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Familiar Form Function.


Rules Questions


9 people marked this as FAQ candidate.
Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

A Beast-bonded Witch's Familiar Form ability. How does it function with vermin familiars? What about Improved Familiars like the Homunculus? Is it meant to be so limited, even though it is the focus of the archetype?


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Nothing?


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Am I just missing some kind of errata?


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Another attempt to awaken thread.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I have no idea how it works if your familiar isn't a beast shape-possible form. Considering IMO most witches will have taken Improved Familiar by then, it's a pretty glaring oversight.

Simplest solution to me would be "if you cannot possibly use the ability, you retain your 8th level hex and don't receive this."

I really don't like the ability anyway, it'd be better if it didn't exist. :)


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

With things like vermin shape, you would think there would be some kind of errata. Thank you for being the first poster.


Even then, there is no polymorph spell currently to take the form of an outsider, and there probably never will be. Quite a few of the improved familiars are outsiders.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Polymorph any object can work. The inability to transform into the all of the basic familiars, seems odd. Improved familiars aside, this should work for all familiars.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Vermin shape and Beast shape are even the same level/power, has no dev commented on this subject?


Forgive my ignorance but, could you clarify what the problem is?


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

http://www.d20pfsrd.com/classes/base-classes/witch/archetypes/paizo---witch -archetypes/beast-bonded
The Familiar Form ability does not function for a number of familiars. Base familiars, not improved ones. As well, the improved familiar feat makes this ability useless.


If you mean because it says beast shape, what is the issue with just making the call that it works with vermin? Do we need an official ruling? As for the homunculus, just adjust it to the proper size, and say you become a large version of one.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

In order to bring forth a solution to my DM, I would need more than my opinion. At this point, I have absolutely nothing.

Cheliax

I fully understand the frustration you are having with this power. Honestly the whole archetype seems woefully incomplete (the 10th level power is pure indestructability and that NEVER should have made it out of development) and could really use a second pass to clarify and balance it out.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

If anyone can point me to any developer comment on this archetype at all, please do.


I had the same question for my DM, the wording that helped us was "or a similar kind of animal." So the understanding we came to was to pick an animal type that is the most similar (like lizard for dragons etc) even though your familiar isn't an animal. I want to use the angel familiar that has the dove form, so birds is probably what we will go with. As for developer input, I've seen them on dozens of threads answer "unfinished" rules questions with "the books are just there to get you started, work with your GM to fill in the blanks"


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I still see it as an oversight to have base vermin familiar, and yet no way to use it with Familiar Form.

Andoran

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

I think that the archetype is meant only for witches that take a creature of the animal type as a familiar.

StreamOfTheSky say "Considering IMO most witches will have taken Improved Familiar by then". Really? And they will kill their familiar to replace it? As far as I can see there are no rules for dismissing a familiar.
Then, even if you allow the dismissal of familiars, there is the problem of all the extra spells know to it and now lost.

PRD wrote:
If a familiar is lost or dies, it can be replaced 1 day later through a special ritual that costs 500 gp per witch level. The ritual takes 8 hours to complete. A new familiar begins knowing all of the 0-level spells plus two spells of every level the witch is able to cast. These are in addition to any bonus spells known by the familiar based on the witch's level and her patron (see patron spells).

Replacing your familiar at 7th level to get an homunculus mean getting a grand total of:

all the 0 level spells, 2 first level, 2 second level, 2 third level and 2 fourth level plus the patron spells.
Full stop.
Less than the 2 spell for each witch level that she would get normally.

@ Mathwei ap Niall
Sure, the level 10 power is an extra chance of survival, but being struck in a animal body till you can find a new suitable one isn't so good.
As written it will interfere with raise dead and resurrection, as the soul isn't available to be recalled to the body.
So you need to clone your old body or get it revivified without a soul.
You exchange a way to return to life for a way cling to life in a diminished form.
Very good for NPC that are more often loners, less good for the players characters that normally operate in a group.

Cheliax

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Diego Rossi wrote:

I think that the archetype is meant only for witches that take a creature of the animal type as a familiar.

StreamOfTheSky say "Considering IMO most witches will have taken Improved Familiar by then". Really? And they will kill their familiar to replace it? As far as I can see there are no rules for dismissing a familiar.
Then, even if you allow the dismissal of familiars, there is the problem of all the extra spells know to it and now lost.

PRD wrote:
If a familiar is lost or dies, it can be replaced 1 day later through a special ritual that costs 500 gp per witch level. The ritual takes 8 hours to complete. A new familiar begins knowing all of the 0-level spells plus two spells of every level the witch is able to cast. These are in addition to any bonus spells known by the familiar based on the witch's level and her patron (see patron spells).

Replacing your familiar at 7th level to get an homunculus mean getting a grand total of:

all the 0 level spells, 2 first level, 2 second level, 2 third level and 2 fourth level plus the patron spells.
Full stop.
Less than the 2 spell for each witch level that she would get normally.

@ Mathwei ap Niall
Sure, the level 10 power is an extra chance of survival, but being struck in a animal body till you can find a new suitable one isn't so good.
As written it will interfere with raise dead and resurrection, as the soul isn't available to be recalled to the body.
So you need to clone your old body or get it revivified without a soul.
You exchange a way to return to life for a way cling to life in a diminished form.
Very good for NPC that are more often loners, less good for the players characters that normally operate in a group.

The Devs have already responded that if you take an improved familiar you don't lose anything. You only ever lose the spells a familiar holds if it DIES or you LOSE it anything other then those two options and you keep all the spells it knows.

Also, have you looked at what you can do with an at-will magic jar with no receptacle? Any creature you see with a soul (ie. EVERYTHING but constructs) can become your new PERMANENT body.
Decide you want to be a king? He fails his save he's kicked out of his own body and dies (a soul with no place to go immediately dies and goes to the after-life) you move in and you are now the king for as long as you want.
Now replace the word king in the above statement with (in no particular order): Baby, Dragon, Tarrasque, Elf, Caliking, Demon, Giant, etc. You can KILL any of these at will with a single Will save (which you can debuff the heck out of as a witch) and turn the resultant meat shell into your parties punching bag or finger puppet a hundred times a day with no penalty to you.

This is brokenly OP, no ifs ands or buts.


it does mention rat in particular in the description of the ability letting you change into other rats, perhaps they used that non-animal as an example to show that you can turn into whatever your familiar is but just using the restrictions of beast shape II (so like you turn into a dragon but you can only get abilities listed in the beast shape II list).

Shadow Lodge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8

thelemonache wrote:

it does mention rat in particular in the description of the ability letting you change into other rats, perhaps they used that non-animal as an example to show that you can turn into whatever your familiar is but just using the restrictions of beast shape II (so like you turn into a dragon but you can only get abilities listed in the beast shape II list).

Err, rats are animals.

But your idea isn't a bad one, at least as a stop-gap measure.

Personally, while I wouldn't mind seeing an exception put in for witches with vermin familiars to use Vermin Shape, I also wouldn't mind if if they said they ability only works for witches with animal familiars. Yeah, it screws over people who took Improved Familiar, but it is called the Beast-Bonded Witch.

Plus, the 10th level ability makes your familiar pretty bad-ass, even if you don't buy into the crazy body-swapping interpretation.


Benchak the Nightstalker wrote:


Err, rats are animals.

Derr, that's embarrassing

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Mathwei ap Niall wrote:


The Devs have already responded that if you take an improved familiar you don't lose anything. You only ever lose the spells a familiar holds if it DIES or you LOSE it anything other then those two options and you keep all the spells it knows.

Link please.

What I have found is it this:
FAQ wrote:

Sorcerer/Wizard: Can I dismiss my familiar so I may select a new familiar?

This isn't addressed in the rules anywhere, but yes, you should be able to dismiss a familiar if you want to select a new one. However, you must still wait 1 week and pay 200 gp for the 8-hour ritual. Dismissing a familiar is ending a link between your soul and it, so it should probably take about an hour.

The exception to the above is if you take the Improved Familiar feat, which allows you to immediately replace your familiar with the new familiar, at no cost or time required (it is assumed this occurs during whatever preparations you make while leveling up).

Once dismissed, an animal familiar is just a normal animal of its type (a special familiar from the Improved Familiar feat reverts to a normal creature of its type). Whether or not it wants to remain with you is up to your GM and probably based on how you treated the creature while it was your familiar.

—Sean K Reynolds, 07/15/11

It address the "you can dismiss your familiar" part but not the spell loss or the cost of calling a new familiar.

Mathwei ap Niall wrote:


Also, have you looked at what you can do with an at-will magic jar with no receptacle? Any creature you see with a soul (ie. EVERYTHING but constructs) can become your new PERMANENT body.
Decide you want to be a king? He fails his save he's kicked out of his own body and dies (a soul with no place to go immediately dies and goes to the after-life) you move in and you are now the king for as long as you want.
Now replace the word king in the above statement with (in no particular order): Baby, Dragon, Tarrasque, Elf, Caliking, Demon, Giant, etc. You can KILL any of these at will with a single Will save (which you can debuff the heck out of as a witch) and turn the resultant meat shell into your parties punching bag or finger puppet a hundred times a day with no penalty to you.
Magic jar wrote:


Duration 1 hour/level or until you return to your body
....
If the spell ends while you are in the magic jar, you return to your body (or die if your body is out of range or destroyed). If the spell ends while you are in a host, you return to your body (or die, if it is out of range of your current position), and the soul in the magic jar returns to its body (or dies if it is out of range). Destroying the receptacle ends the spell, and the spell can be dispelled at either the magic jar or the host's location.

Even if it is "at will" the power doesn't have an unlimited duration. So your "captured" body last 1/hour/level of the witch. Then, as it is soulless when the witch soul leave it, it dies.

It is questionable if you can take over an undead or a non native outsider as both don't have a normal soul. Probably it is uncharted territory and dependant on the GM interpretation , but the simple fact that a outsider can't be bought back to life with a Raise dead spell is a strong hint.

Cheliax

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Diego Rossi wrote:
Mathwei ap Niall wrote:


The Devs have already responded that if you take an improved familiar you don't lose anything. You only ever lose the spells a familiar holds if it DIES or you LOSE it anything other then those two options and you keep all the spells it knows.

Link please.

What I have found is it this:
FAQ wrote:

Sorcerer/Wizard: Can I dismiss my familiar so I may select a new familiar?

This isn't addressed in the rules anywhere, but yes, you should be able to dismiss a familiar if you want to select a new one. However, you must still wait 1 week and pay 200 gp for the 8-hour ritual. Dismissing a familiar is ending a link between your soul and it, so it should probably take about an hour.

The exception to the above is if you take the Improved Familiar feat, which allows you to immediately replace your familiar with the new familiar, at no cost or time required (it is assumed this occurs during whatever preparations you make while leveling up).

Once dismissed, an animal familiar is just a normal animal of its type (a special familiar from the Improved Familiar feat reverts to a normal creature of its type). Whether or not it wants to remain with you is up to your GM and probably based on how you treated the creature while it was your familiar.

—Sean K Reynolds, 07/15/11

It address the "you can dismiss your familiar" part but not the spell loss or the cost of calling a new familiar.

The lost spells are under the assumed cost of swapping the familiar.The faq post you quoted was from the thread specifically asking that question. And if you look under SKR's posts you'll see several where he states the spells should transfer.

Quote:
Mathwei ap Niall wrote:


Also, have you looked at what you can do with an at-will magic jar with no receptacle? Any creature you see with a soul (ie. EVERYTHING but constructs) can become your new PERMANENT body.
Decide you want to be a king? He fails his save he's kicked out of his own body and dies (a soul with no place to go immediately dies and goes to the after-life) you move in and you are now the king for as long as you want.
Now replace the word king in the above statement with (in no particular order): Baby, Dragon, Tarrasque, Elf, Caliking, Demon, Giant, etc. You can KILL any of these at will with a single Will save (which you can debuff the heck out of as a witch) and turn the resultant meat shell into your parties punching bag or finger puppet a hundred times a day with no penalty to you.

Magic jar wrote:

Duration 1 hour/level or until you return to your body
....
If the spell ends while you are in the magic jar, you return to your body (or die if your body is out of range or destroyed). If the spell ends while you are in a host, you return to your body (or die, if it is out of range of your current position), and the soul in the magic jar returns to its body (or dies if it is out of range). Destroying the receptacle ends the spell, and the spell can be dispelled at either the magic jar or the host's location.

Even if it is "at will" the power doesn't have an unlimited duration. So your "captured" body last 1/hour/level of the witch. Then, as it is soulless when the witch soul leave it, it dies.

It is questionable if you can take over an undead or a non native outsider as both don't have a normal soul. Probably it is uncharted territory and dependant on the GM interpretation , but the simple fact that a outsider can't be bought back to life with a Raise dead spell is a strong hint.

First you CAN possess any outsiders, JJ has already ruled on that stating that outsiders are just as susceptible for Magic Jar as any other souled critter.

Quote:

James Jacobs (Creative Director) Sep 22, 2009, 03:55 PM

James Jacobs

deinol wrote:

Does anyone have examples of demons or devils using Magic Jar in an adventure or source book?

Shadow demons can use magic jar as a spell-like ability.

And demonic possession is all over the place, so I'd say that demons/devils/all outsiders can use (and be used by) magic jar. They can in PFRPG and in Golarion, in any case.

As for the body dying when the effect expires that is a non issue. This Magic Jar effect is a supernatural ability that doesn't require a receptacle. The witch in question will simply invoke the Twin Soul effect 1-2x a day to re-possess the current body it's in.

Remember the Magic Jar (spell) requires you to return to the receptacle to re-use it but Twin Soul doesn't since there is no receptacle so anytime you want to take a full action you can have a new body. You are a permanent possessing spirit jumping from body to body as you will.


Diego Rossi wrote:
StreamOfTheSky say "Considering IMO most witches will have taken Improved Familiar by then". Really? And they will kill their familiar to replace it? As far as I can see there are no rules for dismissing a familiar.

Whoah, easy there. There's no killing involved, you're using hyperbole. I could dredge up rules quotes to disprove you, or I could just be lazy and wait for someone else to do it.

Diego Rossi wrote:


What I have found is it this:
FAQ wrote:

Sorcerer/Wizard: Can I dismiss my familiar so I may select a new familiar?

This isn't addressed in the rules anywhere, but yes, you should be able to dismiss a familiar if you want to select a new one. However, you must still wait 1 week and pay 200 gp for the 8-hour ritual. Dismissing a familiar is ending a link between your soul and it, so it should probably take about an hour.

The exception to the above is if you take the Improved Familiar feat, which allows you to immediately replace your familiar with the new familiar, at no cost or time required (it is assumed this occurs during whatever preparations you make while leveling up).

Once dismissed, an animal familiar is just a normal animal of its type (a special familiar from the Improved Familiar feat reverts to a normal creature of its type). Whether or not it wants to remain with you is up to your GM and probably based on how you treated the creature while it was your familiar.

—Sean K Reynolds, 07/15/11

Like this dude.

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Mathwei ap Niall wrote:
The lost spells are under the assumed cost of swapping the familiar.The faq post you quoted was from the thread specifically asking that question. And if you look under SKR's posts you'll see several where he states the spells should transfer.

The FAQ is from the FAQ.

You reference is this couple of posts?

Kthulhu wrote:
Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Did you read the linked FAQ entry where it talks about Improved Familiar?

Doh! I feel dumb. Somehow I missed the second paragraph. Still, the point about the spells stands....do the spells stored in Kitty automatically transfer to Lockheed?

Yes, I just made this an X-Men thread.

Sean K Reynolds wrote:
I would think they would transfer, but I agree that is a FAQ-worthy question.

I would think is not SKR putting up his developer cap an giving a rule, it is a experienced GM giving an opinion.

Even more so as he admit that the question is FAQ worthy but don't reply to it in any thread or FAQ post AFAIK.

Mathwei ap Niall wrote:


Remember the Magic Jar (spell) requires you to return to the receptacle to re-use it but Twin Soul doesn't since there is no receptacle so anytime you want to take a full action you can have a new body. You are a permanent possessing spirit jumping from body to body as you will.

You are claiming that you will eject your soul from a body to take possess of the same body with the same soul? And that you will do that in some kind of infinite loop?

Cheliax

diego Rossi wrote:
You are claiming that you will eject your soul from a body to take possess of the same body with the same soul? And that you will do that in some kind of infinite loop?

Not those terms but pretty much yeah.

This body doesn't actually have a soul, it's soul died ages ago and it's just a meat suit for a magic jar effect. Every few hours or so you attempt to use a magic jar effect on it to eject it's soul and move yours into it. Since there is no soul to eject you just slide right in with no resistance.
Either that or you attempt it and choose to fail your own save and swap places with yourself, doesn't kake a difference.

I prefer to think of it as every few hours just primping your new meat suit into a better fit.

Andoran

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

The point is to do that you are ejecting the soul in the body. To me it seem very questionable that it will work.

"I pus this ball in this tube. Now I use the same ball to push the ball out of the tube and into the tube again ...."

- - -

In this example "Every few hours or so you attempt to use a magic jar effect on it to eject it's soul and move yours into it. Since there is no soul to eject you just slide right in with no resistance." you are leaving the body an then re-entering it.
That is acceptable, but there is the question if the soulless body will live and for how long.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I still wish the 8th level power was more clarified.

Shadow Lodge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I would argue that a strict reading only allows you to use magic jar while you're sharing your familiar's body (the ability is phrase as a choice--stay in your familiar's body, or possess someone), so you'd at least need to pop back temporarily.

...and depending on how you read magic jar, you could argue that it doesn't allow you to possess corpses, only creatures, so if possessing the target kills them, you may not be able to jump back into your hijacked man-suit after all. :)


perhaps I'm reading the twin soul differently, but the ability says "or take over another body as if using magic jar (with no receptacle)." To me it's saying that only the "possesion" rules follow magic jar, but you're not actually casting magic jar so it has no duration. But I definitely see both sides, I think that my interpretation may have been the intent of the ability but the rest of your interpretations may be more consistent with past RAW interpretations of similar abilities.


While I am very interested in the question in the OP, this thread has also got me thinking about something else.

When using twin soul, to return to your body, how many hit points return with you?


Wow, this thread got a bit derailed... O_o
But I've gotta try to rez it because its peaked my interest too now, and back to the original question.

A witch's familiar form ability reads:
"At 8th level, a beast-bonded witch may take the shape of her familiar (or a giant version of her familiar or a similar kind of animal) as if using beast shape II. For example, a witch with a rat familiar can turn into a Tiny rat, Small dire rat, or a larger rodent; one with a cat familiar can turn into a Tiny cat or a Large feline such as a tiger or lion; one with a monkey familiar can turn into a Tiny monkey or a Large gorilla, and so on. The witch can remain in animal form for a number of minutes per day equal to her level.
This ability replaces the witch’s 8th-level hex."

It would be absurd to exclude the level 8 class feature from a beast bonded witch simply for upgrading her familiar (the class feature that is the specialty of this archtype).

Because this has gone SOOOOO long without official ruling / errata, its totally in GM territory, but if I were GM- I believe the reference to beast shape II should only be used for the size limitations and the abilities that can be gained from the transformation, or that the witch should get her standard class feature for that level.

There's just no reason a class should be punished for taking a feat that upgrades a feature that the class relies on. No reason, lol


TaurenHugger wrote:

Wow, this thread got a bit derailed... O_o

But I've gotta try to rez it because its peaked my interest too now, and back to the original question.

A witch's familiar form ability reads:
"At 8th level, a beast-bonded witch may take the shape of her familiar (or a giant version of her familiar or a similar kind of animal) as if using beast shape II. For example, a witch with a rat familiar can turn into a Tiny rat, Small dire rat, or a larger rodent; one with a cat familiar can turn into a Tiny cat or a Large feline such as a tiger or lion; one with a monkey familiar can turn into a Tiny monkey or a Large gorilla, and so on. The witch can remain in animal form for a number of minutes per day equal to her level.
This ability replaces the witch’s 8th-level hex."

It would be absurd to exclude the level 8 class feature from a beast bonded witch simply for upgrading her familiar (the class feature that is the specialty of this archtype).

Because this has gone SOOOOO long without official ruling / errata, its totally in GM territory, but if I were GM- I believe the reference to beast shape II should only be used for the size limitations and the abilities that can be gained from the transformation, or that the witch should get her standard class feature for that level.

There's just no reason a class should be punished for taking a feat that upgrades a feature that the class relies on. No reason, lol

Beast Shape I:
School transmutation (polymorph); Level alchemist 3, magus 3, sorcerer/wizard 3; Domain fur 3

Casting Time 1 standard action
Components V, S, M (a piece of the creature whose form you plan to assume)
Range personal
Target you
Duration 1 min./level (D)
When you cast this spell, you can assume the form of any Small or Medium creature of the animal type. If the form you assume has any of the following abilities, you gain the listed ability: climb 30 feet, fly 30 feet (average maneuverability), swim 30 feet, darkvision 60 feet, low-light vision, and scent.

Small animal: If the form you take is that of a Small animal, you gain a +2 size bonus to your Dexterity and a +1 natural armor bonus.

Medium animal: If the form you take is that of a Medium animal, you gain a +2 size bonus to your Strength and a +2 natural armor bonus.

Beast Shape II:
School transmutation (polymorph); Level alchemist 4, magus 4, sorcerer/wizard 4
This spell functions as beast shape I, except that it also allows you to assume the form of a Tiny or Large creature of the animal type. If the form you assume has any of the following abilities, you gain the listed ability: climb 60 feet, fly 60 feet (good maneuverability), swim 60 feet, darkvision 60 feet, low-light vision, scent, grab, pounce, and trip.

Tiny animal: If the form you take is that of a Tiny animal, you gain a +4 size bonus to your Dexterity, a -2 penalty to your Strength, and a +1 natural armor bonus.

Large animal: If the form you take is that of a Large animal, you gain a +4 size bonus to your Strength, a -2 penalty to your Dexterity, and a +4 natural armor bonus.

I read this is that the witch becomes similar to the familiar in terms of form, but uses the spell for the rest of the effects. That is, it only overrides the limitation of "animal type", and the "duration" listed by the spell.

There are a lot of things that say "as if using spell X". The usual way is to use the spells rules except where they get overridden by the text saying "as if".

/cevah


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I figured this would never get any more notice, especially after over a year.

I really don't see much change though.

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