Minion - especially familiars - clarification topics


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With Minion rules on the agenda for clarification, what are some questions that need answers?

These are the ones that I can think of on short notice. I'm sure others in the community can add more.

Length of following commands outside of combat:

Minions are defined as taking two actions when given commands. Which works fine in combat. During exploration mode, the length of time that they follow commands for is not defined any other way.

Having minions only follow commands for two actions during exploration mode is very limiting. It causes problems in things like chase/escape scenes because having a character with an animal companion both move, and command their companion to move is a 2-action improvised exploration activity that will cause exhaustion (at least, according to the pre-Remaster rules that I am more familiar with). A stealth skill encounter is even worse. Not only is having the Druid character use Avoid Notice and commanding their animal companion to Avoid Notice an exhuasting 2-action activity, giving commands to their companion every 6 seconds has the Auditory trait and can't be done stealthily.

But there is nothing in the rules to say that Minions will follow commands for anything longer than 6 seconds.

Minions and exploration activities:

Eidolon rules, for Eidolons that have access to the Act Together action, specifically say that both the Eidolon and their Summoner get to use an exploration activity

Are Minion characters supposed to be able to use their own exploration activity as well? Or not?

For example, could a Witch be navigating a trail using Scout, Detect Magic, or Investigate and their familiar be following behind using Cover Tracks? (Or would that be prevented because of the next item...?)

Familiars and Trained skill actions:

In PF2.0 to PF2.4 the Familiar rules have said that a familiar "can use trained skill actions for skills for which it adds your spellcasting ability modifier."

This was removed in Player Core. Neither the familiar rules, or the Pet feat rules, indicate that they can use trained skill actions.

Is it intended that familiars and pets - but not animal companions or hirelings - are unable to use Trained skill actions? For example a familiar with a Fly speed is unable to use the Maneuver in Flight action (which requires trained proficiency) while an Animal Companion with a fly speed is able to use the action (since they actually have Trained proficiency in Acrobatics)?

Using actions automatically to avoid harm:

The Minion trait has this directive: "If given no commands, minions use no actions except to defend themselves or to escape obvious harm." But that doesn't give enough guidance.

Do minions automatically use their actions to flee from combat if not commanded to participate for a round?
Does a flying familiar use actions to hover in place if not commanded for a round? Or do they fall out of the air and take fall damage?


Finoan wrote:

The Minion trait has this directive: "If given no commands, minions use no actions except to defend themselves or to escape obvious harm." But that doesn't give enough guidance.

Do minions automatically use their actions to flee from combat if not commanded to participate for a round?
Does a flying familiar use actions to hover in place if not commanded for a round? Or do they fall out of the air and take fall damage?

Extending this part a little.

If not commanded can use how much action to escape from harm? 1, 2 or 3?

In exploration mode are they able to use reactions (in encounter we know that they cannot) like Arrest a Fall or flying minion automatically fall until they receive an normal action to act?


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YuriP wrote:
In exploration mode are they able to use reactions (in encounter we know that they cannot) like Arrest a Fall or flying minion automatically fall until they receive an normal action to act?

Yeah, and being unable to Grab an Edge, whether in combat or not really kinda stings a bit.

Liberty's Edge

GM's adjudication covers such edge cases.


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Well, that's the point of this thread. Minions like familiars and animal companions require too much GM Adjudication. There is too much left undefined.

It causes problems when we don't know what our own characters are capable of. We can't build a character and expect it to behave the way we are thinking it will. The table variance is too high.


Minions and riding on top of PCs

The riding rules are not very clear, or perhaps not explicitly applicable, but it seems that the RaW that is present indicates that a familiar is not supposed to be able to ride on your shoulder at no action cost. That seems opposite to the standard table's assumption.

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Familiar and Activate action. Iirc it was said by a big dev in a stream that familiars, even w/ Manual Dex, cannot do any Activate actions. This is why "familiars can't feed potions" is a thing often said, as that's an Activation.

If that's what Paizo wants to go with, it needs to be in the rules explicitly.

Right now there's a bit in companion items that says those are the only items familiars/minions "can use", but that rule needs to be in the familiars bit, not that much more obscure section.

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Familiars and inventory / carrying capacity. Do Manual Dex Familiars have 2 hands to hold things? How many elixirs can they carry to hand off (which is not an Activate, and RaW legal).

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My new(ish) Alchemist needed a lot of up front GM fiat to handle all those issues.

She's a Ratfolk w/ Cheek Pouches, and has been homebrewed into having her "alchemical familiar" as an unnatural plague mask / skull face. Using the cheek pouches as the inventory, and Independent + Manual Dex to hand off the items w/ a freaky tongue. Tradeoff being that I'm locked into only using the relevant familiar abilities.

This also avoids the familiar being a separate creature and token, which can be a huge pain / slowdown / source of litigation for a GM.

While it's thematic for that particular Plague Dr. Chiurgeon, it's a whole lot of legwork to try to get something that is close to RaW as possible, without being a PitA.

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Oh, and there's the issue of the player alchemical familiar being a homunculus in flavor only, when the real ones exist. IMO, the creature needs to have the [construct] tag removed, as it brings a lot of immunities and baggage that does not make sense. Yes, the creature is artificially made, but it is flesh and blood. It can get sick, bleeds, ect.

Doing that would probably allow for a real Homunculus to become a familiar options, which would be neat. I'm guessing it was scrubbed at the last minute, which left the Alchemist with another bit of vestigial ????? / wtf leftover.


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Timing of a Minions turn. Does it actually have a turn. What about end of turn and start of turn effects? When are they applied to minions?
There is a solid rules argument that minions are immune to persistent damage...


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Given the level of confusion created by the lack of clarification, I would be extremely wary of playing a class with a Minion without lengthy discussion with a GM on how they perceive Minion-conversant rulings. Which isn’t a great feeling to have. Especially for folx new to PF2/PF2R.

It is at moments like these that I feel for folx who have been clamoring for various…quality of life…changes/errata/clarifications for some time. It feels remiss for Paizo to not address glaring issues while forging ahead with new content. New content, which at times, relies and interacts on the very clarifications being sought.


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Lots of rules assume a bipedal body shape. Example the requirement to have free hands to grapple is a problem for a snake.


Most animals are animals. A few rules example the one on required familiar abilities are animal specific. But there are clearly non animal familiars. Some of this has been cleaned up. But not all.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

A specific question I have because it will come up next session:

If a wizard can cast a phantasmal minion in exploration mode and sustain it, would the minion be able to help out with the efficiency of something like March of the Dead's repair scenes involving fortifying the building? Obviously it can't craft or do crafting checks, but could it help the party by bringing them things etc?


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azrazalea wrote:
but could it help the party by bringing them things etc?

We don't know.

Trip.H wrote:
Familiars and inventory / carrying capacity. Do Manual Dex Familiars have 2 hands to hold things? How many elixirs can they carry to hand off

I'm assuming that since Phantasmal Minion is a spell that specifically lists fetching objects as something that it can do, that it can help in some way. But it doesn't specify how. It does at least have a strength modifier - which familiars don't.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
Trip.H wrote:

Minions and riding on top of PCs

The riding rules are not very clear, or perhaps not explicitly applicable, but it seems that the RaW that is present indicates that a familiar is not supposed to be able to ride on your shoulder at no action cost. That seems opposite to the standard table's assumption.

Slightly changed circumstance...the traditional location of my owl familiar is "perched on my Elven Branched Spear". (Said spear has never actually been used as a weapon, only as a perch.) Does this work? Would this interfere with using the spear as a weapon (or, more likely, using the spear to provide flanking)?


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Question: Are familiars meant to be sapient beings (unless player and GM agree on something else, ofc)? By-default? Or just when having Speech ability, or ...?

Personal Opinion behind spoiler tags to not overly polute the thread with my personal opinion / Lobbying.

Click for our balancing approach::

After thorough discussion, we found a way to make sense of all the gaps and open points in CRB/APG familiar rules and achieve balance: The more mental capability a familiar had, the more agency, and the more of an own character it has. Which means it will be considered more of an an NSC (although one closely related to the PC) and less of a stupid class feature, which serves without question.

This posed an IMO effective compromise for Exploration Mode: It allowed familiars to be generally capable to do countless useful, flavourful things - while on the same hand give the GM leverage to prevent a familiar dominating the groups action all the time. (Allowing it to do as it pleased simultaneously posed an effective anti-overshadowing-player-characters measure.)

Meta-Question: Considering the many open questions - something I'd like to ask the developers: Was this intended? Do you understand familiars and their nature to be so self-evident that you found it just needed no more in-depth explanations? Or was it deliberately left vague to stimulate collaboration within groups to shape their personal, favorite familiar concepts and rules?

In case of the latter, I kindly my add: I would be happy for a short statement, even if just a single sentence, to convey this.


Question: What is a familiars creature type if you don't explicitly choose one of the creature trait abilities?

We undertook a lot of "Exegesis" to derive a robust personal understanding from this "were originally animals, though [...] something more" phrases.
(Our emergency measure was to give them back the Beast trait, but we were really unsure at first.)


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Question: As I simply didn't understand the "It doesn’t have or use its own attribute modifiers" sentence (p. 259). What are the intended consequences? Can it do anything that requires attributes? If yes - how?

Eventually questions arise: How does a familar relate to the world? For instance and as mentioned above. Can it carry something? Use mundane items? Administer a potion to a dying comrade? ... Is it a: Please work with your GM first? for all this?


calnivo wrote:
Question: As I simply didn't understand the "It doesn’t have or use its own attribute modifiers" sentence (p. 259). What are the intended consequences? Can it do anything that requires attributes? If yes - how?

That one I can answer. AC, saves, and skill checks are all things that familiars have despite not having attribute modifiers.

When they say familiars don't get modifiers they just mean you stick with what the section tells you to use to calculate those stats.

So for instance you don't add "the familiar's dexterity modifier" to its thievery checks, because its unbuffed bonus to thievery checks is always equal to your level.


Sy Kerraduess wrote:
calnivo wrote:
Question: As I simply didn't understand the "It doesn’t have or use its own attribute modifiers" sentence (p. 259). What are the intended consequences? Can it do anything that requires attributes? If yes - how?

That one I can answer. AC, saves, and skill checks are all things that familiars have despite not having attribute modifiers.

When they say familiars don't get modifiers they just mean you stick with what the section tells you to use to calculate those stats.

So for instance you don't add "the familiar's dexterity modifier" to its thievery checks, because its unbuffed bonus to thievery checks is always equal to your level.

Thanks Sy, we actually settled on handling it like this. However there was serious confusion at first, after reading forum messages here (from people with much more system knowledge we had!) at first, which for instance doubted familiars could even lift light items because of undefined strength. (Just as example.)

We could live with "mystery attributes" and not over-defining familiars. It even contributed to tension and atmosphere of not exactly knowing what our witch's familiars full powers were... (Did it not follow a certain path because it could not? Or was it just unwilling to go further? Was it some secret directive of the patron? ...)

Still not having no guidance what it was meant to do in the game - until we clarified on our own - was a hurdle at first. That's why I am saying: Even a simple statement "There are so many familiar concepts as groups. Work together to decide the following points: ..." would have helped us at the start.


Gortle wrote:

Timing of a Minions turn. Does it actually have a turn. What about end of turn and start of turn effects? When are they applied to minions?

There is a solid rules argument that minions are immune to persistent damage...

I'm pretty dang sure I've read a hard rule somewhere that specified that a familiar's turn is always simultaneous with the character it's tied to.

At the moment, I'm only finding supporting evidence found among the familiar ability mechanics. Many provide reactions, and some like Valet can have their effects happen before / after any of your actions in your turn, ect.


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Trip.H wrote:
Gortle wrote:

Timing of a Minions turn. Does it actually have a turn. What about end of turn and start of turn effects? When are they applied to minions?

There is a solid rules argument that minions are immune to persistent damage...

I'm pretty dang sure I've read a hard rule somewhere that specified that a familiar's turn is always simultaneous with the character it's tied to.

You might be thinking of this:

Player Core 1 p 301 wrote:
Minions are creatures that directly serve another creature. Your minion acts on your turn in combat, once per turn, when you spend an action to issue it commands.


Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:
Trip.H wrote:
Gortle wrote:

Timing of a Minions turn. Does it actually have a turn. What about end of turn and start of turn effects? When are they applied to minions?

There is a solid rules argument that minions are immune to persistent damage...

I'm pretty dang sure I've read a hard rule somewhere that specified that a familiar's turn is always simultaneous with the character it's tied to.

You might be thinking of this:

Player Core 1 p 301 wrote:
Minions are creatures that directly serve another creature. Your minion acts on your turn in combat, once per turn, when you spend an action to issue it commands.

Yep and it doesn't address my question at all.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Gortle wrote:
Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:
Trip.H wrote:
Gortle wrote:

Timing of a Minions turn. Does it actually have a turn. What about end of turn and start of turn effects? When are they applied to minions?

There is a solid rules argument that minions are immune to persistent damage...

I'm pretty dang sure I've read a hard rule somewhere that specified that a familiar's turn is always simultaneous with the character it's tied to.

You might be thinking of this:

Player Core 1 p 301 wrote:
Minions are creatures that directly serve another creature. Your minion acts on your turn in combat, once per turn, when you spend an action to issue it commands.
Yep and it doesn't address my question at all.

I feel like it does? You're right that it isn't explicit but based on the wording I would say the start and end of your minion's turn is the same as yours. It would make sense for it to be when you tell them to act but that would mean start / end of turn effects would only happen on turns where you tell them to do something which doesn't seem right. So I think the only reasonable option is that they have their turn effects at the same time as you.


It is still worth bringing up.

Maybe it isn't to the point that it needs errata. But I am not going to try and shout down Gortle from posting the problem.


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calnivo wrote:
Personal Opinion

What I can infer is:

1) Page space is a real limit
2) Pazio is a business, time constraints are real
3) There are multiple authors with slightly different interpretations
4) They decided to go with natural English. They are trading off precision for accessibility.
5) Sometimes they do leave it vague to allow for multiple interpretations. You need to remember that their customers are not a unified group - they want different things. Sometimes these are direct contradictions of each other. Pazio are quite happy for every table to play their own game. It is PFS and people on this forum who want it to be one.
6) Yes the game can be complex. Sometimes there is miscommunication, mistakes, and genuine misunderstanding. But I didn't really need to say that.
7) Sometimes Paizo just don't get it. Often it is because once you have an understanding of a rule it can make it harder to see alternatives. Seeing other points of view is a hard skill. But you are a forum reader you should realise that.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I apologize that the way I expressed myself came across as shouting you down. That wasn't my intention.

I thought we were having a discussion but I came across too strongly. Regardless I was stating what I thought based on the rules not trying to say you were wrong for having questions.


Gortle wrote:
Pazio are quite happy for every table to play their own game. It is PFS and people on this forum who want it to be one.

Isn't PFS a significant part of Paizo's business model? You don't have to pay to play (AFAIK), but you do have to buy your own copies (physical or pdf) of all the materials you want to use. So---if I'm right about that---Paizo has an interest in it being easy for many many people's games to be one.


What happens if a minion has persistent damage going on and you don't spend an action to command it? A literal interpretation of the rule would be that it doesn't take damage this round.


azrazalea wrote:
I feel like it does? You're right that it isn't explicit but based on the wording I would say the start and end of your minion's turn is the same as yours. It would make sense for it to be when you tell them to act but that would mean start / end of turn effects would only happen on turns where you tell them to do something which doesn't seem right. So I think the only reasonable option is that they have their turn effects at the same time as you.

There are assumptions in your statement. I can see two reasonable ways to handle minions turns.

What you are saying is resolve the minion start and end of turn when you resolve their masters start and end of turn. This still leaves the relative order up to the player - which may matter for triggers.

Or you could nest the entirety of the minions turn inside the masters turn and resolve it when the minion acts.

But what happens if they don't act. This is a problem for both cases.

Paizo's errata doesn't help. It doesn't even address the basic problem.

It it a big deal? No. But it is unclear. I tend to let the controller of the minion do it whichever they want. I just don't allow the broken interpretation and do require the minion to resolve a start and end of turn regardless.


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azrazalea wrote:

Don't be concerned about upsetting my feelings. I'm robust. I'd rather hear different opinions and learn.


Megistone wrote:
What happens if a minion has persistent damage going on and you don't spend an action to command it? A literal interpretation of the rule would be that it doesn't take damage this round.

A non-acting minion is no different from an non-acting PC. Does a PC who is slowed 3 or stunned or outright unconscious stop taking persistent damage?


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Yeah, debating things out with Gortle on the rules forum is a good thing to do. It will be a very thorough discussion that doesn't devolve into name-calling. I've done that a few times on various topics.

This thread I am hoping is more about collecting questions that people feel are questionable in any degree. Not debating them here.

I don't expect that the developers will answer all of them. Or even most of them. Hopefully they will answer some of the biggest and most impactful ones.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

This is a great thread. I really hope it catches the attention of the developers.


Regarding length of following commands outside of combat:

The question I start with is: Are minions intelligent enough to play 'fetch'? RAW is unclear.

Fetching an item takes at least three actions: Stride to the location, Interact to pick it up, and Stride to return with it. For a minion, that's definitely more than one round. If the object is further away so that it takes multiple Strides to get to it, it could be many rounds.

Regarding Exploration activities: Yep, this needs some sort of guidance in the rules, table variation is too high. You don't need to elaborate on EVERYTHING. But a person leveling up, deciding whether or not to take the Find Familiar feat, needs to be able to figure out what sorts of things familiars can do. How can you choose a feat if you don't have at least a general idea of what that feat does?

Regarding Trained skill actions: The Player Core has also nerfed the Skilled ability slightly, it apparently gives no more than +3 now. Removing trained actions from familiars definitely might be intentional, either to avoid a familiar showing up an (untrained) adventurer, or to avoid familiars trying to Earn Income.

Regarding Familiars and Activate:
"Can a familiar 'activate' a potion?" is just the beginning of this topic. It quickly grows to include a bigger question: can a familiar 'activate' a nonmagical item, such as using a match to light a torch? This is another one that should be knowable by a person deciding whether or not to take the Familiar feat.

There's also a line that minions can only use items with the Companion tag. It'd be worth clarifying that that only applies to worn magic items. After all, items like Tack and Collar lack the Companion tag but should still be usable.

Other things for familiars in particular (and pets):

1B) Are familiars that are fully 'stowed' away, such as inside a backpack, still subject to area effects, such as fireballs, toxic clouds, and acid splash?

2B) Unfortunately, that also leads to the related question: Is a familiar that is merely 'worn', such as perched on a shoulder or riding in a pocket subject to area effects? Because our other gear -- torches, scrolls, shields, etc. are generally not subject to area effect damage when they are 'worn'.

3B) Does the Master's Form ability have the Illusion trait or the Polymorph trait? The majority seem to think it's pure illusion -- although it seems strange that Manual Dexterity would be a prerequisite in that case, or that Humanoid Form would need to be refrenced at all.

4B) Can a familiar flank? Sure we all understand that familiars can't Strike, but it's generally believed that they can Trip. Trip is an unarmed attack that is not a Strike, so seems to qualify for flanking, and some familiars do have reach.

5B) Can a familiar with Manual Dexterity deploy an item such as Marbles? Or better yet... can a familiar 'wield' a weapon? Alas, the very useful notion that 'if you can't attack with it you can't wield it' is not printed anywhere. A familiar might use a wielded weapon to Trip, or use a wielded bola to Ranged Trip, even though familiars aren't able to Strike.

6B) Can a familiar with Manual Dexterity carry something that weighs 1 bulk? How about 2 bulk? 3?

7B) If a familiar with Speech calls its master 'Master', is that a violation of community standards? Kinda related to whether or not familiars are sapient.

8B) If a flying familiar drops an alchemist's fire or acid flask from a great height, what happens? Familiars can't activate items and can't strike... but the flask must land somewhere.


Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:
Megistone wrote:
What happens if a minion has persistent damage going on and you don't spend an action to command it? A literal interpretation of the rule would be that it doesn't take damage this round.

A non-acting minion is no different from an non-acting PC. Does a PC who is slowed 3 or stunned or outright unconscious stop taking persistent damage?

Not quite - the question is when the minion's turn in initiative is to begin with. A PC who can't act still has a turn come around.


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Dubious Scholar wrote:
Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:
Megistone wrote:
What happens if a minion has persistent damage going on and you don't spend an action to command it? A literal interpretation of the rule would be that it doesn't take damage this round.

A non-acting minion is no different from an non-acting PC. Does a PC who is slowed 3 or stunned or outright unconscious stop taking persistent damage?

Not quite - the question is when the minion's turn in initiative is to begin with. A PC who can't act still has a turn come around.

Minions don't get their own initiative, they use their master's. "Your minion acts on your turn in combat" makes that clear.


I agree its not clear but for persistent damage I consider the minion turn being their "owner" turn. So I apply minion persistent damage in the end of the player's turn no matter if the minion acted or not for me their turn begins and ended together not matter if they act or not.


I pose another, specific example situation. It deals with an IMO rather simple need, but comprises several of above-mentioned topics at once:

Situation:
- Assume a high-level Champion with Divine Ally Steed.
- The latter upgraded to specialized companion, so with an intelligence attribute modifier of -2 it borders (simple) humanoids' intelligence and is far smarter than average horses.
- At a remote place, there is an ally in approaching danger. Let's say the ally is a few miles away at a place well-known to the steed.
- The champion itself is urgently needed elsewhere.

Question:
When in exploration mode:
- Can the Champion send out their divine horse to meet the ally, to offer the latter a ride out of danger?
- If yes: Will the steed be able to reach the ally with a regular horse speed or can it travel only two thirds of a horse speed?

Personal Opinion:

- I'd find such a ride atmospheric and would probably like to allow it.
- Additionally, I'd find a riderless steed - instead of being faster - forced to travel only at 2/3 speed (because it is the champions minion?) badly in conflict with my imagination. But, by current rules ... (?)


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I do recognize that some of the issues in this thread seem ridiculous and rules-lawyery. But each of those issues could be solved by adding as little as two words. A single paragraph could fix most if not all of the questions in this entire thread.

And that's really all this thread is asking for, some simple explanation or clarification of how minions are expected to work, so there can be a common understanding. The design of this feature is incomplete without it.

And I really don't think it would become harmful and restricting. Individual GMs would still, as always, be able to alter the expectations if it suits their table.

Shadow Lodge

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Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
Outl wrote:
Regarding Trained skill actions: The Player Core has also nerfed the Skilled ability slightly, it apparently gives no more than +3 now.

Not true, it adds the Masters spellcasting mod.

Familiar Abilities, Player Core, p213 wrote:
Skilled: Choose a skill other than Acrobatics or Stealth. Your familiar’s modifier for that skill is equal to your level plus your spellcasting attribute modifier, rather than just your level. You can select this ability repeatedly, choosing a different skill each time.

I think you were getting that confused with the verbage under the Pet feat which gives a flat +3 to the default skills Pets get. (But the familiar rules modify those so that *familiars* get the spellcasting mod as a bonus instead of the +3 if it is better.)

Familiars, Modifiers and AC, Player Core p212 wrote:
For Perception, Acrobatics, and Stealth, you can have your familiar use your spellcasting attribute modifier + your level instead of 3 + your level if it’s higher.

Shadow Lodge

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Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:
Dubious Scholar wrote:
Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:
Megistone wrote:
What happens if a minion has persistent damage going on and you don't spend an action to command it? A literal interpretation of the rule would be that it doesn't take damage this round.

A non-acting minion is no different from an non-acting PC. Does a PC who is slowed 3 or stunned or outright unconscious stop taking persistent damage?

Not quite - the question is when the minion's turn in initiative is to begin with. A PC who can't act still has a turn come around.
Minions don't get their own initiative, they use their master's. "Your minion acts on your turn in combat" makes that clear.

I think the confusion comes into *when* in your turn does the familiar act. At the beginning? At the end? Does it need to take all its actions together or can it alternate those actions with its master's.

The rule I use is that at some point during the PCs turn, they spend an action to command the familiar, and the familiar then takes two actions before the PC takes another action. But something slightly more formalized would be helpful.


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pH unbalanced wrote:
Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:
Dubious Scholar wrote:
Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:
Megistone wrote:
What happens if a minion has persistent damage going on and you don't spend an action to command it? A literal interpretation of the rule would be that it doesn't take damage this round.

A non-acting minion is no different from an non-acting PC. Does a PC who is slowed 3 or stunned or outright unconscious stop taking persistent damage?

Not quite - the question is when the minion's turn in initiative is to begin with. A PC who can't act still has a turn come around.
Minions don't get their own initiative, they use their master's. "Your minion acts on your turn in combat" makes that clear.
I think the confusion comes into *when* in your turn does the familiar act. At the beginning? At the end? Does it need to take all its actions together or can it alternate those actions with its master's.

Maybe I should have included more of my previous PC1 quote before.

PC1 p301 wrote:
Minions are creatures that directly serve another creature. Your minion acts on your turn in combat, once per turn, when you spend an action to issue it commands.

It acts when you command it, and since it only acts once per turn it must take all (both) its actions together. I don't see how that's at all ambiguous. The way you've been running it is clearly the correct way. What more formal text would you prefer the rules to use?


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If you do take a close look what minions (esp familiars) should be capable of, it wouldn't hurt to also reconsider (nerf!) existing abilities that aren't unclear. For instance:

Why are familiars allowed to fly from level 1, when most other instances of fly are restricted to higher level?

Should familiars be allowed to take a different Lore skill each day?

Should a familiar with Skilled be capable of Treat Wounds?

Should familiars be allowed to take Flier one day, but not take Flier the next day? Is it gaining and losing wings on a daily basis?

Should it be normal for GMs to determine what a familiar does in stressful situations, making it more NPC than player-controlled?

When a cat uses Master's Form, does it somehow manifest clothing? If so, what type of clothing?

If a cat has Flier, and then uses Master's Form, does it still have wings and the ability to fly, or does going into Master's Form remove that (and several other) ability?

Should familiars always have an 'off' trait or look or glow somehow so they can be distinguished from 'normal' animals just by looking at them?

Should familiars be allowed to enter a Familiar Tattoo (or similar cache) while wearing a Collar, or should they have to remove the collar first? (Collar doesn't have the Companion trait)

Should Levitator allow familiars to coast over pressure plates, thus outclassing other sneaky characters like rangers and rogues?

Should Snoop be allowed to work, since it requires focusing on a task for far longer than one minute?


Outl wrote:

If you do take a close look what minions (esp familiars) should be capable of, it wouldn't hurt to also reconsider (nerf!) existing abilities that aren't unclear. For instance:

[...]

Outl, if that's the abilities you found "not unclear", I'm still impressed about the number of posed questions or amount of suggested reconsideration ;-)...

Addition to one of your questions:

Outl wrote:
[...] Is it gaining and losing wings on a daily basis? [...]

Does it gain wings at all? I know, there is this image of the winged cat (IMHO a cool one). But does it mean all Flyer pets and familiars fly with wings? And must these wings be always on - which would give the ability an additional built-in drawback? Or can we opt for wings that can be somehow retracted into the familiar to draw less suspicion and be less of a hindrance when not flying?

(Particularly when feats like Mutable Familiar and the new Spirit/Stiched feats demonstrate how persistence of familiars' bodies can be a rather relative matter...)

Personal flyer dealing:
During discussion we found that we appreciated the latter option and had the familiar morph uncanny wings out of their body when the time to fly was near and retract them later. (Combined with our Power-comes-with-own-will balance, mentioned earlier).

Again, the uncertainty at the time: Were we playing according to official rules? Had we anything to rely on besides the First Rule? (Don't get me wrong: I love the first rule. Totally appreciate it. But it gives you very few reference points on its own, unless you actually do that detail discussions.)


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Outl wrote:

...

Why are familiars allowed to fly from level 1, when most other instances of fly are restricted to higher level?
...

Do you consider a Familiar having the ability to fly as having the same impact on low-level threats/obstacles that character flight would?


Gisher wrote:
Outl wrote:

...

Why are familiars allowed to fly from level 1, when most other instances of fly are restricted to higher level?
...
Do you consider a Familiar having the ability to fly as having the same impact on low-level threats/obstacles that character flight would?

I think the earliest you can really do anything silly with that is level 3 by casting Enlarge on a familiar with a fly speed. Which makes it a flying mount for five minutes.


Don’t think that works. Nothing keeps their Fly speed when you mount them unless it specifically has the Mount special ability.

Familiars are balanced with Flier because they have very minimal (to most extent, none) combat capabilities.

Additionally, Familiars are “supposed” to be more scouts and detectors so Fly gives them the capability to do that.

Edit: Also reading through the Remaster, there are some contradictions in the Animal Companion section, but looking at Turns and the Minion trait (under spells), a Minion actually has 2 actions/0 reactions the moment your turn starts, but they cannot use those 2 actions unless specifically commanded. And since you can end your turn with unused Actions, the Minion is essentially losing any/all actions that were never used. Which means, any start of turn/end of turn stuff for the Minion should take place the same time you as a player normally would.

The biggest thing against my argument is that Animal Companion section contradicts by saying that they gain actions when Commanded, which means the Animal Companion section believes all Minions have 0 actions/0 reactions per turn.

However, following the Minion description + the Turn rules does explain what it means by the minion will “take actions to defend itself or move out of harm’s way”. If we follow that rule and not the Animal Companion section, then that means if a player chooses not to command their minion because they need to use the actions to escape for themselves, the GM can intervene and dictate how the Minion will use those 2 actions to “save itself” (such as not standing in the fire). I think it would be fair for the GM to also never dictate that the Minion can follow the offensive metagame of the player despite the bond.

But this does come down to GM work and fiat, which I know this particular discussion is trying to address. This interpretation can help keep things a bit more realistic and avoid the whole “This is fine” familiar as it burns to death watching the master run away to safety.


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Tunu40 wrote:

Don’t think that works. Nothing keeps their Fly speed when you mount them unless it specifically has the Mount special ability.

...

So I see that rule specifically for Animal Companions.

PC1, pg. 207 wrote:

RIDING ANIMAL COMPANIONS

You or an ally can ride your animal companion as long as it is at least one size larger than the rider. If it is carrying a rider, the animal companion can use only its land Speed, and it can’t move and Support you on the same turn. However, if your companion has the mount special ability, it’s especially suited for riding and ignores both of these restrictions.

But interestingly, I can't find a rule that covers flying mounts that aren't animal companions in either PC1 or GMC.


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Gisher wrote:
Tunu40 wrote:

Don’t think that works. Nothing keeps their Fly speed when you mount them unless it specifically has the Mount special ability.

...

So I see that rule specifically for Animal Companions.

PC1, pg. 207 wrote:

RIDING ANIMAL COMPANIONS

You or an ally can ride your animal companion as long as it is at least one size larger than the rider. If it is carrying a rider, the animal companion can use only its land Speed, and it can’t move and Support you on the same turn. However, if your companion has the mount special ability, it’s especially suited for riding and ignores both of these restrictions.
But interestingly, I can't find a rule that covers flying mounts that aren't animal companions in either PC1 or GMC.

It's why the Sprite's Corgi familiar feat has a special clause saying no flying.


Dubious Scholar wrote:
Gisher wrote:
Tunu40 wrote:

Don’t think that works. Nothing keeps their Fly speed when you mount them unless it specifically has the Mount special ability.

...

So I see that rule specifically for Animal Companions.

PC1, pg. 207 wrote:

RIDING ANIMAL COMPANIONS

You or an ally can ride your animal companion as long as it is at least one size larger than the rider. If it is carrying a rider, the animal companion can use only its land Speed, and it can’t move and Support you on the same turn. However, if your companion has the mount special ability, it’s especially suited for riding and ignores both of these restrictions.
But interestingly, I can't find a rule that covers flying mounts that aren't animal companions in either PC1 or GMC.
It's why the Sprite's Corgi familiar feat has a special clause saying no flying.

So where do I find "it?"


Into the Corgi Mount feat text:

Source Ancestry Guide pg. 129 2.0 - Corgi Mount wrote:
The smallest of fey have ridden corgis as mounts since time immemorial, leading to a pattern on corgis' backs called a “faerie saddle.” You have formed a magical connection with a corgi that can serve as your mount. Your corgi familiar is Small rather than Tiny, and it's appropriate for use as your mount, unlike most familiars. It has the scent ability, which counts against your limit for familiar and master abilities as normal. Furthermore, it can never gain a familiar ability that grants it any Speeds other than a land Speed. If you're a pixie, you can't ride a corgi due to your Size, but you can take this feat to gain a corgi familiar.

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