Tumor Familiars, What uses do they have?


1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.

So.. I'v been eyeing the Tumor Familiar discovery for the Alchemist for some time but I wonder.. What use does an Alchemist have of familiars? I'v never realy understood them... I mean, I know you can take a Cat familiar and get +3 on Stealth Checks and things like that, But other then the bonus they give to a skill depending on their animal type, What are they used for?

The general use of a familiar is scouting. A tiny creature gets +8 to its stealth checks, and many have racial modifiers on top of that. And if they are spotted, then they just look like an animal so may not even draw much alarm. "It's just a cat".

Thanks. Is it worth spending a discovery to get a Tumor Familiar? Or would it be best to take one of the archetypes that give you a familiar if you want one on a alchemist?

Grand Lodge

I have an alchemist that got a hedgehog tumor familiar purely for the +2 will saves. You can also get a tarsier familiar, give them extra item slot and give them poisoner’s gloves, this allows you to have your tarsier two-Weapon fight and make two touch attacks against you, to deliver two infusions without cutting in to your own action economy. GMs tend not to like that strategy though.

They have to be infusions with the poisoners gloves btw, extracts won’t cut it.

Sovereign Court

My alchemist got great use out of his Protector Tumor Familiar until they changed the rules to not stacking. He was also the 'tank' of the party so it was very useful.

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Firebug wrote:
My alchemist got great use out of his Protector Tumor Familiar until they changed the rules to not stacking. He was also the 'tank' of the party so it was very useful.

Tumor+Protector was great. But you can still Tumor+Figment+(Die for your Master), which is pretty good too. And you get to run the "It's not a toomah!" joke into the ground.

As for if you should take the tumor familiar discovery, that is very dependent on what it is competing against in your build. It's a good discovery, but there are a lot of good discoveries.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

A friend of mine has a PFS alchemist with a Tumor Familiar, who seems to come in most useful for two things:

1. Pre-combat buffs usually include giving the familiar a touch spell (usually remove fear) to hold as a readied action to inject if its master fails a save. This alchemist is always one of the biggest damage-dealers at the table, so running away could leave the other PCs dangerously exposed.

2. Thanks to a special boon, the familiar has a better Cha than its master (it's a very low bar!), and the ability to speak. In social encounters, the familiar does most of the talking because, despite being freakish-looking, it's by far the more likable one of the pair.

Thanks for all the replies! Might give it a try sometime, Considering a Valet Familiar to help my alchemist with crafting!

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Familiars can also Aid Another, they're essentially +2 to all skill checks (within reason - I'd probably restrict a Hedgehog from helping out with things that need thumbs for example).

Some Familiars are definitely capable of using splash weapons. Flying Familiars can probably drop them and hand-having familiars like the Monkey would be able to throw them. Grab a Hybridization Funnel, burn a few Full Pouch extracts, and have your familiar toss homemade Artokus's Ghast Retch Fires.

Infusion+Touch Injection allows your tumor familiar to buff you. It's another way to do the Poisoner's Gloves trick, and is less likely to require your familiar to have hands. Infusion+Preservationist is good, too, allowing you to summon with your familiar's actions.

Sage Familiar is nice for Knowledge checks, they free up some skill points for you and are probably the best for a skills-y character if you or your DM don't enjoy you constantly saying "and my familiar uses Aid Another...". It can stack with Figment Familiar if you want to do the Die for Your Master trick suggested upthread. If you go Figment, I highly recommend a Rhamphorhynchus, since it naturally has Evasion and without Evasion, a Figment Familiar will die to a lot of AoEs even on successful saves. They have basically no HP whatsoever. Tumors make for decent Mauler Familiars, too. You have a lot of good buffs on your formulae list, and having a combatant that can freely heal up to full after every fight is useful.

I would say that Tumor Familiars are one of the top Melee Alchemist discoveries and entirely skippable if you're a Bomber. Melee Alchs don't have any required Discoveries like the Bomber's Precise Bombs, so even just the free pseudo-feat from the Familiar bonus and Alertness for keeping your familiar on your person is pretty good.

As with many things an alchemist can do, grossing out other players is at least part of the benefit.

If you go with a valet familiar remember that they share any teamwork feats you get.

Sovereign Court

Hybridization Funnel:
Only liquids may be mixed with the funnel.

Ghast Retch Flask:
Harvested and concentrated from the remains of slain ghasts, this foul-smelling powder is kept in tightly sealed flasks.

I'm afraid that combo doesn't work.

Familiars share your skill ranks. You can have them buff people with Use Magic Device. One thing that can't be underestimated is having a flying familiar at early levels give a literal bird's eye view of areas you're going to be attacking. While this is dependent on the dungeon having above-ground features (castle and bandit camp vs. a cave) but even just ahead of you on the road tells you important stuff like that there's some ogres waiting to ambush you.

While you're playing an Alchemist, they're really good for Aberrant bloodline Bloodrager who get them through Aberrant Tumor. When they bloodrage they get their reach increased by 5 from their bloodline ability, 5 from automatically activating Longarm spell and increase in size by having their familiar hit them with a (UMDed) item of Enlarge Person.

Firebug wrote:

[Ghast Retch is a powder]

I'm afraid that combo doesn't work.

Huh, guessed I missed that! Thanks for pointing it out. An Artokus's Burst Jar is still a nice familiar debuff bomb, though IMO not as good as the guaranteed 3 round sickened. Or just an Acid Flask is fine if you want to be doing 3d6 damage. Your familiar could still potentially be throwing Ghast Retch Flasks on non-damage rounds, of course. The main point was really that Alchs can have cheap alchemical items for their familiar to throw and be able to contribute to combat. Honestly, a Tanglefoot Bag will do you just as well as any Hybridization option most of the time.

Sovereign Court

1 person marked this as a favorite.

For my alchemists, I really like Explosive Missile(Sand Bomb) with Tangleshot Arrows and Ghast Retch Flask(via Grenadier's Alchemical Weapon) for a touch attack that automatically Blinds, Sickens, Entangles and chance of Nauseate and Immobilize. Throw in a Conductive weapon and Dread Bomb for automatic Shaken and chance of 1d6 rounds of Frightened. I've been playing around with taking URogue(Underground Chemist/Rake) 4+ for the Shaken/Frightened + Debilitating Strike(and Improved Feint/Ranged Feint to make it near automatic SA hits), but it takes a long time to get all of the puzzle pieces fitting correctly.
Get Debuffed.

I also like Hybridding Acid + Akali. Pretty cheap (if you craft it, its only 8.33g) for 2d6 acid.

An Alchemist with the Infusion Discovery can also use the Tumor Familiar to deliver extracts via Touch Injection.

One particular advantage of a Tumor Familiar is that it doesn't have the same habitat requirements of its so-called real counterpart. If you have an Octopus or Crab familiar, you'd better keep a fish tank or something handy or you won't have it for long. But if it's a Tumor Octopus Familiar, then there's no problem at all. Even if your GM does rule that it counts as an Aquatic Creature while detatched, surely re-uniting with your body counts as being back in the water: we're mostly water, you know.

Also, while part of your body, the Tumor Familiar cannot be targeted. If, in fact you are only getting your Familiar for that bonus, you'd probably rather not expose it to danger. I've had a lot of GMs who love killing PCs' Familiars and Animal Companions.

I wrote:
You keep killing my animals and cohorts!
GM wrote:
Scott, why do you think I keep giving them to you?

If you do expose your Familiar to danger, that Fast Healing 5 can still come in handy.

Also, any Familiar, even a Tumor Familiar, can serve as the prerequisite for an Improved Familiar like a Pseudo Dragon or something.

Thanks for all the replies! I have one more question, I just noticed it says on the tumor familiar " 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" Vaguely resembling? So instead of a black furred cat (For example) It would be a vaguely cat shaped flesh blob?

Merellin wrote:
a vaguely cat shaped flesh blob?


Well, I could see things to do with that.. Plotting shall begin!

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Taudis wrote:


Sage Familiar is nice for Knowledge checks, they free up some skill points for you and are probably the best for a skills-y character if you or your DM don't enjoy you constantly saying "and my familiar uses Aid Another...". It can stack with Figment Familiar if you want to do the Die for Your Master trick suggested upthread. […]

The greatest use for the Tumor Familiar is having a Sage Figment Tumor with ranks in the Heal skill telling you that you're a hypochondriac and that it doesn't exist.

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / Advice / Tumor Familiars, What uses do they have? All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.