View Full Version : Pathfinder How would you balance "Improved Arcane Bond"?

2014-10-24, 11:59 AM
Hey there!

Looking for ways to make me feel like less of a chump for wanting Bonded Item instead of a Familiar, I stumbled upon this:
It's obviously supposed to give a wizard a similar option to the (very potent) improved familiar feat, but (especially after talking with my DM) seems horribly over the top in what it provides.

The highlights:

+2 concentration @ lvl 5
+2 CL vs SR & +1 scaling res bonus on all saves @lvl7
+1 Spell a day but only form specialized list (the one thing I want most from it) @lvl 9
12+CL SR for the master @lvl 11

all of that compared to the extensive list of Sl, Su, skillcheckrolling and UMD'ing benefits of

Does it overshoot the intention of balancing the bonded item option vs that of the familiar?
But also - how would you balance the feat in a vacuum without improved familiar on the table as a comparison?

2014-10-24, 01:49 PM
You seem to have misstated the effects of Improved Arcane Bond.

The highlights:

At level 5: +2 bonus on concentration checks to cast a spell or SLA only while casting on the defensive or grappled, stacks with the Combat Casting feat. Wizard adds their intelligence bonus to their CMD, only against disarm and sunder made against their bonded object.

At level 7: +2 bonus to overcome SR, stacks with the Spell Penetration feat, +1 to saving throws, scaling every 3 additional levels (+5 at 19).

At level 9: One additional spontaneous spell a day (this is cast as a spontaneous spell and is subject to the same rules as the single spell the Arcane Bond item already gets; it may not be modified by metamagic or other abilities).

At level 11: Wizard gains 12 + CL spell resistance.


At level 5: This seems a paltry bonus considering it's really only effective at melee range.

At level 7: No, this is worth another handful of feats. (Actually in order to get a similar effect you'll have to be a Paladin or sacrifice five class levels for a high-CL race choice, and a feat or two; or select a PRC that the Wizard wouldn't easily qualify for and lose five levels of spell-casting either way).

At level 9: This seems reasonable, but doesn't match up to the benefits in Improved Familiar.

At level 11: This is a feat right here, the highest you can otherwise reliably get without using items or being a Drow Noble is 6+CL SR; in effect, the level 11 bonus is two feats... I would drop it entirely and replace it with something else. (Although some of the Improved Familiar's have some extremely helpful special effects, a 55% chance for magic to fail on you is overpowered by definition - especially for a caster).

Suggestion: Trash the entire Improved Arcane Bond feat - pretend it never existed and don't bother trying to balance it, just get someone to write a new feat for it entirely as homebrew. (I would start working on one now - but I have about 40 minutes until I have to leave for work and won't be checking this thread for eight or nine hours... But if someone hasn't done it by tomorrow morning, well).

Extra Anchovies
2014-10-24, 02:04 PM
Honestly, a familiar can provide so many different benefits that giving me a scaling save bonus (that goes to +5) is kind of the only thing that would get me to consider a bonded object from an optimization perspective. And even then only in a low-magic-item game, because it's a resistance bonus (and is thus just a free cloak of resistance).

2014-10-25, 03:43 AM
Improved Arcane Bond (homebrew).

At 5th level: The Arcane Bonded item (hereby referred to as "the item") gains the benefits of the "Quick Draw (Combat)" feat if a weapon, wand, or any other item that must be held in a hand to take effect; if the item is a ring, the Wizard can wear the item without reducing or negating the effect of the Arcane Bond feature, while still retaining two "magic item" slots for their hands - but any enchantments on the item are suppressed for the entire duration that the Wizard has two other rings equipped. (You may only have two magic rings active at any one time). In either case: the item may no longer be stolen (as per the combat maneuver "Steal") unless the character attempting to steal has at least four more Rogue levels than the Wizard has class levels in classes with Arcane spells-per-level progression. Regardless - the character attempting to steal the item will ALWAYS provoke an AoO that does not count against the AoO limit per round, regardless of any feats or class features they possess.

At 7th level: The Wizard gains a bonus (to-hit and damage) to the AoO provoked by attempting to steal the item equal to the enhancement modifier on the bonded item (even if the enhancements are suppressed); in addition, the AoO also triggers on attempting to Break the item (regardless of feats or abilities that state otherwise). The Wizard also learns one spell of any level they can cast - this spell is added to their spellbook and they can prepare it as normal; but they also gain an additional spontaneous spell for use with their bonded item. This additional spell known may be changed at no charge during the first eight-hour (and only during the first) rest period after gaining a level.

At 9th level: The Wizard may apply metamagic to both spontaneous spell-slots granted by their bonded item without increasing the casting time; in addition, the first spontaneous spell no longer provokes an AoO - regardless of circumstance. The Wizard may select any one Metamagic Feat - but it may ONLY be used with the two spontaneous spell slots of their bonded item. If at a later date they select that feat with a feat slot gained through a class feature or level progression, they may change the Metamagic Feat that applies to the item's two spontaneous spell slots by expending 200 GP * CL at the time of feat selection; or 400 GP * CL afterwards. Any attempt to Disarm the item provokes an AoO by the same rules as attempting to Break or Steal the item, except only "steal" requires a rogue level of 4 or higher than the Wizard - any character can attempt to break or disarm.

At 11th level: The bonded item grants +2 to two saves of the character's choice, the second spontaneous spell no longer provokes an AoO; the bonded item becomes an intelligent item with the following rules.

The item's hitpoints are increased to half of it's master - if for any reason the item has more hitpoints than half of it's master, it gains 25% of it's master's hitpoints instead.
The item has three good saves - as determined by the level of it's master.
The item grants Alertness to it's master when within five feet of them.
The item can be used to deliver touch spells if a weapon/wand - in place of the damage from a melee attack, the Wizard can cast a touch spell on their target with the normal modifiers for the spell.
The item adds a range of +1 foot per Wizard level to spells without a range if a ring.
The item communicates by empathy - and is incapable of telepathy and verbal speech; it never gains any languages known - but shares it's master's intelligence score; all it's other scores match the scores of it's owner as well.
The item counts gains the benefits of Silver at 14th level, Mithril at 16th, and Adamantium at 18th; bonuses added by these do not stack, but the Wizard gains the best of each type of benefit given by all three.