Familars vs. Improved Familars


Rules Questions

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wraithstrike wrote:
Quandary wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
If elementals could attack from beneath the ground why would they ever leave it? They could smash the party with ease.
To not have 50% miss-chance and be able to see everybody they might want to target?
That is my point. If the elemental could just reach up from the ground without a penalty, which I forgot to add, then why ever come up.

Yeah, the penalties you mentioned definitely apply, as well as not being able to target/distinguish creatures better than Tremorsense allows. I don´t see why they can´t use that tactic though. Anybody on the surface should be able to ready an attack for when the Elemental´s limbs breach the surface... The Elemental moves freely within the earth, so if it wants to attack a creature above it, it is moving it´s limbs towards the surface until the point where they are contiguous with the surface... at which point there is no longer Total Cover, although Full Concealment still applies. I don´t see why the Elemental can´t locate it´s ´eyes´ contiguous with the surface during it´s attacks, although that just feels a bit cheap so I would never use it, as PC or GM.


To gruuu: It only says effects, not spell effects.

Quandary wrote:
I look at it as anything that says ´this does X per HD´ is an effect related to HD.

How come? Is it by rules or is it just the amount you feel right? Because if there's no direct rule then we just have different limits of what we consider effects and we're both just winging it.

Quote:
Alot of that stuff isn´t actually based on HD in that way, i.e. has wording telling you to plug HD into a formula. You can look at some of those stats as not being ´based´ on HD, but customarily CORRESPONDING to HD, i.e. when you add a HD you also add those things, but there is no ´formula´ tying them together.

That's a very awkward way of limiting it and is just as subjective as my way or the "include all way". Number of feats according to the monster creation rules are:

"Each creature with an Intelligence score receives a number of feats equal to 1 + 1 per every 2 Hit Dice after the first." It looks awfully much like a HD-based formula, and if it walks like a duck and so on...

Quote:
In any case, things like strength of breath weapon (based on HD), and lay on hands (effectively the same boat as breath weapon), CLEARLY seem to be effects based on HD

Not to me. But whatever. I agree that it should be clarified. I'd be fine any way this goes - it isn't over- or underpowering any way (though I'd probably prefer if it's only responsive and not so much abilities).

stringburka wrote:

So what is the problem with PAO on a Familiar that would cause a GM to alter how it works?

So what is the problem with PAO on a Familiar that would cause a GM to alter how it works?
I mean, Balepolymorph seems the most problematic application, since it gains ALL special abilities,
but that is clearly how Baleful Polymorph is meant to work...
Why shouldn´t it work that way on a Familiar if works that way on a PC?

I don't know. I don't see an issue with it, except that the duration is limited so it's some extra work. But why would you want to use it as baleful polymorph? It can only become a small or smaller animal that way. What is the gain?

I could see wanting to change say a compsognatus (easily the best, if not most over-powered, regular familiar) to, say, an elemental - but it wouldn't last very long (don't know if they're considered the same kingdom, so between 20 minutes and 12 hours). It also wouldn't gain all elemental abilities.


Well, again, effect is to change the world.
Having skills or Feats are VERY virtual changes to the world...
What has been affected by having 1 more skill-rank?

Again, I wrote that those issues ARE certainly plausible readings of the rules... I´m not excluding them as reasonable to get out of the RAW, I was just sharing my take on it. But while it´s probably nice to tighten up what ´effect´ applies to... Given the NON-constrained usage of the word ´effect´ in the text, I don´t see how anybody could not see the power of Breath Weapon, etc, as ´effects based on HD´. If the Breath Weapon can kill me, that means it affects me (and it´s power is based on HD). If you question what the true intent was, RAI, etc, sure, but the RAW seems to include those things... and arguably Feats, etc, as well. /shrug

PAO as Baleful, I could see morphing that Compsonagathus into a Raven, to get speech and UMD while still getting the Compsonagathus Familair bonus to Init. Or some form that has Poison, which seems to be an effect based on HD. That would be either 1 week or permanent duration per PAO by my reckoning.


Fair enough on HD discussion. I think we're in agreement of the (lack of) RAW here :)

Quandary wrote:
PAO as Baleful, I could see morphing that Compsonagathus into a Raven, to get speech and UMD while still getting the Compsonagathus Familair bonus to Init. Or some form that has Poison, which seems to be an effect based on HD. That would be either 1 week or permanent duration per PAO by my reckoning.

Yeah, that seems like a good idea. I come to the same duration conclusion too, depending on whether you count natural intelligence or familiar intelligence.

Notice that you might be forced to cast it several times before it sticks, though, due to saving throws and such, so I don't see why you wouldn't use it as greater polymorph to achieve the same result but without saves.


Quandary wrote:
AlecStorm wrote:
If the GM don't let you take leadership, I suppose that he will not let you make that use of the familiar, if it proves too strong.

Is this an incompetent GM we´re talking about?

Because PFS in fact DOES make Improved Familiar default available to everybody, whether or not they find ´powerful´ ways to use it. Why do you think the game/GM should assume that you DON´T find effective ways to use the Feats you take? Why do you feel that a GM doesn´t already have tons of options to challenge players using the rules as they are written? (using skill ranks of the master would have been a considered use case by ANY comptetent designer who wrote that in the first place, aside from Improved Familiar) What is stopping NPCs and Monsters from being similarly effective with their choice of Feats?

He's just a GM that don't let your char take a feats (leadership) because he think it's too strong, and for the same reason he can put limitations on other feats. He's not incompetent, he's creating his style.

Obviously I put a roleplay limitation on leadership, but it's not that the problem now.

IMO, that use of familiar is not too strong, because I compare it with animal companion or leadership.

Liberty's Edge

No feat or class ability is too strong if you compare it to leadership.

The thing about improved familiar is it increases your output of spells by somewhere between 1/2 and 1/3. Sure, the output spell isn't nearly as good, it comes from a wand and therefore has a lousy DC and low level for effects and each casting costs money, but its still a spell. Every round.

The thing about leadership is that it increases your spell output by 100%. Those spells have a good DC and good casting level, and they don't cost money every time they're cast. So yeah, compared to leadership, improved familiar isn't that good.

But you know, get both. And have your cohort get improved familiar. You're now putting out 4 - 6 spells a round rather than 1 -2.


ShadowcatX wrote:

No feat or class ability is too strong if you compare it to leadership.

The thing about improved familiar is it increases your output of spells by somewhere between 1/2 and 1/3. Sure, the output spell isn't nearly as good, it comes from a wand and therefore has a lousy DC and low level for effects and each casting costs money, but its still a spell. Every round.

The thing about leadership is that it increases your spell output by 100%. Those spells have a good DC and good casting level, and they don't cost money every time they're cast. So yeah, compared to leadership, improved familiar isn't that good.

But you know, get both. And have your cohort get improved familiar. You're now putting out 4 - 6 spells a round rather than 1 -2.

I think what becomes too strong is when new books and rules come out and they allow for an ability to be enhanced in a way that can make it too strong. (sometimes by design other times because developers didnt think about the combos they were writing). Leadership I agree is way to overpowered, lets hope the developers do not make a feat like 3.5 that allows for 2 cohorts instead of 1.

I will give a suggestion to any GM that has issue with Leadership. DO NOT LET THE PLAYERS CREATE THE COHORT!

Leadership states that:
Cohort Level: You can attract a cohort of up to this level. Regardless of your Leadership score, you can only recruit a cohortwho is two or more levels lower than yourself. The cohort should be equipped with gear appropriate for its level (see Creating NPCs). A cohort can be of any race or class. The cohort's alignment may not be opposed to your alignment on either the law/chaos or good/evil axis, and you take a –1 penalty to your Leadership score if you recruit a cohort of an alignment different from your own.

There is nothing in that that should make players determine what feats etc a cohort has. The GM should create the character it is an NPC and is a loyal follower but is not someone that a Player should be allowed to cherry pick the stats, feats for. I always enjoy allowing a player to recruit a Known NPC or just having some guy show up that has heard about the player and then following them (much like leadership was in 2E). If you allow a player to create the cohort you will get one that compliments the player in a way that yes is going to be broken and you have to deal with that.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

The only argument I have ever heard for Imp Familiar being to powerful is the wand argument.

So if you have an Imp Familiar and take
Celestial hawk
Dire rat
Fiendish viper
Elemental, Small

Is the feat over powered?

If there is a choice on the list that is massively more powerful than the others isn't it a GM's responsibility to even the playing field a bit?

Either nerf the ability to use wands or give all non-wand using familiars a bone.


wraithstrike wrote:
Tiny Coffee Golem wrote:
Don't Earth elementals have Tremor sense? Meaning they can effectively "see/Feel" anything in contact with the same earth they're in contact with?
Yes, but it is just like blindsense which is not like blindsight and they would still have a 50% miss chance, and it still would not allow them to attack through the ground.

I've always assumed that the earth elemental uses the same basic thing as the old "have a designated hand-shaker to soak Touch spells outside of combat" trick.

Even if that doesn't work, it's still easy enough for the EE to just burrow over to the target and/or follow them around with Tremorsense, supposing they're in range of it.

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