Familiars, especially improved familiars, can be a lot of fun, and serve as great mascots for the party. They also can make for memorable encounters in their own right, often with a great deal of personality. Today, we’ve scoured the land to bring you ten improved familiars that are currently between masters, so put on your job interviewing hat and take a look to see if any of them might be right for your party.
1. Axeopa, Exiled Cassisian. This cassisian angel (Pathfinder Bestiary 2) once served as a messenger for a well-known deity of righteousness and good. One day, however, it was late delivering a very important message, having paused to help someone in need. The delay of the message, which contained tactical information about the movements of demonic armies, led to the deaths of hundreds, and Axeopa was determined unfit for messenger duty, and wound up wandering the Material Plane in search of purpose. Axeopa is thrilled to offer its services as a familiar, but only to those who demonstrate their compassion for others.
2. Alsilio, Lazy Imp. Though he does his best to hide it, this imp is actually quite desperate to become a familiar. Having escaped from Hell by following a group of adventurers through a gate, he is eager to remain on the Material Plane, where things are much more comfortable and there’s a lot less for him to be afraid of. That said, he knows he’ll wind up back in Hell eventually, and when that happens, he’ll be forced to account for his time away, so he’s hoping he can secure a contract to serve as a familiar, and that no one will look too closely at exactly when he went missing and when the contract was signed. Incredibly lazy, he is prone to wander off if his master demands too much work from him.
3. Zhutsain, Tourist Shikigami. This shikigami (Pathfinder Bestiary 3)is the guardian of a stone roadmarker, roughly four feet tall and two feet in diameter, which has sat by the side of a major road for hundreds of years. Seeing all the travelers passing by, she has always yearned to travel, but, as a shikigami, must remain close to her ward. Recently, she finally could bear it no more and began dragging her stone down the roadway, a mile or so a day. Although content to continue this way if she must, Zhutsain will gladly serve as a familiar to anyone who is willing to act as a steward for her road marker, and carry it with them to allow her to expedite her journey.
4. Seggoth Nor, Tripurasura Crusader. This tripurasura asura (Pathfinder Bestiary 3) despises all religion, as all asuras do, but is a particular opponent of one deity in specific, which he reviles with white hot intensity. He is quite knowledgeable in the teachings and scriptures of that deity, and delights in expounding inconsistencies and flaws in them to all who will listen. He will gladly serve as a familiar to anyone who is willing to pursue his crusade against that particular deity and its followers, even if that person isn’t necessarily evil, and doesn’t defy the other gods.
5. Shammo Bosh, Earth Elemental Gourmet. This small earth elemental travelled to the Material Plane in search of exotic and foreign minerals to consume. Although content to simply wander through the ground in search of rich veins of various delicacies like graphite and lapis lazuli, she is happy to offer her services as a familiar in exchange for a steady diet of such materials, typically costing around 5 gp per caster level of its master per week.
6. Nemplorth, Hungry Cacodaemon. This cacodaemon (Pathfinder Bestiary 2) was once the familiar of a powerful conjurer, who, in his old age, severed the bond between them in order to cheat Nemplorth from claiming his soul when he died, and then kicked the cacodaemon out into the world. Nemplorth is a simple creature, and it desires only one thing: to consume souls. It will gladly offer its services as a familiar to anyone that will allow it to feed on souls, and may even follow a particularly violent group entirely on its own volition, like a lost (if incredibly disturbing) puppy.
7. Thattomar, Murderous Homunculus. Thattomar makes little effort to hide the fact that he murdered his creator and former master, an elderly wizard who he claims was horribly cruel and “brought it on himself.” Although currently free to do as he pleases, Thattomar is willing to serve as a familiar to aspiring wizards. It’s unusual for a homunculus to ever serve someone besides its creator, which may give potential new masters pause, but worse still, the little thing plans only to bide its time and then murder its new master, claiming his spellbook as it attempts to learn wizardry itself.
8. Drolth, Quasit with a Nest Egg. Drolth is surprisingly far-sighted for a demon, and prefers a larger, delayed gratification rather than an immediate, lesser payoff. When her first master died, she kept his soul larvae but did not return to the Abyss, instead deciding to remain on the Material Plane to collect more souls, and not return home until she had amassed several more souls, so she could do so in style and power. She has currently collected five soul larvae, and is looking for a sixth. She keeps the soul larvae in a bag of holding that she is very protective of, and never allows anyone, even her master, to handle it or look inside.
9. Polydocles, Conflicted Paracletus. This paracletus aeon (Pathfinder Bestiary 2) has spent so long among humanity, testing the effects of logic and emotion on mortal beings, that it has begun to be affected by its work, and has become prone to violent and unpredictable mood swings. It seeks a particularly wise creature that can help it to regain its mental balance, and is willing to serve as a familiar in exchange for regular sessions with someone qualified to give it psychological help.
10. Shakuntala, Vain Raktavarna. Typically taking the form of a bejeweled and ostentatious dagger, this raktavarna (Pathfinder Bestiary 3) rakshasa lives more for its past than its future. In a previous life, it was a far more powerful rakshasa who ruled an entire empire from behind the scenes for over a hundred years, but ultimately was slain and reborn in this state. Its memories of those days are dim, however, and so the accomplishment it is most proud of is when it was used, in its dagger form, to assassinate a wise and benevolent ruler so that her younger sister could claim the throne. It is willing to serve as a familiar to anyone it believes will lead it to greater glory.