Why no love for animal familiars?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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HappyDaze wrote:
Animal familiars never have to worry about being kidnapped via the Planar Binding line of spells. Witches that go with outsiders and elementals for their familiar need to constantly fear having their hard drive wiped.

I think I explained my position on outsider familiars and planar binding in a recent thread. By RAW it only works if:

a) You know the familiars name
AND
b)The familiar is on a different plane from you. See the calling spells description in the magic section for the rules.


Lab_Rat wrote:
HappyDaze wrote:
Animal familiars never have to worry about being kidnapped via the Planar Binding line of spells. Witches that go with outsiders and elementals for their familiar need to constantly fear having their hard drive wiped.

I think I explained my position on outsider familiars and planar binding in a recent thread. By RAW it only works if:

a) You know the familiars name
AND
b)The familiar is on a different plane from you. See the calling spells description in the magic section for the rules.

That's an easy problem to solve. Crawl inside a rope trick. Bam, different plane...

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Azten wrote:
You can hold a wand sideways and still touch the person in front of you with it. It's not that hard. You could be all rules lawyery and say that you don't even have to tough the end of the wand to the person, since the rules don't say you have to.

Rules say that wands do not affect how a spell is cast. All casting reuirements remain the same. So yes, if the spell is a touch spell like cure X wounds, you MUST touch the target. If the wand is a wand of shield, than only the wandcaster itself is the eligible target.


Actually all dragons get use magic device as a class skill can they hold wands striaght forward in their hands? that said fairie dragon improved familiars are pretty awesome.


Lab_Rat wrote:
HappyDaze wrote:
Animal familiars never have to worry about being kidnapped via the Planar Binding line of spells. Witches that go with outsiders and elementals for their familiar need to constantly fear having their hard drive wiped.

I think I explained my position on outsider familiars and planar binding in a recent thread. By RAW it only works if:

a) You know the familiars name
AND
b)The familiar is on a different plane from you. See the calling spells description in the magic section for the rules.

Finding the name of a witch's familiar isn't an impossible task. Knowledge (arcana) and/or Knowledge (local) is good for this, and Diplomacy (used to gather information) can sometimes pick it up too.

Planar travel is also not that hard. At higher levels, having your own demiplane for performing planar bindings is a very sensible option.


LazarX wrote:
Azten wrote:
You can hold a wand sideways and still touch the person in front of you with it. It's not that hard. You could be all rules lawyery and say that you don't even have to tough the end of the wand to the person, since the rules don't say you have to.
Rules say that wands do not affect how a spell is cast. All casting reuirements remain the same. So yes, if the spell is a touch spell like cure X wounds, you MUST touch the target. If the wand is a wand of shield, than only the wandcaster itself is the eligible target.

In that case you don't even have to touch them with the wand, since you don't touch someone with a stick to cast cure light wounds.

Shadow Lodge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8

Depends on how secretive the witch is with the familiar's name. If they only ever call the familiar by a nickname in public, then finding out the familiars name would be pretty difficult.

You'd probably have to contact sources among the familiar's plane of origin, or alternatively try and find some of the familiar's old enemies among the planes.

And hey, that's a great adventure hook! A short little plane-hopping sidequest to get the intel, with the payoff being a weakened wizard or witch in the final battle.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Son of the Veterinarian wrote:


The push for improved familiars did get something of a boost with the addition of the Witch, for whom the loss of a familiar can be a crippling blow, so they have far greater motivation to upgrade to something tougher.

Good point. Personally, unless I'm playing a witch (and therefore assume my familiar is part of the whole skill set, and therefore I should think about making use of it), I use my familiars as a basic "+ bonus" magic item that eats. I like the idea of a cute critter following my wizard/arcane sorcerer around, just for flavor. Having the familiar use wands for me just feels kind of...eh...wrong? But then again, if you really want to ramp up your effectiveness.

Also, depending on your GM, opposable thumbs don't matter squat. All you need to hold a wand (a fancy, magic stick, in other words) is a mouth, or a claw like a bird's. UMD with a wand doesn't necessarily mean that you're tinkering with it with your hands, it just means you (or, at least to me), messing with your own mojo to make it match the wand's so you could use it. I don't understand why you can't use UMD in such a circumstance without hands? Depends on how leniant your GM is, I suppose. I dunno...

Personally, never liked focusing enough on a familiar to get Improved Familiar. It isn't that important...again, unless you're a witch...

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
FuelDrop wrote:

Mark, you are a freeking genius.

ok, gather round. i have a plan.
ingredients: one familiar.
caster: lvl 19. evoker 18 sorcerer 1 (cross-blooded red dragon and elemental (primal) fire).
feats: SF evocation, greater SF evocation, spell specialisation (detonate), greater spell specialisation, quicken spell, extend spell, maximise spell, intensify spell, spell perfection (detonate), empower spell, improved share spells. trait: magical lineage (detonate)
method: cast affecting both you and your familiar the following: protection from energy, resist energy, quickened extended intensified detonate, maximised empowered extended detonate, quickened empowered detonate, maximised empowered intensified detonate, dimention door (right into middle of badguys.) then, blow up.
damage = (20d8+120+7d8+22d8+160+10d8+9+9+9+9+40+30+14+44+40+20)= 59d8+504...*2. or 118d8+1008 damage to everyone within 15 foot, half that between 15 and 30 foot. and you and fluffy both take half as well... actually, on second thoughts i think you'll need a better defense than protection from energy and resist energy.

See what you've done now Mark? by saying the toad should explode you've done more than a thousand damage!

1) you can't cast 2 quickened spell in one round.

2) seeing how you character was made all around using detonate, how he lived to get to 7th level? What he will do when he can't sue detonate?

This kind of theorycraft is somewhat funny, but generally the character isn't viable if not a the specific level for which it is build.


Diego Rossi wrote:


1) you can't cast 2 quickened spell in one round.

2) seeing how you character was made all around using detonate, how he lived to get to 7th level? What he will do when he can't sue detonate?

This kind of theorycraft is somewhat funny, but generally the character isn't viable if not a the specific level for which it is build.

3 things:

1) the build was an off the top of my head joke, with little actual research done if there weren't holes in it, it'd be in the 'you know you play pathfinder too much when...' thread, not here. :)

2)i don't think i do cast two quickened spells in the same round. total detonate spells going off is 8, ie quick and normal extended, followed by quick and normal, times two due to improved shared spells.

3)if you think about it there's 3 feats and a trait dedicated to detonate, and you can get away with waiting for level 7 (when you get detonate) before taking spell specialisation. until then he's just as sub-optimal as any other evoker/blaster, which is far from unplayable. also, with such a light investment in his wonder move, he can still blow stuff up just fine using more conventional spells and not be too gimped. theory craft maybe, but not entirely a one-trick pony.


Diego Rossi wrote:
1) you can't cast 2 quickened spell in one round.

Protection is cast at round T-4, resist at T-3, quickened extended intensified detonate and maximised empowered extended at T -2, quickened empowered and maximised empowered intensified at T -1, dimension door at T 0.


Drejk wrote:
Diego Rossi wrote:
1) you can't cast 2 quickened spell in one round.
Protection is cast at round T-4, resist at T-3, quickened extended intensified detonate and maximised empowered extended at T -2, quickened empowered and maximised empowered intensified at T -1, dimension door at T 0.

Isn't that burning a ton of spells when you could just use black tentacles?


Benchak the Nightstalker wrote:

Depends on how secretive the witch is with the familiar's name. If they only ever call the familiar by a nickname in public, then finding out the familiars name would be pretty difficult.

You'd probably have to contact sources among the familiar's plane of origin, or alternatively try and find some of the familiar's old enemies among the planes.

And hey, that's a great adventure hook! A short little plane-hopping sidequest to get the intel, with the payoff being a weakened wizard or witch in the final battle.

The nickname may well be enough. You just need to be able to specify the particular outsider/elemental, you don't need it's true name. If the witch goes around calling her imp "Fluffy-Butt" then you can use Planar Binding to get the imp called "Fluff-Butt" regardless of other names the imp might have.


HappyDaze wrote:
Benchak the Nightstalker wrote:

Depends on how secretive the witch is with the familiar's name. If they only ever call the familiar by a nickname in public, then finding out the familiars name would be pretty difficult.

You'd probably have to contact sources among the familiar's plane of origin, or alternatively try and find some of the familiar's old enemies among the planes.

And hey, that's a great adventure hook! A short little plane-hopping sidequest to get the intel, with the payoff being a weakened wizard or witch in the final battle.

The nickname may well be enough. You just need to be able to specify the particular outsider/elemental, you don't need it's true name. If the witch goes around calling her imp "Fluffy-Butt" then you can use Planar Binding to get the imp called "Fluff-Butt" regardless of other names the imp might have.

Guess that depends on what you define as its proper name, to me Fluffy Butt is a nickname. I'd also like to point out . . .

1) The spell specifies it calls a creature on another plane so you could only use it if you and the familiar were on different planes. As a DM I'd probably allow it if you cast it on one of the inner/outer planes to call a creature from the material though.

2) Even greater binding only works up to 18HD and since a familiar works off the casters once the witch hits level 19 the lines useless.


Liam Warner wrote:
HappyDaze wrote:
Benchak the Nightstalker wrote:

Depends on how secretive the witch is with the familiar's name. If they only ever call the familiar by a nickname in public, then finding out the familiars name would be pretty difficult.

You'd probably have to contact sources among the familiar's plane of origin, or alternatively try and find some of the familiar's old enemies among the planes.

And hey, that's a great adventure hook! A short little plane-hopping sidequest to get the intel, with the payoff being a weakened wizard or witch in the final battle.

The nickname may well be enough. You just need to be able to specify the particular outsider/elemental, you don't need it's true name. If the witch goes around calling her imp "Fluffy-Butt" then you can use Planar Binding to get the imp called "Fluff-Butt" regardless of other names the imp might have.

Guess that depends on what you define as its proper name, to me Fluffy Butt is a nickname. I'd also like to point out . . .

1) The spell specifies it calls a creature on another plane so you could only use it if you and the familiar were on different planes. As a DM I'd probably allow it if you cast it on one of the inner/outer planes to call a creature from the material though.

2) Even greater binding only works up to 18HD and since a familiar works off the casters once the witch hits level 19 the lines useless.

Re #1 - You can either go to another plane (like a purpose-built demiplane) or try to time it (with good intelligence) for when the target goes to another plane (like with rope trick, shadow walk, etc.).

Re #2 - There's more than enough options with this tactic on those targets of 18HD or less. Just because it doesn't work at the highest two levels the game covers doesn't invalidate the tactic.


The one thing I wish for is a feat that allows you to take the Tatoo Familiar ability.

as it is now the best I can do on my witch is take a centipede familiar and hide him under my clothes. ^_^


HappyDaze wrote:
Lab_Rat wrote:
HappyDaze wrote:
Animal familiars never have to worry about being kidnapped via the Planar Binding line of spells. Witches that go with outsiders and elementals for their familiar need to constantly fear having their hard drive wiped.

I think I explained my position on outsider familiars and planar binding in a recent thread. By RAW it only works if:

a) You know the familiars name
AND
b)The familiar is on a different plane from you. See the calling spells description in the magic section for the rules.

Finding the name of a witch's familiar isn't an impossible task. Knowledge (arcana) and/or Knowledge (local) is good for this, and Diplomacy (used to gather information) can sometimes pick it up too.

Planar travel is also not that hard. At higher levels, having your own demiplane for performing planar bindings is a very sensible option.

Only if the name has been shared. If they caster uses a fake name in public then nobody can ever give you the info.


wraithstrike wrote:
HappyDaze wrote:
Lab_Rat wrote:
HappyDaze wrote:
Animal familiars never have to worry about being kidnapped via the Planar Binding line of spells. Witches that go with outsiders and elementals for their familiar need to constantly fear having their hard drive wiped.

I think I explained my position on outsider familiars and planar binding in a recent thread. By RAW it only works if:

a) You know the familiars name
AND
b)The familiar is on a different plane from you. See the calling spells description in the magic section for the rules.

Finding the name of a witch's familiar isn't an impossible task. Knowledge (arcana) and/or Knowledge (local) is good for this, and Diplomacy (used to gather information) can sometimes pick it up too.

Planar travel is also not that hard. At higher levels, having your own demiplane for performing planar bindings is a very sensible option.

Only if the name has been shared. If they caster uses a fake name in public then nobody can ever give you the info.

There is no such thing as a fake name. If something uses an identifier (even a 'fake' name) then that is sufficient to indicate it for the spell. You just need to be able to specify which particular [fill in the blank] you want.


I don't know where people are getting specific information about what sort of name you need to know. The spell says you need to use its "proper name". That's not defined anywhere. It could conceivably be ruled to mean "any unique identifying label". It could conceivably be ruled to mean "the creature's one primal TRUE NAME, known not even to itself." It most likely was intended to mean something in the middle, and it might mean something different for different sorts of creatures. (It's not like voidworms have drivers' licences or something that have their real first and last name and middle initial on there.) Whether a fake name keeps the thing from being called is totally a DM judgment call. I'm inclined to say it does, since it says "proper name", not "any unique identifier", but it's a DM call. (Note that Planar Ally words its corresponding section totally differently.)


HappyDaze wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
HappyDaze wrote:
Lab_Rat wrote:
HappyDaze wrote:
Animal familiars never have to worry about being kidnapped via the Planar Binding line of spells. Witches that go with outsiders and elementals for their familiar need to constantly fear having their hard drive wiped.

I think I explained my position on outsider familiars and planar binding in a recent thread. By RAW it only works if:

a) You know the familiars name
AND
b)The familiar is on a different plane from you. See the calling spells description in the magic section for the rules.

Finding the name of a witch's familiar isn't an impossible task. Knowledge (arcana) and/or Knowledge (local) is good for this, and Diplomacy (used to gather information) can sometimes pick it up too.

Planar travel is also not that hard. At higher levels, having your own demiplane for performing planar bindings is a very sensible option.

Only if the name has been shared. If they caster uses a fake name in public then nobody can ever give you the info.
There is no such thing as a fake name. If something uses an identifier (even a 'fake' name) then that is sufficient to indicate it for the spell. You just need to be able to specify which particular [fill in the blank] you want.

So if you mishear the name, which is the same as not using the actual name, you expect to be able to get the outsider anyway?


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Standard animal familiars grant you a skill bonus, a save bonus, or an HP bump. Improved familiars do not.

Animal familiars tend to not stand out in most situations (ie a pig in the market place, no problem. A spider in the pocket... People have stranger pets. A goat at the kings dinner and it isn't slathered in gravy... That's a something else). Improved familiars... Well, first they are obviously something else. Who keeps a stirge as a pet? That imp... Definitely either a familiar or summoned servitor at the least.

As for targeting the familiar... Even the largest standard familiar is small, giving it an AC boost, and most are tiny or fine making them even harder to hit. As I recall, improved familiars start out small with few variations.

Personally, I've gone both ways. For the most part, unless I want to impress someone with my obvious wizard-i-ness or stick with a casting theme so thoroughly the campaign enemies know to be ready to counter it (re: It's that guy with the Ice Mephit! Everyone got their resist cold going?). Generally, though, I go with an animal that suits my character's homeland. Sort of a pocket pet (I like rats. They are everywhere, they make great spies, can grab things in their teeth, and properly trained can infect your opponents with rat diseases...), or if I ever play an Osirion I might be tempted to take a monkey... But only with a few levels devoted to the rogue class. I found a great picture of a tattoo the other day, a kind of tribal spider, and I might take a tattooed sorceror next time I play because of it.

Other than that, aside from personal preference, animal familiars are better and more useful than the improved. Monkey familiars are versatile in human ways, but outside certain geographic areas don't utilize the full benefits (speak with others of its kind falls into mind), and can be a dead giveaway that a specific wizard was around. That being said, it's really all a matter of personal preference and ability to think deviously.


For my NG witch, I started with a cat and figured that the patron just didn't authorize the silvanshee to reveal her true powers until 7th level. :)


celestial/fiendish version give resistances, darkvision, and later DR. a worthwhile investment to upgrade their survivability.


How effective would an imp familiar be for a witch?


It is known that permanent effects, such as making greater magic fang permanent on a familiar are allowed. Since permanent effects, such as those listed under the permanency guidelines can make alter/buff your familiar then why not use spells that have a permanent effect on your familiar?

I am asking this because Core states that only normal, unmodified animals can become familiars, but does that mean that once your familiar is chosen, it remains such and can be affected by spells? After all, we know that familiars share spells, but if a spell is permanent in duration does this alter the familiar, or simply mean that your familiar remains, it is just under a spell effect as per the familiar guidelines?

I am asking this because of the spell - Polymorph Any Object. Yes, I am aware that this spell requires high level, but, think about all the amazing things you can do by making your cat into a permanent Tiger. If you are high level and prepare this spell at least once a day then you can alter your familiar to suit the task at hand.

It is also fun to do beast shape II or any other shaping effect and have it also affect your familiar. Shaping spells progress as you level, so at low level you can use this idea as well, however, it is not permanent until you get Polymorph Any Object.

PS: I have played a wizard for many years and appreciate the use of the familiar in many ways. It is true that I do not get feats to buff my familiar but find things like mage armor, haste, heroism, PC bards, and other effects make a familiar a valued party member.


MicMan wrote:
Nice, but 50GP per casting of Detonate might be a problem at that Level.

False focus tattoo. 100 GP or less components are free.


I could see an Owl or Hawk familiar being used as a flyby Bomber. Give 'em an alchemists fire or a Necklace of Missiles and it's boom time!


I somewhat like the idea of playing a chaotic neutral wizard who's slightly inept, with a lawful good raven familiar who's able to talk me into doing the right thing, and talk me out of the stupid thing, like setting an entire village on fire to smoke out the rampant criminals, as well as more than a few good innocent folk.

Of course, that's all a matter of roleplay.


I have this to say about animal familiars:

Ferret

That is all. We now return you to your normally scheduled programs.


Covent wrote:

I have this to say about animal familiars:

Ferret

That is all. We now return you to your normally scheduled programs.

Best, god, Ever.

Sovereign Court

HappyDaze wrote:
Animal familiars never have to worry about being kidnapped via the Planar Binding line of spells. Witches that go with outsiders and elementals for their familiar need to constantly fear having their hard drive wiped.

Whoa...

The Exchange

blue_the_wolf wrote:
...the best I can do on my witch is take a centipede familiar and hide him under my clothes. ^_^

Ah, yes... Itchy the Witch.


Animal archive lists platypus as an option for familiar, if I had to get one that was an animal id run with that for great rp. However I go improved familiar for a lyrakin azata yes other familiars can use wands with UMD at your ranks (not a class skill for wiz) but the lyrakin has a 20 cha to add to that roll making a small skill dip pay off faster. Plus flight, limited heal, and true speech for the ultimate scout/spy. hard to beat with anything else


Animal familiars, with wands (requires Wizard or other familiar-gaining class casting Arcane spells; level 3)

1. One of your feats is Evolved Familiar to give the familiar +8 to Use Magic Device

2. The familiar replaces its level 1 feat with Additional Traits; one of the Traits it takes gives it UMD as a Class Skill

3. Buff with 2 level 2 spells using Share Spells - Alter Self, Visualization of the Mind (Cha)

4. Take 3 ranks in UMD

At this point you have an animal familiar who, until Alter Self runs out, has hands and a mouth and is capable of a UMD check of +19, minus whatever its Cha penalty is. That's not a bad check.

Now yeah, that means you're either burning through your 2 level 2 spells for the day or you're spending 150 GP on crafted spell scrolls for that day, but it's certainly possible. If you're willing to devote the gold though, giving fluffy a wand it can use on, say, a 3 or higher on a D20 and then ALSO casting your allotment of spells next to that is extremely advantageous at level 3.


This is a pretty outdated thread. The newer familiar archetypes give the animal familiars lots of options that aren't available to the improved familiars.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

This thread is my familiar.


Postocles, Thread Necromancer wrote:
This thread is my familiar.

Is it a school familiar of necromancy? Can it help me smack ghosts with a baseball bat?

Or is it only an undead bloodline familiar that heals with negative energy?


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Postocles, Thread Necromancer wrote:
This thread is my familiar.

You called, Master?


Depending on local laws, 'loving' your animals, familiar or otherwise, might be illegal/heretical...


So much black onyx gems getting sold these days. I'm making a fortune.


Natan Linggod 327 wrote:
Depending on local laws, 'loving' your animals, familiar or otherwise, might be illegal/heretical...

If you have this problem, contact your local druid's guild to begin campaigning for reform.


Eh I really like the stat buff animals give, find it hard to argue against +4 Init as an example. Let's me spend a feat elsewhere.

Side tip/note; If you play online, find the stupidest, sweetest, cavity inducing, cute picture for your token and see the reactions.

Scarab Sages

Melkiador wrote:
This is a pretty outdated thread. The newer familiar archetypes give the animal familiars lots of options that aren't available to the improved familiars.

What book is that in please?


Senko wrote:
Melkiador wrote:
This is a pretty outdated thread. The newer familiar archetypes give the animal familiars lots of options that aren't available to the improved familiars.
What book is that in please?

Animal Archive.

Shadow Lodge

Animal Archive introduced them first, notably Valet.

Familiar Folio added more, including Mauler, Protector, and Figment.


Note that only the archetypes that modify speak with animals of your kind are unavailable to improved familiars. But that's almost all of them.


Except for Magical Child vigilantes, since they don't get the Improved Familiar feat(which is what replaces speak with animals of it's kind).


Azten wrote:
Except for Magical Child vigilantes, since they don't get the Improved Familiar feat(which is what replaces speak with animals of it's kind).

Yes, it one of the reasons to take the archetype.

Scarab Sages

Thanks.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I am a witch and I LOVE my animal familiar.

In one of my current campaigns I play a gnome witch who is a master of deception. While most people consider charisma the witch dump stat, it is my second highest; while strength is my lowest.

My animal familiar is a Viper named Slipstich because my character is obsessed with crocheting. (Gnomes, am I right?)
Vipers give a bonus to bluff which I love, since my witch is a compulsive liar.

Slipstich hangs out in the hood of my witch's cloak. Once, she was singled out and grappled by a thug, and provoked an AoO from her viper, which managed a critical hit and made the thug both poisoned, and also starting to bleed like crazy from the crit.

I tend to be more attached to the idea of role play, than min/max as well. Since my witch has been bonded to an animal, it isn't in her personally to ditch him for something better. And since my CHA is high enough, I having started upgrading him with the evolved familiar feat.

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