I'm a 20+ year DND veteran/forever DM trying to switch my players to PF2e. I have some questions about PF2e familiars, "specific familiars", and the rage of elements familiars, that I can't seem to figure out on my own. So far I've looked at the Core Rulebook and RoE, and I only recently discovered that "specific" familiar is a thing in APG, but that's only adding more confusion.

First, I'm assuming that the rage of elements familiars are "specific familiars", and that's because they have a stat block? Second, the familars have a "required number of abilities" ("RNoA"), which I believe is also a feature of "specific" familiars.

Now, RNoA SEEMS to mean the Familiar/Master abilities you pick during daily prep, but this is where the confusion comes in.

  • Per Core Rulebook, you only get 2 such abilities.
  • All of the familiars in Rage of Elements have at least RNoA 3, and nothing in RoE appears to state these are "specific familiars".
  • Kineticist has a level 1 feat called Elemental Familiar. In my copy, it says "You gain an elemental familiar (page 42)", which lists only the "specific" familiars, which require 3-5 abilities, but I only have 2 as a level 1 character.
  • Weirdly, when I look up Elemental Familiar feat on AoN (https://2e.aonprd.com/Feats.aspx?ID=4183), it says "You gain an <%FAMILIARS.ABILITIES%93%%>elemental familiar" (with that unresolved variable) that appears to reference some kind of abilities (RNoA???).

I guess, here's my main question: can I create a level 1 Kineticist with an Elemental Familiar that is an Elemental Wisp (RNoA 3) or a Gennayn (RNoA 5)? If not, what does a level 1 familiar look like?

  • \$\begingroup\$ You mean you don’t know what <%FAMILIARS.ABILITIES%93%%> means? JK, what a weird error to find. Neat question. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 15, 2023 at 13:00
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Haha well I did some research and it looks like %93 is HTML encoding for double quotes. So whoever wrote this up appears to have forgotten to close the quotes to complete the link. If that's the case, then this link appears to point to the "New Familiar Abilities" section, under Elemental Familiars, which contains the new abilities plus the new familiars themselves. \$\endgroup\$
    – emery.noel
    Oct 15, 2023 at 14:03

2 Answers 2


Elemental Familiar Abilities

Elemental Familiars

Spellcasters with an affinity for elemental energies call forth elemental creatures to serve as familiars.

New Familiar Abilities

The following familiar abilities are available to any character with a familiar and are used by the specific elemental familiars presented below.

In the Rage of Elements book there is a section on elemental familiars which includes the specific familiars you referenced as well as three familiar abilities: elemental, jet, and levitator.


Your familiar has the elemental trait instead of the animal trait. Choose air, earth, fire, metal, water, or wood. Your familiar gains that trait. The familiar is immune to bleed, paralyzed, poison, sleep, and the element matching its trait. Your familiar must have the resistance familiar ability to select this, unless it's a specific familiar.

Each of the specific elemental familiars has the elemental ability, and it seems most reasonable that the Elemental Familiar kineticist feat is referring to familiars that possess this. With the standard 2 abilities, such a familiar would always have the elemental ability and its prerequisite resistance ability.

Getting a Specific Familiar

Any character can gain a specific familiar so long as they already have a familiar with at least the required number of abilities listed in the specific familiar's stat block. Such a familiar usually replaces an existing familiar, though in some circumstances (such as for a witch) the familiar may evolve or reveal its true form.

As a kineticist, you could take the Familiar Master archetype at level 2 to get an additional 2 abilities. You'd also gain access to the Improved Familiar feat allowing up to 6 effective abilities at 6th level and Incredible Familiar at level 10 allowing up to 8 effective abilities.

Other archetypes allow for additional familiar abilities as well, but Familiar Master naturally allows for the quickest and most generic option. If class is negotiable then Wizard or Witch can have a higher number of abilities without taking feats for it.

Any abilities beyond the required number to select the specific familiar are free for you to choose, so you could even get something like an elemental shadow familiar for 8 abilities (7 + 1 elemental, already has resistance), assuming you have access.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ So at level 1, my familiar is an animal, but on fire? And I'd have to spend my 2 abilities on Elemental and Resistance, which would mean I couldn't have a flyer, swimmer, or burrower? I guess an air-elemental cat would be just ... hella static-y? (LOL!) Aside from Familiar Master, are there other ways to increase # of Abilities? \$\endgroup\$
    – emery.noel
    Oct 15, 2023 at 16:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ Wizards have a Thesis that improves Familiars. Druid, Magus, Sorcerer, Thaumaturge, Witch, Wizard, Elementalist archetype, Familiar Master archetype, and Shadowcaster archetype have access to Enhanced Familiar, which increased their available number of abilities to 4. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 15, 2023 at 20:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ The ANoA can further be increased with Incredible Familar, available to Witch, Thaumaturge, and (in a separate-but-the-same Feat), Familiar Master. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 15, 2023 at 20:54

Elemental Familiar (the Feat)

A small creature made of elemental matter springs forth from your kinetic gate. This elemental familiar appears to be made of one of your kinetic elements, though it might have unusual or distinguishing aspects. Like other familiars, your elemental familiar can assist you in various tasks and on adventures. You gain an elemental familiar with the trait of one of your kinetic elements. If you have more than one kinetic element, you can change the element you've selected for your familiar to a different one of your kinetic elements each time you make your daily preparations. The familiar uses your Constitution modifier to determine its Perception, Acrobatics, and Stealth modifiers.

This is an odd one, because it's unclear if the elemental Ability is a bonus, included, or what. Presumably, since it's not noted as such, you do not gain it as a bonus, but must select it. However, because of the nature of the Feat, I believe that you do not need to meet the requirement of choosing Resistance as your other Ability.

You are also "allowed" to choose Specific Familiars (if you gain the RNoA in some way) that are Elementals (Mood Cloud, Crysmal Shardling, etc.) I believe you could also choose a different Specific Familiar as long as you could meet the requirement of it having Elemental as well... but that's a bit of a stretch. Regardless, you do not have to use a Specific Familiar and, often, it is not in your best interest to do so. Specific Familiar abilities tend to be mediocre compared to the flexibility of choosing your Abilities yourself from the list.

My take

You gain a mote of (one of) your element(s) which is a Minion with the Elemental ability, uses your Con for its skill checks, and has one available ability*. It looks however you want, besides being Tiny and clearly elemental in nature.

If you later get Enhanced Familiar from a spellcasting archetype or Familiar Master, and possibly Incredible Familiar/Incredible Familiar, you further add options to the Abilities you can pick or allow you to choose a Specific Familiar that has the Elemental Ability.

*I am not positive this is RAW, but it's how I'd rule it at my table barring clarification. Otherwise the Feat is too restrictive for the benefits it gives, with Kineticist not having access to Enhanced Familiar innately.


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