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Mad Wizard
2007-12-06, 11:17 PM
Say you're Bob Joe the Sorcerer, who has max ranks in cross-class Use Magic Device. Let's also say you have a raven familiar. Since familiars use your skill ranks, and a raven can talk, could the raven activate a wand by holding it with one talon? Could a different type of familiar activate a wand?

mabriss lethe
2007-12-06, 11:29 PM
....That is a very...very interesting idea. I have no clue how that would work.


Edit for more info.

It doesn't seem to be expressly forbidden, but there is a clause in the SRD that a GM could use to justify disallowing it.

Taken from the SRD:

Regardless of a familiarís total skill modifiers, some skills may remain beyond the familiarís ability to use.

tyckspoon
2007-12-06, 11:35 PM
Can you:

Speak?
Hold a wand?
Make a Use Magic Device check of DC 20?

If the answer to all of these is yes, you can UMD a Wand. So yes, it works for the raven familiar. It doesn't work for other familiars unless they are somehow provided with the ability to form normal words; the 'Speak with Master' and 'Speak with others of kind' abilities do not appear to qualify.

tsuyoshikentsu
2007-12-06, 11:48 PM
Shared Tongues is dandy, though.

tyckspoon
2007-12-06, 11:54 PM
I should note that although I believe the rules allow it, doing this is a pretty good way to get your familiar killed. Familiars are normally fairly innocuous and can be kept safe with several magic items and spells, but it's going to need to be in the open to use a wand on anything. The raven on your shoulder pinning down a magic stick and shouting out command words is going to get some magic missiles up its beak sooner or later.. the Share Spells feature of a familiar should be used generously here.

mabriss lethe
2007-12-07, 12:10 AM
I should note that although I believe the rules allow it, doing this is a pretty good way to get your familiar killed. Familiars are normally fairly innocuous and can be kept safe with several magic items and spells, but it's going to need to be in the open to use a wand on anything. The raven on your shoulder pinning down a magic stick and shouting out command words is going to get some magic missiles up its beak sooner or later.. the Share Spells feature of a familiar should be used generously here.

The best way to play this, assuming the DM doesn't nix the whole fiasco (citing the quote from the SRD in my first post), would be to use the raven
1: to either snipe from concealment somewhere using damage dealing wands with a long range... or

2: Give the raven more utility or buff oriented wands. Use him as a flying paramedic with a wand of cure light wounds. Stuff like that. Use the familiar as an extra set of hands, essentially.

Either way, It's a trick I wouldn't rely upon in every encounter. Enemies tend to learn from their mistakes. Keep it as an ace in the hole for last ditch situations where the survival of your familiar is the least of your concerns or when there isn't an immediate threat.

Kaelik
2007-12-07, 12:12 AM
I should note that although I believe the rules allow it, doing this is a pretty good way to get your familiar killed. Familiars are normally fairly innocuous and can be kept safe with several magic items and spells, but it's going to need to be in the open to use a wand on anything. The raven on your shoulder pinning down a magic stick and shouting out command words is going to get some magic missiles up its beak sooner or later.. the Share Spells feature of a familiar should be used generously here.

If you aren't using your familiar then you shouldn't have called one anyway. I know I often share plenty of spells with my familiar and then use Imbue Familiar with Spell Ability. Four spells a round? Yes please. The UMD Raven is just another example of that same strategy.

Though quite often I just have my Rat familiar hiding in my robes cast Displacement or invisibility on me after I've finished my casting.

Jack_Simth
2007-12-07, 12:22 AM
Tongues, on the other hand, expressly grants "the ability to speak and understand the language of any intelligent creature" - with no requirement that the subject know a language at all.

For that matter, theoretically, that can be used as a reverse Speak With Animals (or Vermin, or any other creature), as it gives the ability to both understand and speak.

Fiery Diamond
2007-12-07, 12:26 AM
That ... is pure awesome. I am totally gonna have to pull that one on my players with an NPC sorcerer or wizard. And do it myself in the next campaign I'm in that I'm not running.

- Fiery Diamond

Feralgeist
2007-12-07, 01:55 AM
mephits, quasits or imps as familiars can use magic rings, wands,and lots of wondrous items. plus they have all the body slots a person does, and could wear items like that.

Khanderas
2007-12-07, 02:15 AM
I should note that although I believe the rules allow it, doing this is a pretty good way to get your familiar killed. Familiars are normally fairly innocuous and can be kept safe with several magic items and spells, but it's going to need to be in the open to use a wand on anything. The raven on your shoulder pinning down a magic stick and shouting out command words is going to get some magic missiles up its beak sooner or later.. the Share Spells feature of a familiar should be used generously here.
Idonno, sure if it is a traceable route (a ray decends from the skies) then yeah enemies might take notice. Unless they are deep into the fight. People wont stare up if they are in melee in front.
But a wand of say, hold person or somilar spell that just appears is another thing. As for shouting spelltriggers, I think it works even when you just say it. Plus ravens can fly pretty fast and darn hard to hit, zap a monster or five and then hide in a tree. Protection from arrows and you are good.

Now as for if the GM allows it or not, that is a different story. (S)he might think that it is alittle too useful, or taking up too much spotlight in the fight or simply don't think it is a good idea (dangerous and/or stupid).

A wand of cure X wounds would be the best option yeah.

SoD
2007-12-07, 02:42 AM
mephits, quasits or imps as familiars can use magic rings, wands,and lots of wondrous items. plus they have all the body slots a person does, and could wear items like that.

Heh, my party is learning the dangers of Mephits with a few wonderous items. Especially something to boost its armour class, something to boost its dex, something to boost its wis, and a few levels in monk. :smalltongue:

But yes, a familier using a wand...hmm. I spose if you allow that, what about a rod? Or an enlarged raven using a staff?

Aquillion
2007-12-07, 03:02 AM
Do the rules specifically allow ravens to carry and manipulate objects, though? I could maybe see a raven lifting a wand (it's harder than it sounds; they're awkward-shaped to fly with), but I'm not sure I can see it managing to aim effectively at anything.

tyckspoon
2007-12-07, 03:05 AM
Heh, my party is learning the dangers of Mephits with a few wonderous items. Especially something to boost its armour class, something to boost its dex, something to boost its wis, and a few levels in monk. :smalltongue:

But yes, a familier using a wand...hmm. I spose if you allow that, what about a rod? Or an enlarged raven using a staff?

You run into trouble with the phrasing of 'holding' the items in question there. Your typical rod or staff is several times larger than your typical raven, which makes it hard to honestly claim that the raven is holding the item. It could be perching on it or being crushed by it, but that's not quite the same thing.

That said, if you can get the bird big enough to effectively hold a staff or rod, it could use it the same as a wand. Staves might not be a good choice, however, since the familiar is going to be casting off a worse Intelligence than the Wizard (you probably don't even want to bother doing this with a Sorcerer's familiar; stick to wands.) and has no casting level of its own, so will be using the default caster level of the staff. Non-caster-level dependent spells of the kind that make for good wand choices will remain good staff choices, of course.



Do the rules specifically allow ravens to carry and manipulate objects, though? I could maybe see a raven lifting a wand (it's harder than it sounds; they're awkward-shaped to fly with), but I'm not sure I can see it managing to aim effectively at anything.

Anything with a Strength score has the ability to manipulate objects; Dex would probably be the relevant score for how well they can do so (that and Int to figure out how to manipulate things in unusual ways.) Fortunately for the wand-carrying familiar, being a raven gets it a 15 Dex and being a familiar gets it from 6 to 15 Int depending on the master's level.

As to whether it can manage the wand effectively:

To activate a wand, a character must hold it in hand (or whatever passes for a hand, for nonhumanoid creatures) and point it in the general direction of the target or area. A wand may be used while grappling or while swallowed whole.

A bird's foot is a reasonable analogue to a humanoid hand, I think most people will agree. It's either that or its beak to manipulate things with. And it might well have trouble aiming a 6-12 inch stick (the weight is well within the bird's carrying capacity, even for a 1 Str Tiny critter. Wands are very light, apparently.) but fortunately it doesn't have to aim precisely!

Khanderas
2007-12-07, 03:21 AM
Do the rules specifically allow ravens to carry and manipulate objects, though? I could maybe see a raven lifting a wand (it's harder than it sounds; they're awkward-shaped to fly with), but I'm not sure I can see it managing to aim effectively at anything.
If you make the item... why can't it be something in proper raven-size ?
Unless the laws of magic specifically says that a magic item of 50 spellcharges HAS to be a wand stick, 1 foot long and made of wood/crystal ?
Just make the wand a ring or necklace that can be worn by your raven.

Edit, what 4 ? : A spelltrigger item such as a wand, dont have to be aimed like say a gun. So said in the post above me, in the general direction will work fine. Line of sight / effect and the raven is good.

mabriss lethe
2007-12-07, 03:52 AM
If you make the item... why can't it be something in proper raven-size ?
Unless the laws of magic specifically says that a magic item of 50 spellcharges HAS to be a wand stick, 1 foot long and made of wood/crystal ?
Just make the wand a ring or necklace that can be worn by your raven.

There was something about this in one of the older 3.0 supplements...(tome and blood I think...) Your familiar can wear most standard magic items without having to resize them. rings worn like anklets or somesuch. There will be exceptions to that, in which case having something custom made to the familiar's anatomic requirements would acceptable.

Chronos
2007-12-07, 07:44 PM
Now as for if the GM allows it or not, that is a different story. (S)he might think that it is alittle too useful, or taking up too much spotlight in the fight or simply don't think it is a good idea (dangerous and/or stupid).It's not too overpowered, when you consider that it requires a 2 skill point class, possibly with mediocre intelligence (if a sorcerer), to max a cross-class skill.

On the other hand, though, wizards generally have more skill points than sorcerers, and I note that the prestige class most easily available to wizards, the Loremaster (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/prestigeClasses/loremaster.htm), does have UMD as a class skill. A nonhuman wizard Loremaster with an 18 int could dump 12 points into UMD at the first level of the class (4 via Instant Mastery as his first secret, 4 from Int, and 4 from the class). That's enough that, even with a 6 Cha, the raven would have a 55% chance to make the wand work.

Feralgeist
2007-12-08, 02:16 AM
if you had a familiar that was vaguely humanlike, like a mephit or imp or quasit, would you be able to use disguise self or something similar to disguise them as yourself? I had an idea for a sorceror who had his familiar as a doppelganger of himself, they always stand side by side and speak/move exactly in sync, due to the empathic link and stuff, so no one would know which one is the real one. also, giving the familiar a wand maybe and mirror image with shared spells, so the enemy has to hit 2 targets out of twice as many possible fakes

Reel On, Love
2007-12-08, 02:21 AM
Disguise Self won't do it. Alter Self will--you can Alter Self your familiar into a humanoid (Personal spells can be cast on your familiar instead of you, with the same parameters as though you were casting them on yourself) or whatever your creature type is.

I don't think you could pull the "totally synchronous" thing, though.

Feralgeist
2007-12-08, 02:52 AM
ehh, close enough. thanks!

The Professor
2007-12-08, 04:40 AM
mephits, quasits or imps as familiars can use magic rings, wands,and lots of wondrous items. plus they have all the body slots a person does, and could wear items like that.


I had an Imp familiar one game. He was the bane of everything to my DM at the time. Because we didn't have anyone else who could use it, we ended up giving him a +5 Keen Bastard Sword of Wounding (He Alter Self'd into larger things), and for kicks, a Ring of Protection +4. He was invisible, flying, and it really, really sucked when he hit you, flew away, and turned invisible. He was also the second-best scout, having a nice link to me.

It was nothing short of awesome.

Titanium Dragon
2007-12-08, 05:04 AM
Disguise Self won't do it. Alter Self will--you can Alter Self your familiar into a humanoid (Personal spells can be cast on your familiar instead of you, with the same parameters as though you were casting them on yourself) or whatever your creature type is.

You could certainly use Alter Self to change the form of your raven, but you can't change it into a humanoid - Alter Self changes a creature within its type. To whit:

You assume the form of a creature of the same type as your normal form. The new form must be within one size category of your normal size. The maximum HD of an assumed form is equal to your caster level, to a maximum of 5 HD at 5th level. You can change into a member of your own kind or even into yourself.

Now, that being said, your familiar is a magical beast, so you can turn it into any magical beast of your caster level or below, with a limit of five.

Reel On, Love
2007-12-08, 05:17 AM
You could certainly use Alter Self to change the form of your raven, but you can't change it into a humanoid - Alter Self changes a creature within its type. To whit:

You assume the form of a creature of the same type as your normal form. The new form must be within one size category of your normal size. The maximum HD of an assumed form is equal to your caster level, to a maximum of 5 HD at 5th level. You can change into a member of your own kind or even into yourself.

Now, that being said, your familiar is a magical beast, so you can turn it into any magical beast of your caster level or below, with a limit of five.
"Share Spells

At the masterís option, he may have any spell (but not any spell-like ability) he casts on himself also affect his familiar. The familiar must be within 5 feet at the time of casting to receive the benefit.

If the spell or effect has a duration other than instantaneous, it stops affecting the familiar if it moves farther than 5 feet away and will not affect the familiar again even if it returns to the master before the duration expires. Additionally, the master may cast a spell with a target of "You" on his familiar (as a touch range spell) instead of on himself.

A master and his familiar can share spells even if the spells normally do not affect creatures of the familiarís type (magical beast)."

So if you share the Alter Self, your familiar will turn into a Humanoid.

Titanium Dragon
2007-12-08, 05:38 AM
"Share Spells

At the masterís option, he may have any spell (but not any spell-like ability) he casts on himself also affect his familiar. The familiar must be within 5 feet at the time of casting to receive the benefit.

If the spell or effect has a duration other than instantaneous, it stops affecting the familiar if it moves farther than 5 feet away and will not affect the familiar again even if it returns to the master before the duration expires. Additionally, the master may cast a spell with a target of "You" on his familiar (as a touch range spell) instead of on himself.

A master and his familiar can share spells even if the spells normally do not affect creatures of the familiarís type (magical beast)."

So if you share the Alter Self, your familiar will turn into a Humanoid.

No, it won't, because that isn't what the spell does. --; Alter Self has no problem affecting a magical beast, but it can't change a magical beast into a humanoid. Re-read what you're quoting. Without a doubt you can share it with your familiar, but it doesn't say it has an identical effect on your familiar.