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The chaos mage is destined to spend much of his life apart from mortal companionship, particularly when he begins to succumb to the more hideous and destructive deformities of the Paths of Chaos. Those chaos mages who manage to forge strong bonds with adventuring companions, or especially understanding lovers, do not face the absolute crushing depths of solitude their less fortunate brethren do, but even they must occasionally despair of finding someone who truly understands their burden, and their beliefs.
Chaos is possibility fulfilled. It hears the siren call of its wielder’s despair and though not benevolent, it provides for the possibility of their happiness.
This possibility takes the form of the chaos familiar. Chaos familiars are sentient constructs, made when a chaos mage sacrifices a piece of his own essence and personality to quicken, sculpt and awaken raw chaos energy. As a result of this sacrifice, chaos familiars are stronger and more versatile than their static magic counterparts.
Crafting the Familiar
At second level, or at any point thereafter, the chaos mage can choose to bring life to his chaos familiar. There is no equipment required to do this, nor does the chaos mage need to mumble arcane words or burn exotic incense. Instead, he need merely sit quietly for a full day, mentally shaping the desired form of his familiar to be. At the end of that time, if the mage has been left undisturbed, his familiar appears, carving itself free from the empty air.
The familiar’s actual appearance is left to the discretion of the player and the Games Master. All familiars appear supernatural in nature, with strange colourings, glittering skin or molten eyes clearly attesting to their otherworldly origin. Beyond that restriction, there are an infinite variety of shapes which may be chosen, from simple round balls of amorphous flesh, to miniature elephants made from tiny brass bells, to angels with a dragonfly’s wings and a peacock’s plumage.
The following rules will help you decide the exact nature and abilities of your familiar.
The chaos familiar is an extension and reflection of its creator, sharing many of his strengths and weaknesses. All of the familiar’s initial ability scores are equal to one half those of its creator, rounding up. An additional number of ability score points equal to the chaos mage’s class level are then added. The familiar’s ability scores do not increase as the character’s do and they are not affected by spells, spell-like effects or magic items which are used to artificially boost the chaos mage’s attributes. Every time he increases his chaos mage level, an additional ability score point is added to the familiar. Note that no familiar may increase its Intelligence, Wisdom or Charisma scores beyond its master’s score in that ability.
Chaos familiars share many of their master’s personality traits as well, though they are uniformly exaggerated, in some cases almost to the point of parody. They are also classic enablers, forever urging their masters to cast one more spell, to twine one more effect to each casting, to reach beyond themselves to touch the glory that is unrestricted possibility.
At the time of their creation, chaos familiars gain a total number of skill points equal to their master’s Wisdom score. This number of skill points increases as the mage’s Wisdom does, with new points assigned to existing skills as outlined below. No one skill from the following list may have more than the mage’s class level +3 assigned to it.
† Escape Artist
† Move Silently
† Any 1 class skill the chaos mage possesses
The chaos familiar gains one feat at the time of creation, chosen from the list below.
† Combat Reflexes
† Dodge (master must have Dex 13+)
† Great Fortitude
† Improved Initiative
† Iron Will
† Lightning Reflexes
† Weapon Focus (natural weapons)
Chaos familiars gain one special ability at creation and an additional special ability for every 5 full chaos mage class levels thereafter. So, the chaos familiar of a 10th level chaos mage would have two special abilities, while the familiar of a 20th level mage would have four.
Additional Feat – In lieu of selecting a special ability, the chaos familiar gains another feat, chosen from the options presented above.
Bolster Saves – If within 20 feet of its creator, the familiar can, as a free action, voluntarily lower its saving throws to increase those of its creator. For every two points by which the familiar lowers its save, it grants its master a +1 inherent bonus to that save, for a period of one round. This ability can be used as often as the familiar chooses, but only one save may be modified at a time. This ability can be selected twice. The second time it is chosen, it allows the familiar to increase its master’s saves on a onefor- one basis and the effective range is extended to 25 feet.
Bolster Will – By partially fusing its mind with that of its creator, the chaos familiar can assist with the casting of chaos magic. So long as the familiar is in physical contact with the chaos mage, he gains a +2 enhancement bonus to all casting checks. This means, however, that any damage caused by the casting of the spell is applied to both the caster and familiar (both receive the full amount of damage incurred, it is not split). Triggering this ability is a full round action for the familiar, which must be done the round before the chaos mage begins to cast a spell so that he receives the benefits. This ability may not be selected if the Damage Division ability has been selected. This ability can be selected twice. The second time it is chosen, it reduces the time necessary to trigger the ability to a standard action and allows the ability to work so long as the chaos familiar is within 5 feet of the chaos mage.
Brainburn Poison – Three times a day, the chaos familiar can inject a dose of poison into an enemy when it deals damage in melee combat. The poison causes 1d4 points of initial temporary Intelligence damage, with secondary damage of 1d2 points temporary Intelligence damage. A fortitude save against a DC of 10 + one-half the chaos mage’s caster level is required to resist the poison. This special ability can be selected twice. The second time it is chosen, it allows the familiar to launch the poison in a line 10 feet long and increases the base save to 12 + one-half the caster’s level.
Breath Weapon – The chaos familiar can, once per day, breathe a cone of devastating chaos energy. The cone is 5 feet + 5 feet per five of its master’s caster levels long and inflicts 1d6 points of anarchic damage per two of its master’s caster levels. A Reflex save against a DC of 10 + one-half the chaos mage’s caster level halves the damage. This ability can be selected twice. The second time it is selected, it gives the familiar the ability to use its breath weapon three times per day and the cone is 10 feet + 5 feet per five of its master’s caster levels long.
Damage Division – When within 10 feet of its creator, the familiar can absorb damage that would otherwise harm the chaos mage. The chaos mage may do this as often as he likes, simply by deducting lost hit points from his familiar instead of himself. This ability can be used to absorb either nonlethal or normal damage, but cannot be used to absorb the damage caused by casting chaos magic. This ability may not be selected if the Bolster Will ability has been selected. This ability can be selected twice. The second time it is selected, it doubles the effective range to 20 feet and allows the chaos familiar to absorb damage caused by the casting of chaos magic effects.
Damage Reduction – The familiar gains damage reduction 5/law. While in physical contact with its creator, it can, once per day as a free action, extend this protection to its master for a number of rounds equal to one half the mage’s caster level. This ability can be selected twice. The second time it is chosen it increases the damage reduction to 7/law and allows the familiar to extend this protection to its master an once more per day.
Extra Movement Type – The familiar gains a second movement type, selected from the list. This ability can be selected up to three times, giving the familiar access to a third and fourth type of movement.
Increased Attack Bonus – The familiar attacks with the base attack bonus of a bard of its master’s chaos mage class level. This ability can be selected twice. The second time it is chosen, it improves the familiar’s base attack bonus to that of a fighter of its master’s class level. Invisibility – The familiar can become invisible three times per day as a free action. Its invisibility lasts a number of rounds equal to the chaos mage’s caster level and ends the moment the familiar attacks, casts a spell, or performs a similar action. This special ability is functionally identical to the invisibility spell. This ability can be selected twice. The second time it is chosen, it allows the familiar to become invisible at will, subject to the restrictions outlined above.
Resistance – The familiar is especially resistant to certain types of damage. It gains energy resistance equal to its master’s class level against one of the following types of energy; acid, cold, electricity, fire or sonic. This resistance protects against both normal and magical versions of those energy types. This ability can be selected twice. The second time it allows the familiar to select a second energy form to be resistant to, and also allows him to extend his protection to his master once a day, for up to half the chaos mage’s caster level in rounds, so long as the two are in physical contact.
Spell Conduit – By building a strong bond between himself and his familiar, a chaos mage is able to project his powers over far greater distances than normal. When in possession of a familiar with this ability, the practitioner may cast a chaos magic spell through the familiar – in terms of range, touch attacks, and area of effect, the familiar effectively becomes the caster of the spell, though all other variables of the spell, such as caster level, remain as the chaos mage’s. The familiar must be with 5 feet + 5 feet per point of Wisdom bonus of the caster to use this ability.
A chaos familiar possesses one of the following movement types, as selected by the chaos mage.
† Walk – base speed 10 feet + 5 feet per point of Wisdom bonus.
† Flight (average) – base speed 10 feet + 5 feet per two points of Wisdom bonus. The familiar may also walk at a speed of 5 feet per round.
† Swim – base speed 10 feet + 5 feet per point of Wisdom bonus. The familiar can also walk at a speed of 5 feet per round.
† Burrow – base speed 5 feet + 5 feet per point of Wisdom bonus. The familiar can also walk at a base speed of 10 feet per round.
The following features are common to all chaos familiars.
† Familiars begin at Tiny size, and increase to Small size after the caster has gained 5 levels of experience (or begin at Small size if the caster is 7th level or above when he creates him). This growth increases the familiar’s Strength by +4, as well as altering him as per the rules for size increase found in Core Rulebook I.
† Familiars have Hit Dice equal to one half their master’s chaos mage level, rounded down.
† The familiar has exactly one half the original hit points of its master, rounding down. Modifiers due to either the familiar’s or master’s Constitutionscore have no effect on the familiar’s hit points.
† The familiar has a single attack form (claws, stinger, horn, bite, punch or other exotic attack). It attacks with a base attack bonus equal to that of a wizard of its creator’s chaos mage level. The attack causes 1d4 damage, which increases to 1d6 damage when the familiar becomes Small sized.
† The familiar and its master can communicate via telepathy or via normal speech. The telepathy has a range of 1 mile + 1 mile per point of Wisdom bonus. The familiar willingly obeys its master’s orders, to the point of rushing to certain death if so directed. None other than the creator chaos mage can understand the strange, flowing language of the familiar – it speaks the currents of chaos, which mortal minds cannot comprehend.
† Familiars have good Fortitude, Reflex and Will saves, calculated as though they were a character of their master’s chaos mage level. These are modified by the familiar’s Dexterity, Constitution and Wisdom scores as normal.
† Familiars have a base Armour Class equal to 10 + their master’s Wisdom bonus + one-half his class level.
† Whenever a chaos mage achieves a new chaos mage level, the chaos familiar raises an ability score by one point. The familiar cannot have an Intelligence, Wisdom or Charisma score higher than its master’s, however.
A chaos familiar is a very real part of the chaos mage and he can no more ignore its loss than he could ignore the loss of an arm. The two are bonded on a fundamental level, and the loss of one almost assuredly slays the other.
Should the chaos mage be slain, his familiar remains for a number of rounds equal to its deceased master’s class level. During this time, it will attempt to revive its master if possible, or attack its master’s killers if not. At the end of the last round of its existence, it dissipates in a brief implosion of energy. Should the chaos mage be later returned to life, he must craft a new familiar.
If the familiar is slain, the chaos mage is instantly reduced to 0 hit points, and is considered disabled. If he receives healing and survives, he will never be as healthy again; the chaos mage’s Constitution score is permanently reduced by one point. In addition, the moment the familiar is slain, the chaos mage must immediately roll to see if he takes a step along a Path of Chaos, just as though he had suffered a backlash.