View Full Version : need help with Familiar of a wiz/sor as a PC

2007-12-08, 06:10 AM
Let us say we allow a player to play the role of the familiar of another players wizard.

The purpose of this is to create a more interesting fighter/rogue in the party and to make the familiar constantly present. Imho it helps team play (both wizard and familiar have to watch out for eachother) and it makes the wizard-familiar interaction more fun.

*what creature would be the PC familiar?
*What rule modifications would apply to them?

I'm completely at loss here as this can't be a full fledged rogue 1 + mephit as that would get some nifty level adjustments.
Any ideas?

here some base lines:
- it should be a small/medium outsider/fey (preferably non-evil)
- in fight mostly melee
- functionally body-guard or scout(Listen/Spot/Search/DisDev/Hide/MovSil)
- few spell-like/special abilities (mostly damage dealing or self enchanting)
- possible levels from 1 to 20.
- no flying on lvl1.
- natural weapons, limited equipment (armor + bracelets + amulets + belts)
- needs some means of resurrection/resummoning on death
- some limits as to what self targeted spells can be cast by the wizard "on the familiar"

it needs to be balanced and either replace a rogue ("sense and handle danger") or a fighter ("block the mob") in party.

2007-12-08, 08:17 AM
My personal idea would be to say that the spirit of a past adventurer (maybe related to your wizard) its trapped in the spirit of an animal and must help the wizard. On suggestions on what the familiar should be, id suggest using an animal from the Druid's Animal Companion list, or possible a Bear or Ape. Maybe a Shocker Lizard without it's Lethal Shock ability so its not as powerful.

P.S.- This a pretty awesome idea, keep me posted on how well it works.

2007-12-08, 09:30 AM
thank you for your support!
the only problem with animal companions is that they can't use items. something like ape might work but there would be balancing problems as that's for level 4 druids.
my best bet currently is some self-created thing which resembles kobolds by function.

This creature is a "race and class" thing. both its race and class is Wufos. the purpose of this is to create a PC familiar.

Wufos (monstrous humanoid or fay. decide for yourself):
by the looks its like a half-wolf-half-ling.
-2 cha the charisma cannot exceed 14 (if thrown higher add the part above 14 to str, dex or con)
let us not forget that it is small.
natural attacks: 2 +1 claws 1d4 or full attack -1 bite 1d4+1
Hit Dice: d6
land speed: 30
wufos speak common and wufos they make wuf-wuf.

skill points: 7+int modifier (x4 on lvl1)

class skills:
balance(dex), climb(str), disable device(int), escape artist(dex), hide(dex), knowledge(nature)(int), listen(wis), move silently(dex), jump(str), open lock(dex), search(int), sense motive(wis), spot(wis), survival(wis), swim(str),

favored enemy(Ex), swift tracker(Ex), Endurance: as for ranger
rogue feats except: weapon proficiencies and sneak attack.
weapon focus (claws), that is why there is a +1 up at the natural attacks
weapon and armor proficiencies: light and medium armor, wufos claw weapons (available from lvl10 as +1 enchanted claws), her natural weapons and with slings.
wufos anatomy: wufos' have paws with 4 fingers, so they can't wear gloves/boots except those crafter specifically for them. their wolvish head disables them from using helmets unless specifically designed for wufos. their body is human-like enough to wear small humanoid armor. they can use small or tiny weapons only.

EDITED: some fixes.

Charlie Kemek
2007-12-08, 10:35 PM
Would a nixie have worked?

2007-12-09, 02:28 AM
Psuedodragon! well, save for the whole LA thing. You might try an awakened raven. That allows for speech, rudimentary item grabbing capacity, and is something of a classic.

2007-12-09, 11:34 AM
nixie might work for balance (not sure)
but that's way too girlish for the player.

pseudodragon... i asked the player about that before, that answer was: "that is not girlish but *beep*" and with an insulting tone too. he can't fit with the fairy wings on a dragon stuff.

awakened raven the problem is: it is way too weak and non-functional. item grabbing and item using are way too different. also i believe that it is tiny... it either has to replace a rogue or a fighter... and that can't be done by animals (as far as i know) or they would have LA++++ (bear).

i thank you guys for your help but it seems i just have to balance this wufos.

2007-12-09, 12:24 PM

This is a Pseudodragon. I admit that I wear glasses, but still... I seem unable to find fairy wings. Perhaps it has gulped them down.

2007-12-09, 07:10 PM
pardon me. my mistake. or perhaps my absurd error.

i kinda mixed it up... with the thingy i saw in a neverwinter nights game.
THIS WOULD WORK (i admit defeat)

but: how do i make the versions of pseudodragon for each level from 1-20?
i know little about this and the last time i got my hands on any kind of monster manual was... uhm... about 2 years ago.

2007-12-09, 07:18 PM
You create them as a race and gives it class levels in a class like sorcerer or rogue.

I think they are around LA+2, but I would be surprise if no one here in the forum has already created a mini dragon as a player race.

2007-12-09, 07:30 PM
The Pseudodragon (http://www.rpgoracle.com/srd/monstersOtoR.html#pseudodragon).

As for making it at levels 5+, that's not hard - just add class levels intelligently.

Below that, it's mostly DM hand-waving; figure out about how strong the various abilities are, then spread them (and the two hit dice) out over a period of five levels.

2007-12-09, 07:52 PM
For level 1-5, make some kind of monster progression.

1st level:
d12 HD
6 + int skill points (x4)
+1 BAB
-4 Strength, +4 Dexterity
Speed: 15 feet
+2 natural armor
Telepathy out to 60ft
Weapon Finesse as a bonus feat
Natural Weapon Sting (1d3) and Bite (1)
Low-Light Vision

2nd level:
d12 HD
6 + int skill points
+2 BAB
Fly Speed: 15 feet
+1 natural armor
+4 racial bonus to hide (+8 in forests)

3rd level:
d12 HD
6 + int skill points
+3 BAB
Fly Speed: 30 feet
+1 natural armor
+2 wisdom
Immunity to Sleep and Paralysis

4th level:
d12 HD
6+ int skill points
+4 BAB
Fly Speed: 45 feet
Blindsense out to 60ft
+2 Constitution

5th level
no HD
no skill points
+4 BAB
Fly Speed: 60 feet
Poison: (DC 14 + constitution modifier) Damage: 1 minute sleep/1d3 hours sleep


Yes, I replaced two of the LA with Racial Hit Dice, but I think it's a bit necessary, considering otherwise he'd be 5th level with 15ish hit points, and in constant danger of dying, not to mention the lack of skill points making him useless as a skill monkey. Also, the extra HD raise the DC of the poison, meaning it takes longer to become useless as they level up.

2007-12-09, 07:54 PM
y not take a monster class out of Savage Species, then when those run out take class levels? seems like the easiest way to do it to me.

Charlie Kemek
2007-12-09, 08:02 PM
what about elementals? you could cause them to grow in sizes, from small to elder. anything but air (they can fly) but the rest would work. earth would be awesome bodyguards, water would be ok fighters, and good scouts, and fire would too.

2007-12-09, 08:17 PM
thanks for your help, but flying is kinda way too powerful for a rogue role character. would you mind if i would modify it to "small" and without wings? i also plan on ignoring normal monster HD as that involves non-linear HP increments. what would be the "class skills"?

well i haven't read all of savage species (i had it at my place for like 4 days)
but most monster get excluded by because it's either elemental, undead, giant, large (or bigger), tiny (or smaller), gets some ridiculously high stats, doesn't get skills each level, has no need for/use of equipment...
but again i read it long ago. long long ago.

i've considered elementals but that is weak point on the long term. because each elemental has "elemental" and it's element written all over it. if i ever try to make the party face a wizard enemy the familiar would die first.

2007-12-09, 09:06 PM
thanks for your help, but flying is kinda way too powerful for a rogue role character. would you mind if i would modify it to "small" and without wings? i also plan on ignoring normal monster HD as that involves non-linear HP increments. what would be the "class skills"?

Sure, modify it however you want.

By the book, the class skills would be: Diplomacy, Hide, Listen, Search, Sense Motive, Spot, and Survival.

However, if you intend him to be the skill monkey, I'd add Move Silently, Disable Device, and Tumble.

If you want him to be equivalent to the Rogue, give it Use Magic Device as well.

2007-12-09, 09:48 PM
A familar with some kind of shapeshifting powers so it's able to assume a humanoid form might help solve some of the problems. But that might not be terribly interesting.

It would however be of great assistance to an Elemental Familar. That wizard isn't going to know the guy is an earth elemental if it's a cute little kid using equipment that looks a few sizes too small for her.

I would suggest the familar pick up a class that isn't to equipment reliant. Sorceror isn't too bad, and I don't think Psions either. And the idea of a Wizard having a Psionic Familar is amusing.

2007-12-12, 12:25 PM
So does the familiar gain class levels like other PCs, or does it remain a familiar with perhaps a bit more power (and dependant on the wizard's power?)

2007-12-12, 01:59 PM
One of the more interesting familiars I've seen, was from Mercedes Lackey. Basically a large wolf, intelligent, (so much so that he bonded to the fighter, and not the wizard because she had a magic intelligent sword already), and kind of snarky. The same sort of character might work as a PC, since as a race, they were already stealthy, but some of them were capable of magic.

2007-12-12, 03:22 PM
the familiar gains "practically" racial levels with each level (seperating race and class is too much trouble for me:smallbiggrin: )
in term of power it should be weaker than a PC class which is outbalanced by the fact that wizards can cast self-targeted spells at their familiar.

Udorags(this is the name of the race) - small dragon
you could call the class Ronguer (but that is just a pun)
alignment: anything except NE and CE (LE is the "selfish" type).
low light vision 60'
Hit Dice: d6
BaB: 3/4
Good Save: Reflex
-2 str +2 dex
AC: 10+2; touch 10+2; flat footed 10+1(size)
natural attacks:
2 claws, +2(focus+finesse) 1d4 slashing
or 1 tail +2(focus+finesse) 1d6+1 bludgeoning
land speed: 30 (no flight as it has no wings)
languages: draconic and common (any non-evil humanoid language as bonus)

skill points: 7+int modifier (x4 on lvl1)

balance(dex), climb(str), disable device(int), escape artist(dex), hide(dex), listen(wis), move silently(dex), jump(str), open lock(dex), search(int), sense motive(wis), spot(wis), survival(wis), swim(str),

maturing: at lvl4 and each fourth level after (8, 12, 16 and 20) Udorags' body gets stronger meaning +1 "enchantment bonus" and +1 natural armor with each step (maximum +5 at lvl20). this effect comes from the draconic development.

Wyrmly Metamorphosis: at lvl6 and each seventh level after (13 and 20) Udorags develop some excessive features, they can develop any of the following:
-slashers. the 1d4 is replaced with 1d6 for claw damage.
-nails. the damage type of claw attack is chosen before each attack from either slashing or piercing.
-tail-spike. the 1d4 is replaced with 1d8 for tail damage. damage type changes to piercing. cannot gain other "wyrmly metamorphosis tail" feats.
-tail-mace. the 1d4 is replaced with 1d6+1 for tail damage. cannot gain other "wyrmly metamorphosis tail" feats.
-dark vision 60'
-water breathing
-feather fall (lvl+1)/3 times per day, spell like ability
-telepathy 60'
-poison immunity: immune to poisons with a DC10+con modifier+level/2

favored enemy(Ex): as for ranger
all rogue feats except weapon proficiencies and sneak attack.
weapon focus (natural weapons) at lvl1
weapon finesse at lvl1
weapon and armor proficiencies: her natural weapons only.

2007-12-12, 04:01 PM
Ok, someone PLEASE tell me if I missed something, but what is this about "having no use for magic items"? Last I checked (admittedly that was in 3.0's "Tome and Blood") you could load most familiars up with practically every slotted item you could wear yourself, and perhaps most unslotted items. Even if this is changed in 3.5 you can change it back for the specific character. I am going to describe this in terms of the standard familiars rather than fae or whatever because those present MORE of a challenge than what you have described. You have your weasel familiar running around with the tiny little Bracers of Armor +2 on its forelegs and the Ring of Protection +1 on the left middle foreclaw. Its cute llittle Cloak of Protection +1 is color coordinated with its fur... but ONLY because that helps with stealth/scouting purposes where a bright blue would be utterly impractical. Its metal collar is, of course, actually an Amulet of Health. Just give most of the STANDARD familiars the ability to speak (and the standard PC number of languages known), and opposable thumbs (and perhaps the ability to go bipedal (at the cost of movement rate when in that mode) to wield a weapon made for their size) and you are well on the way to making a PC playable creature in my book.

2007-12-12, 07:10 PM
Cloak of Protection? on a weasel?
i think my shoes hurt!
are there people who allow "tiny weasel equipment"?
if yes then i was a fool to not think about that earlier. i just thought that animal familiars simply walk around as natural as at the time of birth. guess i was mistaken. but how would i pass items to the familiar? it just sounds way too easy to acquire it through shops/loot.

having a weasel equip items is surely a valid idea. i actually wanna see a weasel wielding two tiny daggers.

2007-12-12, 10:13 PM
Well, you probably have to commission the items to be specially made for the creature in most settings... but given the rare-ish nature of magic items ANYWAY in most settings. I don't see that as being a big deal. No bigger deal that a pixie getting outfitted really.

An ordinary familiar should not be able to wield weapons. Is this case? I would go for it!

And what is this about "My shoes hurt"?

2007-12-12, 10:31 PM
I think a weasel running around fully equipped would be the best thing ever. I would totally play a familiar if I would be that undeniably cool. I'd say as long as it has fingers, it can wear rings, a neck to wear a neclace, the works. I will look this up on tome of blood. I have been intrigued. Congratulations.

Edit: Where would one find the racial modifiers for an animal such as the weasel?
Also would the familiar still gain intelligence as the wizard increases in level? that would be amazingly cool.

2007-12-13, 06:53 AM
"my shoes hurt"
it is an intentionally wrong statement.
only people who are "mentally special" would say things like this. or if you prefer "people with negative modifiers on all their mental stats".

thus it means I feel like I'm stupid/retarded.

2007-12-13, 12:41 PM
Xyk: "Tome AND Blood" (refers to the power sources of wizards and sorcerers respectively) 3.0 book from Wizards of the Coast.

Rigon: "My shoes hurt" = "They are too tight and the pinch my toes." (or something like that)... no not that nonsensical in the proper context.

2007-12-13, 01:56 PM
try listening to Steven Lynch's song, title: Special Ed.
after that you should know what i mean.

"when i was a boy of ten
i had a very best friend,
Ed was kind with good intent
just a little different.

Special Ed,
his momma dropped him on his head,
now he's not so bright instead,
he's a little bit special..."

EDIT: Steven Lynch has a song about D&D too.

2007-12-14, 07:25 PM
Edit: Where would one find the racial modifiers for an animal such as the weasel?
Also would the familiar still gain intelligence as the wizard increases in level? that would be amazingly cool.

The ABILITY modifiers are as follows: take every ability for the average creature of the race, subtract 11 if odd, 10 if even.
Class skills for racial hit dice (if any... creatures of 1 hd or less replace racial hd with their first class level hitdie) are any skills listed in the creatures description.
Size, special abilities, and special qualities are the same as in the average member of the species, adjusted for ability score changes and maybe hd.
Bonus feats as listed as BONUS in the creature desciption. All others may be freely selected.
Hope that makes it halfway clear...