Kitsune Pretending to be a Familiar


Advice


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So lets say you've got a Kitsune thats taken the "Superior Shapechanger" Alternate Racial Trait. Now they can be a tiny fox at level one. If this Kitsune was a coward, or very lazy, they might want to try and pretend to be a familiar or a pet and get someone/something else to do all the dangerous work. Maybe hiding it from the rest of the party. What would be some ways to go about that convincingly, even from level 1?

The first step would probably to get a hireling to pretend they're your "Wizard" friend or something that you can hang out with. Footmen are only 5 silver a day. Get a high diplomacy to convince them not to ditch you after the first combat (if they survived that is). Might be worth it to invest in Bodyguard/Aid Another to keep them alive.

Any class with Verbal/Somatic spells would be out pretty much. Unfortunately "Natural Spell" only works while wildshaped, which Fox Shape is not. There are items (Ring of Eloquence for example) that can allow a non-druid to use Verbal components while polymorphed, but they're too expensive for level 1. I haven't seen any good way outside of metamagic to get around the Somatic components.

That mostly leaves psychic casters with the Cunning Caster feat and a high Bluff. Since psychic spells have no verbal or somatic components, and only use material components if they're expensive, you can do them just fine while in fox shape. Also because they don't have those components it makes Cunning Caster a flat Bluff vs Perception to hide all your casting. Mesmerist, Medium, Fractured Mind Spiritualist, and Psychic Bloodline Sorcerers are all CHA-based psychic casters which should make hitting those bluff checks easy. Mesmerist even gains half its level as a bonus to Bluff.

Vizier Mesmerist gets an ability to make it look like all their spellcasting/Mesmerist Tricks are coming from one of their allies instead of them. Its not a terribly high Will save to see through it, but its an option.

Depending on how your group decides, you could possibly disguise the Spiritualist's Phantom as a normal person when its in Ectoplasmic form, so it can pretend to be your "Wizard". You'd need to make sure to get your own room/tent when sleeping though, since the Phantom will disappear when you're unconscious, and people would suspicious real quick if only the fox familiar was ever around while everyone sleeps.

While almost definitely weaker, the other option is the Promethean Alchemist. They give up most of what it is to be an Alchemist to get a Homunculus that scales similar to how animal companions do, but weaker. However, the Homunculus can use any of your extracts without the infusion discovery, and can even prepare them every day on their own, whithout your help. Get a good Disguise skill and convince everyone that this small person making extracts with a fox on their head is a gnome or halfling with a familiar. Call it a growth spurt when they suddenly become medium at level 4. While not as strong as a psychic caster, I feel like this one is a more convincing decoy. It can carry a weapon, drink extracts, and even be seen preparing them without assistance. Plus it is fully dedicated to you and won't run away or spill your secret.

Are there any other sneaky ways to hide the fact that the little fox "Familiar" is actually the character?


Thing to realize is that when casting it'll be clear that you're the one casting spells due do the magical manifestations. So any casting will likely grow suspicion if not outright give you away.


Thats what Cunning Caster and having the hireling is for. People might know a spell happened, depending on the spell, but you conceal the fact that it was you, and pass it off on your "Wizard" friend.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

The only thing I have to add is Unchained Summoner with an ancestor eidolon (Archives of Nethys, not d20pfsrd), Sorcerer for the eidolon type so it gets limited casting of its own. One of you takes Realistic Likeness for matching human forms, and now you have an respawning body-double. At level 16, it gets Fox Shape as a feat. There’s an archetype to grant more twin abilities.

There’s one way to get around verbal components, but it’s rough. Oracle VMC or dip for the deaf curse. If you’re going for the twin eidolon archetype, you can get teamwork telepathy feats as bonus feats to supplement lip-reading.


Instructor is a wizard archetype that allows you to have an apprentice, similar to Leadership but at level 1. It's not PFS legal, but it doesn't sound like you are needing that. Kitsune also has an option for switching the charisma bonus for an intelligence bonus, to make a good wizard.


I suppose a very lenient GM might say a fox could provide somatic components, but I really wish there were/I could find a good way to either use somatic components or bypass them without metamagic. It would make all the non-psychic casters possible.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Oh whoops, verbal is the one that’s easier to get around. I mixed it up. Yeah, Summoner doesn’t really work.


ask the dm if being able to transform into a fox qualifies you as having the wildshape class feature then take natural spell


You just gave me an idea for a villainous kitsune in a Pathfinder campaign who brainwashes people into thinking that he is their familiar. He manipulates weaker casters with enchantments to get them to do what he wants and occasionally uses hidden spellcasting techniques to support them when necessary. When one of his brainwashed stooges gets killed off by an adventurer, he disappears into the shadows and finds another person to manipulate into getting revenge for him.


Hirilings are always problematic. Why not just hang around the most wizardy looking party member, or hand them a hat of disguise to look wizardy?


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Matrix Dragon wrote:
You just gave me an idea for a villainous kitsune in a Pathfinder campaign who brainwashes people into thinking that he is their familiar. He manipulates weaker casters with enchantments to get them to do what he wants and occasionally uses hidden spellcasting techniques to support them when necessary. When one of his brainwashed stooges gets killed off by an adventurer, he disappears into the shadows and finds another person to manipulate into getting revenge for him.

Convince the brainwashed people that they can become a Witch. Witches already get all their power from a patron funneling it through a familiar. Just have the kitsune keep saying "You'll get your own spells when you're ready".


Hiding this from people with spellcraft is going to be hard. You'd need some way to signal the stooge what spell you are casting. Then they'd have to bluff casting the spell. They'd probably need an item or an illusion to mimic the magical emanations of the spell, just as you are hiding it. They might need spellcasting as well to know what to do to mimic your spell.

If the spell effects are not like those of a class that gets a familiar, then that might also tip off somebody with spellcraft.

Finally, this all goes to hell when you cast a spell in front of somebody concentrating on detect magic. Or arcane sight. Or a lantern of revelation.


Only cast spells at people you're intending to kill, and be fine with your friends knowing it's you. Then you're fine! XD

In seriousness, this is a fun idea. It reminds me of the one time I played an awakened wolf druid. In town, he would pretend to be his barbarian friend's dog so people wouldn't be quite so nervous about a wolf running around town.


There is a 'betrayal' version of the fireball spell unless I am mistaken. It lets you hide that you're casting the fireball, and let it come from any source that you want within range. If the kitsune has access to that spell, he could easily make it look like his minion is casting the fireball.


BigNorseWolf wrote:
Hirilings are always problematic. Why not just hang around the most wizardy looking party member, or hand them a hat of disguise to look wizardy?

Or just a... regular pointy hat


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The spells you get with the Magic Tail feat count as spell-like abilities. Most aren't terrifically useful in fox form, but you can use them.


Maybe an alchemist or investigator? An investigator is the true skill master, and a bonded investigator comes with a free familiar. Alchemists can get vestigial arms so as to have opposable thumbs when they're foxes.

@MD: Controlled fireball, 4th level.


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MageHunter wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Hirilings are always problematic. Why not just hang around the most wizardy looking party member, or hand them a hat of disguise to look wizardy?
Or just a... regular pointy hat

tends not to be convincing when worn atop plate armor.


avr wrote:

. Alchemists can get vestigial arms so as to have opposable thumbs when they're foxes.

permanent alterations to your body like that get erased when you polymorph.

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