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RPG Superstar 2015

Are familiars a liability? Esp for a multiclass wizard?


Advice

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All,

It seems to me that a bonded item is a massive risk. Its cool to have but if taken, the downside is atrocious.

Familiars can get killed, but I think they have no real down sides when they are dead. But if I only have a few Wizard levels on a multiclassed character, wont it be tedious to keep them alive?

Is there a Familiar Pocket spell in Pathfinder? Can I simply not summon a familiar? Is there any legal way to trade out a familiar without having to takea feat or trait hit? And preferably without archetypes?

Thanks.


If you're not actively using the familiar to make touch attacks to deliver spells, I find most enemies just ignore the familiar, so keeping them alive hasn't been a problem.

One perk to having a familiar is that it comes with a nice bonus like +2 to a save or +4 initiative.

If you really don't want a familiar or a bonded item, you're going to have to check out the wizard archetypes. The arcane bond is a standard class feature; if you don't want it, an archetype to trade it away is your only option short of avoiding the class entirely.

But I'm pretty sure you won't find a way to be a Wizard, not get a familiar, not get an arcane bond, not take an archetype, and not spend a feat or trait. Sheesh, with a list of restrictions that long, I'm not sure what sort of answer you're expecting; you're asking for a way to do something without doing anything at all.

Silver Crusade

Familiar is by far the superior option for a wizard. Bonded Object gives you one spell slot at your highest level each day. Woohoo >.> . Meanwhile, a familiar gives you all sorts of utility and most importantly, allows you to break the action economy of the game. If you aren't going with a Improved Familiar, Greensting Scorpion gives you a +4 Initiative Bonus, which is the equivalence of a feat, if it is within arm's reach. If you're worried, keep your familiar in your backpack and it's safe from most harm.


I disagree. the bonded object allows you to basically 'be batman'. Because wizards can scribe so many spells in their spellbook, it allows you, once per day, to have the absolute perfect answer to a threat.

You can cast any lower level spell out of that spell slow, basically meaning that any spell in your book, you can cast. The utility there is staggering.

Surprise ice dragon? Communal resist energy: cold and your party is safe.
Flying enemy but out of flight spells? Use your bonded object, make your party fighter fly, and they'll slaughter whatever it is.

etc etc

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

2 people marked this as a favorite.

I've found the bonded item option to be fantastic. The ability to pull any spell in your book out of your arse when you most need it should not be underestimated, especially the higher level of spells you get.

Having an initiative boost is nice, but being able to say "Oh, we're going to have a showdown with a bunch of fire elementals? Let me just whip out this communal resist/protection from fire that I didn't even prepare today."

I've been loving it in PFS, meanwhile I keep seeing familiars get splattered by AoO's when they try to enter a target's square to deliver a touch spell. YMMV.


I know every "expert" and their dog says familiar > bonded item.

But like the poster above me, I lost track of times access to my entire spellbook saved me in a pinch because I suddenly needed some a spell I didn't have. Yes, I could have made scrolls for everything, but we were playing a fairly fast adventure where that often was not possible.

I didn't feel like dealing with a "pet class" and it didn't fit the RP/fluff I'd set aside for my wizard. I also didn't regret it.


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

A bonded object gives you two things:

- any one spell you had prepared available to be cast again that day (not just at your highest level) Very flexible and frequently can save the day

- the ability to enhance the bonded object w/o requiring the crafting feats for that object (and there are many objects that offer specific benefits to wizards of specific schools if they choose that object as a bonded object). This isn't always used by many folks - but this is for PFS play the only way to do any crafting and in home games as well it offers a creative wizard a lot of flexibility and options. Some of the school specific bonded objects offer some really nice bonuses for those casters. This benefit is lessened for multiclass wizards who may never reach the levels needed to add abilities to their bonded object

Familiars are good but somewhat fragile especially compared to animal companions. They don't get feats or much enhancements as you level up - but there are some factors that make them particularly good for multiclass wizards. They do get HP & BAB from your full character levels - not just your Wizard levels so relative to the familiar of a wizard of your character level your familiar will likely have a higher BAB and likely more HP (My 7th level Monk/Druid who has a familiar from a nature domain has a familiar with 30HP - far more than most familiars of 7th level or greater wizards)

But using your familiar to deliver touch spells is indeed risky - as it requires that they get in the same square as an enemy (since most familiars are tiny creatures not even small creatures) but you can do some other tricks with familiars that don't require them to touch enemies:

- use them to deliver touch spells to your allies (allowing you to move in another direction)

- use them to take advantage of Share Spells to share a spell with them that enables them to have an impact on the combat. For my Druid the spell Burning Gaze offers some great utility for his hawk familiar - cast it once and his hawk can fly above the battlefield and burn enemies with a gaze (while staying 30' away in the air). I'm sure there are other spells that a creative caster could share with their familiar to give that familiar utility in combat.

- improved evasion helps a great deal for your familiar but they are fragile.


Since a familiar has half of your character's hit points, multiclassing actually makes them physically tougher in most cases. Throw in that improved evasion, and they can withstand spell attacks about as well as your character can.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

Rycaut wrote:
- the ability to enhance the bonded object w/o requiring the crafting feats for that object (and there are many objects that offer specific benefits to wizards of specific schools if they choose that object as a bonded object). This isn't always used by many folks - but this is for PFS play the only way to do any crafting

Ha, forgot about this part. I really enjoyed my 5,000gp discount for my amulet of spell cunning!


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Am I the only person who actually likes the bonded item option? I keep hearing a lot of people complain about what happens if the item is lost, but seriously...how often does one lose a magical item? Sure, it *could* happen, but what's more likely? Losing your bonded item, or being in a situation where being able to cast any spell from your spellbook without preparing it would be useful?


spectrevk wrote:
Am I the only person who actually likes the bonded item option? I keep hearing a lot of people complain about what happens if the item is lost, but seriously...how often does one lose a magical item? Sure, it *could* happen, but what's more likely? Losing your bonded item, or being in a situation where being able to cast any spell from your spellbook without preparing it would be useful?

Especially since the most likely reason for losing your bonded object is a "you are captured and all your stuff is taken" scenario... in which case you have the far more crippling problem of also losing your spellbook.

Silver Crusade

The problem I think stems from people using familiars to do something that they can't really do. At low levels, using your familiar to deliver a touch attack is probably going to wind up being a poor choice of action economy. Let that sucker stick by you and give you those bonuses.

Improved Familiar at level 7 is where things get really good. Pseudodragons, Imps, Lyrakien Azatas are incredibly powerful. Giving a Lyrakien Azata or an Imp a powerful wand can grant you an incredible amount of action economy.


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

But planning on improved familiar for a multiclassed wizard is tricky - unless you are just dipping into another class you are likely planning some fairly complex build and may not have the feats (nor will you reach the level 7 requirement for the interesting improved familiars) all that quickly...

but it can indeed be fun - I've been debating about improved familiar as I plan various characters myself - not clear to me if characters with a familiar from a source other than being a wizard (i.e. a nature domain for example) really should be able to take an improved familiar - I think by RAW they can but it seems strange - and unless I've missed something taking the Celestial version of your regular familiar results in you losing the normal familiar bonus? (but gaining a familiar that can Smite and has a small handful of other features - seems mostly a poor trade unless I've missed something key)


As a multiclass character your perspective will shift slightly.

A familiar will get half your hitpoints, even if they don't come from wizard levels, but your access to improved familiar will be lower, and your familiars abilities will be less due to your lower Wizard level.

The bonded object will help balance out your fewer spell slots by opening up your entire book for emergencies. But if you lose the item, the concentration checks will be non-trivial.

All in all i think a carefully chosen familiar will benefit a multiclass character more than a bonded item. Keeping the creature close will also let you benefit from the bonus it provides.

Silver Crusade

Roberta Yang wrote:
spectrevk wrote:
Am I the only person who actually likes the bonded item option? I keep hearing a lot of people complain about what happens if the item is lost, but seriously...how often does one lose a magical item? Sure, it *could* happen, but what's more likely? Losing your bonded item, or being in a situation where being able to cast any spell from your spellbook without preparing it would be useful?
Especially since the most likely reason for losing your bonded object is a "you are captured and all your stuff is taken" scenario... in which case you have the far more crippling problem of also losing your spellbook.

Let me tell you a story:

Kingmaker Spoilers:
We were playing the last Module of Kingmaker. Our Eldritch Knight was playing as our tank and using the Artifact Sword as his bonded item. We get into a fight with a dragon who fears our tank. He runs away, dropping his bonded item. Our wizard ducks down in midflight to snag the sword as we flee. He managed to do so, but immediately afterwards, got nailed with a Flesh to Stone spell. A few hours later, we finally caught up with our feared Eldritch Knight, made it back to where we had fought the dragon, found him gone, with our Wizard, sticking out of the mud as a statue, missing a hand that once held the artifact sword. So no only did we lose the sword, but we also lost the Eldritch Knight's bonded item and our Wizard lost his hand.


Psuedodragons have 5 feet of reach with their tail.

But yeah, for a wizard, the bonded item is nice. For anyone that doesn't have to prepare spells (and I hate preparing spells), the familiar is way better.


Can I take the Familiar option but just not actually have one?

Marathon Voter 2013

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

You could leave it far behind...


So, uh, what's the big phobia here with having an arcane bond, anyhow? Did something just happen in your campaign where your GM just took away the cleric's holy symbols, killed the druid's animal companion, permanently destroyed the summoner's eidolon, and fed the paladin's mount to some kobolds?


Why would you want to? Familiars are awesome.


Animation wrote:

Can I take the Familiar option but just not actually have one?

Reasonable GM will say yes. In case you have unreasonable one, just select pig familiar and invest one of your starting skill ranks in Profession [chef]. You will make good initial impression on your party (maybe except druid, ranger will never now that it was your familiar in the first place).

Silver Crusade

Animation wrote:

Can I take the Familiar option but just not actually have one?

Why would you do that? There's no penalty for losing a familiar, and you get pretty good benefits from having one.

Silver Crusade

Roberta Yang wrote:
So, uh, what's the big phobia here with having an arcane bond, anyhow? Did something just happen in your campaign where your GM just took away the cleric's holy symbols, killed the druid's animal companion, permanently destroyed the summoner's eidolon, and fed the paladin's mount to some kobolds?

Well, see my above story, but generally speaking, losing an arcane bonded item sucks. As a GM, the very first thing that intelligent bad guys do when fighting the party in my games is take out the wizard's bonded item if they can find it. Because it completely screws the wizard and the 1st step in killing the party is screwing the wizard. Not to mention, it's typically easy to do.

Marathon Voter 2013

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

How can they tell what the bonded item is?


Elamdri wrote:
Animation wrote:

Can I take the Familiar option but just not actually have one?

Why would you do that? There's no penalty for losing a familiar, and you get pretty good benefits from having one.

While this is true, you do lose out on Alertness and whatever bonus your familiar gives, not to mention it costs a bit to replace.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Cheapy wrote:
How can they tell what the bonded item is?

At low levels I suppose they'd just detect magic, but once the wizard has more magical gear....well, I guess they'd start by sundering any martial weapons that the wizard is wielding, just in case.

Me, I'd start carrying around a +1 greatsword in battle just for the lulz.

"Aha! I've destroyed your bonded weapon, meddling Wizard!"

"What, that cheap thing?" *shrug* *Disintegrate*


I'm wearing a magical amulet and two magic rings, and waving a magic weapon. Good luck targeting the real bonded object.

But note that I just said "arcane bond", not "bonded object". For some reason, the OP is terrified of having a familiar, and... I don't get it.

Marthian wrote:
While this is true, you do lose out on Alertness and whatever bonus your familiar gives, not to mention it costs a bit to replace.

So how is maybe needing to pay if you want to restore those features if you do lose them worse than never ever seeing those features at all?

It's like saying you'd rather be a Warrior than a Paladin because as a Paladin you might fall and then you'd just be a Warrior anyhow.

Grand Lodge

Rings make good bonded items.

That said there is a trait that lets you take over your familiars body.

Imp familiar with ALL of your spells and saves and all of its abilities (especially if you have it put on your rings, amulets etc) and you've got something pretty damn good. Cast shrink on your body while its at rest and stuff it in a box etc.

Flip side being, familiar dies? You die.


I just dont like familiars.


Also in this case I was thinking of an Eldritch Knight build, and so I wont have lots of Wizard levels.

As for why I dont like familiars, its just a thematic dislike mainly. I like it for the witch tho.


Helaman wrote:

Rings make good bonded items.

That said there is a trait that lets you take over your familiars body.

Imp familiar with ALL of your spells and saves and all of its abilities (especially if you have it put on your rings, amulets etc) and you've got something pretty damn good. Cast shrink on your body while its at rest and stuff it in a box etc.

Flip side being, familiar dies? You die.

What's that trait?


Elamdri wrote:
Well, see my above story, but generally speaking, losing an arcane bonded item sucks. As a GM, the very first thing that intelligent bad guys do when fighting the party in my games is take out the wizard's bonded item if they can find it. Because it completely screws the wizard and the 1st step in killing the party is screwing the wizard. Not to mention, it's typically easy to do.

Your GM sounds like a metagaming dick. I hope he's not actually one, but damn.

How can enemies tell what item is your bonded item? Actually, how can they tell you have a bonded item at all? You could be any kind of spellcaster for all they know--even if they see your spellbook, you still might be a Magus. Even if they know for a fact that you're a wizard, you might have a familiar tucked away or invisible or at home.

There's just no way to go after a wizard's bonded item on purpose without:

1) Being a metagaming dick

2) Having NPCs overhear the PC wizard talking about his bonded item (which, why would he ever do that?) or Detecting Thoughts on him specifically about that sort of thing, which is also highly unlikely.

As for being an Eldritch Knight, I assumed you'd want a bonded item weapon so you could enchant it for half price without the need for feats.


Yes.
Arcane Bond is an Exploitable weakness.
And that's fine.

Silver Crusade

mplindustries wrote:
Elamdri wrote:
Well, see my above story, but generally speaking, losing an arcane bonded item sucks. As a GM, the very first thing that intelligent bad guys do when fighting the party in my games is take out the wizard's bonded item if they can find it. Because it completely screws the wizard and the 1st step in killing the party is screwing the wizard. Not to mention, it's typically easy to do.

Your GM sounds like a metagaming dick. I hope he's not actually one, but damn.

How can enemies tell what item is your bonded item? Actually, how can they tell you have a bonded item at all? You could be any kind of spellcaster for all they know--even if they see your spellbook, you still might be a Magus. Even if they know for a fact that you're a wizard, you might have a familiar tucked away or invisible or at home.

There's just no way to go after a wizard's bonded item on purpose without:

1) Being a metagaming dick

2) Having NPCs overhear the PC wizard talking about his bonded item (which, why would he ever do that?) or Detecting Thoughts on him specifically about that sort of thing, which is also highly unlikely.

As for being an Eldritch Knight, I assumed you'd want a bonded item weapon so you could enchant it for half price without the need for feats.

Ok, let me clarify something. I do NOT mean every 1st level pickpocket and their mom is running around stealing wizards bonded items.

What I'm talking about is a sophisticated BBEG, who has the ability to do things like scry on the party, cast detect magic, good spellcraft, that kind of stuff.

In the example I provided, it was just unfortunate that the Eldritch Knight happened to make the artifact sword his bonded item. The sword was stolen because it was an artifact, not because it was a bonded item.


If you play an elf, look at the spellbinder archetype in advanced race, or petition your DM to let you take it instead of arcane bond. It won't change anything but arcane bond, and it let you slowly build a list of spell you can always cast instead of one you prepared.

Not as versatile as the bonded item, but still pretty usefull to be able to fall back on one or two spells you know you may have to cast but don't want to prepare as an EK, even if by level 4-5 you'll have on thaht list a level one and a level two spells.

Grease, True strike, Mount, Knock, wathever. You'll be able to pull it out of your bag when needed and prepare more "combat oriented" spells for your EK.

Grand Lodge

Tiny Coffee Golem wrote:
Helaman wrote:

Rings make good bonded items.

That said there is a trait that lets you take over your familiars body.

Imp familiar with ALL of your spells and saves and all of its abilities (especially if you have it put on your rings, amulets etc) and you've got something pretty damn good. Cast shrink on your body while its at rest and stuff it in a box etc.

Flip side being, familiar dies? You die.

What's that trait?

Sorry, meant spell and its, Familiar Melding, from UM.


spectrevk wrote:
Am I the only person who actually likes the bonded item option? I keep hearing a lot of people complain about what happens if the item is lost, but seriously...how often does one lose a magical item? Sure, it *could* happen, but what's more likely? Losing your bonded item, or being in a situation where being able to cast any spell from your spellbook without preparing it would be useful?

More importantly, your familiar is far more likely to get killed by stray fireballs than your amulet is to get destroyed.


Elamdri wrote:
Roberta Yang wrote:
So, uh, what's the big phobia here with having an arcane bond, anyhow? Did something just happen in your campaign where your GM just took away the cleric's holy symbols, killed the druid's animal companion, permanently destroyed the summoner's eidolon, and fed the paladin's mount to some kobolds?
Well, see my above story, but generally speaking, losing an arcane bonded item sucks. As a GM, the very first thing that intelligent bad guys do when fighting the party in my games is take out the wizard's bonded item if they can find it. Because it completely screws the wizard and the 1st step in killing the party is screwing the wizard. Not to mention, it's typically easy to do.

The thing is, its generally much easier for an intelligent bad guy to just take out the wizard.

Marathon Voter 2013

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

Be elven,take Spellbinder archetype. No familiar OR arcane bond. Yay! It also fits very well with Eldritch knight.

Sczarni

Elamdri wrote:
Roberta Yang wrote:
So, uh, what's the big phobia here with having an arcane bond, anyhow? Did something just happen in your campaign where your GM just took away the cleric's holy symbols, killed the druid's animal companion, permanently destroyed the summoner's eidolon, and fed the paladin's mount to some kobolds?
Well, see my above story, but generally speaking, losing an arcane bonded item sucks. As a GM, the very first thing that intelligent bad guys do when fighting the party in my games is take out the wizard's bonded item if they can find it. Because it completely screws the wizard and the 1st step in killing the party is screwing the wizard. Not to mention, it's typically easy to do.

If they can figure out what the bonded item is, odds are they can figure out to just take the spell book...


Familiars are awesome. So many people overlook the INT score of a familiar and just think of it as some small animal but they are often smarter than the party's fighter. This same thing makes them great spies. "What's that in the corner while I'm discussing my secret plans? Oh, just some rat/bird/bug/etc..." Add on your familiar knows where you are, you can scry on its location, feel its emotion, communicate with it in a language no one else can understand. Again, familiars are awesome.

Also, you can still cast spells if you lose your bonded object. Its not the end of the world. Sure its difficult but so is losing your favorite weapon as a fighter and there are a lot more rules geared towards that happening than losing your bonded object.

However, I don't know of anything that would force you to summon a familiar even if it is your class feature. Or just leave it at home like others have said.


Cheapy wrote:
Be elven,take Spellbinder archetype. No familiar OR arcane bond. Yay! It also fits very well with Eldritch knight.

The OP doesn't want to take any archetypes or spend any feats.

I'm uh not really sure what options that leaves but there you go.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Hosteling Armored Kilt.

Scarab Sages

Jiggy wrote:

I've found the bonded item option to be fantastic. The ability to pull any spell in your book out of your arse when you most need it should not be underestimated, especially the higher level of spells you get.

Having an initiative boost is nice, but being able to say "Oh, we're going to have a showdown with a bunch of fire elementals? Let me just whip out this communal resist/protection from fire that I didn't even prepare today."

I've been loving it in PFS, meanwhile I keep seeing familiars get splattered by AoO's when they try to enter a target's square to deliver a touch spell. YMMV.

If that is your arguement for taking a Bonded Object, you might as well play a half elf sorcerer. Paragon Surge gives greater versatility without the liability of being forced into concentration checks if you lose your bonded item.

Personally, I go with a greensting scorpion and have it hide in my bag. No figure on the table and no line of effect for offensive spells. As I side benefit, I feel sorry for any rogues that inappropriatly touch my stuff.


Familiar Satchel: 25gp, 6lbs and protects your familiar.

UE p64 wrote:
This armored case provides total cover to any Tiny or smaller creature contained within it. It includes air holes (which can be plugged with cork stoppers if you need to go underwater) and two receptacles for food and water.

- Gauss


Roberta,

The main reason I didnt want any archetypes is that they tend to meddle with other stuff I want to keep, such as scribe scroll or college/spell access. I will check out the elven archetype for wizard. I really was thinking to make a dwarven EK who focuses on Archery, but I will look at the elf.

Cheapy ... Thanks for the recommendation.

Gauss ... That isnt from Pathfinder is it? We dont use any 3.x stuff.

Thanks to everyone else for the replies too.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Hosteling enchantment will allow you to keep a Familiar in your armor.

Slap it on an Armored Kilt(no spell failure or ACP) and be done with it.


Hosteling enchantment? Where is that from?


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Animation wrote:
Hosteling enchantment? Where is that from?

Ultimate Equipment.

Marathon Voter 2013

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

This is the one time that I think an armored kilt would actually fit, especially with a dwarven EK.

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