How well do familiars fight? What are their AC, attack bonus, saves, etcetera?
[Not an Autarch]
I think Familiar would be classified as a monster, and attack as a monster of its hit dice (as the table on Core page 102).
No idea about the other stuff.
Correct. Familiars are classified as monsters and attack as monsters of their HD.
Sheesh. Kitty’s got claws. Literally.
Ehh. Bear in mind that Kitty only has half your HD, so the attack throw isn’t going to be as good as the party fighter’s. Also, you really don’t want it to die (takes out half your max HP upon death, it has a bunch of free proficiencies, and you can’t replace it until next level), so sending it into melee should require pretty dire circumstances IMO.
Still not much idea how it saves though. The Shaman’s spirit animal used Cleric as 1/2 the Shaman’s level, so that might be good. Fighter saves could also be appropriate for most “fighter” animals like bears.
Movement and special attacks (bear hug, constrict) can just be ripped from the base animal. Or at least that’s what Shaman did.
No idea about Armor Class.
So the familiar has half your (presumably mage) hp, an attack roll comparable to a thief, and takes out half your life if it dies. If you are allowed a larger creature, like a bear, you might get okay attacks and AC, though the AC probably won’t be as good as an armored fighter. However, familiars tend to traditionally be smaller creatures and the proficiency says that the judge gets to pick the creature as “appropriate to the character’s alignment and other powers”, so you won’t necessarily get certain options.
Unsurprisingly, you cannot replace the front-line fighter with a class proficiency. The right familiar can still contribute to combat in a pinch and the cat of a high-level mage can murder peasants (or annoying 1st level adventurers) if need-be.
Now I’m just imagining a high-level chaotic mage feeding peasants to his cat, and getting reserve XP for buying it absurdly-expensive catfood like filet mignon and unicorn meat.
More questions about familiars.
Can familiars have special abilities-- flight or poison, for instance? (I was specifically thinking of imps or homunculi when I asked this question, but also things like snakes or crows)
What damage does a familiar do on a successful attack?
And still unanswered: what does a familiar save as?