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RPG Superstar 2015

Figurine of Familiar Power


Round 1 - Open Call: Design a wondrous item

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014 aka Aelryinth

Figurine of Familiar Power
Aura Mild Conjuration; CL 5th
Slot -; Price 2500 gp; Weight 1 lb.
Description
This item is a small statuette, from three to six inches high, in the form of an animal commonly used as a familiar by spellcasters. Unlike most figurines, it is always made of light wood, usually birch or maple, intricately carved and detailed in the likeness of the animal. Most such figurines seem to favor hawks, owls, and other flying animals.
The figurine serves as an abode for any familiar. With a move action, a familiar can enter or exit the touched figurine, and is sustained and sheltered from harm while within it. If the figurine is destroyed, the familiar is ejected harmlessly into an adjoining space. The figurines are deceptively tough, with hardness 10 and 20 hp.
For one hour per day, renewing at dawn, the familiar can choose to take the form of the animal the figurine is carved in the shape of. This form manifests as a summoned creature of the type the figurine represents, while the figurine transforms into a copy of the familiar’s natural form. The familiar can use the new body as if it were a familiar of the figurine's animal type. This might change the bonus it grants its master during this time period.
Killing the summoned form does not harm the familiar. Unique markings of the familiar will transfer to the new form’s appearance.
Effects that ward off summoned creatures will bar the new form, and a dispel magic, dismissal, or similar magic will banish it until the following dawn, reverting the figurine back to its natural state. This also does no harm to the controlling familiar.
Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item; monster summoning I; has a familiar; Cost 1250 gp

Contributor

I'm glad this isn't just a new figurine of wondrous power, as the name suggested.

The protect-your-familiar part is something we've seen before.

But the "change your familiar's shape for an hour" is novel.

I think we should keep this one around.

Keep.

Founder, Legendary Games & Publisher, Necromancer Games, RPG Superstar Judge

This is well thought through. It is low level and it is fun. It lets you switch your familiar ability by switching the form of your familiar. That's a cool way to break a rules restriction of only one familiar.

KEEP

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

I don't like the name. Too reminiscent of a figurine of wondrous power. As Sean says, the "protect your familiar" element we've seen before. But changing its shape and the bonus it grants to its owner is exceptionally innovative. It's already got me wondering how this might work for Improved Familiars, as well. Turn that Small fire elemental into a flaming phoenix hawk. :->

I'm very disappointed however in the designer's use of the monster summoning I spell. That's old school gamer terminology. It hasn't been called that since 2e, has it? It should be summon monster I instead or maybe even animate objects like other figurines of wondrous power. In addition, I'd suggest either the secret chest or statue spells be added on as an extra requirement for the "store your familiar and keep it safe" ability of the item.

Vote to Keep.

CEO, Goblinworks

This item invalidates one of the meaningful choices you make when you pick your familiar. By giving you access to all the various familiar powers you can magic-bullet a benefit (or a solution) to a problem. Plus, the item ensures that your familiar won't be at risk if you come under attack, which further reduces the value of your choice to have a familiar with you in the first place.

I recommend that you do not vote for this designer.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

Ryan Dancey wrote:
So I can change my familiar to give me just the bonus I need when I need it? And I never have to worry about it getting caught in an area of effect?

Not exactly, no. You can only change your familiar into the shape of that particular figurine. Each one is carved in the shape of another animal from the familiar list. So, you could have a toad figurine, for instance, and have your hawk familiar adopt that shape for one hour 1/day to grant you an extra 3 hit points, if you wanted (which might even save your bacon if you're on the verge of dying). Or, maybe you've got a weasel familiar and don't need its Reflex bonus at the moment, but changing it into a bat for a bonus on Fly skill checks is more important. The bottom line is the figurine only lets your familiar adopt one other shape. You'd have to buy a whole collection of figurines if you wanted true SAK capabilities to grab any bonus you wanted in any given situation.

To me, the true utility of this item is the flexibility of the base animal form. For instance, let's say the lights go out because you're being attacked by a bunch of tieflings or dark creepers. Or, maybe you're fighting an invisible opponent like an imp or quasit and you're having real problems pinpointing its location so you can fire area effect spells at it. If you can transform your cat familiar into a bat with blindsense, your familiar can now help you in that situation much better. It's the same deal with changing your familiar into a raven, which can speak one language of your choice and thereby deliver a message for you. So, the item has lot of utility packed into a reasonable magical effect.

Founder, Legendary Games & Publisher, Necromancer Games, RPG Superstar Judge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Neil Spicer wrote:
I'm very disappointed however in the designer's use of the monster summoning I spell. That's old school gamer terminology. It hasn't been called that since 2e, has it?

I agree, that is a brain fart. But we've seen items submitted by people who are more 2E than 3E and they always have other mistakes (including things like ' and " and other 2E conventions) and screws up the format for a proper Pathfinder wondrous item. This one does the format right and shows no other signs of old-edition-itis. I think this was just a boo boo. I've done it. :)

RPG Superstar 2011 aka Ignotus

Well-executed, but doesn't excite me.

This needs a new name that doesn’t confuse me with lots of other well-loved items. I guess polymorph familiar is new and different, but I pretty much always see flying familiars anyway, so it’s not all that interesting. There are a few other familiar powers, but they're mostly pretty niche.

At a deeper level, I feel like a familiar’s personality - and the way that personality reflects its master - is bound up in its animal form, and I want that to be a permanent choice. Turning your familiar into another animal feels like it’s a very utilitarian use of it – now I need a flying scout, so turn my boring frog that I just took for its granted bonus into… a hawk! I’d have been much more amused by an item that made the familiar grow wings or whatever.

I haven’t seen this done before, but I’m not sure that I actually want to do it.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 4 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014 aka Jatori

So, Neil thought about Improved Familiars while I, on the other hand thought about polymorphing tattoo and tumour familiars. Interesting visuals.

I love familiars and anything that makes them more relevant than a set of static mechanical bonuses. The familiar home isn't anything new. However, the ability to alter your familiar's form is new - and I love it.

I do have a few concerns though, including: does the familiar first need to attune to the figurine or can it only transform while within the figurine? That's a little unclear. Further, you've made a number of language errors (mild versus faint, uppercase letters (Conjuration should be conjuration)). Watch out for those in future rounds.

Congratulations on making it through to Top 32. Good luck in round 2.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32, 2011 Top 4 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015 aka DankeSean

What I like:
Familiar hideyholes are nothing new, but I like the form this one takes; a statuette is more interesting than a bag or pocket. I assume the size of familiar vs. the size of figurine doesn't matter? A Small pig or goat is just as comfy fitting in a three-inch bird statuette as a Tiny toad would be?
What I love:
Transforming your familiar to a new form is a pretty neat ability; changing the granted bonus is even neater. Gives a familiar owner a chance to experience something new without having to commit full time to a new pet. Also, since 'most' of these statuettes are bird figurines, it means that someone who has a fox running along behind them gets to have a flying scout when needed. Or, hey, I could see getting an octopus figurine to have on hand for those rare occasions when you've gotta do the aquatic adventure thing. This has a lot of possibility for such a simple item.
What needs a little sumptin' sumptin'...
I feel like rope trick, or some other similar spell, should be part of the requirements, since it seems an extradimensional space is implied for the familiar to reside in.
Is the transformative ability one of those 'once per day for an hour' things, or is it an hour total, broken up by how many times you need to use it?
All in all...
Cool item that, in my view, doesn't really break much of anything. Yes, it lets you get the benefit of a second form of a familiar, but i don't see that as a bad thing- why should someone be stuck by a choice they made back at first level? (Or the last time they resummoned a familiar?) This works, and takes what could be a fairly 'useful but not exciting' item into a new & innovate design. Congratulations and welcome to RPG Superstar!

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014 aka Aelryinth

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Thank you. After my drubbing last year, it's nice to see this.

I got the idea for this item from reading SKR's lists of things NOT to submit...specifically, more figurines or variations thereof. I was promptly miffed and wondered if I could design a figurine and NAME it so that it was blatantly a takeoff, and yet interesting enough to intrigue him.

Hence, the Figurine of Familiar Power. It's supposed to mock the Wondrous ones, that is quite deliberate. It's just not 'the same old thing'.

I made one glaring error due to space constraints. The ability to 'swap a body' should only be usable while the familiar is in the figurine, of course. He pops into the figurine, it turns into a copy of him, and the new body pops out.

Sean McEwan, one hour per day, firm. It can't be broken up. That would lead to too much abuse, by my way of thinking.

The attunement idea presented above should also be a part of the figurine, to stop multi-form abuse, considering how cheap the item is.

Also, there's nothing that says the personality of the familiar changes, even with new abilities. A toad that goes after flies in owl form might be, er, a hoot.

While Ryan didn't agree, the ability to have a familiar that could be useful in combat, as opposed to a hindrance, and potentially fill multiple roles when need be, as well as swapping a minor bonus, was entirely the ambition here. The limited offensive power of the familiar's forms was a key limitation...no mundane familiar is really that effective in combat. It's also why I excluded Improved Familiars, as they could be quite powerful in their own way (abuse of 1/day spell abilities, etc).

The 'familiar home' was naturally done before, but it was a mere set-up for what was really supposed to happen here.

I also wanted it low level and affordable. Basically, it's a long-term Monster Summoning effect, tied to a variety of inferior forms.

Missed the summoning language and conjuration stuff. Damn it, and I went over it three times looking for the little things!

Again, thank you for the opportunity. Time to work on my group...

==Bob D.

Star Voter 2013

I think I really like this item. It grants a lot of utility at a good price where it won't be easily abused, and it's something cool and new.

However, the familiar-safety thing might very well be too much - for the same reasons it has been too much in the past - perhaps it could only be active for a certain amount of time per day?

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014 aka Aelryinth

IN all likelihood, if the safety feature is a problem, a time restriction is viable...perhaps an hour a day + the time body swapping. If it's REALLY a problem, just restrict it to the time of the swap.

I would have gone into more detail if I had room, alas :)

==Bob D.


Nice and useful for spellcasters.

At least, since I never play them, I can get that it is. Those familiars, when even remembered, can be quite the nice targets for spiteful baddies. Nothing like making the wizard cry.

Or the witch want to commit suicide.

Being able to switch out the familiar bonus is very nice, and with clever players can make their wizard/witch/magus/characterwiththeeldritchheritagefeat that much better in a bunch of circumstances.

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Champion Voter 2013, Champion Voter 2014, Marathon Voter 2015

Bob Drouin wrote:
I got the idea for this item from reading SKR's lists of things NOT to submit...specifically, more figurines or variations thereof.

I was thinking similarly. I almost went for a torq that let a familiar be changed to a new creature once a day. And get stored as a figurine.

Congrats on making it.


I might consider giving such item to my party's Witch in the future. Might.

Champion Voter 2013

Very nice. This was my favorite item of the Top 32.

Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Ant Health Warning: this year, I really worked hard on technical execution of my item, so these reviews will likely reflect template use. Brace yourselves for the template fu - it can sting.

Template Use: 6/10

Mild conjuration? To be followed by Stormy necromancy or balmy evocation perhaps? faint, moderate or strong are the only choices - the template fu says minus 1.
No capitalisation on aura entries - template fu throws dummy out of pram, minus 1.
Number formatting! 1,000s have a comma in. minus 1,
Spells not found in "M" of spell index, check your spell names against the PRD spell list, it's very quick to do that - template fu say "another minus 1 for you"

General comments on description (these dont deduct, template fu sleeping) - first line of description, you could have omitted "by spellcasters.", I think.
Second sentence, remove "Unlike most figurines," as you say the item is always made of light wood, so this is extraneous fluff that eats your word count.
The sentence "Most such figurines seem to favor hawks, owls, and other flying animals." could be removed, you have already said they resemble animals commonly used as familiars, so let the dm decide and tighten your writing.

Slot affinity: 8/10

Slot doesnt apply, so this is a gut reaction score in this instance. I like the idea of protecting familiars. 8.

Abuseability: 8/10
I'm not sure if providing a way of negating meaningful character choices when choosing their familiar would sit right in my game, so im going to be hard and deduct 2 simply because thats my base reaction to it. Sorry.

Desirability: 8/10
All familiar users would love this, I'm sure. If your party has more than once such caster, it could cause some nice "I want" when divvying up the lewt :)

Originality: 8/10
It's kind of too close to being a "self filling figurine of" to me, But I like the thought processes behind it.

Ant Score: 38/50 (76%)

Sovereign Court Dedicated Voter 2013

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I like the item, however the thing that disturbs me the most, is that it basically makes your familiar immune to damage while in its new shape.

It should be able to die when shapeshifted, especially if you are going to actively use it in combat.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014 aka Aelryinth

The intention is that it makes a familiar usable in combat, without worrying that you're going to sacrifice its usability...it actually encourages you to a keep a single long-term familiar. It's also more easily defended against and gotten rid then a normal familiar.

So, the 'not dying in combat' is a feature, not a bug, and quite intentional. Think of it like a monster summoning spell on a creature with little offensive ability. In all likelihood, if you send it into a fight, it IS going to die...but it might manage to deliver one spell/attack while so doing, and so it's like a summon spell that way. Otherwise, a familiar becomes this fragile thing giving you a minor bonus that you're never going to actively use because it might die.

Another way of looking at it is that it is an eidolon sub for your familiar! ;) After all, Summoners don't have the problem of having perma-dead long term companions from being killed in melee...why should a wizard?

===Bob D.

Star Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

Congratulations Bob,
A simple and low level item, which is nice. At higher levels, the +1 to X is less of an issue so I do not see a problem with people carrying a full chess set around. Some of the wording felt redundant, but tighten your writing up and you will do well. Good luck!

Dedicated Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

I'm of two minds about this item. First, the good: It's got the right combination of filling a familiar niche (no pun intended) and doing something different in the execution. Hiding a familiar form harm is old hat, but giving it a new form is a cool idea. I can see not just utility here, but also something that enhances the game. If we don't have to worry about how the familiar is surviving the adventure and we can occasionally send him out to do things instead of locking him up in a cage for the whole campaign, we can have more fun with this oft-overlooked element of the story.

On the downside, this is a Towlie item. It permits the user to choose both. You can take the combat-useless familiar that gives you the bonus you want, then switch him to the combat-effective/flying/stealthy familiar that you really wanted all along... and on top of that, you lose the drawback of scout familiars, which is that every one in a while the goblin camp decides to use them for target practice. This item removes an interesting choice from character creation, which is a black mark.

Finally, I'm concerned about the balance of the share spells ability in regard to an expendable summon creature. An expendable hawk is one thing, but high level buffs can turn that hawk into a powerful extra party member whom you never have to raise. I would have liked to see share spells and maybe SR dropped from the summoned familiar's abilities. Was it your intention that the summoned familiar gets the standard familiar abilities, I wonder?

This is one case where I agree with the judges' "mojo over matter" focus. This idea is just plain good. Despite some missteps, it makes me look forward to your organization entry. Congratulations.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014 aka Aelryinth

Share spells only affects personal buffs. THe best combat buffs from mages tend to be AoE or 'others', although mage armor and shield give it AC...but those spend spell slots. I'm not considering it a problem, because the familiar can't really hit for beans. ANd really, you could buff a summoned monster, who might actually have natural offensive ability, so what's the difference? ANYTHING can be tough, if you spend slots on it. The only real offensive ability any familiar has is the ability to deliver a touch spell...and of course that's going to make them a huge target, and they'll likely be curb-stomped delivering the attack...just like a summoned monster.

THe SR for familiars at any level is lvl +5, which for an equal level enemy caster is a 75% chance of success, 85% with spell penetration. Basically its only protection against VERY low level casters.

The 'bag of figurines' if a problem, is easily solved with an attunement period, as mentioned above.

Note that the ability to dismiss and get a new familiar is effectively what this toy is trying to prevent. Get a FIFP of the form you want it to have in contact, and keep Grubtoe the Toad around.

===Aelryinth

Star Voter 2015

First, congratulations on making the top 32, and good luck with the organization.

Now on to my nitpicky analysing (This is at least 50% an exercise for me).

First Impression Gah, what a name. Familiar Power? Really. If a character in my games were to buy this I would promptly rename it. Oh well, other than that it's sort of neat, but honestly it's been ages since I've seen a spellcaster use a familiar rather than a bonded item, but well, maybe this could be a motivation to choose one again. Though I'm not really impressed out of my way, I do like this item somewhat.

The Nitpicky Analysis
Name: Figurine of Familiar Power. Okay, I have some issues. First, and possibly most, you state that you chose the name as a challenge to yourself/a slight poke at the auto-rejects. While it seems to have worked, I'm tempted to call that the poorest way to choose a name for an item for this competition. Second "Familiar Power" strongly suggests that you're give familiar (well-known) powers (which powers are familiar?) or giving familiars (spellcaster companions) more power. I don't think you fulfill this promise. One of my "secret" rules to myself is always to fulfill promises you make early on. It's the same with books and the literary technique known as Chekhov's Gun. You put a gun on the wall in scene one? You better have fired it by the end. I get disappointed when I don't get what I'm promised in such a literal way. Second, "Familiar Power" sounds kind of silly and stupid. Had I been a judge, you would have had my negative and ready to reject attention from the start. Guess you can praise yourself lucky I'm not. Nonetheless, don't expect a vote for something like this in the future - if nothing else, it's risky.

Template: Okay, I think what needs saying has been said. I really don't like that I don't know the spell you're using (at least, not in this edition!). But I shall leave template issues to those who have already said enough about these.

Description: For once, I have little to add on this point. Save this: Your descriptive prose could rather use a hand in making my attention stick to your item. Make it a little more exiting.

Effect/s:
Protect your familiar: I've seen it before. It's hardly original. It's the reason most people I know use bonded items if they can (mind, I haven't seen a witch in play, but honestly I really don't like this as a witch themed item, as the familiar is MUCH more significant to a witch than to other familiar users). Basically nothing new here, but somethign needed to make the familiar worthwhile in the era of bonded items.
Changing familiar shape: This is your items strength, originality and reason to be in the top 32. Therefore, I wish it was more detailed and described. One hour per day, no changing time period, though? I'm not paying that much for that. Fx. a raven statuette changed familiar can't bring a message very far in one hour. Some other uses might not be penalized by the limit, but it seems like too much, especially at this price. If it was a little cheaper, maybe. Nice power though. I like it. I might well use the idea (though probably in a severely warped state) in some places. I would have loved to know if this worked with Improved Familiar - say, making my (rather conspicous - even if invisible, since I can't inconspicously communicate with something invisible) imp into a (not very conspicous, but still possible to talk to) raven.

Price and Spell choice: Well, I think the relevant things have been mentioned. I just want to add that I doubt this will be bought at this price - making it double as annoying that the Construction is not on spot, since most wizards I know have Craft Wondrous Items.

All this said... I think you have a good idea, and I hope you'll continue to show this in the competition - good ideas make up for a lot.

Good luck further on.

Scarab Sages

I like both of the powers of this item, but kind of wish it went more in one direction or the other.

Random thoughts;

1) If the item has hardness 10, why not make it out of metal? Making out of wood, and then buffing it's hardness, seems counter-intuitive. Was there a thematic issue there? Some sort of 'meld into tree' concept, or must take refuge in something that would normally be seen as sheltering or formerly alive?

2) I like the idea of changing your familiar's form, like the old Changeling Wizard alternate class level ability in 3.5, or a hypothetical 'unfamiliar' quality for a low-level Protean improved familiar option. I kinda want more of that. Perhaps a lump of wet clay that one can link to one's familiar, and, with a minute and an Int or Dex check or whatever, the wizard can sculpt the clay into the form of a hawk or a monkey, and cause his familiar to temporarily become a hawk or a monkey, therefore granting him different bonuses (and the familiar different movement rates, etc.).

3) The 'store your familiar somewhere safe' option is very useful, and somewhat similar to the 'Tattoo Familiar' option of the tattooed sorcerer Archetype. It somewhat removes the disadvantage of having a familiar in the first place, 'though, and I'm on the fence about that.

Neat idea. Both practical and kind of fun, with the 'polymorph your familiar' option, particularly if you happen to find one in an interesting shape. I could see a wizard being a bit disgruntled if he finds one in the shape of an aquatic creature, or some sort of familiar that he dislikes (such as a snake, for a snake-phobe)...

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014 aka Aelryinth

Actually the name is a double play on words. It's a play on 'of Wondrous Power', directing that power specifically at the familiar, and it's a play on 'familiar', as in "I've seen this before"...not. I was basically tweaking at SKR's rules for what not to do.

Remember that I'm not obviating ANY long-term character choice. You can always dismiss and replace your familiar with a little time. With this, you don't have to.

Too expensive for what it does? Heh. A familiar that is actually useful in combat because it can't be killed? Able to deliver the wizard's touch spells?

Sure you could make a higher level of the thing that allowed unlimited time limits...but if you're going to do that, you're going to pay a LOT of money. I wanted this cheap and affordable to low-level players and casters. At higher levels, exactly who cares about a familiar's powers much? They can spend money to increase the duration as they level if they like, but I wanted it usable before level 3 if at all possible.

===Bob D

Marathon Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014, Dedicated Voter 2015

Bob Drouin wrote:

Actually the name is a double play on words. It's a play on 'of Wondrous Power', directing that power specifically at the familiar, and it's a play on 'familiar', as in "I've seen this before"...not. I was basically tweaking at SKR's rules for what not to do.

I'm actually surprised that wordplay didn't get you booted, since the judges tend to not like it. And honestly, it would look goofy in an actual list of wondrous items next to the existing version.

However, even though this item doesn't make my personal top five, I do give you a ton of credit for taking on something that was specifically pointed out as something not to do and making it work.

What that means is that in future rounds you'll have a bit of an edge, for me personally, and my votes.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Star Voter 2015 aka artofcheatery

Whenever I've played with familiars we were always very kind to their owners on whether their familiars take damage, at least until they sent their familiar into battle.

So, while I don't care for this item particularly (I could get an elemental gem for that much!), I don't believe it causes any problems. Just an extra layer of protection for your familiar.
-Xander


Great item idea, but it needs a cooler name. My witch wants one for sure - but "figurine of familiar power" just doesn't fit his mojo, baby!

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013

I've always loved the *concept* of the familiar, since it fits well with the arcane spellcaster archtype. I've never really liked the *execution* of familiars all that well -- they so often seem too vulnerable (and thus making the owner more vulnerable). This item is great in that it helps extend a familiar's life span and thus its usefulness. (Of course, any caster who sends their familiar into combat gets what he deserves!)

This is a wonderful wondrous item, and I plan on using it in my Pathfinder campaign.

Congrats!

Dedicated Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Congratulations! Personally I think the name is inspired and evocative. You've done very well to increase the utility and options for familiars, and I like that it's a low level item...


I thought the writing on this one was very clumsy. It had a "oh yea an this too" feel to it. Don't like the name at all. It sounded to me like the statue changed into your familiar's form and then stayed that way - that it only went back to its original form when it had spells cast on it.

Kind of a cool idea but I see the writing being a problem in future entries with a higher word count.

Good luck

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015 aka Epic Meepo

Threat Analysis

You could be serious competition because.... you've shown an ability to build up a tried-and-true concept (a safe haven for a familiar) by adding thematically-appropriate elements, and to provide player's with interesting options. Those are both things that can appeal to a voting audience.

You could become an even bigger threat in future rounds if... you played around with some ideas that are a bit more outside-the-box. You're off to a nice start; now show us something we've never seen before.

Liberty's Edge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2012 , Star Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014

Congratulations, Bob! I like the swerve in the item name, especially since one of the biggest no-no's in this competition is a figurine of wondrous power.

I appreciate an item that takes care of a familiar, and this does much more than "you can't touch my familiar, because he's encased in carbonite, nyah nyah!" Adding the ability for the familiar to take the form of the figurine was a great touch.

Good luck in the next round!

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015 aka motteditor

I can't say I really like the name (though I think it took a LOT of chutzpah to decide to use it for the specific reason you said you did), but I do like the effect. I tend not to play arcane casters much, but when I do, I never like risking my familiar. Just too valuable. I think this would let me get a little more combat use out of the little guy, which as a player I'd certainly like.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Interesting, I was expecting some sort of artificial familiar—possibly for classes that don’t normally get one. Giving the familiar a secure hideyhole and an alternate form is kind of cool though… I don’t know how many of my characters would use one of these, but really maybe I should be posing the question to their familiars. The familiars say hideyhole is nice.

Dark Archive

Congrats on making Top 32!

I think maybe the price/cost of this item is a bit too cheap for what it does, since a crafting character or a character with the ability to buy anything under a certain amount of gold in a given city can get a bunch of different types of familiar animals and then change his familiar into the one he wants by swapping the different kinds of figurines out; raising the cost may help discourage this type of behavior (or at least makes it a more costly decision than it is as priced).

Besides that, I love what you've done here and look forward to seeing what else you have to offer in the rounds to follow.

Kudos, sir!


Bob Drouin wrote:

Figurine of Familiar Power

Aura Mild Conjuration; CL 5th
Slot -; Price 2500 gp; Weight 1 lb.
Description
This item is a small statuette, from three to six inches high, in the form of an animal commonly used as a familiar by spellcasters. Unlike most figurines, it is always made of light wood, usually birch or maple, intricately carved and detailed in the likeness of the animal. Most such figurines seem to favor hawks, owls, and other flying animals.
The figurine serves as an abode for any familiar. With a move action, a familiar can enter or exit the touched figurine, and is sustained and sheltered from harm while within it. If the figurine is destroyed, the familiar is ejected harmlessly into an adjoining space. The figurines are deceptively tough, with hardness 10 and 20 hp.
For one hour per day, renewing at dawn, the familiar can choose to take the form of the animal the figurine is carved in the shape of. This form manifests as a summoned creature of the type the figurine represents, while the figurine transforms into a copy of the familiar’s natural form. The familiar can use the new body as if it were a familiar of the figurine's animal type. This might change the bonus it grants its master during this time period.
Killing the summoned form does not harm the familiar. Unique markings of the familiar will transfer to the new form’s appearance.
Effects that ward off summoned creatures will bar the new form, and a dispel magic, dismissal, or similar magic will banish it until the following dawn, reverting the figurine back to its natural state. This also does no harm to the controlling familiar.
Construction
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item; monster summoning I; has a familiar; Cost 1250 gp

Disclaimer:

This post constitutes the views of a (very advanced) CE aligned succubus. Being such, Ask A RPGSupersuccubus is at complete liberty to change her mind on anything without giving any notice whatsoever. For those of you who missed last year (or as a reminder for those whose memories have failed) Ask A RPGSupersuccubus subscribes absolutely to balance, fairness, and logic in these reviews – in the sense that balance is what a couple of mortals on opposite ends of a plank pivoted on a rocky spire above a drop of several hundred feet into a pool of molten basalt frantically try to do, fairness is a term applicable to assessing either hair colour or more general beauteousness and logic is something which proves anything a demon of adequate status and charm requires it to demonstrate.

Note:
Ask A RPGSupersuccubus acknowledges the efforts of the ready supply of willing victims on the ‘Nine Blazing Months’ items thread, who inadvertently contributed to the development of weapons-grade questions for use in this round.

Fair is foul and foul is fair supposedly (trust a mortal to make up a piece of complete mumbo-jumbo – it is of course generally impossible to get anything much fairer in any context which actually matters than a succubus). Basically, though, does this item have any useful application in a spa?
Well since it's made of a light wood, it presumably floats, so it has use as a novelty flannel platform in a pool environment, just so long as it doesn't 'roll' too much in the water.

Assuming for a moment that it’s more convenient to pay taxes than to circumvent the system, does this item look likely to be a tax-deductible business expense for a succubus art-dealer?
Succubi engaged in the shady end of the art-dealing market know better than to have familiars, as they're too easily targeted by clients looking for a better deal. Succubi engaged in the less shady end of the art-dealing market simply don't have familiars because they're simply not classy. (Well not unless they're paladin familiars, but I'm sure these items are not designed to 'house' such familiars.)

Is the item useful in a strawberries-and-cream-tea context?
Conceivably for a succubus with a conventional familiar, as it offers a convenient way to get such a familiar off the scene. Cat hairs in the cream are such a distraction.

Other Comments?
This item seems to me to be very good value for money to anyone who is a spell-caster with an interest in familiars, given the magical precedents of what can be done which it establishes. Larger 'familiar powered' items can easily be extrapolated from this basic principle...

Gollum Rating:
Ratings of items are prosaic and unfashionably conventional this year. Although rules are there to be broken (so long as they do not involve the dread lord, Orcus) as a general rule no items will thus be rated this year.

Silver Crusade Star Voter 2013

Andrew Christian wrote:

I like the item, however the thing that disturbs me the most, is that it basically makes your familiar immune to damage while in its new shape.

It should be able to die when shapeshifted, especially if you are going to actively use it in combat.

I know it's late to comment, but excess damage over that needed to destroy the figurine could be conveyed directly to the familiar within. If you want to limit that a bit, make it half of the remaining damage conveys.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014 aka Aelryinth

No.

The whole intent here is to have a familiar that you can actually use in combat without risking permanent loss...like an inferior Summoned Monster...or an Eidolon.

You can't kill an Eidolon, it just gets banished. This is an extremely inferior version of that, because a familiar is in no way a combat creature. If you're going to buff it, you are much better buffing something that is actually a combat creature to begin with!

This device was meant to make a familiar something a wizard could use, instead of a mere appendage that the wizard keeps around for a flat buff and occasional small job. Versatility of form was an advisable extra.

==Bob Drouin

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