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100 Familiars $1.00
Publisher: Lee's Lists
by Shane O. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/27/2012 20:23:34

Familiars are one of those niche areas that’s never truly complete, since there’s always another animal, or some sort of creature, that could conceivably become one. It’s almost a competition among PCs to try and find the most bizarre, unique familiar allowable.

With the release of 100 Pathfinder Familiars, from Lee’s Lists, that competition just kicked into overdrive.

100 Pathfinder Familiars is self-explanatory in what it offers. The book is a short one, being four pages long, and interestingly is released under a Creative Commons License, rather than the OGL (though it has the Pathfinder Compatibility Logo, oddly enough).

The one hundred familiars are broken into eight groups, each having anywhere from less than a half-dozen to almost two dozen creatures, each of which covers a broad type; these are Insects, Arthropods, Fey/Elementals, Things That Grow On/In You, Birds, Fish, Reptiles/Amphibians, and Mammals. Each group lists (almost off-handedly) what existing stat block you should use to represent the creatures in that group, neatly avoiding the need to present unique stats for the creatures listed.

The above has one exception, however – each creature listed also mentions its unique familiar bonuses; that is, the mechanical benefit they provide to their master. Each such creature has them, and they help to make each every entry on the list stand out.

Of course, many if not most of these creatures don’t need that much help standing out. Perhaps it’s because most of the common familiars have already been detailed, or perhaps its because the author is insane, but there are some truly wacky familiars here! Yes there are some creatures like ducks and poodles that you can magically bond with, but what about a case of athlete’s foot? Or a winged squid? Or a living bit of music? There are some truly out-there familiars here!

Of course, that’s not always a good thing. Some of the listed entries stretch what the given stat blocks assigned to them could easily accommodate. Saying that the cat stat block should be used for all mammals is awkward when one of the listed creatures is an alpaca (which are about three feet tall and 150 lbs.). Likewise, canny Pathfinder players will know that a few of the creatures on here already have stat blocks (admittedly not in the first Bestiary, but still…), so things like a redcap or boggart familiar might be awkward.

Moreover, a minority of the familiar benefits stretch what the familiar’s master might consider useful. Normally, a familiar is the purview of a wizard, witch, and in some cases a sorcerer. So having a familiar that grants an extra round of barbarian raging (the wolverine, appropriately enough) or that increases damaging when channeling negative energy (the goat, presumably for its real-world devilish symbolism) might be a bit awkward. On the other hand, these might be the sorts of familiars that multiclass spellcasters would love to have; viva las corner cases.

Overall, 100 Pathfinder Familiars is a wacky book that sometimes plays a little fast and loose with what it presents, but never so much that what’s here is unusable – indeed, the combination of sensible and silly makes for a terrific set of possible familiars here (I recommend having your next PC roll randomly on this list for their familiar; everyone will be howling when it turns out to be a hookworm living in their intestines). If you’re in the mood to have your arcane spellcaster have an exotic familiar, you owe it to yourself to look here, where there’s a hundred of them.

[4 of 5 Stars!]
Creator Reply:
We had some licensing hiccups, but that should be taken care of now! Thanks for the review!