Quick Retraining Question


Pathfinder Society


Hey guys, I posted about this in the general rules forum and didn't get a reply, but my main concern is for pfs so I thought I would ask here as well.

I have a Mystic Theurge that I haven't played in a couple years (Wizard 2, Cleric 1, Theurge 10). I had assumed at the time my "Arcane Caster Level" was whatever my wizard caster level was, but there was a faq about a year ago (linky)that seems to clarify this is not the case, and I would just count my wizard levels for this. This means I no longer qualify for Improved Familiar. Would I just retrain the feat and go back to the familiar I had before 7th level? Would retraining also cover all the gear I bought for my familiar to use (wands, handy haversack, ioun stones).

Thanks in advance for the help.

Grand Lodge 4/5

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I don't think that's the case. The FAQ allows you to substitute your effective wizard level where you would need an arcane caster level, but doesn't require you to do so. Your mystic theurge's caster level for his wizard spells (see the Spells per Day feature) is his wizard level + his mystic theurge level.

Though it's not required anyway, retraining doesn't include either selling or replacing any equipment.

5/5

Mystic theurge has never advanced your familiar, I don't think the recent FAQ changes that.

Relevant FASQ

Silver Crusade 1/5

Mystic Theurge levels don't advance the familiar but do advance caster level. So I think you still qualify for Improved Familiar. But you only have the (ordinary) familiar abilities of a Wizard 2.


andreww wrote:

Mystic theurge has never advanced your familiar, I don't think the recent FAQ changes that.

Relevant FASQ

Thanks for the reply Andreww, I never thought Theurge was advancing my familiar, but I did think that the "Arcane Caster Level" requirement for improved familiar was satisfied when my Wizard caster level was sufficiently high. This was never in question for me, and it was never questioned in the games I played the character with. The FAQ I mentioned above is what is causing me to doubt that now.

Either it was always illegal and I just read the rules wrong, or the FAQ I linked caused it to be illegal. The third reading I guess would be it still is legal? It seems there is some thought on that, maybe I will bump my rules question again and hope to get some traction there on the discussion.

The Exchange 5/5 Venture-Agent, Kentucky—Lexington

"arcane caster level" was often confused as "caster level in an arcane class" instead of how it was designed and assumed to be read "levels in a class giving a familiar".

So before the Arcane Caster Level FAQ, people assumed MT would advance your caster level and that satisfied Improved Familiar.

Now, we know it doesn't help you gain an improved familiar if it doesn't advance your level for familiar purposes.

Talk to a venture agent, lieutenant, or captain. They can work on getting you a retrain officially to comply with the FAQ (which prevents you from taking improved familiar due to not meeting prereqs).

Shadow Lodge

Well, if we want to get technical, Improved Familiar requires a sufficiently high "Arcane Spellcaster Level", not caster level; that is, levels in the actual class. Mystic Theurge doesn't grant actual levels, so it doesn't qualify any more than the Magical Knack trait or an orange prism ioun stone.

Sczarni 5/5 ⦵⦵

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Huh. I read that FAQ differently. To me, it looks to be more lenient than people were arguing before it came out (and I've never heard that Magical Knack didn't help, either).

So a Fighter-2/Wizard-5 wouldn't qualify for an Improved Familiar that required Caster Level 7?

How do you figure?

Shadow Lodge

Nefreet wrote:

Huh. I read that FAQ differently. To me, it looks to be more lenient than people were arguing before it came out (and I've never heard that Magical Knack didn't help, either).

So a Fighter-2/Wizard-5 wouldn't qualify for an Improved Familiar that required Caster Level 7?

How do you figure?

Because it's not about your caster level; it's about your level in an arcane spellcasting class. If "spellcaster level" was the same as "caster level", it'd be kinda awkward, consider that this is the only place it's used vs "caster level". Effects that boost your caster level, such as Magical Knack or an orange prism ioun stone, do not actual boost your levels in your arcane spellcaster class.

Keep in mind that the prerequisite for Improved Familiar is this:

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

It says "sufficiently high level", not caster level. The "arcane spellcaster level" only comes in as the header for the appropriate column, and the phrase "caster level" does not actually appear in the feat at all. There is literally nothing to indicate that "arcane spellcaster level" is suppose to mean "arcane caster level"; if it was, it would literally be easier to just say "arcane caster level".

Sczarni 5/5 ⦵⦵

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Hmm. I've been focusing on the word "effective", and treating that as more of an open pass. But the way you explain it makes sense.

I suppose I'll have to audit a few of my characters as well, like the OP.


Yes, James seems to have summed up the issue nicely. While I'm not sure I could say with certainty that the way it is now is the way it was originally intended, that doesn't really matter. The way it is now seems clear to me, and I'll have to say farewell to a certain Faerie Dragon.

Thanks for the different view points on this all.

edit: I'm just happy I was able to use him from level 7-13 :)

Sczarni 5/5 ⦵⦵

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

By the looks of it, one more level in Wizard and the Boon Companion feat should do it for you. Since Boon Companion increases your actual level, and not just Caster Level.

If you still plan on playing the character more.


SCPRedMage wrote:
There is literally nothing to indicate that "arcane spellcaster level" is suppose to mean "arcane caster level"; if it was, it would literally be easier to just say "arcane caster level".

It would also have literally been easier to write "Arcane class level". I have always assumed caster level = spellcaster level.

And to quote the FAQ

FAQ wrote:
To that end, you can always substitute your effective wizard level for the purpose of determining your familiar’s abilities for “arcane spellcaster level” to determine the available improved familiars for your character.

How does being allowed to substitute effective wizard levels for "Arcane spellcater level", change or define what "Arcane spellcaster level" is?

Being able to substitute something does not preclude the original from working. I'm on the side of saying that mystic theurge should work.

The FAQ makes perfect sense with either interpretation.

Either "you can substitute your effective wizard level for your arcane class level"

Or

"you can substitute your effective wizard level for your arcane caster level"

Either interpretation make perfect sense with the quoted FAQ.

James, I know when it comes to rules questions we tend to disagree, but I found one rules thread we completely agree on. poor sorcerer

Shadow Lodge

MichaelCullen wrote:
It would also have literally been easier to write "Arcane class level". I have always assumed caster level = spellcaster level.

Knowing these forums, we'd have people arguing over "what makes a class arcane?", because of course "but it doesn't say anything about spellcasting, so it must not be that!"

It says "arcane spellcaster level" because it refers to levels in a class that casts spells, and thus is a "spellcaster", further modified to specify that they must be arcane spells. Nowhere in either Pathfinder or 3.5 (where the wording for Improved Familiar originated) is "spellcaster level" ever implied to mean "caster level", nor is any other term ever implied to mean "caster level", either.

If they meant "caster level", there was absolutely no reason to use an entirely new term to say that.

MichaelCullen wrote:
How does being allowed to substitute effective wizard levels for "Arcane spellcater level", change or define what "Arcane spellcaster level" is?

It doesn't change anything. It means that an Eldritch Guardian, which is not a spellcaster of any kind, can substitute the effective wizard level of their familiar class feature for the "arcane spellcaster level" requirement of Improved Familiars. It means that a shaman, a divine spellcaster, can substitute the effective wizard level of their spirit animal class feature for the "arcane spellcaster level" requirement of Improved Familiars.

It does not change the fact that the base requirement of "arcane spellcaster level" is referring to class levels in a class that casts arcane spells; it just means you can satisfy that requirement with the effective wizard level of whatever gives you access to familiars.

If they had meant caster level, they'd have said caster level, just like they do every other time they mean caster level.

The Exchange 5/5 Venture-Agent, Kentucky—Lexington

MichaelCullen wrote:
Either interpretation make perfect sense with the quoted FAQ

Either interpretation might match the FAQ, but every developer comment over the years has match that it’s class level not caster level.

Grand Lodge 3/5

@SCPRedMage, I'm confused at your argument. I read the FAQ as saying you *can* use effective wizard level, but that "arcane spellcaster level" was still valid as well. I've got an Eldritch Guardian 2/Skald 12, using Skald 12 to qualify for Improved Familiar, even though it's not giving effective wizard levels.

Are you saying 12 Skald levels aren't "arcane spellcaster levels"? Or that *only* effective wizard levels now qualify? Or are you only saying that Mystic Theurge levels aren't arcane spellcaster levels? A Mystic Theurge level seems like an Arcane Spellcaster level to me.

Venture-Agent, Utah—Provo aka Chess Pwn

pretty sure they just expanded the ways to qualify.

Sczarni 5/5 ⦵⦵

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

^ and that's what I thought initially, but if it truly is "Class Level" then the FAQ is actually more restrictive.

Venture-Agent, Utah—Provo aka Chess Pwn

well, it seems we have had 3 lines of thought for "edge cases"

1)wizard 1 skald x to qualify via skaled levels
2)wizard x and cl boosters or wizard x and prestige, boosting just CL
3)effective wizard x (ex. eldritch guardian)

I feel before the faq 1 was legal and 2 and 3 were not.
After the faq I feel 1 is still legal, and 3 is now legal, and 2 is still not.

Sczarni 5/5 ⦵⦵

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

If you're Wizard-1/Skald-7, how do you qualify? Skald doesn't grant you a Familiar.

And if that does qualify, what level are your Familiar's abilities calculated at? 1?

Venture-Agent, Utah—Provo aka Chess Pwn

You're a 7th level arcane spellcaster to qualify for the feat requirements, nothing in the requirements say the arcane spellcaster level needs to be the same class that is granting you the familiar.

Your familiar has the familiar abilities and stats of a lv1.

Grand Lodge 3/5

I've been playing it as Tomas said: effective wizard level 1 (2 in my case) but arcane caster level 7 for Improved Familiar selection (to get a Mephit, which is a great buddy for Eldritch Guardian.)

Sczarni 5/5 ⦵⦵

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

That seems like a loophole.

The Exchange 5/5 Venture-Agent, Kentucky—Lexington

I do believe in the past, straight caster level was allowed. I think JJ had an example MT/Witch that worked for Improved Familiar.

Shadow Lodge

Markov Spiked Chain wrote:
Are you saying 12 Skald levels aren't "arcane spellcaster levels"? Or that *only* effective wizard levels now qualify? Or are you only saying that Mystic Theurge levels aren't arcane spellcaster levels? A Mystic Theurge level seems like an Arcane Spellcaster level to me.

I'm saying "arcane spellcaster level" is not the same thing as "arcane caster level".

Technically, an Eldritch Guardian 2/Skald 12 could use either his effective wizard level from his Eldritch Guardian familiar feature (2), or his levels in an arcane spellcasting class (12) to qualify for an Improved Familiar.

However

Things that improve his Skald caster level, such as the Magical Knack trait, does not increase his arcane spellcaster level, only his caster level, and thus would not effect his Improved Familiar qualifications, full stop.

As to Mystic Theurge... no, it would not apply. Mystic Theurge only allows you to stack its levels with the preexisting arcane class for determining "spells per day, spells known, and caster level". It does not stack for any other purposes. At best you could make an argument that it could count as arcane spellcasting class, so you could maybe use your levels in it by themselves to qualify for a familiar, but you couldn't stack them together with your wizard levels, just the same way that having four levels of bard and four levels of wizard don't qualify as having eight levels of an "arcane spellcasting class".

Shadow Lodge

James Risner wrote:

I do believe in the past, straight caster level was allowed. I think JJ had an example MT/Witch that worked for Improved Familiar.

JJ also once said that an attack with a spiked shield doesn't count as a shield bash (the CRB disagrees). He's not a core rules guy; he's written plenty of crunch, especially for the Campaign Setting line, but he's been very provably wrong about core rules.

For the record, this is the only post I can find from JJ that contains "Improved Familiar" and "Mystic Theurge". It's over seven years old, and is based on the misconception that Improved Familiar requires a high arcane caster level (which, again, is a defined term that Improved Familiar does not use at all).

Mystic Theurge does increase your arcane caster level, but that's not Improved Familiar's requirement.

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