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happyturtle
2008-04-23, 01:46 PM
I'm playing in a forgotten realms campaign where my regional feat is Snake Blood (http://realmshelps.dandello.net/cgi-bin/feats.pl?Snake_Blood,all). I'm about to take a level in wizard. It seems reasonable to have a Snake familiar, but since the Snake Blood gave me a reflex bonus, I'd like the Snake familiar to give me a reflex bonus as well.

I asked the DM if I could use the weasel's bonus (+2 reflex save) instead of the snake's bonus (+3 bluff), and he said he'd think about it as he wanted to check on what stats the snake got vs the weasel.

This is mostly for flavour rather than anything else. It would be seriously out of character for my character to try and bluff anyone (she's a wide eyed innocent who is very earnest in her beliefs) so I would never ever use that bonus, but I like the idea of her snake blood causing her to bond with a snake familiar. And doesn't bluff fit better with a weasel anyway ("Weaseling out of things is what separates us from the animals. Except the weasel." :smallwink: )

Are the snake and weasel roughly equivalent? Does the snake need to be weakened any to justify it swapping bonuses with the weasel?

Chronos
2008-04-23, 02:07 PM
Well, the snake's poison actually turns out to be pretty decent: The save DC is based on the snake's HD, and it's treated as having the same HD that you do (note that this counts all character levels, not just wizard levels). So it'll scale decently well. Your Fort save spells will probably have higher DCs, but the snake's bite is still good enough to bother using it, considering that you get it for free.

That said, a weasel is probably more useful out of combat, since they have at least some ability to manipulate objects, and it's also easier to fit equipment for a weasel (what can a snake wear, a bracelet?).

TehJhu
2008-04-23, 02:14 PM
People actually keep track of what their familiars are? We pretty much just assume you've got a magic aura that gives + whatever.

happyturtle
2008-04-23, 02:20 PM
The party is at character level 8, so I don't think I should be sending my poor widdle familiar into combat.

lol TehJhu... Unlike Vaarsuvius, I will be naming my familiar and roleplaying with it. No Ginkgo required.

Ascension
2008-04-23, 02:29 PM
I talk to my familiar now that I've reached the proper level. My fighter companions think I'm quite daft. This pleases me.

They can be really fun if you're willing to go to the effort of keeping track of them.

Hal
2008-04-23, 02:40 PM
"Familiar question: Making a weasel into a snake"

Is there some sort of phallic joke happening here?

Telonius
2008-04-23, 02:41 PM
If he's really concerned about the stats being balanced, just take the Weasel stat block, cross out "Weasel," and write "Snake" on top. It really won't make much of a difference that your "weasel" happens to be green and scaley instead of furry.

happyturtle
2008-04-23, 02:58 PM
Not a bad idea, Telonius. Or maybe just eliminating the reference to poison and making it a tiny garter snake.

Chronos
2008-04-23, 02:58 PM
People actually keep track of what their familiars are? We pretty much just assume you've got a magic aura that gives + whatever.Like, say, + to "sneak into that room through the bars on the door and grab the key from the hook", or + to "fly over the enemy camp and tell us what you see"? That's a pretty impressive magic aura you've got, there.

happyturtle
2008-04-23, 03:12 PM
I just found a picture of the guy I want here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Thamnophis_proximus_rubrilineatus.jpg). So cute! Lessa must have him!

I think offering to give up poison will seal the deal for the DM... if not, I'll be back to solicit more ideas.

Lord Lorac Silvanos
2008-04-23, 03:14 PM
Well, the snake's poison actually turns out to be pretty decent: The save DC is based on the snake's HD, and it's treated as having the same HD that you do (note that this counts all character levels, not just wizard levels). So it'll scale decently well. Your Fort save spells will probably have higher DCs, but the snake's bite is still good enough to bother using it, considering that you get it for free.

Poison DC is based on racial HD, but poison is not an effect related to the number of HD anymore than feats or BAB are.
The poison DC stays the same, making it nothing more than a cheap stimulant for the dwarven fighter in the party at later levels.


It retains the appearance, Hit Dice, base attack bonus, base save bonuses, skills, and feats of the normal animal it once was, but it is treated as a magical beast instead of an animal for the purpose of any effect that depends on its type.

Hit Dice: For the purpose of effects related to number of Hit Dice, use the masterís character level or the familiarís normal HD total, whichever is higher.

At level 8th the difference between a weasel and a snake is not really worth talking about. Your DM does not have much to worry about.



I just found a picture of the guy I want here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Thamnophis_proximus_rubrilineatus.jpg). So cute! Lessa must have him!


I doubt you can fit a weasel into that little fellow. :smallamused:

Hectonkhyres
2008-04-23, 03:26 PM
Huh. Polymorph Any Object gone horribly, horribly wrong.

Weasels (particularly mongooses) eat snakes. The damn thing would have the most interesting wizzer/familiar relationship in the world when paired with someone snakeblooded. The thing is sitting on your shoulder, looking at you... drooling. It keeps trying to ambush and massacre the braids of your hair. Etc.

Far cooler than your typical Hot-Snake-On-Snake-Action.

Mark Hall
2008-04-23, 03:47 PM
Actually, I like the idea of simply making it have the stats of a weasel, but being, in actuality, a type of snake. Weasels have some kind of blood drain/attach ability, right? So you've got yourself a snake that kills in a very odd fashion... but is still a snake.

Severus
2008-04-23, 05:33 PM
We house rule that you pick the ability you want, then decide what kind of animal you want it to go to.

Familiars are more color than not, so why not let the players decide what they want? It has never been the least bit game altering.

Tengu
2008-04-23, 05:38 PM
Remember to keep your snake familiar in a cardboard box. And, if it get lost, yell out loudly: "Snake, what's wrong?! Snaaaaake!"

de-trick
2008-04-23, 07:12 PM
Since spellcasters are broken anyways whats the harm of giving them a + to reflex instead of a + to bluff. The only thing it could do is to let you have a better chance of dodging a fireball.

Chronos
2008-04-23, 08:26 PM
Poison DC is based on racial HD, but poison is not an effect related to the number of HD anymore than feats or BAB are.
The poison DC stays the same, making it nothing more than a cheap stimulant for the dwarven fighter in the party at later levels.Huh, this guy (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=66326&page=42) disagrees with you. Does this mean that you're actually fallible? :smallwink:

Lord Lorac Silvanos
2008-04-24, 01:16 AM
Huh, this guy (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=66326&page=42) disagrees with you. Does this mean that you're actually fallible? :smallwink:

The guy I think you were referring to is not considering this question, but is addressing the effects of polymorph with respect to racial HD. (That guy should really check his spelling, btw)

The point here is that the fact that familiars are treated as having HD equal to your CL for the purpose of effects depending on them does not mean that it is treated as having that many racial HD for the purpose of special abilities, since effect here refers to things such as spells, magic and powers etc.
You do not receive new feats or ability increases based on CL. They are also based on the base creature.


However, if you were to polymorph your snake familiar into a snake you would gain an increase in poison DC determined by CL. :smallamused:

happyturtle
2008-04-24, 12:57 PM
My DM agreed to let me have a non-venomous snake familiar that gives me the +2 reflex bonus. :smallsmile:

However, he isn't decided yet about letting me cast Planar Familiar (http://www.wizards.com/dnd/article.asp?x=dnd/sb/sb20011020a) on him to make him an Axiomatic snake familiar. :smallfrown: He says he doesn't like non-book sources and is afraid it will unbalance the game.

I don't want to break the game... I'm just a lonely lawful good cleric/wizard in a party full of chaotic people! I just thought having a widdle biddy lawful familiar would help keep her sane!

raygungothic
2008-04-24, 03:55 PM
Hold on just a moment. You are a cleric/wizard? And your DM is worried about your familiar somehow making you a terrible overpower character of doom?

While pure cleric and pure wizard are individually very strong classes, mixing the two generally seems to result in less power, not more. Cleric/wizard is not at a high risk of breaking the system... and a souped-up familiar isn't going to make much difference to that.

In fact, if ever there are times when GM generosity is called for, this is probably one of them. Especially as it sounds like a nice concept, and nice concepts deserve to be supported!

happyturtle
2008-04-25, 01:54 AM
Yes, Cloistered Cleric 7/ Wizard 1. Definitely sub-optimal, but Lessa is a librarian from Candlekeep whose primary motivation is the search for knowledge. Lately, we've been hunting for a dangerous, magical library, so it feels in character for her to start studying magic and get drawn into it.

(Most of our party is sub-optimal though--there are 7 of us and we didn't have a wizard or sorcerer until now.)

Sstoopidtallkid
2008-04-25, 02:14 AM
See if you can retrain (I can't believe I'm saying this) into a Mystic Theurge. You would sacrifice 2 levels of Cleric spellcasting, and pick up an additional 4 of Wizard. The advantages grow as you progress in level over your current build.

Fitz
2008-04-25, 04:03 AM
just a few things i'll mention (as i am the DM in question)

have ok'd snake without poison (can use weasel stats fine with +2 reflex)

with regards to retraining : not allowed it for other characters so shouldn't start now.
allowed sources: i listed the books allowed at the start of the game, i doubt the spell is overpowered , but since i didn't allow online sources then i really should remain consistent.

finally: the cleric wizard is not underpowered, as that character is the only full caster in the group( rogue, scout, dragon shamen, fighter, duskblade and bard/swashbuckler make up the others, with only the duskblade optimised at all) so doesn't rellay need a boost to keep up with the other party memebers.

fitz

raygungothic
2008-04-25, 04:41 AM
Nothing wrong with being "sub-optimal" as long as the whole party are happy building towards a similar sort of power level. "Well-matched to the party" is much more important. And good for you for picking character development based on what seems appropriate in the course of play. I hope your DM appreciates it and works with you on it...

happyturtle
2008-04-25, 04:52 AM
Retraining? No, I wouldn't do that even if the DM allowed it. Lessa's whole adventuring career has been accidental--if she had her way, she'd be back at Candlekeep studying. The only use she has for power it if it helps her complete her mission sooner so she can go home sooner.

Does she need an axiomatic snake familiar to complete her mission? She does not. It was just something fun I would have done if the DM had allowed it. Since the campaign is not deficient in fun, there's no harm done. And Lessa can still teach the snake to hiss at chaos. :smallwink: