A familiar is an animal chosen by a spellcaster to aid him in his study of magic. Wizards, witches, and arcane bloodline sorcerers have the ability to call a familiar. (Witches must have a familiar in order to learn and prepare spells.)

A familiar retains the appearance, Hit Dice, skills, and feats of the normal animal it once was, though it is now a magical creature (which affects how certain spells and magical effects treat it). Only a normal, unmodified animal may become a familiar. A companion creature cannot also function as a familiar.

A familiar grants special abilities to its master, as given on the table below. These special abilities apply only when the master and familiar are within 1 mile of each other.

Levels of different classes that are entitled to familiars stack for the purpose of determining any familiar abilities that depend on the master's level.

Note: The rules listed on this page apply to wizards and sorcerers; see the witch class description for ways in which a witch's familiar differs from these rules.

If a familiar is dismissed, lost, or dies, it can be replaced 1 week later through a specialized ritual that costs 200 gp per mage level. The ritual takes 8 hours to complete.

Familiar Special Ability
Banana slug Master gains a +3 bonus on Athletics checks to climb
Bat Master gains a +3 bonus on Fly? checks
Cat Master gains a +3 bonus on Stealth? checks
Centipede, house Master gains a +3 bonus on Stealth? checks
Chicken Master gains +3 hit points
Fox Master gains a +2 bonus on Reflex saves
Hawk Master gains a +3 bonus on Spot checks in bright light
Hedgehog Master gains a +2 bonus on Reflex saves
Lizard Master gains a +3 bonus on Athletics checks to climb
Mongoose Master gains a +2 bonus on Fortitude saves
Monkey Master gains a +3 bonus on Acrobatics checks
Owl Master gains a +3 bonus on Spot checks in shadows or darkness
Rat Master gains a +2 bonus on Fortitude saves
Raven† Master gains a +3 bonus on Appraise? checks
Squirrel, flying Master gains a +3 bonus on Fly? checks
Viper Master gains a +3 bonus on Bluff? checks
Toad Master gains +3 hit points

†A raven familiar can speak one language of its master's choice as a supernatural ability.

(See the Improved Familiar feat for additional familiar options.)

Familiar Basics

Use the basic statistics for a creature of the familiar's kind, but with the following changes.

Hit Dice: For the purpose of effects related to number of Hit Dice, use the master's character level or the familiar's normal HD total, whichever is higher.

Hit Points: The familiar has half the master's total hit points (not including temporary hit points), rounded down, regardless of its actual Hit Dice.

Attacks: Use the master's base attack bonus. Use the familiar's Dexterity or Strength modifier, whichever is greater, to calculate the familiar's melee attack bonus with natural weapons. Damage equals that of a normal creature of the familiar's kind.

Saving Throws: For each saving throw, use either the familiar's base save bonus (Fortitude +2, Reflex +2, Will +0) or the master's (as calculated from all his classes), whichever is better. The familiar uses its own ability modifiers to saves, and it doesn't share any of the other bonuses that the master might have on saves.

Skills: For each skill in which either the master or the familiar has ranks, use either the normal skill ranks for an animal of that type or the master's skill ranks, whichever is better. In either case, the familiar uses its own ability modifiers. Regardless of a familiar's total skill modifiers, some skills (i.e. those that require fine manipulation) may remain beyond the familiar's ability to use.

Familiar Ability Descriptions

All familiars have special abilities (or impart abilities to their masters) depending on the master's mage level, as shown on the table below. The abilities are cumulative.

Master Mage Level Natural Armor Adj. Intelligence Special
1st–2nd +1 6 Alertness, share spells, empathic link
3rd–4th +2 7 Deliver touch spells
5th–6th +3 8 Speak with master
7th–8th +4 9 Speak with animals of its kind
9th–10th +5 10 +2 to Reflex saves
11th–12th +6 11 Spell resistance
13th–14th +7 12 Scry on familiar
15th–16th +8 13 +2 to Reflex saves
17th–18th +9 14
19th–20th +10 15

Natural Armor Adj.: The number noted here is in addition to the familiar's existing natural armor bonus.

Intelligence: The familiar's Intelligence score.

Alertness (Ex): While a familiar is within arm's reach, the master gains a +2 bonus to Listen? and Spot checks.

Share Spells: At the master's option, she may have any spell (but not any spell-like ability) she casts upon herself also affect her familiar. The familiar must be within 5 feet of her at the time of casting to receive the benefit. If the spell or effect has a duration other than instantaneous, it stops affecting the familiar if the familiar moves farther than 5 feet away and will not affect the familiar again, even if it returns to the master before the duration expires. Alternatively, the master may cast a spell with a target of “you” on her familiar (as a spell with a range of touch) instead of on herself. This ability only affects mage spells. A master and his familiar can share spells even if the spells normally do not affect creatures of the familiar’s type.

Empathic Link (Su): The master has an empathic link with his familiar to a 1 mile distance. The master can communicate empathically with the familiar, but cannot see through its eyes. Because of the link's limited nature, only general emotions can be shared. The master has the same connection to an item or place that his familiar does.

Deliver Touch Spells (Su): If the master is 3rd level or higher, a familiar can deliver touch spells for him. If the master and the familiar are in contact at the time the master casts a touch spell, he can designate his familiar as the “toucher.” The familiar can then deliver the touch spell just as the master would. As usual, if the master casts another spell before the touch is delivered, the touch spell dissipates.

Speak with Master (Ex): If the master is 5th level or higher, a familiar and the master can communicate verbally as if they were using a common language. Other creatures do not understand the communication without magical help.

Speak with Animals of Its Kind (Ex): If the master is 7th level or higher, a familiar can communicate with animals of approximately the same kind as itself (including dire varieties): bats with bats, cats with felines, hawks and owls and ravens with birds, lizards and snakes with reptiles, monkeys with other simians, rats with rodents, toads with amphibians, etc. Such communication is limited by the Intelligence of the conversing creatures.

Spell Resistance (Ex): If the master is 11th level or higher, a familiar gains spell resistance equal to the master's level + 5. To affect the familiar with a spell, another spellcaster must get a result on a caster level check (1d20 + caster level) that equals or exceeds the familiar's spell resistance.

Scry on Familiar (Sp): If the master is 13th level or higher, he may scry on his familiar (as if casting the scrying spell) once per day.

Bonus to Reflex saves: A familiar's Reflex save bonus increases by +2 at the indicated levels.