Pirate Familiars

Adventure-seekers, explorers, and pursuers of strange tales, pirates often come into contact with strange creatures as they sail the seas, occasionally taking them as pets or, in the cases of some spellcasters, as familiars. Presented here are four new creatures bound to make popular pirate companions.

Besmaran Familiars

A cleric of Besmara may give up one domain in exchange for a bird, blue-ringed octopus (Ultimate Magic 117), king crab (Ultimate Magic 119), monkey, or any of the familiars presented in the Core Rulebook. The cleric uses her cleric level as her effective wizard level for this purpose. A ranger who worships Besmara may select any of the creatures listed above as a familiar instead of choosing an animal companion. The ranger’s effective wizard level for this ability is equal to his ranger level – 3.

Dodo

This plump, gray flightless bird waddles about on ungainly looking legs, fearlessly bobbing its prodigious beak.

CR 1/4
XP 100
N Small animal
Init 0; Senses low-light vision; Perception 3
DEFENSE
AC 11, touch 11, flat-footed 11 (1 size)
hp 6 (1d8+2)
Fort 4, Ref 2, Will –1
OFFENSE
Speed 20 ft.
Melee bite 1 (1d3–2)
STATISTICS
Str 3, Dex 11, Con 14, Int 2, Wis 9, Cha 6
Base Atk 0; CMB –3; CMD 7
Feats Weapon Finesse
Skills Perception 3
ECOLOGY
Environment warm coastlines
Organization solitary, pair, or huddle (3–6)
Treasure none

These flightless birds typically inhabit isolated tropical islands devoid of predators. Their size and unfamiliarity with natural dangers contribute to a kind of racial boldness—or what some would call stupidity—causing them to bumble into precarious situations and making them easy targets for other creatures. The birds can easily be caught and slain, but their meat has a most unpleasant taste. Few shipwrecked sailors would turn it down, however.

Dwarf Caiman

This lithe, green-scaled reptile looks like a miniature crocodile with a stunted muzzle.

CR 1/3
XP 135
N Small animal
Init 0; Senses low-light vision; Perception 0
DEFENSE
AC 14, touch 11, flat-footed 14 (3 natural, 1 size)
hp 6 (1d8+2)
Fort 4, Ref 2, Will 0
OFFENSE
Speed 10 ft., swim 30 ft
Melee bite 1 (1d4)
STATISTICS
Str 10, Dex 11, Con 15, Int 2, Wis 11, Cha 2
Base Atk 0; CMB –1; CMD 11
Feats Sill Focus (Stealth)
Skills Stealth 11 (19 in water), Swim 8; Racial Traits 8
Stealth in water
Languages none
ECOLOGY
Environment warm water
Organization solitary, pair, or bask (3–12)
Treasure none
SPECIAL ABILITIES
Hold Breath (Ex) A dwarf caiman can hold its breath for a number of rounds equal to 4 × its Constitution score before it risks drowning.
Sprint (Ex) Once per minute, a dwarf caiman may sprint, increasing its land speed to 20 feet for 1 round.

Dwarf caimans are a small species of crocodilian predators that live primarily amid the fast-running streams of tropical rainforests and nearby coastal waters. While hunting birds, lizards, fish, and other small prey, these patient predators sometimes lie in awkward positions for hours before they strike, their mottled scales making them appear to be nothing more than f loating wood.

Giant Isopod

This beetlelike crustacean is the size of a sewer rat; a row of overlapping plates protects it as it scuttles about on fourteen rapidly moving legs.

CR 1/8
XP 50
N Tiny vermin (aquatic)
Init –1; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception 4
DEFENSE
AC 14, touch 11, flat-footed 14 (–1 Dex, 3 natural, 2 size)
hp 6 (1d8+2)
Fort 4, Ref –1, Will 0
Defensive Abilities curl; Immune mind-affecting effects
OFFENSE
Speed 20 ft., swim 10 ft.
Melee bite –1 (1d3–3)
STATISTICS
Str 5, Dex 9, Con 14, Int —, Wis 10, Cha 2
Base Atk 0; CMB –3; CMD 4 (28 vs. trip)
Skills Perception 4, Swim 5; Racial Modifiers 4 Perception
ECOLOGY
Environment any oceans
Organization solitary
Treasure none
SPECIAL ABILITIES
Curl (Ex) As a standard action, a giant isopod can curl into a ball, increasing its natural armor bonus by 2 but preventing it from taking any move actions. Uncurling also requires a standard action.

Giant isopods are carnivorous scavengers that scour the ocean’s floor. They vaguely resemble the common woodlouse in appearance, though they can grow to be up to 2-1/2 feet long and weigh nearly 4 pounds. Their unusual size and insectile appearance cause many humanoids to be wary of them, despite their relative harmlessness.

Seal

This sleek, aquatic mammal has a pair of flippered limbs, a powerful tail, and a muzzle full of small sharp teeth.

CR 1/3
XP 135
N Small animal
Init 1; Senses low-light vision; Perception 5
DEFENSE
AC 13, touch 12, flat-footed 12 (1 Dex, 1 natural, 1 size)
hp 4 (1d8)
Fort 2, Ref 3, Will 1
OFFENSE
Speed 10 ft., swim 60 ft.
Melee bite 2 (1d4)
STATISTICS
Str 10, Dex 13, Con 11, Int 2, Wis 13, Cha 6
Base Atk 0; CMB –1; CMD 10 (can’t be tripped)
Skills Perception 5, Swim 8; Racial Modifiers 4 Perception
SQ hold breath
Languages none
ECOLOGY
Environment any oceans
Organization solitary, pair, rookery (3–24)
Treasure none
SPECIAL ABILITIES
Hold Breath (Ex) A seal can hold its breath for a number of minutes equal to 6 × its Constitution score before it risks drowning.

Sleek-bodied aquatic mammals, seals spend the majority of their lives in the water, whether in the harbors of tropical ports or amid wandering icebergs. They prefer rocky beaches, upon which they rest, raise their young, and dive to hunt fish, squid, sea birds, and other small aquatic creatures. They are well known for their vocal communications consisting of barks, grunts, and flipper slaps, traits that cause many humanoids to remark on their intelligence and the ease with which they can be trained.

Small and Vermin Familiars

Some of these familiars break several of the rules and assumptions of the familiars presented in the Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook.

Small-sized familiars threaten the areas around them like Small creatures, and can be used to flank enemies, though both familiars and their masters are often loath to use such tactics as the result is often a dead familiar. Small-sized familiars are also harder to keep on a master’s person than Tiny or smaller familiars. Often they require some form of magic item, like a bag of holding, for such a feat to work. The process of making a vermin into a familiar grants it an Intelligence score and removes the mindless trait.

Vermin familiars communicate with their masters and other vermin of their kind by way of a strange combination of behaviors, slight changes in coloration, and even the excretion of scents, subtle and otherwise. As with other types of familiars, other creatures cannot understand this communication without magical aid.

Pirate Familiars

A Jolly Rogers Tale: Skull & Shackles Kevtor Kevtor