What's the utility of Elemental Familiar?


Kineticist Class


As many people aready know. The familiar's utility in PF2 is currently very questionable. But in some classes this appear to be worse.

This is the case of Elemental Familiar. What's it's brings of really useful to the class?

This is the current familiar abilities that's works and not work with Kineticist:

  • Accompanist (Advanced Player's Guide pg. 146 2.0): Your familiar helps you perform. Whenever you attempt a Performance check, if your familiar is nearby and can act, it accompanies you with chirps, claps, or its own miniature instrument. This grants you a +1 circumstance bonus, or +2 if you're a master in Performance. ✅
  • Ambassador (Grand Bazaar pg. 34): Your familiar knows how to act cute or focused on cue, helping you make a good impression. Despite being a minion, your familiar gains 1 reaction at the start of its turns, which it can use only to Aid you on a Diplomacy check to Make an Impression (it still has to prepare to help you as normal for the Aid reaction, which requires it to participate throughout the activity). It automatically succeeds at its check to Aid you with those skills or automatically critically succeeds if you're a master of the skill in question. ✅
  • Amphibious (Core Rulebook pg. 218 3.0): It gains a swim Speed of 25 feet (or Speed of 25 feet if it already has a swim Speed). ✅
  • Burrower (Core Rulebook pg. 218 3.0): It gains a burrow Speed of 5 feet, allowing it to dig Tiny holes. ✅
  • Climber (Core Rulebook pg. 218 3.0): It gains a climb Speed of 25 feet. ✅
  • Damage Avoidance (Core Rulebook pg. 218 3.0): Choose one type of save. It takes no damage when it rolls a success on that type of save; this doesn't prevent effects other than damage. ✅
  • Darkeater (Secrets of Magic pg. 229 1.1): Your familiar naturally recovers in the shadows. After spending 10 consecutive minutes in an area of dim light or darkness, your familiar recovers a number of Hit Points equal to half your level. This ability is for a shadow familiar. A shadowcaster, however, can select this ability for any kind of familiar. ⛔️
  • Darkvision (Core Rulebook pg. 218 3.0): It gains darkvision. ✅
  • Fast Movement (Core Rulebook pg. 218 3.0): Increase one of the familiar’s Speeds from 25 feet to 40 feet. ✅
  • Flier (Core Rulebook pg. 218 3.0): It gains a fly Speed of 25 feet. ✅
  • Focused Rejuvenation (Advanced Player's Guide pg. 146 2.0): When you Refocus, you generate magical energy that heals your familiar. Your familiar regains 1 Hit Point per level whenever you Refocus. ⛔️
  • Gills (Grand Bazaar pg. 34): Your familiar grows a set of gills, allowing it to breathe water in addition to air. ✅
  • Greater Resistance (Grand Bazaar pg. 34): Your familiar increases the resistance it gains from its resistance familiar ability to 3 + half your level. Your familiar must have the resistance ability to select this. ✅
  • Independent (Advanced Player's Guide pg. 146 2.0): In an encounter, if you don't Command your familiar, it still gains 1 action each round. Typically, you still decide how it spends that action, but, the GM might determine that your familiar chooses its own tactics rather than performing your preferred action. This doesn't work with valet or similar abilities that require a command, if you're capable of riding your familiar, or similar situations. ✅
  • Kinspeech (Core Rulebook pg. 218 3.0): It can understand and speak with animals of the same species. To select this, your familiar must be an animal, it must have the speech ability, and you must be at least 6th level. ✅
  • Lab Assistant (Core Rulebook pg. 218 3.0): It can use your Quick Alchemy action. You must have Quick Alchemy, and your familiar must be in your space. This has the same cost and requirement as if you used it. It must have the manual dexterity ability to select this. ⛔️
  • Major Resistance (Grand Bazaar pg. 34): Your familiar increases the resistance it gains from its resistance familiar ability to a value equal to your level. To select this, your familiar must have the greater resistance ability and you must be at least 8th level. ✅
  • Manual Dexterity (Core Rulebook pg. 218 3.0): It can use up to two of its limbs as if they were hands to perform manipulate actions. ✅
  • Master's Form (Advanced Player's Guide pg. 146 2.0): Your familiar can change shape as a single action, transforming into a humanoid of your ancestry with the same age, gender, and build of its true form, though it always maintains a clearly unnatural remnant of its nature, such as a cat's eyes or a serpent's tongue. This form is always the same each time it uses this ability. This otherwise uses the effects of humanoid form, except the change is purely cosmetic. It only appears humanoid and gains no new capabilities. Your familiar must have the manual dexterity and speech abilities to select this. ✅
  • Partner in Crime (Advanced Player's Guide pg. 146 2.0): Your familiar is your criminal associate. Despite being a minion, your familiar gains 1 reaction at the start of its turns, which it can use only to Aid you on a Deception or Thievery skill check (it still has to prepare to help you as normal for the Aid reaction). It automatically succeeds at its check to Aid you with those skills or automatically critically succeeds if you're a master of the skill in question. ✅
  • Plant Form (Advanced Player's Guide pg. 146 2.0): Your plant familiar can change shape as a single action, transforming into a Tiny plant of a type roughly similar to the familiar's nature. This otherwise uses the effects of tree shape. You must have a familiar with the plant trait, such as a leshy, to select this ability. ⛔️
  • Poison Reservoir (Advanced Player's Guide pg. 146 2.0): Your homunculus familiar has a reservoir for poison, allowing it to apply an injury poison to an adjacent ally's exposed weapon with a single Interact action. You must supply the poison and instill it into this reservoir using two consecutive Interact actions. You must have a homunculus familiar to select this ability. ⛔️
  • Resistance (Advanced Player's Guide pg. 146 2.0): Choose two of the following: acid, cold, electricity, fire, poison, or sonic. Your familiar gains resistance equal to half your level against the chosen damage types. ✅
  • Scent (Core Rulebook pg. 218 3.0): It gains scent (imprecise, 30 feet). ✅
  • Second Opinion (Grand Bazaar pg. 34): Your familiar is your academic confidant. Despite being a minion, your familiar gains 1 reaction at the start of its turns, which it can use only to Aid you on a Recall Knowledge skill check for a skill in which it has the skilled familiar ability (it still has to prepare to help you as normal for the Aid reaction). It automatically succeeds at its check to Aid you with those skills or automatically critically succeeds if you're a master of the skill in question. Your familiar must have the skilled ability to select this. ✅
  • Shadow Step (Secrets of Magic pg. 229 1.1): This ability is for a shadow familiar. A shadowcaster, however, can select this ability for any kind of familiar. Your familiar gains the Shadow Step action. You must be at least 7th level to select this familiar ability for your familiar.
  • Shadow Step (conjuration, shadow, teleportation) Requirements The familiar is in dim light or darkness. Effect The familiar teleports itself up to 30 feet. The destination must be in dim light or darkness and must be within your familiar's line of sight and line of effect. This action has the trait matching your tradition of magic, or occult if you aren't a spellcaster. ⛔️
  • Skilled (Advanced Player's Guide pg. 146 2.0): Choose a skill other than Acrobatics or Stealth. Your familiar's modifier for that skill is equal to your level plus your key spellcasting ability modifier, rather than just your level. You can select this ability repeatedly, choosing a different skill each time. ✅
  • Snoop (Grand Bazaar pg. 34): Your familiar keeps its eyes and ears open, ready to relay every snippet of gossip it catches, helping you gather information. Despite being a minion, your familiar gains 1 reaction at the start of its turns, which it can use only to Aid you on a Diplomacy check to Gather Information (it still has to prepare to help you as normal for the Aid reaction, which requires it to participate throughout the activity). It automatically succeeds at its check to Aid you with those skills or automatically critically succeeds if you're a master of the skill in question. ✅
  • Speech (Core Rulebook pg. 218 3.0): It understands and speaks a language you know. ✅
  • Spellcasting (Advanced Player's Guide pg. 146 2.0): Choose a spell in your repertoire or that you prepared today that is at least 5 levels lower than your highest-level spell slot. Your familiar can Cast that Spell once per day using your magical tradition, spell attack modifier, and spell DC. If the spell has a drawback that affects the caster, both you and your familiar are affected. You must be able to cast 6th-level spells using spell slots to select this ability. ⛔️
  • Threat Display (Grand Bazaar pg. 34): Your familiar helps you convey wordless threats through body language. Whenever you attempt an Intimidation check to Demoralize a creature, if your familiar is within 30 feet of your target and can act, it accompanies you with snarls, hisses, or raising its hackles. If it can do so, you don't take the normal –4 penalty on the Intimidation check if your target doesn't understand the language you're speaking. ✅
  • Toolbearer (Advanced Player's Guide pg. 146 2.0): Your familiar can carry a set of tools of up to light Bulk. So long as your familiar is adjacent to you, you can draw and replace the tools as part of the action that uses them as if you were wearing them. Your familiar must have the manual dexterity ability to select this. ✅
  • Touch Telepathy (Advanced Player's Guide pg. 146 2.0): Your familiar can telepathically communicate with you via touch. If it also has the speech ability, it can telepathically communicate via touch with any creature if they share a language. ✅
  • Tough (Advanced Player's Guide pg. 147 2.0): Your familiar's maximum Hit Points increase by 2 per level. ✅
  • Tremorsense (Grand Bazaar pg. 34): Your familiar is keenly aware of any vibrations traveling through a surface. It gains imprecise tremorsense with a range of 30 feet. ✅
  • Valet (Advanced Player's Guide pg. 147 2.0): You can command your familiar to deliver you items more efficiently. Your familiar doesn't use its 2 actions immediately upon your command. Instead, up to twice before the end of your turn, you can have your familiar Interact to retrieve an item of light or negligible Bulk you are wearing and place it into one of your free hands. The familiar can't use this ability to retrieve stowed items. If the familiar has a different number of actions, it can retrieve one item for each action it has when commanded this way. ✅
  • Wavesense (Grand Bazaar pg. 34): Your familiar can sense vibrations in the water. It gains imprecise wavesense with a range of 30 feet. ✅

    Master Abilities

  • Cantrip Connection (Core Rulebook pg. 218 3.0): You can prepare an additional cantrip, or if you have a repertoire, instead designate a cantrip to add to your repertoire every time you select this ability; you can retrain it but can’t otherwise change it. You must be able to prepare cantrips or add them to your repertoire to select this. ⛔️
  • Extra Reagents (Core Rulebook pg. 218 3.0): Your familiar grows extra infused reagents on or in its body. You gain an additional batch of infused reagents. You must have the infused reagents ability to select this ability. ⛔️
  • Familiar Focus (Core Rulebook pg. 218 3.0): Once per day, your familiar can use 2 actions with the concentrate trait to restore 1 Focus Point to your focus pool, up to your usual maximum. You must have a focus pool to select this. ⛔️
  • Innate Surge (Advanced Player's Guide pg. 147 2.0): Once per day, you can draw upon your familiar's innate magic to replenish your own. You can cast one innate spell gained from an ancestry feat that you have already cast today. You must still Cast the Spell and meet the spell's other requirements. ✅
  • Lifelink (Core Rulebook pg. 218 3.0): If your familiar would be reduced to 0 HP by damage, as a reaction with the concentrate trait, you can take the damage. If you do, you take all the damage and your familiar takes none. However, special effects that would occur due to that damage (such as snake venom) still apply to your familiar. ✅
  • Recall Familiar (Grand Bazaar pg. 34): You can summon your familiar to your side. Once per day, you can use a 3-action activity, which has the concentrate trait, to teleport your familiar to your space. Your familiar must be within 1 mile or the attempt to summon it fails. This is a conjuration and teleport effect. ✅
  • Restorative Familiar (Grand Bazaar pg. 34): Once per day, your familiar can use 2 actions with the concentrate trait to give up some of its animating energy and heal you. It must be in your space to do so. You restore a number of Hit Points equal to 1d8 times half your level (minimum 1d8). ✅
  • Share Senses (Advanced Player's Guide pg. 147 2.0): Once every 10 minutes, you can use a single action with the concentrate trait to project your senses into your familiar. When you do, you lose all sensory information from your own body, but can sense through your familiar's body for up to 1 minute. You can Dismiss this effect. ✅
  • Spell Battery (Core Rulebook pg. 218 3.0): You gain one additional spell slot at least 3 levels lower than your highest-level spell slot; you must be able to cast 4th-level spells using spell slots to select this master ability. ⛔️
  • Spell Delivery (Core Rulebook pg. 218 3.0): If your familiar is in your space, you can cast a spell with a range of touch, transfer its power to your familiar, and command the familiar to deliver the spell. If you do, the familiar uses its 2 actions for the round to move to a target of your choice and touch that target. If it doesn’t reach the target to touch it this turn, the spell has no effect. ⛔️
  • Tattoo Transformation (Grand Bazaar pg. 34): Your familiar can transform into a tattoo you carry on your flesh. When transformed into a tattoo, the familiar looks like a colorful and stylized version of itself and can't act except to turn back into a familiar. It isn't affected by area effects and must be targeted separately to affect it, which requires knowledge that it's a creature. This means you and your allies can heal or assist the familiar while most enemies stay unaware of its true nature. Creatures must attempt a DC 20 Perception check to Seek to realize a tattoo is actually a familiar (which few foes will try). Your familiar can still communicate its feelings empathically. Transforming into a tattoo or back to familiar form is a 1-minute activity that has the concentrate trait. ✅

    So basically the only utility to familiars for Kineticists is basically give some help with some skills and/or heal you once per day (Restorative Familiar)? Maybe it not deserving some abilities more exclusive for the class like for example a Independent familiar Gather Element for you ;D


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    I mean, the same could be said about Thaumaturge having a familiar, it's just a thematic thing for the class to have.


    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    You know, with alchemists able to outsource one of their core features, why not? If anything, adapt element could fit as a familiar ability. As an elemental creature is can have some small control of their element. I could see some more specific familiar abilities making it to the full release to more support the kineticist.


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    Elemental Wisp familiar by level 2


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    Having a little drake made of fire nestled on my shoulder that has cute little smoky sneezes is worth the price of admission good sir! Especially if I'm getting 3 first level feats (4 if I'm human).


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    It's pretty easy to have a familiar just do Speech+Skilled and now it's a recall knowledge you can change every day. There's some useful options that work fine for kineticists.


    They're trying to make this class as popular as the witch, that's its utility.

    Grand Lodge

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    I hope there might be Kineticist options like recall familiar. As a reaction, your familiar returns to your hand and becomes a gathered element.

    Just spitballin'.


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    Unless the dungeon you're in is truly massive an Aerokineticist might be one of the few classes that can definitely use their Familiar to scout. After all, they get as a level 1 ability a Message that needs neither line of sight nor effect, and at level 8 has a max range of a mile. Slap some Share Senses on your little buddy in the morning, and use message to command it from a safe place while watching through its eyes. Heck, give it Share Senses and Speech and you can take advantage of the built-in response of Message to only turn on Share Senses when there's actually something to see. And all of this should be entirely within the vanilla options of what Familiars can do.

    Also a Pyrokineticist's Elemental Familiar, as per the wording of the feat, both "appears to be... made of [fire]" and "immune to [fire]" so you could absolutely just park it in a burning fireplace to relatively easily bug a room. Or for that matter, what does a creature made of air look like?


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    Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

    The value of familiars in general is subject to massive table variance. Don't take this option unless you've discussed familiars in advance with your GM.


    If message is a means by which you can command a familiar, whisper on the wind has a lot of potential for familiar scouting.


    The Message activity and the Command action aren't the same thing so you wouldn't be able to have a familiar scout any farther than normal.

    Message
    [Auditory, llusion, Linguistic, Mental]
    Source Core Rulebook pg. 351
    1 action

    vs

    Minion
    Source Core Rulebook pg. 634
    you issue a verbal command as a single action with the auditory and concentrate traits.


    Familiar scouting is so weird. Like share senses would suggest using this to spy from a distance but with the command rules, it would only allow you to spy from around a corner. I'm risking this thread turning into another familiar rules so apologies.


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    aobst128 wrote:
    Familiar scouting is so weird. Like share senses would suggest using this to spy from a distance but with the command rules, it would only allow you to spy from around a corner. I'm risking this thread turning into another familiar rules so apologies.

    *shrug* I personally don't see anything to suggest that they can scout at all. All share senses says to me is that you can borrow senses you don't normally have: for instance, a human can get scent, darkvision or tremor sense not that they are meant to be use is situations where they are in different locations.


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    Well even if Whispering Wind scouting doesn't work out, a Deception-Skilled Fire Familiar with Share Senses Impersonating a fire in a lit fireplace is still a valid spying mechanism. The only flaw I can see in such a plan is if your GM is really against you and rules "The familiar uses your Constitution modifier to determine its Perception, Acrobatics, and Stealth modifiers" doesn't extend using Con to Skilled, but even then that can be worked around.


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    You don't need to Command your familiar in exploration mode, just talking to it with message is sufficient to communicate your intentions. It is a sentient ball of elements afterall.


    graystone wrote:
    aobst128 wrote:
    Familiar scouting is so weird. Like share senses would suggest using this to spy from a distance but with the command rules, it would only allow you to spy from around a corner. I'm risking this thread turning into another familiar rules so apologies.
    *shrug* I personally don't see anything to suggest that they can scout at all. All share senses says to me is that you can borrow senses you don't normally have: for instance, a human can get scent, darkvision or tremor sense not that they are meant to be use is situations where they are in different locations.

    I don't know about that. Says you project "your" senses into your familiar. Doesn't say you can use your familiars senses. But even with the limitations on command, having the tool to project your eyes and ears to your familiar is a decent utility for careful dungeon crawling. Presumably, you could make perception checks from your familiars location.


    Shinigami02 wrote:
    Well even if Whispering Wind scouting doesn't work out, a Deception-Skilled Fire Familiar with Share Senses Impersonating a fire in a lit fireplace is still a valid spying mechanism. The only flaw I can see in such a plan is if your GM is really against you and rules "The familiar uses your Constitution modifier to determine its Perception, Acrobatics, and Stealth modifiers" doesn't extend using Con to Skilled, but even then that can be worked around.

    After a minute without commands, it starts acting on its own being played by the DM. So it's utility isn't reliable. It could just as easily wander off to find something more interesting to burn. There is just WAY too much table variation to make any general assumption of usefulness for familiars past passive benefits.

    RexAliquid wrote:
    You don't need to Command your familiar in exploration mode, just talking to it with message is sufficient to communicate your intentions. It is a sentient ball of elements afterall.

    Nothing ever says they stop needing to be commanded or that the minion trait stops working. Activities are still counted in actions/round: they are based on the equivalent of 1 action per 6 seconds, or alternating between 2 actions per 12 seconds. As to being sentient... Well, they don't even have an Int score so how smart they are is questionable. They can't be that smart if they need commanded every 6 seconds.

    aobst128 wrote:
    I don't know about that. Says you project "your" senses into your familiar.

    It's a lot less useful with that reading, but I guess you can use it to see places your familiar can go that you can't like seeing what's under your couch without having to lift it up.


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    Fly speed helps to give more application to share senses. Can literally give you a bird's eye view.


    I'll add the note that Rage of Elements would not be the first book to add new familiar features to benefit more characters.


    Pathfinder Pawns, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

    You can use Extract Element on it to Gather Element when it breaks your rules. ╰༼◉Д◕༽〜┣▇▇▇═── (;´Д`)


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    Well add more features, yes. People will never stop arguing over whether they actually benefit any characters.


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    Xenocrat wrote:
    Well add more features, yes. People will never stop arguing over whether they actually benefit any characters.

    Well at least they will until we get some actual feedback on how they are meant to be run... Right after a breakdown of Recall Info though! ;)


    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

    I kinda think it would be cool, since the kineticist is not a caster, if they could just at will resume on and dismiss their familiar. Maybe make it three actions and overflow to make it non trivial, but then they can just not worry about it getting attacked at all. It’s essence returns to and from their gate with ease.


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    Unicore wrote:
    I kinda think it would be cool, since the kineticist is not a caster, if they could just at will resume on and dismiss their familiar. Maybe make it three actions and overflow to make it non trivial, but then they can just not worry about it getting attacked at all. It’s essence returns to and from their gate with ease.

    Tattoo Transformation is the power to hide away your familiar.


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    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

    But why do Kineticists need that? At higher levels they can basically bring elemental creatures on to the material plane at will already, and those creatures can make melee attacks to provide flanking. I just think it would be cool for the kineticist familiar to be more functionally different than other familiars, by having it exist more like a summoned elemental


    Unicore wrote:
    But why do Kineticists need that? At higher levels they can basically bring elemental creatures on to the material plane at will already, and those creatures can make melee attacks to provide flanking. I just think it would be cool for the kineticist familiar to be more functionally different than other familiars, by having it exist more like a summoned elemental

    So we waste space to make an ability slightly different than one that exist because...? I'd rather see something new and interesting for the class.

    There are also familiar satchels [1 action to enter], the Familiar Tattoo item, sleeves of storage... IMO, I'd rather reflavor an existing ability/item than make a new one that is basically the same thing with the word/trait 'Kineticist' attached to it.

    IMO, if they makes something new JUST for Kineticists, I'd rather see actually new stuff like new familiars and powers/abilities. Tiny Water beetles or Fire flies? Yes please. Have an ability that allows elemental familiars to gather elements for it's element as a free action 1/day? Great! A new way to summon/unsummon familiars... meh.


    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

    Can't the Kineticist already make their familiar a water beetle or Fire Fly?

    A familiar who can scout, walk into a trap, and then be resummoned next round is not something the game currently has.


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    Lol I'd be a little salty if the kineticist could do special familiar stuff before the witch


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    Unicore wrote:
    Can't the Kineticist already make their familiar a water beetle or Fire Fly?

    I meant specific familiars like an Imp: I don't mind space for new material like a new specific familiar.

    Unicore wrote:
    A familiar who can scout, walk into a trap, and then be resummoned next round is not something the game currently has.

    I don't think instance recovery of a dead familiar is in the cards. If all it took was to multiclass into Kineticist to pick up the ability, then you'd see wizards doing multiple final sacrifices a day...

    WWHsmackdown wrote:
    Lol I'd be a little salty if the kineticist could do special familiar stuff before the witch

    That too.

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