Improved Familiar and Leadership Cohort: Combined NPC


Rules Questions

Grand Lodge

Can anyone find any specific rules text that would help me determine first if it’s legal, and then how one would go about making one’s Improved Familiar also a Cohort from Leadership?

My PC is going to take Improved Familiar, after having roleplayed off-and-on with an NPC Imp the past few months. All the Players think it’s a fun idea for me to go to this free Devil we’ve known for a while, and ask if it wants to be my (Improved) Familiar. DM loves it as much as I, and the Imp will agree when I ask (and take the Feat).

So, while thinking about this continued evolution of my PC, taking Improved Familiar as part of the build, well, I feel to really get anything out of it I ought to try to take Leadership as well — and let the Imp advance as my Cohort. All the Players are on board with that idea as well — but the onus is on me to see what RAW says. To see how it could be done.

Now, the DM is on board probably regardless of RAW, but we still want to see what the whole picture is according to the published rules.

Thanks for all the rules references you can give!


I would think you would use the Monster Cohort rules, and I’d estimate an imp as a 5th level cohort from the comps. I would expect it to stop being a familiar once you took Leadership for it - I’m not aware of rules specifically for that, but there are rules for taking your animal companion as a cohort, and in that case it definitely stops being a companion when it becomes a cohort.


While there are no official rules for this, I have seen a few people house ruling it in different ways. Basically you are disadvantaging yourself for a cool ability (an improved familiar and a cohort as two separate entities will always be more powerful).

I am actually currently playing a character with a Cohort Familiar and here's what my DM's allowing (keep in mind I have a pretty laid-back DM who allows for most stuff unless it obviously starts breaking something)

Follow all the rules to create a familiar (keep in mind improved familiars have racial levels)

Add a character class up to the maximum level allowed by Leadership feat (the character is now multiclassed race levels+class levels)

Follow all the familiar rules for stats (best of saves/skills/BaB etc., half master's HP, Natural AC bonus, Int bonus (if not already higher))
Add class abilities and feats from levels on top.

My familiar is currently a Lyrakien Bard (3 levels of Lyrakien with 5 levels in Bard class). Would a Lyrakien familiar and a Level 8 Bard cohort be a better choice? absolutely... but not nearly as fun.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

RAW you can't, but it is something I will allow at my table (and probably discover how powerful is the combo if Max is the one that does it, but at the same time he is a good role player, so it would enhance the game).

Personally I feel that the combo is powerful. Sure, you lose a bit of action advantage as you get a single creature instead of two, but the creature is more powerful and more capable. Essentially you get a gestalt character NPC, with an ungodly amount of skills (what it get from its class and 6/hd as an outsider plus the skill ranks in the skills you have). Be careful that it doesn't overshadow the other players.
The temptation to make it a rogue will be strong (invisibility at will and being tiny doesn't affect the sneak attack damage) but consider what the other players' characters can do and try not to step in their territory too much.

Grand Lodge

Thanks everyone -- this was absolutely helpful!

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