RIP Familiars


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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QuidEst wrote:

Not sure where this is coming from on a thread about familiars, but at the very least…

Quote:

I was watching the Youtube channel "How its played" and the cantrip mage hand was nerfed into oblivion. it isn't a "hand" with dexterity, there is no untying knots, no picking locks, no unbuckling of belts...

and there is no given reason for why.

… Why would there be a reason given? You're comparing a PF2 spell to a D&D 5e spell. The PF2 version of the spell didn't come from D&D 5e. In Pathfinder, Mage Hand has always been the name for the cantrip to move an object, and the spell was buffed from PF1 with a scaling weight limit and higher movement speed.

- I couldn't find anything called Legends of Cleric B.

my thoughts are related to "arbitrary rule changes". I am replying to a few elements of your post. I do not mean to offend in any way what so ever.

as to mage hand; Wasn't there a PF1E rogue or mage capable of picking locks from 30ft distance, with... Mage hand? this is why I am lost as to why "mage hand" being nerfed so.
I would hardly call mage hand "Scaling with level" Compare electric arc cast by a 20th level evoker, to a 20th level anything using mage hand. if spells had to be point built, ala Champions/Hero games/Gurps...
How would "2 bulk" compare to the 10d6+ of telekinetic projectile? A level 0 produce flame can light cloth on fire, a level 10 produce flame can blast holes through STEEL SHIELDS! how does that compare?

I intended "legends of cleric B" as a figurative example of a "NORMAL EARTH" where OOPARTS exist, but academia is desperate to deny their existence. Someone like Mesmer can be followed around by the likes of Benjamin Franklin, witness the healing(S) Mesmer is said to have done... but Franklin would still claim none such ever happened.
That you could personally experience something paranormal, take pictures, etc. and the whole world will still call you a liar, charlatan, huckster, hoaxer, or Con artist.

I don't like my fantasy worlds to be perpetually stuck in year 1066 ad. battle of Hastings tapestry.
I liked pathfinder 1e, because the investigator and gunslinger hinted at a progress of history and technology (1700+) then the vigilante seemed to hint at early (1900's) comics and books that smacked of Jules Verne.

if magic is a parallel of technology, the passage of time means that industrious magic item makers will sooner or later invent "Permanent anti-mosquito shells", chambers with "variable atmospheric environmental tempering" (air conditioning+humidifier), "food pantries of temporal stasis" (refrigerators) "same day ravens" (postage) and "unlimited scrying of theater plays, with advertisement to pay the troops for their productions" (television with "programs")

Do I want a fantasy world that is a perfect copy of today? Nope.
I do however want to know that there is "change", that the battle of hastings does one day, come to an end.


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Ravingdork wrote:
...distract the guards (more difficultthan it souns).

Sure, you can throw them at the guards.

Ravingdork wrote:
...start fires (typically by knocking a torch or lantern over).

Sure you can light them on fire and throw them at things.

Ravingdork wrote:
...keep me from starving (for better or worse, they never look at you the same way thereafter; and quite frankly, neither does the party).

Sure you can eat it after you set it on fire.

Ravingdork wrote:

...case a joint.

...spy on enemy operations.

Sure, if you put them in the pockets of someone that can do that. Maybe throw it someplace.

Ravingdork wrote:
...trigger potential traps (they hate this; works best with witch).

Sure, you can throw it at it.

Ravingdork wrote:
Any GM who says the familiar is not capable of these things isn't a GM, but a mindless automaton that I will never play under.

*shrug* that's like saying 'I'm not playing that's not willing to make houserules for me!!!' Myself, I take that kind of a ruling as the expected ruling: if they allow more, great, but IMO the "mindless automaton" would be the one that expects them to work the same way as PF1 where they where actual independent creatures that didn't require commanding every 6 seconds as noted in the rules. DM's are people too, and they aren't required to be as invested in the PF1 familiar as you are.


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graystone wrote:
*snip for brevity* Sure, you can throw it at it.

So, what you're saying is that the best class to have a familiar is a Barbarian with Raging Thrower for that extra utility range?


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Asethe wrote:
graystone wrote:
*snip for brevity* Sure, you can throw it at it.
So, what you're saying is that the best class to have a familiar is a Barbarian with Raging Thrower for that extra utility range?

No, any class would do: the barbarian is for friendly toss so you can throw the familiar user. You get more range that way. ;)


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graystone wrote:
Asethe wrote:
graystone wrote:
*snip for brevity* Sure, you can throw it at it.
So, what you're saying is that the best class to have a familiar is a Barbarian with Raging Thrower for that extra utility range?
No, any class would do: the barbarian is for friendly toss so you can throw the familiar user. You get more range that way. ;)

Alright, what's the best "creature chucker" build now? Come on people we got some optimizing to do here.


I'd ask a question; if the familiar is something like a spider monkey why couldn't it dig through your Pack, (throwing things away) while you are in combat?
If the familiar is something like a chicken, and doesn't have the right bonuses (Familiar/master boons) applied to it, I would definitely say it can't do squat, outside of run like hades or taste delicious.

I agree with RavingDork about robot "RAW-DMs" we are playing a GAME, and the rule of cool is a thing. I also believe in role playing as much as Reasonable.

Someone playing a Lenny Vs. George (See, book by John Steinbeck, of mice and Men) with George as a fury barbarian with an 18 strength, 16 Dexterity, 18 Constitution, ...AAAANNNNNDDDD a 7 intelligence, 10 wisdom, and 7 charisma.

With the player not role playing these ability scores as they are?
I start to twitch, a lot. I start crunching on Zoloft like a PEZ addict to avoid opening my mouth. Inside I am YELLING; George wouldn't know that, George would forget all of those details, George is as much a danger to allies as he is to girls with soft curly hair...

I intuit the game as much as I play it, and wacky rules changes because ONE Nut, was once meta gaming like a fire poi performer in a fireworks factory... only serve to make me go...

"Okay, this needs to be ignored."


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Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Not sure how it can do this unless it's maybe Independent, since the biggest issue is the "Can't act unless commanded to" rule, especially in a pre-combat situation where a random encounter comes into play. But even then, most Familiars and Animal Companions can't do separate activities from their Masters, since the intent is that they aren't meant to give players more raw exploration activities than those who don't have them, merely more options to use their exploration activities on. The Eidolon rules are enough precedent for this, since they are specifically spelled out as being able to perform multiple exploration activities.

This is actually a case of ambiguous rules.

The Minion trait does not give any indication of how a minion creature behaves when not in encounter mode other than the ambiguous 'unattended' line. How long a command lasts during encounter mode is completely undefined. And actions and rounds are undefined in exploration mode entirely, so the question of how many actions per round a minion has during exploration mode makes no sense at all.

In order to define how long a command to a minion lasts, we have to extrapolate from the rules during encounter mode. But there are three valid extrapolations. One is that a command lasts 6 seconds - the same as during encounter mode. Another is that a command can last up to 1 minute - the time listed in the Minion trait when the minion becomes unattended. And the third is that the command will last until the task assigned is complete.

Of these three valid rulings on an ambiguous rule, only the 6 second ruling causes severe problems with several types of encounter mode scenes - stealth encounters, and chases of various forms.

Also, both animal companions and familiars are completely separate creatures from their master. Both types have their own hit points and action pools that they draw from. The explicit rule that allows an Eidolon to take an independent exploration activity can not be used to say that a familiar, animal companion, or hired minion cannot take an independent exploration activity. A Summoner/Eidolon pair is more one creature than a Druid and Animal Companion is. So the idea that a Summoner/Eidolon pair would be allowed more freedom during exploration than a Druid and Animal Companion (which have separate actions entirely) just seems silly. To my thinking, that rule is in place to prevent restrictive GMs from preventing a Summoner/Eidolon pair from taking two exploration activities - citing the idea that they share actions and are essentially one creature in two bodies, rather than the two separate creatures that a Witch and Familiar are.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
RoyAlan wrote:

With the player not role playing these ability scores as they are?

I start to twitch, a lot. I start crunching on Zoloft like a PEZ addict to avoid opening my mouth. Inside I am YELLING; George wouldn't know that, George would forget all of those details, George is as much a danger to allies as he is to girls with soft curly hair...

We have a player in our group who has been known to play the Int 7 Wis 10 Cha 7 barbarian who does that. The difference? He let's us know it!

"You guys know my character is the dumbest in the party, right? Why is it then that I'm always the one coming up with all the ideas. Do you not see the disconnect there? Aren't you players cleverer than my low-intelligence character?"

He doesn't play with us anymore.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
breithauptclan wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Not sure how it can do this unless it's maybe Independent, since the biggest issue is the "Can't act unless commanded to" rule, especially in a pre-combat situation where a random encounter comes into play. But even then, most Familiars and Animal Companions can't do separate activities from their Masters, since the intent is that they aren't meant to give players more raw exploration activities than those who don't have them, merely more options to use their exploration activities on. The Eidolon rules are enough precedent for this, since they are specifically spelled out as being able to perform multiple exploration activities.

This is actually a case of ambiguous rules.

The Minion trait does not give any indication of how a minion creature behaves when not in encounter mode other than the ambiguous 'unattended' line. How long a command lasts during encounter mode is completely undefined. And actions and rounds are undefined in exploration mode entirely, so the question of how many actions per round a minion has during exploration mode makes no sense at all.

In order to define how long a command to a minion lasts, we have to extrapolate from the rules during encounter mode. But there are three valid extrapolations. One is that a command lasts 6 seconds - the same as during encounter mode. Another is that a command can last up to 1 minute - the time listed in the Minion trait when the minion becomes unattended. And the third is that the command will last until the task assigned is complete.

Of these three valid rulings on an ambiguous rule, only the 6 second ruling causes severe problems with several types of encounter mode scenes - stealth encounters, and chases of various forms.

Also, both animal companions and familiars are completely separate creatures from their master. Both types have their own hit points and action pools that they draw from. The explicit rule that allows an Eidolon to take an...

Could not have said it better myself. Thank you for giving voice to what I could not.


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RoyAlan wrote:

my thoughts are related to "arbitrary rule changes". I am replying to a few elements of your post. I do not mean to offend in any way what so ever.

as to mage hand; Wasn't there a PF1E rogue or mage capable of picking locks from 30ft distance, with... Mage hand? this is why I am lost as to why "mage hand" being nerfed so.

No, the spell didn't allow picking locks. There were feats and prestige classes and so on that could allow experts to get more out of the spell and do those things, but Mage Hand itself did not allow any fine control.

RoyAlan wrote:

I would hardly call mage hand "Scaling with level" Compare electric arc cast by a 20th level evoker, to a 20th level anything using mage hand. if spells had to be point built, ala Champions/Hero games/Gurps...

How would "2 bulk" compare to the 10d6+ of telekinetic projectile? A level 0 produce flame can light cloth on fire, a level 10 produce flame can blast holes through STEEL SHIELDS! how does that compare?

Two bulk is about twenty pounds, four times what PF1's Mage Hand could lift. You were talking about the spell being nerfed, and I was pointing out that the spell was actually buffed from PF1.

RoyAlan wrote:

I intended "legends of cleric B" as a figurative example of a "NORMAL EARTH" where OOPARTS exist, but academia is desperate to deny their existence. Someone like Mesmer can be followed around by the likes of Benjamin Franklin, witness the healing(S) Mesmer is said to have done... but Franklin would still claim none such ever happened.

That you could personally experience something paranormal, take pictures, etc. and the whole world will still call you a liar, charlatan, huckster, hoaxer, or Con artist.

Ah. I did not get the reference there. Had to look up OOPArts too.

RoyAlan wrote:
if magic is a parallel of technology, the passage of time means that industrious magic item makers will sooner or later invent "Permanent anti-mosquito shells", chambers with "variable atmospheric environmental tempering" (air conditioning+humidifier), "food pantries of temporal stasis" (refrigerators) "same day ravens" (postage) and "unlimited scrying of theater plays, with advertisement to pay the troops for their productions" (television with "programs")

Magic is not a very good parallel of technology, because there is very little ease of replication. Somebody making magic items generally has to have spent years learning to do that- it can't be passed off to a machine, or somebody with less training. I'm sure the wealthy have pantries with preservation enchantments, and we know Jalmeray has bound elementals all sorts of things, but there's no major progress in affordability. Any sort of permanent scrying is very expensive, and much more likely to be used for espionage. But, Starfinder does show us that eventually magic can reach some level of mass production.

Tying it back to familiars… I dunno, a lot of folks talk about how useless they are, but they got a huge upgrade for me personally with the new edition. I used to be able to all sorts of powerful and interesting mechanical stuff with them, but unless it was one of two types of bird, it couldn't talk for a long time, and even then generally only to the PC. Now I can have a talking cat right from first level.


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breithauptclan wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Not sure how it can do this unless it's maybe Independent, since the biggest issue is the "Can't act unless commanded to" rule, especially in a pre-combat situation where a random encounter comes into play. But even then, most Familiars and Animal Companions can't do separate activities from their Masters, since the intent is that they aren't meant to give players more raw exploration activities than those who don't have them, merely more options to use their exploration activities on. The Eidolon rules are enough precedent for this, since they are specifically spelled out as being able to perform multiple exploration activities.

This is actually a case of ambiguous rules.

The Minion trait does not give any indication of how a minion creature behaves when not in encounter mode other than the ambiguous 'unattended' line. How long a command lasts during encounter mode is completely undefined. And actions and rounds are undefined in exploration mode entirely, so the question of how many actions per round a minion has during exploration mode makes no sense at all.

In order to define how long a command to a minion lasts, we have to extrapolate from the rules during encounter mode. But there are three valid extrapolations. One is that a command lasts 6 seconds - the same as during encounter mode. Another is that a command can last up to 1 minute - the time listed in the Minion trait when the minion becomes unattended. And the third is that the command will last until the task assigned is complete.

Of these three valid rulings on an ambiguous rule, only the 6 second ruling causes severe problems with several types of encounter mode scenes - stealth encounters, and chases of various forms.

Also, both animal companions and familiars are completely separate creatures from their master. Both types have their own hit points and action pools that they draw from. The explicit rule that allows an Eidolon to take an...

Usually encounter-mode commands are limited to 2 action activities, otherwise the command simply doesn't work (unless it's chained, in which case it defeats the purpose of not needing to command it constantly), in the same way you usually can't cast a spell between rounds by consolidating the actions together between turns. (Yes, there are specific spells for this now, but prior to those, it wasn't possible.) However, you are overlooking that the 1 minute limitation is also a factor if the intent is that they need to scout the enemy camp perimeter, as an example; chances are, that creature is not going to encase, say, a 200 cubic foot enemy camp in 1 minute, unless it hustles with both actions, in which case it probably won't get that great of a look (because it won't get an action per effective turn to Seek), and it may draw unwanted attention due to its sporadic movements if guards catch wind of it.

If we decide that the third limitation is on the table, the creature needs to be smart enough to determine that it has sufficiently succeeded at its task to return to the Master and provide its results, which is dependent on the task at hand. The problem here then becomes that Familiars do not have ability scores (thus we can't gauge their Intellectual capacity), and Animal Companions have poor mental scores (especially in the Intelligence department, by design), thus their ability to determine whether the task they were given is successful is dubious at best. Yes, this is largely task dependent, but expecting specific answers, such as "There are 3 guards on the outside, two by the gates with swords, one in a guard tower with a bow, all wearing heavy armor and bearing a strange symbol," doesn't seem feasible to an Animal Companion. Maybe a Familiar with the Speech power can convey this information, but you are already pushing power limits if it's a Specific Familiar with Flight, Toughness, Speed, etc. I would not expect this except from someone who goes out of their way to optimize their Familiar to do these kinds of things. A more casual Familiar is highly unlikely to be able to do this.

You are also forgetting that except for obvious activities, Animal Companions and Familiars won't act on their own and have to be commanded to do things. Short of an Independent Familiar or a Mature Animal Companion (not a Ranger one), they can't perform their own exploration activities separate from their Masters, and usually they might do ones that suit themselves instead of what the Master or group wants them to do (which could include tracking bad guys, searching areas for items of interest, etc).


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Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Usually encounter-mode commands are limited to 2 action activities, otherwise the command simply doesn't work (unless it's chained, in which case it defeats the purpose of not needing to command it constantly), in the same way you usually can't cast a spell between rounds by consolidating the actions together between turns. (Yes, there are specific spells for this now, but prior to those, it wasn't possible.)

This is questionable. The rules text that I am aware of that indicates how many actions an exploration activity should be equivalent to is the following:

Quote:

If the activity is similar to an action someone could use in an encounter, such as Avoid Notice, it usually consists of a single action repeated roughly 10 times per minute (such as using the Sneak action 10 times) or an alternation of actions that works out similarly (such as Search, which alternates Stride and Seek). An activity using a quicker pace, corresponding to roughly 20 actions per minute, might have limited use or cause fatigue, as would one requiring intense concentration.

You might find that a player wants to do something equivalent to spending 3 actions every 6 seconds, just like they would in combat. Characters can exert themselves to this extent in combat only because combat lasts such a short time—such exertion isn’t sustainable over the longer time frame of exploration.

But that isn't very compelling. First that is in a section labeled "Improvising New Activities" - a set of guidelines for how to on-the-fly homebrew a new exploration activity when a player narratively describes what their character does without actually picking an existing exploration activity.

Also note how many conditionals and caveats there are in that.

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
However, you are overlooking that the 1 minute limitation is also a factor if the intent is that they need to scout the enemy camp perimeter, as an example; chances are, that creature is not going to encase, say, a 200 cubic foot enemy camp in 1 minute, unless it hustles with both actions, in which case it probably won't get that great of a look (because it won't get an action per effective turn to Seek), and it may draw unwanted attention due to its sporadic movements if guards catch wind of it.

This I can agree with. I am not overlooking it - I am aware that running with the 1 minute command duration prevents doing some things that a player might want their minion to do. Scouting, as you mentioned, won't work. Neither will 10 minute activities such as Treat Wounds or Repair an Item - at least, not without the familiar's master standing around giving commands every minute or so to remind it of what it is supposed to be doing. (reminds me of getting my children to clean their room when they were younger)

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
If we decide that the third limitation is on the table, the creature needs to be smart enough to determine that it has sufficiently succeeded at its task to return to the Master and provide its results, which is dependent on the task at hand. The problem here then becomes that Familiars do not have ability scores (thus we can't gauge their Intellectual capacity), and Animal Companions have poor mental scores (especially in the Intelligence department, by design), thus their ability to determine whether the task they were given is successful is dubious at best. Yes, this is largely task dependent, but expecting specific answers, such as "There are 3 guards on the outside, two by the gates with swords, one in a guard tower with a bow, all wearing heavy armor and bearing a strange symbol," doesn't seem feasible to an Animal Companion. Maybe a Familiar with the Speech power can convey this information, but you are already pushing power limits if it's a Specific Familiar with Flight, Toughness, Speed, etc. I would not expect this except from someone who goes out of their way to optimize their Familiar to do these kinds of things. A more casual Familiar is highly unlikely to be able to do this.

No major disagreements here either. Animal Companions are typically not portrayed as exceptionally intelligent, and are generally not useful outside of combat. Familiars on the other hand, are not very useful in combat, but are often portrayed as intelligent. And in order to be useful at all, they should be allowed to be useful outside of combat. And how intelligent or useful an familiar is is currently something that has to be ruled on for each table playing.

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
You are also forgetting that except for obvious activities, Animal Companions and Familiars won't act on their own and have to be commanded to do things. Short of an Independent Familiar or a Mature Animal Companion (not a Ranger one), they can't perform their own exploration activities separate from their Masters, and usually they might do ones that suit themselves instead of what the Master or group wants them to do (which could include tracking bad guys, searching areas for items of interest, etc).

Again, I am not forgetting about the need to give commands. I am just pointing out that the duration of those commands outside of combat is not defined. Currently it is highly GM dependent on how much a familiar is allowed to do. A restrictive GM such as graystone can shut down a player's familiar almost entirely. A GM that is more accepting of the idea of a familiar actually being a contributing part of a player's character can allow a familiar to do a lot of cool things - without having to violate any of the printed rules.

The ambiguity is a problem.

And people ignoring that the ambiguity exists and that alternate ways of playing a familiar are currently possible RAW is irritating.


Ravingdork wrote:

We have a player in our group who has been known to play the Int 7 Wis 10 Cha 7 barbarian who does that. The difference? He let's us know it!

"You guys know my character is the dumbest in the party, right? Why is it then that I'm always the one coming up with all the ideas. Do you not see the disconnect there? Aren't you players cleverer than my low-intelligence character?"

He doesn't play with us anymore.

Ouch. I am sorry about that. Playing the game does take a certain degree of imagination, visualization, and social skill. If your playing the investigator for the "Unlimited use of True strike" as I have heard one youtuber exclaim; you have completely missed the point.

I also cringed a bit as I watched the recent "Secrets of Magic" actual play. I listened to the "mission" given at the beginning and I already thought of the consequences of giving immature people unbridled power. The "Hollow man" movie with its invisible main character is an example of the bad things that can happen, as is the young woman from the movie Crouching tigger, Hidden Dragon.

I am glad that Xander (Ingot) was there looking for possibilities outside the box. I agree that role playing can be very sophisticated and involved. One has to be more than "point-click, here's your conversation options", you just need to "be" your character and play that role. It is something that I don't think everyone gets, because they have never been a part of a play as an adult. Character eludes some people.

Being good at Role playing games, isn't automatic. I've had a lot to learn and I still find more that I can do to be a better player.
I do hope your friend returns to the table, think of the Game of Thrones Actor who played lord Tywin targarian; I got the drift that he was taking time to teach all of the Actors and actresses to raise their game. I don't mean dying whilst indisposed, but there are times when we should all strive to be a bit more like Tywin and the actor who played the character.

Sorry for the off track nature of my post in a thread about familiars.
I would just carefully read the RAW, and GM the Rule of cool, because we are playing a game. we are meant to have fun. even when our dice are destined to be microwaved until dead for their treason.


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Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Xenocrat wrote:

A flying, fast, tough familiar (7hp per level) with speech or better Familiar’s Face spell can distract guards by going up to talk to or taunt them and have a very chance of escaping even the worst reactions. How much that accomplishes is obviously situation and GM dependent, but it’s not unreasonable to do something sometimes.

Birds, cats, or rats can do a lot of short distance tactical scouting in an urban environment and in many dungeons. Who kills every critter they see come around a corner and then saunter back? Yes, you have to drop out of simplified generic exploration mode for this, but it’s workable if your GM plays ball.

A 12th level witch with the share senses feat can remotely pilot a bird with telepathic commands as a drone, flying ahead to see what there is before the rest of the party even approaches in encounter or exploration mode. Time consuming (in world, too) but reasonable.

If the guards see the Familiar, Initiative will be rolled, and at the higher levels, they will most likely win Initiative and run up and proceed to kill the Familiar before it gets a chance to flee. This is less likely at lower levels, but still possible. If the PCs are in sight, they might chase them too, or if not, go in to warn the rest of the camp if they feel overwhelmed. If the Familiar is supposed to be undetected and out of reach, the Guards might catch wind of a Familiar via Perception against its Stealth/Deception DC (or vice-versa), in which case the defenses might be up and the enemies may be ready for the PCs, making the future combats tougher instead of just barging in and catching them before they can alert the others inside (or using a secret door).

This depends on how inconspicuous the Familiar is. A cat or rat with wings is most definitely going to be noticed compared to a bird, for example. If they have other visible abilities, creatures will take notice and act accordingly. This also requires the Familiar to be Independent, otherwise you would have to...

Why do they immediately run up and kill the cat approaching them? Sounds like the response to imaginative roleplay an antagonistic DM would employ. Such DMs are excruciating chores to play with and best avoided.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
WWHsmackdown wrote:
why do they immediately run up and kill the cat approaching them?

Rat infestation fetish?


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WWHsmackdown wrote:
Why do they immediately run up and kill the cat approaching them? Sounds like the response to imaginative roleplay an antagonistic DM would employ. Such DMs are excruciating chores to play with and best avoided.

Because the cats are usually witches familiars so the inquisition says you have to kill the cats, specially the black ones. :P

Depending on situation, characters intelligence and knowledge and the familiars actions even cat's and rats who approaches could be a considered a threat for many NPCs.

Malevolence spoiler:

Spoiler:
In Malevolence the birds are considered threats for it because the risk of some them being Nosoi.


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WWHsmackdown wrote:
Why do they immediately run up and kill the cat approaching them? Sounds like the response to imaginative roleplay an antagonistic DM would employ. Such DMs are excruciating chores to play with and best avoided.

Here we go again. It doesn't have to be killing to get the point across that the Familiar will be either ineffective or discovered and consequently dealt with. Let's take our 3 guard scenario (2 at entrance, 1 on watchtower).

A Familiar isn't just a normal animal, it has powers, and some of those powers can affect appearance. A winged cat will definitely draw suspicion from guards because winged cats aren't normal or usual. But hey, if I target Familiars, no matter what they are or what they look like or what implications they may have, it's badwrongfun, right? Unless the enemy camp is PETF, they aren't going to treat it as some friendly creature, and if it approaches the camp, they might try to scare it off. Just as well, winged cats aren't normal, neither are cats that have surprisingly functional opposable "thumbs," or unusual features like marked runes on their body, or even if it talks. All of those features raise suspicion, and guards will act accordingly, such as either by going to kill it, or by sounding the alarm that there are potential invaders, putting everyone on alert.

Also, let's say they don't see it. If it makes some noise, they might be alerted to its presence, and one will go to investigate, with the one on the watchtower keeping an eye on their friend. If they discover it, we're back to square 1 of determining what the guards will do. Granted, it might be neat to roleplay a guard who is sympathetic to animals and thinks it can keep it as a pet of its own when they come home, but that's a very unlikely circumstance, especially if they aren't at or near a home of some sort. Plus, this also assumes the Familiar will just let the guard take them in, which can be a nice bit of scouting if the Familiar can communicate its findings with the Master from some sort of telepathic connection.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Is it impossible to have a more ordinary looking familiar in your campaigns if the player wants? I certainly hope not!

Fact of the matter is that Flight doesn't say anything about wings and Manual Dexterity doesn't say anything about mutant opposable thumbs. That's up to the player to decide. If you as a GM are insisting on such things, then you are enforcing a house rule, not the rules themselves.


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Ravingdork wrote:

Is it impossible to have a more ordinary looking familiar in your campaigns if the player wants? I certainly hope not!

Fact of the matter is that Flight doesn't say anything about wings and Manual Dexterity doesn't say anything about mutant opposable thumbs. That's up to the player to decide. If you as a GM are insisting on such things, then you are enforcing a house rule, not the rules themselves.

It can be, but the powers should be able to back it up. Talking animals are not normal, nor are any with wings, or that are just flying without wings of some kind. This can be doubly true if you have special familiars, like Faerie Dragons, Imps, etc. Those are very obvious to spot as being not normal and therefore will be acted upon accordingly.

That's a fair point, but if the situation comes up, I really should not have to ask my player in the middle of an encounter "How is your Familiar flying, does it have wings or is it just magically floating around?" It can create metagaming, where it might say it has wings where we never really, you know, defined how it's flying, especially if it's in a context like this one.

I could have swore seeing Familiar art in the book that shows a winged cat of some sort. Could be misremembering, though, since I don't see it on the Archives website. Just as well, the Witch Iconic familiar is very easy to spot as an unusual creature compared to another, normal creature of its type, especially when compared to their PF1 iteration. A guard seeing that sort of familiar compared to a normal creature of its type will be quite obvious to note that something is unusual and they will act upon it.


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I wouldn't ask them during the encounter personally, I just ask them to describe their familiar with different abilities as they pick/use them for the first time and make notes like I do with their characters. Then when they describe how their familiar behaves doing whatever it is they're doing I have all the info I need to decide how NPCs respond.

Sometimes they're going to be easy to spot, sometimes it just looks like wildlife.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:

Is it impossible to have a more ordinary looking familiar in your campaigns if the player wants? I certainly hope not!

Fact of the matter is that Flight doesn't say anything about wings and Manual Dexterity doesn't say anything about mutant opposable thumbs. That's up to the player to decide. If you as a GM are insisting on such things, then you are enforcing a house rule, not the rules themselves.

It can be, but the powers should be able to back it up. Talking animals are not normal, nor are any with wings, or that are just flying without wings of some kind. This can be doubly true if you have special familiars, like Faerie Dragons, Imps, etc. Those are very obvious to spot as being not normal and therefore will be acted upon accordingly.

That's a fair point, but if the situation comes up, I really should not have to ask my player in the middle of an encounter "How is your Familiar flying, does it have wings or is it just magically floating around?" It can create metagaming, where it might say it has wings where we never really, you know, defined how it's flying, especially if it's in a context like this one.

I could have swore seeing Familiar art in the book that shows a winged cat of some sort. Could be misremembering, though, since I don't see it on the Archives website. Just as well, the Witch Iconic familiar is very easy to spot as an unusual creature compared to another, normal creature of its type, especially when compared to their PF1 iteration. A guard seeing that sort of familiar compared to a normal creature of its type will be quite obvious to note that something is unusual and they will act upon it.

This is why I like to have artwork of my familiar, along with a mini-bio, so that such things don't generally come up in the middle of an encounter of some kind.

It's understood well in advance to the party that my cat has wings, or flies with magic, or has weird man hands instead of cat paws. If that ever changes, such as to meet the needs of a particular scene, then the transformation sequence becomes a scene in its own right, so that everyone remains on the same page as to what I'm doing and why. Clear communication is kind of a big deal in a game like this.

Verdant Wheel

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SuperBidi wrote:

The reason of this post..

Manual Dexterity: The whole point of having opposing thumbs and why it's so important to humanity is that it allows us to use tools. If Familiars can't use items, then there's nothing a Familiar with Manual Dexterity can do that a Familiar without it can't. RIP Manual Dexterity.

Lab Assistant: The Familiar can Quick Alchemy an item that it can't use. And if it hands it to the Alchemist, it means that you paid one action to Quick Alchemy one item: A feature that every Alchemist has at first level. RIP Lab Assistant.

Independent: The Familiar can use one action in combat without being commanded. But it can't be used with Valet. So it is supposed to be used with...
...
...
... moving? Considering that the only action a Familiar can perform in combat is Valet and you don't need to move to use it, then RIP Independent.

Lab Assistant is now some book space lost. But Manual Dexterity and Independent were among the most common Familiar abilities. So, what's left for a Familiar in combat? Valet... And that's it.

I understand the need for balance. But paying a class feat to draw a light bulk item for free once per round is really that imbalanced? Being able to feed potions (that you pay) and Elixirs (the Alchemist is not exactly the strongest class) is so dangerous that it has to be forbidden?

And if Familiars are not intended to be used in combat, then it shouldn't be a class feat but a skill feat. It shouldn't be an important class feature of both the Witch and the Wizard.

If like me you think that Familiars should be able to feed potions and Elixirs, that the combo between Valet and Independent is not killing the game, then answer to this discussion and upvote my post. If it reaches hundreds of posts maybe Paizo will realize that we like Familiars. Not decorative ones, Familiars that we can use in combat, even for a limited number of actions.

+1


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Does anyone know what rule Mark references when he says you must be holding a crossbow before you can reload it? It's simply an Interact action to reload. Interact reads, "You use your hand or hands to manipulate an object or the terrain. You can grab an unattended or stored object, open a door, or produce some similar effect [such as reload]. You might have to attempt a skill check to determine if your Interact action was successful." (CR p470) You aren't required to spend an action to grip a doorknob before you can spend an Interact action opening it, why would reloading a weapon different? Maybe your GM would request a Crafting or Thievery check to reload an item you aren't holding, which I'd be cool with.

This is the closest line I can find, in the Reload section, "Switching your grip to free a hand and then to place your hands in the grip necessary to wield the weapon are both included in the actions you spend to reload a weapon." (CR p279) Which still doesn't mention wielding as an actual requirement to reload, only that you can place your hands in a wielding grip as part of reloading.

And is there a rule preventing your familiar from holding the weapon to reload it without you actually releasing your own grip on the weapon?


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Gizmo the Enemy of Mankind wrote:


And is there a rule preventing your familiar from holding the weapon to reload it without you actually releasing your own grip on the weapon?

Familiar's reloading your crossbow aren't a thing, for rather obvious reasons now. I think lots of people thought it was never a thing. I am unaware of anywhere in the rules where two people can wield a weapon at the same time.


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Gizmo the Enemy of Mankind wrote:

Does anyone know what rule Mark references when he says you must be holding a crossbow before you can reload it? It's simply an Interact action to reload. Interact reads, "You use your hand or hands to manipulate an object or the terrain. You can grab an unattended or stored object, open a door, or produce some similar effect [such as reload]. You might have to attempt a skill check to determine if your Interact action was successful." (CR p470) You aren't required to spend an action to grip a doorknob before you can spend an Interact action opening it, why would reloading a weapon different? Maybe your GM would request a Crafting or Thievery check to reload an item you aren't holding, which I'd be cool with.

This is the closest line I can find, in the Reload section, "Switching your grip to free a hand and then to place your hands in the grip necessary to wield the weapon are both included in the actions you spend to reload a weapon." (CR p279) Which still doesn't mention wielding as an actual requirement to reload, only that you can place your hands in a wielding grip as part of reloading.

And is there a rule preventing your familiar from holding the weapon to reload it without you actually releasing your own grip on the weapon?

Reload

Quote:

While all weapons need some amount of time to get into position, many ranged weapons also need to be loaded and reloaded. This entry indicates how many Interact actions it takes to reload such weapons. This can be 0 if drawing ammunition and firing the weapon are part of the same action. If an item takes 2 or more actions to reload, the GM determines whether they must be performed together as an activity, or you can spend some of those actions during one turn and the rest during your next turn.

An item with an entry of “—” must be drawn to be thrown, which usually takes an Interact action just like drawing any other weapon. Reloading a ranged weapon and drawing a thrown weapon both require a free hand. Switching your grip to free a hand and then to place your hands in the grip necessary to wield the weapon are both included in the actions you spend to reload a weapon.

It referes to a character which "wields" the crossbow.

In the moment he interacts, he removes the hand from the crossvbow, switching to "holding the crossbow" ( this is what a familiar can do. Holding and not wielding ).

The extra description simply says that the action to reload gives you the grip back once you are finished.


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CaffeinatedNinja wrote:
I am unaware of anywhere in the rules where two people can wield a weapon at the same time.

A Power Ranger companion! kkkkkkkkk


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CaffeinatedNinja wrote:
Gizmo the Enemy of Mankind wrote:
And is there a rule preventing your familiar from holding the weapon to reload it without you actually releasing your own grip on the weapon? 
Familiar's reloading your crossbow aren't a thing, for rather obvious reasons now.  I think lots of people thought it was never a thing.  I am unaware of anywhere in the rules where two people can wield a weapon at the same time.

'Holding' and 'wielding' are not the same thing. "You're wielding an item any time you're holding it in the number of hands needed to use it effectively. When wielding an item, you're not just carrying it around—you're ready to use it." (CR p272) A 2-handed crossbow must be gripped in two hands to wield it, but you can hold it with just one hand. A lot of story moments would be impossible if you couldn't have more than one character hold an item: "I'd like to hold the ladder steady for you bro, but... rules are rules."

HumbleGamer wrote:

Reload

Quote:

While all weapons need some amount of time to get into position, many ranged weapons also need to be loaded and reloaded. This entry indicates how many Interact actions it takes to reload such weapons. This can be 0 if drawing ammunition and firing the weapon are part of the same action. If an item takes 2 or more actions to reload, the GM determines whether they must be performed together as an activity, or you can spend some of those actions during one turn and the rest during your next turn.

An item with an entry of “—” must be drawn to be thrown, which usually takes an Interact action just like drawing any other weapon. Reloading a ranged weapon and drawing a thrown weapon both require a free hand. Switching your grip to free a hand and then to place your hands in the grip necessary to wield the weapon are both included in the actions you spend to reload a weapon.

It refers to a character which "wields" the crossbow.

In the moment he interacts, he removes the hand from the crossvbow, switching to "holding the crossbow" ( this is what a familiar can do. Holding and not wielding ).The extra description simply says that the action to reload gives you the grip back once you are finished.

Right, it says you can conclude your reload by wielding the weapon, not that you must start out wielding it (or even start by holding it, for that matter). The only requirement listed is a free hand (which a familiar with Manual Dexterity is considered to have). A PC holding a 2-handed crossbow in 1 hand can immediately Interact to reload it too because they already have a free hand, they are not required to waste an action to wield the crossbow first. A familiar could simply Release the crossbow after reloading it, there's no need to place their grip in the wield position.

If Paizo wants you to already be holding a weapon in order to reload it, the reload requirement needs errata to reflect that.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Gizmo the Enemy of Mankind wrote:
If Paizo wants you to already be holding a weapon in order to reload it, the reload requirement needs errata to reflect that.

Or, they could reasonable assume players aren't going to try to claim that their little animal can somehow reload the crossbow while they are shooting it. I mean not every conceivable possibility can be covered by a rule.


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CaffeinatedNinja wrote:
Or, they could reasonable assume players aren't going to try to claim that their little animal can somehow reload the crossbow while they are shooting it.

Just the little animals with abilities that distinctly say they have functioning hands that can perform manipulate actions.

CaffeinatedNinja wrote:
I mean not every conceivable possibility can be covered by a rule.

This possibility can be covered by a rule quite easily: "Reloading a ranged weapon requires that you are holding it and have a free hand."

Liberty's Edge

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I think they do not want to open the door to PCs reloading a friend's weapon with their 3rd action.


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The Raven Black wrote:
I think they do not want to open the door to PCs reloading a friend's weapon with their 3rd action.

Correct, or to having hired NPCs that follow you and ready their actions to reload your crossbow (which Mark used as an example in the video), and if applied across the board the logic that would allow a friendly character not holding the weapon to reload it would result in a hostile character walking up and taking the ammunition out of your weapon with one of their actions too.

There's a general "other characters don't get to mess with your character's stuff" approach in the rules and that's being kept to a level of consistency here, even though the text about it is implicit rather than explicit (because I guess the writers assumed the readers wouldn't need to be told).


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Can an adjacent ally reload your crossbow for you? No, because they are neither wielding nor even holding the crossbow that you are wielding.

If they interact to grab your crossbow and then reload it, then they are left holding your crossbow instead of you. You are no longer holding or wielding your crossbow. If they free action release your crossbow, it will drop to the ground at their feet.

I don't see any reason why this would be different for a familiar in your space. If they reload your crossbow, they would be the one left wielding or holding it. And if they release it, it would drop to the ground.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

So there's nothing stopping an NPC hireling taking your crossbow, reloading it, and giving it back? That still doesn't cost the PC any actions. He'll, get twosuch NPCs, and the PC can make two shots a round with no action wastage.


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Ravingdork wrote:
So there's nothing stopping an NPC hireling taking your crossbow, reloading it, and giving it back? That still doesn't cost the PC any actions. He'll, get twosuch NPCs, and the PC can make two shots a round with no action wastage.

Grip change action is probably necessary if you're handed a crossbow off-turn, so I don't see it saving actions.


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Ravingdork wrote:
So there's nothing stopping an NPC hireling taking your crossbow, reloading it, and giving it back? That still doesn't cost the PC any actions. He'll, get twosuch NPCs, and the PC can make two shots a round with no action wastage.

Are there actually any rules for handing an item to another character?

Or taking an item from another character for that matter. Maybe you could do a disarm action and the other character could willingly critically fail? But that is a different problem anyway.


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There is Thoughful Gift, but now your hired minions have to be spellcasters and can only do the trick a limited amount of times per day.


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breithauptclan wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
So there's nothing stopping an NPC hireling taking your crossbow, reloading it, and giving it back? That still doesn't cost the PC any actions. He'll, get twosuch NPCs, and the PC can make two shots a round with no action wastage.

Are there actually any rules for handing an item to another character?

Or taking an item from another character for that matter. Maybe you could do a disarm action and the other character could willingly critically fail? But that is a different problem anyway.

Table 6-2: Changing Equipment

Pass an item to or take an item from a willing creature: 2 [A creature must have a hand free for someone to pass an item to them, and they might then need to change their grip if they receive an item requiring two hands to wield or use], 1 or 2 hands, Interact Action


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
breithauptclan wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
So there's nothing stopping an NPC hireling taking your crossbow, reloading it, and giving it back? That still doesn't cost the PC any actions. He'll, get twosuch NPCs, and the PC can make two shots a round with no action wastage.

Are there actually any rules for handing an item to another character?

Or taking an item from another character for that matter. Maybe you could do a disarm action and the other character could willingly critically fail? But that is a different problem anyway.

I don't think you can willingly critically fail a saving throw. There's a reference to willingly failing saving throws in Bestiary 3 if my memory is correct and I believe it says you still have to roll and then you can choose one step worse as the result.


breithauptclan wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
So there's nothing stopping an NPC hireling taking your crossbow, reloading it, and giving it back? That still doesn't cost the PC any actions. He'll, get twosuch NPCs, and the PC can make two shots a round with no action wastage.

Are there actually any rules for handing an item to another character?

Or taking an item from another character for that matter. Maybe you could do a disarm action and the other character could willingly critically fail? But that is a different problem anyway.

Yes, passing items is mentioned in Table 6-2 in the Core Rulebook's section on Weilding Items:

Table 6-2: Changing Equipment, CR p272 wrote:

Change // Hands // Action:

Pass an item to or take an item from a willing creature*{2} // 1 or 2 // Interact

*{2}: A creature must have a hand free for someone to pass an item to them, and they might then need to change their grip if they receive an item requiring two hands to wield or use.

You can pass an item to—or take an item from—a creature as an Interact action provided they are willing and the necessary hands are free. So an NPC can spend actions taking and passing back items if you could somehow convince them to stand around doing that. You'd need to successfully Steal or critically succeed to Disarm in order to take an item from an unwilling creature. This is why taking a bolt from an enemy's crossbow requires a check. I'd call for a check to Disable A Device with a very hard DC if someone wanted to try to un-noch a crossbow's draw string to undo a reload.

As for willing failing, the press trait allows you to take a failure instead of a success (CR p635) and drugs allow you to voluntarily fail your initial saving throw (GG p120). But I don't see a universal rule about voluntarily failing. Disarm isn't a save, but I don't see any reason you couldn't let someone who is trying to take your weapon just take it, you'd be 'willing' in that case.


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graystone wrote:
breithauptclan wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
So there's nothing stopping an NPC hireling taking your crossbow, reloading it, and giving it back? That still doesn't cost the PC any actions. He'll, get twosuch NPCs, and the PC can make two shots a round with no action wastage.

Are there actually any rules for handing an item to another character?

Or taking an item from another character for that matter. Maybe you could do a disarm action and the other character could willingly critically fail? But that is a different problem anyway.

Table 6-2: Changing Equipment

Pass an item to or take an item from a willing creature: 2 [A creature must have a hand free for someone to pass an item to them, and they might then need to change their grip if they receive an item requiring two hands to wield or use], 1 or 2 hands, Interact Action

Nice. Thanks.

So it would probably work for a hand crossbow that only takes one hand to wield. But a regular crossbow, the PC would have to spend an action changing grip in order to be wielding the crossbow again.

Of course with the huge caveat that I don't think this is in any way intended and I would unilaterally ban it at tables I ran. But it is amusing and interesting to pick the rules into little pieces.


breithauptclan wrote:

Nice. Thanks.

So it would probably work for a hand crossbow that only takes one hand to wield. But a regular crossbow, the PC would have to spend an action changing grip in order to be wielding the crossbow again.

Of course with the huge caveat that I don't think this is in any way intended and I would unilaterally ban it at tables I ran. But it is amusing and interesting to pick the rules into little pieces.

My question would be 'can a familiar wield a weapon that is does it have the means of wielding oversized weapons so that it can reload a crossbow'? A familiar might have to take Master's Form to reload.


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When you wield something, you're ready to use it. Familiars can't make Strikes. Unsure if this means they can RAW wield items.


Guntermench wrote:
When you wield something, you're ready to use it. Familiars can't make Strikes. Unsure if this means they can RAW wield items.

LOL There is this line before that though: "You're wielding an item any time you're holding it in the number of hands needed to use it effectively." They could hold in the the right number of hands and use it [fire a bolt] without a strike. This leads to a situation where you can have a familiar holding a crossbow in master's form but being 100% unable to aim at a target and pull the trigger but could shoot a bolt into the air. And here is a brain teaser: give that familiar bolas. They can then throw them at a target for the ranged trip even though they can't strike them as it's a skill check. ;)

Liberty's Edge

Firing a bolt is a Strike.

And IIRC Trip had Size limitations.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
The Raven Black wrote:
Firing a bolt is a Strike.

Strike Defined: You attack with a weapon you're wielding or with an unarmed attack, targeting one creature within your reach (for a melee attack) or within range (for a ranged attack).

Strike is an action, with a weapon, that you must be wielding (or unarmed strike), targeting a creature within range.

Firing a bolt in the air does not meet the definition parameters of a Strike (there is no target) and therefore is not a Strike.

Grand Lodge

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RoyAlan wrote:

I'd ask a question; if the familiar is something like a spider monkey why couldn't it dig through your Pack, (throwing things away) while you are in combat?

If the familiar is something like a chicken, and doesn't have the right bonuses (Familiar/master boons) applied to it, I would definitely say it can't do squat, outside of run like hades or taste delicious.

I agree with RavingDork about robot "RAW-DMs" we are playing a GAME, and the rule of cool is a thing. I also believe in role playing as much as Reasonable.

Someone playing a Lenny Vs. George (See, book by John Steinbeck, of mice and Men) with George as a fury barbarian with an 18 strength, 16 Dexterity, 18 Constitution, ...AAAANNNNNDDDD a 7 intelligence, 10 wisdom, and 7 charisma.

With the player not role playing these ability scores as they are?
I start to twitch, a lot. I start crunching on Zoloft like a PEZ addict to avoid opening my mouth. Inside I am YELLING; George wouldn't know that, George would forget all of those details, George is as much a danger to allies as he is to girls with soft curly hair...

I intuit the game as much as I play it, and wacky rules changes because ONE Nut, was once meta gaming like a fire poi performer in a fireworks factory... only serve to make me go...

"Okay, this needs to be ignored."

Actually, it was Lenny who was the big dumb one: "Tell me about the rabbits, George"!


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Ravingdork wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
Firing a bolt is a Strike.

Strike Defined: You attack with a weapon you're wielding or with an unarmed attack, targeting one creature within your reach (for a melee attack) or within range (for a ranged attack).

Strike is an action, with a weapon, that you must be wielding (or unarmed strike), targeting a creature within range.

Firing a bolt in the air does not meet the definition parameters of a Strike (there is no target) and therefore is not a Strike.

Yep. It's the same with an objects currently: a familiar can target shoot all they want as the targets aren't creatures... :P


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Actually firing a bolt into the air is a Strike because there may or may not be an undected creature in any given space at any given time.


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Malk_Content wrote:
Actually firing a bolt into the air is a Strike because there may or may not be an undected creature in any given space at any given time.

That only works if you are targeting a square and make the flat roll. As you wouldn't be doing you auto-fail the roll and "If you fail, you don’t affect the creature". So even if a familiar fire a shot and it happened to pass through a square with an invisible creature, it can't be a Strike as it never targeted the creature [you need to pick a square]. "If you suspect there’s a creature around, you can pick a square and attempt an attack.": the familiar in question isn't picking a square, so it's not an attack.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The day my familiar missed an entire (invisible) kaiju.

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