Is a Wizard's Arcane Bond optional?


Rules Questions

1 to 50 of 120 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | next > last >>

One of the players in my current group has, for whatever reason, declined to take either a Bonded Item or a Familiar. I believe this is because he feels the advantages don't outweigh the risks. Is this a valid option?

Now, the Arcane Bond description does state that "Once a wizard makes this choice, it is permanent and cannot be changed." The word "Once" could suggest that there is a time before the choice is made, but the character is still a wizard. I personally think it's a stretch though. Thoughts?


The player isn't required to choose a Familiar or Arcane Object, only that if he does make a choice the selection is permanent. The player can choose at a latter level to take a Familiar or Arcane Object. The disadvantage of not choosing at 1st level is that he will need to front the cost of creating a Familiar or Arcane Object, whereas the cost is free during the initial PC creation.


Teh Lurv wrote:
The player isn't required to choose a Familiar or Arcane Object, only that if he does make a choice the selection is permanent. The player can choose at a latter level to take a Familiar or Arcane Object. The disadvantage of not choosing at 1st level is that he will need to front the cost of creating a Familiar or Arcane Object, whereas the cost is free during the initial PC creation.

Well, if I was GM, I'd require someone to choose at 1st level Wizard, but you don't have to summon a familiar. Bonded Objects being nearly necessary for casting means you would need to have one if you chose that option.

Note that it says "At 1st level, wizards form a powerful bond with an object or a creature." This suggests that it's automatic/mandatory - it may be necessary to do this in order to practice wizardry. YMMV.

Liberty's Edge

ZappoHisbane wrote:
One of the players in my current group has, for whatever reason, declined to take either a Bonded Item or a Familiar. I believe this is because he feels the advantages don't outweigh the risks. Is this a valid option?

Which are the risks that brought him to decline to take the familiar?

If the familiar is killed, you don't lose XPs any more in Pathfinder. You need to pay money to get a new one, but if you don't have the money or don't want to spend them you are not obliged to.

The only major risk I can see, at higher levels, is that someone might scry on your familiar even if you are protected by nondetection or similar spells, so that you might need to double your scrying defences. But that is not something that happens often in most campaigns, I suspect.


Helic wrote:
Note that it says "At 1st level, wizards form a powerful bond with an object or a creature." This suggests that it's automatic/mandatory - it may be necessary to do this in order to practice wizardry. YMMV.
Tancred of Hauteville wrote:
If the familiar is killed, you don't lose XPs any more in Pathfinder. You need to pay money to get a new one, but if you don't have the money or don't want to spend them you are not obliged to.

These two points would seem to point to a morbid possibility. Even if forced to select an arcane bond, a wizard can simply kill his own familiar at no penalty to be rid of it. Might as well let him choose neither if that's what the player wants. The idea of a fledgling wizard killing his own familiar does make for an intriguing back-story though...

Liberty's Edge

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Ambrus wrote:
These two points would seem to point to a morbid possibility. Even if forced to select an arcane bond, a wizard can simply kill his own familiar at no penalty to be rid of it. Might as well let him choose neither if that's what the player wants. The idea of a fledgling wizard killing his own familiar does make for an intriguing back-story though...

I can tell you, sir, that I have seen a PF wizard disabled (i.e. zero hp), dimensional anchored and in really dire needs cast a maximized vampire touch on his own familiar in order to avoid kicking the bucket! :D

It wasn't pretty but it worked. All the other players were sorry for the poor little rat treated as a disposable hp-bag, though!
And it makes for a great story that the players go on retelling to each other again and again... (players do that a lot, actually, they act like granpa repeating his best stories over and over) ;)


Wow. That's cold. But yeah, I can see the value of it as an amusing anecdote to relate. ;)

Liberty's Edge

To me, this can really almost be expanded to "can a character of any class choose not to take a class ability?"

For instance, can a Druid or ranger opt not to have his Nature or Hunter Bond? Can a cleric decide he does not want the ability to Channel Energy? Heck, can a fighter decide he doesn't want the free weapon and armor proficiencies?

In all cases, the rules pretty much imply you get them - various aspects of a class are not picked or declined. I would therefore say that a wizard does not have the option of not having an Arcane Bond of some kind - it's part of the class just like like spells or a spell book.

Of course, like most aspects of the game, an individual DM is free to rule as he likes to make his player happy and/or to make his game better and/or different.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I think the arcane bond could be optional. You don't get the advantages or the disadvantages of the bond, which seems a fair exchange to me.


Since it's easy enough to leave your familiar with your Aunt Tilly at no penalty to get the same effect as choosing "none of the above", I figure you may as well just let them wait on the choice (but once they make it, it is permanent). The arcane bond is one of the easiest ways to mess with a wizard, and I see forcing a player to choose how you can mess with their character as likely to set a bad adversarial atmosphere between DM and player. (I'm not saying anyone is intending to abuse it in that way, but the potential exist.)

As for class features not being optional, as a DM I'm willing to entertain variations trading an ability for one of equal or lesser value, but you have to sell me on the concept and I determine what constitutes "equal or lesser value". Then again, I'm an old school Rule 0 autocratic DM.


I have a question; kind of on topic, if not exact.

I was looking through my old library of Dragon Magazines trying to find a specific article entitled "Staffs of the Magi". It gave rules to allow wizards to imbue a staff with magical power, advancing it like a familiar. I think this gives a great foundation for some house rules for an arcane bonded item, but I can't seem to find the article. If anyone can point me to which issue it was in, I'd be greatly appreciative. Thanks guys (and girl).

DogBone


DogBone wrote:

If anyone can point me to which issue it was in, I'd be greatly appreciative. Thanks guys (and girl).

DogBone

Written by Ben Vandgrift Dragon #338 pg 60

Found at http://www.aeolia.net/dragondex/feats.html


I think you must pick one at level 1. If you don't want anything take the familiar and just do not summon him.


Personally:

I would allow the wizard to select one, the other, or neither.
Neither is an option and its just as permanent a selection as picking one or the other.

That, I think though, is a houserule.

By RAW I think they have to choose one or the other.

If they are really bent up about it, have them choose an object and then select a ring. Until they enchant it, its just.. a ring. Doesn't even consume a slot (unless I'm mistaken). It doesn't become a "magic ring" until you enchant it, which you just need never do. Keep that small wooden ring on your pinky finger (or whatever) and let folks feel free to assume that your ring of deflection is in fact something more.

(note: I know of no "official" version of whether or not the ring or amulet is counted towards your slots before it is enchanted. The description doesn't mention it radiating magic however. I would treat it that way in my games. (basically- if they want to forgo enchanting the item and the resulting bonuses from that, they should get something for it).

Just my thoughts and ponderings.

-S


Selgard wrote:
Doesn't even consume a slot (unless I'm mistaken). It doesn't become a "magic ring" until you enchant it, which you just need never do.

Actually, yes they do take up their respective slot, as per pg 78. Although it's not stated, but I would also assume the item in question would be concidered "magical" in nature. Much like a familiar goes from being an animal to a magical beast. As such, I thonk a plain bonded item would then be unaffected by a Shatter spell.

Dark Archive

Pathos wrote:
Selgard wrote:
Doesn't even consume a slot (unless I'm mistaken). It doesn't become a "magic ring" until you enchant it, which you just need never do.
Actually, yes they do take up their respective slot, as per pg 78. Although it's not stated, but I would also assume the item in question would be concidered "magical" in nature. Much like a familiar goes from being an animal to a magical beast. As such, I thonk a plain bonded item would then be unaffected by a Shatter spell.

Just to reiterate what Pathos said above, here is the relevant passage from the PRD in bold:

Arcane Bond wrote:
Wizards who select a bonded object begin play with one at no cost. Objects that are the subject of an arcane bond must fall into one of the following categories: amulet, ring, staff, wand, or weapon. These objects are always masterwork quality. Weapons acquired at 1st level are not made of any special material. If the object is an amulet or ring, it must be worn to have effect, while staves, wands, and weapons must be wielded. If a wizard attempts to cast a spell without his bonded object worn or in hand, he must make a concentration check or lose the spell. The DC for this check is equal to 20 + the spell's level. If the object is a ring or amulet, it occupies the ring or neck slot accordingly.


Huh, yer right. I missed that and was reading specifically to find it. My mistake!

-S


Helic wrote:


Note that it says "At 1st level, wizards form a powerful bond with an object or a creature." This suggests that it's automatic/mandatory - it may be necessary to do this in order to practice wizardry. YMMV.

I'd agree with you if the text read "At 1st level, wizards must form a powerful bond with an object or a creature." The text merely assumes a Wizard takes a familiar/bonded object when it becomes available at first level.


1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.

The bonded item vs. familiar thing has always bugged me, as interesting characters can be designed that require or desire neither. Personally, I've always allowed a nascent Wizard to substitute some other appropriate feat for a bonded item or familiar. Eschew materiel component (to represent magic turned inward), for example, or Arcane Strike (for future EKs). Bonded items/familiar or nothing just doesn't have the right feel for me.

In 3.5 there was a flaw called Forlorn that basically allowed a character to substitute any feat for a familiar, so there's at least a little precendent for it.


There are no level police that come and take wizards by the nose to complete the necessary rituals to get either familiar or bonded item. Since the abilities are intended as bonuses it doesn't make any sense to penalize players for rejecting them.

And I think it is a penalty if a player is forced to declare which option they are taking - when they are not expressing an opinion and taking an option.

I can imagine emergencies delaying a lot of level benefits but they shouldn't remove a deserved benefit. A character might conceivably complete several levels on an astral adventure. With no material items or animals of any sort available to them. They are still maturing spiritually and learning skills that they will claim when they can. This may not be RAW but it is certainly game precedent.

Sigurd


Mynameisjake wrote:

The bonded item vs. familiar thing has always bugged me, as interesting characters can be designed that require or desire neither. Personally, I've always allowed a nascent Wizard to substitute some other appropriate feat for a bonded item or familiar. Eschew materiel component (to represent magic turned inward), for example, or Arcane Strike (for future EKs). Bonded items/familiar or nothing just doesn't have the right feel for me.

In 3.5 there was a flaw called Forlorn that basically allowed a character to substitute any feat for a familiar, so there's at least a little precendent for it.

That sounds like a good compromise. I'd allow that, but I'd also wonder why the player thinks a bonded item is such a disadvantage. If he's intentionally playing a paranoid type, I get it. Otherwise, a carefully-played familiar, or a ring you don't care to enchant, isn't likely to be at too great a risk to outweigh the benefits. Unless, of course, your GM is out to get you.

Your posting here indicates that you're not out to get him! :)

If you really want to stick to RAW, have the player choose a familiar, then just never get one. No harm, no foul.


Benicio Del Espada wrote:

That sounds like a good compromise. I'd allow that, but I'd also wonder why the player thinks a bonded item is such a disadvantage. If he's intentionally playing a paranoid type, I get it. Otherwise, a carefully-played familiar, or a ring you don't care to enchant, isn't likely to be at too great a risk to outweigh the benefits. Unless, of course, your GM is out to get you.

Your posting here indicates that you're not out to get him! :)

If you really want to stick to RAW, have the player choose a familiar, then just never get one. No harm, no foul.

Well, I'm not the DM I'm a fellow player in the group. I am the 'rules lawyer' of the table though, and the only one (that I'm aware of... <shifty eyes>) that frequents this board. The player in question is wary of a bonded item because of the issue of losing it (despite the DM never having shown a propensity for going after player's equipment like that). I'm not entirely clear on his reasons for not wanting a familiar. He has mentioned offhand that he's considering the Improved Familiar feat, but we just hit 5th level and he's taken crafting feats I believe.

I really don't have an issue with him not making a choice, it's his character, and the general feeling I'm getting here is that there's nothing in the rules that absolutely says he has to. From a completly gamist perspective it feels like the party is getting a little shortchanged though. There have been situations where we would have benefitted from an extra pair of eyes, or from a spell that hadn't been prepared that day. Like I say though, I bear the player no ill will, I just wanted to make sure no rules were being broken. :)


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber

I would say there's no harm in not picking either option. It seems to me though, that losing your spellbook is WAY more debilitating to a wizard than losing a bonded item, and the bonded item gives a great bonus of a free versitile spell a day.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Actually, there is a good role-playing reason not to select one.

If the character is planning on taking the Improved Familiar feat, then he may be - for character reasons - choosing not to summon his familar.

It is kind of harsh to "fire" a companion who has been with you through thick and thin for six levels, so you can select that Pseudo-Dragon.

Liberty's Edge

ZappoHisbane wrote:
Well, I'm not the DM I'm a fellow player in the group. I am the 'rules lawyer' of the table though, and the only one (that I'm aware of... <shifty eyes>) that frequents this board. The player in question is wary of a bonded item because of the issue of losing it (despite the DM never having shown a propensity for going after player's equipment like that). I'm not entirely clear on his reasons for not wanting a familiar. He has mentioned offhand that he's considering the Improved Familiar feat, but we just hit 5th level and he's taken crafting feats I believe.

Sorry for the thread necromancy - I was doing a forum search for something else and I saw this thread. It sparked my memory as having been interesting and I thought I might do a quick follow up ...

I have an article in the latest Wayfinder that, among other things, addresses some of the concerns regarding arcane bond items being taken from the wizard. The focus of the article are two feats (Improved Arcane Bond Object and Awaked Arcane Bond Object) that really strive to add to the usefullness, fun and playability of arcane bond objects.

Plus, to the poster that mentioned that Staffs of the Magi Dragon article - this Wayfinder piece has a bit of a similar feel to it, I think (I also really liked that article)

Here is the link to the Wayfinder issue - it's a free download, so what to do have to lose? :)

Wayfinder #3.


Lord Fyre wrote:

Actually, there is a good role-playing reason not to select one.

If the character is planning on taking the Improved Familiar feat, then he may be - for character reasons - choosing not to summon his familar.

It is kind of harsh to "fire" a companion who has been with you through thick and thin for six levels, so you can select that Pseudo-Dragon.

Seconded, I had a character who wanted to take Improved Familiar later as well and didn't think it would be in character for someone Lawful Good to kick their original familiar to the side like that.

Scarab Sages

Well, the class feature does not provide a provision that makes it optional. The wizard forms a bond. Not "The wizard can form a bond" or "The wizard may form a bond".

So as per raw, the wisard does, indeed, form a bond which is either an object or a creature. Which also implies that if the wizard chooses a familiar, (s)he receives an actual creature.

The character in question could choose a familiar, and leave him alone to live in the wild.

For houserules, it seems completely reasonable to me to just let the wizard skip choosing either. I wouldn't allow him to switch out for a feat however, as the arcane bond has both benefits and penalties while a feat would likely just be a benefit.

Heck, I've never really liked the idea of a class feature that can be stolen from you or killed ;p It just doesn't seem very class featurey to me

Liberty's Edge

Magicdealer wrote:

Heck, I've never really liked the idea of a class feature that can be stolen from you or killed ;p

Yeah, that's a big concern I hear from some players of wizards against taking an arcane bond object/item, even though I suspect that such things happen pretty infrequently in actual games.

This concern is the reason I added this as one of the first abilities granted by the Improved Arcane Bond Object feat:

The wizard may add his INT modifier as a bonus to his CMD vs. attempts to disarm or sunder his bond object.

Dark Archive

Lord Fyre wrote:

Actually, there is a good role-playing reason not to select one.

If the character is planning on taking the Improved Familiar feat, then he may be - for character reasons - choosing not to summon his familar.

It is kind of harsh to "fire" a companion who has been with you through thick and thin for six levels, so you can select that Pseudo-Dragon.

So, you choose familiar, and don't choose which one yet. At least that way, you qualify for the feat:

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

That stays nice and in the RAW. If you want an RP reason, just say that the character has studied how to make the bond with an animal, but has not found the right animal yet to bond with (since this is a very personal choice, they want the "right" one).

Dark Archive

Magicdealer wrote:


Heck, I've never really liked the idea of a class feature that can be stolen from you or killed ;p It just doesn't seem very class featurey to me

Like a spellbook, holy symbol, or animal companion?

Scarab Sages

spellbook, holy symbol, familiar, animal companion, shadow dancers summoned shadow, so on and so forth.

Liberty's Edge

Add to that a fighter ... heck, ANY character with a treasured primary magic weapon or item.

I had an archer character that would have been pretty darn hosed if he lost the cool magic bow that the character was very much built around ...

I guess the point really is that in theory ANY character, not just a wizard with an arcane bond object, could have something important to him taken, stolen, destroyed etc if the DM wants to. I think the reality is though that there just are not that many DMs that are going to do it, unless it's every once in a great while for a plot element or something.

If you think a wizard with an arcane bond item sounds cool, go for it! It will be fine :)

(and if you do, that Improved Arcane Bond Object feat in Wayfinder I mentioned before will make your arcane bond item even cooler! Sorry, no more shameless plugs :)


And we won't even get into the shifter/weretouched master, the Warforged/juggernaut, or any other character that could get screwed over by Reincarnate or polymorph any object

Liberty's Edge

Yeah, like I said, everyone's experience is different and valid but ... I think the who "I don't want an arcane bond item because it could get stolen" thing is an over reaction. A wizard with a really awesome bonded staff is just such a cool archtype ...


There's a thread floating around somewhere about eating summons... I wonder what familiar tastes like.

In the same thread, someone spoke of a wizard who took a haunch of meat as a bonded item.

I. Died. Of laughter.

Anyway, seriously, this guy is overreacting. The only remedy to this is to convince him to take a bonded item and promise not to have an NPC steal it. Then, when he's sleeping, have someone steal it from him.


ZappoHisbane wrote:

One of the players in my current group has, for whatever reason, declined to take either a Bonded Item or a Familiar. I believe this is because he feels the advantages don't outweigh the risks. Is this a valid option?

Now, the Arcane Bond description does state that "Once a wizard makes this choice, it is permanent and cannot be changed." The word "Once" could suggest that there is a time before the choice is made, but the character is still a wizard. I personally think it's a stretch though. Thoughts?

Well, he doesn't know his business as a wizard, plain and simple.

The advantages of a bonded item are FAR more important than the disadvantages.
If he doesn't want something that makes his character better, let him be. When he realizes that his character is underpowered tell him to read all the advantages he is NOT getting from the bonded item.

Also, tell him to use an amulet or ring as bonded item. Stealing an amulet from the neck of a sleeping person is quite difficult, and he can't loose it in combat (unless his neck meets a beatiful Mrs. Vorpal).


Well funny story about one of my PCs unconventional solution to the arcane bond item. First off he chose his bonded item to be a small gold coin, next came the following conversation:
"Hey Bob your cleric has max ranks in heal right?"
"Um ya, nobodies hurt yet though."
"Well could I pay you 75 gold for a moment of your time and a cure light spell?"

And so he had his freindly party cleric make make an incision, implant his bonded item and stitch him up with afore mentioned cure light spell.


The Brain wrote:

Well funny story about one of my PCs unconventional solution to the arcane bond item. First off he chose his bonded item to be a small gold coin, next came the following conversation:

"Hey Bob your cleric has max ranks in heal right?"
"Um ya, nobodies hurt yet though."
"Well could I pay you 75 gold for a moment of your time and a cure light spell?"

And so he had his freindly party cleric make make an incision, implant his bonded item and stitch him up with afore mentioned cure light spell.

Technically this wouldn't work. The coin could be inbedding i his flesh no harm there.

However, An bonded object must a weapon, staff, ring, amulet, wand. So a gold coin doesnt qualify unless its hung on a chain to function as an amulet.

Second, The bonded object must be worn (if a ring or an amulet) or wielded if a Weapon, Staff or wand.


Firest wrote:
Lord Fyre wrote:

Actually, there is a good role-playing reason not to select one.

If the character is planning on taking the Improved Familiar feat, then he may be - for character reasons - choosing not to summon his familar.

It is kind of harsh to "fire" a companion who has been with you through thick and thin for six levels, so you can select that Pseudo-Dragon.

Seconded, I had a character who wanted to take Improved Familiar later as well and didn't think it would be in character for someone Lawful Good to kick their original familiar to the side like that.

That doesn't have to be how it plays out. Perhaps taking the improved familiar feat transforms the familiar into the desired improved familiar, if you like.

If your rat has served faithfully for several levels, you could say that the feat turns it into a pseudodragon, rather than forcing it to slink off to live its life as just another rat. You get the advantages of an improved familiar without having to say goodbye to your little friend. Your LG character wouldn't have to feel bad about that.

If I were a rat, I think I'd much prefer to be a pseudodragon, anyway. I mean, come on! Flight, a stinger, etc? That's a step up!


I don't read it as optional. The wizard must choose one or the other at first level.

That being said- you can always choose a familiar and then practice your dagger skills on it. Heck, no real reason why you can't "backstory" your familiar as already toast when you begin the campaign. "poor ole froggy bit the dust one dry summer day, so now I'm out adventuring in the world in hopes of finding abit stouter of a friend to hang around with" or whatever.

Quoteth from PRD:

At 1st level, wizards form a powerful bond with an object or a creature

Wizards form. Not may or can or if they want to.

Nothing to say you can't murder it and wait a long time to acquire a new one though.

-S


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Just found this thread. Here's my $0.02.

The rules are clear: 'At 1st level, wizards form a powerful bond with an object or a creature...'

Boom, there you have it. Choose one.

However, for those of us who remember the old days, the Familiar description in 3.5 was 'A wizard can obtain a familiar'. Back in 3.5 there was a monetary and XP cost, so it was optional.

Not any more.

Don't get me wrong, there are very compelling mechanical reasons to find benefits in the two options that Arcane Bond gives you.

But do I want Fluffy the Cat following me around, metagamingly providing me with the Alertness feat and a decent skill bonus? Witches and familiars I get, but wizards? No, not for me. It's too Philip Pullman.

Or trading a free spell for the magical equivalent of a hostage to fortune?

It's all about flavour for me. And neither of these options feels... right. I want to play a wizard who doesn't like animals and isn't Harry Potter.

Ah, you might say, Arcane Bond is a class feature, you can't change those, but if there's one thing that having every Paizo Pathfinder book has told me it's that you can change loads of other class features.

So where are the options for substituting this particular one?


This was over 4 years old, and 3 years since anyone posted in it. :)


5 people marked this as a favorite.
Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
wraithstrike wrote:
This was over 4 years old, and 3 years since anyone posted in it. :)

I know. I've been waiting patiently...


Since this thread has been raised from the dead...

Under Familiar, the CRB says, "If a familiar is dismissed, lost, or dies, it CAN be replaced 1 week later through a specialized ritual that costs 200 gp per wizard level." (p. 82, emphasis mine).

So, while taking an Arcane Bond doesn't seem to be optional, a familiar can be chosen, then dismissed and simply not replaced.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

On the idea of dismissing your normal familiar so you can get an Improved Familar, I started out with a kestrel hawk named Dante. Before I dismissed him we both agreed that I would buy a scroll of Awaken, dismiss him, then cast the scroll on him. He's since been studying the art of the ninja.


Was an official answer ever given?

On page 78 I read, "Wizards who select a bonded object begin play with one at no cost."

If all wizards *must* choose, why is this sentence in the book?

Personally I love Dragonlance. This Arcane Bond rule to me feels more like Harry Potter and less like Dragonlance.

Does making the Arcane bond optional change game balance at all?

Edit:

The Far Wanderer wrote:
It's all about flavour for me. And neither of these options feels... right. I want to play a wizard who doesn't like animals and isn't Harry Potter.

heh

I didn't see your post before I made mine :)


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

This option was not available when this thread was started, but if you are really paranoid about losing your familiar or bonded object, one obvious solution is to take the Figment familiar archetype. A familiar with that archetype, like a summoner's eidolon, cannot be permanently killed.


Yeah you have to choose one by teh rules, but if you don't want one, just choose a familiar and then let it be killed off. In PFS you would not have this option, but you could have it killed off. I don't know if it would automatically come back for the next scenario though, but you could just leave it somewhere.

1 to 50 of 120 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / Rules Questions / Is a Wizard's Arcane Bond optional? All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.