Eldritch Guardian and Improved Familiar


Rules Questions


19 people marked this as FAQ candidate. 2 people marked this as a favorite.
eldritch guardian (familiar folio) wrote:
At 1st level, an eldritch guardian gains a familiar, treating his fighter level as his effective wizard level
CRB wrote:


Prerequisites: Ability to acquire a new familiar, compatible alignment, sufficiently high (arcane spellcaster) level

Does Eldritch Guardian (of sufficiently high level and the correct alignment) qualify for Improved Familiar.

(Note, I think the two statements above apply it does, but there are folks suggesting (on reddit) that it does not - so an official ruling would be nice.


Your effective Wizard level does qualify you for Improved Familiar (although it's not universally agreed); but Improved Familiars don't qualify for Mauler, because they lack an ability that the archetype replaces.


I wasn't asking about the mauler archetype though ;).

What is the objection? It seems plain enough language. Fighter levels are wizard levels, and levels in arcane classes are what you need.


Mauler trades out the ability to speak with creatures of its kind, which improved familiars don't have to trade out.


It takes an incredibly narrow reading to claim that the EG can't take Improved Familiar.


You have an effective wizard level for your familiar, not for feats. Also having effective wizard level doesn't give you effective caster levels.
So far there's no "official clarification" to say if they meant to allow classes like the EG to have improved familiar or if it's supposed to work as it does now, that since they don't say you meet the qualifications you don't meet them.

Dark Archive

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

Most of the level requirements need an arcane spell casting level
The archetype grants the class feature like the class does it offer the arcane spell casting levels also

Like a paladin can channel energy like a cleric of the same level (-1) but he cast at level -3. For divine caster level they are not in the same boat

Dark Archive

Or how the Viking archetype gets rage but not greater rage or improved rage


Quote:
At 1st level, an eldritch guardian gains a familiar, treating his fighter level as his effective wizard level for the purpose of this ability.

So, for the purposes of the familiar, the EG counts as a wizard of his level. And the wizard is an arcane spellcaster class.

"Arcane Spellcaster Level" is probably just for brevity. It'd be more clear if it said "Total of levels that grant a familiar", but that wouldn't fit as neatly in the table.

Edit: Actually it occurs to me that if the table said "Effective wizard level" it would be a little more clear and concise.


If my familiar is giving me Arcane spellcaster levels for feats then I should be able to take other feats that need a spellcaster level.


Melkiador wrote:


So, for the purposes of the familiar, the EG counts as a wizard of his level. And the wizard is an arcane spellcaster class.

"Arcane Spellcaster Level" is probably just for brevity.

"Arcane Spellcaster Level" literally means "Sorcerer or Wizard level".

I think that "Effective wizard level for the purpose of the familiar" covers feats that modify (only) the familiar and require a wizard level, ChssPwn thinks otherwise.


Chess Pwn wrote:
If my familiar is giving me Arcane spellcaster levels for feats then I should be able to take other feats that need a spellcaster level.

Don't be like that, man. You know perfectly well why Improved Familiar might use your effective wizard level in a way that Arcane Strike wouldn't, you just don't agree that it does. No need for slippery slope nonsense.


Chess Pwn wrote:
If my familiar is giving me Arcane spellcaster levels for feats then I should be able to take other feats that need a spellcaster level.

the familiar isnt the source of the Effective Arcane Spellcaster levels, its not granting you anything.

the Eldritch Guardian class ability Familiar is letting you use your fighter level in place of wizard levels ONLY for the purpose of gaining the Wizard class ability Familiar. you aren't getting general arcane spellcaster levels from any source so you can't get any feats that require them from this class ability


Casual Viking wrote:
Melkiador wrote:


So, for the purposes of the familiar, the EG counts as a wizard of his level. And the wizard is an arcane spellcaster class.

"Arcane Spellcaster Level" is probably just for brevity.

"Arcane Spellcaster Level" literally means "Sorcerer or Wizard level".

Or magus or arcanist or witch or skald or bard or bloodrager or a good handful of archetypes and an alchemist discovery that makes you an arcane caster.


Ridiculon wrote:
Chess Pwn wrote:
If my familiar is giving me Arcane spellcaster levels for feats then I should be able to take other feats that need a spellcaster level.

the familiar isnt the source of the Effective Arcane Spellcaster levels, its not granting you anything.

the Eldritch Guardian class ability Familiar is letting you use your fighter level in place of wizard levels ONLY for the purpose of gaining the Wizard class ability Familiar. you aren't getting general arcane spellcaster levels from any source so you can't get any feats that require them from this class ability

Right, with Improved Familiar being one of the feats that you can't get that require arcane casting levels.


ya, makes sense to me. while i do think it would be cool for a fighter to be running around with a faerie dragon or elemental companion its not really how this ability works


Ah, ok I see the argument against now. Thanks for the input.


Chess Pwn wrote:


Right, with Improved Familiar being one of the feats that you can't get that require arcane casting levels.

Ah, but Improved Familiar doesn't require caster levels. It requires an effective wizard level.


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

Arcane Spellcaster Level

It requires Arcane Spellcaster Level for the familiars. Not wizard levels, not effective wizard levels.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Chess Pwn wrote:

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

Arcane Spellcaster Level

It requires Arcane Spellcaster Level for the familiars. Not wizard levels, not effective wizard levels.

Arcane spellcaster levels include Wizard levels. Unless you find a way to make a wizard casting divine spells.


A wizard has a caster level, but having effective wizard levels for your familiar abilities does not give you an arcane caster level, especially for a feat since that isn't your familiar.


I clicked FAQ on the OP because I figure this hasn't ever been clarified, right? Sorry if I did something incorrect. I just figure this covers a lot more than just the Eldritch Guardian, which is admittedly from a splat book. There's the rogue's familiar discovery, tumor familiars, et cetera, et cetera.


FAQ'd, but by my reading you definitely qualify.

You have an effective wizard level for the purposes of your familiar. Wizard is an arcane spellcaster. So a seventh level Guardian counts as a seventh level wizard for the purpose of their familiar, so I don't see how you don't qualify for seventh level improved familiars.

Similar to how Cavaliers and Rangers can use their effective druid level to qualify for animal companion feats.


I would love for this to work (and trust me, I have many characters waiting if they ever FAQ it favorably), but sadly, it doesn't. You cannot benefit from the Improved Familiar as a pure Eldritch Guardian.

As others have pointed out, you only acquire effective wizard levels for the familiar. However, Improved Familiar requires that you have a sufficiently high "Arcane Spellcaster Level".

"Effective wizard levels" and "Arcane spellcaster levels" are not equivalent terms, despite what some people would like to believe/claim.

For example, if there were a wizard archetype which turned their spells into divine or psychic type (and there are archetypes like this), then this archetyped wizard wouldn't qualify for Improved Familiar either.

In other words, having effective wizard levels does not in any way give you any arcane spellcasting features, qualifications, abilities, or indeed, anything else one might associate with the wizard class. You only count as having numeric levels in that class for when the "thing in question" checks for that number.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

By that logic, Divine and Psychic spellcasters that acquire familiars also cannot take Improved Familiar.

(for an example of when this might occur, Sorcerers with the Crossblooded archetype, selecting the Arcane and Psychic bloodlines. Psychic spellcaster with a familiar.)

Granted, if it turns out they still can't get an Improved Familiar, then so be it. At least, in games I run, I will permit it, since it seems to me that effective wizard level is what's needed.


Is there a FAQ or ruling a Shaman getting Improved Familiars? Their Spirit Animal uses the same "effective wizard level" language


Saethori, that is how I'm reading it - divine and psychic spellcasters with familiars cannot benefit from the Improved Familiar feat. (although I haven't read up on that particular sorcerer bloodline example, I presume their spells are no longer arcane causing them to no longer be arcane spellcasters)

Thus, shamans also cannot take Improved Familiars. However, there is a second reason shamans cannot generally benefit from the Improved Familiar feat:

Quote:
At 1st level, a shaman forms a close bond with a spirit animal... If a spirit animal is lost or dies... The new spirit animal must be of the same sort of creature as the previous one.

Thus, shamans are kinda stuck with whatever familiar they pick at level 1. There might be a way around this using the retraining rules, but expect table variation.

Scarab Sages

There's also the potential difference between "Caster Level" and "Spellcaster level." For example a Wizard 5/Rogue 2 with Magical Knack would have a Caster Level of 7, but they would only be a 5th level Arcane Spellcaster. So would they qualify for an Improved Familiar with a 7th level Arcane Spellcaster Level requirement? It's unclear, because it's unclear if Arcane Spellcaster level is referring to Caster Level or if it's referring to level in an Arcane Spellcaster class. If it's the latter, then there's a stronger argument that the Eldritch Guardian would qualify, because they count as a Wizard, which is an Arcane Spellcaster class.

Of course that does nothing to counter the argument that they don't count as a Wizard for the feat at all. Personally, I think they probably count for everything related to the familiar, including feats related to the familiar, but I'll admit that's mostly opinion and not completely clear. I do think it's more likely, which is again just an opinion.

FAQ'd.


I asked about the Shaman because the Shaman guide was written with a whole section on Improved Familiars. The only dissent in the feedback thread was a single reply mentioning the bit about new familiars being the same sort of creature as the previous one. If the Effective Wizard Level terminology was as unfailingly set in stone as some of the arguments here would suggest I'd have expected to see at least some mention of it.

Add in that I've seen a few shamen w/ Improved Familiar in PFS which is usually quite literal in it's rules interpretations and I don't think the answer is as clear cut as some have made it out to be.


Byakko wrote:

However, there is a second reason shamans cannot generally benefit from the Improved Familiar feat:

Quote:
At 1st level, a shaman forms a close bond with a spirit animal... If a spirit animal is lost or dies... The new spirit animal must be of the same sort of creature as the previous one.
Thus, shamans are kinda stuck with whatever familiar they pick at level 1. There might be a way around this using the retraining rules, but expect table variation.

I think considering a celestial (or otherwise templated) bunny to be the "same sort of creature" as a normal bunny would be a valid reading, though hardly obligatory.

Scarab Sages

Very important if you are going to discuss this issue...

Caster Level is a stat granted by having levels in a class that grants a caster level.

Arcane Spellcaster level is an actual level in a class that casts arcane spells.

Example:
Bloodrager, at 3rd level, can not cast spells. But, it is a class that casts arcane spells. And can gain a familiar.

Thus Arcane Spellcaster level is 3, the same number of class levels. But its Caster Level is 0. As it has not reached a level in which it can actually cast its spells.

It could take improved familiar and get a celestial rabbit, but it could not take arcane strike.

-------------------------

Having said that, effective wizard level should be enough. Technically, it is not though. Since the feat has the prereq and not the individual familiar.

There are valid arguments for both sides, but RAW leans towards that it does not work. But that also may just be a case of legacy text. From back when the only ones who had familiars were arcane spellcasting classes.

This really needs to be FAQd, and I do really hope it is allowed for anyone who has a familiar.


Oh, I forgot to mention that if the GM is feeling somewhat lenient they can go by the individual familiar's rules text. If you read their bestiary entries, some specify being take-able by "arcane spellcasters" whereas others only require "spellcasters". With this looser reading, non-arcane spellcasters could acquire a smaller subset of the overall group.

This still doesn't do much for the Eldritch Guardian, who is not a spellcaster at all. Unfortunately.

Btw, abilities like the Eldritch Guardian's typically read something like: "Familiar: Gain a familiar, treating your levels in X as effective wizard levels for the purpose of this ability". Thus, the effective wizard levels are ONLY for this one ability, not for other abilities, features, of feats. Such as the Improved Familiar feat. Thus, even if Improved Familiar's table did say "effect wizard levels", it wouldn't matter. The class' ability would need to specify that its increase also applied to the Improved Familiar feat to do what you guys are hoping.


I definitely hope that this turns out to be allowed for anyone with a familiar. Since a spirit animal is more its own thing, and it has that very specific language, I definitely would think it far more reasonable if shamans were excluded from benefiting from Improved Familiar. I personally would like them to qualify as well, but I can see the reasoning for why they might not. To me, the whole crux of the matter seems to be that while we can all kind of guess and interpret precisely what is meant by the phrase "arcane spellcaster level" in the Improved Familiar feat's description, the reason for this requiring an FAQ hinges entirely on the maddening opacity of that phrase.

If there's any justice in the world, the "arcane spellcaster level" line will be changed to read "level in a class granting a familiar" or something along those lines.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Ethereal Gears wrote:


If there's any justice in the world, the "arcane spellcaster level" line will be changed to read "level in a class granting a familiar" or something along those lines.

Especially since that was what it meant when it was written in the 3.5 PHB.

Sovereign Court

Has this question been answered somewhere?I'd love to play this in PFS, but without an official ruling I'm not chancing the table variation.


this thread is trying to get a FAQ for it.

Liberty's Edge

Gummy Bear wrote:
Has this question been answered somewhere?I'd love to play this in PFS, but without an official ruling I'm not chancing the table variation.

You can always ask your local VC for a ruling - it's not binding, but everyone who plays in the area probably should reconsider their view if the VC is on your side :)


I've clicked the FAQ though, as Chess Pwn mentioned, there's another thread with fairly similar FAQ goals. I'd personally like to see it just get errata'd to "character level" so that people who qualified via effective wizard level and those who qualified by arcane caster level would both be able to keep their Improved Familiars (along with making a few new familiar based builds possible - not more of a power increase than some of the newer familiar archetypes IMO though)

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