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What happens when a familiar's master dies?


Rules Questions


2 people marked this as FAQ candidate.

I've seen alot of threads about what happens when the familiar dies, but what happens when the wiz/sorc/witch dies before the familiar?

Specifically, does the familiar revert to a mundane creature of its type, or does it retain its intelligence/abilities? Or perhaps it retains the intelligence but the abilities remain dormant whilst the master is dead and return when the master is revived?


The beast-bonded witch is the only one with something specific on the subject and even that is just a body sharing mechanism. The Imp has something about being let loose on its own after its caster dies, and I think another evil improved familiar has something about rushing back to deliver the soul to its true masters (of course I could have that backwards too).

Other than that I think this is a fairly fuzzy area with a lot of room.

In one game I ran Wizard's familiars lived as long as the wizard did and were actually something that a master wizard would pass down to his favorite apprentice. In this way some familiars ended up being extremely old having been through some 4+ wizards -- I had a couple of feats that a wizard could take to represent having such a heirloom familiar that I can dig up if you want them.


My general policy is that they degenerate to a normal animal over the course of a few weeks to a few months. This is a SCARY prospect for them, sort of a Flowers for Algernon deal. I've had a fun NPC that was a raven familiar desperate to avenge his old master and find a new one while he still had the mental capacity to do so.

I really like the previous poster's idea of heirloom familiars. I'd like to see what you have there.


RAW is silent on this.

I rule that it reverts to a normal animal of its kind at the stroke of midnight at least 24 hours later -BUT- will always retain memories of its time with wizard/witch/sorcerer. (So Speak With Animals can get information about the former master out if it). If the master is restored to life, the familiar is restored to its previous condition. Familiars can also be passed on to an heir or apprentice of the former master while also retaining their memories. The memories give them no additional skill ranks, its purely for role-playing and campaign information.


I suppose even if the link were severed immediately, one could still craft for the familiar a tiny headband of intellect, so that even without the link to his master, he still maintains a level of awareness above that of an animal (though he would no longer be beating the party's barbarian at chess).


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

I think it may have been during the v3.5 era, but I remember a game developer saying that they would revert back to their normal animal form and mentality over a few days or weeks.


I hate to say it, but your pet bunny is fine without you. He will hop along and eat plenty of carrots. He may remember you, but Mr. Fuzzy will go on in the wild as it was before you met him.

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

There are a number of scenarios both AP and PFS that basic premise is that the familiar does not lose their abilities, skills or powers gained while acting as a Character's familiar.

In fact some of these familiars have gone on and began studying their masters spellbooks/etc and have progressed in skills, and sometimes establishes a small fiefdom in the area they migrate/settle into (and often are the basis for the scenario or AP scene).

Robyn


I forgot something else about the witch when I posted:

Quote:


Familiar Teaching Familiar: A witch’s familiar can learn spells from another witch’s familiar. To accomplish this, the familiars must spend one hour per level of the spell being taught in communion with one another. At the end of this time, the witch whose familiar is learning a spell must make a Spellcraft check (DC 15 + spell level). If the check succeeds, the familiar has learned the spell and the witch may utilize it the next time she prepares spells. If the check fails, the familiar has failed to learn the spell and cannot try to learn that spell again until the witch has gained another rank in Spellcraft. Most witches require a spell of equal or greater level in return for this service. If a familiar belongs to a witch that has died, it only retains its knowledge of spells for 24 hours, during which time it is possible to coerce or bribe the familiar into teaching its spells to another, subject to GM discretion.


miniaturepeddler wrote:

There are a number of scenarios both AP and PFS that basic premise is that the familiar does not lose their abilities, skills or powers gained while acting as a Character's familiar.

In fact some of these familiars have gone on and began studying their masters spellbooks/etc and have progressed in skills, and sometimes establishes a small fiefdom in the area they migrate/settle into (and often are the basis for the scenario or AP scene).

Robyn

This is great info! Could you name a couple of these scenarios/adventure paths so that I could peruse them?


This is really a lot more simple. It eats its master.


Pathfinder Maps Subscriber

I would think it keeps its bond with its master for at least until resurrection means are no longer possible. It would suck to have to pay to re-bond your familiar if you are resurrected as well as deal with any permanent negative levels associated with the death.

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