Can a Familiar end it's bond with the Wizard?


Rules Questions


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As the title suggests, can a Familiar voluntarily end it's bond with it's Wizard master?

The background on this is my once Chaotic Neutral Wizard had a Chaotic Good Lyrakien Azata familiar. Partly through a magically evil eyeball, along with the wizards desire to soon become a lich (within the next week), the wizard is now Neutral Evil, meaning their alignments are no longer compatible.

Now through many years in this campaign, the Neutral Evil wizard has been doing unspeakable things without the knowledge of the rest of the party or the wizards familiar. Said wizard has kept everyone in the dark about his true intentions.

This all finally came to a head, when the wizard finally snapped and attacked the party. (He was provoked when the party rogue sarcastically shot and nearly killed his cohort).

As punishment for this deed, the Wizard left them all stranded in the woods (including the Familiar), and set up an elaborate trap for the soon to return party members, and even completely destroyed the parties home base, killing many townsfolk in the process.

The wizards evilness is now on full display, and even the familiar can see this. However, the wizard will not release his bond with the familiar due to an ability he has to see through the familiar (at will), causing the familiar to be a perfect spy on the party. The party has not ditched the familiar yet meaning that the familiar is still of use to him. (It was ruled that the familiar is unaware when the wizard is using her as a spy)

So, as it stands, what we need to know, is if a familiar can release the bond on their own. Because she will soon discover that he is a lost cause (soon to be a lich) and will not be able to be turned back to the side of good.

If you can point to a rule on it great, otherwise, I'd still love to hear opinions on the matter.

Thanks!


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I'm not sure if there's a rule specifically [other than I believe the advanced familiar feat gives alignment restrictions]...

I as a GM would definitely say yes. As much as players think cohorts/familiars/etc... are theirs to control, their still NPC's and subject to GM discretion.

Liberty's Edge

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I do not think that a familiar can end the bond, the wizard may have ended it when he went evil though. I do not believe there are rules about if you are no longer the correct alignment for an improved familiar.

Just a side note: how did the rogue sarcastically almost kill someone? I feel like the wizard may have been in the right to attack the rogue for almost murdering an ally. Unless this cohort was an undead of course.


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Falcar wrote:
Just a side note: how did the rogue sarcastically almost kill someone? I feel like the wizard may have been in the right to attack the rogue for almost murdering an ally. Unless this cohort was an undead of course.

My cohort is a negative energy channeling cleric. The Rogue went invisible (improved invis cast by his bard cohort. He shoots arrows). The cleric double burst hitting the rogue twice. He yell'd at her to stop that..

Cleric moves to a new location and single bursts.. This time Rogue is fine, he's no longer in the way. However, next round the rogue moves within her range again, trying to get his point blank shot bonus, and the cleric thinking she's fine, double bursts, dropping the Rogue unconscious and bleeding out. The battle is also finished at this point as the enemy also dies.

The Ranger (best buds with the rogue) heard the Rogue drop and was able to locate him and force a potion down his throat saving his life. Rogue gets up, fires an arrow while still invisible at the Cleric and says, "Oops, didn't see you there." (Invisibility also drops at this point). The shot took well over half her HP. Wizard didn't take to kindly to that, and decided to cast finger of death on the rogue.. He makes his save, but it does enough damage to drop him again.. Afterward there was a mini-battle between the Rogue, Ranger, and Bard Cohort, vs the Wizard, Familiar, and his Cleric Cohort, while the good cleric tried to make peace and keep people from dying.

It was fun, and people would drop dead, come alive, drop dead again.... Breath of life had to be used on the rogue once.. Yet nobody managed to completely die before the wizard decided to teleport out of there and seek his revenge by destroying the town.


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No, there is no rule for it. The GM is going to have make his own rules in this situation.

Maybe the PCs can find some kind of ritual to transfer the "ownership" of the familiar to another wizard. It's uncharted territory.


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Quote:

Improved Familiar

This feat allows you to acquire a powerful familiar, but only when you could normally acquire a new familiar.

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

Generally, when you no longer meet the prerequisites of a feat, you lose the benefits of it.

In this case, this means the Lyrakien Azata would no longer be a valid choice of familiar and the bond would be broken.


Dr Grecko wrote:
(He was provoked when the party rogue sarcastically shot and nearly killed his cohort).

How do you sarcastically shoot someone? That's the real mystery here. Is it a Rogue feat chain?


Too bad that it's an improved familiar. If it was an animal familiar, you could have milked the drama of this sentient being choosing to return to the life of a small, unthinking beast.


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There is talk in the description of the Dweomercat cub entry about how the familiar will sometimes server the bond if the wizard settles down and becomes boring, not even changing alignment.

I'm thinking the wizard would have to start dominating his familiar to keep it serving such an evil person.

link


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That's a specific (additional) rule for Dweomorcat cubs. Most familiars don't have that sort of line, but my previous comment still holds.

Also, while you could dominate your ex-(or soon to be ex-)familiar, this won't prevent it from losing its status as a familiar if you no longer qualify for having it as one. You will, instead, have only a dominated creature of whatever type it is.


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Byakko wrote:
Quote:

Improved Familiar

This feat allows you to acquire a powerful familiar, but only when you could normally acquire a new familiar.

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

Generally, when you no longer meet the prerequisites of a feat, you lose the benefits of it.

In this case, this means the Lyrakien Azata would no longer be a valid choice of familiar and the bond would be broken.

Quote:

Prerequisites

Some feats have prerequisites. Your character must have the indicated ability score, class feature, feat, skill, base attack bonus, or other quality designated in order to select or use that feat. A character can gain a feat at the same level at which he gains the prerequisite.

A character can't use a feat if he loses a prerequisite, but he does not lose the feat itself. If, at a later time, he regains the lost prerequisite, he immediately regains full use of the feat that prerequisite enables.

IMO Byakko is correct, the familiar was lost as soon as the alignment turned evil. Unless the wizard was using some method other than the feat to get an improved familiar. As to the question of "CAN A FAMILIAR END IT'S BOND WITH THE WIZARD?" I have no rules that say yes or no, but IMO a regular familiar probably not, but an independently intelligent creature, yes.

Shadow Lodge

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Agreed, you lose Improved Familiar if your alignment changes too much. Notably, you lose the feat/familiar even if the familiar isn't aware of the alignment change for some reason, which suggests that rather than this being the familiar breaking the bond, alignment differences represent a metaphysical strain on the bond which can eventually cause it to sever.

It could be interesting to have other rules for ending the bond from a storytelling POV but it's not generally supported by the rules and the GM should be cautious about taking away a class feature as a result of roleplay.


Weirdo wrote:

Agreed, you lose Improved Familiar if your alignment changes too much. Notably, you lose the feat/familiar even if the familiar isn't aware of the alignment change for some reason, which suggests that rather than this being the familiar breaking the bond, alignment differences represent a metaphysical strain on the bond which can eventually cause it to sever.

It could be interesting to have other rules for ending the bond from a storytelling POV but it's not generally supported by the rules and the GM should be cautious about taking away a class feature as a result of roleplay.

The wizard doesn't really lose the class feature, he just has to wait a week and spend the gold for the get-new-familiar ritual and then he can have an (alignment-appropriate) improved familiar again.

Shadow Lodge

Even if it's only for a week, you still lose the feature - and there's a gold cost to get it back. I see a familiar deserting a caster as similar to a paladin falling. You can get an atonement, but it still can cause a lot of grief if thrown around casually.

I do not think it's fair for a GM to, for example, decide that because he spent a month crafting the wizard is too boring for their dweomer cat cub familiar, and require the wizard to spend a week without a familiar and then select a different familiar than the one they originally wanted.

Which isn't to say that it can't make a good story, but it should be taken seriously and the player should understand why it is a reasonable consequence. In this instance, the wizard has clearly and grossly violated the moral standards of his familiar (and the mechanical prerequisites of the feat) so losing the azata is a reasonable consequence.


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Redjack_rose wrote:
As much as players think cohorts/familiars/etc... are theirs to control, their still NPC's and subject to GM discretion.

Are you sure? Cohorts are specifically called out as being NPCs, but I don't think I've ever seen Familiars being called that.


I will agree that it isnt a choice of the familiar and said familiar cant at all end its bond.

It should have ended when the wizard moved more than one step away from CG , which has nothing to do with the familiar choice of liking or not said wizard.

PS: On a side note , most (if not all) my PCs would also have killed said rogue for shooting my cohort. While i do admire him for having the balls of going against a wizard using a rogue at high lvl.

Shadow Lodge

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VRMH wrote:
Redjack_rose wrote:
As much as players think cohorts/familiars/etc... are theirs to control, their still NPC's and subject to GM discretion.
Are you sure? Cohorts are specifically called out as being NPCs, but I don't think I've ever seen Familiars being called that.

There's a bit of discussion on various types of companion in ultimate campaign (found online here). While it does say that familiars are typically controlled by the player, it does give familiars some autonomy and indicates that the player shouldn't treat them as the master's puppet.

Ultimate Campaign wrote:
Sentient Companions: a sentient companion (a creature that can understand language and has an Intelligence score of at least 3) is considered your ally and obeys your suggestions and orders to the best of its ability. It won't necessarily blindly follow a suicidal order, but it has your interests at heart and does what it can to keep you alive. Paladin bonded mounts, familiars, and cohorts fall into this category, and are usually player-controlled companions.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Byakko wrote:
Quote:

Improved Familiar

This feat allows you to acquire a powerful familiar, but only when you could normally acquire a new familiar.

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

Generally, when you no longer meet the prerequisites of a feat, you lose the benefits of it.

In this case, this means the Lyrakien Azata would no longer be a valid choice of familiar and the bond would be broken.

That's a case of the wizard breaking the bond by making himself incompatible.


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Sorry for the late response, but thank you all for your help. It seems pretty clear that an alignment shift should break the bond.

Now that it's clear that the Wizard has turned evil, the familiar will sever her bond with him.

That does bring up an interesting question though. Up until this point, it hadn't been clear to anyone in the party, familiar included, that the wizard had turned Neutral Evil (He was evil for over 5 years in game). Should the bond have remained while the wizard was continuing his ruse of being the original compatible alignment?

It certainly made for an interesting plot twist, that's for sure.


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It's not the fact that the familiar realizes its master is a different alignment that is causing the bond to be severed. The wizard simply does not qualify for the prerequisites of the Improved Familiar feat as soon as he no longer shares a compatible alignment. At that point, the bond (by RAW anyway) is automatically severed through no choice of the familiar or the master as he no longer qualifies for the feat.

The master could still get a new familiar under the standard rules for replacing familiars.


It probably should not have... but it's possible that <insert arbitrary thing here> and so it did until now for <entirely made up reason appropriate to your story*>.

* This could have even been the result of some of the evil things the wizard did, previously. Say, an experimental use of chaotic-good soul-essence that could artificially extend the bond (or at least make it seem extended) that can't be replicated and runs out roughly... now.


Sure. Though as this is in the Rules forum, the rules are pretty clear that when you no longer qualify for a feat, you cannot benefit from that feat.


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Nope , should have lost the familiar the minute he had the alignment shift.

On a side note , how exactly did the wizard hide his alignment for 5 ingame years from a familiar with constant detect evil?


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Prodigious daily use of Mind Blank spell from a custom item in a campaign that provides way too much wealth by level.

I'll let the GM know that we probably err'd but that it shouldn't effect the story all that much. Now that the cat's out of the bag, she will sever the bond.

However, since time is on his side, said wizard may end up trying to capture said familiar and use a helm of opposite alignment on her before acquiring a new familiar. Could make for another fun twist to the story.


Kolyarut wrote:
Sure. Though as this is in the Rules forum, the rules are pretty clear that when you no longer qualify for a feat, you cannot benefit from that feat.

I explicitly agreed. I was just trying to help them with their game, now that the hard rules were known and outlined. :)


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Kolyarut wrote:
It's not the fact that the familiar realizes its master is a different alignment that is causing the bond to be severed. The wizard simply does not qualify for the prerequisites of the Improved Familiar feat as soon as he no longer shares a compatible alignment. At that point, the bond (by RAW anyway) is automatically severed through no choice of the familiar or the master as he no longer qualifies for the feat.

Thus confusing the hell out of the (former) familiar.


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Dr Grecko wrote:

Prodigious daily use of Mind Blank spell from a custom item in a campaign that provides way too much wealth by level.

I'll let the GM know that we probably err'd but that it shouldn't effect the story all that much. Now that the cat's out of the bag, she will sever the bond.

However, since time is on his side, said wizard may end up trying to capture said familiar and use a helm of opposite alignment on her before acquiring a new familiar. Could make for another fun twist to the story.

That would actually be quite cool.

Considering the familiar will make a jump to LE and the PC is NE , if the GM allows it , it would make sense that he could take that same familiar again.


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Was he hiding his actions leading to evil from his familiar? That just seems odd, given the close nature of the bond. Not unreasonable, just odd. Seems like their empathic bond might tingle in some way.

On the topic of familiar's severing the bond, I'd allow it for improved familiars, probably for regular ones too, but they might be more hesitant to go back to being a regular animal, depending. Of course, the PC would definitely get warnings as the familiar would try to keep the wizard from changing too much based on personality.


Dr Grecko wrote:

Prodigious daily use of Mind Blank spell from a custom item in a campaign that provides way too much wealth by level.

I'll let the GM know that we probably err'd but that it shouldn't effect the story all that much. Now that the cat's out of the bag, she will sever the bond.

However, since time is on his side, said wizard may end up trying to capture said familiar and use a helm of opposite alignment on her before acquiring a new familiar. Could make for another fun twist to the story.

The more I read about this wizard the more I really like him lol! This sounds one hell of a fun campaign.


Another example is the psychopomp improved familiar: "A nosoi immediately leaves the service of any master who creates or permanently becomes an undead."


VRMH wrote:
Redjack_rose wrote:
As much as players think cohorts/familiars/etc... are theirs to control, their still NPC's and subject to GM discretion.
Are you sure? Cohorts are specifically called out as being NPCs, but I don't think I've ever seen Familiars being called that.

As someone else posted earlier, they are usually player-controlled. However the key operating word is usually, under certain circumstances a GM is well within their rights to take control.

It's a tool I use sparingly, but I have used it before. A cohort one of my players had was described as a plucky, brave little teenage girl. The player though had her run any time things got a little heated [so he didn't have to pay the raise cost if she died]. Eventually I put the foot down on that and had her refuse to run away while her friends were in danger.


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Paulicus wrote:
Was he hiding his actions leading to evil from his familiar? That just seems odd, given the close nature of the bond. Not unreasonable, just odd. Seems like their empathic bond might tingle in some way.

Yes, anytime he needed to perform some obvious evil act, it was done so apart from the rest of the party and his familiar. Perfect example including the background on what happened is this:

Kingmaker Spoilers:

So, around level 8 or so, we destroyed a cyclops lich with a mysterious looking gem for an eye. My chaotic neutral wizard decided "What harm could it really do, I'm great with willpower" and picked up the gem... A Nat-1 later and my Diviner wizard wins initiative against the party, grabs a dagger to pluck out his own eyeball and places the gem in the empty socket, which heals around the gem immediately.

Granted, this didn't turn him evil immediately, however, upon research, he realizes that in order to get the most out of this new found gem for an eye, he would have to be of compatible alignment. The wizard then decides to dedicate his life to unlocking the secrets of the gem, and to discovering a way to prolong his life in the same manner as the Cyclops Lich.

He saves his money, sells a few items, and commissions a mind-blank ring from a helpful crafter.

With his mind protected, he moves to unlock the secrets of the eye by murdering innocent townsfolk. His alignment would quickly turn to Neutral Evil from these dastardly deeds.

Suddenly the power of the eye is revealed to him, and he can see with perfect clarity.

One of the eye's greatest powers, is haunting beckon. About a year later, he decides that the neighboring nation of Pitax needs to be taught a lesson after we beat back their army in battle. With most of the men of Pitax still returning home in defeat, the wizard decides to disguise himself as the head wizard of the nation of Pitax. He then uses the haunting beckon feature of his eye to lure roughly 50 women and children from their beds, to a small building inside the city walls. From there, every one of them was transported via teleportation circle to the wizards secret compound, where each and every one of them were devoured by servants of Abaddon and turned into soul gems.

Yes, each and every time I needed to do something overtly evil, it was done away from party and the familiar.

The eye in question is called The Oculus of Abaddon

As a side note, as was alluded to earlier, this wizard is in the process of transforming to lich, and as this campaign is finally wrapping up, there will be one more final battle between the rest of the party (my new character included) and this lich and his planar army.

It really has been fun to keep his deeds a secret, and he's been one of the most enjoyable characters I have ever played.. It will be a shame to have to kill him soon :)

We finally let the other players in on all the behind the scenes things that had been going on, but were only alluded to. Things like; Cursing enemy combatants at a tournament causing them to struggle giving our nation the edge in competition, Luring many women and children to their deaths, The sudden disappearances of important officials in enemy kingdoms. Our kingdom really thrived under this wizards "subtle" influence :)


Not sure about rules covering this (except for the improved familiar), but in practical terms, does it often matter much? A familiar can just run away, and the wizard would no longer be able to "spy" on them once further than a mile, so for all practical purposes, it may as well be severed. And most wizards would then voluntarily sever it anyway so as to be able to get a new familiar.


Just a side comment, the Wizard in this game sounds super cool. One of the few times Evil in a party actually worked out [until discovered]. Good game.


Crimeo wrote:
Not sure about rules covering this (except for the improved familiar), but in practical terms, does it often matter much? A familiar can just run away, and the wizard would no longer be able to "spy" on them once further than a mile, so for all practical purposes, it may as well be severed. And most wizards would then voluntarily sever it anyway so as to be able to get a new familiar.

Empathic Link is limited to a mile, however at level 13 a wizard can scry on their familiar once per day. You can also cast scry as early as 7th level if one was inclined.

So while you're probably right that it often wont matter in the majority of cases, this was one of those rare occasions where it could be considered useful.

Even more useful was one of the abilities of the eye.

Kingmaker spoiler:

Familiar farsight at will (if the user has a familiar or an
animal companion, he may use clairaudience/clairvoyance
to observe the world through his familiar, despite any
intervening distance as long as he and the familiar are on
the same plane)

Hence my desire to keep the familiar as a secret, unknowing spy.

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