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Familiar, Wand Use, Which?


Advice


Looking at building a Wizard with a familiar. Question is, which familiars are available that can use wands?

What are the requirements to use a wand?
I've been assuming some type of 'hands' to hold the wands but during my forum search it seems like there's a lot of people mentioning that this familiar or that can use wands and I just can't see how as those familiars have no 'hands'.

So which familiars have can clearly use wands and how do I back up the reasoning if asked?

Thanks.


I've seen developers say that only Improved Familiars can use wands.

Many people try to claim that only humanoid shaped things (like mephits) can use them.

The actual requirements for a wand are that you hold it in "whatever passes for a hand," that you point it in the general direction of the target, and that you speak a command phrase.

To me, that would mean any Improved Familiar that has something approaching hands (so, for example, not a Voidworm) and the ability to speak (most of them). This to me also means that the Raven and Parrot should be able to use them as well--corvids are the smartest birds on the planet and have been known to use and manipulate tools, so it's not really that hard to imagine.


mplindustries wrote:


To me, that would mean any Improved Familiar that has something approaching hands (so, for example, not a Voidworm) and the ability to speak (most of them). This to me also means that the Raven and Parrot should be able to use them as well--corvids are the smartest birds on the planet and have been known to use and manipulate tools, so it's not really that hard to imagine.

I'd go along with ravens and the like talking and I can see them manipulating tools (like a wand) with their beak quite well.

The question is: Can they do both at once?
Or will the wand in their beak hinder them while saying the command word?


There's a monkey familiar.


Monkey's can't talk though

Edit: However, Familiars have to use UMD to use wands, as they get no spell-lists, so does UMD still require them to speak the command word?
If not then I could actually see pretty much any familiar being able to use a wand.


Umbranus wrote:

I'd go along with ravens and the like talking and I can see them manipulating tools (like a wand) with their beak quite well.

The question is: Can they do both at once?
Or will the wand in their beak hinder them while saying the command word?

I don't see why a raven that is currently flying couldn't hold the wand in its feet.

Cheliax

Quatar wrote:

Monkey's can't talk though

Edit: However, Familiars have to use UMD to use wands, as they get no spell-lists, so does UMD still require them to speak the command word?
If not then I could actually see pretty much any familiar being able to use a wand.

Incorrect, at 5th level ALL familiars gain the ability to talk because of the Speak with Master familiar ability.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

As for ravens and parrots using wands held in the beak this should work. Birds vocalize with an anatomical structure called a syrinx that sits at the bifurcation of their bronchi. They don't really need to move their beaks or tongues too much to make sound. If you ever watch a pet parrot you can catch him talking with his mouth full of food, while using his beak to climb, etc. Parrots are also good at standing on one foot while holding an object with the other. I don't see why they couldn't use wands.

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

Mathwei ap Niall wrote:
Quatar wrote:

Monkey's can't talk though

Edit: However, Familiars have to use UMD to use wands, as they get no spell-lists, so does UMD still require them to speak the command word?
If not then I could actually see pretty much any familiar being able to use a wand.

Incorrect, at 5th level ALL familiars gain the ability to talk because of the Speak with Master familiar ability.

It's been argued (I think fairly) that the familiar still can't actually speak when it gets the Speak with Master ability. Here's what it says:

Speak with Master wrote:
Speak with Master (Ex): If the master is 5th level or higher, a familiar and the master can communicate verbally as if they were using a common language. Other creatures do not understand the communication without magical help.

That last sentence says to me that the familiar speaks using its own squwaks, grunts, and other normal animals noises, and the master can just understand it. This doesn't say that the familiar can actually articulate complex phrases such as those that would be required to use command words.

Cheliax

cartmanbeck wrote:
Mathwei ap Niall wrote:
Quatar wrote:

Monkey's can't talk though

Edit: However, Familiars have to use UMD to use wands, as they get no spell-lists, so does UMD still require them to speak the command word?
If not then I could actually see pretty much any familiar being able to use a wand.

Incorrect, at 5th level ALL familiars gain the ability to talk because of the Speak with Master familiar ability.

It's been argued (I think fairly) that the familiar still can't actually speak when it gets the Speak with Master ability. Here's what it says:

Speak with Master wrote:
Speak with Master (Ex): If the master is 5th level or higher, a familiar and the master can communicate verbally as if they were using a common language. Other creatures do not understand the communication without magical help.
That last sentence says to me that the familiar speaks using its own squwaks, grunts, and other normal animals noises, and the master can just understand it. This doesn't say that the familiar can actually articulate complex phrases such as those that would be required to use command words.

It has been argued that way but the 2 lines in the description that states "using a common language" & "can communicate verbally" pretty much kills that idea. A common language lets them discuss anything their intelligence score can handle and a command word is exactly that, a single word that activates the magic item.

Worst case imaginable with the worst GM in the game you just have the command word on that wand/item be in that shared language the wizard/familiar use and keep going.

Edit: Oh and your argument kinda of falls apart when you realize the wizard has to do that to. Remember n oone understands what the wizard is saying to the familiar either so he's obviously not speaking common (or elvish, dwarven, etc).
So if the wizard isn't using his native language to speak to the familiar why should the Familiar be using it's normal communication abilities to speak to the wizard?


"AS IF using a common language" is different than "using a common language".

It means, they are not in fact using a common language, but they simply magically understand each other as if they were.


It does mean the Familiar can at that level receive a Tongues spell, which would allow it to speak a command word.


couldn't the raven in the first example use its feet and just fly while casting? They typically use them as well for tool use anyway.


Part of the intent of Improved Familiar seems to be the availability of familiars which are capable of UMD'ing items, this seems perfectly clear and no one seems to argue it.

All the "normal" Familiars being animals seems to enforce one of the major purposes of the feat.

I think the question isn't about whether, in a "reality simulator" type game, your Raven or Parrot could grasp a stick and squawk a "command word", the question is about gameplay and game design.

Does it make the game work more clearly, more smoothly to rules-lawyer in some special familiar choices which can wave wands around without needing the feat whose major purpose is to enable exactly this? I would argue no. I would say it's just in the realm of silliness bordering on exploitation to have wand-whipping Ravens. And even so, is your familiar really likely to have enough UMD ranks to reliably activate a wand before the master is level 7?


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

Ravens can do it. They can speak and carry a stick (most birds can carry sticks to their nests) so there's no reason to believe they couldn't wield and activate a wand.

Silver Crusade

Imps, Mephits, Lyrakien Azata are all good Wand wielding familiars.

In terms of being the best at UMD, Lyrakien Azata is definitely the way to go.

For survivability purposes, Imps can turn invisible at-will. Azata has constant freedom of movement.

Personally, my favorite is Azatas. She's got DR and a bunch of immunities and resistances. They have a Charisma of 20, they can detect evil and magic constantly, they have constant freedom of movement.

They can cast dancing lights at will, freeing up a cantrip slot

They can cast cure light wounds and silent image once a day

Once a week they can cast commune

They have truespeech, so they serve as a universal translator

Oh, and each party member can listen to her bardic performance for a minute once a day and remove the fatigued OR exhausted condition!


Faerie Dragons are already Sorcerers, too, so they shouldn't even need UMD to cast Sorc/Wiz spells.


if u spend a feat you can give a Imp Fam massive UMD with an eidolon abiltity

Evolved Familiar

Your familiar is different from others of its kind.

Prerequisites: Int 13, Cha 13, familiar class feature.

Benefit: Select an evolution from the list of 1-point evolutions available to a summoner's eidolon.

SO TAKE SKILLED....

Skilled (Ex): An eidolon becomes especially adept at a specific skill, gaining a +8 racial bonus on that skill. This evolution can be selected more than once. Its effects do not stack. Each time an eidolon selects this evolution, it applies to a different skill.

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

thenovalord wrote:

if u spend a feat you can give a Imp Fam massive UMD with an eidolon abiltity

Evolved Familiar

Your familiar is different from others of its kind.

Prerequisites: Int 13, Cha 13, familiar class feature.

Benefit: Select an evolution from the list of 1-point evolutions available to a summoner's eidolon.

SO TAKE SKILLED....

Skilled (Ex): An eidolon becomes especially adept at a specific skill, gaining a +8 racial bonus on that skill. This evolution can be selected more than once. Its effects do not stack. Each time an eidolon selects this evolution, it applies to a different skill.

+1 on the Evolved Familiar (Skilled[UMD]) option. It's amazing.


you can still argue that it still might not have the necessary limbs to use a wand, depending on the creature.

note a sylvan sorcerer can cast transformation on his tiger animal companion, which gives it proficiency in all martial weapons. this does not mean it can wield a longsword, only that it could wield a longsword if it had opposable thumbs.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game Subscriber

I am in the Improved Familiar camp just because of balance concerns. That said, is there any official Paizo adventure where a npc familiar uses a wand?


Clockwork familiars are awesome because of the ability to increase their power and abilities with wands, potions, etc.


Im going from memory, but in PFS I think it is fairy dragon, sprite, mephit, imp, and perhaps one more improved familiar. If it is a home game I would definitely expand that list.

Andoran

Doesn't this mean that any animal capable of grasping a wand in some way, and speaking gives it the ability to use wands?
So you take Evolved Familiar, pick up skilled, and put a rank in Linguistics. BAM! Now you can talk, and as long as you can hold the wand in some way, you can use it.
So, Monkey, Thrush, Parrot, Raven, Archaeopteryx, Bat, King Crab, Fox (arguably), Hawk, Blue- Ringed Octopus, Osprey, Otter (they have little thumbs), Raccoon, Rat, Skunk (I'm pretty sure they can briefly stand on hind legs and manipulate things with their front paws), Sloth, Squirrel, can ALL feasibly use a wand after gaining the ability to speak.
And you can't tell me that giving your familiar Skilled doesn't give it the ability to speak, because you are EVOLVING and MUTATING your familiar with that particular feat. I mean, you can give a spider a tentacle for goodness sake.

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