PDA

View Full Version : How Familiar Are Your Familiars?



DigoDragon
2013-06-17, 08:22 AM
Regardless of the RPG system, PCs who play spellcasters in my group enjoy the benefits of a familiar (and to a greater extent, animal companions in general); they're an extra set of eyes, a stealthy scout, and a spell delivery system.

What I have noticed, however, is that traditionally my players interact with them more as a tool than as an actual creature. As soon as the PCs have access to spells and magic items that can store a familiar in a pocket or bag, off the critter goes into it and forgotten until that niche encounter where they might be useful (I do the same thing with my 11/13th socket wrench).

This has the potential to lead to a *LOT* of dead familiars by drowning, starvation, suffocation, etc.. :smalltongue:

As GM, I'm generally nice and not worry about such details, but then I miss out on RP opportunities to have the spellcasters interact with their familiars on that level not seen since Archimedes and Merlin from Disney's Sword in the Stone (My fav example of mage/familiar interaction).

I'm currently a PC wizard in a D&D campaign, and to buck the trend the other players have set, I petitioned the GM to get a pony familiar. It's a medium-sized creature so I can't easily stuff her into a pocket and forget she's around. I've been RPing my familiar as more my partner/assistant in the adventure and in just two sessions the other players are starting to think of her as another party member because she's constantly adventuring with us.
She has an opinion, she can help carry our loot, she one time stabbed a bandit with a dagger (the GM is a fan of Disney's Tangled). Thus far, a big success.

(Get on with it, Digo)
So I was curious to know how much interaction your own party has with their familiars. Do they often get forgotten and rarely make an appearance in the adventure? Or do your spellcasters keep them in the spot light and give them a constant role to play? Maybe something in the middle?

Share your thoughts and experiences. :smallsmile:

Deathkeeper
2013-06-17, 08:44 AM
My first character was a sorcerer. I built his character specifically with his familiar in mind. Once he got his pseudodragon the two of them became the most well-characterized and consistent characters in the group, since they were designed as a pair. Even outside that, the dragon acted as our Bard, using telepathy to help communicate orders silently and provide morale support. That and eventually I got him a few wands to help him deal damage despite his lack of character levels.

The Rose Dragon
2013-06-17, 09:09 AM
My characters' familiars are very familiar with the characters most of the time. Anything else, I refer to as minions. I am especially fond of tree singer familiars in Exalted.

SiuiS
2013-06-17, 09:43 AM
Hmm. This has been on my mind lately, thank you Digo~!

First, on the nature of familiars;

the most commonly overlooked, ignored or misunderstood part of having a familiar is Actually it's primary feature a constant empathic two way link. You feel what your familiar feels. Your familiar feels what you feel. Most wizards ignore this and consider it something of a chore or trial to be overcome. The rush joy and savor ing of hot meat when your cat familiar pounces a mouse. The acute mental shriek of fear when a loud noise causes your raven to take flight. Gods help you, the constant need to prowl when whatever beast you've bound enters estrus!

But this is easy. An animal's synapses are smaller, baser, easier for the human mind to compartmentalize. The more alien a familiar however, or even worse, the more similar and sentient... Well. How many wizards have you seen with a Succubus familiar?

Almost none. Because it is so damned distracting!

Your empathic links floods you with feelings and thoughts that are not your own. You get served at a restaurant and look not at your plate but at the servers arm and for a moment, you know the exquisite sensuality of peeling away the flesh and sinking your teeth, daintily, so delicately it's almost foreplay, into the red-running meat beneath as... Ah, shake your head, shake it off!

Constant lust. Constant depravity. Lust in mortals eventually triggers love, or it's facsimile. You come to love your familiar, in the romantic sense, and they, you. But a Succubus cannot love wholesomely, you see. It is a possessive, jealous and abusive love, one which she picks up from you, magnifies and throws back.

Having a non-animal familiar is letting something else feel emotions for you, and not being able to do anything about it except return the favor.



The eponymous wizard started off as an explorer, and had a raven familiar which spoke (and sang!) celestial. It was captured by a DM who wanted A) Dwama! And B) to cut out our resources to force us into a trap. Thi included shutting down bardic knowledge, mysteriously breaking every mirrored surface in the party and every telescope, and Ben muting the area when the Druid cheeses out a low-level speak with plants... The familiar non was severed when we deduced the poor thing would be used against us, in hopes of making it Less valuable as a hostage. When we found it dead, it's mind bound into a stone so te bond would allow us to find it... Well. Charlesburg no longer exists on any map.

Segue into a different campaign, different DM. Tomas D'vlac the necromancer, with a bone white stoat named Culvan. Culvan continues the tradition of giving every familiar a full character sheet. Culvan enjoys playing and combat, and indeed doesn't distinguish between the two. He sometimes steals Tomas' spices for their scent, and sometimes wanders off to find a cat to play with. He's dutiful though, and will stab guard (as much as his attention span allows!) because Tomas is so nice, always getting him nice treats and not minding when he rolls in pee again so soon after a bath (and of course Tomas makes sure they both get regular baths much to Culvan's distaste! Fun though). It was awkward when Tomas died for a while, but now he's better, and he promises to make Culvan an immortal jut like him! That way no one can eat him or anything. Good times.

Dook?

*

Back to the eponymous wizard. Having saved reality twice, and died and incarnated three times, and become first a lord of faerie and then the purveyor and intercessors of all natural magic, they realized that no familiar was going to be safe in the usual fashion. No extra dimensional pocket could protect it. At their leek of power havin thwarted demogorgon's ascension, defeated jubilex utterly and waging war against Vecna and Bane a familiar's role needed to be re-examined. Cue Betrys.

Betrys is a dryad. She is a newly born one, a willow spirit in the deep woods where mortals dare not tread. One day a wizard came to her and asked for a soulbond. Being new to this, she asked; why? And the answer was simply as one spends so much time waging war and adventuring and plotting, one loses one's roots. Already the wizard had lost who they were and even utterly reborn several times, each one drifting further from who they thought they were. And Betrys was so... Happy, all the time. The empathic connection would be a grounding, and each day as wizard retreated into their mind's sanctum to renew their magical energies, she would be there, calm, loving and still rooted j. The mundane life of being a tree.

Sadly, decades, almost a full century, later... The bond stops. The wizard is no more a part of her mind and soul, and it's lonely. So lonely, in fact, so put upon by the very darkness her wizard fought so steadily, that all the woods buckle and die under the pall. So she takes up a worked piece of iron given into her care so a to keep it from her poor, faerie wizard's enemies and cuts down her own tree.

It's agonizing, excruciating, and most would have buckled and died. But Betrys knew there was more to life, more worth living for, than just her tree. So when the bole was hewn, and she was free, she lashed the iron blade to her old home and took it with her on an adventure to find her wizard.

RndmNumGen
2013-06-17, 12:03 PM
My first character was a sorcerer. I built his character specifically with his familiar in mind. Once he got his pseudodragon the two of them became the most well-characterized and consistent characters in the group, since they were designed as a pair. Even outside that, the dragon acted as our Bard, using telepathy to help communicate orders silently and provide morale support. That and eventually I got him a few wands to help him deal damage despite his lack of character levels.

I'm curious, how did you roleplay this out? I just got a pseudodragon myself, but considering he has telepathy it seems strange to just talk with him normally.

Deathkeeper
2013-06-17, 12:41 PM
I'm curious, how did you roleplay this out? I just got a pseudodragon myself, but considering he has telepathy it seems strange to just talk with him normally.

How we worked Telepathy is that everyone hears it in their natural language, so he is still "talking." He can also communicate with multiple people, so he could talk "out loud."
In terms of flavor I did things like his telepathic voice imitating the sorcerer's accent and manner of speaking exactly, just sounding younger since the dragon was only four.
I also made their connection less subtle since pd's are pretty intelligent. If separated the qualities that their bond gives each of them get less strong. Without his familiar Jacen loses his sense of humor, and without his master Zebes has trouble focusing. In addition, Jace has trouble with women since every time he goes out his brain and draconic subconscious start arguing as to whether or not his date would look better with scales. Stuff like that.

PersonMan
2013-06-17, 03:17 PM
It depends. I've never played a wizard with a familiar (I've barely played any wizards, so that's not saying much), but if I did, I'd either...

-Mention the familiar every now and then (live gaming)
-Add the familiar to each of my posts, considering closely how the character and familiar act with one another around (PbP)

It ties into the general PbP descriptions > live descriptions thing.

Bulhakov
2013-06-17, 03:42 PM
In two different Earthdawn campaigns I let my friends who played beastmasters adopt familiars. The system basically forces long-time roleplay on the players, as they don't get "instant familiars", instead once a week they can roll charisma+animal training to get "more familiar with the familiar" (does it sound dirty to anyone else?). Anyways, in Earthdawn the familiar starts out as just a creature that decides to hang around with the player and accepts food from him/her. With each successful roll the creature grows more fond of the player, wants to actively protect him and can obey more and more commands, until at very high level the familiar is almost telepathically in-sync with the player.

The two familiars were:
- a flying lizard, that got adopted as a hatchling, and was initially dog-sized and flightless, aggressive and fast like a tiny raptor. The player had to teach it to hunt and fly. It had an insatiable appetite for live chickens and hated being locked in anywhere which made for a lot of fun RP. Unfortunately the player never saw it grow to full size (at which it would be able to carry a light, unencumbered human rider) as the campaign got put on hold.

- a buffalo-like mount - an extremely resilient, aggressive and stubborn mount, that trampled many enemies and could never be kept in the same stable as horses

Eldonauran
2013-06-17, 05:52 PM
***snip***
:smallbiggrin: That inspired me. Thank you


I am currently running a character with both a Familiar and Animal Companion (pathfinder game). Sorcerer/Druid. I make use of the Animal Companion as a flanker for my allies (panther) and the familiar (hedgehog) usually remains in tattoo form (tattooed sorcerer) for safety reasons though does emerge every now and then to deliver a touch spell or two when it is sorely needed (to allies, naturally). Tiny size does have advantages in combat.

I make use of both creatures heavily in roleplay. Each serves as a physical manifestation of my character's links to both arcane and divine magic. The hedgehog bolsters my character's will saves (which too a -2 dump from crossblooded) and serves to offer guidance and advice from an alternate perspective. Also, is roleplayed as an extra set of 'eyes' in the back of my character's head (neck really. I like roleplaying the +2 perception from alertness). The DM was given full leeway with how to describe what I see when only the +2 was enough to catch it (seeing through the eyes of the hedgehog for an instant. things like that).

The panther is a guardian, given to him before his first level of druid (feral child druid archetype) so that he can be protected along his journey to master both the arcane and divine aspects of his heritage. When one is going to try to be a Mystic Theurge and be the only real spellcaster in the party, you need all the melee firepower you can muster. Being able to communicate with the panther (and the Int 3 which lets it understand common) goes a long way to ensure its survivability.

Coidzor
2013-06-17, 06:11 PM
Familiar is my Erasmus? I always thought he was overly familiar.

Winter_Wolf
2013-06-17, 06:34 PM
I don't much play casters of any type, except rangers anyway, but when I do, I take an ACF that lets me sacrifice ability to have the familiar/animal companion if possible.

I have nothing against the idea of familiars, but it's another layer of bookkeeping, and while I may find it great fun to have that little back and forth, I see that there's a lot of potential for resentment from other players who feel that I'm hogging spotlight time.

Also--and this is probably the main thing--even though I know it's make believe, I'm kind of horrified by the possibility that my little buddy might come to harm. Character death? Meh. Animal companion/familiar death? Crushing guilt and sadness.

I don't really pay much attention to other players' interactions with their animal buddies. I won't begrudge them the time they spend on it (unless they go nuts with it), but honestly it's rare that I get someone who's really great with the master/familiar act. In truth I probably treat others' familiars as non-entities unless they have tactical combat value. If the DM rules that it gets caught in "friendly fire" AoE, I probably won't give it a second thought. Until the player says, "WTH you just killed my familiar!" Actually that sounds like a pretty powerful argument for NOT drawing attention to the presence of a familiar.

Deadlykire
2013-06-17, 07:00 PM
What about your psy crystals!

Anyhow, I've had several different setups. PbP you can just add in the familiar fluff/interactions rather well in your posts. Live games is a bit harder. I've had a game where were introducing new players to the game. We were starting mid level and had a lot of new players wanting to play. We knew attrition would get some, so those that grasped it early got characters. Those that had a bit more trouble played as familiars. So I had a coworker sitting next to me playing as my pseudodragon. So we had a real interaction, and the familiar had its own personality, sometimes out of my control. Sometimes he would refuse to follow my orders (within game limits). We found it was a great way to introduce some new players to the system.

Other times the GM/DM has played my familiar. The psy crystal example specifically comes to mind. He played that portion of my characters personality perfectly. It was always irritating and cautious. Warning me that I "shouldn't" do this or that. It also gave the DM a nice way to give OOC metagame hints to the party.

I've also played my own familiar. My group of friends didn't mind, as I made it entertaining for all as I spoke with myself in different voices having full conversations (and sometimes fights). I made sure to not take up too much time, but it was comedy relief for all.

DigoDragon
2013-06-17, 07:10 PM
How many wizards have you seen with a Succubus familiar?
Almost none. Because it is so damned distracting!

Haha... yeah, in multiple ways.



So when the bole was hewn, and she was free, she lashed the iron blade to her old home and took it with her on an adventure to find her wizard.

Wow, that's really touching. Epic story of a familiar.


For my wizard, a Transmuter named Sparks, there was one short adventure path where his familiar (Freya) got taken by an evil druid. Freya was unconscious so I couldn't feel anything, but boy did my character do what he could to track her down. Satisfying for my character to find his familiar again. :smallsmile:

Gavinfoxx
2013-06-17, 07:44 PM
Here's how I rewrite the two magical pouch belts for D&D 3.5e... note the familiar-specific features for the second pouch... also note how one is obviously upgradeable to the other...


Belt of Hidden Pockets, Lesser: This incredibly well made belt is usually made of silk or leather, and obviously has ten pockets placed on the outside of it, five on each side of the belt. In the center of the belt, near where it latches, are four specialized straps, each of which can function to hold something about the size and shape of a potion or a wand. Each pocket looks like it has a holding space of up to six inches wide, six inches long, and six inches deep, but in actuality, the pockets can stretch their opening up to a foot in diameter, and the actual space inside each pocket is a cubic foot, and each pocket can carry up to 10 pounds of any material, though living creatures placed inside any particular pocket would suffocate within a minute.

Furthermore, it is impossible to actually get to the items inside each pouch by any means other than opening the pouch--a cutpurse slashing the bottom of the pouch would find an empty pouch, and the pockets would heal closed within a minute, and even when completely full, the belt appears empty to a casual observer. Unfortuantely, the potions or wands in the straps can be stolen as normal from a pickpocket. Accessing any pocket, whether to remove or place any appropriately sized item, is a move action that does not produce attacks of opportunity. This belt also contains two more pockets behind each visible one, accessible with one command word that the current wearer actually has to speak to get the first set of pouches, and another for the second tier of pouches.

Furthermore, each item placed in any of the pouches only weighs at most, one twentieth its weight, so a particular pouch only adds half a pound to the weight, and completely full belt (all thirty pockets fully weighted, plus the weight of the belt, plus the negligable weight of the potions) is only sixteen pounds. Accessing the potion straps to remove a potion, wand, or similar object is a swift action that does not produce attacks of opportunity. This item does not react badly with any extra-dimensional, multi-dimensional, or super-dimensional space in any way. Empty, weighs 1 lb. 5000 gp Moderate conjuration; CL 9th; Craft Wondrous Item, secret chest.




Belt of Hidden Pockets, Greater: This incredibly well made belt is usually made of silk or leather, and obviously has ten pockets placed on the outside of it, five on each side of the belt. In the center of the belt, near where it latches, are four specialized potion straps, each of which can only function to hold something about the size and shape of a potion or a wand. Each pocket looks like it has a holding space of up to six inches wide, six inches long, and six inches deep, but in actuality, the pockets can stretch their opening up to a foot in diameter, and the actual space inside each pocket is a cubic foot, and each pocket can carry up to 10 pounds of any material, though living creatures placed inside any particular pocket would suffocate within a minute.

Furthermore, it is impossible to actually get to the items inside each pouch by any means other than opening the pouch--a cutpurse slashing the bottom of the pouch would find an empty pouch, and the pockets would heal closed within a minute, and even when completely full, the belt appears empty to a casual observer. Unfortuantely, the potions or wands in the straps can be stolen as normal from a pickpocket. Accessing any pocket, whether to remove or place any appropriately sized item, is a move action that does not produce attacks of opportunity. This belt also contains six more pockets behind each visible one, accessible with one command word per 'tier' of pouches, that the current wearer actually has to say to access the appropriate tier of hidden pouches.

Furthermore, each item placed in any of the pouches does not add any weight whatsoever to the belt, whether the belt is worn or not. Finally, any ONE familiar, animal companion, magical mount, wild cohort, or any other magical creature that is specially bonded to the wearer can be placed in any of the seventy empty pouches of the belt regardless of it's size or weight, and it's physical needs for air, water, food, minor amounts of exercise, minor grooming, and any other physical needs of it has will automatically be taken care of. The creature, if willing, will simply be placed into the pouch in a flash and streak of light. However, the creature will magically be able to see and hear outside of the pouch just as well as if it was sticking it's head out of the pouch, and it can leave the pouch at any time it wishes. Also, any telepathic or empathic or similar abilities the creature might have with it's owner work just as well as if the creature was outside of the pouch and touching the owner. Regardless, if the owner of the magical creature ever takes the belt off with the creature within it, the creature immediately leaves the belt in a flash of light, and is placed at the nearest unoccupied, safe square, unharmed. Accessing the potion straps to remove a potion, wand or similar object is a swift action that does not produce attacks of opportunity. This item does not react badly with any extra-dimensional, multi-dimensional, or super-dimensional space in any way. 1 lb. 11000 gp. Moderate conjuration; CL 9th; Craft Wondrous Item, secret chest, familiar pocket.

tyckspoon
2013-06-17, 07:53 PM
Familiar is my Erasmus? I always thought he was overly familiar.

Acquiring a familiar must be quite difficult in that universe, as the Hero never gets one no matter how much Glory he may accrue in his Quests.

Slipperychicken
2013-06-18, 12:20 AM
Depending on how much the system penalizes me for its death, it's either getting stuffed in the safest box I can think of, or serving as a scout.

hewhosaysfish
2013-06-18, 06:25 AM
When I've played a wizard, I've often been hesitant to add too much personailty to a familiar, thinking it would lead to me playing two characters at once, having a conversation with myself that noone else was interested in and generally consuming too much of the spotlight...
Anyone else ever worry about that?

DigoDragon
2013-06-18, 06:40 AM
Anyone else ever worry about that?

None of my players have worried about it since they rarely use their familiar. :smallbiggrin: With mine, the GM and I have been sharing the RP time. Usually I'll play out what my familiar does, but on occasion the GM will act out for her. We've been pretty consistent with her personality so far.

Jeff the Green
2013-06-18, 08:41 AM
It depends on the character. I have a character I want to play at some point that's a tibbet beguiler who has a thrush as a familiar. He enjoys pouncing and pinning her to the ground because he is, at heart, a cat. On the other hand, a diviner I played briefly had a raven as a familiar on whom she spent an inordinate amount of money, mostly to boost its Intelligence. They had vigorous debates on the nature of magic and she would never have endangered him.

Lord Torath
2013-06-18, 08:43 AM
I've got two characters (in different groups) with familiars: An Elven Fighter/Mage with a bat familiar named Charcoal (sonar is great! Detect Invis 30' when in contact with me) and a human Preserver with a scorpion named Skitter (senses fear in others).

Charcoal is fun to roleplay: loves to eat bugs, but wants nothing to do with owls (That's right! They're dangerous to more than 1st-level characters!).

Skitter is a bit more difficult. Mostly just hangs on my character somewhere. Scorpions don't make the best scouts - too slow. Plus, easily squishable. That being said, we're soon approaching a small fortress, and it might be useful in peering around corners for me.

Trekkin
2013-06-18, 12:17 PM
My Conjuror's familiar hasn't really been a part of the game much, largely because it's a scorpion of unusual size and the party makes enough of an impression on passersby. In general, I assume it follows the same routine daily: hanging out in an armored (but not locked) box in the Handy Haversack and reading all day, and conversing/stargazing at night. Thus far, I have not been aware of any dissatisfaction with the arrangement; the last time I mentioned it was to ask after buying it a set of spectacles for its most probable birthday.

Practically speaking, the penalties for losing a familiar are so severe that it's not worth risking it to a lucky shot in combat; I can't really find a solution to protecting one that doesn't involve isolation.

Winds
2013-06-18, 01:25 PM
My first and best familiar belonged to a sorcerer named Garrett. It was a weasel who loved apples. Therefore, she was named Apple. Made for a decent scout due to a climb speed, and tended to climb around her master and hide in one pocket or another of his robes. Up until one encounter with a group of hellhounds ended badly-everyone was down, with one hound still standing. At this point, Apple climbed out of the pocket she was in, climbed to the hound's back, and dug into the back of its neck. The hound couldn't hurt her or get her off. Hound dies.

Some time later, the party healer woke up to see that the only other conscious being was Apple, stained with hellhound blood and looking very pointedly between the cleric and her master.


She spend the rest of the campaign with a swelled head over this. That only got worse when she and Garrett used that trick and some clever use of cover to bring down a feral giant.


So the party ended up with a familiar who averted two TPKs by bringing down the monster that brought down the humanoid party members. Apple was barely three inches long, if that, but ended up with an ego fit for a dragon...and no inclination to sit in an isolated pocket, even if we had had one.

SiuiS
2013-06-18, 02:56 PM
:smallbiggrin: That inspired me. Thank you

My pleasure!


Haha... yeah, in multiple ways.

Hee~



Wow, that's really touching. Epic story of a familiar.


Thanks! I'm actually starting to play that one through now. I've had the sea for years but no game for her.

The idea comes from the opening of Blind Guardian's Celtic Spirit. I'm... Not certain it really is Blind Guardian, given how prevalent mislabeling such things on the Internet is, but there ya go.


For my wizard, a Transmuter named Sparks, there was one short adventure path where his familiar (Freya) got taken by an evil druid. Freya was unconscious so I couldn't feel anything, but boy did my character do what he could to track her down. Satisfying for my character to find his familiar again. :smallsmile:

Neat! Poor freya... That must have even satisfying though. It's nice to have the DM use the familiar as something other than a cheap shot.


When I've played a wizard, I've often been hesitant to add too much personailty to a familiar, thinking it would lead to me playing two characters at once, having a conversation with myself that noone else was interested in and generally consuming too much of the spotlight...
Anyone else ever worry about that?

Yeah. It's got to be balanced against the group and the game. I'm having this problem in a game of Mage: the Awakening right now. For the time being, I'm having some trouble balancing my shaman's familiar with the pace of te game. The major charismatic faction is driving it into a very intellectual, sit back and do paperwork and networking kinda game. The familiar is there, and the interaction is still happening, I'm just not puttin spotlight time on it. We just got finish with a thing that involved draining some mana from te familiar and it being upset at being a resource, and then some reconciliation. All the other players saw was a few sentences of disagreement.


It depends on the character. I have a character I want to play at some point that's a tibbet beguiler who has a thrush as a familiar. He enjoys pouncing and pinning her to the ground because he is, at heart, a cat. On the other hand, a diviner I played briefly had a raven as a familiar on whom she spent an inordinate amount of money, mostly to boost its Intelligence. They had vigorous debates on the nature of magic and she would never have endangered him.

A Tibet with a thrush? That is awesome!

EriktheRed
2013-06-18, 09:02 PM
With the people I play with, they always find a replacement for their familiar unless it is part of their concept, so if there is a familiar or animal companion, it is generally treated as a member of the party.

Heck, I have an NPC witch traveling with the party in a game I am currently running, whose fox familiar, Harbinger (or Harby for short), is more well respected and appreciated than the witch is.

Dayaz
2013-06-19, 01:37 AM
In my first game ever, I played a barbarian. Now, during a quest to go obtain some special plant for some religious but friendly Goblins, my character struck a deal with one where if he provided extra plants, they would give him one of their Guard Hyenas.

This was done solely based off the fact that my character was a wolfman, and loved exotic looking dogs. He may also have blandly mentioned the fact that he could just kill them all and take the hyenas, but wanted to be fair.

So this barbarian, through what might still be one of the best missions I've played in, got his Hyena. He proceeded to spend all his wbl giving this thing magic items and reforging/resizing his items for her (first campaign for everyone, so what was a medium optimized barbarian was wrecking the bosses w/o magic items). I gained a free feat that let my hyena act as though it where a familiar, and it could use a couple of my rage/day abilities (which by level 8-9ish my barbarian has never needed to use his rage).

We all get captured. Hyena and Barb are tossed in separate dungeons because they think she belongs to the druid. Barbarian wakes up to hearing the guards talking about eating the hyena, while the hyena hears it through the bond. They both proceed to rage, and manage to fight their way through the whole castle and meet up and go intimidate the king into letting them all go free in exchange for not killing and eating him.

On their way out of the city, unknown to the entire party the hyena kidnaps the princess as a last minute joke/insult, and somehow the dm lets us get a weeks ride away before the bard finds out about the hyena kidnapping the girl and feeding her.

6 months rp irl, 2 years ic later, the barbarian and the princess are getting married with the hyena as the party member keeping the king from protesting. Through this time period a lot happened, but it's safe to say that the barbarian, his hyena, and the rogue/assassin where the most BA members of the team.

DigoDragon
2013-06-19, 06:42 AM
Apple was barely three inches long, if that, but ended up with an ego fit for a dragon...and no inclination to sit in an isolated pocket, even if we had had one.

Heehee, that sounds so cute. Though I'd probably be slightly embarrased if my bacon was saved twice by such a little critter. :smalltongue:

Winds
2013-06-19, 08:50 AM
Heehee, that sounds so cute. Though I'd probably be slightly embarrased if my bacon was saved twice by such a little critter. :smalltongue:

In character, slightly. Out of character was more along the lines of 'That was cool, I'm so glad it worked.' :smallbiggrin:

Grod_The_Giant
2013-06-19, 09:13 AM
My bard used to have arguments with his raven. He was a nice guy, and the bird was a massive ****. I'd tilt my head side to side and use a parrot voice for the bird--

"No, Edger, you can't just crap on his horse."
"I'm a bird, you <squack>, I can do what I want!"
"Don't use that kind of language!"

EvilJames
2013-06-19, 10:03 AM
In 2nd ed game my wife and I played in, my wife's priestess of Larue somehow ended up with a warg familiar. The warg was a sarcastic SOB that my wife constantly had to keep an eye on or it would go looking for trouble. The warg was generally RP'd by the DM and the players all thought it was hilarious, but then it was a small group and I think you can get away with that kind of thing in a small group.
I also seem to recall someone in another game having brief arguments with his familiar but we would only hear his half of the argument. That was pretty good as well.

Tyrrell
2013-06-19, 12:06 PM
Familiars would get more screen time of they were played by other players rather than the player of the familiar owning character.

I played in a 3.0 group where all of the characters were wizards. We ran an adventure or two with just the familiars.

I love how familiars are handled in Ars Magica (the original bond has three "cords" that respectively link and strengthen the magic, mind and body of the caster and familiar. After this, the bond can have enchantments added to that target either the familiar or the magician. With each enchantment both the familiar and the magician must take on a personality trait or habit of the other). Sadly, I've only once had a character in one of my games bind a familiar, and that one stayed mostly off screen and just helped in the lab.

Daefos
2013-06-19, 04:58 PM
In our games, familiars are important to their respective characters, but tend to get forgotten or shunted off to the side once the game started.

In one game, our wizard had a hawk familiar named Adarin, nicknamed Cookpot. Because, according to the wizard, that's where she was going if she relieved herself on his spellbooks again. What made it interesting was that this wizard was quite arrogant about his spellcasting prowess (18 Int, Spellcasting Prodigy feat, the works), and so as part of his backstory had stolen the ritual to summon and bond a familiar well before he had properly gained his first level, certain he could do it. Well, he could summon a familiar alright, but being only about 14 at the time, he didn't think to check for any other rites that might be needed beyond just the summoning and bonding, and ended up accidentally skipping the sub-rituals needed to instill loyalty and obedience. So he had a familiar, but it was a little, feathery ball of inexplicable rage, whose feelings towards her wizard varied between spiteful apathy and furious anger. Generally, unless lives were at stake, the wizard could only coax her into doing things through bribes of food.

The familiar itself was pretty one-note and never helped in battle (we had a standing assumption that it flew off to safety once a fight started, and simply never entered confined spaces in the first place) but it helped to define the wizard's character; the story of how he acquired his familiar painted him as being genuinely talented but prone to not thinking things through, while the fact that he never got rid of it showed that he was more compassionate than his arrogance would suggest*. Which I think is a good role for a familiar; it helps define the character it's bonded to, but itself isn't a prominent entity in the game.

*That, and seeing a "mighty wizard" get dive-bombed by his own familiar never gets old. :D

DigoDragon
2013-06-20, 06:45 AM
Which I think is a good role for a familiar; it helps define the character it's bonded to, but itself isn't a prominent entity in the game.

In the case of my wizard and his bonded pony, the relationship is that usually my wizard is the adventurous risk-taking type and the familiar is the laid-back practical one. But every so often the roles reverse for comedic effect and that reversal seems to happen in situations where the fight is least necessary.

The most recent reversal was from a farmer that was picking on the wizard for a drinking contest. The farmer was already buzzed and my wizard just wanted to be left alone. After a bit of name calling, here comes the pony walking into the bar ready to kick him through a wall.
One of the other PCs said the pony should do the drinking challenge. :smallbiggrin:

She didn't, but still an amusing thought.

Arkhosia
2013-06-28, 12:10 AM
My character, a changeling artificer/cleric hybrid, has a weasel familiar named August (named after the Divine Augustus).
A brilliant tactician and clever, he and my artiferic(?) often discuss a wide range of topics, from the best alchemical formulas for endothermic arrows to debates about the merits of illusory cakes for rewards.

Haluesen
2013-06-28, 12:57 AM
All of these are some very great stories. :smallsmile: Personally I've never used a familiar much, but that is mostly out of my own horrible forgetfullness rather than any dislike of familiars. After reading this I'm inspired to try harder to make familiar's a more interesting part of the game. :smallbiggrin: