon for say a faerie dragon which is DC 10 + 1/2 breathing creature's racial HD + breathing creature's Con modifier. The Dragons HD went up, does the DC on the Breath weapon follow suite???

I think by raw yes, but i dont see this question as being asked before.

Nope, it stays at the same level. Doesn't matter if the wizard is 1st or 50th, the familiars HD related abilities don't improve.

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