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Warclam
2009-05-27, 09:39 PM
So I was thinking about familiars the other day, and I noticed a few things. One, there are extremely few prestige class which grant familiar advancement. Two, those that do give extra abilities to the familiar, but none seem to significantly improve their fish-in-a-blender-like life expectancy. Three, and most significantly, there is (as far as I can tell) no class which gives a familiar more hit points than half those possessed by its master, a big problem for a wizard or sorcerer who'd like to use a familiar as protection. Here's what I've come up with so far to remedy that problem:


Duo Arcanist

{table=head]Level | BAB | Fort | Ref | Will | Special | Spells
1 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 2 | Familiar abilities, Morphic Familiar, Stalwart Familiar, Soul Bond| +1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
2 | 1 | 0 | 0 | 3 | Magical Bond (Share Spells) | +1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
3 | 1 | 1 | 1 | 3 | ó | +1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
4 | 2 | 1 | 1 | 4 | Magical Bond (Telepathic Link) | +1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
5 | 2 | 1 | 1 | 4 | ó | +1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class[/table]

Hit Die: d4

Requirements
Class Features and Feats: Summon familiar class feature or Obtain Familiar feat; Any one feat which increases the list of available familiars, such as Improved Familiar.
Skills: 4 ranks of Handle Animal.
Spells: Able to cast 3rd-level arcane spells.

Class Skills (2 + Int modifier per level): Bluff, Concentration, Craft, Decipher Script, Knowledge (all skills taken individually), Profession, Spellcraft.

Weapon and Armor Proficiencies: A Duo Arcanist gains no proficiencies with weapons or armor.

Spells per Day/Spells Known: At each level, a Duo Arcanist gains new spells per day (and spells known, if applicable) as if she had also gained a level in a spellcasting class to which she belonged before adding the prestige class level. She does not, however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained (such as bonus feats). If she had more than one spellcasting class before becoming a Duo Arcanist, she must decide to which class to add each level for the purpose of determining spells per day and spells known.

Familiar Abilities: Levels of Duo Arcanist stack with levels of any class that provide access to a familiar. Add twice the number of levels from this class to the class that granted access to the familiar and refer to the table on page 53 of the Playerís Handbook to determine the familiarís natural armor, Intelligence, and special abilities. For example, a wizard 5/Duo Arcanist 3 would have a familiar with abilities equal to the familiar of an 11th-level wizard. If a character had levels in multiple classes that grant access to a familiar before becoming a Duo Arcanist, she must decide to which class to add each level for the purpose of determining the abilities of her familiar.

Morphic Familiar (Su): A Duo Arcanistís familiar is able to alter its form to better suit its masterís current needs. As a one-minute action, the familiar can change its form to that of any creature that the Duo Arcanist could have as a familiar. The wizard gains the new benefit of the familiar while losing the previous benefit.

In addition, the familiar may take on one of three aspects, granting unique abilities the familiar can use so long as it retains that aspect. These aspects are:

Healerís Aspect: A familiar manifesting the healerís aspect gains a competence bonus on heal checks equal to its masterís Duo Arcanist level. In addition, it gains the touch of vitality supernatural ability. It may heal the wounds of living creatures by touch. Each day it can heal a number of points of damage equal to its effective hit dice ◊ its masterís bonus for her primary casting ability. For example, the familiar of a wizard 5/Duo Arcanist 2 with an Intelligence score of 18 (+4 bonus) can heal 28 points of damage. This healing can be distributed among multiple recipients, and it doesnít have to be used all at once. Using the touch of vitality is a standard action. It has no effect on undead.
The familiar may also choose to spend some of the healing bestowed by its touch of vitality to remove other harmful conditions affecting the target. For every 5 points of its healing ability it expends, it can cure 1 point of ability damage or remove the dazed, fatigued, or sickened condition from one individual.
At 3rd level, for every 10 points of its healing ability it expends, it can remove the exhausted, nauseated, poisoned, or stunned condition from one individual.
At 5th level, for every 20 points of its healing ability it expends, it can remove a negative level or the blinded, deafened, or diseased condition from one individual.
The familiar can remove a condition (or more than one condition) and heal damage with the same touch, so long as it expends the required number of points. For example, if it wanted to heal 12 points of damage and remove the blinded and exhausted conditions from a target, it would have to expend 42 points (12 hit points restored plus 20 points for blinded plus 10 points for exhausted).

Thiefís Aspect: A familiar manifesting the thiefís aspect gains the trapfinding ability, and is treated as having ranks in search, disable device, and open lock equal to its effective hit dice. In addition, the familiar receives a competence bonus equal to its masterís Duo Arcanist level on search, disable device, open lock, hide, and move silently checks.

Warriorís Aspect: A familiar manifesting the warriorís aspect gains a +1 competence bonus on attack rolls, which improves to +2 at level 3 and +3 at level 5.
At 3rd level, the familiar gains the powerful build trait, which lets it function in many ways as if it were one size category larger. Whenever it is subject to a size modifier or special size modifier for an opposed check (such as during grapple checks, bull rush attempts, and trip attempts), the familiar is treated as one size larger if doing so is advantageous to it. The familiar is also considered to be one size larger when determining whether a creatureís special attacks based on size (such as improved grab or swallow whole) can affect it. The familiar can use weapons designed for a creature one size larger without penalty (assuming it is capable of using weapons at all). However, its space and reach remain those of a creature of his actual size. The benefits of this trait stack with the effects of powers, abilities, and spells that change the subjectís size category.
At 5th level, the familiarís powerful build trait improves, allowing its natural weapons to deal damage as if it were one size category larger.

Stalwart Familiar (Ex): At 1st level, a Duo Arcanistís familiar becomes much tougher than a standard familiar. It now has a number of hit points equal to its masterís total hit points (not including temporary hit points), rounded down, regardless of its actual Hit Dice. At each level of Duo Arcanist, the familiarís hit points increase by another 25 percent of its masterís, to a maximum of twice its masterís total hit points at 5th level.

Soul Bond (Su): The bond between a Duo Arcanist and her familiar is extraordinarily strong, and strengthens as they progress through this class. In the event that the familiar is slain, its soul is stored within the body of the Duo Arcanist. The master may restore the familiar to life at any point thereafter, using a ritual. This ritual is the same as that for summoning a new familiar, requiring 100gp worth of materials and taking 24 hours to perform. Due to the strength of the bond between a Duo Arcanist and their familiar, even if she waits the required 1 year and 1 day, she may never summon a new familiar.

Magical Bond (Su): At 2nd level, the magic between a Duo Arcanist and her familiar strengthens, so that she may share spells with her familiar provided it is within a distance from her of 5 feet per Duo Arcanist level, and her familiar may continue to benefit from that spell as long as it stays within that range. Additionally, within this same range, the familiar is considered to be within arm's reach of the Duo Arcanist, both for the granted Alertness feat and for the casting of touch spells (including spells with a range of "You").

At 4th level this bond strengthens further, so that the Duo Arcanist and her familiar are in constant telepathic communication. This ability functions as the speak with master ability, except that the communication is purely mental and functions at the normal range for the empathic link ability (1 mile).


And here's the latest version! I've gone back to a 5-level progression because I just think it suits the class better, but I'm aware I may be unable to work this latest concept into 5 levels without going overboard on power. Please tell me if that's the case. Further comments down below.

DrakebloodIV
2009-05-27, 10:17 PM
Why would a character take Wizard rather than Duo Arcanist? You should make the first level not provide an additional level of spellcaster progression.

GryffonDurime
2009-05-27, 10:33 PM
Why would a character take Wizard rather than Duo Arcanist? You should make the first level not provide an additional level of spellcaster progression.

I don't know. If they've already sunk a feat into Improved Familiar, they're clearly going for a very familiar-centric concept. There may be another way to balance the class rather than losing a Caster Level. It just seems a bit too much to me. Maybe an exotic (for spellcasters) skill requirement? Handle Animal, 4 ranks or so jumps to mind.

Human Paragon 3
2009-05-27, 10:51 PM
I agree that a few ranks in handle animal or perhaps sense motive would round out the pre-requisites.

There are a few little mistakes in your write up I'd like to point out. First, you say alienist Spells/Day section. Should be switched to Duo Arcanist.

Second, in the Stalwart Familiar entry, it says you round down hit points, but that doesn't make sense to me. Round down to what? The familiar has the same HP total as you, so... what are you rounding? It's a bit unclear how its HP increases after that. I read it as at 2nd level, the familiar has 125% of your HP, at 3rd 150% at 4th 175% and at 5th 200%. Is this right? Maybe that's where you meant to say to round down.

As for the power level of the class abilities, it's hard for me to judge. Would having a toad familiar with 70 HP and +11/6/1 BAB be unbalanced? Or would it just make no freaking sense? Hard to say. I guess it makes more sense when applied to an Imp or an Elemental or something. Should probably be fine.

Last comment, I think it would be cool if you added 2x your Duo Arcanist level to your effective level for familiar. So a Wizard 5/ Duo Arcanist 5 would be level 15 as far as their familiar is concerned.

DracoDei
2009-05-27, 10:58 PM
Why would a character take Wizard rather than Duo Arcanist? You should make the first level not provide an additional level of spellcaster progression.

Well... wizard DOES give bonus feats, but I am not sure if that balances it out. In either case Sorcerer is the more applicable question.

EDIT November 2010: In the time since this thread was first posted, I have come up with two PrCs built around a familiar. So I am going to go ahead and link for for wikipedia-like cross referencing. Only one of them gives the familiar any extra hitpoints, but I think that both of them allow an arcanist to hide behind his familiar quite effectively... although not in the way the original poster may have meant. They also reduce the XP cost of replacing the familiar, and allow rapid replacement.
For Sorcerers/Wizards we have the Artillery Mage (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=6485821#post6485821).
For Warlocks we have THIS (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=171845). (Although, as of this writing, it could perhaps use a better name).

Warclam
2009-05-28, 05:23 AM
OK, I've fixed up the errors. I guess I need to pay more attention when I copy and paste.

I've also added a requirement of 4 ranks in Handle Animal. I was going to make it 4, but that's pretty harsh for a sorcerer: half her skill points into a useless skill? It at least has Cha-synergy, but still, that's a little steep. Then I was going to make it 2, but I decided that was too easy and changed it back.

Regarding taking this class instead of continuing base class progression: you can only take this class if you have a familiar plus some kind of familiar-improving feat. A large number of wizards and sorcerers trade in their walking XP bombs for alternative class features. You're only going to have some kind of improved familiar if you're already pretty familiar-intensive, in which case you're obviously going to want to take a familiar-boosting prestige class.

As far as stalwart familiar goes, Gaurd Juris, I was worried that would be kinda confusing. You interpreted it correctly: the progression is 100% ó> 125% ó> 150% ó> 175% ó> 200%. I considered using a simpler 50% increase, but three times even a wizard's hit points ends up being a lot of hit points and I was worried it was too much. Here's my calculation:

lvl 5 wizard / lvl 5 DA (14 Con):
10d4 HD + 10 * Con Mod = 2.5*10 + 2*10 = 25 + 20 = 45

lvl 10 knight (16 Con):
10d12 HD + 10 * Con Mod = 6.5*10 + 3*10 = 65 + 30 = 95

lvl 10 knight (20 Con, Improved Toughness):
10d12 HD + 10 * Con Mod + 10 * 1= 6.5*10 + 5*10 + 10 * 1 = 65 + 50 + 10 = 125

So twice the hit points of a decent-Con wizard is about as many as a good-Con knight, neither of them really devoted to getting hit points. By contrast, thrice the hit points ends up surpassing the HP of a crazy high-Con dwarf knight with Improved Toughness. That's really high.

I also like the idea of using twice the class level to determine familiar abilities. I was thinking of adding something along those lines, but couldn't work out the mechanics, so thanks!

EDIT: Oops, it just occurred to me to wonder what happens if your familiar dies. Basically, unless you can get a rez, your entire prestige class' worth of features is down the tubes. Accordingly, I have added the lifebond companion class feature so you don't have to beg help from some cleric.

Pyrusticia
2009-05-28, 06:57 AM
I like this a lot. I've always liked playing casters with strong familiars, but the only way I could really do that before was by playing an Arcane Heirophant (which effectively merges a familiar and an animal companion into one).

I agree that there's no doubt that the five levels provided by this are better than 5 levels of Wizard or Sorcerer...you're getting all the spellcasting, and only giving up one feat in exchange for effectively turning your familiar into an d8-HD fighter. The new entrance requirements should be sufficient balance, though. Some playtesting would be good, to confirm this.

I do have one question, though...regarding the shapeshifting ability reference below:


In addition, whenever a Duo Arcanist gains a level in a class that stacks with another class to determine familiar abilities, she may choose for her familiar to transform into any creature available to her as a familiar. For example, if a wizard 5/Duo Arcanist 1 with Improved Familiar has a cat familiar and gains another level of Duo Arcanist, she may choose for her familiar to become an Imp since that is now an option available to her based on her caster level, provided she meets the other requirements. A transformed familiar loses its old abilities and gains new ones appropriate to its new form, but it is still the same being and retains its own personality and memories.

How often/when can this be done? Only at level-up? Or can the decision be made at any time? Once per level, or as often as desired? And if it can be done unlimited times, it becomes important to note how long the shift takes, and what is required.

I'd recommend not limiting when/how often it is done, to maintain flexibility, but make it require a one-hour ritual (or even longer, at DM's discretion), to prevent shifting in the middle of combat to take advantage of one form after another.

Warclam
2009-05-28, 09:06 AM
How often/when can this be done? Only at level-up? Or can the decision be made at any time? Once per level, or as often as desired? And if it can be done unlimited times, it becomes important to note how long the shift takes, and what is required.

I agree that it's ambiguous. What I meant for it to say was that it can be done only at level-up. If I end up sticking with that, I'll clarify it.


I'd recommend not limiting when/how often it is done, to maintain flexibility, but make it require a one-hour ritual (or even longer, at DM's discretion), to prevent shifting in the middle of combat to take advantage of one form after another.

I originally devised the morphing ability so that you can get the more powerful options from Improved Familiar as soon as you qualify for them; otherwise you'd have to go without a familiar until you could summon the one you want, which would be kinda silly if you're supposed to be a super familiar friend.

That said, I'd considered having the morphing as a reusable feature. I like the idea (I'm a fan of changeling wizards), but didn't end up putting it in. I can't fully remember why, but I believe I was concerned about power level. It would go a long way toward easing the boredom factor of the class, though, so I'd like to put it in if nobody can convince me it's too good.

As far as the length of the ritual goes, I completely agree that it should take too long to use in combat. The shortest I'd make it would be 15 minutes, equal to the minimum time needed to fill empty spell slots, but I think an hour is probably more resonable.

Set
2009-05-28, 10:37 AM
More hit points isn't necessarily going to make a toad or housecat a worthwhile combatant (the 1st level commoner vs. housecat debacle notwithstanding), and just completely replacing Poopsie or Mr. Bigglesworth with an Imp or Shocker Lizard doesn't necessarily suit the feel of a familiar-specialist wizard. The Familiarist should have the choice of upgrading the familiar s/he does have, and not just transforming them into one of the Improved Familiar choices (which anyone could do with that feat anyway).

Perhaps some sort of size increase would be more useful, allowing a starting Familiar-Wizard to increase the size of an animal familiar to Small, and then to Medium at 3rd level and perhaps to Large at 5th (or to choose from a menu of appropriate animals, of those sizes, as levels accrue, so that a 5th level Familiarist could have a warhorse or grizzly bear or whatever as his familiar)?

Alternately, a Familiarist might have the option of selecting additional familiars (much as some PrCs allow a Ranger or Druid to gain additional animal companions), so that someone with 5 levels in this PrC might have spend two upgrades on a Medium-sized Wolf familiar, and the last on a second Tiny (Raven or Bat) familiar. In lieu of the X% of the Wizards hit points and HD equal to the Wizard option, perhaps the PrCs 1st level would allow the Familarist to use the Animal Companion HD and physical attribute bonuses, in addition to the Familiar advancements for Int and special abilities, making it a 'Familiar Companion' hybrid. In this case, the Wizard (or Sorcerer) should lose at least 1 level of spellcasting ability (at 1st level, and, if deemed necessary for balance, perhaps again at 5th, or even 3rd and 5th), to make up for this large step up in combat utility.

Increasing the range at which Share Spells works is a great idea. Definitely a keeper! Giving the Familiar some form of automatic Spell Resistance from the spells cast by his master might also be a neat concept, allowing a Familiarist to send his Wolf 'familiar companion' into the fray, while he flings fireballs and such indiscriminately into melee, knowing that Fido will be unharmed (by *his* spells, anyway).

The ideal familiar-enhancing PrC should come with a menu of options / enhancements, available at specific levels. Perhaps someone who has used Improved Familiar to get a small Elemental would be able to ape a Bonded Summoner (from the Miniature's Handbook) and increase the size and power of his elemental familiar, for instance.

As the familiar already becomes a Magical Beast, even an Animal Familiar, using improved HD, BAB, etc. is going to be a decent combatant, if not saddled to 1/2 the caster's hit points and using Companion-like advancement (d10's for HD, full BAB, etc. as a Magical Beast).

Warclam
2009-05-28, 11:36 AM
Hmm... the trouble with doing some sort of familiar companion is that it's already been done, by the Arcane Hierophant. I'd like to stay purely in the realm of the familiar.

I toyed with the idea of uncoupling the familiar's hit points from the master's by giving the familiar hit points as appropriate to a Magical Beast (or Outsider or Elemental or what have you) of the master's hit dice, but the trouble with that is that I want the familiar to become tougher right at first level. If I gave a doozy of an ability like that at first level, you're right; I'd have to lose that first caster level. Problem is, I don't wanna. :smalltongue:

I see your point that a mighty morphing familiar doesn't fit the concept as well as it might, but it involves a lot less mucking around with alternative mechanics and such. Plus it's pretty cool, and appropriate in a way: c'mon, I'm a wizard/sorcerer/wu jen/whatever! My familiar should be super magical too!

I might have more to say about this later; I'm typing this at work and need to get back to, well, working.

ADDITION: Since all I have at 5th level is the culmination of the gradual features, I'm thinking of adding some kind of flavourful capstone ability. Any suggestions? The idea I had was some kind of improved version of lifebond companion, wherein the familiar can raise the master from the dead. It's kinda neat, I think, that the only way to get rid of either of them is to kill them both. Teamwork! I bet you folks could come up with better though.

Bergor Terraf
2009-05-28, 03:07 PM
Since all I have at 5th level is the culmination of the gradual features, I'm thinking of adding some kind of flavourful capstone ability. Any suggestions?

What about giving the familiar a kind of "shifting" ability were he becomes a dire or something similar?

Or maybe be able to switch place with the familiar once a day? Probably overpowered, i'm just throwing ideas out here.

ShinyRocks
2009-05-28, 03:24 PM
Heh. Rather than changing the familiar into an animal companion, why not just grant the ability to increase its size?

Vulture-sized ravens!
Bear-sized kitties!
Volkswagen-sized toads!

EdroGrimshell
2009-05-28, 04:37 PM
Give it limited spellcasting (i know a feat that does it, but you lose the spell slots). Maybe make it like a first level sorcerer using your Int for bonus spells, using spells from your spell book and limited to those that don't cost xp or material components costing more than 1gp

Flickerdart
2009-05-28, 07:01 PM
Isn't this oh-so-broken when used with that build that combines your Familiar, Animal Companion, Mount and Cohort into some sort of insane monster?

Pyrusticia
2009-05-29, 01:34 AM
ADDITION: Since all I have at 5th level is the culmination of the gradual features, I'm thinking of adding some kind of flavourful capstone ability. Any suggestions? The idea I had was some kind of improved version of lifebond companion, wherein the familiar can raise the master from the dead. It's kinda neat, I think, that the only way to get rid of either of them is to kill them both. Teamwork!

I like this! According the PH (p. 52), "Familiars are magically linked to their masters. In some sense, the familiar and the master are practically one being." The ability you're proposing would simply build on that link, strengthening it until they are merely two souls residing in two bodies, able to transfer in times of extreme stress (like the death of one body).

For mechanics, I'd suggest making it work like the lich's phylactory: the slain being (can be either mage or familiar) will reappear 1d10 days after death, unless the phylactory (the partner) is killed in that time.

Only problem is that this might be a wee too powerful. Maybe make it the capstone of a 10-level version? I'd suggest the progression below:

{table=head]Level | BAB | Fort | Ref | Will | Special | Spells
1 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 2 | Familiar abilities, Stalwart Familiar, Soul Bond (Familiar Soul)| +1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
2 | 1 | 0 | 0 | 3 | Magical Bond (Share Spells) | +1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
3 | 1 | 1 | 1 | 3 | Augmented Familiar (Augment Familiar) | +1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
4 | 2 | 1 | 1 | 4 | Soul Bond (Telepathic Link) | +1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
5 | 2 | 1 | 1 | 4 | Martial Familiar (3/4 BAB) | +1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
6 | 3 | 2 | 2 | 5 | Augmented Familiar (Enhance Familiar) | +1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
7 | 3 | 2 | 2 | 5 | Soul Bond (Shift Soul) | +1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
8 | 4 | 2 | 2 | 6 | Magical Bond (Spell Resistance) | +1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
9 | 4 | 3 | 3 | 6 | Augmented Familiar (Fortify Familiar) | +1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
10 | 5 | 3 | 3 | 7 | Soul Bond (Store Soul), Martial Familiar (Full BAB) | +1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class[/table]

Familiar Abilities: Levels of Duo Arcanist stack with levels of any class that provide access to a familiar. Add double the number of levels from this class to the class that granted access to the familiar and refer to the table on page 53 of the Playerís Handbook to determine the familiarís natural armor, Intelligence, and special abilities. For example, a wizard 5/Duo Arcanist 3 would have a familiar with abilities equal to the familiar of an 11th-level wizard. If a character had levels in multiple classes that grant access to a familiar before becoming a Duo Arcanist, she must decide to which class to add each level for the purpose of determining the abilities of her familiar.

In addition, whenever a Duo Arcanist gains a level in a class that stacks with another class to determine familiar abilities, she may choose for her familiar to transform into any creature available to her as a familiar. For example, if a wizard 5/Duo Arcanist 1 with Improved Familiar has a cat familiar and gains another level of Duo Arcanist, she may choose for her familiar to become an Imp since that is now an option available to her based on her caster level, provided she meets the other requirements. A transformed familiar loses its old abilities and gains new ones appropriate to its new form, but it is still the same being and retains its own personality and memories.

Stalwart Familiar (Ex): At 1st level, a Duo Arcanistís familiar becomes much tougher than a standard familiar. It now has a number of hit points equal to its masterís total hit points (not including temporary hit points), regardless of its actual Hit Dice. At each level of Duo Arcanist, the familiarís hit points increase by another 25 percent of its masterís (so for example, it will have 125% of its master's hit points at 2nd level, rounded down), to a maximum of twice its masterís total hit points at 5th level.

Soul Bond (Su): The bond between a Duo Arcanist and their familiar is extraordinarily strong, and strengthens as they progress through this class. At 1st level, in the event that the familiar is slain, their soul is stored within the body of the Duo Arcanist. The master may restore the familiar to life at any point thereafter, using a ritual. This ritual is the same as that for summoning a new familiar, except that instead of the normal magical materials a Duo Arcanist requires a likeness of the fallen familiar, such as a painting or statue, costing no less than 1,000gp. Due to the strength of the bond between a Duo Arcanist and their familiar, even if she waits the required 1 year and 1 day, they may never summon a new familiar.

At 4th level this bond strengthens further, so that the Duo Arcanist and their familiar are in constant telepathic communication. This ability functions as the speak with master ability, except that the communication is purely mental and functions at the normal range for the empathic link (1 mile).

At 7th level, the Arcanist and their familiar may shift souls between their bodies at will. Only one may shift at a time (so the two cannot 'switch bodies'). When a soul shifts, it does not control the body it travels to, but does sense everything that the body senses. The body traveled from falls into a coma, from which it cannot be awakened until the travelling soul returns. This ability is commonly used to allow the Duo Arcanist to 'piggyback' with their familiar on scouting or spying missions.

At 10th level, the Duo Arcanist and their familiar achieve the ultimate bond of soul and magic. In effect, each of the pair act as a phylactery for the other. Their souls are always connected on a spiritual level, and they automatically retreat into the other body whenever one body is damaged beyond repair (reduced below -10 hp). Further, the magical forces that slumber within this bond work immediately to reconstruct the form of the slain body, with the result that the slain party (Arcanist or familiar) is automatically returned to life 1d10 days after dying. The only way to prevent this is to slay the second partner before the first one revives.

Magical Bond (Su): At 2nd level, the magic between a Duo Arcanist and their familiar strengthens, so that she may share spells with her familiar provided it is within a distance from her of 5 feet per Duo Arcanist level, and her familiar may continue to benefit from that spell as long as it stays within that range. Additionally, the Duo Arcanist may cast touch spells (including spells with a target of ďYouĒ) on her familiar at the same increased range.

At 8th level this bond of magic strengthens further. The familiar becomes so in tune with their master's magic that they can avoid any harmful effects from her spells. The familiar gains spell resistance (30) which applies only to the Arcanist's magic.

Augmented Familiar (Sp): At 3rd level, the familiar is constantly under the effect of an Augment Familiar spell. At 6th level, they gain the effects of Enhance Familiar, and at 9th level they benefit from Fortify Familiar. These three effects are cumulative.

Martial Familiar (Ex): At 5th level, a Duo Arcanistís familiar uses either its masterís base attack bonus or that of a cleric of the masterís total number of Hit Dice (3/4 of the masterís Hit Dice, rounded down), whichever is higher. At 10th level, the familiar has a base attack bonus equal to its masterís Hit Dice.

Warclam
2009-05-29, 05:09 AM
Dude ó you just took my class, and spun it into awesome. One quibble: you've forgotten to change stalwart familiar to a 10-level progression. With 10, it probably won't work to have an actual progression like I had before. What I could do, I suppose, would be to just break it up and have it progress on the odd levels. So, 100% at 1st, 125% at 3rd, and so on. Though actually, now that it's 10 levels long, I'd feel all right going all the way up to 3 times master's hit points. I guess that's just 50% at each odd level, which seems about right to me. BIG edit to first post, coming up.

Pyrusticia
2009-05-30, 12:36 AM
Dude ó you just took my class, and spun it into awesome.

Glad you like it. :smallwink:


One quibble: you've forgotten to change stalwart familiar to a 10-level progression. With 10, it probably won't work to have an actual progression like I had before. What I could do, I suppose, would be to just break it up and have it progress on the odd levels. So, 100% at 1st, 125% at 3rd, and so on. Though actually, now that it's 10 levels long, I'd feel all right going all the way up to 3 times master's hit points. I guess that's just 50% at each odd level, which seems about right to me. BIG edit to first post, coming up.

Oops, you're right. I saw that, but forgot to follow up on it.

I dunno, it could go either way. Ending with 3x master's hp puts the familiar's hp at Barbarian level, but the fact that they don't get any feats or class features should keep it from being too overpowered. Your call. I'm definitely going to have to playtest this class, though, it should be a blast! :smallbiggrin:


EDIT: You might want to remove the [/quote] from the end of the Martial Familiar entry of your edited post. I'm guessing it's a remnant from when you pasted the stuff in there?

Warclam
2009-05-30, 09:27 PM
You might want to remove the /quote from the end of the Martial Familiar entry of your edited post. I'm guessing it's a remnant from when you pasted the stuff in there?

Oops, yeah, it's gone now. Good catch. Thanks for your help, this turned out exactly how I wanted it!

stupidity4u
2009-06-07, 12:28 AM
Hello, I'm Waclam's DM. He asked me to take a look at this for playability, and I have a couple of concerns.

1. The class might be unbalanced when combined with expansion books. For example, the complete champion eventually allows for a winter wolf, which with the BAB and HP of a barbarian, would be almost equivalent to another character in the party.

2. Apparently everybody's forgotten that improved familiar has alignment restrictions, the familiar can only be one alignment-step away. Therefore, the kinds of awesome familiars you can get is immediately limited.

3. Compared to a Lich's phylactery, the 10th level ability is extremely good, considering the Lich costs a more difficult to get feat and a VERY large sum of gold. And lastly, a phylactery cannot get up and flee to save its master.

Therefore, as mean mean DM's like to do, I would propose a stringent alignment requirement to the class to balance out its power level.

A mildly tentative version of the proposed addition:

The bonding of souls between familiars and masters is difficult. Therefore, when selecting an improved familiar, the familiar's and Duo Arcanist's alignments must be the same. A regular familiar may be selected regardless of alignment. If the master's alignment changes for any reason, his improved familiar is immediately released losing all granted bonuses, and the master is treated as if his familiar has just died, due to the shock of being separated from his companion.

Stormthorn
2009-06-07, 12:51 AM
At 10th level, the Duo Arcanist and her familiar achieve the ultimate bond of soul and magic. In effect, each of the pair act as a phylactery for the other. Their souls are always connected on a spiritual level, and they automatically retreat into the other body whenever one body is damaged beyond repair (reduced below -10 hp). Further, the magical forces that slumber within this bond work immediately to reconstruct the form of the slain body, with the result that the slain party (Duo Arcanist or familiar) is automatically returned to life 1d10 days after dying. The only way to prevent this is to slay the second partner before the first one revives.

A free living phylactery? Thats a VERY powerful capstone.

Especialy if your a Sorcerer 6/Barbarian 4 (for extra HPs)/Duo Arcanist 10 with Improved Toughness and 14-18 Con and your familiar has 400+ hitpoints and a +20 BaB.

But since you have to be at least level 16 it also takes longer than lichification even if it is easier.

stupidity4u
2009-06-07, 01:24 AM
Further Support for why it's unbalanced.

Compare it to leadership. At level 14 you could get a winter wolf familiar with this class. But lvl 15 it has ALL the abilities of the class. To get a winter wolf cohort, you'd need to be at least lvl 12, and it has no improved abilities.

Clearly this is unbalanced. Possible solutions in addition to my previous suggestions?

Eloel
2009-06-07, 01:52 AM
Further Support for why it's unbalanced.

Compare it to leadership. At level 14 you could get a winter wolf familiar with this class. But lvl 15 it has ALL the abilities of the class. To get a winter wolf cohort, you'd need to be at least lvl 12, and it has no improved abilities.

Clearly this is unbalanced. Possible solutions in addition to my previous suggestions?

Leadership is a feat. This is 10 class levels (half your carreer). Compare it.

Fizban
2009-06-07, 02:11 AM
I'd have it lose a couple casting levels and give the familiar the ability to shift it's form on command (not necessarily at will), instead of only on level ups, probably from a small list. How about add a new form every other level, and change with 1 minute of concentration? Simple size changing at will could work instead. There are some Dragon Magazine familiar feats that can do that, but it's a horribly long chain just to get one step of enlargement.

As for anyone complaining about the familiar's power, I direct you to the animal companion. It is a 1st level class feature that requires no investment of feats or prestige class levels, has only a couple hit dice less than the rest of the party, huge stats, and multiple natural weapons. The only thing close would be a hippogriff with three natural weapons, and they don't have nearly as much strength.

Which reminds me: medium and large animals (great cats, horses, bears and such) should be available too.

TheGrimace
2009-06-07, 01:25 PM
may I have permission to convert this concept (and most of the mechanics) to a homebrew system?

Pyrusticia
2009-06-08, 04:04 AM
Hello, I'm Waclam's DM. He asked me to take a look at this for playability, and I have a couple of concerns.

Good to meet you. :smallwink:


3. Compared to a Lich's phylactery, the 10th level ability is extremely good, considering the Lich costs a more difficult to get feat and a VERY large sum of gold. And lastly, a phylactery cannot get up and flee to save its master.

Um, according to the Monster Manual (p. 168) (bolds are my emphasis):


Each lich must make its own phylactery, which requires the Craft Wondrous Item feat. The character must be able to cast spells and have a caster level of 11th or higher. The phylactery costs 120,000 gp and 4,800 xp

Craft Wondrous Item is a 3rd level feat...not terribly difficult to get.

11th level is lower level than a character who attains the capstone of this class, since it has an entrance requirement of 3rd level spells.

You do, however, raise a valid point as to the cost. I think it would be reasonable to give this capstone ability the same gp and xp cost as a lich's phylactery (represented by a ritual that completes the bond between master and familiar).


The bonding of souls between familiars and masters is difficult. Therefore, when selecting an improved familiar, the familiar's and Duo Arcanist's alignments must be the same. A regular familiar may be selected regardless of alignment. If the master's alignment changes for any reason, his improved familiar is immediately released losing all granted bonuses, and the master is treated as if his familiar has just died, due to the shock of being separated from his companion.

That sounds perfectly reasonable, considering the strength of the bond. I would suggest one slight modification, though...instead of the familiar being released as soon as the master's alignment changes, I'd say that the familiar immediately loses all benefits from this prestige class, due to the strain on their bond. If the original alignment is not restored within one month, the familiar is released, with results identical to a slain familiar. This means if the master gets hit by a curse that changes their alignment, they aren't totally screwed in the middle of the fight...they have a little time to get the curse removed, do atonement, whatever the DM considers necessary.

Warclam
2009-06-10, 05:43 AM
may I have permission to convert this concept (and most of the mechanics) to a homebrew system?

Sure, go ahead.


Sorry I've been gone so long; work's been busy.

Regarding the class as it stands, objections have been duly noted. Here's my take on them:
óFree Phylactery: OK, I see where you're coming from with this. I'm inclined to agree that it should have the requirements of a normal phylactery (Craft Wondrous Item, 120,000gp, and 4,800XP, if I recall correctly), because otherwise it's exceedingly powerful. On the other hand, that's a big price for a frickin' class feature. I'm contemplating removing this one in favour off some less monolithically powerful.
óAlignment Issues: Yeah, you would be like that, wouldn't you? It does make sense though. I think Pyrusticia's less immediate version would make a very good balancing factor. I'll add it next time I revise the top post.
óHit Points: this was raised in mention of a Sorc/Barb. I forgot to consider the effects of multiclassing on hit point totals. Heck, even just using warmage instead of wizard or sorcerer (with Obtain Familiar) would result in loony hit points. Back to 200%, I think.

On another note, a lot of you us seem to really like the morphing ability and wish it was usable more often. I have an idea to make that work by retooling the class a little. See, right now, the familiar becomes really tough and fighty. When I started getting concerned about some of the more powerful abilities (phylactery, spell-like abilities), I thought about milder ones to replace it. One thing I came up with was trapfinding, which seemed kinda familiary to me (I also have an odd obsession with trapfinding). About then was when stupidity4u suggested to me something I quite like: what if the Duo Arcanist's familiar could take the place of other party roles, to keep its master safe in ways your standard arcanist can't manage?

Basically, not only can the familiar morph between forms, it can morph between roguey (trapfinding, probably some skill monkeying), fighty (better BAB, maybe some DR or size increase), and healy (probably like the dragon shaman, with a Lay on Hands-type ability that can also heal other stuff by sacrificing healing points) roles. This preserves the original intention of having a familiar that can serve as a bodyguard (fighty familiar capstone: size increase?), as well as offering an alternative version of the phylactery (healy familiar capstone: raise dead?) and a little dungeon-delving capability (sneaky familiar capstone: ...um, well, I'll get to that). Basically, your familiar takes levels in a way-weaker version of the Chameleon prestige class.

Now, since the morphing has become such an important part of the class, it should be available a little quicker than was previously considered. What if it just matches what a changeling wizard gets? Familiar takes a full-round action to switch. That's powerful, certainly, but changeling wizards get it at the cost of a mere bonus feat, and prestige classes do offer feats.

This idea needs a lot more work, which is why I'm not posting it up top, but what do you think of the idea's skeleton?

Warclam
2009-06-18, 07:25 PM
Wow, tough crowd. Just as well, actually, I've still been busy lately. Not so much now, though, so I did the update I was planning.

I ended up changing the alignment restriction slightly. Since the familiar now morphs at will instead of only at level-up, it no longer made sense for the familiar to be released or strained if you changed your alignment from its own. Which alignment is that, the one it had 5 minutes ago? Well, *poof*, problem solved! You still have to watch out for alignment shifts because it will change your options, of course.

Regarding power level: I honestly don't know where I'm at with that. The aspects are what needs to be balanced right now. I'm hoping that the alignment restriction balances out the ability to morph at will, but I'm somewhat worried I went too far with the aspects, particularly the warrior's aspect. Does it need to be weaker? I can't tell. I'm also considering reducing the pool of healing offered by the healer's aspect. Help would be very much appreciated.

EDIT: Uh-oh, I just took a look at the familiars you can pick which match your alignment. If you're neutral you're in good shape; otherwise you've got some trouble. If you're chaotic neutral or chaotic good, there isn't a single choice available to you on the Improved Familiar lists, as far as I can tell. I don't think this is a great balancing factor after all. It looks like I need another balancing factor now. Any suggestions?