Winter Witch Familiar Question


Pathfinder Society

Shadow Lodge

5 people marked this as FAQ candidate. 2 people marked this as a favorite.

Hi, it's me again.

So, I'm working on a winter witch character for PFS and I have a copy of Animal Archive which introduces the rabbit familiar.

Now, according to Inner Sea Magic, the winter witch's familiar options are as follows:

"Winter witches must choose a familiar that is native to the frozen north, even when they themselves operate in other regions. Traditionally, this limits winter witch familiar choices to bat, cat, fox, hawk, owl, rat, raven, or weasel. A winter witch who gains the Improved Familiar feat can select any familiar she desires, save for familiars with the fire subtype."

It appears to say that including the 'traditional' familiars allowed a Winter witch, one may in fact choose another type of familiar as long as it is a cold-climate creature.I was thinking something like a snowshoe hare or other sub-arctic breed of bunny.

Since the Winter Witch archetype was written before the release of Animal Archive,by the RAW it seems like that might be allowed.
Am I correct in this assumption?

3/5

By RAW you are right and you would ask your DM, but remember that in PFS you are always limited to things which are specifically listed, even if that list is missing subsequent character options.

Shadow Lodge

Saint Caleth wrote:
By RAW you are right and you would ask your DM, but remember that in PFS you are always limited to things which are specifically listed, even if that list is missing subsequent character options.

Specific beats general. I know. But from the way it's worded, it sounds like familiars with the cold environment origins fits that.

Kezzie Redlioness wrote:
'Winter witches must choose a familiar that is native to the frozen north, even when they themselves operate in other regions.'

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Kezzie Redlioness wrote:


Saint Caleth wrote:
By RAW you are right and you would ask your DM, but remember that in PFS you are always limited to things which are specifically listed, even if that list is missing subsequent character options.

Specific beats general. I know. But from the way it's worded, it sounds like familiars with the cold environment origins fits that.

Kezzie Redlioness wrote:
'Winter witches must choose a familiar that is native to the frozen north, even when they themselves operate in other regions.'

PFS doesn't allow us to be selective in which text we honor. By RAW the rabbit is off limits, but I'd suggest that you put this up for FAQ.

Quite frankly though, it's not something I'd bother to police as a PFS judge, I wouldn't stop you from getting a white rabbit if you have Animal Archive.


If it matters, Arctic Hares are a familiar in the Reign of Winters player guide if I remember right. So... I'd think rabbits would be a thing for winter witches.

Shadow Lodge

I'm talking about rabbit from Animal Archive MrSin. I know that is a valid familiar in general but as far as I can tell, the winter witch archetype seems to say that cold climate familiars are allowed.

5/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Germany—Hamburg

Well, it says "Winter witches must choose a familiar that is native to the frozen north, even when they themselves operate in other regions. Traditionally, this limits winter witch familiar choices to bat, cat, fox, hawk, owl, rat, raven, or weasel. A winter witch who gains the Improved Familiar feat can select any familiar she desires, save for familiars with the fire subtype."

Without that "traditionally" I would say it is obviously an exhaustive list. But the addition of this little word makes it sound more like "from among the currently available familars, this list fits the description of 'native to the frozen north'"

I think it would be good idea to add additional possible choices to the Additional Resources entry for the Winter Witch everytime a source with legal familiars is added to the Additional Resources list.


To me it reads simply as;

Traditionally (ie normally)- choose these animals

BUT if you have improved familiar then you can be a non-traditional winter witch and therfore can have any familiar.

Silver Crusade 5/5

I think that strictly RAW its not PFS legal. It is one of the many minor things that almost any GM would allow but PFS doesn't (unless Mike notices this thread and has enough time to chine in)

Without a clear ruling you run the risk of getting a GM who will say no. That is unlikely to be a catastrophe (the familiar stays home that session).

The fact that the arctic hare gives the juicy +4 to initiative probably makes the odds of a GM saying no a little higher.

You know your GMs better than we do and so can guage if its worth the risk

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
pauljathome wrote:


The fact that the arctic hare gives the juicy +4 to initiative probably makes the odds of a GM saying no a little higher.

I was wondering what the big to do was about this. I might have to rethink my earlier answer on this subject. That's a pretty major bonus for what's supposed to be a standard familliar.

Grand Lodge 4/5

LazarX wrote:
pauljathome wrote:


The fact that the arctic hare gives the juicy +4 to initiative probably makes the odds of a GM saying no a little higher.

I was wondering what the big to do was about this. I might have to rethink my earlier answer on this subject. That's a pretty major bonus for what's supposed to be a standard familliar.

It's also not unique to the arctic hare. Just the other ones (Compsognathus, Green Sting Scorpion, and Dodo) have no chance of being a winter witch's familiar.

Edit: Is the arctic hare even PFS legal? As far as I can tell it's only in the RoW Player's Guide, which isn't listed on the Additional Resources page.

Shadow Lodge

pauljathome wrote:
The fact that the arctic hare gives the juicy +4 to initiative probably makes the odds of a GM saying no a little higher.

I'm not talking about the arctic hare, Just the rabbit from Animal Archive.

I repeat: ANIMAL ARCHIVE

Shadow Lodge

I am also taking into account that Inner Sea Magic is an older book than Animal Archive and as such, it hasn't yet been accounted for in any updates of FAQs that I have seen.

Shadow Lodge

I think I'm going to re-post this in the Additional Resource board and see if I get a definitive answer.


Kezzie Redlioness wrote:

...

Now, according to Inner Sea Magic, the winter witch's familiar options are as follows:

"Winter witches must choose a familiar that is native to the frozen north, even when they themselves operate in other regions. Traditionally, this limits winter witch familiar choices to bat, cat, fox, hawk, owl, rat, raven, or weasel. A winter witch who gains the Improved Familiar feat can select any familiar she desires, save for familiars with the fire subtype."

The rule I've always seen in PFS is that, an option is only legal if it's explicitly allowed. If it's something left to GM discretion, then the answer is "no," unless it gets a mention in the FAQ. See, for example, mounts for Beast Rider Cavaliers.

So, no rabbits for the Winter Witch.

You can, however, request a ruling on a GM discretion area. Lay out your reasoning for why you think it would be reasonable for the campaign leadership to legalize the option. (Strategically, I would suggest you lay out both the positives and negatives rather than try to convince everyone that there are no down sides.) See Jiggy's excellent (and successful) example of how to go about requesting something be legitimized.

Shadow Lodge

I'm not trying to get any opinions running I just want a solid answer regarding the updates of one more recent material from an older one.

I don't know what the actual ruling is because I can't find one.

Shadow Lodge

You would think that in the three year span of each book being published, someone might make the connection and update things accordingly.

(i.e. Inner Sea Magic 2011, Paths Of Prestige 2012, Animal Archive 2013)

Right now, I'm trying to figure out a rules question that like many recent releases is in regards to a very unclear wording in a published work. It does NOT say "at your GM's discretion ", it simply says that there is a specific climate or listed options as choices.

Shadow Lodge

You've been told the answer, as far as your fellow players can give you, and Akerlof was suggesting an attempt to get an official ruling to allow what you want to do.

Here's the general rule of thumb, as far as this kind of thing goes: if there's an explicit list of options, going outside of that list is "GM discretion" territory, even if allowances for selections outside said list is included. If it requires "GM discretion", then it's not allowed in PFS, unless there's a specific campaign ruling stating otherwise.

So in this case, the hare is NOT on the list, and no specific campaign rule exists to allow it, and thus is not currently a PFS-legal choice of familiar for a winter witch without the Improved Familiar feat, no matter how much it may make sense.

Just like paladins, cavaliers, and rangers, you're stuck choosing from the animals on the list.


Kezzie Redlioness wrote:


Right now, I'm trying to figure out a rules question that like many recent releases is in regards to a very unclear wording in a published work. It does NOT say "at your GM's discretion ", it simply says that there is a specific climate or listed options as choices.

The solid ruling is that if an option isn't explicitly allowed in a resource, somewhere, it's not PFS legal.

Anything other than what is explicitly listed as an option is an area of GM discretion. Whether it actually says "at your GM's discretion" or something like "Traditionally, this limits ..." boils down to the same thing: The GM has to make a judgment call on whether or not to allow it. In order to be as consistent as possible, PFS rules that GM judgment calls for options like that are always "no" unless otherwise stated in the FAQ, Additional Resources, or a boon. That way you don't have to worry about one GM thinking that rabbits are fine for denizens of the North while another thinks the rabbits in Animal Archives are temperate beasts and only Arctic Hares from Reign of Winter are available to northerners.

If you want to make it a legal choice, I suggest looking at Jiggy's post that I linked earlier as a template for a successful request.

Shadow Lodge

SCPRedMage wrote:

So in this case, the hare is NOT on the list, and no specific campaign rule exists to allow it, and thus is not currently a PFS-legal choice of familiar for a winter witch without the Improved Familiar feat, no matter how much it may make sense.

Just like paladins, cavaliers, and rangers, you're stuck choosing from the animals on the list.

Yeah, accept for improved familiar doesn't seem to cover THAT either.

The RABBIT (Not Arctic Hare) isn't a celestial or fiendish template creature. Improved Familiar says nothing about taking another standard creature as a familiar at all.


Kezzie Redlioness wrote:


SCPRedMage wrote:

So in this case, the hare is NOT on the list, and no specific campaign rule exists to allow it, and thus is not currently a PFS-legal choice of familiar for a winter witch without the Improved Familiar feat, no matter how much it may make sense.

Just like paladins, cavaliers, and rangers, you're stuck choosing from the animals on the list.

Yeah, accept for improved familiar doesn't seem to cover THAT either.

The RABBIT (Not Arctic Hare) isn't a celestial or fiendish template creature. Improved Familiar says nothing about taking another standard creature as a familiar at all.

Not trying to be rude, but the simple breakdown as stated already is, the specific rule for PFS is you run the rules as written unless FAQed otherwise.

In the case of the Winter Witch that means you get the allowed list of familiars (excluding rabbit) unless you take the improved familiar feat.

You seem to be getting hung up on the description of "Improved Familiar" (ie celestial or fiendish) but as always with Pathfinder Specific>General. In this case the winter witchs own entry specifically calls out;

"A winter witch who gains the Improved Familiar feat can select any familiar she desires, save for familiars with the fire subtype"

Obviously in PFS this only includes familiars allowed under the additional resources, but basically you have two options;

1) Winter Witch (without Impr Fam) - Choose bat, cat, fox, hawk, owl, rat, raven, or weasel

2) Winter Witch (With Impr Fam) - Choose any familiar allowable via additional resources except for fire subtypes.

Shadow Lodge

Point now taken.

NEW QUESTION:

If the rabbit is without template or other similar adjustments, Can I take Improved Familiar at 1st and get a rabbit that way?

Grand Lodge 4/5

Kezzie Redlioness wrote:

Point now taken.

NEW QUESTION:

If the rabbit is without template or other similar adjustments, Can I take Improved Familiar at 1st and get a rabbit that way?

Improved Familiar wrote:
Prerequisites: Ability to acquire a new familiar, compatible alignment, sufficiently high level (see below)

Can you take Improved Familiar at 1st level - I don't see why not.

Can you get a rabbit at 1st level - This might be a bit more murky, since the rabbit has no Arcane Spellcaster Level defined in the table for the feat. Does that mean level 1 is a sufficiently high level? Perhaps.


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Starglim wrote:
Kezzie Redlioness wrote:

Point now taken.

NEW QUESTION:

If the rabbit is without template or other similar adjustments, Can I take Improved Familiar at 1st and get a rabbit that way?

Improved Familiar wrote:
Prerequisites: Ability to acquire a new familiar, compatible alignment, sufficiently high level (see below)

Can you take Improved Familiar at 1st level - I don't see why not.

Can you get a rabbit at 1st level - This might be a bit more murky, since the rabbit has no Arcane Spellcaster Level defined in the table for the feat. Does that mean level 1 is a sufficiently high level? Perhaps.

I think that this is a yes (for my money anyway).

Improved Familiar gives you access to a list of guess what? Improved Familiars ;) However if you are a winter witch this ability ALSO allows you to expand your usual list of familiars to include all the regular familiars (those available from Level 1 for most familiar classes).

Can you take Improved Familiar feat at level 1 - Yes

Is a rabbit (or regular familiar) available at level 1 - Yes

Can you start with that rabbit - Yes, (you are aquiring a new familiar, you have taken the feat to allow any familiar, and your level (1) is high enough to qualify for a rabbit.)

This is how I read the rules, it seems clear to me (by which I mean I dont think I am interpretting the rules), and it seems to be ok by both RAW and RAI.

Shadow Lodge

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That, I can live with. :)

Thank you, everyone.

Sorry I got so...less than reasonable for a bit there. Sometimes info doesn't process through my brain the way it aught to when I get frustrated with something. I didn't mean to be rude or be belligerent.

Shadow Lodge

New verse, Similar to the first.

With Familiar Folio entry on Winter Witches familiar choices, does it now make the rabbit a viable not improved familiar choice for PFS?

From Familiar Folio, pg.5: "Irrisen's infamous mistresses of cold prefer creatures that can endure their homeland's arctic clime such as foxes, hares, and penguins."

Shadow Lodge

I'm just still curious. >:)

Grand Lodge 2/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Not entirely sure if it's relevant for you, but the Winter Witch prestige class from ISMagic has been superceded by the version in the Reign of Winter campaign.

Grand Lodge 4/5

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Darrell Impey UK wrote:
Not entirely sure if it's relevant for you, but the Winter Witch prestige class from ISMagic has been superceded by the version in the Reign of Winter campaign.

Uh, no it hasn't.

Shadow Lodge

Darrell Impey UK wrote:
Not entirely sure if it's relevant for you, but the Winter Witch prestige class from ISMagic has been superceded by the version in the Reign of Winter campaign.

Not really there yet...I'm just working on the witch archetype.(ISM)

Also, The prestige class is found in Paths of Prestige.

Shadow Lodge

Kezzie Redlioness wrote:

New verse, Similar to the first.

With Familiar Folio entry on Winter Witches familiar choices, does it now make the rabbit a viable not improved familiar choice for PFS?

From Familiar Folio, pg.5: "Irrisen's infamous mistresses of cold prefer creatures that can endure their homeland's arctic clime such as foxes, hares, and penguins."

No. Even if that could be interpreted as officially adding them to the winter witch's available options, nothing on that page is listed in the Additional Resources as allowed content.

Shadow Lodge

Ok. Fair enough. Can't blame a gal for trying though... ;)
This just means that I get to use arctic flavor fox or weasel. Not that I mind too much these days.

Grand Lodge 2/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

My apologies, I was confusing the prestige class in Paths of Prestige with the archetype in ISMagic.

Shadow Lodge

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Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

Now that all the Reign of Winter familiars have been made explicitly PFS legal via the Familiar Folio, it would be fairly easy for Mike or John to make a ruling like "Otherwise legal familiars which appear in the Reign of Winter's Player Guide are legal starting familars for Winter Witches."

They haven't done so. But with the release of the Familiar Folio it would now be fairly easy for them to do.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Jeff Merola wrote:
Darrell Impey UK wrote:
Not entirely sure if it's relevant for you, but the Winter Witch prestige class from ISMagic has been superceded by the version in the Reign of Winter campaign.
Uh, no it hasn't.

The only PFS legal version of the PrC is the one found in Paths of Prestige. And that was updated to fix an error, so one should get the current PDF.


Does anyone know if there's been an update in regards to this? I haven't been able to find anything and it's suddenly become terribly relevant to my life.

Sometimes RAW is SUCH a pain in the butt. You'd think that they'd have made a note referencing the various arctic variations they included in Reign of Winter, at least, but noooo... Now I can't have an arctic bunny for my witch. ;~;

Shadow Lodge

Nope. No bunnies for us PFS winter witches. *Pouts*
I finally just built mine with an ok dex and plan to take the Improved Initiative feat at 3rd level(I took Extra Hex and Noble Scion at 1st). She has a little white rat familiar, named Little Bird.

He has the Sage archetype from Familiar Folio. His knowledge skills fill in the ones my witch doesn't have. So, whenever she needs a knowledge check, she lets him make it and tells the rest of the party. And when asked how she knows that, she gets to say "My Little Bird told me". >:)

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