So... about our squishy spellbooks.


Witch Playtest

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Throwing aside discussion of Hexes and patrons and traditions for a second, let's talk about one of the other things that sets a Witch apart from other casters: their reliance on the cute little beasts as their textbook and spellbooks.

Specifically, about how the only thing that makes a Witch familiar better than others being the extra F/M abilities you get.

Personally, I think since your little buddy has the frankly severe drawback of being a separate, targetable creature that is also your spell conduit there should be some other pieces in place to make sure they're not instantly dead if caught in an AoE or something.
I know they get Damage Avoidance as a familiar ability and Lifelink as a master ability, but ALL familiars only have 5 HP per master's level. These two skills are still risky at best, one depending on making saves (and doing nothing against regular attacks) and the other putting your own life at risk.
Since you get the immediate penalty of losing non-lesson spells until next prep (and even then not gaining most of them back until the end of the week), do you all think we should get better protections for our boys?
What are your ideas? I do wanna hear what others feel on the subject a lot, since I think this is a pretty important point - after all, I don't wanna have a familiar that has to stay cooped up in a box for fear of them dying from a gust of wind.


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Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Don't mention your familiar to your GM. Nine times out of ten they won't remember they exist.

Failing that, you can ask your GM to play nice with your familiar and you'll agree to not try to get them to use wands or drop bombs.

If you want to utilize your familiar to the max, and keep realistic threats endangering your familiar, you could make a copy of your spells and hide it somewhere. I'm basing this off of the line:

"You can use the Learn a Spell exploration activity to prepare a special written version of a spell, which your familiar can then consume as if it were a scroll."


While I admit that that's a pretty genius idea for getting around the RAW as-is (really, I would have never thought of that; good job) I'm more wondering what could be done to fix the issue so it doesn't feel like we're working around a liability dressed as a spellbook.

I can understand having a squishy boi during early levels, but maybe if there was a collection of Witch Feats that could either give you a larger pool of F/M abilities to choose from, or just make your little liaison more capable, it would actually make it seem like both you and your familiar are improving over time.


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Yeah, the problem isn't that the familiar is unmanageable ( you can just hide it or stuff it in a bag or something ).

The problem is that it shouldn't feel like you have to do that. Having a unique bond with a familiar is one of the class' themes. You open up the class, read about how you get a familiar with bonus abilities... and then realize how much it sucks if it dies and realize that you should basically pretend it doesn't exist. That sucks.

There should definitely be some high level options to improve familiar survivability or decrease the risks associated with losing the familiar or both.

Like... write a medium or high level feat or class feature that says something about how your familiar is so suffused with magic its bond to you transcends mortality and give witches the ability to reconstitute a dead familiar with a 10 minute or 1 hour ritual without losing spells.

That would hardly break anything.


Hell, since the familiar is in many ways treated as the source of your spells (it's the one that learns the things on your list *and* the spells from your lessons) I could even see a feat tree that gives it some way to cast your (non-Hex)spells, too. Obviously if you do that, a clause should be made that you can't cast spells in the same turn as your familiar so you don't get any of those silly dual-casting shenanigans that the designers try to shy away from a lot.

Like, I understand that a line between Familiars and Animal Companions needs to be drawn, since they are different by nature and separate the classes of beasts into different niches, but personally I think there's some room to give Witch familiars a little more combat utility than the average familiar, because Spell Delivery just ain't doin' it on its own.

ALL familiars can already do a little more out-of-combat than usual because you can just attune them to speak Common one day and to use their tails as hands another day. Witch familiars should be able to do more *with* their master, since they're both your spellbook *and* your substitute teacher.


It’d be nice and thematic if Witches got two additional non-master abilities at level 1.

For starters, ignore saves is one of those options, and second it makes sense that witch familiars are more involved.

If this was coupled with my suggestion on patron relationships holding accountability through the familiar, even better.

Though as mentioned, not mentioning familiars until you need them is the greatest defense lol


A particularly cunning enemy will indeed try to hit the familiar to deal with the witch.
It's only an efficient strategy for an enemy that tries to gain an advantage for a later fight. Killing the familiar has 0 effect until the next witch preparation. So unless your GM hates you, very few enemies will go for the familiar but it's a possiblity.

Your familiar has your saves though and it can even be better than you with damage avoidance so spells that aren't pure damages won't work better on it than on you. All debuffs are useless on it and a save or die would work on you if it works on it.

So the only thing really left are AoE that will hit both the familiar and you. Many would just be against you and the familiar would be the secondary target.

Using some points for damage avoidance (reflexe) and lifelink are a pretty good way to not have the familiar die. Granted lifelink mean you will basically take double damage on AoE if your familiar is in danger of dying.

If you really don't want your familiar to die : You buy bottled air, give the familiar manual dexterity and put both in your bag of holding. Your familiar will breath the bottled air and be untargetable for 395GP.
That's the price to pay to keep it safe.


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WatersLethe wrote:


Failing that, you can ask your GM to play nice with your familiar and you'll agree to not try to get them to use wands or drop bombs.

That's what I always did in PF1. I'd tell my GM I promised never to use my familiar for a mechanical advantage in combat and in exchange they agreed not to target it, ever. It was a working solution in a home game.


It's possible we may get spells to help with this... something like Carry Companion to temporarily turn them into an object.

That admittedly isn't great if they actually want us to use them, though. I understand that their utility in combat might be minimal so it'd be nice if they got a little more out of combat utility instead (extra exploration activity maybe?)

Sovereign Court

First, I would definitely scale back the penalties for losing the familiar. I'd say that you can ask for a replacement during your next daily prep, and you then get all your spells back. My idea was that you need to sacrifice some of your blood to create the replacement, thus causing 2 points of con damage. You regain 1 point per night of sleep. This way, you still suffer a cost for losing the critter, but it's not horrendously expensive and needing to redo your character sheet.

Another feature that can help was my idea for a Tattoo familiar. Most of the time it is part of the witch's body, but it can come out and do things separately for 1 minute per witch level per day. In my write-up, only the Occult witch got one, but that could be expanded. Also, the Primal witch got "heal animal" which could be cast on the familiar in animal form.


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I don't see why the Witch's Familiar has to take damage at all. Like, it's a conduit for otherworldly magic. It comes back to life each day. It can eat scrolls and let you cast it as a spell. A Witch's familiar is already way past believable or realistic, so why not embrace its mystical nature?

Let it work like the Spiritual Guardian spell: "The guardian usually doesn't take damage except when protecting an ally... The guardian takes up space and allies can use it when flanking, but it doesn't have any other attributes a creature would normally have aside from Hit Points, and creatures can move through its space without hindrance."

Or just be inspired by the 4th edition D&D Shaman class, which is an excellent expression of a mystical spellcaster with an otherworldly 'familiar'.


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I understand that a lot of people don't like using their familiar to the fullest since it takes a lot of table time, but I think that mindset should be considered the "optional and talk to your DM" bit rather than the default - I shouldn't *have* to spend 360 GP to keep my familiar tucked away in an extradimensional space so it has more than a half-chance in survival, especially when it's kinda glued to the class by lore.

The Witch's familiar should be able to stand up on its own two feet (or four, or one, or whatever) without having to sweet-talk the GM into maybe not having the kobold aim his crossbow at my spellbook or without having to just ignore it. A class feature that is better ignored is a failure as a class feature, after all.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

It's your spellbook buddy, you're not a Summoner or Druid.


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Agree wholeheartedly, the familiar is witch’s most iconic element and a strong boon, and they are massively encouraged not to use it.

If it’s to be kept, it must be less penalising. Otherwise nobody will ever bother with spell delivery and similar - or even just leave it home before adventuring.


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I'm wondering if just making the familiars immune to damage if they are in your square (or on your person) would be the best approach. That way people who don't want their familiars to get hurt in combat can keep them with them and more risky players can use their familiars to aid in combat.


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kripdenn wrote:
I'm wondering if just making the familiars immune to damage if they are in your square (or on your person) would be the best approach. That way people who don't want their familiars to get hurt in combat can keep them with them and more risky players can use their familiars to aid in combat.

Hardly. Familiars are a pretty powerful boon, especially improved familiars or thesis familiars, but they are vulnerable - the boon lasts only as long as the critter.

The issue isn't that the familiar is vulnerable, here. It's that in addition to losing your familiar, you also lose a lot more.


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Rysky wrote:
It's your spellbook buddy, you're not a Summoner or Druid.

Cool, replace the class features tied to it then.

As it is you have two choices as a witch.

a) Play to the thematics of the class and use the familiar with the risk that you will loose majorly as you go up in love.

b) Don't use the familiar or thematics and end up with a PF1e familiar where it is ignored and too valuable to risk.

Personally I have no issue with the witch losing spells temporarily, or even having to pay to get some back. But manditory loss of high level spells is not cool, it just disincentivises actually using the familiar.

But a wizard losing a spell book is:
- Less likely
- Not subject to general AoE attacks
- Has less class features tied to it

(heh, witches have hexes that use focus points and have 24hour limits, familiars who shouldn't be used for utility and need to swallow their extra perks just to be more vulnerable than normal familiars and cackle that is the least impressive ribbon I have seen)

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
The Gleeful Grognard wrote:
Rysky wrote:
It's your spellbook buddy, you're not a Summoner or Druid.

Cool, replace the class features tied to it then.

As it is you have two choices as a witch.

a) Play to the thematics of the class and use the familiar with the risk that you will loose majorly as you go up in love.

b) Don't use the familiar or thematics and end up with a PF1e familiar where it is ignored and too valuable to risk.

Personally I have no issue with the witch losing spells temporarily, or even having to pay to get some back. But manditory loss of high level spells is not cool, it just disincentivises actually using the familiar.

But a wizard losing a spell book is:
- Less likely
- Not subject to general AoE attacks
- Has less class features tied to it

(heh, witches have hexes that use focus points and have 24hour limits, familiars who shouldn't be used for utility and need to swallow their extra perks just to be more vulnerable than normal familiars and cackle that is the least impressive ribbon I have seen)

What is happening that’ll cause you to lose your familiar so often? None of the Witch Feats make it a combatant, and scouting is an option for all Familiars but it’s not their only nor main thing.


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AoEs? Incidental traps that wouldn't have killed a player but would kill a familiar due to its extremely low HP? Attacks made by intelligent combatants because, despite how people like to treat them, they *are* in fact a separate, living creature able to be targeted?

And besides, you're given the option to command your familiar in encounters with a specific action that gives them two actions to use on your turn. How does that *not* insinuate some intent for them to be used in encounters (which are primarily combat)? And to be frank, that's kind of me pointing to familiars in general not being really that effective in PF2e, not just Witches' critters.

But Witches' familiars are stated flat-out in the text to be "more powerful than the simple creatures most other spellcasters call their familiars" and yet we get something that gets, sure, more F/M abilities but is also just a liability due to its load-bearing nature. If I'm expected to be combat casting and my familiar is my conduit shouldn't it make sense that that familiar is capable of at least holding its own against even one measly attack?


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Rysky wrote:
What is happening that’ll cause you to lose your familiar so often? None of the Witch Feats make it a combatant, and scouting is an option for all Familiars but it’s not their only nor main thing.

- Takes AoE attacks for using a familiar with manual dexterity or using it to deliver items to allies or even yourself. Manipulating items/devices or even for flying/running over to an ally to relay a message.

- Takes AoE attacks just for being on your shoulder or around when you are ambushed or an unexpected combat breaks out.

- Takes direct attacks if used when exploring a new area.

- Takes direct attacks and AoE attacks with spell delivery. Never use it for spell delivery... ever... horrible move. (everyone else with a familiar can of course)

- Take AoE attacks if you are using it as an lab assistant(for alchemist dedication witches).

Now, witches get the following feats or features that allow them to enhance their familiar.

- 3 familiar abilities at level 1, extra at 6th, 12th, 18th.

- enhanced familiar: two additional abilities

- skilled familiar: two skills

- siphon power: cast a spell gained from leveling lose all non physically required abilities, becomes fatigued.

The issue here is then when you look at what this means.

If you are keeping your familiar in a box and not using it for the things I mentioned first.

- The only usable familiar features are Master Abilities. Cantrip Connection, Familiar Focus, Spell Battery. Extra reagents if you have the infused reagent feature from multiclassing. So, at level 1 you already have two of these.

- 2 familiar skills for a class feat is almost entirely pointless if you can only use it outside of combat safely.

- Siphon power is 100% only useful if your familiar is stored away and safe from harm.

If you accept that your familiar may get into danger. Then

- Damage avoidance becomes essential in at least dex and fort

- Life link becomes necessary so it doesn't risk dying.

Taking up 3-4 familiar ability slots, and still being a really big risk.

Other classes with familiars that get to go out and do stuff, don't have to worry about this.

It isn't as bad as it was in PF1e where a dead familiar was a retired witch. But a dead familiar equaling a gimped high level witch is a bit...
Again, wizards spell books don't move around or have pools of HP. If a wizard loses their spell book it is almost entirely because a battle was already lost or the GM decided to take it.

A familiar that isn't kept in a magical lockbox or backpack is at risk for the witch, and if it is kept there... doing less than familiars for other classes despite being a major class feature for the witch.

Then you have situations like... say there is a witch with a white snake familiar curled around her neck. Hit with a fear effect, the witch succeeds but the familiar doesn't... oh no the familiar has now run away.

Dragon fight... goblin witch with it's pet frog sitting on its head. Every AoE that goes off is going to be chipping down that familiar's health...


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Rysky wrote:
It's your spellbook buddy, you're not a Summoner or Druid.

While I don't necessarily disagree with your premise, I think that's part of the problem.

The game sells it as a thematically important feature, one of the defining characteristics of the witch. It gives you extra abilities too and more ways to augment your familiar in class. But the mechanics encourage you to treat it in the same way a wizard treats their spellbook instead. Pull it out in the morning to prepare spells, then tuck it away except maybe to have it use that thing that gives you a focus point sometime later in the day.

I just think it'd be more interesting and fun if Witches had the mechanics to let them use their familiars more freely.

Admittedly I feel the same way about Wizards too and think a Wizard that actively engaged with their spellbook instead of just hiding it when they aren't preparing or scribing would be cool too.


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Another example,

New player with, Witch with a monkey familiar. Level 1

Gets hit with burning hands. Welp the familiar has an 83% chance of going down if it fails that save. Heck it even has a 16% chance of dying even with a successful saving throw without danger avoidance.

Hey, swarms are cool right. Level 0 spider swarm. 93% chance of downing the familiar as collateral with 3 attacks alone (ignoring the dex and fort saves for poison damage).

How about wasp swarms, a level 5 character vs a level 4 wasp swarm. A 67% chance of that familiar going down in three attacks (again not counting poison damage).

Sovereign Court

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Maybe there should be some rule that says a familiar shares it's HP with the caster, and it can't be attacked separately. As long as the master is alive, so is the familiar. In fact, you could even create a familiar ability that allows the familiar of a dying master to give it's life as if it had 1 Hero point to stabilize the master. But other than that, there are no sperate saves and damage for the familiar anymore than you need to save for each of your hands. If they are hit by an AoE, the master makes the save and takes the damage, it can't be targeted individually. The Familiar's fate is dependent on the master.


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In pathfinder 1 familiar managed to survive pretty well thanks to their improved evasion (gained at level 1)*.
Maybe damage avoidance should be a bit better and allow both no damages on success and half damage on fail or maybe if it's too good add improved damage avoidance so that they can consider failed saves as success and maybe crit fail as fail (like if they were legendary).
The second one would make good use of the extra abilities of a witch's familiar.

That would allow familiars to not die each time a dragon breath on the master.
Basically with improved damage avoidance familiars would like in PF1 always consider their success one level above reality and thus only critical fails (which should not be really common because they use the full reflexes of the witch) would be a real problem for them. But so would they be for the witch anyway.

*except against evil clerics that love channeling as my poor familiar could attest. In PF2 you could protect them also against that if you have abilities to lose though.

Liberty's Edge

Q: How is this any different than, say, a smart NPC intentionally working to sabotage or destroy a Wizards spellbook?

Answer: Largely, it's not, except that Familiar is significantly better in every conceivable way. It has more HP than a Spellbook, it has a higher reasonable AC than a Spellbook, it can actually flee danger, and even deliver spell attacks with the Witches' help.

If a Wizard has their Spellbook stolen or destroyed, they're straight up out of luck and will have to pay full price for a new one + the costs associated with purchasing spells from another Wizard, there is no workaround at all for them as they don't get to just magically have the item replaced for free the next day/week.

Depending on how you want to read it, a Spellbook has either 2 hardness, 8 HP, and a BT of 4 if you consider it to be made of Thin Leather, or 4 hardness 16HP, with a BT of 8. In either scenario, the spellbook is unusable after less damage than any given Familiar would have at level 3.

Smart enemies that the GM uses to attack the assets a player actually uses are always going to succeed at a certain point unless the character goes through extreme lengths to protect/immunize themelves against the threat.


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Themetricsystem wrote:
Q: How is this any different than, say, a smart NPC intentionally working to sabotage or destroy a Wizards spellbook?

The witch has class features and feats that encourage them to actively use their familiar. Wizard mechanics encourage them to pretend their spellbook doesn't exist except when they're preparing or scribing spells.

If the Wizard has class features or feats that suggested they should actually wield their spellbook in combat or otherwise regularly pull it out, you'd have a point. To be honest I think that'd be pretty interesting, but not the topic of this thread.

Except, even then, attended objects are much harder to deal with than creatures. Sunder doesn't exist in PF2 and unlike a creature, your spellbook isn't at risk of being destroyed in any random AoE.

So the difference is that one of them requires direct intent and effort by the GM, while the other can happen pretty incidentally.


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Ninja'd above, but I wrote this all out so I'll keep it anyways:
Except a Wizard doesn't have class feats and flavor text associated with their spellbook implying that they should be actively doing something with their spellbook at all during encounters.

A Wizard can actually put their spellbook into a bag (hopefully a safe one) and their player can be content in knowing that they aren't playing the class wrong. They've set their spells for the day, they lock up their secret arcane notebook and they go along with their day hopefully having slotted the correct spells. That's how the Wizard is flavored and how it plays. You generally don't have your spellbook out during an encounter.

A Witch sets their spells for the day... and now they have an extra character sheet with them that's not even equivalent to someone with half your class levels in most cases. If it even attempts to use Spell Delivery it faces a likely risk of death (which does carry implication with your patron as well, so it's not like it's completely free for you to just keep sending her in willy-nilly). The Witch player now feels like they might not be getting the most out of their class since now they feel like they have to protect this thing out in the field, or lock up the poor thing and just treat it like a living spell textbook, even though The Book told them that their familiars should be better than that.


Samurai wrote:
Maybe there should be some rule that says a familiar shares it's HP with the caster, and it can't be attacked separately. As long as the master is alive, so is the familiar. In fact, you could even create a familiar ability that allows the familiar of a dying master to give it's life as if it had 1 Hero point to stabilize the master. But other than that, there are no sperate saves and damage for the familiar anymore than you need to save for each of your hands. If they are hit by an AoE, the master makes the save and takes the damage, it can't be targeted individually. The Familiar's fate is dependent on the master.

A shared hp pool sounds like a good solution actually, I don't know about not being able to be attacked separately though. If you use your familiar to deliver touch spells, you know the risks.


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Lifelink is already a familiar power, and effectively allows HP sharing

Liberty's Edge

Midnightoker wrote:
Lifelink is already a familiar power, and effectively allows HP sharing

Precisely. Not only is the familiar just as easily stowed on your person to make it as untargetable as a Spellbook, it has more HP/durability and can be saved from a destructive blow/attack via a Master/Familiar Ability.

This on top of the fact that all of the Witch Feats which improve the Familiar relate to (Largely) exploration mode activities such as bonuses to Skill Checks and Familiar/Master abilities, only one of which (Spell Delivery) has any real combat utility and most often will likely be used for beneficial effects targeting allies.


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It would be good to see the familiar become more robust with each teir of Lessons learned. I'd like to see patrons more fleshed out and as a result have that have some affect on your familiar too makes choice more meaningful.


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Paizo in PF1: Let's make Familiars fun and awesome for spellcasters to have and utilize if they are creative and interesting enough!

Paizo in PF2: They were making even full-on player characters worthless due to min-maxing shenanigans. We nerfed the min-maxing down to not be possible compared to other players, so let's just make the familiars even more worthless just to be safe.

Paizo in PF2 when creating the Witch: You know what would be an awesome spellcaster? One that has to focus on this one thing that we nerfed into oblivion that another spellcasting class of a specific focus already does! That ought to be super fun and force players to work with our super-nerfed options so that we feel justified in the nerfs!

More seriously, playing a Wizard with the Advanced Familiar thesis, I can say that it's basically the same as playing a Wizard without a thesis at all. Not being able to use my focus ability sucks, but quite frankly if I had no familiar whatsoever and played as if I were a Wizard without a thesis, my gameplay pattern and abilities would not change at all.

A familiar-less Witch not only would be superior than its current iteration (and any iteration hinging on something more fragile than an 8 Constitution 8 Dexterity Wizard), but it would also be like a pseudo-gimped Wizard.


What about Cover?
Should we take it as a given that a familiar can get greater cover when riding on their master?
Even if they have to be prone,this might be a way to improve survivability, without changing Familiar rules.

Giving them an ability to better exploit cover might be a simple, flavorful add on.
Doubling bonuses for cover would be crazy, for anything other than a familiar, but it might be perfect for them.

Tying their resiliance to how much cover they have would encourage the master to have their familiar behave with caution , but gives them the option to have them be fooli-uh, bold.


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Themetricsystem wrote:
it has more HP/durability and can be saved from a destructive blow/attack via a Master/Familiar Ability.

Again though, the spellbook having less HP isn't actually relevant in most circumstances.


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Themetricsystem wrote:
Midnightoker wrote:
Lifelink is already a familiar power, and effectively allows HP sharing
Precisely. Not only is the familiar just as easily stowed on your person to make it as untargetable as a Spellbook

Really need a rules reference for that. I haven't seen anything to suggest that PF2 familiars can be 'stowed' and that they're magically immune to everything if they are.

In actuality, the rules seem to suggest they should be taking damage from every AoE they're in, and you should be meticulously tracking their HP as much as your own.

Given the dangers of adventuring life, statistically speaking the familiar should end up dead every month or two. The damage avoidance familiar ability helps a great deal, but not much else beyond never taking reactions so you can use lifelink.

Sovereign Court

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Corwin Icewolf wrote:


A shared hp pool sounds like a good solution actually, I don't know about not being able to be attacked separately though. If you use your familiar to deliver touch spells, you know the risks.

But what if he's not delivering any touch spells, but just sitting on your shoulder?


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Midnightoker wrote:
Lifelink is already a familiar power, and effectively allows HP sharing

Note: Lifelink is *not* really relatable to HP sharing. It's an ability which allows specifically the Master to take the full brunt of any attack which would kill your familiar. There's no way for the familiar to do the same for the Master in the ability, nor is there any number-splitting. It's the Master eating whatever damage would kill their familiar, simple as that.

Which, in a lot of cases of AoE, would end up with either a very hurt or unconscious Witch, since if they both failed the save and the Witch wanted to save their little guy, they'd be taking double damage. And even then, eating a bunch of damage from a single-target attack is still likely not something a 6 HP/level full caster would appreciate anyways.


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Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
playing a Wizard with the Advanced Familiar thesis, I can say that it's basically the same as playing a Wizard without a thesis at all. Not being able to use my focus ability sucks, but quite frankly if I had no familiar whatsoever and played as if I were a Wizard without a thesis, my gameplay pattern and abilities would not change at all.

Odd. before converting to Witch, my character was a familiar thesis necromancer (with a zombie guinea pig named Mycroft). It allowed me to reuse Focus powers more often, gain additional cantrips, and effectively use Reach Spell (useful once you look at necromancy hard enough). That was at low level only.

What abilities did your familiar have? Defense only? Then yes, it's useless - but that's a problem Witch has, not Wizard.


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Um quick math a 3rd lv fireball deals 6d6 on a fail (12d6 on a crit fail), so on average it's around 21 (42) fire dmg (6 * 3.5), the familiar owner would then take 42 (84) fire damage. Assuming the familiar owner was lv 6 and had 10 con (for simplicity) they would have ~36 hp, so choosing to save the familiar results in in either getting knocked down or instant death.


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Speaking of Fireball, do you know what one of the bosses in Age of Ashes cast?
I found out today.

Fresh out of morning prep, my familiar died on the first round of "not even combat" because I trusted damage avoidance and the backline over life link.
That cost me a 1st and 2nd level spell, and knocked me out of adventuring for a week. Life link would have killed me anyways (I take damage too y'know).

On the other hand we won the fight pretty easily because Evil Eye is magnificent.


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BigHatMarisa wrote:
Midnightoker wrote:
Lifelink is already a familiar power, and effectively allows HP sharing

Note: Lifelink is *not* really relatable to HP sharing. It's an ability which allows specifically the Master to take the full brunt of any attack which would kill your familiar. There's no way for the familiar to do the same for the Master in the ability, nor is there any number-splitting. It's the Master eating whatever damage would kill their familiar, simple as that.

Which, in a lot of cases of AoE, would end up with either a very hurt or unconscious Witch, since if they both failed the save and the Witch wanted to save their little guy, they'd be taking double damage. And even then, eating a bunch of damage from a single-target attack is still likely not something a 6 HP/level full caster would appreciate anyways.

Pretty much this. Technically, a witch and familiar take separate damage from a fireball, and while gms in my area tend to ignore or forget this as long as the familiar is just sitting on your shoulder granting bonuses or whatever, it would be nice if we could have a specific rule that prevents familiars dying to AoE's because the master can't afford the hp after the damage they themselves take.

Lifelink also becomes a bit of a familiar ability tax for the witch, since they have to keep their familiar alive at all costs.


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

"As long as a familiar is on your person, it cannot be targeted, unless you choose for it to be. Any such affects target you instead." Might be a nice rule for familiars in general.


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Indeed, Lifelink isn't a direct replacement to straight up HP sharing, but it does help mitigate the Familiar dying issue some so I felt it worth pointing out.

I do think that a straight HP share would be an issue balance wise if the Witch got that option too early, definitely at level 1. Perhaps if it was an "improved" familiar ability similar to the speak with others power at level 6 (perhaps they can extend it to the Summoner when it's released).


As we talk about this, I'm surprised that elements of the Synergist witch didn't make it in as class feats. A lot of the base classes took popular archetypes and melded them into the base class feats as core options. The ability to merge with / commune / join with a witches familiar feels like it should probably be accessible.


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I still doubt altering familiars is a good way to do this.
The problem isn't familiars being too squishy (yeah even after what happened to Mycroft), it's your spellbook going poof.

Familiars need to be made use of, or they're not a class feature.
Your spell repertoire cannot risk disappearing for a week.
Class features should not be written to permanently destroy your own equipment (yes, spells are equipment, just because you don't list the scrolls on your sheet doesn't mean you didn't buy them).


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Ediwir wrote:

I still doubt altering familiars is a good way to do this.

The problem isn't familiars being too squishy (yeah even after what happened to Mycroft), it's your spellbook going poof.

Familiars need to be made use of, or they're not a class feature.
Your spell repertoire cannot risk disappearing for a week.
Class features should not be written to permanently destroy your own equipment (yes, spells are equipment, just because you don't list the scrolls on your sheet doesn't mean you didn't buy them).

Got there before me with the same point I was going to make.

I am thinking that maybe witches get their familiars back sooner and have a physical object called "patron's gift" that the familiar can imbue with powers. (a spellbook for witches, but something that cannot be read by anything other than familiars).

That essentially brings witches directly in line with Wizards except not being a spell book stops it from being as easy to copy spells to and from.


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Honestly, I think both wizards and witches could do with some kind of mechanic for restoring their lost spell receptacle. Like: maybe there could be some kind of ritual for this kind of thing?

Maybe witches could access the ritual for free but other classes with lose-able spell lists could hunt it down.


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Excaliburproxy wrote:

Honestly, I think both wizards and witches could do with some kind of mechanic for restoring their lost spell receptacle. Like: maybe there could be some kind of ritual for this kind of thing?

Maybe witches could access the ritual for free but other classes with lose-able spell lists could hunt it down.

I like that characters can lose spells, i am even happy for the witch to lose spells permanently. Just not being tied to common gameplay mechanics and a squishy easily killed class feature.

If a character is to lose major power it should be because the gm made very specific choices and considerations. Not that they followed the basic combat rules.


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I have to agree with Excalibur. It's not a great mechanic in general.

For a Wizard, it's not going to happen unless the GM goes out of their way to make it happen, but for a mid or high level wizard it can be borderline career ending and I don't really like the idea of there being such a blatant off switch for a character.

Clerics, Druids and Paladins have anathema, but those are generally about things they do, not things that happen to them.

Witches on the other hand, it just happens way too easily.

And given how generally mediocre familiars are, I don't think it'd even be broken if a mid level witch could just resurrect their pet at-will with no punishment. Just make it a ritual that takes an hour.


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So the pet is a roleplaying element. A wizard can have a book in his pouch, the witch a rabbit, but only one of them gets roasted if there is a chance of fireballs in the local weather forecast. I get it why everything living has to have simulated life, but this is one of those things where I cannot help but go back to the age old bad doctor advice: "Help my Witch player's pet keeps dying!" "Well stop killing it".

Ah yes but the pigeon the witch has could possibly fly and spy and carry small keys in my dungeon puzzle, truly this practical use for it requires us to make sure it has an entry in the list of targets the dungeon monsters have and truly one of the disposable mooks will make his job to make sure the pet pig gets chopped up. But from narrative perspective, it is not really immersion breaking if the fairy companion manages to survive each encounter.

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