Petition: Ban "Channel the Gift"


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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I never thought I would petition for a spell to banned in PFS. But I suppose there is a first time for everything.

Petition: Remove the spell "Channel the Gift" from PFS.

Reason: "Channel the Gift" is abusive and game warping when used in wand form.

Spell Description (Quoted from Inner Sea Gods Page 230):
"You channel your magical power to fuel the target’s spellcasting.
The next spell the target casts of 3rd level or lower does not
expend a spell slot; in effect, you are using your spell slot to
power the target’s spell. The target must start casting this spell
before your next turn, and the spell cannot have a casting time
longer than 1 full round. Your alignment, prohibited wizard
school, and other restrictions on your own spellcasting do
not affect the target, nor do you suffer any backlash from the
target’s choice of spell.
If you target yourself with this spell, you may spontaneously
cast any prepared spell of 3rd level or lower without expending
its spell slot on your next turn (this aspect of the spell has no
effect if you are a spontaneous caster). The spell that’s cast
after channel the gift cannot have a casting time longer than
1 full round."

Based on my reading of the spell a level 5 spell caster could effectively give up a third level spell to allow a much higher level spell caster to cast a third level spell at caster level 11 without losing a third level spell slot. While that is not over powered in of itself since the spell takes a players action to cast, the spell does become cripplingly overpowered when used as a wand or a scroll.

Scenario 1: A spell caster spends 11,250gp to purchase a Wand of "Channel the Gift" (this is approximately 1.5 7-11 chronicles worth of gold). They give the wand to a familiar that can UMD. The familiar then spends every action in combat casting the wand on a spell caster, effectively granting an infinite number of third level spells for the remainder of the characters career. I believe never running out of third level spells speaks for itself as over powered.

Scenario 2: A spell caster does not want to spend an excessive amount of gold on a wand so instead they spend Prestige Points/GP to obtain Scrolls of "Channel the Gift" with two charges each. They give these scrolls to a familiar to use on them. While not infinite this is still the very low cost of 375gp for a third level spell not being used when casting.

Comparison: A "Pearl of Power 3" costs 9000gp and only allows the spell caster to recover 1 third level spell per scenario.

Consider the impact on the game if a spell caster were able to purchase single use "Pearl of Power 3" at the cost of 225gp per "Pearl of Power 3". That is effectively what the Wand of "Channel the Gift" is.

Also consider if the cost were increased for the single use "Pearl of Power 3" to 375gp per casting. That is what a Scroll of "Channel the Gift" effectively is.


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Take away the ability for a familiar to cast this on you and the spell suddenly becomes much less attractive in combat. Really the thing I'd prefer to see removed from PFS is the ability for familiars to use wands. Way too much cheese comes from this.

The Exchange 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Texas—Dallas & Ft. Worth aka Belafon

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I don't agree with the exact wording here but I do agree with the overall issue it raises. I've seen this spell being used in wand form for about 3-4 years now. The first time I saw I had the same reaction. However as I looked at it more closely I decided the problem wasn't what it appears to be (cheap spells).

As referenced in your post above the problem is more about using familiars to break action/resource economy in combat.

Without a familiar someone has to use the wand/scroll. If it's you you don't get to cast the desired spell until the next round. If it's another player she is giving up her action to use the item. When I've seen the wand used by PCs, it's usually to power long duration buff spells. Which often turn out to either be unnecessary or leave the caster with extra spell slots unused at the end of the day. So they are not really being efficient with their resources.

But when it's a familiar holding a wand it becomes (especially for spontaneous casters) an extra pool of spell slots that can be used only when necessary and without losing an action.

I'd rather see something done to rein in wand-wielding familiars as a whole. It's not a huge investment to get one that can use wands if you already have a familiar. And there are plenty of spells that can be wanded that can make scenarios much easier. Ill omen being the most common one I have seen.

edit: And p-sto comes in with the one-minute ninja of my main point!

But the wand-wielding familiars are so widespread I think there would be a huge outcry if they were restricted in some way.


I would also support the removal of wand use for familiars, due to the spells listed above (channel the gift, ill omen), the general disruption of action economy, and the inherent advantages it gives to some familiars over others.

Kevin Willis wrote:
But the wand-wielding familiars are so widespread I think there would be a huge outcry if they were restricted in some way.

Agreed. However, sometimes you just have to tear off the bandage to let the healing begin.


In PFS it's very unlikely that you'll have a level 5 spellcaster and an level 11 spellcaster in the same party.

4/5

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Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
In PFS it's very unlikely that you'll have a level 5 spellcaster and an level 11 spellcaster in the same party.

Multiclassed characters make that very possible.


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GM Eazy-Earl wrote:
Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
In PFS it's very unlikely that you'll have a level 5 spellcaster and an level 11 spellcaster in the same party.
Multiclassed characters make that very possible.

Very few PFS players will take 5 levels of a spellcasting class solely to cast a spell like this. Keep in mind that wands of a spell like this, are going to run you 11,250 gold at a minimum. And at 11th level, it's not like 3rd level spell slots are such a premium.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
In PFS it's very unlikely that you'll have a level 5 spellcaster and an level 11 spellcaster in the same party.

That example was to highlight the disparity between the power of the slot given up when compared with the power of the slot gained.

That is also exactly what happens when a scroll or a wand is used to power an 11th level caster.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
p-sto wrote:
Take away the ability for a familiar to cast this on you and the spell suddenly becomes much less attractive in combat. Really the thing I'd prefer to see removed from PFS is the ability for familiars to use wands. Way too much cheese comes from this.

Taking away familiars using umd doesn't really help because the spell can also be cast/delivered via a spell storing item.


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Why ban it? 11250 is a pretty sizable chunk of change to drop on 50 3rd level spell slots, especially given how big a target your familiar is once intelligent enemies realize they're a spell battery.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Captain, California—Sacramento aka FLite

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A decently built 11th level wizard has 6 4th level slots, 4 5th level slots, and 3 6th level slots.

There are very few scenarios that contain more than 12 rounds of combat, let alone when people are dropping 5th and 6th level spells.

An 11th level caster who is restricting himself to 3rd level spells because they are free, is an 11th level caster who is severely handicapping himself. Further, you are wasting the actions of a wand buddy who could be using his action to toss off 3rd level spells.

You would be much better off casting 4th+ level spells and handing your familiar a wand of (insert favorite offense spell here)

In the unlikely even that you burn through all your spells, you still have 7 3rd level slots.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Jared Thaler wrote:

A decently built 11th level wizard has 6 4th level slots, 4 5th level slots, and 3 6th level slots.

There are very few scenarios that contain more than 12 rounds of combat, let alone when people are dropping 5th and 6th level spells.

An 11th level caster who is restricting himself to 3rd level spells because they are free, is an 11th level caster who is severely handicapping himself. Further, you are wasting the actions of a wand buddy who could be using his action to toss off 3rd level spells.

You would be much better off casting 4th+ level spells and handing your familiar a wand of (insert favorite offense spell here)

In the unlikely even that you burn through all your spells, you still have 7 3rd level slots.

Sure, except that you have to prep the spells in advance so you are committing to all those third level spells. Channel the Gift allows a wizard to both have a fully diversified spell list and be able to spam third level spells as much as they want until the cows come home.

I just ran a scenario at GenCon where a blaster wizard burned through 8 third level spells and still had all of their supportive casting available too.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Captain, California—Sacramento aka FLite

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Mahtobedis wrote:
Jared Thaler wrote:

A decently built 11th level wizard has 6 4th level slots, 4 5th level slots, and 3 6th level slots.

There are very few scenarios that contain more than 12 rounds of combat, let alone when people are dropping 5th and 6th level spells.

An 11th level caster who is restricting himself to 3rd level spells because they are free, is an 11th level caster who is severely handicapping himself. Further, you are wasting the actions of a wand buddy who could be using his action to toss off 3rd level spells.

You would be much better off casting 4th+ level spells and handing your familiar a wand of (insert favorite offense spell here)

In the unlikely even that you burn through all your spells, you still have 7 3rd level slots.

Sure, except that you have to prep the spells in advance so you are committing to all those third level spells. Channel the Gift allows a wizard to both have a fully diversified spell list and be able to spam third level spells as much as they want until the cows come home.

I just ran a scenario at GenCon where a blaster wizard burned through 8 third level spells and still had all of their supportive casting available too.

Except that beyond a certain point, 3rd level spells become less and less effective... Assuming 11th level, that wizard could have cast 8 5-6th level spells, and still had most of his support spells available, and *not* spent 1000 gp. Alternately, he could have spent 1000 gp, and had his familiar be casting attack spells along side him. Or spent 500 gp, and had his invisible imp familiar ready an action to hit him with an invisibility wand after every standard...

Scarab Sages

For scenario 2, a scroll is a magic item that must be activated. A familiar, in PFS, can not activate a magic item that is not a wand.

As an aside: Is drinking a potion "activating" a magic item? I know... it is silly and nit-picky and who would run it like that? But I've always enjoyed pointing out quirks like this.

5/5

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While I think this spell should never have been opened up past priests of Nethys (who deserve it, as the only "special casting" they get is a restriction), I don't think it's at all ban-worthy. Even at 11th level, most familiars won't be able to reliably use a scroll, and many not even a wand. It's not a class skill, so 11 ranks + charisma... + 6 if they trade feats to have skill focus(UMD). 11K for the wand is a huge investment just to have a lot of spells leftover at the end of the day.

Scarab Sages

Jared Thaler wrote:
Except that beyond a certain point, 3rd level spells become less and less effective... Assuming 11th level, that wizard could have cast 8 5-6th level spells, and still had most of his support spells available, and *not* spent 1000 gp. Alternately, he could have spent 1000 gp, and had his familiar be casting attack spells along side him. Or spent 500 gp, and had his invisible imp familiar ready an action to hit him with an invisibility wand after every standard...

500 gp for an invisibility wand? A second level wand is 4,500 gp. But, if you used a vanish wand instead, that costs 750 gp.

But, that is a really strong option. My wizard's familiar does that a lot. Either hiding the wizard or using it as an ad hoc combat buff for the rest of the party. A rogue with a familiar who can make them invisible each round is a good way to get those sneak attack dice without flank.

Scarab Sages

After consideration, I think the spell is fine as it is. Sure, it allows you more uses of 3rd level spells at your full casting power. But, it does eat up two actions to do so.

The person(or familiar) using the wand on the caster is using up their standard action for the turn to do this. They could have had a different 3rd level wand and then two spells which can affect the combat could have been cast this turn, instead of just the one.

This spell trades action economy for the power to use more varied full casting ability spells of 3rd or below. This typically means there will be more buff spells cast, after a certain point. Especially for wizards who more often will have the improved familiar anyway. But improved familiars are often creatures that increase the meaningful actions a character can take in a turn. This spell, while decently powerful, mitigates that action economy gain, costs a decent amount of gold for the privilege and will just do what wands already do... extend the casting power of a caster.

An interesting part about this wand is that it is probably a good purchase for non-casters. Since it will promote the use of long duration buff spells.

The Exchange

It's fine as is.

Silver Crusade 5/5 Venture-Agent, United Kingdom—England—Colchester

This doesn't seem like a game breaking combination in 8-9s & 10-11s where full casters may struggle to cast all of their spells over the course of a day, and it comes with a heavy gold cost for the extra versatility.

Is this better than a familiar using a wand of haste, enabling a powerful buff and high level control effect to fire off in the first round of combat?

Sczarni 5/5 ⦵⦵

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

What 3rd level spell makes this wand so egregious?

(genuine question; I'm not savvy on caster shenanigans)

I can understand that being able to "recast" buffs spells repeatedly may trivialize some scenarios. Maybe repeated successes at the hands of an infamous character are what drove the OP to make this thread.

But I can think of lots of powerful combinations that, when over utilized, can try a GM's patience.

The additional action economy of CFEs should probably be left to its own thread.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Another thing to consider. Martial characters could purchase scrolls of Channel the Gift (375gp) to hand to spell casters to allow very powerful buffs that normally cannot be cast on everyone in the party due to limitations on spell slots. Many of the third level and lower single target buffs destroy the balance of the scenario if they can be cast on an entire party without impacting other spells available to a prepared spell caster.

The issue is that Channel the Gift removes the balance between versatility and reuse ability of prepared spell casters.

Some more powerful third level and lower options are.

Extended Barkskin (up to a +4 enhancement bonus to Natural Armor for 160 minutes)
Barkskin (up to a +4 enhancement bonus to Natural Armor for 110 minutes)
Extended Shield of Faith (up to a +3 deflesction bonus to ac for 16 minutes)
Liberating Command (The number of times I wish I had been able to cast this multiple times are numerous.)
Unbreakable Heart (The number of times I wish I had been able to cast this multiple times are numerous.)
Empowered Fireball (assuming they have the trait to lower spell level by 1 when applying a metamagic spell)
Intensified Empowered Shocking Grasp (assuming the trait to lower spell level by one has been taken, this hits for 12d6)
Intensified Shocking Grasp (still really good to be able to spam for Magus, this hits for 10d6)
Frigid Touch (enemy becomes stagger locked for the entire fight)
Glitterdust (best 2nd level spell in the game)
Dispel Magic (I can always have this ready to go at my caster level now)
Heroism (+2 Moral Bonus to attack and saves vs. fear effects for up to 110 minutes)

Then there are the spell caster combos that are only balanced by the fact that they can only throw off their spell a limited number of times per day and it costs them utility.

Super blaster wizard (Duel Blooded Orc.Dragon Sorc 1/Wizard 10) is probably the most obvious of these. It can now drop its super fireballs with impunity when utility isn't needed without giving up any slots for utility spells.

Edit: Bah everytime I"m happy with this list I come up with another spell wish I could have multiple times per day but can't afford to because of the demand for other spells.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Sorry for the double post, but I forgot Empowered is +2 not +1 so an empowered fireball would not be on the list above.

5/5

I saw a wand of this be very useful in Eyes of the Ten, everyone got barkskin and several different protection from energy spells.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Another thing I had not considered is the impact this spell has on the 1-4 casters.

Spamable Litany of Righteousness will cripple many scenarios.

Liberty's Edge 5/5

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

This became very useful in the new seeker arc. As I ran it at Gen Con. Although the character used the wand thierselves. The seeker arc also had a way to deal with it.

That being said, I've seen wands being used by familiars completely destroy action economy. A witch with familiar that uses a wand of ill omen completely breaks the balance ofor the spell.

So rather than ban this spell, I'd like to re-evaluate familiar using wands.

4/5 Venture-Agent, Minnesota—St. Louis Park aka BretI

Re: Barkskin: So you are using the wand as a Pearl of Power 2/3?

The buff spells with longer duration don't figure into action economy. You are expected to cast them before combat.

I can see where this spell is useful. I am not sure that it is out of line though.

Liberty's Edge 5/5

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Not on buff spells. Rather on either combat used debuff or save or suck spells. Especially prepared casters. This allows them to spam spells like a sorcerer but have the versatility of a larger selection of spells like a wizard.

Especially if you give it to a familiar.

Pearls of power are ultimately way more expensive than a single wand charge, and to date im n pretty sure there isn't a way to bypass the action economy issue they have if you want to use themy in combat.

Shadow Lodge

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The spell doesn't really seem all that special, and as others have said it really seems to be another good reason to disallow Familiars from using Wands, which I'd support, (since that seems pretty clearly where the issue is).


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Once again Andrew and I are on the same page. The issue with with Channel the Gift is only in part the abuse available from a familiar. The worse part of the spell is the added versatility it gives prepared casters by allowing them to only prepare one of any spell of third level or lower, but cast those third level or lower spells as often as they like.

Edit: for everyone trying to redirect this thread at familiars please keep in mind that a spell storing amulet of mighty fists accomplished the same goal on a familiar as umd for the purposes of channel the gift.

4/5 Venture-Agent, Minnesota—St. Louis Park aka BretI

Mahtobedis wrote:
Once again Andrew and I are on the same page. The issue with with Channel the Gift is only in part the abuse available from a familiar. The worse part of the spell is the added versatility it gives prepared casters by allowing them to only prepare one of any spell of third level or lower, but cast those third level or lower spells as often as they like.

This I can see potentially being a problem. I wasn't thinking big enough.

It isn't that you can do it a few times. It is that you can do 50 times before having to pay more money. It is like giving a prepared caster the Spell Recall class feature of the Magus with a much wider list and many more uses.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Exactly!

Even for a Magus this would be useful since it frees up casting resources for more powerful spells.

Scarab Sages 5/5

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Personally I do not see an issue with the spell.

I would be against banning this spell. I never use it, to me it is not worth the cost or the action especially at higher lvls.
As to the familiar issue I disagree with removing the wand use ability from. Improved familiars.

I do not see a large action issue with.
I have seen fighters barb Cav with 5 or more actions a round dealing upwards of 200 points damage in a single round.
So please explain how a familiar casting a spell from a wand is game breaking.

Thanks
Jim

Grand Lodge

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I was in Andrew's group, and I agree with his assessment. The wand when used by a single caster isn't particularly powerful, given that it takes two standard actions to be useful. It saw very little use in combat. The brokenness would definitely come from the free actions provided by a wand using familiar every single round. That gets broken. But then, it has for a while now. This just makes it worse.

Fix the familiars.

Liberty's Edge 5/5

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Most spellcasters are SAD (single ability dependent) classes, and if optimized can get spell DCs that far outstrip the CR system. This is fine for the most part, if the balancing issues of action economy and diminishing resources is maintained. If you bypass either or both of these balancing factors completely, then the issue with SAD spell DCs becomes exponentially exacerbated by allowing the spam of save or suck spells and abilities that the monster will likely fail, and this is the crux, every single round of every single encounter.

Personal anecdote: had a player of a witch who's slumber hex was a really difficult DC, spam slumber every round, while his familiar used an ill omen wand, and made

2-04: The Sarkorian Prophecy:
a Glabrezu need a natural 20

To save to not fall asleep.

The problem isn't a spell that bypasses some of the balancing issues with a wizard, since it does require resources to achieve this mitigation. But rather the familiar that also bypasses the action economy built in to balance the spell.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Again, the familiar will just duel wield spell storing weapons to accomplish the same thing as using wands to abuse Channel the Gift. Most fights don't last more than three rounds.

Furthermore combat effectiveness aside a wand of channel there gift is amazing out of combat even without a familiar because it allows for a party to become super buffed while not impacting in combat utility in the slightest.

The only way to keep Channel the Gift from wrecking the balance of prepared spell caster is to either nerf it severely, or ban it outright.

Liberty's Edge 5/5

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Or have responsible players.

Shadow Lodge

Realistically speaking, the Wand isn't even an option before 6th level, but going off of expected PFS Wealth by level figures, probably not something someone can afford before around 8th or so, which is about 1/4 of their total wealth at that point. <Which also means they are not instead buying a great deal of other items instead>

While there are certainly ways to get more GP throughout levels, or even do something like make a GM baby that doesn't have to worry about using GP too much throughout their career, or even that most of the expected PFS wealth by level figures could be very out of date, I just don't see buying the wand as that detrimental all in all, (without the Familiar to use it).

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

For the record, I think the wand isn't a big enough concern to ban. It may be good, but it's also expensive enough that I'd consider it a good investment, especially when allowing a caster's buffs to cover a full party. ^_^

The familiar thing is where I have concerns (as explained previously).

Sovereign Court 4/5 ⦵⦵⦵⦵ Venture-Agent, Georgia—Atlanta aka The Masked Ferret

Andrew Christian wrote:
Or have responsible players.

Personally, I would prefer this. Take the player to the side and request that he/she not abuse the combination as a courtesy to others and keep the game fun. There are times that the Big Guns are needed. There are other times to let others shine.

Most people will understand and work with you.

Personally, I am Against banning it.

Scarab Sages

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Andrew Christian wrote:


Personal anecdote: had a player of a witch who's slumber hex was a really difficult DC, spam slumber every round, while his familiar used an ill omen wand, and made

** spoiler omitted **

To save to not fall asleep.

Wand use for your anecdote isn't really relevant, since the an ill omen wand should never stick against SR 24, and witch would need 32+ INT to boost the save DC that high.

For what it's worth, I'm in the camp that wand use is one of the most useful mechanical things that familiars can do, to complement their cool flavor. In the end, you're spending a feat and a major class feature (or multiple feats) as well as numerous skill ranks to get access to a few low level magic effects at the cost of gold.

And as for getting save DCs high enough to need natural 20's to save, I don't see it as much different than pouncing barbarians with attack rolls high enough that their first and maybe second iterative hit unless they roll a 1, usually reducing enemies to paste before they finish their attack routine.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Captain, California—Sacramento aka FLite

Lorewalker wrote:
Jared Thaler wrote:
Except that beyond a certain point, 3rd level spells become less and less effective... Assuming 11th level, that wizard could have cast 8 5-6th level spells, and still had most of his support spells available, and *not* spent 1000 gp. Alternately, he could have spent 1000 gp, and had his familiar be casting attack spells along side him. Or spent 500 gp, and had his invisible imp familiar ready an action to hit him with an invisibility wand after every standard...

500 gp for an invisibility wand? A second level wand is 4,500 gp. But, if you used a vanish wand instead, that costs 750 gp.

But, that is a really strong option. My wizard's familiar does that a lot. Either hiding the wizard or using it as an ad hoc combat buff for the rest of the party. A rogue with a familiar who can make them invisible each round is a good way to get those sneak attack dice without flank.

I was prorating the cost and rounding. ~8 charges off a 50 charge wand, because they said it was 8 rounds. But I think I may have got the math wrong even so.

Grand Lodge

Many people have gone over this but this is another non-issue. High level combat, especially for casters, is full of massive haymakers thrown back and forth. Unlimited 3rd level spells will only turn the tide after many rounds of combat, 20+. I've ended encounters with single 6th level spells many times. Those 50 3rd level spells will take a backseat most of the time.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

My experience in high level play disagrees. It is not just about the haymakers. It is also a the lower level support spells and bring able to buff your allies. A balance that every prepared caster has to figure out. Unless they have a wand/scrolls of Channel the Gift. Then they just do both at impunity.

Silver Crusade 1/5

I don't think this needs the ban hammer. It's a strong option in the right circumstances, but there are other equally strong options at the level where Channel the Gift on a wand wielded by an improved familiar becomes a realistic option.

Silver Crusade 5/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Germany—Bavaria

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I have some experience with the spell, several of my hunters use them for buff trading (Channel the Gift for a Heroism usually) and it save me from buying a wand of heroism.

A wand of channel the gift is pretty damn cost effective though, and it allows a character (or a group) to invest money to save on spell slots, which could result in plenty of unused spell slots at the end of the day.

I agree with Andrew though, after seeing too many improved familiars with wands (usually ill omen) and considering that you can get access to an improved familiar without levels in a spellcasting class, I think improved familiars are the problem.


Y'all know that Ill Omen permits a will save now, right?
Makes wands of Ill Omen a dc 11 save to negate?

Wand use is about the only reason improved familiar is even interesting.

5/5

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Ryzoken wrote:

Y'all know that Ill Omen permits a will save now, right?

Makes wands of Ill Omen a dc 11 save to negate?

Wand use is about the only reason improved familiar is even interesting.

It doesn't. You may be thinking of Litany of Righteousness.

It is however mind affecting and it does allow SR.


andreww wrote:
Ryzoken wrote:

Y'all know that Ill Omen permits a will save now, right?

Makes wands of Ill Omen a dc 11 save to negate?

Wand use is about the only reason improved familiar is even interesting.

It doesn't. You may be thinking of Litany of Righteousness.

It is however mind affecting and it does allow SR.

Hmmm. I could've sworn it got tagged in the same mess of errata that hit the litanies.

*starts digging through various records*

Grand Lodge 3/5

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This is tangential, but if you insist familiars use miniatures it really helps out with balance. Suddenly everyone remembers that the familiar also got hit with cone of cold, black tentacles and attacks of opportunities.

I've used Breath of Life on my familiar twice and had it die once more.

Edit: don't think this spell is a problem.

5/5

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Joe the Devout wrote:

This is tangential, but if you insist familiars use miniatures it really helps out with balance. Suddenly everyone remembers that the familiar also got hit with cone of cold, black tentacles and attacks of opportunities.

I've used Breath of Life on my familiar twice and had it die once more.

My general rule is that if your familiar is out, active and doing stuff then it needs to roll initiative and it is a valid target for stuff. If it is just passively providing its familiar bonus then I largely ignore it.

If you want the full benefit then you need to take the risk. Mostly it is fine, occasionally a riddywhipple gets chain lightnined to death by a Marut.

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