Improved Familiar choice


Advice


Hey all,

I come for another advice for my Eldritch Scion Magus (see my Template if you want), this time for his familiar choice.

First, a question regarding the use of items; from FAQ "The following familiars can use spell trigger and spell completion magic items, including wands and scrolls, as well as magic items with a command word: arbiter, brownie, cassisian (in small humanoid form), faerie dragon, imp, leshy (any), liminal sprite, lyrakien, mephit (any type), nosoi, nuglub, pooka, pyrausta, quasit, shikigami, soulbound doll, sprite, and zhyen."

How do they use this items? Do they need to make a Use Magic Device check each time they use one (even though only the faerie dragon have the skill)? If not, what kind of wand/scroll can they use without a check? Arcane, divine, both? From any class?

I get a Familiar at level 1 (via the bloodline option) and will take a sage familiar to gain more variety on skills; with a focus on Charisma rather than Int my character will only get 3 skills points per level.

My goal is to use my familiar for scouting, to complement my skills and to use some wands/scrolls.

At level 1, it will only be a normal familiar and since I want to get some skills as soon as possible he need to speak, so I went with the thrush.

At level 3, it will become an improved familiar and once again I wont have many choice, as I still want him to speak; it's either the Pyrausta or Thrush/Raven with a template (like a Fey touched Thrush to gain an alter self on it so he can pick up and use items). The Pyrausta will probably be the best since he is listed as able to use magic items

At level 5, more option open but I think the best option is the Sprite (it fly perfectly, good stealth, got some usefull spell-like)

It's at level 7 that it really start to shine and where I realy dont know which one to choose.

The Imp (and imp consular at level 8):
+: Good utility spells (most without DC), See in Darkness, telepathy (at level 8)
-: no stealth (I can add it with sage skills point, but that mean less others skills)

Lyrakien:
+: Good utility spells, traveler's friend (we doing the Jade regent so travel will be often), good skills,
-: no invisibility

Nosoi:
+: Spiritsense (Blindsight+detect living and undead)

Faerie Dragon:
+: Cast spells, good skills, telepathy
-: Bad spells (most will be easily resisted at level 7), no special sens (just the "common" darkvision/low light vision)

So what do you think between this 4? or is there some other I didnt see and would fit my need even better?

Tks

Sibyl

PS: if you got some good idea about other use of my familiar (like something more combat oriented), pls share too


I think an imp is a tough familiar to beat. Great defenses, great spells, good abilities. Intelligence, opposable thumbs, the works.


If your game uses alignment at all then your choice of those is going to be a bit restricted. Imps require a LE master, faerie dragons require one within one step of CG, etc. Your concept is likely to rule out some of those.

For the magic item use, a faerie dragon actually has sorcerer spellcasting so doesn't need to use UMD for wands/scrolls of spells on the sorcerer spell list, any of the others need to use the UMD skill. A non-sage familiar can share your skill ranks, a sage needs to spend its own skill points.


avr wrote:
If your game uses alignment at all then your choice of those is going to be a bit restricted. Imps require a LE master, faerie dragons require one within one step of CG, etc. Your concept is likely to rule out some of those.

An Imp doesnt require a strickly LE, you can be one step away, on each axis (unless it's specified in the familiar description and it's not for the imp, is it?)

For the magic item use, a faerie dragon actually has sorcerer spellcasting so doesn't need to use UMD for wands/scrolls of spells on the sorcerer spell list, any of the others need to use the UMD skill. A non-sage familiar can share your skill ranks, a sage needs to spend its own skill points.

This will probably rule other out though; even if I dont choose sage, I wont have point to spent in UMD. And as a sage, this would probably be too much points to spent in it.


The alignment was specified in the improved familiar feat which copied over the imps requirement from the original version of that feat in D&D 3e. The one-step rule for other familiars was added but the imp wasn't changed to match.

There are other improved familiars with sorcerer spellcasting, the tidepool dragon at least and I think more. The faerie dragon is good for more reasons than just the spellcasting though.


The Improved Familiar creatures mentioned have the following charisma:
Imp 14 (+2)
Lyrakien 20 (+5)
Nosoi 16 (+3)
Faerie Dragon 16 (+3)

You can do even better by taking the feat Evolved Familiar to give your familiar the Skilled evolution (+8) for UMD.

This can net you up to +13 with the Lyrakien. They also have truespeech, meaning everyone can understand them. They are also a good face character. In a home game, you could talk your GM into a different set of skills, especially since their skill set is not fixed. This would net an additional +3 for the class skill.

The Faerie Dragon, however, does have UMD as a class skill, which can get you +14. They are also sorcerers, so don't need UMD for a large set of spells.

/cevah


avr wrote:
The alignment was specified in the improved familiar feat which copied over the imps requirement from the original version of that feat in D&D 3e. The one-step rule for other familiars was added but the imp wasn't changed to match.

Not sure what you mean by that; as I understand it, the rule is that you can take a familiar of an alignment one step away on each axis, unless the familiar specify a more restrictive choice. The faerie dragon does say one step away from CB; some are even more restrictive and specify the strict alignement you need; but I dont see any such thing for the Imp, so for me the basic rule of one step on each axis apply.

avr wrote:
There are other improved familiars with sorcerer spellcasting, the tidepool dragon at least and I think more. The faerie dragon is good for more reasons than just the spellcasting though.

True the tidepool dragon is a spellcaster too (but weaker than the faerie dragon for almost everything) ; I couldnt find any others though, did I miss some?


Another questions about Improved Familiars; I tried to find out how many skill ranks they have for each skill (because with the sage archetype I can add skill rank but only to my level max rank) but I cant understand how some got so many skill points.

I tried with the Faerie dragon:

Skills:

Acrobatics: +8 (+3Dex, +5rk)
Bluff: +9 (+3Cha, +3Class, +3rk
Diplomacy: +9 (+3Cha, +3Class, +3rk)
Fly: +23 (+4Size, +3Class, +3Dex, +13rk)
Perception: +8 (+3Class, +2Wis, +3rk)
Sense Motive: +8 (+3 Class, +2Wis, +3rk)
Stealth: +17 (+8Size, +3Class, +3Dex, +3rk)
Swim: +13 (+3Class, -1For, +11rk)
UMD: +9 (+3Class, +3Cha, +3rk)

(Class=Skill Class bonus, Size=Size Modifiers)

Which make a total of 47 rank and is way above the 27 ranks he is suposed to have (dragon type have 6+int skill points per HD, Faerie Dragon have 3HD).

Same with the Sprite:

Escape artist +15 (+3Class, +3Dex, +9rk)
Fly +21 (+3Class, +6Size, +3Dex, +9rk
Perception +6 (+3Class, +2Alertness, +1rk)
Sense Motive +2 (+0Class +2Alertness)
Stealth +19 (+3Class, +12Size, +3Dex, +1rk)

Total: 20rk; it's suposed to have 7 rank at best* (6+ int mod (mini 1) per HD, it have 1 HD)

* At best because I am not sure how to read this minimum 1; is it 6 flat + mini 1 (or more if int 14+) or is it minimum 1 per HD? At first I thought it was the latest (like a PC, a neg int mean less skills), but after looking at different creatures, specially animals, I am starting to think that it's the first, otherwise all low int animals have way more skills ranks that they are suposed to.

Is there some (hidden) bonus that I missed? Or are they just way more skilled than their HD would suggest?


About the skill ranks you're forgetting other bonuses - the sprite is listed as having a +8 racial modifier to escape artist, and it's a tiny creature with perfect maneuverability so gets +8 to the fly skill. With 6 Int it has 6 - 2 (Int mod) = 4 skill ranks per fey HD. With 1 HD it then has 4 skill ranks with a max of 1 in any one skill.

Similarly for the faerie dragon.

The imp is limited to LE spellcasters only under the improved familiar feat in the core rulebook. THis is more specific than the general rule of one alignment step, therefore it takes precedence.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

The improved familiar feat doesn’t limit the imp to LE spellcasters. It just has a table letting you know that the imp is LE, so you know what you need to be steps away from it.


"When choosing a familiar, the creatures listed below are also available to you (see the Pathfinder RPG Bestiary for statistics on these creatures). You may choose a familiar with an alignment up to one step away on each alignment axis (lawful through chaotic, good through evil)." CRB pg. 127

That's what the feat says. One step away on each axis means you can be TN, LN, LE, or NE. The Imp description in Bestiary I doesn't say anything regarding alignment and thus doesn't change that.

Sibyl wrote:

The Imp

-: no stealth (I can add it with sage skills point, but that mean less others skills)

You mean apart from the +31 when moving and +51 when not moving?

As usual, what is best depends on what exactly you want. A scout, a combatant, a wand user, a mount for your small PC with the Undersized Mount feat?


To be clear, the imp doesn’t list a stealth score but it has at will invisibility and is tiny with a +3 dex modifier. So it’s really very stealthy. You just have to do the math for its stealth yourself.


Familiars also treat stealth as a class skill. I guess with sage you are losing the shared ranks tho.


2 other options.

Ratling is an extremely strong option because it can use dimension door 3 times a day. For a familiar riding on your person that is effectively dimension door 3 times a day as a free action.

It has some other nice utility like tongues, invisibility 3 times, spider climb at will, burrow and swim speed and the ability to use scrolls without a UMD check.

The other is the Arbiter Inevitable

For utility this familiar is pretty bad but it's real strength is that it has regeneration 2 chaos and construct immunities without being a construct so the little thing is almost unkillable.


avr wrote:

About the skill ranks you're forgetting other bonuses - the sprite is listed as having a +8 racial modifier to escape artist, and it's a tiny creature with perfect maneuverability so gets +8 to the fly skill. With 6 Int it has 6 - 2 (Int mod) = 4 skill ranks per fey HD. With 1 HD it then has 4 skill ranks with a max of 1 in any one skill.

Similarly for the faerie dragon.

Oh right; I also found out that tiny creature use Dex for swim, that if they have swim speed they got a +8 racial bonus to swim and that the Faerie dragon have acrobatics (+2 to fly and acrobatics); which lower the skill rank to 27 for him, and that's normal. Tks


Derklord wrote:
Sibyl wrote:

The Imp

-: no stealth (I can add it with sage skills point, but that mean less others skills)

You mean apart from the +31 when moving and +51 when not moving?

Melkiador wrote:
To be clear, the imp doesn’t list a stealth score but it has at will invisibility and is tiny with a +3 dex modifier. So it’s really very stealthy. You just have to do the math for its stealth yourself.

Yea the invis boost the stealth sure but it can easily be added to any familiar (I can invis them) and at high level there is many who see invis; it wont replace a true stealther

Lelomenia wrote:
Familiars also treat stealth as a class skill. I guess with sage you are losing the shared ranks tho.

Actually not all improved familiar have stealth as a class skill (the list is for normal familiars), their class skill depend on their type; the imp, as an outsider does have stealth as a class skill. So yea I could use 1 Rk of sage to have a Stealth at +15.

The only major difference that remain is that the faerie dragon can use all sorcerer magic items without any skill check and that he have UMD already (and as a class skill). The imp can get UMD at my level +1 (max rank = my level, +1 from int), which mean I invest half of the sage rk in it for 50%ish chance of using wands.


Hum I just found out that sage's guidance was only usable once (per creature type), because you can only attempt a knowledge skill once and the bonus last only one round. A feat seem a bit expensive for a +2 bonus for one round (even if you can give it to all the group by risking your familiar life).


Sibyl wrote:


Lelomenia wrote:
Familiars also treat stealth as a class skill. I guess with sage you are losing the shared ranks tho.

Actually not all improved familiar have stealth as a class skill (the list is for normal familiars), their class skill depend on their type; the imp, as an outsider does have stealth as a class skill. So yea I could use 1 Rk of sage to have a Stealth at +15.

i understand that they probably took that list from the animal type,

But from a rules standpoint why doesn’t ‘familiars treat stealth as a class skill’ result in improved familiars also treating it as a class skill?

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / Advice / Improved Familiar choice All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.