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Improved Familiar and Non-Arcane Casters


Rules Questions


8 people marked this as FAQ candidate. Answered in the FAQ. 1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

With the ability for just about anyone to gain a familiar, I am looking to have this finally answered.

Can non-arcane casters, with familiars, benefit from the Improved Familiar feat?


Do you mean with things like Eldritch Heritage?
Eldritch Heritage makes you count as a Sorcerer of your level -2 for the purposes of that ability. Sorcerer is an arcane spellcaster, so you could for instance get a Celestial Hawk at level 5, or a Pseudodragon at level 9.

Short answer: Yes.


Yes, but on the other hand, that's quite a lot of feats to spend on this Familiar. Skill Focus (Knowledge) => Eldritch Heritage => Improved Familiar...Boon Companion as well if you want it to be optimized. Plus, if you're not a spellcaster, you wouldn't be able to utilize the familiar as a catalyst for a Dazing Burning Gaze, so I'm not sure if I see the point ;)

Although you could still have it run around with a backpack full of wands I suppose.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Okay, I suppose examples are in order.

Eldritch Heritage.

Tumor Familiar.

Familiar Rogue talent.

Hawk Domain, or other familiar granting domain.

Noble Scion feat.

Cleric or Ranger of Besmara.

Blight Druid.

Buccaneer Gunslinger.


Each of those are a different case.

Eagle Domain wouldn't work, as the description specifically says that you must have a hawk as a familiar, and I don't think there are any Improved Hawk Familiars, so there would be no options.

Blight Druids could totally have an improved familiar, though. As would Rogues, with the Familiar major rogue talent. Ditto the Gunslinger, even though the archetype says it is "typically" a monkey or a parrot.

According to this thread, a tumor familiar could become an improved familiar as well.

I'm not sure how Noble Scions or Clerics of Besmara would gain a familiar.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

If you carefully read the Improved Familiar feat, you will see it notes "Arcane Spellcaster Level".

This is where the heart of the confusion lies.


Ah, well since in all of those cases it says that you gain a familiar as per a wizard's level, or half a wizard's level, that implies that you gain an arcane spellcasting level in regards to your familiar and for no other purpose.

In the description of a Blight Druid's familiar, it says "A blight druid may not bond with an animal companion, but may ... call a familiar as a wizard of her druid level."

Thus, your arcane spellcaster level in regards to your familiar is your druid level, even though a druid is not an arcane spellcaster.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Now, I agree with you, but I am looking for RAW support.

Developer comment is welcome too.


'Noble Scion (Local)' not 'Noble Scion' can grant you an Imp, which is already Improved and the feat also states you count as a 1st level wizard.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

The question still lies with the other examples.


The answer is theoretically simple: does the character have some sort of "virtual" arcane caster level from the source that granted the original familiar? Reading the write-ups, I deduced the following:

Eldritch Heritage: yes.
Tumor Familiar: no.
Familiar Rogue talent: yes.
Domains: yes.
Noble Scion (Local): no.
Cleric or Ranger of Besmara: yes.
Blight Druid: yes.
Buccaneer Gunslinger: yes.
Sea Singer Bard: yes.

Looks like only the nobles and alchemists are out of luck.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

Might I throw the Adept into the mix?

Gets a familiar, is a divine caster...


VRMH wrote:

The answer is theoretically simple: does the character have some sort of "virtual" arcane caster level from the source that granted the original familiar? Reading the write-ups, I deduced the following:

Eldritch Heritage: yes.
Tumor Familiar: no.
Familiar Rogue talent: yes.
Domains: yes.
Noble Scion (Local): no.
Cleric or Ranger of Besmara: yes.
Blight Druid: yes.
Buccaneer Gunslinger: yes.
Sea Singer Bard: yes.

Looks like only the nobles and alchemists are out of luck.

Well as you can see from the already posted link, the Devs have said yes to alchemists having one, so that throws a small monkey wrench in this list.


Thefurmonger wrote:
Well as you can see from the already posted link, the Devs have said yes to alchemists having one, so that throws a small monkey wrench in this list.

It would, but I do not concur with your and davidernst11's conclusion. All SKR said is that the Tumor Familiar counts as a Familiar. Nothing was said about the Alchemist having an Arcane Caster Level for the purpose of qualifying for a specific Improved Familiar.

Midnight_Angel wrote:

Might I throw the Adept into the mix?

Gets a familiar, is a divine caster...

That's actually a tricky one. "An adept can call a familiar, just as a wizard can using the arcane bond ability". Only the "calling" of a Familiar is specified as being like the Arcane Bond, not the Familiar itself. So per the RAW... no.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

So, an Alchemist can have a familiar, craft a Homunculus, but cannot have a Homunculus familiar?


blackbloodtroll wrote:
So, an Alchemist can have a familiar, craft a Homunculus, but cannot have a Homunculus familiar?

Oh he can, just not from the Alchemists' Discovery.


davidernst11 wrote:
Eagle Domain wouldn't work, as the description specifically says that you must have a hawk as a familiar, and I don't think there are any Improved Hawk Familiars, so there would be no options.

Improved Familiar can get you a hawk with the celestial or fiendish template, which seems actually rather appropriate for a cleric with the eagle domain. :)

Silver Crusade

I'm a little confused. Looking over Familiar and Improved Familiar, I don't see the need for arcane spell caster levels anywhere.

Quote:

Improved Familiar

This feat allows you to acquire a powerful familiar, but only when you could normally acquire a new familiar.
Prerequisites: Ability to acquire a new familiar, compatible alignment, sufficiently high level (see below).
Benefit: When choosing a familiar, the creatures listed here are also available to you. You may choose a familiar with an alignment up to one step away on each alignment axis (lawful through chaotic, good through evil).
Improved familiars otherwise use the rules for regular familiars, with two exceptions: if the creature's type is something other than animal, its type does not change; and improved familiars do not gain the ability to speak with other creatures of their kind (although many of them already have the ability to communicate).

They do speak of 'levels from your class able to gain a familiar' and such, so if you're able to gain a new familiar, there should be no conflict if you've take the Imp.Fam feat - RAW.

Silver Crusade

Ah, I see it now on the chart 'Arcane Spell Caster Level' which is either a typo and they meant 'equiviant level of class able to gain a familiar' or they're kyboshing anyone without arcane casting levels.

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

Booksy wrote:
Ah, I see it now on the chart 'Arcane Spell Caster Level' which is either a typo and they meant 'equiviant level of class able to gain a familiar' or they're kyboshing anyone without arcane casting levels.

Yeah, that's always been the issue... did they really mean to say "Class level" or is the "arcane spellcaster level" the correct interpretation? Personally I think the table should have said "Class level". That would solve the problem.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

With so many non-arcane classes gaining the ability to have a familiar, you would think this would be cleared up.

Seriously, that "arcane" in the caster level requirement is outdated.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Modules Subscriber
blackbloodtroll wrote:

With so many non-arcane classes gaining the ability to have a familiar, you would think this would be cleared up.

Seriously, that "arcane" in the caster level requirement is outdated.

Only outdated if the "intent" is to allow for everyone with a familiar to gain access to an improved familiar. It could quite possibly be the "intent" to keep an improved familiar the domain of the arcane casters, similar to how things like weapon training are given out sparringly to select few archtypes and may not mesh well with other increases/modifiers to that ability that aren't an issue with the core ability they replicate or borrow from.

End result, you don't know RAI and neither do I, there is nothing showing the concept of arcane caster level as a requirement to be "outdated" besides an opinion on the subject.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Perhaps Developer comment is needed.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Modules Subscriber
blackbloodtroll wrote:
Perhaps Developer comment is needed.

Completely agree.


I hate necro'ing threads, but this discussion is exactly what I need for my current problem. I am trying to get improved familiar as an artificer and need to know if the *arcane* caster requirement ever got addressed.

I plan to use the improved familiar for an iron defender (aka a homunculus).

Qadira

so you want a developer to chime in on whether you can do something, in a 3rd party property using pathfinder rules, in what can only be a home game anyway?


Well the specific class doesnt matter, the question still stands.


Supposedly it's answered in a FAQ. I've no idea which or where though.


I ctrl+f 'Familiar' through every FAQ I could find and didn't see anything about this. Normally the developers post their ruling too on the PDT account. :S

Taldor

The devs wiped a number of FAQ requests off the books by stating that they were Answered in FAQ a year or so ago. Your best bet is to start a new thread and hope it drums up the same interest as your original request.

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