2
\$\begingroup\$

This question already has an answer here:

I am playing a level 11 wizard and I have a Pseudodragon familiar. It has the dragon type, which grants 6 + INT_MOD skill points per hit dice.

Familiars have hit dice equal to their master's hit dice.

Familiars get the best of the master's skills and their own skills:

Skills: For each skill in which either the master or the familiar has ranks, use either the normal skill ranks for an animal of that type or the master’s skill ranks, whichever is better. In either case, the familiar uses its own ability modifiers. Regardless of a familiar’s total skill modifiers, some skills may remain beyond the familiar’s ability to use. Familiars treat Acrobatics, Climb, Fly, Perception, Stealth, and Swim as class skills.

Based on their listed total skills, ability scores, class skills for dragons, and racial modifiers, (as well as stealth size modifiers and fly skill modifiers), it seems to me that the Pseudodragons have the following skill points already assigned to their base kit:

  • Diplomacy: 2
  • Fly: 2 10
  • Perception: 2
  • Sense Motive: 2
  • Stealth: 5 13
  • Survival: 2

If that's accurate, then it seems that I should have 51 additional skill points to assign for the familiar's skills. Is that right, or am I completely misunderstanding how skills work for familiars?

\$\endgroup\$

marked as duplicate by Ifusaso, Tiggerous, Jason_c_o, Sdjz, Miniman Sep 6 '18 at 10:16

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ You might be missing a size modifier on that Stealth score. \$\endgroup\$ – Erik Sep 6 '18 at 5:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also forgot the size and maneuverability modifiers for fly. Thanks! \$\endgroup\$ – JoshuaD Sep 6 '18 at 5:51
5
\$\begingroup\$

A familiar's skill ranks are determined by their bestiary HD, their Intelligence score, and their master's skill ranks.

Unlike animal companions, familiars don't actually gain additional HD as their master progresses. They don't get additional skill ranks to allocate. The familiar rules actually say:

Hit Dice: For the purpose of effects related to number of Hit Dice, use the master’s character level or the familiar’s normal HD total, whichever is higher.

This doesn't mean they actually gain HD. It means that for the purpose of effects such as "Target creatures up to X hit dice", you use the master's character level as that value.

Instead, the familiar's skill ranks are determined as follows:

Skills: For each skill in which either the master or the familiar has ranks, use either the normal skill ranks for an animal of that type or the master’s skill ranks, whichever is better. In either case, the familiar uses its own ability modifiers. Regardless of a familiar’s total skill modifiers, some skills may remain beyond the familiar’s ability to use. Familiars treat Acrobatics, Climb, Fly, Perception, Stealth, and Swim as class skills.

So for each skill, you determine the number of skill ranks as the maximum of:

  • The number of ranks that the master has in that skill, or

  • The number of ranks that the familiar has in their bestiary entry.

And then you add the ability score modifier, +3 for class skills, and miscellaneous racial and size bonuses. For a familiar's class skills, you use the class skills of its creature type, in addition to those skills listed in the quote above.

Pseudodragon default skill rank allocation

The pseudodragon, while being a dragon with 6+INT modifier ranks per HD, only has 2 HD. With 10 INT that translates to 12 skill ranks to spend:

  • Diplomacy +5 = 2 ranks +0 CHA +3 class skill
  • Fly +15 = 2 ranks +2 DEX +3 class skill +4 size +4 good maneuverability
  • Perception +6 = 2 ranks +1 WIS +3 class skill
  • Sense Motive +6 = 2 ranks +1 WIS +3 class skill
  • Stealth +19 = 2 ranks + 2 DEX +3 class skill +8 size +4 racial
  • Survival +6 = 2 ranks +1 WIS + 3 class skill

In total, that's 12 ranks, properly allocated.

Examples as a familiar

Let's say the wizard has invested 1 skill rank into Disable Device, 5 ranks into Fly, and 1 rank into Survival. The pseudodragon per the bestiary has invested 2 ranks in Fly, 0 in Disable Device, and 2 in Survival. So you use the higher value, and the familiar's skills should be:

  • Disable Device +4 = master's 2 ranks +2 DEX
  • Fly +18 = master's 5 ranks +2 DEX +3 class skill +4 size +4 good maneuverability
  • Survival +6 = 2 ranks +1 WIS + 3 class skill

And you do the same for all other skills.

Can familiars ever gain skill ranks?

Possibly. As the master advances, the familiar's Intelligence ability score slowly increases, which may cause it to retroactively gain skill ranks:

Permanent Bonuses: Ability bonuses with a duration greater than 1 day actually increase the relevant ability score after 24 hours. Modify all skills and statistics as appropriate. This might cause you to gain skill points, hit points, and other bonuses. These bonuses should be noted separately in case they are removed.

However, rather than gain a bonus to their Intelligence score, familiars use a chart that determines their Intelligence according to the master's level. Eventually this will cause the pseudodragon's Intelligence to increase past 10. When it causes their INT modifier to increase, the familiar gains additional skill points equal to its HD (2) that it may allocate freely.

\$\endgroup\$

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.