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According to the prerequisites of the Squire Feat you can take the feat at level 3, but you cannot have a squire more than 3 levels lower than you. The Leadership Feat does not provide rules for attracting cohorts lower than level 1 (which would be pretty much useless anyway, but I digress).

My question is whether you can gain any mechanical benefits (acquire a squire) with a level 3 character who has the Squire feat?

Evidence to consider:

  • The Feat was errata'd from prereq of level 4 to prereq of level 3. This could be taken two ways. Either they intended level 3 characters to be able to take the feat and gain the advantage of it, or they intended level 4 characters to be able to have squires (which would have been impossible with a level 4 prereq, as the feat is not a combat feat and there is no progression that gets you a new feat at 4th level)
  • The source of the 3rd-level errata Patrick Renie claims that he would homerule it to be effective at 3rd level
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    \$\begingroup\$ The RAW seems unclear, so being strict you should rule that since 0th level followers aren't a thing, he can take it at 3rd but needs to wait until 4th to attract a follower. I would talk to this with the player, and then allow having a level 1 follower at 3rd, that is still largely incompetent (i.e. bad squire) until level 4th when he's getting the drift. \$\endgroup\$
    – Julix
    Jan 23, 2016 at 10:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ I agree with your first consideration. I think they should take the feat at level 3 and have it fully effective at level 4. Like Julix pointed out, this could be a fun opportunity to introduce an incompetent "level 0" squire for a while! \$\endgroup\$ Jan 23, 2016 at 11:35

2 Answers 2

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No.

As you noted

your squire is always at least three or more levels lower than yourself.

At 3rd level, that puts him at 0, which doesn't work, so you have to be at least 4th level to attract a squire.

But then, why does it say you can attract a 1st level cohort?

There is a distinction to be made between attracting a cohort and having a cohort. The level-3 (or level-2 for Leadership) restriction is for a cohort you have, not for the one you could get, if you get (i.e. attract) a new cohort.

When the feat talks about attracting a 1st level cohort, it just means that any new squire you acquire is 1st level. Compare this to the full Leadership feat, where the maximum cohort level you can attract is determined by your leadership score, and can be much lower than your character level-2.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ This seems to go against RAW, since it clearly gives "character level 3" as a prerequisite. Your answer, as I understand it, implies that one would have to be 4th level to get the feat. \$\endgroup\$
    – jvriesem
    Feb 22, 2020 at 21:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ @jvriesem correction, you do get the benefit of the feat (wich is 0 on level 3) and since feats cannot be kept in reserve and must be chosen on the appropriate level, it is a way of having it before level 6. Might not be cool since you get no benefit at level 3 but at least you have the feat! you need to be level 4 to BENEFIT from the feat, not having the feat itself. The question is if you can take a squire, not the squire feat. \$\endgroup\$
    – Maxpire
    Feb 23, 2020 at 9:52
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Yes, you can take the feat....

The rules as written state that Squire has a prerequisite of character level 3, which means that characters may gain Squire upon reaching Level 3.

This much is clear. What isn't clear is what kind of squire, if any, you would get if you took the Squire feat at 3rd level.

The math in feat description would imply that you'd gain a (N–1) == 0th level squire. Since there aren't Pathfinder rules for a zeroth level NPC (to my knowledge), we are left to interpret them. I see two options here:

  1. If zero-level NPCs cannot exist, then a 3rd level character who chooses Squire will not gain a squire until they reach 4th level. (This interpretation would imply that it was a typo on Paizo's part, and that the prerequisite should have been 4th level instead of 3rd.)
  2. The character gains a squire who has no levels in any class. This means the squire does not have any features from any class, including skills, proficiencies, or anything else. They improvise all attacks. They accumulate no XP until the player character advances to 4th level. (It is unclear how much HP they would have in this scenario, since they'd have no HD.)

Without additional interpretation, I think the RAW answer to your other question is...

...No, you don't get any mechanical benefit until 4th level.

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