Master Familiar (Wizard Archetype)

Not every wizard is in control of his familiar; sometimes these magical creatures prove too domineering for their supposed masters, and reverse the role between ‘master and servant’. Other times, otherworldly creatures hide behind a guise of mundanity and control a person to lay the blame of their actions on another. Regardless of the ‘how’, sometimes the familiar is the one pulling the strings.

Familiar Magic (Ex): At 1st level, the master familiar may casts spells without a humanoid form. This ability replaces Scribe Scroll.

Note: Terms: In this class entry we refer to two things: the master familiar and the wizard-thrall. The master familiar is the creature who is being played directly and fills the role of a party member. The wizard-thrall is a humanoid creature who follows all the normal rules for character creation but is actually the master familiar’s pet/slave/thrall (as described in the familiar class feature). A “familiar” refers to the class feature by that name and the “master familiar” is the name of this class.

Man in Charge (Su): Unlike a standard wizard, the master familiar has inverted the normal bond between the wizard and his familiar; the master familiar gains class levels in the wizard class and his wizard-thrall functions as his pet familiar. At 1st level, the character who is normally the wizard becomes the wizard-thrall of the master familiar who is directly controlled by the player. In addition, the master familiar and his wizard-thrall permanently swap mental ability scores. The master familiar and wizard-thrall must share the same alignment. To determine the wizard-thrall’s hit points, BAB, saves and skills, treat the wizard-thrall as a familiar. The master familiar and his wizard-thrall gain special abilities from Table: Master Familiar and Wizard-thrall abilities in the place of the normal familiar ability table.

Table: Master Familiar and Wizard-thrall abilities
Level Natural Armor Adjustment Int Score Master Familiar Abilities Wizard-Thrall Abilities
1st-2nd +1 6 Improved evasion Alertness, share spells, empathic link
3rd-4th +2 7 - Ability score increase, deliver touch spells
5th-6th +3 8 Speak with thrall -
7th-8th +4 9 - Ability Score increase
9th-10th +5 10 - -
11th-12th +6 11 Spell resistance Ability score increase
13th-14th +7 12 Scry on thrall -
15th-16th +8 13 - Ability score increase
17th-18th +9 14 - -
19th-20th +10 15 - Ability score increase
  • NATURAL ARMOR ADJ.: The number noted here is in addition to the familiar’s existing natural armor bonus.
  • INT SCORE: The wizard-thrall’s Intelligence score.
  • ALERTNESS (EX): While his wizard-thrall is within arm’s reach, the master familiar gains the Alertness feat.
  • IMPROVED EVASION (EX): When subjected to an attack that normally allows a Reflex saving throw for half damage, a master familiar takes no damage if it makes a successful saving throw and half damage even if the saving throw fails.
  • SHARE SPELLS: The master familiar may cast a spell with a target of “You” on his wizard-thrall (as a touch spell) instead of on himself. A master familiar may cast spells on his wizard-thrall even if the spells do not normally affect creatures of the wizard-thrall’s type.
  • EMPATHIC LINK (SU): The master familiar has an empathic link with his wizard-thrall to a 1 mile distance. The master familiar can communicate empathically with the wizard-thrall, but cannot see through its eyes. Because of the link’s limited nature, only general emotions can be shared. The master familiar has the same connection to an item or place that his wizard-thrall does.
  • ABILITY SCORE INCREASE: The wizard-thrall gains a permanent +1 bonus to a score of the master familiar’s choice.
  • DELIVER TOUCH SPELLS (SU): If the master familiar is 3rd level or higher, his wizard-thrall can deliver touch spells for him. If the master familiar and his wizard-thrall are in contact at the time the familiar casts a touch spell, he can designate his wizard-thrall as the “toucher.” The wizard-thrall can then deliver the touch spell just as the master familiar would. As usual, if the master familiar casts another spell before the touch is delivered, the touch spell dissipates.
  • SPEAK WITH MASTER (EX): If the master familiar is 5th level or higher, a master familiar and his wizard-thrall can communicate verbally as if they were using a common language. Other creatures do not understand the communication without magical help.
  • SPELL RESISTANCE (EX): If the master familiar is 11th level or higher, a master familiar gains spell resistance equal to his level + 5. To affect the master familiar with a spell, another spellcaster must get a result on a caster level check (1d20 + caster level) that equals or exceeds the master familiar’s spell resistance.
  • SCRY ON FAMILIAR (SP): If the master familiar is 13th level or higher, he may scry on his wizard-thrall (as if casting the scrying spell) once per day.

This modifies the Arcane Bond class feature.

Note: Life as a Familiar
Keep in mind that most familiars are unusual in many regards:

  • Most familiars are tiny creatures, and thus have no reach.
  • Only a few familiars can speak a language, and thus communication can prove a problem early on.
  • Most familiars are not shaped like a normal humanoid, and thus traditionally have different magic item slots. However, for the purpose of this class, assume they have the same slots as a typical humanoid. A raven may wear a ring on his claw, a turtle might use runic symbols on his shell rather than a cloak- but a player should always have access to the same number of equipment slots.

Improved Familiar(Ex): At 7th level, the master familiar gains Improved Familiar as a bonus feat. He must match the alignment requirement of his new form. He adjusts his statistics according to his new form. This ability replaces the master familiar’s ability to speak with animals of its kind at 7th level.

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