Making a level 1 witch with a horned lizard familiar. My witch’s skill ranks are perception, three knowledges, linguistics, perform, spellcraft, and heal. What are the horned lizards racial skill point ranks?

What special abilities does the horned lizard get? The run feat? Camouflage? Puff up? Blood spurt? What’s the attack modifier on that?


1 Answer 1


To figure out what it gets, let's look at the rules for familiars, at the start it states:

It retains the appearance, Hit Dice, base attack bonus, base save bonuses, skills, and feats of the normal animal it once was, but is now a magical beast for the purpose of effects that depend on its type.

From that, we see that it is not called out as losing any special qualities or abilities as a result of becoming a magical beast, and keeps the things it had as an animal. The rules then go on to state:

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.

Attacks: Use the master's base attack bonus, as calculated from all his classes. Use the familiar's Dexterity or Strength modifier, whichever is greater, to calculate the familiar's melee attack bonus with natural weapons.

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.

If we look at the statblock of a Horned Lizard, we see:

hp 3 (1d8–1)

Skills Stealth +17

Since as an animal, a horned lizard gets 2 + int (minimum 1) skills per HD and has a HD of 1, that means it only has ranks in stealth (which is also a class skill for it). We can see this to be true by adding up its bonuses, \$+17 = +1 \text{ (dex mod)} +1 \text{ (rank)} +3 \text{ (class skill)} +12 \text{ (diminutive size)}\$. If the witch had ranks in other skills, the familiar would get them and apply them as normal.

It also keeps the run feat, and since nothing removes its special abilities, it keeps them.

For its natural attacks (including the blood squirt), they would be made at: \$ +5 = +0 \text{ (level 1 Witch BAB)} +1 \text{ (dex mod)} +4 \text{ (diminutive size)}\$.

  • \$\begingroup\$ And to be clear: as the witch/lizard level up, the lizard doesn’t get more of its own ranks correct? \$\endgroup\$ Nov 1, 2020 at 19:13
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @FrancisJohn correct. \$\endgroup\$
    – willuwontu
    Nov 1, 2020 at 19:21

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