Is a familiar worth it?


Advice

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WatersLethe wrote:
Gain favor with the Familiar fanatics at the wizard academy.

+4 diplomacy bonus when talking to that cute freshman at your wizard academy.

...which is honestly why most people go into this major, really.


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Debelinho wrote:
it can for sure fetch items with negligible weight, bc no str is required or mentioned. technically, you can carry 5 bulk + str modifier...so even if that is 0, it could potentially still lift 9 L items before it's limit :)

" A Tiny creature treats 10 items of negligible Bulk as 1 Bulk." "A Tiny creature doesn’t treat any items as having negligible Bulk." Core Rulebook pg. 295 As to bulk calculations, we're outside the rules as there is no way to figure it out without a stat modifier and familiars have no so it's 100% up to the DM so you familiar may or may not be able to lift anything.

Debelinho wrote:
where does it say that you need a str score to use manipulate actions?

To grab and/or store an item, you're going to have to pick it up: you can't grab and store a 30 bulk boulder because you can't lift for example. Now if the manipulate action doesn't involve pushing, pulling or lifting, then it wouldn't need str.

Debelinho wrote:
AoE spells? fireball is 21 dmg on average, your familiar has 25hp at 5th level...he won't die any more than you will.

Yeah... you yourself JUST pointed out why you'll see a familiar knocked out: 4 points over average and the familiar takes one for the team. Not max but JUST 4 more than average. So not every time but just a lot of the time it dies... I feel so much better. :(

Debelinho wrote:
also, stowing your familiar in your backpack doesn't prevent AoE dmg by the rules, so that is just fluff.

"Line of Effect

Source Core Rulebook pg. 457
When creating an effect, you usually need an unblocked path to the target of a spell, the origin point of an effect’s area, or the place where you create something with a spell or other ability. This is called a line of effect. You have line of effect unless a creature is entirely behind a solid physical barrier." There is no line of effect from a fireball and a familiar in a backpack, hence no damage.


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Quandary wrote:
It says you are channeling "your magic" into either "familiar or master abilities".

I don't think you're a master of a familiar if you don't have a familiar... It's not real clear though so toss it in the 'ask the dm' pile.


The main issue with familiars is that depending on GMs you have different rules. The more limiting GMs are killing most familiar uses, the more allowing ones give some space to use them.


Squiggit wrote:
Draco18s wrote:
You should've gone with a pet rock.

I know you're joking but you can't!

Pyura Chilensis? best familiar.


I am torn.
On one hand I am a huge fan of familiar and want them to be awesome.
On the other hand I like balance and a familiar is a first level feat that many classes and an ancestry can take.

Hopefully they will have option to be more awesome bu I imagine that this will come with the witch. The witch should have many class feat to have a better familiar (hopefully) and on top of that there will be an archetype called familiar master that should be good with it. I cross my fingers for more feats for familiar in general.

A familiar should be "bad" because indeed 90% of what it gives is the extra cantrips and spells. Making familiar good at doing things by themeselves can lead to a great action economy (see right now the multiple alchemist that lament that they feel they HAVE TO take a familiar for their quick alchemy. I think they otherreact but that's not the point). Action economy can be worth one or multiple feats by itself depending on the action so I don't think it should be on the base kit of a furball.

Right now the familiar is good for an alchemist and okayish for a mage (tend to be better if you GM allow you to use it creatively) but I am sure that in the future, with enough new feats, familiar will be able to be awesome if you sacrifice enough feats (like for animal companions)


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Ruzza wrote:

What sort of games are you playing in? That sounds awful and I would leave them?

Edit: There are GMs out there that see class abilities and features and try and stop them. We call that out as bad GMing when it happens. Why not here, too?

"Oooh, I wrote this dilemma that's gonna make the champion fall for sure!"

"The whole dungeon is covered in an anti-magic field!"

"I kill the PCs' familiars."

We play RAW games and the DM role play each group of enemies appropriately. I'm not saying every time it scouted it was shot. But it was always a risk and did happen more than once.

If there is a small weak creature being any sort of involvement in combat like giving out potions and such and the enemy doesn't attack it I'd say your DM is being soft handed.


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Gonna be honest any dm and players I play with are going to view using familiar features while your familiar with dead as soon RAI and potentially not RAW along with trying to game common sense.

Unless you could make a convincing argument to using it on your dead familiar and keep it's rotting corpse around. Even then I can see them ruling if it's dead it cannot be used for such things as it was more than it's physical body letting you use these features.


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Martialmasters wrote:
Ruzza wrote:

What sort of games are you playing in? That sounds awful and I would leave them?

Edit: There are GMs out there that see class abilities and features and try and stop them. We call that out as bad GMing when it happens. Why not here, too?

"Oooh, I wrote this dilemma that's gonna make the champion fall for sure!"

"The whole dungeon is covered in an anti-magic field!"

"I kill the PCs' familiars."

We play RAW games and the DM role play each group of enemies appropriately. I'm not saying every time it scouted it was shot. But it was always a risk and did happen more than once.

If there is a small weak creature being any sort of involvement in combat like giving out potions and such and the enemy doesn't attack it I'd say your DM is being soft handed.

I honestly prefer combats where the GM plays the monsters as ruthless, cunning and tactically devious enemies (when appropriate for the creatures in question). I enjoy being intellectually challenged by the game, so I regularly ask my GM not to pull his punches (because I certainly won't).

If I where to start using a familiar to gain a tactical advantage in combat, I wouldn't hold it against my GM if a hobgoblin archer decided to take a few potshots at the familiar.

There is a difference between being a dick "the dungeon is covered in an anti-magic field because I didn't talk to my players about expectations surrounding spells that bypass challenges" (the anti-magic field thing is almost always a result of GM frustration with players turning into ethereal ghosts or flying to bypass the entire dungeon by just flying into the treasure room.) and playing the creatures in a challenging manner "Hobgoblins are cunning, devious and underhanded, they will eliminate the weak first".


graystone wrote:
Quandary wrote:
It says you are channeling "your magic" into either "familiar or master abilities".
I don't think you're a master of a familiar if you don't have a familiar... It's not real clear though so toss it in the 'ask the dm' pile.

Familiar and Master are names of two categories of abilities granted by the feat which you can freely select every day.

Familiar category abilities do require active Familiar to really function, because they grant abilities to "it", necessarily meaning the Familiar.
Master category abilities all explicitly refer to "you", which YOU clearly qualify as, irregardless whether you qualify as "Master" without active Familiar. /shrug
Seems to me to be clear by RAW, and addresses complaint the Feat value is undermined by Familiar being easily killed until spending 1 week downtime.
To be fair, there currently is lack of Master Ability options to fully utilize more than 2 Ability allotments this way (i.e. with Thesis or Enhanced Familiar Feat).

graystone wrote:
Debelinho wrote:
it can for sure fetch items with negligible weight, bc no str is required or mentioned. technically, you can carry 5 bulk + str modifier...so even if that is 0, it could potentially still lift 9 L items before it's limit :)
" A Tiny creature treats 10 items of negligible Bulk as 1 Bulk." "A Tiny creature doesn’t treat any items as having negligible Bulk." Core Rulebook pg. 295 As to bulk calculations, we're outside the rules as there is no way to figure it out without a stat modifier and familiars have no so it's 100% up to the DM so you familiar may or may not be able to lift anything.

Hmmm... Even a minimal 1 STR (-5 modifier) Tiny creature (which is anomaly for real Tiny creatures, which glancing at PRD mostly range from -3 to +1 modifier, with -4 being absolute minimum example) would be able to carry 9 negligible items (functionally L items from it's perspective) before being Encumbered.

But the 5+ "limit" only determines threshold *before you are Encumbered*. Taking a -10 speed penalty (not below 5' speed) and DEX penalty, you can lift 10+STRmod Bulk (or 5 L in case of Tiny creature with minimal 1 STR, using the apparent paradigm of one unit shift i.e. N->L->B), which is more than enough to carry and manipulate alchemical items (although the speed penalty might impact "delivering" them to other non-adjacent locations/characters). Glancing at PRD, I can't tell whether Potions are L or N by RAW(?), but either way his proposed use cases (both Potions and Alchemical items) seem entirely possible, with Manipulate to "open door" not clearly invoking Encumbrance as requirement. Even real 1 Bulk items could be dragged by 1 STR Tiny creature with Drag limit of 10 L (at effective movement speed of 5' per 2 actions).

greystone wrote:
Debelinho wrote:
AoE spells? fireball is 21 dmg on average, your familiar has 25hp at 5th level...he won't die any more than you will.
Yeah... you yourself JUST pointed out why you'll see a familiar knocked out: 4 points over average and the familiar takes one for the team. Not max but JUST 4 more than average. So not every time but just a lot of the time it dies... I feel so much better. :(

I think the discussion of exact amount of damage (4 points over average or otherwise) is irrelevant, considering (as he earlier pointed out): exact hp damage rolls don't impact Dying state, which will be Dying 1, or if a Crit reduces Familiar to 0, Dying 2. At which point they have multiple chances to Recover, barring two AoE Crits in a row, or GM choosing to attack the Unconscious Dying Familiar (with at least one Crit). Obviously that doesn't 100% remove the possibility of Death, but if you're so interested in real chances of death so as to precisely compare average Fireball damage to Familiar HPs, it seems absurd to ignore how Dying mechanics impact real chances of Death.


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I think your not a master of any familiar when you don't have a familiar due to it being dead


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All I can say is that in my 3 years of GMing (I know not a lot compared to a lot of you) I have definitely killed more PCs than I have familiars. Even if you include non-familiar small pets in that count.


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I'm not sure how you can use your familiar as a Spell Battery without having a familiar.

Where are you storing that power? In yourself? Why can't a wizard without a familiar do this?


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WatersLethe wrote:

Ignoring all mechanical/numerical effects, here are some things a familiar can be used for:

Low level flying reconnaissance.

Item retrieval from hard to access places (burrow/flight).

Low risk infiltration as a species common to an area.

Non-threateningly approach and calm a frightened child.

Delight patrons at a bar while you gather info.

Keep watch.

Deliver messages to the princess who's under lock and key.

Start a fire on the other side of the castle.

Gather information from wildlife.

Gain favor with the Familiar fanatics at the wizard academy.

Signal the second team when to start the attack.

...

I mean, if your game has nothing similar to any of these, I'm glad I'm not playing in it.

Except a familiar is a minion and a minion won't do anything without being ordered constantly. Barely anything you're suggesting here is possible.

Malk_Content wrote:
graystone wrote:
Malk_Content wrote:


I can understand some familiar being killed on recon "ah snake kill it" but most why would that happen. Like oh no your crow failed its stealth check the bandit spots it and goes "Oh a crow."
Most likely because of the guy on the ground yelling commands at it every turn
Yelling telepathically from up to a mile away. This is before we get into the fact that minion is an encounter restrictive state, though this is one of those gm fuzzy grey areas you hate so hopefully the gmg will have some words on what minions do out of combat (this my biggest bugbear with the system honestly)

This is not how empathic link works. You cannot use it to deliver a message, let alone give orders.


Quandary wrote:
Seems to me to be clear by RAW, and addresses complaint the Feat value is undermined by Familiar being easily killed until spending 1 week downtime.

I'll agree to disagree: I don't see RAW allowing it. I'll meet you in the middle if you wanted to say it was a grey area.

Quandary wrote:
Even a minimal 1

This is the wrong way to look at it: they don't have a strength at all. We can't even prove they have a min str of 1 or calculate their carry through RAW. So we can't calculate what a str 1 creature can do because that's not a familiar, it's str [undefined] error. Could it lift/carry/push/pull things? Maybe, better ask your DM as it's all up to him.

Quandary wrote:
Dying state

"Creatures cannot be reduced to fewer than 0 Hit Points. When most creatures reach 0 Hit Points, they die and are removed from play unless the attack was nonlethal." Core Rulebook pg. 459

"As a player character, when you are reduced to 0 Hit Points, you’re knocked out with the following effects:
You immediately move your initiative position to directly before the turn in which you were reduced to 0 HP.
You gain the dying 1 condition. If the effect that knocked you out was a critical success from the attacker or the result of your critical failure, you gain the dying 2 condition instead. If you have the wounded condition, increase your dying value by an amount equal to your wounded value. If the damage was dealt by a nonlethal attack or nonlethal effect, you don’t gain the dying condition; you are instead unconscious with 0 Hit Points." Core Rulebook pg. 459

As familiars are NOT PC's, they do not gain dying but go directly to dead.


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Familiar's gain the Dying condition, it applies to PC companions: "Player characters, their companions, and other significant characters and creatures don’t automatically die when they reach 0 Hit Points."

And Familiars can carry L bulk items as they can use Quick Alchemy. So, there's no question about the ability of a familiar to carry L bulk items, just about how many they can carry.


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SuperBidi wrote:
Familiar's gain the Dying condition, it applies to PC companions: "Player characters, their companions, and other significant characters and creatures don’t automatically die when they reach 0 Hit Points."

Do you have a page number on that? I'd like to see the context of that in it's paragraph.

SuperBidi wrote:
And Familiars can carry L bulk items as they can use Quick Alchemy. So, there's no question about the ability of a familiar to carry L bulk items, just about how many they can carry.

They can use that but nothing says they can carry what they create. After all neither can an alchemist when they create 3 items and only have 2 hands to hold 2 of them: what's different about creating 1 and not being able to hold it?


I'm disappointed with familiars too, not because they're useless (they are marginally useful), but because their 2 best abilities, the extra spell slot and the extra focus point, have really nothing to do with the familiars. These are abilities that encourage you to forget about the familiar entirely, it doesn't require them interacting with anything! New abilities that didn't exist in previous editions to justify their existence. Actually, void that, people were getting +4 initiative scorpions and forgetting about them too.

There might as well be a feat that gives you those benefits without a familiar. It would be like saying your rogue gains +1d6 sneak attack damage if they got a familiar, for... reasons. It's a tangible benefit many rogues will want, but it has nothing to do with the cute pet!

I believe the abilities familair gets and grants should require some interaction with the creature or activity from their part. The PF1 feats/archetypes were able to do this. Maybe the familiar should be the one casting the spell/focus spell or something.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
FlashRebel wrote:
WatersLethe wrote:

Ignoring all mechanical/numerical effects, here are some things a familiar can be used for:

Low level flying reconnaissance.

Item retrieval from hard to access places (burrow/flight).

Low risk infiltration as a species common to an area.

Non-threateningly approach and calm a frightened child.

Delight patrons at a bar while you gather info.

Keep watch.

Deliver messages to the princess who's under lock and key.

Start a fire on the other side of the castle.

Gather information from wildlife.

Gain favor with the Familiar fanatics at the wizard academy.

Signal the second team when to start the attack.

...

I mean, if your game has nothing similar to any of these, I'm glad I'm not playing in it.

Except a familiar is a minion and a minion won't do anything without being ordered constantly. Barely anything you're suggesting here is possible.

Minion rules only apply to Combat, not Exploration Mode.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

If empathic link doesn't let you command your familiar then familiars are uncommandable without the Speech ability as the don't understand language.


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graystone wrote:
SuperBidi wrote:
Familiar's gain the Dying condition, it applies to PC companions: "Player characters, their companions, and other significant characters and creatures don’t automatically die when they reach 0 Hit Points."

Do you have a page number on that? I'd like to see the context of that in it's paragraph.

SuperBidi wrote:
And Familiars can carry L bulk items as they can use Quick Alchemy. So, there's no question about the ability of a familiar to carry L bulk items, just about how many they can carry.
They can use that but nothing says they can carry what they create. After all neither can an alchemist when they create 3 items and only have 2 hands to hold 2 of them: what's different about creating 1 and not being able to hold it?

Page 459.

They can carry L bulk items, otherwise they wouldn't be able to perform Quick Alchemy as you need reagents for that.

You dislike familiars, Graystone, and clearly, if you're my DM, I would not play with one. But many people allow me to use my familiars in a non overpowered but interesting way.


Draco18s wrote:
Quote:
Is a familiar worth it?
No.

Really depends. For alchemists chirugeons and mutagens the ability to get an extra reagent at low levels per day helps a lot with their low level problems of lack of uses per day of their main feature. At later levels they can then be a useful potion delivery system that helps their weird action economy out some.

I suspect with the witch addition in the advanced player guide familiars are going to get a LOT more fleshed out.

The Exchange

Malk_Content wrote:
If empathic link doesn't let you command your familiar then familiars are uncommandable without the Speech ability as the don't understand language.

Most familiars were originally animals and become something more and you can command them as a minion (p217).

Thus, it appears that you could give them any command that you could give to an animal (by shouting at it, talking to it, signalling it, etc).

You can communicate with it (but not necessarily command it) empathically up to a mile away as an additional innate ability but that is not the only non-language way you can communicate with it assuming it can hear/see you.

Of course, other issues remain such as: How to handle non animal familiars, what commands you can give it, how would you train an animal to give you a focus point back except as a new trick (which is not possible RAW in PFS for example), etc.


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You can't empathically communicate with a familiar. You just sense each other's emotional state.

I have a level 5 wizard with a familiar that has been useful outside of battle (never within battle). It has never died, but it hides in an iron cooking pot (with a lid) in my backpack during fights. I have used it to send long distance messages, such as when I stealthed ahead of the group or when we were late getting to a rendezvous due to a detour we took. We also use it to scout. It was shot at once but the archer missed. It has saved my wizard's life when I failed a perception check for a trap but my monkey succeeded. Being mostly nocturnal, it also wakes up sleeping party members when our lone watchman is under attack, so our sentry can focus on other tasks. it has been moderately useful and moreso for role-play opportunities.


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

I laugh when I hear people justifying things with RAW these days. 2nd Edition has more or less killed the concept of RAW. The new Gamemastery Guide makes it pretty clear too.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

The GM can adjudicate the game they're running?

*GASP*


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Ravingdork wrote:
2nd Edition has more or less killed the concept of RAW.

To be fair, RAW's never really been a thing outside CharOp forums anyways.


OK I think I can sum up what went wrong with the familiar in 2E: familiar abilities are supposed to be everything. Just look at the feats: Familiar gives the familiar with a cap of two abilities, Enhanced Familiar raises the cap by two. As if the familiar itself was supposed to be nothing.

There is also a noticeable balance problem between the abilities: giving extra movement options to a creature that doesn't do anything interesting on its own and cannot act independently adds zero value, having an extra spell slot, an extra cantrip, an extra focus point during a big encounter or more reagents for alchemists already feels more appealing. And none of these improve the famialiar in itself but rather its master. It's quite telling when abilities that don't require the familiar to do anything other than staying out of trouble are popular.

What I would personally ask for is for the familiar to be able to do substantial things by itself. If every creature under a PC's control must have the minion trait to not have the level of independence of a PC and to avoid stretching encounters like crazy and smashing the action economy, so be it. When I see the work done with animal companions, to give them distinct abilities and evolution paths with further feats without making them feel like an extra PC, I really wonder what went wrong with familiars. It wouldn't be hard to have a choice between several creature types with different stats, movement options and skill proficiencies, and think about all those special abilities with later feats and evolutions. The reason why an animal companion can remain helpful fon level 1 to 20 is mainly because it can evolve three times during its master's growth. The familiar is stuck without any possible evolution except for two classes, one with a specific career path to choose at level 1 for it.


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Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Rysky wrote:

The GM can adjudicate the game they're running?

*GASP*

Why yes! Wouldn't you believe it? They're even ENCOURAGED to do so! What a world we live in! What. a. world!


Yes thrive my children! let loose the hounds!


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Ravingdork wrote:
I laugh when I hear people justifying things with RAW these days. 2nd Edition has more or less killed the concept of RAW. The new Gamemastery Guide makes it pretty clear too.

Thanks for the Jab! Appreciate it.

We also follow logical flow and common sense.

Your not a master of what your a master of is dead


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Martialmasters wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
I laugh when I hear people justifying things with RAW these days. 2nd Edition has more or less killed the concept of RAW. The new Gamemastery Guide makes it pretty clear too.

Thanks for the Jab! Appreciate it.

We also follow logical flow and common sense.

Your not a master of what your a master of is dead

A game needs clearly defined rules that every player must abide to to even be considered a game. Respecting the RAW and believing there is something wrong with the current ruleset are not incompatible points of view.


FlashRebel wrote:
Martialmasters wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
I laugh when I hear people justifying things with RAW these days. 2nd Edition has more or less killed the concept of RAW. The new Gamemastery Guide makes it pretty clear too.

Thanks for the Jab! Appreciate it.

We also follow logical flow and common sense.

Your not a master of what your a master of is dead

A game needs clearly defined rules that every player must abide to to even be considered a game. Respecting the RAW and believing there is something wrong with the current ruleset are not incompatible points of view.

Given what you quoted I'm not following but to address your reply, that is fair?

Grand Lodge

Definitely not being sarcastic wrote:
Yes thrive my children! let loose the hounds!

Hounds? Plural?

Can you command all the hounds with one action? Or does each hound require its own action? ;-)


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Aristophanes wrote:

Can you command all the hounds with one action? Or does each hound require its own action? ;-)

You know, I've asked that very question on these forums before.


Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

As a GM, I intend to allow people to sic trained animals on enemies by taking GM control over them.

Haven't had the opportunity yet, but for animal companions they'll perform to their intelligence and instincts which will eat up a ton of actions and make their tactics sub-optimal.

For a group of hounds I would reserve the right to turn them into a troop if it's a big enough group. For a handful, I'd run with them as normal.

Hounds yapping at each other, blocking the way of melee characters, attacking only enemies facing away from them, fleeing, or any number of other realistic yet undesirable animal behaviors will make a big difference on how frequently the tactic will be used.


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FlashRebel wrote:
Did you even play the game? Familiars had their uses but would clearly never replace a party member. No amount of extra gold and achetype combinations can make a familiar as powerful as a PC.

Despite your attacking me directly, yes, I've played 1e and most of my PCs have used familiars extensively. I've played:

A transmutation wizard with a songbird familiar (level 8)
A grenadier alchemist with a protector (later converted to normal after errata) tumor familiar (level 10)
An eyebiter mesmerist with a sage eyeball familiar (level 13)
An enchantment wizard with an imp "familiar" via Diabolist class (level 16)
An amnesiac psychic with an improved pipefox familiar (level 11)

If you quell your forum rage for a minute, you'll note that I didn't say they'd replace a party member, but that they act like a second party member for the PC. They add an extra standard, move, and swift action for a player. In the case when you're dealing with improved familiars, those standard actions can be used to activate magic items freeing up other choices for the main character. That is huge.

FlashRebel wrote:
Is that a joke? 2E familiars don't even have the most basic features 1E familiars had, some didn't even make it as optional familiar abilities.

This is the list of powers a 1e familiar has in the core rulebook:

alertness, improved evasion, share spells, empathic link, deliver touch spells, speak with master, speak with animals of its kind, spell resistance, scry on familiar. You got those powers regardless of whether you could use them or not or would use them or not. As with every class, it appears in 2E they've instead opted to let you buy into the powers you want and need.

alertness = cut passive bonus
improved evasion = damage avoidance
share spells = no 2e version, probably intentional to avoid shenanigans
empathic link = base power
deliver touch spells = spell delivery
speak with master = speech
speak with animals of its kind = kinspeech
spell resistance = doesn't exist, but life link is available
scry on familiar = no 2e version, probably intentional due to downplaying divination magic

Aside from the above list, a 1e familiar was going to give you the equivalent of a skill focus feat (+3 to a skill) or an improved save feat (+2 to a save, usually superior). In 2e, you're getting bonus cantrips, bonus spells, extra reagents,

So no, a 2e familiar isn't going to have all of those powers but it can have most of them at various times. The same can be said of a 1e druid vs. a 2e druid, though. And when you remove passive bonuses, the comparison between 1e and 2e looks even better.

Bottom line, a 1e familiar gave you extra actions and the equivalent of a passive bonus feat. It scaled up in power regardless of whether you used it or not. In 2e, you're still getting extra actions and the equivalent of a feat with the option to buy in as much or as little as you want. And you're less constrained to a handful of "optimal" familiar types. And your familiar has some of the capability baked into 1e improved familiars right from the start thanks to manual dexterity.

I'm not arguing 2e familiars are perfect, but it's utterly ridiculous to take a hardline stance and say they're useless. And it's even weirder to not expect more familiar abilities to be published over time the same way more familiar abilities were published over time in 1e. We've already seen they can expand on the designs of a class across multiple books (e.g. hellknight armigers, fighters, champions have all had additions tacked onto their base lists) in the same way casters get their spell lists expanded over time.


cavernshark wrote:

This is the list of powers a 1e familiar has in the core rulebook:

alertness, improved evasion, share spells, empathic link, deliver touch spells, speak with master, speak with animals of its kind, spell resistance, scry on familiar. You got those powers regardless of whether you could use them or not or would use them or not. As with every class, it appears in 2E they've instead opted to let you buy into the powers you want and need.

alertness = cut passive bonus
improved evasion = damage avoidance
share spells = no 2e version, probably intentional to avoid shenanigans
empathic link = base power
deliver touch spells = spell delivery
speak with master = speech
speak with animals of its kind = kinspeech
spell resistance = doesn't exist, but life link is available
scry on familiar = no 2e version, probably intentional due to downplaying divination magic

So, in other words, to get the "base built-ins" from PF1 you need to spend 4 of your available 2 familiar powers in PF2. Plus 1 for a movement mode, if your familiar had it, plus 1 for a vision mode, if your familiar had it.


WatersLethe wrote:

As a GM, I intend to allow people to sic trained animals on enemies by taking GM control over them.

Haven't had the opportunity yet, but for animal companions they'll perform to their intelligence and instincts which will eat up a ton of actions and make their tactics sub-optimal.

For a group of hounds I would reserve the right to turn them into a troop if it's a big enough group. For a handful, I'd run with them as normal.

Hounds yapping at each other, blocking the way of melee characters, attacking only enemies facing away from them, fleeing, or any number of other realistic yet undesirable animal behaviors will make a big difference on how frequently the tactic will be used.

Having pets attacking on own initiative with all 3 actions? That kind of fun is reserved exclusively for NPCs!


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

One thing I'm noticing is the emphasis in this thread on the idea that the master abilities don't count because they somehow aren't 'involved with a familiar' despite the obvious fact that they require a familiar to use.

A familiar, by it's nature, is a tool a spell caster uses to aid them in their art, its not the kind of animal companion that a ranger has that fights in melee or something, its there to enhance spell casting.

Spell Battery, The Focus Restore (which does indeed stack with the others that have been brought up, including the drain bonded item restore, and the Gnome ancestry feat), and Spell Delivery all suit this model of what a familiar ought to be, and I think the idea that they're arbitrarily not a part of the discussion of whether a familiar is worth it is easily dismissed.

Exo-Guardians

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Malk_Content wrote:
Fly/burrow and manipulate at level one let's a caster do things otherwise impossible at early levels if you are imaginative.

in case you haven't noticed these forums are an imagination-free zone. any attempt at fun or creativity gets countered with "that's less mechanically optimal than X, therefore it's completely worthless and you should just pick X every time". never fails


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Draco18s wrote:
So, in other words, to get the "base built-ins" from PF1 you need to spend 4 of your available 2 familiar powers in PF2. Plus 1 for a movement mode, if your familiar had it, plus 1 for a vision mode, if your familiar had it.

Yes. Exactly how a druid needs to take multiple feats to keep an animal companion up to snuff or to empower wild shape with lots of additional forms. Or how a cleric needs to invest a lot of feats to maximize harming with font energy. Or how a sorcerer needs to invest multiple feats to maximize damaging spells.

I don't understand why it's shocking that a class feature as extensible as the familiar wouldn't also require some investment on the part of the player.


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cavernshark wrote:
I don't understand why it's shocking that a class feature as extensible as the familiar wouldn't also require some investment on the part of the player.

There's a difference between "spending all of your resources improving a feature" and "spending all of your resources to HAVE a feature."


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Familiars actually offer some pretty nice benefits in this game, and many familiar abilities are worth around a class feat or half a class feat. The cantrip one is worth half of cantrip expansion, familiar focus is straight up a class feat.

For scouting, just use message to handle long distance commanding, assuming your DM make you issue commands even in exploration mode. In almost every case, a scouting familiar realistically shouldn't be attacked, it's not like their magical status is obvious, unless you have like a winged cat or something, and even then, the person finding would need a reason to suspect it's a spy before just up and opening fire (though some curious folk might try to follow or track it)

As per combat, just stuff it in your bag. It's protected via line of effect rules. Odds are your enemies would rather kill the wizard than the familiar anyways.

Not sure if they get the benefit of the dying rules for 0 hp or not; at my table they do, if only because imo animal companions and familiars are part of the pc, but ymmv unless theres an offical statement somewhere. If they do benefit from the dying rules, it's pretty easy to reduce a familiar to 0 hp, but fairly hard to straight up kill it for real.


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Hugolinus wrote:
You can't empathically communicate with a familiar. You just sense each other's emotional state.

You can’t verbally communicate with a human. You just sense each other’s voice box auditory states.


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Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Xenocrat wrote:
Hugolinus wrote:
You can't empathically communicate with a familiar. You just sense each other's emotional state.
You can’t verbally communicate with a human. You just sense each other’s voice box auditory states.

XD


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How about insted of looking at the bad side we look at the familiar as a single class feat (or raceial feat) that gives all these options?

Is there a single feat or even pair of feats(adding enhanced) that gives this huge selection of options and abilitys?

The drawback is that it is possable to have the fimiliar killed but it's replaceable in a week. There are a ton of ways to help protect your fimiliar from hideing it in a backpack to a special carrier to (one of my favorites) a gourd Leshy keeping him in his head.

The feat also unlocks a ton of roleplaying options cause no matter how you slice it your fimiliar is another entity for you and your companions to interact with. Outside of combat Familiars do whatever they instinctually/personality wise would do. This could be as little as purching on a shoulder and looking cute to rifleing through other ppl's packs looking for shiney things to make a nest out of, or singing bad evlen poetery. The sky is the limit. All for just one or two feats.

Don't look at it as a downgrade from PF1's familiars look at it as a dam good and fun PF2 Class Feat.


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Timeshadow wrote:

How about insted of looking at the bad side we look at the familiar as a single class feat (or raceial feat) that gives all these options?

Is there a single feat or even pair of feats(adding enhanced) that gives this huge selection of options and abilitys?

The drawback is that it is possable to have the fimiliar killed but it's replaceable in a week. There are a ton of ways to help protect your fimiliar from hideing it in a backpack to a special carrier to (one of my favorites) a gourd Leshy keeping him in his head.

The feat also unlocks a ton of roleplaying options cause no matter how you slice it your fimiliar is another entity for you and your companions to interact with. Outside of combat Familiars do whatever they instinctually/personality wise would do. This could be as little as purching on a shoulder and looking cute to rifleing through other ppl's packs looking for shiney things to make a nest out of, or singing bad evlen poetery. The sky is the limit. All for just one or two feats.

Don't look at it as a downgrade from PF1's familiars look at it as a dam good and fun PF2 Class Feat.

Role playing is the easy bit. What I'm looking for is non liability benefits.

Someone mentioned that there drain familiar ability for a focus point does not replace drain bond linked focus feat but adds to it.

That has potential use for me as I love going gnome for the action to regain focus and drain bond with linked focus feat to do the same.

But in my experience, familiars are combat liability and one week without my feats is a potential deal breaker.

Scouting is occasionally useful. But more often their are spells that can do that or better.

Everything else I've seen mentioned the familiar does quite poorly, so am not sold on those benefits.


Draco18s wrote:
cavernshark wrote:
I don't understand why it's shocking that a class feature as extensible as the familiar wouldn't also require some investment on the part of the player.
There's a difference between "spending all of your resources improving a feature" and "spending all of your resources to HAVE a feature."

I can't speak to a game where you only get a single class feat ever. Sounds kind of a lame house rule, personally, but I hope you have fun with it.


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cavernshark wrote:
Draco18s wrote:
cavernshark wrote:
I don't understand why it's shocking that a class feature as extensible as the familiar wouldn't also require some investment on the part of the player.
There's a difference between "spending all of your resources improving a feature" and "spending all of your resources to HAVE a feature."
I can't speak to a game where you only get a single class feat ever. Sounds kind of a lame house rule, personally, but I hope you have fun with it.

I mean technically it costs more than one feat to maximize a familiar and I think he's questioning the value you get from that investment.

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