The familiar is brilliant feature for a wizard, but not for a prestige multiclassing one. Such a wizard stops upgrading his familiar once getting off the main road. So if he still wants to utilize his familiar, he should take the obtain familiar feat, but this would made the basic familiar feature redundant.

So what options can a wizard take instead of gaining a familiar at 1st level?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Pathfinder is 3.5 compatible, so you might ask your GM if you can take the Wizard's "Bonded Object" instead. It lets you swap your familiar for a single piece of equipment (amulet, ring, staff, wand, or weapon) and use that item to cast a single spell from your spellbook once per day (without taking a slot, even if you didn't have it memorized). You can also enchant it as though you had the right feats, but you have to make a concentration check if you try to cast a spell without it equipped. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 15, 2014 at 0:46

2 Answers 2


The Forlorn flaw from Dragon vol. 333 prevents you from gaining a familiar. As with all flaws, you get an extra feat for taking it. The existence of the Obtain Familiar feat (Complete Arcane) suggests that this is a fair trade and that the familiar is valued about the same as a feat.

For actual alternate options, from the best list of alternate class features that I know of

Aquatic wizards or changeling wizards get different types of familiars, as do any other wizards who select drakken familiar, frostfell familiar, wasteland familiar, or wilderness companion.

High One Warrior Wizard (Champions of Valor) lets you replace your familiar with your paladin special mount, which gains some of the benefits a familiar would have. Requires you to be a paladin and does not actually grant the special mount feature.

Immediate Magic (Player’s Handbook II) replaces your familiar with an immediate-action, single-round effect that you can use Int mod times per day. The nature of the effect depends on the school you specialize in:

  • Abjuration: Urgent Shield – +2 AC
  • Conjuration: Abrupt Jaunt – short range teleport
  • Divination: Glimpse Peril – +2 on next saving throw
  • Enchantment: Instant Daze – Daze someone who attacked you in melee
  • Evocation: Counterfire – 1d6/3 levels force damage on enemy who attacked you at range
  • Illusion: Brief Figment – Single mirror image of you
  • Necromancy: Cursed Glance – −2 AC and saving throws on enemy who attacked you at range
  • Transmutation: Sudden Shift – Gain climb, fly, or swim speed equal to land speed

Specialist Variants (Unearthed Arcana or SRD) replaces your familiar with some other effect based on specialization:

  • Abjuration: Resistance to Energy – 1/day, 1 hour resistance to energy of choice equal to 5+½wizard level
  • Conjuration: Rapid Summoning – summon monster spells may be cast in 1 standard action
  • Divination: Enhanced Awareness – Sense Motive as a wizard class skill, identify in 10 minutes instead of an hour, arcane eye moves at 20 ft/round instead of 10, and +1 to save DC of divinations
  • Enchantment: Cohort – get a cohort, à la Leadership, but no followers, at 6th.
  • Evocation: Energy Affinity – +1 caster level when casting an evocation spell of the energy type chosen at 1st level.
  • Illusionist: Chains of Disbelief – Someone who succeeds on a save against your illusions cannot help others to do so, and your illusions can even fool those who have proof that they are fake (but they do get a +10 bonus on the save).
  • Necromancy: Skeleton Minion – a skeleton instead of a familiar.
  • Transmutation: Enhance Attribute – Swift action, +2 enhancement bonus to an ability score, lasts 1 minute/wizard level, 1/day plus another use every five wizard levels

Wizard of Sun and Moon (Dungeonscape) can prepare two spells in a single slot, one of which is only available above ground during the day, and the other of which is only available underground or at night.

Abrupt Jaunt is by far the best; if allowed (and you don’t mind making your best-class-in-the-game dramatically-more-powerful), just take it unless you are a dedicated summoner (then take Rapid Summoning) or illusionist (then take Chains of Belief). The rest are... really mediocre. Some of the other immediate magic options are OK, like Cursed Glance or Sudden Shift. Instant Daze is pretty good in a campaign where Enchantment is viable, but it often isn’t.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Abrupt jaunt is good, but it is the equivalent of a feat. One can get Dimension Jaunt [Reserve] and move up to 45ft instead of 10. Given it is a Standard instead of Immediate, but it is not limited in uses (so long you keep a slot open). \$\endgroup\$ Oct 22, 2017 at 14:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Mindwin Being an immediate action is literally the only reason anyone cares about abrupt jaunt. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Oct 22, 2017 at 14:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ or go for both.... \$\endgroup\$ Oct 22, 2017 at 14:35

There are several Specialist Wizard Variants that offer other benefits in exchange for losing the ability to have a familiar, they do require you to be a specialist wizard though and not just a plain wizard. There is also a Sorcerer/Wizard Variant that give you an animal companion instead of a familiar, but I'm guessing that isn't the sort of thing you are looking for.

I also found references to Immediate Magic (PHB2) and Wizard of Sun and Moon (Dungeonscape) but I don't have access to either of those books, so I don't know what kind of benefit they give you.

Alternatively if you did want to keep progressing you familiar, as long as all of your classes are arcane spell casters you can use the Obtain Familiar feat to count all of your arcane caster levels towards your familiar.


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