Familiar Questions


Rules Questions


I have two questions regarding familiars.

1. Why can familiars deliver touch spells before you can talk to them? If the best I have is an empathic link, I can't really order my familiar to deliver a spell through emotions. What am I missing here and what's the use of this ability coming before speaking with the familiar?

2. If I am a cleric with a familiar, I need selective channeling to keep from blasting my own familiar with channeled negative energy, right? And until I can speak with it, I can't really tell my familiar to get clear, right?

Shadow Lodge

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

1. Familiars are smart enough to talk at level one (see some of the birds that can i.e. raven) They simply have to develop the ability so that isn't really much of a issue.

2. You can and your familiar will be able to understand you as well. It can definitely get clear if that is what you want it to do.


As a general rule of thumb, extra creatures (cohorts, familiars, companions) are usually run by the player if they have an int score above two. There should be no problem with combat coordination.

To be honest, most DMs just completely ignore familiars when it comes to AoE spells. Unless you're actively using your familiar in combat, they just magically become immune to being hit by anything most of the time.


Okay, so since the familiar has an INT of 7, it can understand me, it just cannot communicate with me other than through its emotions using empathic link. Once it gains the speak with master ability, it can then tell me things directly. Thanks for the clarification.

I plan on using the familiar to deliver cure wounds spells to my allies at range, so it will definitely be a factor in combat.


Yes, you understand it perfectly.

Once you use the familiar in combat, prepare to also have it targeted in combat depending on your DM. I would highly suggest taking the selective channeling feat.


CampinCarl9127 wrote:

As a general rule of thumb, extra creatures (cohorts, familiars, companions) are usually run by the player if they have an int score above two. There should be no problem with combat coordination.

To be honest, most DMs just completely ignore familiars when it comes to AoE spells. Unless you're actively using your familiar in combat, they just magically become immune to being hit by anything most of the time.

No, there are a lot of things that say that companions aren't player controlled, even with int 3...but that is neither here nor there- we are talking about familiars- they are completely under your control.

Familiars are magical and smart, and as such they can understand your instructions. They understand language (common at least; not sure if you want some random language, particularly ones from high int or a class' bonus language; exceedingly minor issue, born only of a small trick when you are trying to secretly tell you familiar instructions).

They simply lack the ability to actually speak until later (unless they are one of the few birds given a free language).

They can follow your orders to use the spell perfectly. They might not do anything too suicidal (jump at the monster in the lava), but for basic combat, it does whatever you want.

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