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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Duke Malagigi's Avatar

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    Default Making familiars more useful.

    After looking at the Xykon familiar thread and with great thought and contemplation I have deicded to create a new feat to improve these often times for gotten arcane companion animals.

    Familiar Arcanist

    Prerequisite: Ability to cast 5th level arcane spells and retain a familiar.

    Benefit: Your familiar can learn arcane spells from you and vise versa. The method of spellcasting used is based on you own class and specializations. Your familiar's base caster level is equal to half your own base caster level. For example: Dr. Jonathan Ellington is a 42nd level anatomist (necromancer variant). So his cairn terrier familiar Mister Aberforth can cast spells as a 21st level anatomist allowing him to cast up to 11th level spells. If the familiar's master is a wizard his or her familiar can teach its master by providing them with scrolls or access to the familiar's own spell book. If you are a sorcerer your familiar teaches you by directly implanting that arcane spell into you.

    Normal: Without this feat, your familiar can not cast spells of any sort.

    Special: If the familiar can cast arcane spells of your type it uses either its own natural progression or that of this feat, which ever one is better. The familiar also takes up a cohort slot and the wizard must fund its spellbook and spells. They must also have the prerequisite Charisma or Intelligence score for each spell level. Your familiar also loses the abillity to share spells with you.



    Is this over powered, under powered or just right? I'd honestly like to know.
    Last edited by Duke Malagigi; 2007-06-26 at 06:46 PM.
    On the issue of killer or sadistic DMs.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Col_Pladoh
    That sort of person is not worthy of being a Game Master of any sort. The GM is there to entertain and bring enjoyment to the player group, thus being entertained and enjoying himself likewise. Soneone that finds pleasure in making others unhappy is a sad case indeed. That kind of GM should be left alone to lurk in online MMP games to ambush newbies' characters as they enter the setting :]

    Cheers,
    Gary

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    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: Making familiars more useful.

    I would make a few changes:

    1) Familiar should fill the place of a cohort at that point. Shouldn't be able to get this and a cohort from leadership.

    2) Familiar shouldn't get it's own spell book. It should be required to use it's masters.

    If you make those two changes I'd say it's a lot closer to okay. Still a powerful feat but much more reasonable.
    Looking for a low magic high fantasy world to use for your next campaign? Send me a private message as I'm currently looking for play test groups.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Duke Malagigi's Avatar

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    Default Re: Making familiars more useful.

    I'll make one and a half of those changes. They'll take up a cohort slot and a wizard would have to shoulder the cost of procuring the familiar's spellbook and spells.
    On the issue of killer or sadistic DMs.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Col_Pladoh
    That sort of person is not worthy of being a Game Master of any sort. The GM is there to entertain and bring enjoyment to the player group, thus being entertained and enjoying himself likewise. Soneone that finds pleasure in making others unhappy is a sad case indeed. That kind of GM should be left alone to lurk in online MMP games to ambush newbies' characters as they enter the setting :]

    Cheers,
    Gary

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    Orc in the Playground
     
    Callix's Avatar

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    Default Re: Making familiars more useful.

    This is awesome. A few balance tweaks, like barring you from Leadership, not giving you new spells or a new spellbook, and possibly removing Share Spells so you can't e.g.:
    Time Stop both of you, familiar casts Cloudkill, wizard casts Delayed Blast Fireball (1 round). Familiar casts Dimensional Anchor, wizard casts Forcecage. Familiar casts Hold of your choice, Wizard casts Teleport Without Error to stronghold etc. Get outta that!
    Ralien, my elf soulknife, by Magioth.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Duke Malagigi's Avatar

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    Default Re: Making familiars more useful.

    Quote Originally Posted by Callix View Post
    This is awesome. A few balance tweaks, like barring you from Leadership, not giving you new spells or a new spellbook, and possibly removing Share Spells so you can't e.g.:
    Time Stop both of you, familiar casts Cloudkill, wizard casts Delayed Blast Fireball (1 round). Familiar casts Dimensional Anchor, wizard casts Forcecage. Familiar casts Hold of your choice, Wizard casts Teleport Without Error to stronghold etc. Get outta that!
    What do you mean by "not giving you new spells or a new spellbook"?
    On the issue of killer or sadistic DMs.
    Spoiler
    Show
    Quote Originally Posted by Col_Pladoh
    That sort of person is not worthy of being a Game Master of any sort. The GM is there to entertain and bring enjoyment to the player group, thus being entertained and enjoying himself likewise. Soneone that finds pleasure in making others unhappy is a sad case indeed. That kind of GM should be left alone to lurk in online MMP games to ambush newbies' characters as they enter the setting :]

    Cheers,
    Gary

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    Titan in the Playground
     
    Jack_Simth's Avatar

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    Default Re: Making familiars more useful.

    So... a 9th level Wizard (about the earliest you can get the feat) gets a familiar that casts as a 4th level Wizard - 2nd level spells - but with an Intelligence score of 10, it's not going to be able to cast much without a Headband of Intellect. Even then the save DC is going to be rather "meh". The 10th level Wizard's familiar at least gets 3rd level spells (like Haste) to help with the buffing aspect of the party.

    A 16th level Wizard's Familiar then casts as a Wiz-8; 4th level spells at 16th level? A little ahead of the Palandin's spellcasting. As a bonus, the Familiar has reached Int-13, and can manage 3rd level spells unaided (but only just).

    A 19th level Wizard's Familiar then casts as a Wiz-9. Finally, the Familiar can cast it's highest level spells without magical aid - as the familiar has an Intelligence score of 15, and it's getting 5th level spells.

    The feat is rather useless for a Sorcerer, though:
    Sorcerer-20 has a bat familiar. Bat casts as a 10th level Sorcerer. Bat's base charisma score is ... 4. Needs a Cloak of Charisma +6 just to get cantrips. A Cloak of Charisma +6 AND the +5 Tome of Leadership and Influence in order to cast the highest level spell the Bat's entitled to. And the bat still can't cast a cantrip unless it's wearing a Cloak of Charisma at a minimum of +2. Pity the fool Sorcerer with a Rat familiar (charisma 2 - with both Cloak of Charisma +6 and the +5 Tome, that's only a Charisma of 13 - 3rd level spells, tops, at insane expense, pre-Epic). The highest Charisma base familiar - the Cat - has a Charisma score of only 7. And it doesn't improve with level (unlike Intelligence). Now, with an Improved Familiar, an Imp has a charisma score of 14, and can be useful with a little magical aid boosting Charisma. But, umm.... ouch. The Sorcerer must invest much more heavily to make the familiar useful in this fasion - and the familiar will usually be less useful anyways. When you tack in that the Sorcerer can't get it until level 12 (doesn't get 5th level spells until 10th, doesn't have a feat slot until 12th), it's even more useless for the poor Sorcerer.

    Suggestions:
    1) Familiar always uses it's intelligence score for spellcasting, even for Sorcerers (thus, it'll have the same progression, and the party with just a Sorcerer arcanist will have something useful to do with a Headband of Intellect).

    2) Familiar casts as the main character -8 (the character level modifier to match the spell level modifier on Quicken Spell - for primary spellcasters, at least).

    3) Add an additional leadership penalty for purposes of Cohorts, rather than eliminating a Cohort. If it's this or the Cohort, I'm going to go with the Cohort almost every time - as the Cohort is liable to be only two levels below, and can take a completely different spell list (Wizard with Cleric cohort, for instance). And the Leadership feat nets me some baggage handlers, too.

    Even with that, though, Imbue Familiar with Spell Ability is going to work out much better for the character in most cases.
    Of course, by the time I finish this post, it will already be obsolete. C'est la vie.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Duke Malagigi's Avatar

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    Default Re: Making familiars more useful.

    Then increase the base intelligence score of a wizard's familiar to 9 at first level then advance at the normal pace. A sorcerer's familiar should then start with an Charisma of 9 at a rate of 1 per every two levels after first level with a wizard familiar's Charisma starting at 6. That might work.
    On the issue of killer or sadistic DMs.
    Spoiler
    Show
    Quote Originally Posted by Col_Pladoh
    That sort of person is not worthy of being a Game Master of any sort. The GM is there to entertain and bring enjoyment to the player group, thus being entertained and enjoying himself likewise. Soneone that finds pleasure in making others unhappy is a sad case indeed. That kind of GM should be left alone to lurk in online MMP games to ambush newbies' characters as they enter the setting :]

    Cheers,
    Gary

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