I got a really funny idea for a character after looking at the Improved Familiar feat the other day. The idea is a young feminine witch who takes Improved Familiar to get a Almiraj (it's basically a murderous unicorn-bunny). The witch is hilariously unaware that her familiar is a ravenous murder-rabbit, and just thinks he's a cute, harmless familiar. I wanted to make the Almiraj as combat-ready as possible, to take advantage of this hilarious dichotomy as much as possible, but as I am well aware, familiars are far from made for combat. I was wondering if anyone could offer any advice on making the familiar more combat viable, besides the obvious Improved Familiar and Evolved Familiar feats?

Any advice is appreciated. I know familiars are not normally used in combat besides for touch spells, but I got this idea and wanted to see how far I could take it. Thanks.


4 Answers 4


From a roleplaying perspective, the problem you'll run into with this character is that if she's actively involved in combat, ripping dudes apart with spells left and right, the contrast between her and her familiar will be hard to play up. Plus, familiars are never going to be as powerful as, say, animal companions, and so a character based entirely on a combat familiar is probably going to feel weak and become frustrating quickly.

If you're more interested in pushing this character concept to the limit as opposed to having the most powerful familiar possible within the RAW, you could always re-skin the touch attack for spells as the familiar itself casting the spells. From an in-game perspective, the witch wouldn't have to be a witch at all, just a girl who found and bonded to this insanely magical creature that runs around and immolates things while she picks flowers during combat.


I agree with Track's idea to an extent - from a role-playing perspective, you may benefit from "delegating" some of your powers to work thematically as if "the bunny did it" - without actually changing their mechanics. For example, your witch may mechanically spend her action on casting a touch spell, but thematically she is doting on her cute familiar or even rebuking him for being naughty.

At any rate, there are some things you can use in the RAW:

1. Replace the almiraj's feat Weapon Finesse with some useful familiar feat.
Since the familiar rules state:

Use the familiar's Dexterity or Strength modifier, whichever is greater, to calculate the familiar's melee attack bonus with natural weapons

it'll effectively already have Weapon Finesse from that. Relevant familiar feats include: Spell Sponge, Critical Conduit and Familiar Focus (note that any familiar feat requires GM approval).

2. Some useful hexes:

  1. Beast of Ill-Omen first to behold the bunny after activation suffers the effects of Bane.
  2. Cursed Wound This can be a way to have your bunny's attacks more horrifying - as they won't heal.
  3. Peacebond Prevent a target from drawing a weapon ("don't hurt my cute bunny!")"
  4. Evil Eye Weaken the bunny's target.
  5. Fortune Use this in conjunction with your bunny's attacks or combat maneuvers.
  6. Blight Not so useful in combat but cute thematically ("no peeing on that tree bunny!").
  7. Feral Speech Another one very relevant thematically, but no combat oriented.
  8. Healing Same here, as well as useful in keeping bunny (and your team-mates) alive.

3. Consider taking a patron who's spells can augment your familiar: Agility, Elements, or Strength for example. Alternatively, Take Peace and use Sanctuary to keep your witch from harm (or abuse it by casting it on the bunny...)

4. Consider taking the Beast-bonded Alternate Class Feature - it allows you to take feats for your familiar instead of the witch, and has some interesting features in higher levels - This will open up all sorts of combat feat chains you can apply on your bunny.

Goodluck - I'd like to see your build when done.


When you want something to work super different than it does, consider using something else and re-skinning it.

If you want the murderbunny to be effective up to high levels, there is no way to use a familiar - they require heavy optimization to be credible in combat even at levels 1-3, and are simply a "mess up the caster" button above that. Instead, consider making her a summoner with an eidolon that looks like a little bunny. She still has spells but there's more of her power invested in the creature.


Another option is taking the School archetype for your familiar as a wizard focused in the Conjuration school (partial to the Teleportation subschool, myself). Once you pick up Greater School Familiar after 10, your familiar can possess an entity you procure via Summon Monster. Could make for some interesting options, but doesn't come online until mid-levels.


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