I'm trying to follow a long-established (in lore) tradition of master transferring his familiar to his student after taking the Improved Familiar feat. While flavor and care of treating familiar like a living being is all there, mechanics seem to be unclear about what happens next (or I'm just failing to find the answer):

  • What happens to old familiar's stats from familiar table? Does he retain his acquired Int, Nat Armor and Abilities? Or does he somehow get dumber and weaker in the process?
  • What happens to old familiar's skills? He had a lot of dots from me (original master). Does he forget all that he learned and adjust to skills of his new master?
  • What happens to old familiar's HP? Does it drop to new master's half HP?

1 Answer 1


It depends on the familiar's master

The rules for familiars are straightforward:

Use the basic statistics for a creature of the familiar’s kind, but with the following changes.

  • 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.

  • Hit Points: The familiar has half the master’s total hit points (not including temporary hit points), rounded down, regardless of its actual Hit Dice. [...]

  • 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. [...]

So, if the old master is still the master, then it will have hit dice based on the old master. I cannot find any rules that would allow a familiar to transfer to a new master. But if you could transfer them, then the the new master would now be its master, and the familar would use the new master's HD, hit points and skill modifieres (or its own if better for HD and skills). It would become weaker, if the new master is weaker.

The improved familiar feat does not change any of that. It only allows you to pick more unusual and more powerful familiars, that deviate in alignment by one step.

Improved familiars otherwise use the rules for regular familiars, with two exceptions: if the creature’s type is something other than animal, its type does not change; and improved familiars do not gain the ability to speak with other creatures of their kind (although many of them already have the ability to communicate).


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