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Un-Familiar Companions (Part 1 of 2)

Witch and CatWizards, sorcerers, and witches can all have familiars. While familiars continue to grow more powerful along with their masters, some arcane casters want something more. Perhaps constant exposure to their magic has shaped or warped the familiars. Perhaps they have decided to replace the familiar with a more resilient form. Or perhaps the caster seeks a familiar that articulates their particular style or philosophy. Whatever the case, the following two feats allow casters to improve upon their familiars. These feats can be changed when gaining a new familiar as long as requirements are met.

Arcane Familiar Enhancement Feat

This feat magnifies the school specialization of the caster. Familiars retain all other abilities unless otherwise specified…

Requirements: 1 rank in Knowledge (arcana), appropriate arcane school specialization or Spell Focus in the appropriate school.

Benefits: Your familiar gains the following abilities associated with your specialized  school of magic.

Abjuration—The familiar can cast shield as a spell-like ability (at 1/2 your CL) on itself as a swift action 2/day. The familiar can expend both spells to instead cast shield on you as a standard action.

Conjuration—The familiar grants a +1 familiar bonus to hp per HD of the summoned creature when you cast a summon monster spell, up to 2/day.

Divination—The familiar grants the ability for you to roll a second initiative die and choose the better die, 2/day. This must be announced before rolling any initiative dice for the character.

Enchantment—The familiar is particularly striking. Choose Bluff, Diplomacy, or Intimidate: this skill is always considered a class skill for you as long as you have this familiar. You gain a +3 familiar bonus to checks for that skill.

Evocation—The familiar is tied to a particular element. Choose one energy type: acid, cold, electricity, fire. The familiar grants a +1 familiar bonus to damage per spell level of any arcane spells with that descriptor you cast. For example, a fireball (3rd level) cast by an 11th level wizard would be 6d6+3).

Illusion—As a supernatural ability, the familiar can alter its appearance 1/day (at your CL). At 1st level, the familiar can cast disguise self as an animal of similar size. At 3rd level, it can cast either disguise self or invisibility.

Necromancy—This vile familiar evokes fear in others. The familiar can cast cause fear 1/day (at 1/2 your CL). Furthermore, it grants a +2 familiar bonus to Intimidate checks.

Transmutation—The familiar is a shape changer. Each time you prepare spells or regain your daily allotment, you can command your familiar to change shape. Roll 1d20 and consult the chart. If the result is the same as its current form, it stubbornly refuses to change shape. You benefit from the new form’s special ability bonus (if any). Bonus spells granted to witches are unchanged from the original form. This familiar’s form does not grant the standard ability. (That is, a transmutation arcane enhanced cat familiar only grants the cat special ability when in cat form.)

Roll, Familiar, Special Ability

1-3, GM’s choice, GM’s choice of shape

4, Bat, You gain a +3 bonus on Fly checks

5, Cat, You gain a +3 bonus on Stealth checks

6, Fox, You gain a +2 on Reflex saves

7, Goat, You gain a +3 on Survival checks

8, Hawk, You gain a +3 bonus on sight-based and opposed Perception checks in bright light

9, Lizard, You gain a +3 bonus on Climb checks

10, Monkey, You gain a +3 bonus on Acrobatics checks

11, Owl, You gain a +3 bonus on sight-based and opposed Perception checks

in shadows or darkness

12, Pig, You gain a +3 on Diplomacy checks

13, Rat, You gain a +2 bonus on Fortitude saves

14, Raven*, You gain a +3 bonus on Appraise checks

15, Viper, You gain a +3 bonus on Bluff checks

16, Toad, You gain +3 hp

17, Weasel, You gain a +2 bonus on Reflex saves

18-20, PC’s Choice, Player’s choice of shape

*A raven familiar can speak one language of your choice as a supernatural ability.

Universal—Your familiar provides some resilience toward magic. Each day, when you prepare spells or otherwise gain your daily spell allotment, you choose one school of magic. You gain a +1 bonus to saves against spells and spell-like effects of that school. This lasts until you prepare spells again or regain your daily allotment of spells.

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6 Replies to "Un-Familiar Companions (Part 1 of 2)"

Stefen

March 8, 2011 at 7:00am

Almost all players I know hate familiars and instead take an item arcane bond. This just might change their minds. A great piece.

Tivilio

March 8, 2011 at 7:28am

I love familiars, and I like what you’ve done with this article. Thank you!

xellos

March 8, 2011 at 9:24am

Agree with Stefen; this article makes familiars a much more compelling choice. Great job here.

Cody

March 8, 2011 at 10:37am

I agree with Stefen and Xellos. I’ve always hated familiars, but this article makes me want to have one now.

Daigle

March 8, 2011 at 4:42pm

I love the *idea* of familiars, but rarely are they as cool as they should be. Articles like this certainly help in this aspect. Well done!

Phil Larwood

March 8, 2011 at 5:00pm

Great article, but doesn’t an 11th level wizard’s fireball do 10d6 damage? ;-)

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