Bond-Kin Mage (3.5e Prestige Class)
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|“||Yes. Yes I suppose you could call her that. But you miss the point. To call Shara just my familiar would be to call my heart just meat.||”|
|—The Magi of Atavia, Maurice Salem, Human Bond-Kin Mage|
When a spellcaster uplifts her familiar, she imbues it with a piece of her own soul, essentially turning the creature into an extension of her own being. This process is simple, but there is a deeper connection than is first apparent to non-spellcasters. For mages, the creation of their familiar is not an extension of their being, but the melding of two unique entities into one, the mage and her familiar. Not every mage is as closely connected to their familiar, and those that are not always aware. The connection between familiar and master cannot be learnt through study or practice, nor can it be found or sought out. It can only be discovered by loss. Those masters and familiars that have gone through this shared suffering and reunited can become Bond-Kin. Bond-Kin go beyond the master/familiar dynamic in all aspects. They now know that instead of carrying their soul, their familiar has become a part of it, and theirs has become a part of the familiar's. They are intertwined and inseparable, each a part of one another, and each improved for the other.
Becoming a Bond-Kin Mage
It is impossible to understand the bond between master and familiar if no such bond exists. As such, only Sorcerers, Wizards and other classes that have familiars are capable of becoming Bond-Kin Mages, but merely having a familiar is not enough. Bond-Kin Mages must understand what sets their familiars apart from other magical beasts, and must have been unwillingly separated from their familiar for a substantial period of time and reunited safely to understand the value of their connection.
|Skills:||Handle Animal 5, Knowledge (Arcane) 9, Knowledge (Nature) 5, Knowledge (The Planes) 8|
|Spellcasting:||Able to cast at least 3rd level Arcane spells|
|Special:||Must have a familiar, and must have once been forcibly separated from that familiar for a minimum of 24 hours, by a distance greater than 1 mile, then reunited safely.|
|1st||+0||+0||+0||+2||Familiar Abilities, Familiar Focus, Devotion||+1 level of existing class|
|2nd||+1||+0||+0||+3||Store Spells||+1 level of existing class|
|3rd||+1||+1||+1||+3||Bonus Feat, Knowledge Pool I||+1 level of existing class|
|4th||+2||+1||+1||+4||Improved Share Spells, Telepathic Link||+1 level of existing class|
|5th||+2||+1||+1||+4||Share Pain, Reshape Familiar, Knowledge Pool II||—|
|6th||+3||+2||+2||+5||Point of Origin||+1 level of existing class|
|7th||+3||+2||+2||+5||Bonus Feat, Take Form (1/day), Knowledge Pool III||+1 level of existing class|
|8th||+4||+2||+2||+6||Shifting Familiar, Possess Familiar||+1 level of existing class|
|9th||+4||+3||+3||+6||Become One, Take Form (2/day), Reshape Familiar II, Knowledge Pool IV||+1 level of existing class|
|10th||+5||+3||+3||+7||Bondwalk, Take Form (3/day), Familiar Spell, Twinform||—|
All of the following are class features of the Bond-Kin Mage.
Spellcasting: At each level except for fifth and tenth, a Bond-Kin Mage gain new spells per day and increases in caster level (and spells known, if applicable) as if they had also gained a level in a spellcasting class to which they belonged before adding the prestige class level. They do not, however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained. If they had more than one spellcasting class before becoming a Bond-Kin Mage, they must decide to which class to add each level for the purpose of determining spells per day, caster level, and spells known.
Familiar Abilities: Levels of Bond-Kin Mage stack with levels of any class that provide access to a familiar. Add levels from this class and the class that granted access to the familiar together and refer to the table on page 53 of the Player’s Handbook to determine the familiar’s natural armor, Intelligence, and special abilities. If a character had levels in multiple classes that grant access to a familiar before becoming a Bond-Kin Mage, she must decide to which class to add each level for the purpose of determining the abilities of her familiar.
Familiar Focus : A Bond-Kin Mage's familiar may be used as a spellcasting focus or aid. While their familiar is within arm’s reach, a Bond-Kin Mage may increase the caster level of any spell they cast by 1.
Store Spells (Su): Starting at second level, a Bond-Kin Mage may ready a spell and store it in their familiar to be cast later. This spell can be any arcane spell the Bond-Kin Mage knows of two levels less than their highest arcane caster level. If the spell requires any expensive material components (worth more than 1 gp) those components must be provided and spent while readying the spell. The spell is stored in the body of the familiar, and can be cast as a standard action by the Bond-Kin Mage as long as the familiar is within 10ft + 5ft per level of the master. Spells stored this way remain stored until cast or dismissed by the caster, and cannot be delivered by the familiar unlike the deliver spells class feature. Spells are readied in the familiar, but cast from the Bond-Kin Mage when a predetermined command word is spoken. This command word must be heard by the familiar.
Only one spell may be stored at a time. If the Bond-Kin casts spells spontaneously, the stored spell cannot be spontaneously changed into another spell; the original spell must be cast. The familiar must be within arm's reach for the duration of the casting time for the spell to be stored.
Bonus Feat: A Bond-Kin Mage may take any Spell Focus or Metamagic Feat as a bonus feat at 3rd and 7th level. The Bond-Kin Mage loses these feats if their familiar is not within 1 mile of them, or is killed; regaining them if the familiar returns within 1 mile, is raised, or they acquire a new familiar.
Knowledge Pool: At 3rd level and every second level after that, a Bond-Kin Mage may learn a new spell from a spellcasting class spell list to which they have access to. This spell may be of any level that the Bond-Kin Mage can cast. The Bond-Kin Mage loses these extra spells known if their familiar is not within 1 mile of them, or is killed; regaining them if the familiar returns within 1 mile, is raised, or they acquire a new familiar.
Improved Share Spells: Starting at fourth level, at the Bond-Kin Mage’s option, she may have any spell (but not any spell-like ability) she casts on herself also affect her familiar as per Share Spells, except the familiar can be anywhere within 1 mile of the master to receive the benefits. If the spell or effect has a duration other than instantaneous, it stops affecting the familiar if it moves farther than a mile away and will not affect the familiar again even if it returns to the master before the duration expires.
Telepathic Link (Su): Starting at fourth level, the Bond-Kin Mage has an telepathic link with his familiar out to a distance of up to 1 mile. The master cannot see through the familiar’s eyes, hear through the familiar's ears, or share any of the familiar's senses; though the familiar can describe what it is experiencing through the link, and can be given instructions.
Share Pain (Su): Starting at fifth level, whenever their familiar would take damage, the Bond-Kin Mage may subtract their level from the amount of damage taken by their familiar, and instead have that damage dealt to themselves. Damage reduction, if the character has any, doesn’t apply to this damage, but damage immunity and resistance does. Example:A seventh level Bond-Kin Mage's familiar is hit by a Lightning Bolt for 8 electricity damage. The Bond-Kin Mage uses this feat to redirect 7 points of damage. The Bond-Kin has resistance electricity 5, so they take 2 points of electricity damage instead, and their familiar takes 1.
Reshape Familiar: At fifth and ninth level, a Bond-Kin Mage's familiar gets a permanent +2 bonus to Strength or Dexterity, + 2 to Constitution, and the Bond-Kin Mage may choose to permanently change the size of their familiar by one size class up or down, to a minimum of Fine, and a maximum of Large.
Point of Origin (Su): Starting at sixth level, while their familiar is within 50ft, a Bond-Kin Mage may choose to cast spells as though their familiar was the spell's origin point. The Bond-Kin need not have line of effect or sight to the target from their own position, so long as their familiar does, but they must have line of effect and sight to their familiar to use this feat.
Take Form (Su): Starting from seventh level, a Bond-Kin Mage gains the ability to become an exact copy of their familiar once per day. This ability functions like the Alternate Form special ability, except as noted here:
- The effect lasts for 1 hour per Bond-Kin Mage level, plus the level of the highest class the Bond-Kin Mage has levels in that allows them a familiar.
- They become an exact copy of their familiar except for their Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma scores.
- They are capable of speaking any languages their familiar knows, and of communicating with animals of the type of their familiar before it became a familiar.
- Any gear worn or carried by the Bond-Kin Mage melds into the new form and becomes nonfunctional. When they reverts to their true form, any objects previously melded into the new form reappear in the same location on their body that they previously occupied and are once again functional. Any new items worn in the assumed form fall off and land at their feet.
- A Bond-Kin Mage copies the current hit points of their familiar, losing or gaining hit points as required. Returning to their regular form regains lost hit points as though they had rested for a night.
- A Bond-Kin Mage cannot cast spells that their familiar can't on their own while taking their form.
- A Bond-Kin Mage takes the natural form of their familiar. If their familiar has been polymorphed or similarly manipulated, the Bond-Kin Mage's new form is not affected.
- A Bond-Kin Mage can use this ability more times per day at 9th and 10th level as noted on Table: The Bond-Kin Mage.
Shifting Familiar (Sp): From 8th level onwards, the Bond-Kin Mage becomes capable of manipulating the form of their familiar. By expending a use of their Take Form class feature, the Bond-Kin Mage may have their familiar change physical appearance. This ability functions like the Alternate Form special ability, except as noted here:
- The effect lasts for 1 hour per Bond-Kin Mage level, plus the level of the highest class the Bond-Kin Mage has levels in that allows them a familiar.
- The new form may be of the same type as the familiar or any of the following types: animal, dragon, fey, giant, humanoid, magical beast, monstrous humanoid, or vermin.
- The new form must be the same size or smaller, and the same gender as the familiar, if applicable.
- The familiar gains the Strength , Constitution and Dexterity of their new form, but retains their own Intelligence, Wisdom and Charisma scores. Vermin familiars polymorphed into creatures with Intelligence scores gain their new form's Intelligence score, but not the new form's Intelligence modifier.
- Any form taken and adopted again by the familiar is consistent, meaning if a familiar is polymorphed into a human, reverted to their true form, then polymorphed into a human again, this human form is the same as before.
- Any form taken by the familiar resembles it in some fashion, be it by similar coloration or patterning, a signature wound or feature, or some other, recognisable quality. If a character is aware of a familiar's natural form, they may recognise the familiar by succeeding on a sense motive vs. disguise check, and get +5 to this check.
- A familiar cannot take the form of an existing creature. They instead become a non-specific example of the creature type they turn into, with features that resemble their own.
- A familiar that takes the form of a creature that can normally talk may communicate in common or any other languages it may know. It retains the ability to understand creatures of its original type, but not to communicate with them.
- Any gear worn or carried by the familiar melds into the new form and becomes nonfunctional. When they revert to their true form, any objects previously melded into the new form reappear in the same location on their body that they previously occupied and are once again functional. Any new items worn in the assumed form fall off and land at their feet.
- The familiar retains their ability to cast spells, if any, in their new form.
Possess Familiar (Su): Beginning at 8th level, a Bond-Kin Mage gains the ability to possess their familiar. This ability may be used a number of times per day equal to the Bond-Kin Mage's level. While possessing their familiar, they are in total control of it, and are capable of seeing, hearing and using all senses and abilities that their familiar has. They are also capable of casting any spells that they were capable of casting before possessing their familiar. While possessing their familiar, the Bond-Kin Mage's own body becomes inert and senseless, as though asleep. The familiar's mind still inhabits their own body, and it is capable of communicating with its master, though it cannot regain control. This ability lasts until dismissed by the Bond-Kin Mage. If the familiar, while possessed, is taken 1 mile or further away from the body of its master, the ability is forcibly dismissed, and the Bond-Kin Mage must make a DC 20 Fortitude save or take 10d6 points of damage as their souls are forced apart.
Because of the nature of the ability, if a spell, such as Scry were to be cast, scrying for the Bond-Kin Mage while they were possessing their familiar, the scry sensor would appear around and follow the body of the familiar. If a spell specified the Bond-Kin Mage's body in particular, it would reveal their true location.
Become One (Sp): At ninth level, a Bond-Kin Mage becomes capable of merging not just their soul but their body with their familiar. By touching their familiar, the Bond-Kin Mage may absorb the physical body of their familiar into themselves, concealing and protecting it. Merging their familiar with them strengthens their body, but weakens their abilities. While they are merged, a Bond-Kin Mage gets +2 to the two ability scores that were their familiar's highest, and gain all racial bonuses and features, and feats, of their familiar. However, they also get -2 to the two ability scores that were their familiar's lowest, and their familiar is not considered to be near them, though it is considered within 1 mile. If any ability scores are tied for being the highest or lowest, then the bonuses and penalties are applied to the ability score of the character's choice.
The Bond-Kin Mage may choose to expel their familiar from them as a move action which provokes an attack of opportunity.
Bondwalk (Sp): At tenth level, a Bond-Kin Mage and their Familiar become so intertwined that they gain the ability to teleport to one another, no matter the distance, as long as they are within the same plane. Unlike other class features of the Bond-Kin Mage, they are capable of teleporting to one another even when separated by distances greater than 1 mile. Once per day, as a standard action that doesn't provoke an attack of opportunity, a Bond-Kin Mage or their familiar may vanish, reappearing in an unoccupied area within five feet of the other. The familiar teleporting to the master is considered a use of the ability for the day, preventing the master from later teleporting to the familiar. If there is no room to appear, the teleport fails, though the Bond-Kin Mage may attempt again at a later time that day.
This ability cannot be used while the Bond-Kin Mage and their familiar are merged.
Familiar Spell: At tenth level, the Bond-Kin Mage's familiar gains the Familiar Spell feat as a bonus feat. The Bond-Kin Mage does not have to be epic level themselves for this to occur.
Twinform: At tenth level, the Bond-Kin gains a second, identical extension of their familiar. Bonuses given for being near to a familiar are not doubled, but one version of their familiar could be within arm's reach and the other two miles away, and the Bond-Kin Mage would still be able to access their class features, though only through the one at arm's reach. Though there are two physical bodies of the familiar, there is only one mind and soul, shared between them, and losing one copy will not affect the Bond-Kin Mage in any way until the second is also destroyed. As long as one copy exists, the second cannot be raised.
A Bond-Kin Mage can merge with both copies, but they will only receive the bonuses for one of them. They can also merge with one copy, and keep the other nearby, to have access to their class features and the benefits of merging with the copy. They may also Bondwalk to either of the two copies, but only one of the three may teleport per day. A Bond-Kin Mage may teleport between their familiars, but their familiars can only teleport to their master, not to themselves.
Bond-Kin Mages who lose their familiar, either by its death or by dismissing it (this includes to replace it with another familiar), can no longer gain levels in Bond-Kin Mage, and lose all class abilities for as long as they are without a familiar. Even when they acquire a new familiar, they are so affected by the loss of their previous one that they can never take levels in Bond-Kin Mage again.
Playing a Bond Kin Mage
Combat: A Bond-Kin Mage is a primary spellcaster. They may lose some of the progression of their base class, but they do so in exchange for turning their familiar into a powerful weapon. Though their spell casting is slower than their fellows, it can be more powerful and/or varied than them too. Using their familiar as a scout, shock trooper or saboteur all depends on what their familiar was in the first place, and having access to Twinform can potentially turn them into a powerful strike force all on their own. However, their greatest strength is their greatest weakness, and if their familiar is killed or separated from them, they lose a lot of their power, though they remain able spellcasters even without their familiar.
Advancement: After merging entirely with their familiar, Bond-Kin Mages often return to their old classes, though occasionally they may take on another class that synergises with their new mobility.
Resources: Bond-Kin Mages rely on their familiar for comfort and capability, but otherwise use the same resources as the base spellcasting class they originated from.
Bond-Kin Mages in the World
|“||I have never seen someone so attached to an animal, not even a druid.||”|
|—Kim To, Half-Elf Barkeep|
Bond-Kin Mages are never recognised as such, but as examples of spellcasters who have an unhealthy or unusual love for their familiar, even by regular wizarding levels.
NPC Reactions: Day-to-day people will not recognise the Bond-Kin Mage's significance, though other spellcasters will often notice their connection, and suspect. Scheming rivals may attempt to steal the familiar away as a trophy, and those that have fought them will know the danger of letting their familiar live.
Bond-Kin Mage Lore
Characters with ranks in Knowledge (Arcana) can research a Bond-Kin Mage to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including information from lower DCs.
|11||Bond-Kin Mages have closer magical ties to their familiars than most other spellcasters.|
|16||A Bond-Kin Mage's familiar can be considered, if not the source of their power, then the focus.|
|21||Moving a Bond-Kin Mage's familiar a mile away from him will rob him of their abilities.|
|26||Sometimes a Bond-Kin Mage has more than one familiar, and can conceal their familiar within themselves.|
Bond-Kin Mages in the Game