This question is PFS specific, as PFS generally runs on RAW and I'm unclear how to handle it in this case; I am currently working on building an Improved Familiar from the 7th level list (likely one of the mini-Dragons or Good Outsiders)
It has been mentioned that Familiars are not to be modified from the stats we see them with. For example, any familiars that 'cast as a' specific class nonetheless keep the spell list shown in their Bestiary entry, Feats generally stay the same unless you're doing the 1:1 'extra slots' swap mentioned in other threads, and so on. The only modifications you do are the ones laid out by Familiar rules. I understand most of this, but Skills confuse me.
My Question: How does an Improved Familiar of a non-Animal type interact with Skills in PFS? Do they keep the exact skill ranks (and class skills) shown in their Bestiary entry? Do you have to redo their skills since their Intelligence scores may be lower (or higher in some cases) than said entry? Bear in mind that Familiars and the original creature's Type (Outsider, Dragon, etc.) have contradictory class skills.
Basically, I want to be sure I generate a legal Skills list for said Improved Familiar.
Skills: For each skill in which either the master or the familiar has ranks, use either the normal skill ranks for an animal of that type or the master's skill ranks, whichever is better. In either case, the familiar uses its own ability modifiers. Regardless of a familiar's total skill modifiers, some skills may remain beyond the familiar's ability to use. Familiars treat Acrobatics, Climb, Fly, Perception, Stealth, and Swim as class skills.
For each of the skill, take the better rank between the creature and the master’s. For example if the creature has 1 rank in Perception and the master has 3, the familiar has 3.
For the class skill, the familiar’s class skill are indicated. I think the familiar also has the class skill depending on its type (animal, vermin, etc.) because it is similar to a PC with several classes, each indicate something like “The <class>'s class skills are…”.
I believe you use the better intelligence from the base creature or the table’s. I don’t find anything in the FAQ, so I must be mistaken; the familiar has the Intelligence as specified in the table.
So based on the Intelligence of the familiar, its skill might change. You’ll have to adjust them based on HD. Also remember that the creature still use the better ranks between its own and the master’s. For example, a 2 HD Int 8 creature with 1 rank in Perception is a familiar of a 9th level wizard, it will have 2 ranks to distribute. If it puts one in Perception but the master has 9 ranks in Perception, it will use the 9 ranks (not 2, 10 or 11).