You acquire a professional torchbearer to accompany you into the dungeon.
Prerequisites: Character level 5th
Benefit: This feat is similar to the Leadership feat, with several exceptions. You can attract only a 1st-level cohort (referred to hereafter as a torchbearer) with this feat, and can’t recruit followers. You determine your Leadership score according to the rules presented in the Leadership feat, but your torchbearer is always at least 3 levels lower than your level.
A torchbearer can take levels in the alchemist, bard, fighter, ranger, or rogue class. She can’t multiclass, though she can take any archetype she qualifies for, including those from the Torchbearer Archetypes. The torchbearer must take the Torch Handling feat at 1st level.
If a torchbearer gains enough XP to bring her to 2 levels lower than your level, she doesn’t gain the new level until you gain your next level; until then her new XP total is 1 less than the amount needed to attain the next level and she gains no additional XP until you advance.
If you release your torchbearer from service or otherwise lose your torchbearer, you may gain a new one by scouting for potential candidates in a city or large town where adventurers are at least somewhat common, which requires 24 hours of uninterrupted scouting.
Unlike other hirelings, a torchbearer requires no compensation for her services as long as her employer has this feat; the opportunity to train under a hardened adventurer is reward enough for most torchbearers.
Graduation: When you reach 8th level, this feat automatically upgrades to the Leadership feat (meaning that you effectively lose this feat and replace it with Leadership). You gain all the normal benefits of the Leadership feat but lose the benefits of this feat, and your torchbearer acts as a normal cohort; she may begin taking levels in other classes if she so chooses, and may increase in level to up to 2 levels lower than your level.