Uses for a familiar? How intelligent is it?


Rules Discussion

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Paradozen wrote:
The commands are auditory so the usefulness of this is questionable. You can, but any creature within can likely hear you do so.

Auditory just means the target has to hear you, so a whisper to your familiar is fine: you don't have to yell out the command like a Pokemon attack. The biggest limitation is the familiars movement: you move 1/2 speed and it's got a 25' movement so that means it can go 12.5' away from you, turn around and come back 12.5' and that's WITHOUT Seek. If it Seeks, it could go 12.5' into the room, Seek and then sit there stupidly, not even attempting to hide anymore because you aren't there to tell it to do anything.


graystone wrote:
Paradozen wrote:
The commands are auditory so the usefulness of this is questionable. You can, but any creature within can likely hear you do so.
Auditory just means the target has to hear you, so a whisper to your familiar is fine: you don't have to yell out the command like a Pokemon attack. The biggest limitation is the familiars movement: you move 1/2 speed and it's got a 25' movement so that means it can go 12.5' away from you, turn around and come back 12.5' and that's WITHOUT Seek. If it Seeks, it could go 12.5' into the room, Seek and then sit there stupidly, not even attempting to hide anymore because you aren't there to tell it to do anything.

Perhaps I misunderstood, I thought the sequence of events was as follows:

Round 1: command familiar, familiar moves 25' to next familiar and seeks.
Round 2: command familiar, familiar returns 25' to the master and recalls knowledge.

So the first command could be a whisper but the next needs to carry across the room a bit.


Paradozen wrote:
graystone wrote:
Paradozen wrote:
The commands are auditory so the usefulness of this is questionable. You can, but any creature within can likely hear you do so.
Auditory just means the target has to hear you, so a whisper to your familiar is fine: you don't have to yell out the command like a Pokemon attack. The biggest limitation is the familiars movement: you move 1/2 speed and it's got a 25' movement so that means it can go 12.5' away from you, turn around and come back 12.5' and that's WITHOUT Seek. If it Seeks, it could go 12.5' into the room, Seek and then sit there stupidly, not even attempting to hide anymore because you aren't there to tell it to do anything.

Perhaps I misunderstood, I thought the sequence of events was as follows:

Round 1: command familiar, familiar moves 25' to next familiar and seeks.
Round 2: command familiar, familiar returns 25' to the master and recalls knowledge.

So the first command could be a whisper but the next needs to carry across the room a bit.

It can't be 25' as they said Sneak so that's 12.5'. Secondly, I assumed no yell into room because, again Sneak was used and yelling would negate the advantage of being forewarned. Taking that all in, I took the only way it could work: 12.5' in and 12.5' out without the Seek action. That'd allow them to see obvious creature they might be able to Recall later.


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The ShadowShackleton wrote:

People may not like it but I believe Graystone is correct.

This doesn’t by any stretch make familiars useless so why the objection? Why the push to find a way to break the action economy?

I suspect this is coming about because people found a million loopholes to allow their familiars to be used out of proportion to their intent in PF1, and are bemoaning the loss of power that results from losing it.

In my opinion this is one of many good changes that help restore some sanity and balance to the game.

I can say that in PF1 we had a weasel familiar that was extremely powerful in the early stages of Rise of the Runelords. The damn thing was pinning goblins so we could beat them with clubs, for crying out loud! It was hilarious and awesome, and saw use all the way past 12th level. Combined with being able to wear armor and other trinkets, not to mention getting some basic feats, it proved itself useful in numerous combat situations that would have resulted in our downfall had this familiar not been a fair combatant in encounters.

Now? Familiars are warg dung. 5 HP per level flat is only slightly worse than an 8 Con Elven Wizard. They don't get ability bonuses to anything worthwhile, if at all, and generally use your trained proficiencies. They don't benefit from any items whatsoever. Their ability to affect encounters is absolutely horrid that they're basically a master-booster. Their AC, saves, and to-hit are crap too. You also only get 2 powers, or 4 if you take a feat (and more if you take the thesis, but it really sucks regardless), but unless the powers give you spells or cantrips or something (even the Spell Delivery is worthless because of Attacks of Opportunity and other Reactions, combined with easy-to-hit familiars = power that gets your familiar killed, with better abilities like Reach Spell available to you), the familiar powers are trash. On top of that, if you take a familiar choice (which is strangely open-ended, can I have a pseudodragon familiar, for example?), you have to select powers based on the familiar's base abilities before you can select anything else, meaning any of the "good" choices you may want to have are absolved because your familiar needs to continue being an animal of its type. Heck, animals with more than 2 abilities are actually majorly crippled compared to other animals of its kind! As an example, a bat needs to have Darkvision, Flight, and Speed just to function. So it's either actually blind as a bat, can't fly whatsoever, or is stupid slow compared to other bats. Congrats, my familiar is now considered physically handicapped compared to normal animals.

I might just name him Bartholomew the Blind-Eyed Bat. I'll hire a bard to make a song of his "saving the day," similar to a certain reindeer that was an Animal Companion to Santa Claus...


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The ShadowShackleton wrote:

People may not like it but I believe Graystone is correct.

This doesn’t by any stretch make familiars useless so why the objection? Why the push to find a way to break the action economy?

I suspect this is coming about because people found a million loopholes to allow their familiars to be used out of proportion to their intent in PF1, and are bemoaning the loss of power that results from losing it.

In my opinion this is one of many good changes that help restore some sanity and balance to the game.

I believe Graystone's position is that leading a horse and riding a different horse for 11 minutes will exhaust you. Say what you want about graystone's position, but that is an absurd reality. So either graystone's interpretation of the rules is absurd or the rules are absurd. Pick one.


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graystone wrote:
But exploration mode DOES tell you how to deal with unmentioned activities: it's to see how many actions it is and how many times you use it per min [which boils down to that activity/round for a min].

Well yeah, but playing that strictly 'as written' leads to nonsense like risking being fatigued just from having your familiar follow you. It's janky, to say the least, and the fact that exploration mode isn't even mentioned in the familiar entry to me makes this feel more like an oversight than intentionally crafted design.

I do agree however that part of the problem is sort of culture shock. 1e familiars were versatile, but fragile class features that could be quite flexible or at least flavorful depending on which you pick and how much you invest in them.

2e familiars feel better as an option if you decontexualize them as familiars. A level 1 feat that gives you an extra focus point once per day and an additional low level spell slot once you hit 7 doesn't sound that terrible.
It's only when you confuse people with the notion that there's some sort of sapient companion attached to that extra focus point that most of the issues come up.


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graystone wrote:
Now it you feel you get nothing from a familiar that doesn't require you to command it, then I'd suggest you don't get one.

With your vision of a familiar, clearly. You give them zombie intelligence with their inability to perform a task lasting more than six seconds.

Anyway, all your reasoning is based on the application of encounter rules outside combat. With such reasoning, it would be impossible to juggle with more than 3 balls because it's an action to change grip.

So, I clearly think your interpretation is wrong. The rules are clear: left unattended a familiar performs whatever he wants. Considering the strong link he has with his master, he would want to please him. And considering its "over animal intelligence" he is able to conduct a simple task for the time it takes.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

In exploration mode when what a character is doing is not part of a defined activity it is left up to the GM to define what happens. Just like when you attempt something in combat not covered by the rules. There is guidance that says when improvising look at how often they are performing they activity. It says doing an encounter mode action frequently might be limited or cause exhaustion. The GM is supposed to apply judgement when making this determination. Obviously they should be looking at the fiction when they make that decision.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook Subscriber

So some of you are advocating that familiars should basically be just as powerful as animal companions in combat like the weasel above but also give you the benefits of a familiar?

I think the fact they aren’t is a feature, not a bug.

I don’t think they need to be a zombie and useless in exploration mode but I also don’t think they should replace a characters function by scouting to provide a +1, for example.


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John Lynch 106 wrote:
So either graystone's interpretation of the rules is absurd or the rules are absurd. Pick one.

IMO, it's "rules are absurd". I complained about these same things in the playtest too. There are a LOT of things that make no sense once you add the minion trait to them. :(

Squiggit wrote:
Well yeah, but playing that strictly 'as written' leads to nonsense like risking being fatigued just from having your familiar follow you. It's janky, to say the least, and the fact that exploration mode isn't even mentioned in the familiar entry to me makes this feel more like an oversight than intentionally crafted design.

LOL This is something I complained about in the playtest: mounts mean you don't an action exploration... Janky is putting it mildly.

Squiggit wrote:
I do agree however that part of the problem is sort of culture shock. 1e familiars were versatile, but fragile class features that could be quite flexible or at least flavorful depending on which you pick and how much you invest in them.

Yeah, Animal companions/familiars/mounts took a big hit as the rules seem to treat them as mindless for the most part.

Squiggit wrote:

familiars feel better as an option if you decontexualize them as familiars. A level 1 feat that gives you an extra focus point once per day and an additional low level spell slot once you hit 7 doesn't sound that terrible.

It's only when you confuse people with the notion that there's some sort of sapient companion attached to that extra focus point that most of the issues come up.

Yep. Think of them as fancy OBJECTS that give you abilities and extra rolls. As objects, they are like a basic robot drone with simple functions. It will do exactly what you say as long as you use the controller on a constant basis and if you put the controller down, it sits there...

SuperBidi wrote:
With your vision of a familiar, clearly. You give them zombie intelligence with their inability to perform a task lasting more than six seconds.

Lets be clear on something: it's the GAME'S vision of minions, not mine. Myself, I'd rather have animal companions/familiars that actually acted like animals. That's not how the game made them though.

SuperBidi wrote:
Anyway, all your reasoning is based on the application of encounter rules outside combat. With such reasoning, it would be impossible to juggle with more than 3 balls because it's an action to change grip.

The combat rules are actually MORE liberal with what you can do. Exploration stops you from activities you could do in combat: "Characters can exert themselves to this extent in combat only because combat lasts such a short time". As to juggling, the only way you could do it with the current rules is to have a special 'juggling' activity houseruled for acrobatics that allows it. The fact that it doesn't work normally is a fault with the game and not me correctly reading the rules. The game is FAR from a reality simulator.

SuperBidi wrote:
So, I clearly think your interpretation is wrong. The rules are clear: left unattended a familiar performs whatever he wants. Considering the strong link he has with his master, he would want to please him. And considering its "over animal intelligence" he is able to conduct a simple task for the time it takes.

That is all 10000% moot. They are good reasons for WANTING it to work one way, not reasons why it DOES work that way.

To be specific, the RULES state that you MUST leave your familiar alone for 1 min before it will do ANYTHING on it's own. So if you tell it to do something, you aren't leaving it alone for a min. The ONLY way it works is if you toss your familiar away and HOPE that it does what you want it too as it states it does what it wants NOT what it's master wants.

As to "he would want to please him", please point out where in the rules it states or infers that. I don't recall anything, so it might not even LIKE you but it's stuck in a contract it can't break. IMO, you're reading FAR too much into it because of how things worked in another version of the game.


Campbell wrote:
It says doing an encounter mode action frequently might be limited or cause exhaustion.

Lets say the Dm ignores the guidelines... Ok, it doesn't exhaust/limit you, it doesn't change the activity you're doing. So command a familiar is still an action that gives that familiar 2 action and then it sits there looking stupid... You'd need some kind of houserule to make familiars able to function with any intelligence or independence.


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Ignore the rules and do what makes sense and is fun to you. Familiars aren't such a huge part of the game that they should require a whole lot of deep thought, imo.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure, Card Game, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

"Sapient minions act how they please", and as a familiar, you have a close bond with your master. You'd like to please your master, especially since he has food for you.

It isn't unreasonable to extrapolate, from the Improvising New Explorations Activities section, that a familiar doesn't need constant auditory commands to execute a task outside of encounter mode. The constant auditory command requirement is one that is encounter-mode based, in the heat of battle, etc.

The activity "usually consists of a single action repeated roughly 10 times per minute, or an alteration of actions that works out similarly." (CRB 498)

Mr. Owl has darkvision and speech.

Master: "I've a mouse for you Mr. Owl. Please fly quietly down this corridor until you notice a living creature and then fly back and report to me about what it is."

Mr. Owl takes the Sneak and Seek action for as long as the corridor takes it, then returns.

Minions also act to "defend themselves or escape obvious harm." So if Mr. Owl felt a predator was in the room, it would return on its own, not needing a command.

The message spell could also help with this.


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Sliska Zafir wrote:
"Sapient minions act how they please", and as a familiar, you have a close bond with your master. You'd like to please your master, especially since he has food for you.

#1 it only "acts as it pleases" once you ignore it for 1 whole min. Second, close bond? Other then the emphatic bond, where does it state that and the desire to please? "You make a pact with creature that serves you and assists your spellcasting." where is the deep bond and the NEED /desire to please?

Sliska Zafir wrote:
It isn't unreasonable to extrapolate, from the Improvising New Explorations Activities section, that a familiar doesn't need constant auditory commands to execute a task outside of encounter mode. The constant auditory command requirement is one that is encounter-mode based, in the heat of battle, etc.

IMO, it's completely unreasonable after reading improvised exploration actions: you use the same format as combat except it MORE limited, not less as you're doing it multiple times in a row. YOU command it 20 times a min and if you stop or it can't hear you it stop and looks stupid before doing what IT wants [not what YOU want]. It might want to take a nap.

Sliska Zafir wrote:
The activity "usually consists of a single action repeated roughly 10 times per minute, or an alteration of actions that works out similarly." (CRB 498)

EXACTLY! That means "need constant auditory commands to execute a task" done 20 times.

Again, I understand the desire to have familiars work like PF1, but looking at the PF2 rules that seems like it'll require heavy houseruling.


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This seems like a case of "the rules don't say you fall prone when you sleep" from PF1. The rules don't say that's what happens, but it clearly happens. It's very much a symptom of Exploration mode being so formalized, now if something isn't explicitly permitted Gm's are going to be confused. But not everything that could be possible in Exploration mode is going to be formalized in the rules as an action or activity, so GM's are going to have to be able to draw common sense conclusions.

Common sense: familiars are capable of independent action and the use of actions by their master in encounter mode is more of a gamey balance abstraction necessary to avoid the action economy problems of players being able to control multiple creatures during a fight. Outside of combat that restriction no longer serves a purpose, much like how you no longer really need to be moving in 5-foot squares when you're not in combat.

And so familiars would be able to do things like scout and report back what they saw, without any special ability to identify anything that they wouldn't logically be able to identify. They'd not be able to roll to ID anything exotic, but anything a PC could identify without a roll a familiar should be able to relay. This would require nothing special from the familiar's master and would not be exhausting, though the familiar is vulnerable by itself and isn't going to be able to do all the things a proper PC scout can do like quietly take out a guard.

Same for things like mounts. The time spent steering your horse in combat may be enough to eat up an action, but it's not something that's tiring, it's just distracting to need to do it during combat. You're not going to be exhausted from riding a horse for a few minutes.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook Subscriber
graystone wrote:
John Lynch 106 wrote:
So either graystone's interpretation of the rules is absurd or the rules are absurd. Pick one.

IMO, it's "rules are absurd". I complained about these same things in the playtest too. There are a LOT of things that make no sense once you add the minion trait to themLOL This is something I complained about in the playtest: mounts mean you don't an action exploration... Janky is putting it mildly.

Yeah, Animal companions/familiars/mounts took a big hit as the rules seem to treat them as mindless for the most part.

Ok so to anyone casually looking at this thread it would be easy to get the impression that this is a few moderates commenting on reasonable limitations and GM judgment but mostly it appears to be a rules zealot in Graystone who is defending the ruleset’s inflexibility.

I had not read enough when I said I thought Graystone might be right on some counts. I do think the rules apply some limits on familiars but Graystone is creating a straw man of epic proportions here specifically because they do NOT like the rules on familiars and therefore are positioning the rules in the least reasonable light possible.

If anyone doesn’t see that, this quote should make that crystal clear.


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The ShadowShackleton wrote:
graystone wrote:
John Lynch 106 wrote:
So either graystone's interpretation of the rules is absurd or the rules are absurd. Pick one.

IMO, it's "rules are absurd". I complained about these same things in the playtest too. There are a LOT of things that make no sense once you add the minion trait to themLOL This is something I complained about in the playtest: mounts mean you don't an action exploration... Janky is putting it mildly.

Yeah, Animal companions/familiars/mounts took a big hit as the rules seem to treat them as mindless for the most part.

Ok so to anyone casually looking at this thread it would be easy to get the impression that this is a few moderates commenting on reasonable limitations and GM judgment but mostly it appears to be a rules zealot in Graystone who is defending the ruleset’s inflexibility.

I had not read enough when I said I thought Graystone might be right on some counts. I do think the rules apply some limits on familiars but Graystone is creating a straw man of epic proportions here specifically because they do NOT like the rules on familiars and therefore are positioning the rules in the least reasonable light possible.

If anyone doesn’t see that, this quote should make that crystal clear.

If you search the forum and find all the familiar discussions you will find they often devolve to this level. Many times the same posters do it. But if you are careful you can find posts where the Devs speak or are quoted. They feel the familiar is more about story and flavor as apposed to battle buddy. It was even pointed out that they feel you could have a owl that doesn't take fly and could only sit on your shoulder. Then went on to say if you did that then you likely didn't really want an owl. I feel like they are more like when I say "Bob the Monk run over to the table, backflips on top, jumps into the rafters and hides." Now if the DM made him action out that outside if combat would show that the DM is a rules zealot. That would be an athletics, a acrobatics, and a stealth check. And if he was not rushed he could try several time unless he crit failed.

So to summarize:
1. Devs think familiars are not battle buddies, get an animal companion.
2. Devs think familiars are cool story telling devices.
Example: "Howard, my green sting scorpion, Dodge's his way through the crowd and delivers my chill touch spell to that ogre! " I am so glad I am not over there...." Oh and while he is there Howard will dance on his shoulder before pinches his nose and he comes back"......and all he did was move deliver and then move back.... That is what "Roleplaying" games are about, not Rolls!!!!!!

And one last thing, if your not homebrewing your rules then you play Monopoly without money on free parking


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The ShadowShackleton wrote:

So some of you are advocating that familiars should basically be just as powerful as animal companions in combat like the weasel above but also give you the benefits of a familiar?

I think the fact they aren’t is a feature, not a bug.

I don’t think they need to be a zombie and useless in exploration mode but I also don’t think they should replace a characters function by scouting to provide a +1, for example.

That familiar was one of the best things to happen in that campaign. It was hilarious when we he was suplexing and pinning goblins and biting them to death with his 1D4-2 damage, with said goblins not having much luck breaking out. He still worked as a safe method of delivering touch spells due to his obscene stealth score, and later on he did contribute a bit in combat like a martial did due to certain feats being available. The fact that it was fun and awesome to witness was what made that familiar so cool and great to have. And it didn't overshadow any of the party members, it served as a great contribution to the main goal of the party. It even got improved to an outsider-type creature with claw limbs and the ability to fly. (I think it was in Beastiary 6.)

Trying to bring said familiar into PF2 is actually akin to making it a zombie and useless at the same time. It doesn't get barding or benefit from item bonuses of any kind so it doesn't get automatically hit. Its ability to contribute in combat does not scale up beyond trained at-best. Its HP is worse than an 8 Constitution Elven Wizard with no way of improving it (because again, can't benefit from or use items, nor does it have any scores it bases its attributes on). And now behold the argument behind how useless a familiar in PF2 can be, which is "The familiar is only as cool as the GM makes it out to be," on a good day. On a bad day, the GM will absolutely dismiss it, or the rules themselves will make it beyond detrimental to the party.

I'm not asking for a familiar to be just as strong or useful as an animal companion, but asking for a familiar to be more than a spell battery for a spellcaster without actually crippling itself compared to other identical animals isn't unreasonable either.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook Subscriber

Sure. As long as I never again have to sit at a table with someone whose cat, a free class feature, is better at every knowledge and social skill than my bard, I’m on board.

They don’t need to be useless but they shouldn’t be as good at physical stuff as animal companion and they shouldn’t be able to replace a role that should be occupied by a pc.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook Subscriber

It seems like familiars have gone back to being more of a static bonus like they were in 2nd edition, the days of “wait you have had a raven this whole time?”. I personally prefer that to some of the abuse I saw in PF1.


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Alchemy_Dad wrote:


If you search the forum and find all the familiar discussions you will find they often devolve to this level. Many times the same posters do it. But if you are careful you can find posts where the Devs speak or are quoted. They feel the familiar is more about story and flavor as apposed to battle buddy. It was even pointed out that they feel you could have a owl that doesn't take fly and could only sit on your shoulder. Then went on to say if you did that then you likely didn't really want an owl. I feel like they are more like when I say "Bob the Monk run over to the table, backflips on top, jumps into the rafters and hides." Now if the DM made him action out that outside if combat would show that the DM is a...

There is nothing in the rules of familiars that makes them cool storytelling devices or roleplaying outlets. Just saying that they are such doesn't make them function like so. They provide no structure for interesting narrative to emerge within the game. If it does, it is actively against the familiar rules, not thanks to them. And yes, narrative and storytelling can spring from codified rules, in fact, there are entire genres of roleplaying games that are focused on such experience.

Familiars, in their current form, are all promise and no payoff. They are basically a bare-boned vestige of rules that throws its hands up in the air and tells you to figure it out on your own. Which is not exactly very good design for a tool envisioned as "interesting storytelling device".
And yes, many people do not homebrew and do not wish to do so. There is nothing shameful about it. There are many possible motivations behind not wishing to do so. "You can homebrew" is not a valid justificatio for justifying or normalizing poor quality of a commercial product.

Does it make the game bad? No, of course not. But it does not mean that the game should not be criticized. You can enjoy and like the game while being cognizant and critical of its flaws.


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For me, outside the issues with exploration mode, while I appreciate that the devs were trying to enable flexibility, I don't really like the way you buy into abilities.

Having them be a daily resource means your familiar feels kind of nebulous. You have to declare your familiar is an bat when you first take the feat, but whether or not it can fly like an bat or communicate at all with other bats is something you can change on a day to day basis and that makes the choice feel... less real, in a sense to me.

It also ties functionality to flavor in a way that I think is unfortunate. If I want an imp familiar and I want it to feel like an imp I'm going to be buying speech and wings every time, which takes up all of my basic options and if I'd rather get that sweet extra focus point a day, well my imp's wings spontaneously fall off or its voice stops working.

You end up with this scenario where the most effective mechanical options and the options that best fulfill the flavor of the thing you want are at odds with each other.

Forcing a player to pick between being strong or having the flavor they want is pretty much never where a game designer should put someone.

Alchemy_Dad wrote:
That is what "Roleplaying" games are about, not Rolls!!!!!!

This is such a glib response.

For one, it's not even accurate, because roleplaying game suggests both roleplaying and a game. The dice are kind of a significant part of Pathfinder.

For another, mechanics and roleplaying complement each other. How much you can express yourself is inherently linked to how much you can actually do. Roleplaying a dashing swordsman is great, but if the game itself won't let you be dashing or good at swordfighting the concept falls flat.

Thirdly, you act as though good rules and good roleplay are contrary to each other... but nothing about the whimsical scenario you were describing would go away if the rules for familiars were broader.

"But roleplaying" isn't even relevant to the discussion. It's just a flimsy way to bash people you disagree with.


Ok staying on topic.... Uses for a familiar, how intelligent is it?

Well if I also have to only speak of the exact words in the CRB then I guess I concede the argument and will just go play Pathfinder...

Cheers!


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(Paizo adds familiar option that's great at skills -> How dare a player have a familiar that's great at skills....).

(Paizo overcorrects all forms companions because of out cry against 1 problem [too many companions] -> This is great now people cant do X thing I dont like....).

(Paizo in overcorrecting also didnt add companion rules in exploration mode, but added a clause saying "use 10 minute per action on encounter mode for time taken" -> How dare you use the rules to determine what a familiar can do; They are barely fluffed and so they should do whatever I want, without any action rule, because "[we] have an emotional bond".)

***********
(Person uses logic and the rules as they are written to think how it behaves in play -> How dare someone follow the rules of a heavy rules game, this is meant to be a "role"playing game dont use the rules....)


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Lack of clarity on this issue brought my game to a screeching halt tonight. I have a player with a wizard PC who is very invested in his moth familiar (he added speech). He wanted to send it out to do some scouting nearby and return with information on enemy activity. We read the familiar rules together, and I just had no idea how to respond to his request. There was no guidance in the CRB about anything other than combat. It doesn't even say how intelligent they are. I finally decided to let the familiar scout ahead a bit (GM fiat) but then he started asking me what the familiar saw and how much detail the familiar could understand and convey back to him. Again, there was no guidance in the CRB on this. I was totally winging it (which is usually fine) but it made me uneasy because I knew I was setting a precedent for our campaign and the ability to scout ahead and report back will have a pretty big impact. I have to admit that I got a bit frustrated because I felt that Paizo was leaving me to make these big decisions without any guidelines and without understanding the full impact of what I was trying to rule on the fly.

I really hope there is some additional information and guidelines on how to run familiars (particularly in exploration mode) in the Gamemastery Guide. I don't need a rule for everything, but I do need some idea of what is intended in terms of familiar capability (especially outside of combat) and intelligence. In general, I have been amazed at how much more helpful the PF2 rules have been than the 5e rules in providing clarity and guidance. I just feel like the ball got dropped a bit with the familiar rules. Hope to see some clarifications soon as it really disrupted our game.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure, Card Game, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
graystone wrote:
Sliska Zafir wrote:
"Sapient minions act how they please", and as a familiar, you have a close bond with your master. You'd like to please your master, especially since he has food for you.

#1 it only "acts as it pleases" once you ignore it for 1 whole min. Second, close bond? Other then the emphatic bond, where does it state that and the desire to please? "You make a pact with creature that serves you and assists your spellcasting." where is the deep bond and the NEED /desire to please?

Sliska Zafir wrote:
It isn't unreasonable to extrapolate, from the Improvising New Explorations Activities section, that a familiar doesn't need constant auditory commands to execute a task outside of encounter mode. The constant auditory command requirement is one that is encounter-mode based, in the heat of battle, etc.

IMO, it's completely unreasonable after reading improvised exploration actions: you use the same format as combat except it MORE limited, not less as you're doing it multiple times in a row. YOU command it 20 times a min and if you stop or it can't hear you it stop and looks stupid before doing what IT wants [not what YOU want]. It might want to take a nap.

Sliska Zafir wrote:
The activity "usually consists of a single action repeated roughly 10 times per minute, or an alteration of actions that works out similarly." (CRB 498)

EXACTLY! That means "need constant auditory commands to execute a task" done 20 times.

Again, I understand the desire to have familiars work like PF1, but looking at the PF2 rules that seems like it'll require heavy houseruling.

#1 "Familiars are mystically bonded creatures tied to your magic." "The familiar serves you." That's all that is necessary for it to accept speech given commands.

#2 It's not my Command an Animal action, it's the familiar's Sneak and Seek command that repeats.

Liberty's Edge

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Technotrooper wrote:

Lack of clarity on this issue brought my game to a screeching halt tonight. I have a player with a wizard PC who is very invested in his moth familiar. He wanted to send it out to do some scouting nearby and return with information on enemy activity. We read the familiar rules together, and I just had no idea how to respond to his request. There was no guidance in the CRB about anything other than combat. It doesn't even say how intelligent they are. I finally decided to let the familiar scout ahead a bit (GM fiat) but then he started asking me what the familiar saw and how much detail the familiar could understand and convey back to him. Again, there was no guidance in the CRB on this. I was totally winging it (which is usually fine) but it made me uneasy because I knew I was setting a precedent for our campaign and the ability to scout ahead and report back will have a pretty big impact. I have to admit that I got a bit frustrated because I felt that Paizo was leaving me to make these big decisions without any guidelines and without understanding the full impact of what I was trying to rule on the fly.

I really hope there is some additional information and guidelines on how to run familiars (particularly in exploration mode) in the Gamemastery Guide. I don't need a rule for everything, but I do need some idea of what is intended in terms of familiar capability (especially outside of combat) and intelligence. In general, I have been amazed at how much more helpful the PF2 rules have been than the 5e rules in providing clarity and guidance. I just feel like the ball got dropped a bit with the familiar rules. Hope to see some clarifications soon as it really disrupted our game.

I think your post summarizes my reason for the Original Post. I GM more than play, and also need an answer.

That's why I started the thread. Others have been helpful in clarifying.

I'd suggest the moth, without speech, could only give empathic information. Fear, hunger if it saw something it wanted, whatever animals can feel gets transferred to the master.

That's why speech opens a huge can of worms now. Because the familiar can CONVEY what it saw through speech. So then what CAN it say? The familiar uses the master's level for Recall Knowledge checks (which are untrained). So, if the master commands the animal to make a recall knowledge check about what it saw, it uses the master's level. Whether that knowledge is useful is up to the result of the check.


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@Sliska Zafir

You must command it to so that it gets its actions. That's one of the biggest part of the devate, as written you have to command it every time it uses its actions.

"Mystically bonded to your magic" has no mechanical effect as is basically fluff saying "hey this is magic not animal bonding". Regardless the rules still say it does what "it" (not "you") wants after you leave it alone for 1 minute.


Temperans wrote:
Regardless the rules still say it does what "it" (not "you") wants after you leave it alone for 1 minute.

Yeah, but it's still your magically bonded servant. I think it would be pretty clearly inappropriate to disregard that when deciding how the familiar acts autonomously.


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People are using the magical bond as an excuse for familiars to do whatever the player wants. Which also doesn't sound like it's intended, I wouldn't say the bond should be disregarded, just like I wouldn't expect animal companions to disregard a command.

But since paizo gave no rules or guidance the only think that are guaranteed is that it's still an animal of its type and that it gives a character some type of benefit.


graystone wrote:
YOU command it 20 times a min and if you stop or it can't hear you it stop and looks stupid before doing what IT wants [not what YOU want].

I think you miss the concept of master and minion. Of course it does what I want. If it stops doing what I want, then I get rid of it.

Obediance is what I expect from a familiar. And I'll be damn sure it obeys.


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Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I still don't see what's so hard to understand about this. There are plenty of legitimate complaints and questions in this thread, but how to run familiars isn't one of them.

In encounter mode, it acts as you will or, if you're unwilling to command it for some reason, the GM controls it (usually having it hide, flee, or do nothing).

In Exploration Mode or Downtime Mode, it continues to act as you will, unless for some reason you opt not to include it in your narrative, at which point (if it even matters enough to be mentioned at all) the GM can include it in the narrative. It waits around for your commands for 1 minute like an obedient minion, but otherwise acts like a normal NPC ally thereafter.

If you need evidence of this, Jason Bulmahn, lead designer for P2E, clearly shows how to run familiars in the Knights of Everflame video series in episodes 2 and 3.

Liberty's Edge

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Just the facts.

A familiar clearly "serves you."(CRB) It does your bidding.

Improvising New Explorations Activities is a rule option, that allows for familiar control out of encounter mode. (CRB 498)

You can grant speech, and darkvision to a familiar. (CRB)

It has the ability to make skill checks, with a bonus equal to its master's level. (Familiar Description, CRB).

Sapient minions "if left unattended for long enough[vague], *typically* one minute [typically, but familiars are not typical animals]" they follow the commands you give them (otherwise left alone for a minute, the indulge themselves.). This is because they are attended to, by your commands, every so often, at least one a minute or so. Here's a reference to what familiars do outside of encounter mode.

All this thread is, is trying to figure out what exactly, and how, a familiar is able to do in exploration mode, while still following rules.

Some folks are saying you need to keep issuing Sneak and Seek commands every six seconds. Like the familiar has some kind of attention deficit disorder outside of encounter mode, and needs to be causally directed.

I disagree.

You give them the command, through SPEECH, to go Sneak down the corridor and Seek out a creature, and then return. I argue that a minion that serves you does not need constant reminders every six seconds to fulfill the Command an Animal action. That is for "unattended" minions, not ones that are following your command actions.

Meanwhile as they follow the could even cast message the round after and can continue to speak to them, if needed.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Depends on the minion I suppose. A mindless zombie or construct under your control would likely function more like a drone in need of continual instruction, stopping at the end of the hall if you failed to direct it to return. An animal would act out whatever it was trained to do. A familiar is an intelligent being capable of making decisions even without its master.

This is evidenced by nearly every previous game and media source ever made that has familiars in it.


Temperans wrote:
People are using the magical bond as an excuse for familiars to do whatever the player wants.

No, just something to keep in mind when deciding how the familiar should act autonomously. No one's saying that the familiar should do everything for free, at least in the context of this suggestion.

People have been suggesting that when functioning without the player's control the familiar should basically completely disregard the party or even behave in ways that actively undermines the party or makes playing with the companion more difficult and that just feels like antagonistic GMing.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Squiggit wrote:
Temperans wrote:
People are using the magical bond as an excuse for familiars to do whatever the player wants.

No, just something to keep in mind when deciding how the familiar should act autonomously. No one's saying that the familiar should do everything for free, at least in the context of this suggestion.

People have been suggesting that when functioning without the player's control the familiar should basically completely disregard the party or even behave in ways that actively undermines the party or makes playing with the companion more difficult and that just feels like antagonistic GMing.

Agreed.


The ShadowShackleton wrote:

Ok so to anyone casually looking at this thread it would be easy to get the impression that this is a few moderates commenting on reasonable limitations and GM judgment but mostly it appears to be a rules zealot in Graystone who is defending the ruleset’s inflexibility.

We are IN the rules section, where we talk about rules. If this was advice or hosuerules, then sure lets talk about things that aren't the rules. I'm not being a zealot by following the actual intent of this board: talking about the actual rules. If we aren't talking about what the actual rules say, how can we hope to get real correct answers and hopefully FAQ/errata for them.

Helmic wrote:
Common sense:

LOL Well if common sense was hardwired into the rules, that'd be great [or if we could all agree on what common sense is...]. As they aren't, this is a good argument in an advice thread.Myself, as this is a rules thread, I'm only debating on what;s written.

Sliska Zafir wrote:

#1 "Familiars are mystically bonded creatures tied to your magic." "The familiar serves you." That's all that is necessary for it to accept speech given commands.

#1 It's not my Command an Animal action, it's the familiar's Sneak and Seek command that repeats.

#1 and? It could be master and slave and it serves because it HAS to not because it wants to. As we have no insight into what kind of magic bond it is, it's a total leap of logic to assume it's a friendly one. The familiar could treat it as a 9-5 job and the second you stop commanding it, it does what it pleases without any concern for you. Just pointing to 'mystic bond' tells us nothing.

#2 it's BOTH repeating the action: if the master isn't doing that, the familiar stops dead.

SuperBidi wrote:

I think you miss the concept of master and minion. Of course it does what I want. If it stops doing what I want, then I get rid of it.

Obediance is what I expect from a familiar. And I'll be damn sure it obeys.

No, I'm just not making things up to support my vision of how I think things should be. Just because it's required to do what you command doesn't mean it likes you or helps you on it's own time. That's WHY it requires a command, it has to obey. That means nothing if you aren't actively commanding it and we know from exploration mode that said commands ONLY last 6 seconds...

Sliska Zafir wrote:

I disagree.

You give them the command, through SPEECH, to go Sneak down the corridor and Seek out a creature, and then return. I argue that a minion that serves you does not need constant reminders every six seconds to fulfill the Command an Animal action. That is for "unattended" minions, not ones that are following your command actions.

Meanwhile as they follow the could even cast message the round after and can continue to speak to them, if needed.

That's fine, I just don't see any rules to back up your stance. Your 1 min idea holds no weight IMO. The 1 min is how long they wait until it does it's own thing and not anything else. No where does it say it does what you want when it isn't commanded and we know commands only last a round. "serves you" doesn't mean 'willingly', 'happily', ect... It can serve you and STILL take a nap in the corner if you stop supervising it by telling it what to do every round.

Squiggit wrote:
No, just something to keep in mind when deciding how the familiar should act autonomously. No one's saying that the familiar should do everything for free, at least in the context of this suggestion.

Some HAVE said that the familiar should love you and do what you intend for it without you even saying anything. I know from my posts, I've been pointing out the opposite because WE DON'T KNOW what the familiar does on it's own: it could help, harm or do nothing for the party. It's to point out the flaw in arguments that you can just give a familiar a single command and because you guys are just such good buddies that it'll continue long after it stops getting actual commands. That's great if the DM has ruled that's the kind of bond you have but that's not in the rules.

Squiggit wrote:
antagonistic

I wouldn't say it was that. It seems reasonable after seeing how restricted familiars in encounter mode that they aren't expected to instead have unlimited use out of it. Not a desire to compete but to maintain balance. I don't think that having a cat familiar ACT like a cat, and sunning itself, while not being actively commanded being "antagonistic".

I just want to remind everyone that we ARE still in the rules section of the boards: "For discussion of rules, including how a rule works, if a rule exists, or why a rule exists or doesn't exist."

If people want to talk about how it SHOULD work differently that what's written there is : Advice "For soliciting or offering advice on play style (including strategy), character creation, or GMing under the rules as published", IMO things like 'use a common sense approach' or Homebrew and House Rules "For discussion related to adding, changing, or ignoring official rules and other non-official content" for the more 'they should act like PF1 familiars' and 'they are intelligent so they should...'.

PS: if a familiar could take extended commands in exploration mode, I'd want that to be possible in encounter mode as it's less restrictive.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook Subscriber
graystone wrote:
The ShadowShackleton wrote:

Ok so to anyone casually looking at this thread it would be easy to get the impression that this is a few moderates commenting on reasonable limitations and GM judgment but mostly it appears to be a rules zealot in Graystone who is defending the ruleset’s inflexibility.

We are IN the rules section, where we talk about rules. If this was advice or hosuerules, then sure lets talk about things that aren't the rules. I'm not being a zealot by following the actual intent of this board: talking about the actual rules. If we aren't talking about what the actual rules say, how can we hope to get real correct answers and hopefully FAQ/errata for them.

Ok you cut out the part where I said you are actually doing the opposite thing by masquerading as a rules zealot. You are actually taking the opposite position of how you want the rules to work for the purpose of making the rules look ludicrous. They are only ludicrous if taken to the extreme you are taking them to, specifically to make the rules look unreasonable.

Gaslighting everyone on this thread. You confessed to it in your previous response.

Sovereign Court

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The point I am making is that when people in other threads are pointing out this thread as an example of why PF2 is bad, because people take the limitations imposed by the rules to ludicrous extremes, the example they are using is a person who DOES NOT like the rules of PF2, and is taking that position specifically to make the system look worse than it is.

I don’t have any issue with Graystone personally but this seems disingenuous and I point it out so others aren’t fooled that PF2 is dominated by exceptionally rules lawyering GMs.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook Subscriber

To stop derailing things, here is my take.

Familiars can of course take simple actions outside of encounter mode, such as sneaking ahead to scout an area but at risk to them. They would be limited in explaining what they saw to their communication abilities.

I would NOT allow them to take an “exploration action” such as scouting to give the whole party a benefit as I believe that should be limited to PCs. But they could (lower case) “scout” ahead and have a chance to see enemies.

I have no problem with their lack of combat power and prefer that to PF1. They are largely a narrative tool that provides minor benefits in keeping with the investment to get them.


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graystone wrote:


I just want to remind everyone that we ARE still in the rules section of the boards: "For discussion of rules, including how a rule works, if a rule exists, or why a rule exists or doesn't exist."

If people want to talk about how it SHOULD work differently that what's written there is : Advice "For soliciting or offering advice on play style (including strategy), character creation, or GMing under the rules as published", IMO things like 'use a common sense approach' or Homebrew and House Rules "For discussion related to adding, changing, or ignoring official rules and other non-official content" for the more 'they should act like PF1 familiars' and 'they are intelligent so they should...'.

Yeah, but when the rules say the GM has discretion these two things overlap heavily.


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Talking about the rules as written is not "ludicrous extremes" and the feeling on a particular rule makes no difference for what the rules are, much less gaslighting.

From what I read, Graystone appears to not like some parts of the rules (mainly the minion trait) and is trying to understand how to properly apply it outside encounter mode, given there is a rule for it. Yet I see people arguing against Graystone, effectively saying she is doing it in bad faith, by actively telling people to ignore, not follow, or bend the rules; or even suggesting to stop talking about them.

**********
This is the rules forum, a place to talk about the rules without censorship about making the game look "nice".

* If a rule is broken it should be discussed.
* If a rule has interesting interactions it should be discussed
* If a rule is just so darn great it should be discussed.

**********
I dont believe anyone has asked for more combat power. People arguing against Graystone do seem to give familiars much more power than what may be allowed. Which is why the debate is important to determine how exactly should familiars (and to an extent other companions) be ruled.


The ShadowShackleton wrote:
Ok you cut out the part where I said you are actually doing the opposite thing by masquerading as a rules zealot. You are actually taking the opposite position of how you want the rules to work for the purpose of making the rules look ludicrous. They are only ludicrous if taken to the extreme you are taking them to, specifically to make the rules look unreasonable.

I was confused at what you were saying then. I have in NO way made things out any more "ludicrous" than they already read. If they look unreasonable, that's because they are: I'm NOT putting any spin on things.

The ShadowShackleton wrote:
Gaslighting everyone on this thread. You confessed to it in your previous response.

I don't understand this at ALL. My opinion on what the rules actually say isn't the same as the way I wish it were. I was open and up front with this. I'm curious how honestly saying that I'm not debating how I want it but how I read it is gas lighting.

The ShadowShackleton wrote:
I don’t have any issue with Graystone personally but this seems disingenuous and I point it out so others aren’t fooled that PF2 is dominated by exceptionally rules lawyering GMs.

I'd like you to point out what you see as "disingenuous". Please give me some quotes because I in no way was trying to be that. Please do that and post other posts were I have expressed the opposite position on how the rules read. I'll even take a quote on something you see as "ludicrous".

To be 100% clear, I BELIEVE what I've posed before IS how the rules present the familiar and how they are expected to be played. I'm going 100% off what is written in the book. ME wishing familiars were more useful in no way has altered those views or caused me to paint them in a worse light that they already read to me. If you want to "point it out so others aren’t fooled", then I'd suggest you do so with actual rules quotes, page numbers and other evidence for your stance like I did instead of personal attacks about the motives of those you disagree with.

Squiggit wrote:
Yeah, but when the rules say the GM has discretion these two things overlap heavily.

On sections where that happens, I acknowledge them: for instance, I've pointed out that we have no way of knowing what kind of bond we have with a familiar: it's not said to be a good, bad or neutral one. IMO, I've been debating on things with a firm groundwork for what I'm saying. Like the guidelines for unlisted exploration actions: DM discretion can change thing but it gives a clear indication of how actions work in that mode.

That post was for those that didn't seem to care what the rules said and started out with what is basically 'familiars should be better that presented so they are' which to me reads like advice or houserule suggestions. For myself, I'm more than willing to debate about things that aren't clear cut but 'it's a magic bond so it loves you and goes out to scout for multiple rounds without commands' is more 'how they want it to be' [advice] vs 'how it reads' [rules].

Sovereign Court

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graystone wrote:
John Lynch 106 wrote:
So either graystone's interpretation of the rules is absurd or the rules are absurd. Pick one.

IMO, it's "rules are absurd". I complained about these same things in the playtest too. There are a LOT of things that make no sense once you add the minion trait to them. :(

Whatever gave me the impression that you were painting the rules as absurd?

The minion rules specify how minions work in the context of encounter mode. They do not say that they act as “mindless drones” as you have said multiple times. That is your personal opinion.

If it wasn’t intentional gaslighting I genuinely apologize for calling it that, but you certainly have a strong position / agenda that may influence how reasonably you are interpreting the elements of these rules that are subject to interpretation.

You are 100% correct that others are making equally questionable assumptions on the other side of the issue.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook Subscriber

It is always possible that RAI is that minions are mindless robots that only act ever when you tell them what to do. I personally doubt that was the intention outside of combat. I suspect the goal was to stop them from breaking the action economy and from replacing the roles of the players. Outside of combat I think it was left up to GMs to make reasonable decisions about what a familiar can do.

If we hear otherwise and the developers really meant it to be interpreted in this extremely limited way I will owe Graystone an apology and a beer.


The ShadowShackleton wrote:
graystone wrote:
John Lynch 106 wrote:
So either graystone's interpretation of the rules is absurd or the rules are absurd. Pick one.

IMO, it's "rules are absurd". I complained about these same things in the playtest too. There are a LOT of things that make no sense once you add the minion trait to them. :(

Whatever gave me the impression that you were painting the rules as absurd?

The minion rules specify how minions work in the context of encounter mode. They do not say that they act as “mindless drones” as you have said multiple times. That is your personal opinion.

Not personal opinion: I pointed out the rules in play. You fail to give a command, it stop dead and does nothing "except to defend themselves or to escape obvious harm". That's a 100% fact. No matter HOW smart might be, it has no initiative and will do NOTHING unless you tell it to, unless you ignore it and leave for a min. For all intents and purposes in most encounters, unless you spend actons to control it, it's a paperweight.

Minion rules Core Rulebook pg. 634
Familiars Core Rulebook pg. 217

As to specifically “mindless drones”, I've said that's the best way to think of them when trying to figure out what you can do with them: they don't do things on there own unless you are there and controlling them. The rules treat them more like an object than an animal. If you think any of this is out of place, please give me some quotes and page numbers where the rules disagree.

The ShadowShackleton wrote:
If it wasn’t intentional gaslighting I genuinely apologize for calling it that, but you certainly have a strong position / agenda that may influence how reasonably you are interpreting the elements of these rules that are subject to interpretation.

Ah... "agenda"? My "agenda" is pointing out the rules and debating against those that post what I see as incorrect information. That's pretty much the "agenda". Most of what I've been posting about is what's IMO not questionable and about the questionable parts, it's been mostly to disagree with others claiming questionable parts aren't so and pointing out other things it could mean. If you disagree, like I said before please give me quotes where you think interpretations are out of line.

The ShadowShackleton wrote:
It is always possible that RAI is that minions are mindless robots that only act ever when you tell them what to do.

WE can say 100% that this is the RAW just by looking at the minion and familiar rules. I find it hard to imagine that's not the intent as it's the same as the playtest and these same arguments where brought up.

The ShadowShackleton wrote:
I personally doubt that was the intention outside of combat.

I disagree as they base the suggested improvised exploration activities on doing actions you can do in encounter multiple times in a row. Detect magic is literally doing detect magic over and over again. Avoid notice is literally sneaking every round. If an activity is meant to diverge from this, I'd expect to see that in print somewhere. I'd need to see make an activity that has an exception for familiars.

The ShadowShackleton wrote:
I suspect the goal was to stop them from breaking the action economy and from replacing the roles of the players. Outside of combat I think it was left up to GMs to make reasonable decisions about what a familiar can do.

A assume it was for action economy too: where I differ is that I think that they care about action economy in exploration too and don't want minion characters to get twice as many activities as someone that doesn't have one. IMO it's one thing to allow someone's familiar to have more personality in a social encounter but a different one entirely to allow twice the options for them on the trip to the dungeon.

I think the wizard getting detect magic and scout while the others in the party gets stuck with only 1, say defend or search, is as potentially worrisome as combat action economy.


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I've already gone a few rounds with graystone on this issue, so I've mostly got nothing to really say as we both understand each other's position fairly well and are not persuaded by the other person's arguments.

However for the benefit of other people coming into this discussion for the first time....

graystone wrote:
WE can say 100% that this is the RAW just by looking at the minion and familiar rules.

This is 100% not true. The rules say what a minion or familiar can do in an encounter. They are 100% silent on what occurs in exploration mode.

Now if you want to accept graystone's position as RAW then you must admit that by RAW riding a horse and leading a different horse exhausts you if you do it for 11 minutes. If you think that's an absurd situation then you either need to interpret the rules differently or house rule them.

I choose to interpret the rules differently to graystone and that position is just as well supported by the rules (which is to say it isn't) as graystone's position (which is likewise not supported by the rules because the rules say absolutely nothing about what happens in exploration mode with creatures with the minion trait).

Likewise the rules give us no guidance whatsoever as to how intelligent a familiar is. It makes a vague "they're something more than animals" which could mean "they're more intelligent then animals" or it could mean "they have abilities that are chosen on a daily basis that makes them something more than animals."

I've previously advocated for familiars only having human level intelligence when they gain the ability to talk. Again, nothing in the rules suggests their intelligence increases when they gain speech so there's no real support for or against that position. On further thought I'm probably more likely to give them an INT 10 regardless of their speech abilities. But again, the rules don't support me doing that, nor do they say I shouldn't. They are completely silent on this issue.


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The rules do state how something with a rule in encounters should be ruled in exploration, as has been stated many times.

But I agree it makes no sense that riding an animal while guiding another one would exhaust you in 10 minutes. Heck, you wouldn't even be able to search for water as that would take a third action.


Temperans wrote:
The rules do state how something with a rule in encounters should be ruled in exploration, as has been stated many times.

Then the rules are not clear as to how the minion trait works because it shouldn't highlight "this is how it works in encounter mode" it should just say "this is how it works".

Given the rules aren't clear, I think it's dubious to say "this is 100% RAW and any other opinion is wrong".


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Yep that's the problem and the reason there needs to be a clarification on how it works.

Also I wouldn't judge it by a percentage, due to how vague the wording is there is enough room to cause a debate as you have seen. And no side has the right to tell the other they are wrong.

This debate is very much schrodinger's minion. Until the rules are cleared by paizo, all forms of it are equally possible.

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