What actions can a tumour familiar take when it is "attached"?
The question arises from this discussion which itself is the result of a nerf to tumour-protector familiars in Ultimate Wilderness.
Tumor Familiar (ex): The alchemist creates a Diminutive or Tiny tumor on his body, usually on his back or stomach. As a standard action, the alchemist can have the tumor detach itself from his body as a separate creature vaguely resembling a kind of animal suitable for a familiar (bat, cat, and so on) and move about as if it were an independent creature. The tumor can reattach itself to the alchemist as a standard action. The tumor has all the abilities of the animal it resembles (for example, a batlike tumor can fly) and familiar abilities based on the alchemist’s caster level (though some familiar abilities may be useless to an alchemist). The tumor acts as the alchemist’s familiar whether attached or separated (providing a skill bonus, the Alertness feat, and so on). When attached to the alchemist, the tumor has fast healing 5. An alchemist’s extracts and mutagens are considered spells for the purposes of familiar abilities like share spells and deliver touch spells. If a tumor familiar is lost or dies, it can be replaced 1 week later through a specialized procedure that costs 200 gp per alchemist level. The ritual takes 8 hours to complete.
Ultimate Wilderness bars the Tumour Familiar from taking the Protector archetype. This book is not yet in additional resources or campaign clarifications. Before Ultimate Wilderness is ruled on for the PFS campaign, I would like to ask whether the ban hammer is needed, or whether there is a better fix.
The discussion thread I linked to shows, in my view, where the problem lies with the tumour-protector familiar. It seems to be a common reading of the rules that the tumour-protector can use the Shield Master ability whilst attached (ie merged with its master). This makes it, effectively, a hp battery. It is also argued that the tumour familiar can take a range of actions whilst it is attached, in part because of the wording of the Die for Your Master feat.
But I've always played my tumour-protector familiar as being unable to take any actions except when it is detached; nor can it use Shield Master whilst attached. Attached means merged, as I see it, and therefore not an "independent" entity.
I think that the way I've played it is strong, but not broken in the way that a fast healing, invulnerable (because it's inside you and therefore can't be targeted) hp battery would be.
So here's my proposal: don't ban the tumour familiar from taking the protector archetype, instead clarify what actions a tumour familiar can take whilst it is attached. In my view, that should be no actions: the tumour familiar provides its familiar "bonus" to its master, provides Alertness to its master if not traded away by an archetype, and has fast healing 5. It can only use other abilities whilst attached if the specific ability requires this, such as Die for Your Master.
Wouldn't that be a better fix than a ban?
I thought about putting it in Rules, but the more pressing issue for me is what happens in the PFS campaign.
This issue could be addressed with an FAQ that deals with the Tumour Familiar discovery as written in Ultimate Magic, or it could be addressed for the PFS Campaign with a Campaign Clarification. I suspect the latter could come around faster, and in any event the PFS Campaign will be making a decision on what content from Ultimate Wilderness is adopted before too long.
As it stands, UW bans tumour-protectors and the PFS Campaign has to decide whether that ban will come in, or whether to make another choice such as the one I have suggested.
So overall, I think this section of the boards is the more expeditious choice.
|Thomas Hutchins Venture-Agent, Utah—Provo aka Chess Pwn|
So given that 1e is to be effectively obsoleted by 2e, would Campaign Leadership consider leaving off implementing more nerfs to 1e characters?
I see no reason now to implement the tumour-protector ban, or any of the other recent nerfs in Ultimate Wilderness.
While I understand the sentiment, there's still a year and a half before pfs2 comes. And they might want to follow their structure for at least most of that time.