How do you back up your Witch Familiar spells?


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

From what I've gathered from reading through the rules, there is no way to backup your familiar in the event you've added scrolls and such to it. Am I missing something? Do you keep a second familiar at your hut and have them sync spells when you're home?


slicertool wrote:
From what I've gathered from reading through the rules, there is no way to backup your familiar in the event you've added scrolls and such to it. Am I missing something? Do you keep a second familiar at your hut and have them sync spells when you're home?

From the looks of it, if you lose your familiar, well, you're pretty much screwed. You get a new one that has the base amount of spells and that's it. Which pretty much sums up why I would hesitate to play the class, because I've had too many DMs that would go straight for my walking spellbook. At least with a Wizard I can have a couple of books and hide one in an extradimensional space.


You can, kind of, but it requires another Witch, which may be difficult to arrange. If you can find a friendly Witch, you can have your familiars teach each other all of their (non-familiar-specific) spells known. Then if your familiar dies and you have to get a new one, at least you have the spells you knew at the time of the backup with the friendly Witch.

That's really really contrived and clunky, though, and I hate that it's needed.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

Zurai wrote:

You can, kind of, but it requires another Witch, which may be difficult to arrange. If you can find a friendly Witch, you can have your familiars teach each other all of their (non-familiar-specific) spells known. Then if your familiar dies and you have to get a new one, at least you have the spells you knew at the time of the backup with the friendly Witch.

That's really really contrived and clunky, though, and I hate that it's needed.

There should be a feat called extra familiar, that lets you have two familiars. Then your extra familiar could teach your new familiar the non-familiar specific spells that it knows. Or you could just use your current single familiar until you acquired the requisite amount of gold to bring your second familiar back from the nether world.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Rulebook Subscriber

Considering how much it costs to bring the familiar back kind of factors in the cost of a back up spell book (it is in fact probably an order of magnitude higher) it seems the wording could/should be changed to something like "your familiar comes back knowing all the spells you've taught it, as well as its bonus spells." The high price more then makes up for people who want to game their familiar by changing as the bonus spells become more advantageous, and makes things like improved familiar worth while. Explanation wise? well you just treat it as a reincarnation instead of summoning a new familiar? Or perhaps a that your familiar is just a conduit to your super natural power?


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I like the dual familiar idea, because I like the crazy cat lady witch concept. Wandering around with a couple apparently random critters that you commune with on a daily basis would make your party think you were a bit crazy.

However, yeah, at low levels, the gold costs are a little extreme. On our recent starter quest in our campaign, we were fighting on the roof of a building and eventually, the roof collapsed while everyone was on it. Everyone took a bit of damage and it could have killed a familiar if it were involved and unlucky.

The other idea is that you're dealing with an animal spirit meaning that your familiar were vaguely incorporeal. That would keep it from a lot of the unlucky situations that would cause its demise.


slicertool wrote:

I like the dual familiar idea, because I like the crazy cat lady witch concept. Wandering around with a couple apparently random critters that you commune with on a daily basis would make your party think you were a bit crazy.

However, yeah, at low levels, the gold costs are a little extreme. On our recent starter quest in our campaign, we were fighting on the roof of a building and eventually, the roof collapsed while everyone was on it. Everyone took a bit of damage and it could have killed a familiar if it were involved and unlucky.

The other idea is that you're dealing with an animal spirit meaning that your familiar were vaguely incorporeal. That would keep it from a lot of the unlucky situations that would cause its demise.

Having two or more familiars would be a very big change to the game. Let's not forget that they're more than just walking spellbooks. They're intelligent creatures that can act independantly of their owners. It's just that most players seem to forget that.

That said, I think having the 'crazy cat lady' Witch is a great idea for an NPC or PC that adventures close to home. How do you tell which cat is actualy the familiar? Well, probably the one still standing after a fireball, but you get the point.

I think simply adding a sentence to the description that has the familiar come back with all spells it knew previously is the best solution. This offsets the onerous cost of replacing a familiar, far and away more than the cost of a backup spellbook.

Note this is mostly a result of Pathfinder's much cheaper spellbooks. In 3.x it was 100 GP a page, and one page per level of the spell. That adds up really quick. Creating backup spellbooks was a serious drain on a 3.x wizard, which is why I usually saw more creative protections. I don't like how Pathfinder has (literally) cheapened the value of a spellbook. A witch's familar is precious, as it should be.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
ZappoHisbane wrote:
I think simply adding a sentence to the description that has the familiar come back with all spells it knew previously is the best solution. This offsets the onerous cost of replacing a familiar, far and away more than the cost of a backup spellbook.

This is probably the best solution.

I can see Crazy Cat Lady picking up her new familiar and looking into its eyes and claiming to everyone in earshot that it's her beloved Mr Muggles reincarnated into a new form.

Liberty's Edge

moon glum wrote:
Zurai wrote:

You can, kind of, but it requires another Witch, which may be difficult to arrange. If you can find a friendly Witch, you can have your familiars teach each other all of their (non-familiar-specific) spells known. Then if your familiar dies and you have to get a new one, at least you have the spells you knew at the time of the backup with the friendly Witch.

That's really really contrived and clunky, though, and I hate that it's needed.

There should be a feat called extra familiar, that lets you have two familiars. Then your extra familiar could teach your new familiar the non-familiar specific spells that it knows. Or you could just use your current single familiar until you acquired the requisite amount of gold to bring your second familiar back from the nether world.

Actually in the "The Genius Guide to Feats of Spellcasting (PFRPG) PDF" they added 2 feats to gain a second familier. I was running a beta test game and was rather hesitant to allow any third party stuff in but I couldn't say no to allowing my player a way to back up there treasure investment.

I mean lets face it, a warrior can have his 100k gold sword fixed from almost every situation and even a wizard can piece together most of a burnt spellbook but a player losing what could be thousands of gold with no way of getting it back is a little harsh.


slicertool wrote:
From what I've gathered from reading through the rules, there is no way to backup your familiar in the event you've added scrolls and such to it. Am I missing something? Do you keep a second familiar at your hut and have them sync spells when you're home?

Keep a library of key additions on scrolls someplace safe.

Dark Archive

Actually been thinking about how fragile the witch's "spell book" is and during a discusion with a couple of others from our group one of them suggest that cause of the bond between the witch and familiar that why not have half of the damage done to the familiar be applied to the witch.

Not sure thats the answer but it was a interesting idea. Will have to give it more thought later.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Rulebook Subscriber
Dark_Mistress wrote:

Actually been thinking about how fragile the witch's "spell book" is and during a discusion with a couple of others from our group one of them suggest that cause of the bond between the witch and familiar that why not have half of the damage done to the familiar be applied to the witch.

Not sure thats the answer but it was a interesting idea. Will have to give it more thought later.

Certainly worth investing in the shield other spell, or I think there is a magic item that is equivalent.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Rulebook Subscriber
R_Chance wrote:
slicertool wrote:
From what I've gathered from reading through the rules, there is no way to backup your familiar in the event you've added scrolls and such to it. Am I missing something? Do you keep a second familiar at your hut and have them sync spells when you're home?
Keep a library of key additions on scrolls someplace safe.

I did the math on that and it is pretty brutal, especially if you don't take the scribe scroll. The 500g/level alone is almost more then the wizards spell book, and if you add the cost of the scrolls it gets out of hand fast.


R_Chance wrote:


Keep a library of key additions on scrolls someplace safe.

This runs into the problem of being a huge money sink (purchasing the scrolls at full price) or a Feat Tax making Scribe Scroll a required feat.

Galnörag wrote:


I did the math on that and it is pretty brutal, especially if you don't take the scribe scroll. The 500g/level alone is almost more then the wizards spell book, and if you add the cost of the scrolls it gets out of hand fast.

Did you also calculate in the cost of a wizard replacing his familiar at the same time? Remember that the cost to replace a witch's familiar should be comparable to the cost of both a wizard's familiar and spellbook at the same time.

I have not done the math(if I can get the time I will), but there are certain factors that need to be taken into account.

Wizard
Positive
Gets Scribe Scroll Free
Replaces Familiar for only 200gp/level
Blank spellbook costs 15gp (per equipment list)
Spellbook less likely to be at risk of damage than familiar
Material cost of copying spells from one spellbook to another is half
Negative
Must wait a week before replacing familiar
New spellbook is BLANK
Spellbook limited to 100 pages of spells
Material cost to write spells in spellbook
Copying a spell into a spellbook requires a spellcraft check and the wizard may not attempt to retry a failed check until he has gained another rank in spellcraft (new level required)

Witch
Positive
New familiar comes with all 0-level spells and 2 spells per the witch is able to cast for free
Can replace a familiar after 1 day
Familiar holds unlimited number of spells
No material cost to 'write' spells to familiar
My retry failed attempt at adding spell from scroll immediately
Negative
Replacing familiar costs 500gp/level
Familiar at higher risk of damage than spellbook
Creating scrolls to back up spells requires taking a feat
Spells can only be backed up with scrolls at no discount
Scroll destroyed in failed attempt to copy spell from scroll

(note)While the possibility exists to back up a familiar's spells by sharing with another witch's familiar, this would require DM fiat or another PC providing the second witch (and in the case of another PC, both familiars would be at equal risk). This would therefore be an extraordinary circumstance.

The cost comparison isn't as straight forward as one might think because of the factors I listed above.

One additional note to consider, a witch without a familiar still has unlimited use of hexes while a wizard only has his per day uses of his school abilities.

Perhaps the best solution would be to add a hex to the witch:

SpellbookThe witch receives Scribe Scroll as a bonus
feat and can copy spells to and prepare spells from a spellbook as a wizard can.

My only concerns with this approach are that it can be seen as a 'must have' hex and that blurs some of the distinction between witch and wizard.


Actually the wizard could spend feats on spell mastery too. Which renders the spell book less required. I actually think allowing the witch to take spell mastery too would be an easy way to help with this.


Abraham spalding wrote:
Actually the wizard could spend feats on spell mastery too. Which renders the spell book less required. I actually think allowing the witch to take spell mastery too would be an easy way to help with this.

I rather like this idea. Combined with the free 0-level spells and 2 spells per level a witch can cast this would be a good option to offset the cost of replacing spells when a familiar dies (since you would no longer need the familiar to prepare those spells). Still pushing being a Feat Tax as it can be seen as a must have feat, but if it could be chosen in place of a Hex it would be a bit more palatable (since wizards get bonus feats they can use for spell mastery).

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Rulebook Subscriber

Okay, did the math...

Basically working with the assumption that in addition to the spells they get for each level, the caster would eventually purchase 4 more spells of each spell level (except level 9 spells.)

So my Columns are:

Wiz1: Cost for the wizard to back up his spellbook
Wiz2: Cost for the wizard to replace his familiar
Wiz3: Total to replace spell book and familiar at once

Wit1: Cost to replace familiar
Wit2: Cost to replace familiar spells
Wit3: Cost to replace familiar spells (w/scribe scroll feat)

Wiz1 Wiz2 Wiz3 Wit1 Wit2 Wit3
90 200 290 500 500 500
100 400 500 1000 1000 1000
150 600 750 1500 1550 1525
190 800 990 2000 2050 2025
330 1000 1330 2500 2900 2700
420 1200 1620 3000 3400 3200
710 1400 2110 3500 4950 4225
870 1600 2470 4000 5450 4725
1370 1800 3170 4500 8100 6300
1620 2000 3620 5000 8600 6800
2390 2200 4590 5500 12750 9125
2750 2400 5150 6000 13250 9625
3850 2600 6450 6500 19300 12900
4340 2800 7140 7000 19800 13400
5830 3000 8830 7500 28150 17825
6470 3200 9670 8000 28650 18325
8410 3400 11810 8500 39700 24100
9220 3600 12820 9000 40200 24600
10670 3800 14470 9500 46700 28100
11480 4000 15480 10000 47200 28600

So... the wizard, who may not have a familiar at all, spends on average a bit more then the witch spends just to get her familiar back to backup all his spells. The witch not only has to spend that, but has to spend 1.5-3 times that much more to get there spells back. The witch also has a possible chance of failing to relearn the spell, where as the wizard doesn't.

This just gets worse if they know more spells, since the witch is paying the scroll price for spells and the wizard a fraction of that.


Galnörag wrote:


So... the wizard, who may not have a familiar at all, spends on average a bit more then the witch spends just to get her familiar back to backup all his spells. The witch not only has to spend that, but has to spend 1.5-3 times that much more to get there spells back. The witch also has a possible chance of failing to relearn the spell, where as the wizard doesn't.

This just gets worse if they know more spells, since the witch is paying the scroll price for spells and the wizard a fraction of that.

Good point that a wizard may not necessarily have a familiar.

I ran similar numbers and mine didn't match yours, but in comparison yours actually favor the witch. My numbers showed the witch paying up to 8 times as much to restore their entire spellbook.

Details aside, I do agree with your assessment that the more spells the witch knows, the worse losing a familiar is. It almost seems better to rely on hexes and wands rather than invest in adding spells to your familiar.

Additionally, the more often a familiar dies, the farther the balance shifts toward the wizard.


Freesword wrote:

This runs into the problem of being a huge money sink (purchasing the scrolls at full price) or a Feat Tax making Scribe Scroll a required feat.

It's money all right. That is what makes the Scribe Scroll feat worth taking. I don't see it so much as a "tax" as a good choice.

The Witch has a different set of abilities than the Wizard making straight comparisons difficult. One has a limited spell selection but hex abilities vs. a wider spell selection. One is tied to a pile of spellbooks, the other has a much more mobile and useful spell repository.

Spell books are cumbersome, generally left behind and completely defenceless. If someone nabs them / destroys them you are shi-- er out of luck. Zero spells for you. The familiar is mobile, can, to an extent, defend itself, travel with you, fend for itself and when replaced comes back with a certain proportion of your spells intact. Then there's the special abilities tied to different types of familiars. Not to speak of the hexes a Witch has which are always useful.

I don't think a straight gp to gp replacement cost on spell books vs. familiars tells the whole story.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Rulebook Subscriber
R_Chance wrote:


Spell books are cumbersome, generally left behind and completely defenceless. If someone nabs them / destroys them you are shi-- er out of luck. Zero spells for you. The familiar is mobile, can, to an extent, defend itself, travel with you, fend for itself and when replaced comes back with a certain proportion of your spells intact. Then there's the special abilities tied to different types of familiars. Not to speak of the hexes a Witch has which are always useful.

I have never seen a wizard leave his spellbook behind. Maybe his backup, but not his main book. In the first few levels there is certainly a high degree of risk for a wizard, who won't have the accumulated wealth to begin building a backup, nor will they have the luxury of having a safe place for there book either. But they are also less likely to be subject to huge aoe damage, so it balances.


A couple magic item considerations:

For scribing: Don't forget, as a Wizard, you can buy a "Blessed Book" for 12,500gp (Craft for 6,250)and it has 1,000 pages in it and no scribing costs.

For preservation: you can keep a spell book in a bag of holding indefinitely and living creatures have 10 minutes before they suffocate.


R_Chance wrote:
Freesword wrote:

This runs into the problem of being a huge money sink (purchasing the scrolls at full price) or a Feat Tax making Scribe Scroll a required feat.

It's money all right. That is what makes the Scribe Scroll feat worth taking. I don't see it so much as a "tax" as a good choice.

The Witch has a different set of abilities than the Wizard making straight comparisons difficult. One has a limited spell selection but hex abilities vs. a wider spell selection. One is tied to a pile of spellbooks, the other has a much more mobile and useful spell repository.

Spell books are cumbersome, generally left behind and completely defenceless. If someone nabs them / destroys them you are shi-- er out of luck. Zero spells for you. The familiar is mobile, can, to an extent, defend itself, travel with you, fend for itself and when replaced comes back with a certain proportion of your spells intact. Then there's the special abilities tied to different types of familiars. Not to speak of the hexes a Witch has which are always useful.

I don't think a straight gp to gp replacement cost on spell books vs. familiars tells the whole story.

Even with Scribe Scroll it's a money sink. The reason I refer to it as a tax is because the costs are so high it goes beyond good choice to de facto requirement.

Yes, the classes aren't exactly the same and it's not an equal comparison, but both are primary spell casters who store their repository of spells externally. This makes comparing the cost to replace that repository a valid exercise.

While I grant you that as an unattended object a book is more vulnerable than a creature, the book is likely to be in the wizard's backpack and less susceptible to being the target of damage than a creature next to the caster. Hit a wizard with 3 fire balls and his book in his backpack will likely be unscratched. Hit a witch and her familiar with 3 fireballs and the familiar is likely to die. The only way to protect the familiar is to keep it as far from combat as possible. In that case you are actually better off with a book in your backpack. Also consider that a book is more easily stored in extradimensional spaces and spare copies can be left in the keeping of trusted allies.

You are correct that a straight gp to gp replacement cost comparison does not tell the whole story, but it does indicate a potentially crippling weakness in the witch.


Freesword wrote:

Even with Scribe Scroll it's a money sink. The reason I refer to it as a tax is because the costs are so high it goes beyond good choice to de facto requirement.

Yes, the classes aren't exactly the same and it's not an equal comparison, but both are primary spell casters who store their repository of spells externally. This makes comparing the cost to replace that repository a valid exercise.

The comparison is valid to an extent, but it does not take into account the advantages / disadvantages of the two "storage methods".

Freesword wrote:


While I grant you that as an unattended object a book is more vulnerable than a creature, the book is likely to be in the wizard's backpack and less susceptible to being the target of damage than a creature next to the caster. Hit a wizard with 3 fire balls and his book in his backpack will likely be unscratched. Hit a witch and her familiar with 3 fireballs and the familiar is likely to die. The only way to protect the familiar is to keep it as far from combat as possible. In that case you are actually better off with a book in your backpack. Also consider that a book is more easily stored in extradimensional spaces and spare copies can be left in the keeping of trusted allies.

The Wizard's spell books (plural) are not all that portable. They are not paperbacks. There are only 100 pages per book and at 1 page per spell level needed a high level Wizard has a bloody library. They are subject to damage and paper is flammable and doesn't do too well if wet. I know in 3.5 / PF an item is assumed to survive if a PC makes his saving throw and generally so unless he rolls a "1". This has always made me chuckle, a guy gets toasted to death by a fireball, has to be resurected and his paper goods survive to be used again. I've always made their items save if they fail a saving throw (I'm old fashioned) or just plain died as a result of an effect. Wading through water (i.e. in partially submerged sections of dungeons) and dealing with other environmental hazards is rough on goods too. Not to speak of the possibility of theft / loss while adventuring. Anything that is valuable and portable is at risk on the road. The familiar is not necessarily in the proximity of every effect the Witch undergoes (although it may be in range of some the Witch is not close to) and it too can be left in a safe(r) location. As for fireballs, the familiar has improved evasion iirc. If the Witch doesn't her familiar may outlive her. The portable hole is a Wizards best friend for storage, unless it is stolen, lost or destroyed.

My players have been pitched into rivers, waded through floods, braved fires, torrential rains, acid clouds and a hundred other things that could damage goods. If I said "why not take your spell books with you" I would have to wait until the laughter died down to get my answer.

In short, nothing on an adventure is all that safe.

Freesword wrote:


You are correct that a straight gp to gp replacement cost comparison does not tell the whole story, but it does indicate a potentially crippling weakness in the witch.

It's a weakness in both classes. It's not a crippling one. It's the cost of all that power.


Well this is agood a place as any to post this idea.

Technically the argument that spellbooks vs. Familiar are about even is ture, however the issue of how many books and where a wizard keeps them for somereason isn't explotied much, but in testing I've seen Blue Dragons go after a cat familiar without mercy. so the simple answer is protect the familiar, but that leaves the witch at a disadvantage.

What I mean is that while both classes have to protect their books/familiars, the former (wizard) gets to use his familiar in combat situations where as the witch wouldn't want to risk it (again this is what has happaned in play).

Now I've been thinking about this, and my players have put out some suggestions of buffing up the familiar which is nice an all but in effect goes into summoner teritory in terms of pain in the butt.

So I was thinking along the lines of a Book of Shadows concept. In this case the Book of Shadows would be the Witch's familiar. It may have been a simple spell book once, but at some point it became an enchanted object, that carries part of the essese of the witch that owns it. Perhaps it gets passed down from witch to witch, as it dose so it gains spells, but only reveals them to the curret owner when they are powerful enough. The witch would have to bond with the book so that its destroyed it has the same effect as losing a familiar, so they must be careful with it. The Book of Shadows would also act as a grimore of knowledge for the Witch, this would work exactly like Bardic Knoweldge but would require study time(maybe like HP and Chamber of secrets, have to write your question into the book for it to answer) and the knoweldge would actually come from the past owners of the book, hence a witch from three hundread years before who helped kill a Blue Dragon, would give info on the blue dragon to the curret owner of the book. This gives the class the option of a Wizards spell book but still keep the flavor of a Witch. Any book could be made into a book of shadows but a new book could only be created by a Witch's coven and it would gain a little bit of knowldge from each witch the performed the ritual.

I was also thinking of giving the book intelligent, but thought of better of going into those waters.

In any case I still have to work out all the mechanics of this but it does solve the "Crow" weakness of the familiar and still keeps the class distinct from the wizard. And whats nice about this option is that it still allows for the 'standard' familiars, the book of shadows is simply a another type of familiar.

I could use some feedback on this idea thanks.

TTFN DRE

P.S. oh yeah almost forgot, the book would work for other witchs but any other spell casting class would only detect it as a magical object with a lot of blank pages.


R_Chance wrote:
I know in 3.5 / PF an item is assumed to survive if a PC makes his saving throw and generally so unless he rolls a "1". This has always made me chuckle, a guy gets toasted to death by a fireball, has to be resurected and his paper goods survive to be used again.

Rules as Written =/= reality/logic. It is however the assumed baseline for any official expansion of the rules.

R_Chance wrote:
It's a weakness in both classes. It's not a crippling one. It's the cost of all that power.

The problem isn't that there is a cost to restore all the spells stored in a familiar.

The problem is the vastness of the cost difference. In fact, it's more cost effective to raise the familiar than to back up the spells.

Based on Galnörag's "in addition to the spells they get for each level, the caster would eventually purchase 4 more spells of each spell level (except level 9 spells)", by 7th level a 6650 gp scroll of raise dead (1650 for 6th level scroll + 5000 material component) is cheaper than replacing the spells lost to the death of a familiar even taking into account the free spells that come with the new familiar. By 12th level a 28825 gp scroll of True Resurrection (3825 9th level scroll + 25000 material component) is cheaper. With scribe scroll it changes to 8th level for raise dead and 15th for True Resurrection. Considering that raise dead is on the witch's spell list it is a viable option. Make sure you take restoration as one of your 4th level spells, and for 2000 gp more you get rid of the 2 negative levels your familiar takes from raise dead and it's still cheaper than getting a new familiar by 8th level.

Meanwhile the cost for a wizard to back up their spell book(s) under those terms tops out at 11530 gp to copy a complete backup at 20th level, and that includes the price for the 5 spell books required.

You know, maybe we are approaching this from the wrong angle. Instead of backing up the spells and restoring them to a new familiar, we should be looking at raising the familiar with all their stored spells intact.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Rulebook Subscriber
Freesword wrote:
R_Chance wrote:
I know in 3.5 / PF an item is assumed to survive if a PC makes his saving throw and generally so unless he rolls a "1". This has always made me chuckle, a guy gets toasted to death by a fireball, has to be resurected and his paper goods survive to be used again.

Rules as Written =/= reality/logic. It is however the assumed baseline for any official expansion of the rules.

R_Chance wrote:
It's a weakness in both classes. It's not a crippling one. It's the cost of all that power.

The problem isn't that there is a cost to restore all the spells stored in a familiar.

The problem is the vastness of the cost difference. In fact, it's more cost effective to raise the familiar than to back up the spells.

Based on Galnörag's "in addition to the spells they get for each level, the caster would eventually purchase 4 more spells of each spell level (except level 9 spells)", by 7th level a 6650 gp scroll of raise dead (1650 for 6th level scroll + 5000 material component) is cheaper than replacing the spells lost to the death of a familiar even taking into account the free spells that come with the new familiar. By 12th level a 28825 gp scroll of True Resurrection (3825 9th level scroll + 25000 material component) is cheaper. With scribe scroll it changes to 8th level for raise dead and 15th for True Resurrection. Considering that raise dead is on the witch's spell list it is a viable option. Make sure you take restoration as one of your 4th level spells, and for 2000 gp more you get rid of the 2 negative levels your familiar takes from raise dead and it's still cheaper than getting a new familiar by 8th level.

Meanwhile the cost for a wizard to back up their spell book(s) under those terms tops out at 11530 gp to copy a complete backup at 20th level, and that includes the price for the 5 spell books required.

You know, maybe we are approaching this from the wrong angle. Instead of backing up the spells and...

Raise dead makes a whole lot of sense when you consider the math, and you could even save the money and when you are high enough level take Spell Mastery: Raise Dead and then not need anything but material components to get your familiar back.


This is a good solution. It doesn't, however, address the problem with 'upgrading' your familiar with the advanced familiar feat or similar class feature.

I’m of the mind not to ‘waist’ money on additional spells until I get the advanced familiar. That kind of horks me low-level, though. So I either buy the spell twice (I play PFS and there is no crafting) or do without till 6th/7th level?

It is still an issue that needs addressed.


I guess I didn't consider this: Advance Familiar REALLY horks witches. You lose all the bonus spells for the original familiar and there is no list (at least not yet) for bonus spells for advanced familiars.


Piety Godfury wrote:
I guess I didn't consider this: Advance Familiar REALLY horks witches. You lose all the bonus spells for the original familiar and there is no list (at least not yet) for bonus spells for advanced familiars.

This is why I haven't even taken the Improved Familiar feat into consideration. Until we get an official word on how it will interact with the witch class it is purely in the realm of DM's whim.

It would be nice if Jason would share his ideas on how this may work with us (not so subtle hint).


Zurai wrote:

You can, kind of, but it requires another Witch, which may be difficult to arrange. If you can find a friendly Witch, you can have your familiars teach each other all of their (non-familiar-specific) spells known. Then if your familiar dies and you have to get a new one, at least you have the spells you knew at the time of the backup with the friendly Witch.

That's really really contrived and clunky, though, and I hate that it's needed.

I think this is what was intended, and I don't think it's clunky at all. It's more emphasis on the character becomeing part of a Coven, and sharing spells with other Witches (Warlocks?). Makes perfect sense.


Galnörag wrote:
Raise dead makes a whole lot of sense when you consider the math, and you could even save the money and when you are high enough level take Spell Mastery: Raise Dead and then not need anything but material components to get your familiar back.

Necessity. The mother of invention. But I can see the pained expression on the Cleric's face now: "You want me to raise... a cat?"

:D


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
R_Chance wrote:

Necessity. The mother of invention. But I can see the pained expression on the Cleric's face now: "You want me to raise... a cat?"

:D

All hail the crazy cat lady! ;)


R_Chance wrote:

Necessity. The mother of invention. But I can see the pained expression on the Cleric's face now: "You want me to raise... a cat?"

:D

Can be even worse, as one cannot be raised if they do not want to come back, and cats don't tend to come when called.


cliff wrote:
Zurai wrote:

You can, kind of, but it requires another Witch, which may be difficult to arrange. If you can find a friendly Witch, you can have your familiars teach each other all of their (non-familiar-specific) spells known. Then if your familiar dies and you have to get a new one, at least you have the spells you knew at the time of the backup with the friendly Witch.

That's really really contrived and clunky, though, and I hate that it's needed.

I think this is what was intended, and I don't think it's clunky at all. It's more emphasis on the character becomeing part of a Coven, and sharing spells with other Witches (Warlocks?). Makes perfect sense.

No, it's incredibly clunky. Keep in mind that Paizo's explicitly stated intent with the new classes is that they aren't common. The PCs might well be the only examples of one of the 6 classes in a country, continent, or even the entire world, unlike the classes in the Core Rulebook. I'm quite certain that it isn't their intent to bone people who adhere to their default assumption.


This would be one of the main reasons for the Coven Hex. It encourages witches to connect and stick together, at least in theory.

It's not a good thing for a PC perhaps, but the ideal is there, anyways.


Would this perhaps be a reason for a PC Witch to pick up the leadership feat?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Rulebook Subscriber
Mnemaxa wrote:

This would be one of the main reasons for the Coven Hex. It encourages witches to connect and stick together, at least in theory.

It's not a good thing for a PC perhaps, but the ideal is there, anyways.

You really shouldn't put a non-pc class in the Advanced players handbook right? And it really doesn't make a lot of sense to have two pc's playing the same class so they can back each other up.


Galnörag wrote:
Mnemaxa wrote:

This would be one of the main reasons for the Coven Hex. It encourages witches to connect and stick together, at least in theory.

It's not a good thing for a PC perhaps, but the ideal is there, anyways.

You really shouldn't put a non-pc class in the Advanced players handbook right? And it really doesn't make a lot of sense to have two pc's playing the same class so they can back each other up.

Depends on what the other party members want to do, honestly. I could see 1 straight Witch arcane caster, one Witch/Fighter/Eldritch Knight & one Witch/Cleric/Hierophant or even Witch/Fighter/Arcane Archer.

The whole purpose of this Hex, initially was for NPC Witches to use against PC's. Now with the right combination it is actually usable by PC's. Is it going to work for the vast majority of parties? No. If you want to make a Witch-centric Party at least now it is something you'd consider taking.

'Coven' implies Group-Witch, that is really its purpose.


Freesword wrote:
Piety Godfury wrote:
I guess I didn't consider this: Advance Familiar REALLY horks witches. You lose all the bonus spells for the original familiar and there is no list (at least not yet) for bonus spells for advanced familiars.

This is why I haven't even taken the Improved Familiar feat into consideration. Until we get an official word on how it will interact with the witch class it is purely in the realm of DM's whim.

It would be nice if Jason would share his ideas on how this may work with us (not so subtle hint).

Yeah I'd be nice if someone pointed Jason to this. It's been a nagging question for a while and wasn't addressed in the final version.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Rulebook Subscriber
Piety Godfury wrote:


Depends on what the other party members want to do, honestly. I could see 1 straight Witch arcane caster, one Witch/Fighter/Eldritch Knight & one Witch/Cleric/Hierophant or even Witch/Fighter/Arcane Archer.

The whole purpose of this Hex, initially was for NPC Witches to use against PC's. Now with the right combination it is actually usable by PC's. Is it going to work for the vast majority of parties? No. If you want to make a Witch-centric Party at least now it is something you'd consider taking.

'Coven' implies Group-Witch, that is really its purpose.

To be more clear, I was talking around the issue of spell back up, and not the coven hex. I think it is fine to have optional class attributes that favour NPCS more then PC. There aren't a lot of "hero" PCs who are Necromancy Specialized Wizards, nor would I expect that may PCs taking the Death Domain, the Bone Mysteries etc.

Its just the issue with the "spell book" I was saying that it isn't really normal to have two of the same PC class in the party, so the back up option someone suggested by having a coven is really NPC centric, meaning that while there are reasonable solutions for NPC witches it really is still a big issue for PC witches (but I suppose that is why we have this thread.) and the whole big issue about improved familier feats etc.

We really need something where a familiar doesn't loose spells when it dies, and is re-summoned. Maybe the trade off is we remove the ability for free familiar-familar spell transfer and say that you can still do the transfer but you need to have special herbs and incense to lubricate the knowledge transfer and that is proportional to a wizard scribing spells learned from another wizards spell books.

So in summery:
*Witch can regain a familiar with all spells for 500/level
*Witch can switch familiar for 500/level (imp feats)
*Witch can teach from a scroll for the price of the scroll (with failure chance)
*Witch can teach from another witch's familiar for a price (instead of free.)

This lifts the crushing money sink without giving it away for free?


I'd even go so far as to say requiring a hex or feat to enable bringing back the familiar with all spells intact or making a hex or feat required as part of the cost of familiar to familiar spell transfer would be acceptable. Yes, it's practically a tax on a limited resource, but the current money sink is just as bad.

On the subject of familiar to familiar transfer as a backup, I see it as a flawed approach. It relies on either another player having a witch PC to work with and their familiar is at equal risk and with bad dice rolls both could be killed in the same fight or an NPC witch provided by the DM and subject to DM's whim.

I'll be the first to admit that it's not impossible for a familiar to live a charmed life and never get killed, but I am a firm believer that Murphy was an Optimist, and that not only will anything go wrong that can, but it will do so at the worst time in the worst possible way.

Pathfinder reduced the cost of familiar death for wizards to just gold and also reduced the costs to copy spells to and between spellbooks. And this was hailed as a vast improvement. These costs were unnecessarily punishing wizard PCs. The cost of restoring spells to a familiar currently for a witch is no less punishing to a witch PC. I'm not arguing that it can't cost the witch more than the wizard, but currently the cost difference is orders of magnitude more and therefore unreasonable.

Jason may have feats or revisions that address the questions raised in this discussion that he isn't sharing with us, and I'm fine with him keeping the details to himself. It would be appreciated that if he does have an answer waiting in the wings that he give us some reassurance that he has it covered.


One spell solves this problem. It was in 3.5 and called Familiar Pocket. Basically it made a small extra-dimensional space in the casters clothes. In this case its the equivalent of putting a wizards spell book in a bag of holding...only it's a cat.


wesF wrote:
One spell solves this problem. It was in 3.5 and called Familiar Pocket. Basically it made a small extra-dimensional space in the casters clothes. In this case its the equivalent of putting a wizards spell book in a bag of holding...only it's a cat.

Except that spell completely removes the purpose of having a familiar. It becomes something that is only ever seen when the witch needs to memorize spells.

Scarab Sages

wesF wrote:
One spell solves this problem. It was in 3.5 and called Familiar Pocket. Basically it made a small extra-dimensional space in the casters clothes. In this case its the equivalent of putting a wizards spell book in a bag of holding...only it's a cat.

As someone else pointed out, this seems like it goes against the idea of what a Witch is supposed to be. They should be a caster with a familiar. Not a caster with a pet in a pocket. The familiar should be more vital to their identity. However, as it stands, all Witches should do what you suggest. That is, hide their familiar away and take it out as if it's a spellbook.

The familiar needs to be fragile enough to be a vulnerability of the Witch as a class. This doesn't take much. Being an extra target on a battlefield pretty much ensures that.

The cost of losing a familiar should be a threat to the Witch. As I said in previous playtesting my opinion is that this threat should be to their actual spellcasting, not their gold pouch. Again, this wouldn't take much. The same mechanic for losing a bonded item would be fine (harsh, but better than what they have now).

My suggestion was, and still is even after further playing, that familiars can stay as vulnerable as they are, if replacing them is *much* cheaper and less time intensive (to get all of the spells back). But both makes a bit of bad luck, or a stray arrow, into a money pit for the Witch.

On a related note, I still highly suggest dropping familiar specific spell lists altogether. The benefits of doing so are the ability to easily add more familiars to the Witch list (including improved familiars) and less of a headache trying to balance the lists (which are no where near balanced, though I don't hold that against anyone). It's nigh impossible to make them even close to equivalent while maintaining different themes. Anyone who has ever looked through Domain lists can tell this mechanic causes tons of problems. Almost all of the spells would be fine directly on the Witch list.

I understand that there needs to be more of a connection between the familiar and the Witch. I'm just not sure that spell lists work. I have a suggestion, though I expect that cleverer people than I can come up with better:

I think you should take a look at your Versatile Performance bard class ability. It's a really interesting mechanic that has a slight odd problem for bards (which I'm told you're looking into a small fix for) but I think could work here (and not have the same issue). I'd suggest having the Witch be able to use a single skill of the familiar at the familiar's level (perhaps expand to two at level 10 and 3 at level 20, though that seems to be a bit much). This connects the two in a more meaningful way, making the Witch actually feel like they're taking on aspects of the familiar. Or maybe they chose the familiar because they were already like that, who knows. It also makes the familiar different from the Wizard familiar in a meaningful way. The Wizard's becomes a weaker version of the Witch's bond. It also expands the Witch's skill list to more physical skills, which I think could be quite interesting. But like I said, other people could probably come up with a better solution to the spell list issue.


Look. Keep the scrolls; nobody's telling you to toss 'em! That's it. If your familiar bites it, load up a new one with the ritual, plus the new one can get you a totally different spell list if you want. I guess I'm the only one that see an up-side here, and although it's a huge drawback, just think of it like this:

1) You're dependant on the familiar, and if it dies, you're back to square one.
2) You're dependant on the familiar, but if it dies, you get to start over with the spells your new familiar has loaded in it, and could perhaps gain a totally new set of spell choices by calling a different animal to use.
3) You might not have any more spells fora while, but you still have your Hexes, which by and large take a standard action and are very debilitating (Slumber now effects a creatures w/i 30' instead of Touch like in the original write-up!), and they are "at will" (you never run out of them all day long, every round).

Those are just the positives I thought of on a moment's notice. I'm sure there are more. I think losing a familiar woudl suck, but not as bad as everyone is thinking.


cliff wrote:
Those are just the positives I thought of on a moment's notice. I'm sure there are more. I think losing a familiar woudl suck, but not as bad as everyone is thinking.

In PFS (where money is very tightly controlled) there's no question. The loss of a Familiar means the character should retire, because you will not have the money available to replace the spells you lost on top of the familiar itself, let alone the cash necessary to purchase any other items. So, yeah, for some of us it is that bad.


Chris Kenney wrote:
In PFS (where money is very tightly controlled) there's no question. The loss of a Familiar means the character should retire, because you will not have the money available to replace the spells you lost on top of the familiar itself, let alone the cash necessary to purchase any other items. So, yeah, for some of us it is that bad.

Retire the character because he lost some spells? If you don't get all the spells back you'll live. Where is the guarantee that a Wizard will instantly get back every spell he had stowed in his spell books? There isn't any. Money or no money. You start over with the cash you have available and what you can find in the way of spells. And a witch has the advantage there with his/her hexes and given their guarantee of recovering a certain number of spells automatically when they can manage / afford the familiar ritual...

I don't know about the PFS, but my players don't dump characters because of misfortune. That's when the role playing gets fun :D


I think that an event such loosing a spellbook/familiar should be considered very 'improbable'. IMO a DM must try always to avoid this kind of things, of course this can happen (but should never be intentional!).
As a DM I could have tried dozens of times to steal/subtract in any other way my wizards' books (being succesful!) but, frankly speaking, isn't this just perversion and out of the scope?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Rulebook Subscriber
cliff wrote:

Look. Keep the scrolls; nobody's telling you to toss 'em! That's it. If your familiar bites it, load up a new one with the ritual, plus the new one can get you a totally different spell list if you want. I guess I'm the only one that see an up-side here, and although it's a huge drawback, just think of it like this:

1) You're dependant on the familiar, and if it dies, you're back to square one.
2) You're dependant on the familiar, but if it dies, you get to start over with the spells your new familiar has loaded in it, and could perhaps gain a totally new set of spell choices by calling a different animal to use.
3) You might not have any more spells fora while, but you still have your Hexes, which by and large take a standard action and are very debilitating (Slumber now effects a creatures w/i 30' instead of Touch like in the original write-up!), and they are "at will" (you never run out of them all day long, every round).

Those are just the positives I thought of on a moment's notice. I'm sure there are more. I think losing a familiar woudl suck, but not as bad as everyone is thinking.

What do you mean keep the scrolls? The process described is that you destroy the scrolls to teach your familiar the spell, so there is nothing left to teach from. The issue is that the whole process cost so bloody much that the only time you will see the witches familiar is when she is cleaning the litter box in the familiar pocket.

Liberty's Edge

slicertool wrote:
From what I've gathered from reading through the rules, there is no way to backup your familiar in the event you've added scrolls and such to it. Am I missing something? Do you keep a second familiar at your hut and have them sync spells when you're home?

Bag of holding + snorkel in the opening = great place to keep your familiar out of harms way. Or just get a gerbil familiar...im sure you know where i'm going with this...

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