Familiars are as ubiquitous to witches as are cauldrons, pointy hats and brooms.
Despite their outward appearances, familiars are not animals, but rather spirits in the shape of animals. They can talk and understand human speech but only their witch can understand them. This connection is a mental one, but it is often described as speech. This connection also allows the witch to communicate with animals of the same kind. With their familiar present they can talk to any animal and understand what is being said. Some familiars also have a chance to know another language, which the witch then will know.
A witch starts at 1st level with a familiar. This familiar will show up when she first becomes a witch. The nature and form of the familiar will often be dictated by the circumstances of her becoming a witch. She may add other familiars as she progresses in level. The maximum number of familiars a witch may have is equal to her number of Retainers based on CHA. She may also only call a new familiar once per year and a day (alternately this can be once per level). This is for an additional familiar or to replace one that had been killed (familiars do not die of old age like natural animals). So a witch with a CHA of 18 can have a max of 7 familiars at a time, but will take her a minimum of 7 years (or levels) and 7 days to obtain them all.
A familiar adds 1 spell level of a spell the witch can learn. So a witch with a familiar can learn an extra 1st level spell, a witch with three familiars can learn any combination of three spell levels, so 1 3rd level spell, 1 2nd and 1 1st level spell, or 3 1st level spells. If the familiar is killed then the witch looses those spells the familiar knows. If she has cast those spells already this day then she loses an equal numbers of levels.
As the witch gains level the familiar also grows in power by gaining 1 hit point per level the witch gains and their armor class improves by -1 per level.
Anytime a familiar is killed or if the witch releases it she much make a saving throw vs. death or lose a number of hit points equal to that of the familiar.
Summoning A Familiar
At 1st level the witch gains her first familiar automatically. Once she gains a level she can attempt to summon a new one.
Summoning a new familiar is not something that can be done lightly. The witch needs to spend a day in deep meditation and purification. The day must begin for sunrise with the witch participating in a ritual bath and cleansing that must be complete before the sun has clear the horizon. She will spend the morning preparing the area for a familiar to come; laying out small treats for the type of animal she wishes; cheese for a rat, cream for cat, meats for a dog or wolf, and so on. She then will spend time preparing items for each sense, something for touch, taste, smelling, hearing and seeing. Then she will also appeal to the four elements, plus the fifth element of magic, and for the mind, body and spirit. So in total the witch must procure 13 items that are outside of the treat for the familiar to appeal to magic. These items must have significance to the witch and will be unique for each casting and each witch. In total these materials will cost the witch up to 100 gp.
The witch has a base chance of obtaining a familiar equal to 65% + 3% per level up to 10th level. So even at 10th level the witch has 1% chance of there not being a familiar within the area.
Any roll of 100% (00) will result in a Special familiar.
Regardless of the result of the summoning, the witch will have spent the day in the ritual and will not have prepared any spells for that day. Any materials spent cannot be reused.
Special familiars are not in the shape of animals but are often creatures of the Faerie or even the other planes. Special familiars cans speak to anyone capable of understanding their language.
List of Familiars
(roll d%, this is not the same roll as discovering a familiar)
Rolls of 00 result in a Special Familiar.
|Roll||Familiar*||Additional Powers to the Witch|
|1-3||Badger||+2 to Constitution checks|
|4-6||Bat||+2 to Dexterity checks|
|7-9||Beaver||Double normal speed when swimming|
|10-12||Cat||Night vision (night is treated like a light spell)|
|13-15||Coyote||Surprised only on a roll of 1 on a d6|
|16-18||Crow||+2 bonus to Magic Wand saves|
|19-21||Dog||Surprised only on a roll of 1 on a d6|
|25-27||Ferret||+1 to Dexterity checks, -1 to AC|
|28-30||Fox||+1 to Intelligence and +1 to Wisdom checks|
|31-33||Frog||+2 to Constitution checks,|
|34-36||Goat||+2 to Constitution checks|
|40-42||Hyena||+2 to Dexterity checks|
|43-45||Jackal||+1 to Intelligence and +1 to Constitution checks|
|46-48||Lizard||+1 to Intelligence and +1 to Dexterity checks|
|49-51||Lynx||+2 to Dexterity checks|
|52-54||Mouse||+2 to Dexterity checks|
|55-57||Owl||+2 to Wisdom checks|
|58-60||Porcupine||Improved AC, -2 bonus|
|61-63||Rabbit||Surprised only on a roll of 1 on a d6|
|64-66||Raccoon||Surprised only on a roll of 1 on a d6|
|67-69||Rat||+2 bonus to Paralysis saves|
|70-72||Raven||+2 bonus to Death saves, can speak to others|
|73-75||Scorpion||+2 bonus to Poison saves|
|76-78||Snake||+1 to Intelligence checks, +2 to Heal|
|79-81||Spider||+2 bonus to Poison saves|
|82-84||Squirrel||+2 to Dexterity checks|
|85-87||Swan||+2 to Charisma checks|
|88-90||Toad||Wide-angle vision, surprised only on a 1 on a d6|
|91-93||Turtle||Improved AC -2 bonus|
|94-96||Weasel||+2 bonus to Rods and Staff saves|
|97-99||Wolf||+2 bonus to Spell saves|
|Familiar||Alignment||Additional Powers to the Witch|
|Batling||Lawful||Improved hearing and +2 polymorph save bonus|
|Bear||Neutral||+2 to Strength to checks|
|Bendith ý mamau||Neutral||Improved hearing and a +2 wands save bonus|
|Blink dog||Lawful||Witch may dimension door once per day as the blink dog’s power.|
|Brownie||Lawful||+3 bonus to all Dexterity based rolls and effects|
|Butterfae||Neutral||+2 Wands saves and +2 to Spell saves|
|Cait Sidhe||Neutral||+4 to Wands saves|
|Celestial Animal||Lawful||Same as normal animal, +2 to Spell saves|
|Dire Animal||Neutral||Twice the bonus as a normal animal of it’s kind|
|Elemental, small||Neutral||Gain +5 to saves to the Elemental element|
|Fiendish Animal||Chaos||Same as normal animal, +2 to Poison saves|
|Imp||Chaos||Regenerate 1 hp per day|
|Mephit||Chaos||Gain +5 to saves to the Mephit’s element|
|Pseudodragon||Lawful||+3 to saves vs. Dragon Breath|
|Skitterwing||Chaos||Gain +5 to saves to charm and mind affecting magic|
|Sprite||Lawful||+2 bonus to all Dexterity based rolls (Reflex, AC)|
Perform ritual. Roll d% to see if you summon a familiar, if yes roll a d% to see what you get. A roll of 00 on either roll is an automatic special familiar.
Section 15 Copyright Notice
Open Game License v 1.0a Copyright 2000, Wizards of the Coast, Inc.
System Reference Document Copyright 2003, Wizards of the Coast, Inc.; Authors Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, Skip Williams, Bruce R. Cordell, based on original material by E. Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson.
Liber Mysterium: The Netbook of Witches and Warlocks is Copyright© 2003, Timothy S. Brannan and the Netbook of Witches Team.
Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game Copyright © 2006-2008. Chris Gonnerman.
Labyrinth LordTM. Copyright © 2007, Daniel Proctor. Author Daniel Proctor.
"Witch's Familiars" Copyright ©2011, Timothy S. Brannan