Do familiars get feats?


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(failed my Will save.)
Wow, this seems really cut and dry.

'[A familiar] retains the appearance, Hit Dice, base attack bonus, base save bonuses, skills, and feats of the normal animal it once was...'

Then there's the oft-quoted section on hit dice from the familiar basics section.

Odd thing is, I really don't see anything that suggests that familiars really advance (in hit dice or anything else).

Familiars grant abilities to the master based off the master's level, sure, but that says nothing about the familiar's advancement. The oft-quoted line doesn't suggest that familiars advance at all. It does not, for example, say that familiars have as many HD as their master has levels. What it says, in fact, is that 'for purposes' they can use 'the familiar's normal HD total'. Which we know from the first section is unchanged by virtue of being a familiar.

As I read it, RAW does not seem to support familiars gaining feats as the master levels, because nothing RAW in the rules suggests that the familiar gains level as the master does.

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Zilvar2k11 wrote:

(failed my Will save.)

Wow, this seems really cut and dry.

'[A familiar] retains the appearance, Hit Dice, base attack bonus, base save bonuses, skills, and feats of the normal animal it once was...'

Then there's the oft-quoted section on hit dice from the familiar basics section.

Odd thing is, I really don't see anything that suggests that familiars really advance (in hit dice or anything else).

Familiars grant abilities to the master based off the master's level, sure, but that says nothing about the familiar's advancement. The oft-quoted line doesn't suggest that familiars advance at all. It does not, for example, say that familiars have as many HD as their master has levels. What it says, in fact, is that 'for purposes' they can use 'the familiar's normal HD total'. Which we know from the first section is unchanged by virtue of being a familiar.

As I read it, RAW does not seem to support familiars gaining feats as the master levels, because nothing RAW in the rules suggests that the familiar gains level as the master does.

THANK YOU!!!

"It retains the appearance, Hit Dice, base attack bonus, base save bonuses, skills, and feats of the normal animal it once was, but is now a magical beast for the purpose of effects that depend on its type."

Now, of course, I know the next thing someone will write here is "BUT Mr. Cartmanbeck, sir, it says they RETAIN these things, that doesn't mean they don't get MORE! Sir? Can I have a lollipop now, sir?"

And to that I will reply "Stop. Just stop. You lose. No feats for your familiar (unless you're a beast-bonded witch). Good day."


cartmanbeck wrote:
And to that I will reply "Stop. Just stop. You lose. No feats for your familiar (unless you're a beast-bonded witch). Good day."

.

Actually, I see a few more possibilities:

- A homunculus familiar (which can be created with more HD)
- An intelligent improved familiar (which tends to come with feats of its own... ask your GM if you can get one with different feats, since intelligent creatures of a type need not share the same set of feats)
- You might try going for a vermin (or ooze?) familiar (which, due to having been mindless, doesn't usually start with feats). Due to the fact that being a familiar grants them an Int score, they become eligible for feats based on their natural HD.

Other than that... things get problematic.


Quote:
So... Why doesn't anyone quote the stats of a familiar of a high level caster npc from one of the official APs?

not much of a "high level npc" but it suits the purpose : barl breakbones

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I gave that example.

By the way:

Has anyone argued with a mule?


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blackbloodtroll wrote:
Has anyone argued with a mule?

Does arguing with Shallowsoul count? *ducks for cover*


1 person marked this as FAQ candidate. 1 person marked this as a favorite.

I don't think it was intended for familiars to get feats.

I *DO* believe that the section was poorly worded and did not convey the intent. It's reasonable that people who do not have D&D 3.x background could read it that familiars should get feats.

Even the beat-bonded witch entry could be read as just granting extra feats to a familiar.

This leads to the question: *WHY* do familiars *NOT* get feats? Every other pet-type creature--eidolons, mounts, animal companions--does. In addition to that familiar section being poorly worded, I also believe it's consistent.

I've looked at it several ways. Maybe I am missing some game-breaking super build involving a familiar with feats, but I do not see it. There doesn't seem to be anything wrong in allowing familiars to get them.

Plus, it helps characters feel a more personal connection to their familiar and not just ignore them most of the time. A minor change that increasing role-playing and coolness? Seems like a no-brainer house rule to just allow it and be done with it.


Quote:
Maybe I am missing some game-breaking super build involving a familiar with feats, but I do not see it

Try playing with an arbiter.


Highglander wrote:
Quote:
Maybe I am missing some game-breaking super build involving a familiar with feats, but I do not see it
Try playing with an arbiter.

What is an arbiter?


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I am in the camp that Familiars should get feats.

Not because I think it is supported by the rules but because they are mostly useless past level 5 and could use any help they can get.


I looked up arbiter. I don't see giving them a few more feats as anything that big.


darth_borehd wrote:

I don't think it was intended for familiars to get feats.

I *DO* believe that the section was poorly worded and did not convey the intent. It's reasonable that people who do not have D&D 3.x background could read it that familiars should get feats.

While I do see how it's possible to read it that way, and I'm sure that there's some people who do, I really think that most people without a prior background wouldn't make that jump. There's a table for animal companions advancing, which mentions feats. Mounts use that table too. There's a table for eidolons, which also mentions feats. There's a table for familiars, and it doesn't mention feats. Therefore, the simple conclusion is that they don't get feats. The same way they don't get more BAB or better saves from advancement (they do get the master's BAB and saves, which do get better, but that's explicitly spelled out).

Quote:

This leads to the question: *WHY* do familiars *NOT* get feats? Every other pet-type creature--eidolons, mounts, animal companions--does. In addition to that familiar section being poorly worded, I also believe it's consistent.

I've looked at it several ways. Maybe I am missing some game-breaking super build involving a familiar with feats, but I do not see it. There doesn't seem to be anything wrong in allowing familiars to get them.

The main reason is simply that all the other creatures are part of the combat power of the class in some way. Familiars aren't.


Familiars very much are a part of the combat power of the classes that have them... however it is often not in as direct a matter as other companion like abilities are.


dulsin wrote:

I am in the camp that Familiars should get feats.

Not because I think it is supported by the rules but because they are mostly useless past level 5 and could use any help they can get.

Familiars, well improved ones anyway are quiet useful. Actually regular familiars can be useful also, just don't try to use them in combat. If you search for threads comparing them to the bonded item you will find some good ideas.

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I removed a post and the replies to it. Really, if you don't think someone is worth talking to, then don't.


darth_borehd:

The comment about the Arbiter is probably is because it is virtually unkillable. Only chaotic weapons or spells can kill it by damage (and there are very few of those usually). It also has construct immunities giving it immunity to other things that would normally kill a familiar.

While there is another improved familiar (Augur Kyton) with regeneration it does not have construct immunities and it's regeneration is bypassed by good or silver weapons and spells (something that is much more common than chaotic).

One of the counter arguments is that the Arbiter has crappy powers (which it does). However, as a means to deliver touch spells (flyby attack) or wield a wand (UMD) it is an excellent improved familiar.

Ultimately the difference between an unkillable familiar and one that dies is 8days and 200gp/level.

- Gauss


BigNorseWolf wrote:

Familiars, by the example, get 1 feat but it does not have to be the feat the base animal comes with. The rat has skill focus perception normally, that rat familiar has weapon finesse.(which is a must if you want your familiar to deliver touch spells)

I wonder if toughness would be an effect related to HD....

Actually...

"Attacks: Use the master's base attack bonus, as calculated from all his classes. Use the familiar's Dexterity or Strength modifier, whichever is greater, to calculate the familiar's melee attack bonus with natural weapons. Damage equals that of a normal creature of the familiar's kind."

Not to mention the rule that all tiny and smaller things can use dex for attack rolls without needing a feat.

Weapon Finesse is quite worthless for a familiar. Just as Improved Initiative is, since they just act on the master's initiative anyway.


And just to add to the dogpile...

NO, familiars do not get feats. Animal Companions don't get their master's skill ranks, base saves, and BAB, so quit whining already!


StreamOfTheSky wrote:

And just to add to the dogpile...

NO, familiars do not get feats. Animal Companions don't get their master's skill ranks, base saves, and BAB, so quit whining already!

Hold on now -- there is a lot of room between discussing the issue and whining. I've seen plenty of the former and not much of the later -- no one is crying that's not fair, at worse they've compared it to other companions and generally in a 'these state they do get feats while those don't' point.

Now there is a question of why the game is the way it is, but again that's talking to understand the situation not whining over it.


Been a while since this thread had any traffic but I just thought I could add a new wrinkle to the argument

why dose the Animal Archive book include feats that are only available to Familiars, if Familiars don't get feats?


Greylurker, Animal Archive also provides rules for how familiars can take feats.

Animal Archive p18 wrote:
This section presents new feats for animal companions and familiars, as well as for PCs that make use of these animals. Some feats might be available to other creatures that meet the prerequisites. Feats that are meant for familiars can be switched out for a familiar’s default feats (as listed in the familiar’s statistics) if the familiar meets the prerequisites. Such feat replacements must be made when the PC first acquires a new familiar, and—like all new feats from supplemental sources—the new feats should be approved by the GM before being integrated into play.

It is worth noting that most familiars have Weapon Finesse and thus that will always be swapped out since familiars do not need Weapon Finesse to use dexterity for their attack bonus.

- Gauss


Gauss wrote:

Greylurker, Animal Archive also provides rules for how familiars can take feats.

Animal Archive p18 wrote:
This section presents new feats for animal companions and familiars, as well as for PCs that make use of these animals. Some feats might be available to other creatures that meet the prerequisites. Feats that are meant for familiars can be switched out for a familiar’s default feats (as listed in the familiar’s statistics) if the familiar meets the prerequisites. Such feat replacements must be made when the PC first acquires a new familiar, and—like all new feats from supplemental sources—the new feats should be approved by the GM before being integrated into play.

It is worth noting that most familiars have Weapon Finesse and thus that will always be swapped out since familiars do not need Weapon Finesse to use dexterity for their attack bonus.

- Gauss

Bingo, read that bit myself about 5 minutes after I made my post, just wanted to go back to the book and see what was there and spotted the bit at the top. Makes look like a bit of a idiot but there we go.

regardless it resolves the original question quite handily. No feats for Familiars but feel free to swap out the ones they have.

Lantern Lodge

I'd just like to thank everyone in this thread for clearing up a few things up for me regarding this, mostly because I was looking for ways to beef up my Psicrystal. All the google-fu I was slinging would mostly just give me 3.x rulings, which, for some reason, came to the consensus that Psicrystals DO get feats, but I wanted to see if Pathfinder did something different with it, and it turns out they did. I can't say I'm not disappointed that it turns out Psicrystals don't get feats, but after reading this thread, it does make a lot of sense this way.


Gauss wrote:


It is worth noting that most familiars have Weapon Finesse and thus that will always be swapped out since familiars do not need Weapon Finesse to use dexterity for their attack bonus.

- Gauss

Where is that rule?


Darth_Borehd:

CRB p83 Familiars wrote:
Attacks: Use the master’s base attack bonus, as calculated from all his classes. Use the familiar’s Dexterity or Strength modifier, whichever is greater, to calculate the familiar’s melee attack bonus with natural weapons.

Thus, any familiar with Weapon Finesse does not need it and can freely swap it out.

- Gauss


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Answer: No, familiars do not get feats. They get adorable little tootsie-wootsies! Aw, who's mommy's favorite!? *rubs belly*


Seebs, Familiars do not gain feats by leveling but they do get the feats in their normal statblocks. Those feats may be exchanged for other feats as per the rules in Animal Archive.

- Gauss


Gauss wrote:

Darth_Borehd:

CRB p83 Familiars wrote:
Attacks: Use the master’s base attack bonus, as calculated from all his classes. Use the familiar’s Dexterity or Strength modifier, whichever is greater, to calculate the familiar’s melee attack bonus with natural weapons.

Thus, any familiar with Weapon Finesse does not need it and can freely swap it out.

- Gauss

I thought that was because they all had Weapon Finesse, not in spite of it. Otherwise, why would they have that feat to begin with?


One could make that leap except that that is not what the text states. As soon as any creature becomes a familiar it is allowed to use either strength or dexterity for its natural weapon attack bonuses.

This includes creatures turned familiars that do not possess Weapon Finesse. Example: when the Fox in Ultimate Magic (p117) turns into a familiar it's attack bonus goes up by 3 because of that clause.

Put another way: the statblock presented is that of an unmodified animal. Becoming a familiar alters its Hitpoints, Base Attack Bonus, Saves, Skills, etc. This is just one more thing it alters.

- Gauss


I found a FAQ entry that says *ALL* creatures that are tiny or smaller can use Dex instead of Str for attacks and it will be a Universal Monster Rule in Bestiary 4.

So it looks like Weapon Finesse really is useless now.


The FAQ I am aware of covers Climb and Swim checks rather than attacks. Is there another one I am not aware of?

- Gauss


A dev said it. I don't think it is in an FAQ yet. I will try to find it again.


Maybe was incorrect. I can't find it now.

Grand Lodge

Gauss wrote:

The FAQ I am aware of covers Climb and Swim checks rather than attacks. Is there another one I am not aware of?

- Gauss

I don't see it either. What I DO know, though, is that such creatures use Dex instead of Str for their CMB without needing the Agile Maneuvers feat.


Strife2002, that is right in the rules for CMB.

CRB p198 Combat Maneuver Bonus wrote:
Creatures that are size Tiny or smaller use their Dexterity modifier in place of their Strength modifier to determine their CMB.

What is missing is any similar statement for tiny and smaller creatures with respect to attack bonuses.

- Gauss

Grand Lodge

Right. Well as far as I know, they don't. Familiars are an exception:

Familiars wrote:
Attacks: Use the master's base attack bonus, as calculated from all his classes. Use the familiar's Dexterity or Strength modifier, whichever is greater, to calculate the familiar's melee attack bonus with natural weapons.

It's telling you to do this, even if they don't have Weapon Finesse. Unfortunately this can't be used as anything definitive, as by the rules of the Core Rulebook it's using only familiar examples from Bestiary 1, which all have Weapon Finesse already (with the exception of the toad, who doesn't have an attack to begin with). These rules, however, would also apply to Improved Familiars, which may not have Weapon Finesse inherently, but many of these are bigger than Tiny...so we're back where we started.


I am playing a Magus with a raven familiar. My DM likes to use hero lab as a resource and what it does allow you to do is "customize" the feats that the familiar starts with. In other words, I can change the raven's weapon finesse and skill focus into 2 feats that I want. This allows the familiar to gain two feats that are "useful" to the master but it will not become overpowered by gaining more.

I agree that the feats shouldn't be "effect related to hit dice" unless I hear a different ruling of what an "effect" is.

Shadowflame, Master over Fear


I'm glad this thread came back, because it caused me to discover that my GM approved swapping out my pseudodragon's weapon finesse, but I never did it.


Just look at any published adventure for wizard npcs and look at their familiar stats. Do they have feats? No? Case closed.

Quote:
Weapon Finesse

Leftover from 3.5, a lot of animals had weapon finesse back then, and paizo realized it wasnt necessary to give them a feat, just turn it into a monsters rule.

Liberty's Edge

This thread is 2 years old.


Shadowflame wrote:

I am playing a Magus with a raven familiar. My DM likes to use hero lab as a resource and what it does allow you to do is "customize" the feats that the familiar starts with. In other words, I can change the raven's weapon finesse and skill focus into 2 feats that I want. This allows the familiar to gain two feats that are "useful" to the master but it will not become overpowered by gaining more.

I agree that the feats shouldn't be "effect related to hit dice" unless I hear a different ruling of what an "effect" is.

Shadowflame, Master over Fear

Hero lab is simply leaving the option open for feat modification, but it is not remotely a rule of the game. By default the Familiars get their normal animal feats and thats it. But the program lets the dm change that if they want.


Mojorat, here is the rule that allows you to swap out a familiar's feats:

Animal Archive p18 wrote:
This section presents new feats for animal companions and familiars, as well as for PCs that make use of these animals. Some feats might be available to other creatures that meet the prerequisites. Feats that are meant for familiars can be switched out for a familiar’s default feats (as listed in the familiar’s statistics) if the familiar meets the prerequisites. Such feat replacements must be made when the PC first acquires a new familiar, and—like all new feats from supplemental sources—the new feats should be approved by the GM before being integrated into play.


Oh hey in my defense hero lab had that feature long beforehand :P


I don't use Herolab. :)


If your improved familiar can use a weapon does it get the bab of it's master to hit with that weapon?


So why exactly are there feats for familiars if they can't gain feats?

Liberty's Edge

Moorningstaar wrote:
So why exactly are there feats for familiars if they can't gain feats?

Because they can swap the feats in their stat block for those familiar feats... as explained in the text introducing the familiar feats.

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