Witch + improved familiar = 500gp / level tax?


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

when a witch replaces her familiar under the improved familiar feat, does she have to pay the 500gp / level for the new ritual, or does she bypass that the same way a wizard does when replacing his familiar in this way (bypassing the 200gp / level cost for replacing his arcane bond familiar )

also, why does it cost the witch so much!? a few extra spells known doesn't seem to warrant 2.5x as much to replace a familiar.


Improved Familiar is not meant to punish players for taking it.

This has been clarified by the devs, so there is no cost.

The FAQ on this issue.

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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

ahh thanks! i checked the faqs for wizards and witches, didn't see it under sorcerer/wizard.

Follow up question: do you think before your old familiar departs, it can teach your new one all it knows, so that a witch doesn't lose spells she's paid money for her familiar to learn?


Seraphimpunk wrote:

ahh thanks! i checked the faqs for wizards and witches, didn't see it under sorcerer/wizard.

Follow up question: do you think before your old familiar departs, it can teach your new one all it knows, so that a witch doesn't lose spells she's paid money for her familiar to learn?

Probably not. From SKR's FAQ linked above:

SKR wrote:
Once dismissed, an animal familiar is just a normal animal of its type (a special familiar from the Improved Familiar feat reverts to a normal creature of its type). Whether or not it wants to remain with you is up to your GM and probably based on how you treated the creature while it was your familiar.

There is the line about a witch's familiar maintaining its spells for 24 hours after the witch's death, but I don't think this applies here. Even then, you couldn't get all that many spells out of the guy, since it takes an hour per spell level.

Your best bet would probably be finding a friendly witch whose familiar can act as an intermediary storage device. Your old familiar teaches this witch's familiar everything it knows. You dismiss the old familiar and get your new one. The other witch's familiar teaches your new familiar everything it was taught earlier (and maybe a few spells you didn't have before if your GM is feeling nice).

In exchange for providing this service, the intermediary witch gains all the spells you had which she didn't.


It's worse than that.

Quote:
A new familiar begins knowing all of the 0-level spells plus two spells of every level the witch is able to cast.

None of the Int bonus 1st level spells and only half the other spells.

That said, it's not explicit since the FAQ predates the witch, but I think most would allow you to keep the spells.
I'd much rather pay the cash and keep the spells than lose the spells but get the familiar free.

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Seraphimpunk wrote:
Follow up question: do you think before your old familiar departs, it can teach your new one all it knows, so that a witch doesn't lose spells she's paid money for her familiar to learn?

This is a complete house rule, but I've run Improved Familiar as if the old familar "morphs" into the new one. To me, familiars are thematically extensions of the spellcaster's own energy and are just manifestations. So if the player wants, I just have the familiar change to the new form when they take the feat. That way the witch doesn't lose any spells known, and the player doesn't have to get rid of an old pet/friend just for mechanical benefit.

Not exactly RAW, but not broken in any way I can see.


ryric wrote:
Seraphimpunk wrote:
Follow up question: do you think before your old familiar departs, it can teach your new one all it knows, so that a witch doesn't lose spells she's paid money for her familiar to learn?

This is a complete house rule, but I've run Improved Familiar as if the old familar "morphs" into the new one. To me, familiars are thematically extensions of the spellcaster's own energy and are just manifestations. So if the player wants, I just have the familiar change to the new form when they take the feat. That way the witch doesn't lose any spells known, and the player doesn't have to get rid of an old pet/friend just for mechanical benefit.

Not exactly RAW, but not broken in any way I can see.

That's how I would do it if I was running things and how I figured one of my DMs would do it. At least, if you're only adding a template to animal. Say you have a fox, that you want to make a Celestial fox with Improved Familiar. I can't see making someone go through getting rid of one fox. Just to get another. You simply could say when the witch/sorcerer/wizard goes to sleep. When he wakes up. His familiar is different. Then go about business as usually.

Since this is thread talking about familiars. I do have a question? Do familiars get feats like animal companions based on their HD? I've never ran a PC with a familiar. So I've never built one from the ground up. I've done Druids with animal companions, but the rules are slightly different obviously.


The FAQ stipulates 'no cost or time required' for improved familiar. Replacing your spells is a cost (and requires time), so fluff it how you like, but I dont see any way of reading this where you are forced to re-obtain your spells on your familiar. You should keep them all.


Tomcat024 wrote:
Since this is thread talking about familiars. I do have a question? Do familiars get feats like animal companions based on their HD? I've never ran a PC with a familiar. So I've never built one from the ground up. I've done Druids with animal companions, but the rules are slightly different obviously.

No, familiars and animal companions are VERY different.

Familiars do not get feats or skill points beyond what a base animal of their type has. They also don't have hit dice in the traditional way. The familiar's HP is equal to half their master's. They have an HD stat equal to their master's or the base animal (whichever is higher) for the purpose of spells like sleep, but no proper hit dice.

Their BAB is equal to their master's and they use strength or dex for attack rolls. Their saves do not progress beyond 2/2/0, but they can use their master's base save bonus if better. Same goes for skills (they can use master's ranks, not his total bonus, applying their own ability scores).


KrispyXIV wrote:
The FAQ stipulates 'no cost or time required' for improved familiar. Replacing your spells is a cost (and requires time), so fluff it how you like, but I dont see any way of reading this where you are forced to re-obtain your spells on your familiar. You should keep them all.

The no cost or time required line is clearly referencing the paragraph directly beforehand which says that you have to pay the 200gp/level and do the ritual to replace a familiar, even a willingly dismissed one. It says that Improved Familiar is the only exception to this rule, and as such there is no cost or time required.

As has been pointed out, since the FAQ predates the witch class, it seems disingenuous to use it as anything but the most tenuous proof on either side of the argument.

EDIT: If your characters live in a city which has a 10K GP tax on pseudodragons, would this clause get you around paying that if you took a pseudodragon for an imp. familiar, since that is a "cost" associated with it.

EDIT II: OK, it doesn't predate witch, but it also doesn't deal with it directly. It is in the wizard section. Point still stands.


7/14/11 does not predate the witch class.

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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Tomcat024 wrote:


Since this is thread talking about familiars. I do have a question? Do familiars get feats like animal companions based on their HD? I've never ran a PC with a familiar. So I've never built one from the ground up. I've done Druids with animal companions, but the rules are slightly different obviously.

oh how i WISH familiars gained some form of hit dice / skills / feats.

sadly no. =(

The only way I know of to give a familiar feats is to take the mostly useless witch archtype: beast bonded. which allows the witch to give up a feat, any time the witch would gain a feat, which allows the witch's familiar to gain whichever feat they want.

What i'm not clear about with the archtype is whose abilities to use, when looking to qualify for a feat. the actual witch's familiar? or the witch's familiar with all his familiar abilities and pseudo HD factored in?

( still. you give up a feat. big cost. )

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