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Pathfinder: Arcane Bond vs Familiar

   
Although you don't need the feats you do need the level. You can start adding abilities to an amulet/holy symbol at 3rd but would have to wait until 5th to add abilities to the warhammer and 7th for a ring.

Taking the warhammer as your bonded item does mean you start with a free masterwork weapon, but since you are multi-classing I would opt for the amulet, and see if the nice DM will let you use Cleric spells as well as Wizard ones to enhance it.

I'd only take a familiar when playing a full arcane caster
otherwise I go with the +1 spontanious spell the object grants

Personally, I'd also lean towards the bonded object... as mentioned by others, it does seem to fit the character concept better. In terms of fluff, the warhammer being your bonded object, though vulnerable to disarm, makes for some interesting flavor... a dwarven wizard/cleric swinging his warhammer as a fireball flings out of it, or slamming the hammer into the ground to cast an earthquake sounds pretty cool, visually.

Wear a Locked Gauntlet to prevent easy disarms.

Not sure what you can do about Sunder, though. Maybe get it made out of Adamantine?

Also, make sure to have a way to foil Sleight of Hand. This is very important. You probably want to plan for someone Greasing your weapon as well.

I've never liked Bonded Objects, though. They offer a decent advantage for an absolutely horrible disadvantage.

On the topic of the disadvantage, I wonder how much it is really. Sure something handheld is a liability but I don't know if I've ever had a ring or amulet stolen or broken in my D&D career.

I guess you'd have to decide how obvious it is that a given wizard is casting through his ring but to me, the non-carried bond items shouldn't be clearly such. Might depend on how much meta game thinking goes on in your campaign but I'd guess it's fairly safe in most. On that front, my current crop of PCs have never targeted enemy wizards' bonded items, nor even sniffed about it yet in a couple years of biweekly play.

For a Wiz/Clr, I'd do bonded amulet for sure because you get a free feat and you still have your cleric spells to fall back on in the worst case scenario. The advantage of potentially having every spell on the list is too much. Even for a straight wiz, unless you're going with improved familiar and UMD and wands, I'd go with bonded objects in my gaming group.

Coolness factor aside, I think the war hammer option is especially sub-optimal because there's no way this is going to be a melee character.

Quote:
On the topic of the disadvantage, I wonder how much it is really. Sure something handheld is a liability but I don't know if I've ever had a ring or amulet stolen or broken in my D&D career.
A wizard has to hold his bonded object to cast spells. This makes it immediately obvious ("Hey boss, why's dat wizzard wavin' 'round dat great big honkin' hamma for?") that it's an Arcane Bonded object (I assume that in a setting where these thing exist, it is reasonable that people will know about it).

So if the enemy sees a wizard waving around a hammer to cast spells, they might reasonably draw the conclusion that said hammer is his bonded object. And it would be entirely reasonable for them to divest him of it. Whether the DM will do so or not is up to the DM - sure, it's a dick move akin to Sundering a fighter's weapon, but it's something an enemy might feasibly do in a fight.

Well, that depends on the enemy... it's pretty meta to assume a non-wizard opponent who doesn't normally associate closely with wizards would even know about the possibility of bonded objects, though if it has particular effects from having spells cast with it, that's another matter entirely (but that's DM discretion, since RAW it doesn't create any further visual effects when used in spellcasting).

Then again, a wizard/cleric, even if he takes the arcane spell failure to wear the medium armor his cleric levels give him, is generally not in a good way if someone is close enough to disarm/sunder his weapon, anyway (barring the rare ranged disarm with a whip/Archer archetype Fighter using Trick Shot). Plus, he's a dwarf, which means he's automatically proficient in the warhammer, so seeing a dwarf anything with a warhammer shouldn't cause nearly as many warning bells as an anything-else wizard with the same.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Solo View Post
A wizard has to hold his bonded object to cast spells. This makes it immediately obvious ("Hey boss, why's dat wizzard wavin' 'round dat great big honkin' hamma for?") that it's an Arcane Bonded object (I assume that in a setting where these thing exist, it is reasonable that people will know about it).

So if the enemy sees a wizard waving around a hammer to cast spells, they might reasonably draw the conclusion that said hammer is his bonded object. And it would be entirely reasonable for them to divest him of it. Whether the DM will do so or not is up to the DM - sure, it's a dick move akin to Sundering a fighter's weapon, but it's something an enemy might feasibly do in a fight.
It says it has to be held or worn.

I agree that the weapon, wand and staff bonded items are more obvious (I stated as much in my post and recommended against a weapon partly for that reason). A ring could be worn inside of gloves and the amulet could be worn inside the shirt and they would still be worn as far as the rules are concerned. There's no reason to go smiting items you can't even see without some serious divination behind that decision.

I agree that, in general, Arcane Bond is not necessarily a problem, but as you've noted, we're talking about a hammer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Solo View Post
"Hey boss, why's dat wizzard wavin' 'round dat great big honkin' hamma for?"
I play a Dwarfen Rogue/Wizard with a Battle Axe as the bonded object
Mr. Dwarf deals enough damage with that axe on a regular basis that your hypothetical question does not arise




 

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