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D&D 3E
Familiars and psicrystals. 
27th-Oct-2005 04:49 pm
When you gain a level in a prestige class that lets your spellcasting level go up from a previous base class, does your familiar go up?

For example, let's take a 10th wizard/5th Eldritch Knight (from the DMG). The Eldritch Knight gets a "+1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class" for caster level and spells and all that jazz on every level except the 1st. So, this character is a CL 14.

Is this character's familiar based upon a 10th level character or a 14th level character?

And psicrystals. On pg. 22 of the Expanded Psionics Handbook, it says "Psicrystal abilities are based on the owner's level in psionic classes." Aren't prestige classes psionic in nature? What about the Shadowmind from Complete Adventurer? Does their psicrystal go up with them as they advance in levels in their prestige class?
28th-Oct-2005 12:12 am (UTC)
In the SRD Entry on Eldritch Knight....
it doesn't incease your levels in a spell-casting class: it gives you some specific abilities that you would have received if it did, which don't inlude familiars.

By the way, its impossible for a 10th level wizard to qualify for that prestige class.
28th-Oct-2005 12:27 am (UTC)
Well, yeah, if it were all wizard. But they just need one level of fighter.

(I'm edging my bard into Shadowdancer as we speak!)
28th-Oct-2005 07:03 am (UTC)
I apologize, I was coming up with a quick example. It wasn't a real character.
28th-Oct-2005 08:17 am (UTC)
I apologize if I seemed a bit rude: it was late here...
28th-Oct-2005 12:20 am (UTC)
If the Prc provides all Arcane level benefits (and not just spells), then I think the Familiar levels up as normal. But here's the text from the SRD on Eldritch Knight:

"From 2nd level on, when a new eldritch knight level is gained, the character gains new spells per day as if she had also gained a level in whatever arcane spellcasting class she belonged to before she added the prestige class. She does not, however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained."

I guess the problem is the wording on Familiars is a bit vague.
"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. "

So is the Eldritch Knight entitled to a Familiar? I think officially it isn't, but I'd totally allow it. It seems like a minor adjustment. I can't think of any good reason why an Eldritch Knight shouldn't be entitled to a familiar.

Other wording in the familair section seems to suggest that the master adds ALL of their levels to determine the Familairs hit dice and attack bonus and all of that. ALL as in, not just the spellcaster levels.

For the second question:

It depends on the prestige class. I think all of the PrCs in the expanded psionics book are psionic, so a Psicrystal would go up with those levels.

I don't have Complete Adventurer.
28th-Oct-2005 03:08 am (UTC) - Familiars.
Some things yes, some not strictly.
Hit points, Hit Dice, Skills, Saves and Attacks go up regardless of the master's class.
For the things based on master's class level(speaking, spell resistance etc from that table), the "not however gain any other benefit" comes into play.

However there is a feat in Complete Arcane(p81- pre-requisites Knowlege Arcana 4 ranks, arcane caster level 3) which allows all of your arcane casting classes to all count towards Familiar benefits.

As this feat exists it suggests that otherwise this would not be the case....however I can certainly see leniency being applicable here, Familiars need all the help they can get:> So you could either insist on the feat or just assume it's not necessary unless you haven't gained a Familiar from any class so far(ie a Bard who wants a Familiar really SHOULD need to buy a feat.).
28th-Oct-2005 07:10 am (UTC) - Re: Familiars.
The real situation is I'm a sorcerer/psion and I'm prestige classing into cerebremancer. I have an improved familiar, and I wanted him to continue gaining the familiar benefits. I don't see anything wrong with dropping in the other feat to do it (as much as a two feat investment into a familiar seems crazy), but my DM looked at the feat and still is not okay with it.

Which blows.
28th-Oct-2005 01:41 pm (UTC) - Re: Familiars.
There's a comparable feat in Complete Adventure called Nature's Companion or something that lets you improve your animal companion. It gives you up to a +3 bonus to your effective Druid level, but can't raise your effective Druid level above your HD. So if you multiclass as a druid/something, then up to three levels of your something class counts towards boosting your animal. It does the same kind of thing for ranger, but gets a little more complicated.

Frankly I would disallow that feat too. It means you could take one level of sorcerer in your bard progression in order to gain a fully-powered familiar. I'd follow the idea of the previous feat, where you gain a certain number of bonus levels (probably 3), so that three levels of your PrC would bump your familiar, but no more.

Of course, your familiar still isn't going to be that powerful since you've lost sorcerer levels for the psion stuff. So really such a feat would help to counter the psion stuff. I'm not sure if I'd allow the multiple such feats to stack. Probably, since it means that you could gain full progression of your familiar as the cost of ALL your feats.
28th-Oct-2005 03:19 pm (UTC) - Re: Familiars.
With the feat you don't even need the level of sorcerer, it just gives a bard(or whatever) a full familiar.

Personally I have allowed it in a game and, so far it has seemed pretty irrelevant. I've yet to see anyone make a familiar into anything useful; it's more often a downside to have one(which is interesting, in Ars Magica it is actually a Flaw to have one).
28th-Oct-2005 04:50 pm (UTC) - Re: Familiars.
Really? All my games with familiars have had them be quite helpful as messengers or spies or whatnot. Plus, if you actually use an improved familiar or a combat familiar or something, these things can get damn powerful.
28th-Oct-2005 05:19 pm (UTC) - Re: Familiars.
I've not seen anyone take an improved familiar yet(and I've not heard of combat familiars), so I don't know how they work out.
Once they can comunicate I could see them being vaguely useful, but the number of times they can get killed etc really cuts down on that; most of the additional abilities only really help them with being a bit more survivable. Attacks, HD, etc go up on character level and they're the things I could imagine being useful with a stronger familiar.

Having said that I know a Bard/Swashbuckler character with a monkey familiar, and that could be iffy('cos of the skills thing, which often isn't useful) -but then a level of sorcerer would have had the same effect on the game and probably have been more use overall too.

The character I allowed it to is a Warmage, and to be honest the way he's using it is probably the worst(ie least effective) I've seen...if you read Order of the Stick, it's like V's familiar ("well I haven't named any of my other class features").
28th-Oct-2005 07:37 pm (UTC) - Re: Familiars.
I have improved familiar.

I have a will-o-wisp.

Long, long story.
28th-Oct-2005 04:27 pm (UTC) - Re: Familiars.
I wouldn't mind even something like the one for the animal companion. Perhaps I should mention that one and see if that would work or not.
28th-Oct-2005 05:23 pm (UTC) - Re: Familiars.
what level sorcerer are you?
28th-Oct-2005 07:37 pm (UTC) - Re: Familiars.
28th-Oct-2005 07:41 pm (UTC) - Re: Familiars.
I wouldn't worry too much then, you're only missing out on "speak with animals of it's kind(will o' wisps...probably not the most useful ability), spell resistance, and scry on familiar. None of those things are that exciting really; although spell resistance can be handy it's usually not going to be enough to make much difference.
28th-Oct-2005 07:45 pm (UTC) - Re: Familiars.
Well, the big thing behind it is the will-o-wisp is a CR 6 if I remember right, and so my will-o-wisp is like a runt or a shrinked version until I'm a level 6 sorcerer. I wanted to go into cerebremancer right away (we have a house rule where all prestige classes start at 11th level or higher, never below that - you have to have ten normal character levels - and I'm a psion 5/sorcerer 5 now), but I also don't want my will-o-wisp to be a runt and dinky. I'm getting too caught up in the whole roleplaying aspect of it all. I want my will-o-wisp to be grown up. ;-)

And my wispy doesn't haven't immunity to magic until he's grown up, which is one of the biggest boons of the creature.
28th-Oct-2005 07:50 pm (UTC) - Re: Familiars.
I wasn't sure how improved familiar worked. I assumed abilities etc would still be based on HD. I can definately see not wanting the poor thing to be laughed at for being tiny:>
28th-Oct-2005 07:55 pm (UTC) - Re: Familiars.
Right now I have it set up to where my psicrystal picks on my will-o-wisp because he's a runt (the other wispies at the swamp picked on him too for being a runt, which is why I ended up taking him in as my familiar). I have it set up where my wisp will be an adult someday because he has low self-esteem right now, lol. Whenever he's scared - which is ALWAYS - he uses his ability to turn out his light and go invisible and hide.
28th-Oct-2005 03:51 am (UTC)
When you gain a level in a prestige class that lets your spellcasting level go up from a previous base class, does your familiar go up?


That's the sacrifice you make for taking the PrC. Just like if you take Mystic Theurge you don't get more Wild Shape feats from being a druid.

There may be feats that allow you to count other classes towards your effective level for your familiar (along the lines of Practice Spellcaster), but those are special cases. I would NOT recommend just allowing someone's familiar to boost up, as it makes a full-caster PrC that much more powerful. I mean, would you allow a wizard to keep gaining its bonus feats as it took levels in Eldritch Knight? Or would you allow the Wild Shape stuff as mentioned above? Taking full caster PrC stops your progression in bonus feats, familiar abilities, wild shape (and other druid ability), bard spells, turn undead, and other stuff that isn't spells per day or spells known.
28th-Oct-2005 08:06 am (UTC)
Just imagine a Sorcerer. A fullcasting PrC is already giving them their spells, a familiar is all the class has left to make its levels worth taking.
28th-Oct-2005 04:26 pm (UTC)
Well, that and a sorcerer can swap his spells at all even levels except 2nd.
28th-Oct-2005 04:00 am (UTC)
No, but this problem can be fixed with the Obtain Familiar feat.
28th-Oct-2005 04:30 am (UTC)
28th-Oct-2005 07:24 pm (UTC)
No but the familiar has been nerfed so badly that I would allow it anyway.
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