The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed
The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed - Coming in December and available for pre-order now
Results 1 to 21 of 21
  1. - Top - End - #1
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    DwarfFighterGuy

    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Gender
    Male

    Default Find Familiar at low levels

    Find Familiar is an awesome spell. So awesome that most wizards want to put it in their spellbook so they can cast it as soon as possible.

    The problem is that the material component requirements are a bit annoying - 10 gp worth of "herbs and spices" and a brass bowl to burn them in. Starting out, none of this is stock equipment for a wizard. With most backgrounds, the wizard may just about have the 10 gp - so if a DM lets the character buy the required components they will be completely tapped out before embarking on an adventuring life.

    One time I played a wizard for The Sunless Citadel and I flew past level 1 and most of level 2 without having the opportunity to go back in town and buy components. Finally the DM took pity on me and let me cobble together the components from some alchemist's kits we found. But for a big chunk of the early days of adventuring it felt like having Find Familiar was a tax - I only really had 5 spells to choose from, not 6.

    Is this as it should be? Should I have held off on taking the spell until I was in a position to buy the components? Or should part of a wizard's starting gear be "a familiar" if they took the spell, with the understanding that if something happens to it then they will need to find a way to get the components to re-summon it?

    How have you dealt with this in your campaigns?

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    DruidGuy

    Join Date
    May 2019

    Default Re: Find Familiar at low levels

    Quote Originally Posted by Gungor View Post
    Find Familiar is an awesome spell. So awesome that most wizards want to put it in their spellbook so they can cast it as soon as possible.

    The problem is that the material component requirements are a bit annoying - 10 gp worth of "herbs and spices" and a brass bowl to burn them in. Starting out, none of this is stock equipment for a wizard. With most backgrounds, the wizard may just about have the 10 gp - so if a DM lets the character buy the required components they will be completely tapped out before embarking on an adventuring life.

    One time I played a wizard for The Sunless Citadel and I flew past level 1 and most of level 2 without having the opportunity to go back in town and buy components. Finally the DM took pity on me and let me cobble together the components from some alchemist's kits we found. But for a big chunk of the early days of adventuring it felt like having Find Familiar was a tax - I only really had 5 spells to choose from, not 6.

    Is this as it should be? Should I have held off on taking the spell until I was in a position to buy the components? Or should part of a wizard's starting gear be "a familiar" if they took the spell, with the understanding that if something happens to it then they will need to find a way to get the components to re-summon it?

    How have you dealt with this in your campaigns?
    I'd just let the Wizard take it out of their starting cost gold, but if it was picked up in a level up, or it needed resummoning, then supplies would need to be purchased. It's only a little thing in downtime to say "I'm going to the herbalist to buy some spell ingredients" but it helps fill out the fluff of being a caster.
    For D&D 5e Builds, Tips, News and more see our Youtube Channel Dork Forge

    Feel free to message for any build requests or challenges

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    RedWizardGuy

    Join Date
    Nov 2015

    Default Re: Find Familiar at low levels

    I almost always make it as convenient as possible for the player to get a familiar.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    WolfInSheepsClothing

    Join Date
    Aug 2013

    Default Re: Find Familiar at low levels

    Quote Originally Posted by Gungor View Post
    The problem is that the material component requirements are a bit annoying - 10 gp worth of "herbs and spices" and a brass bowl to burn them in. Starting out, none of this is stock equipment for a wizard. With most backgrounds, the wizard may just about have the 10 gp - so if a DM lets the character buy the required components they will be completely tapped out before embarking on an adventuring life.
    It's a bit odd that "acquiring raw ingredients" isn't a listed downtime activity, either in the Player's Handbook or Xanathar's. Someone with proficiency with herbalism tools should be able to collect herbs and spices to use as spell components during their down time. It's frankly weird that it has been omitted.

    I don't see why it can't be reverse-engineered though.

    The rules for crafting an item as presented in Xanathar's guide allow a PC to make 50 gp of progress towards crafting an item in one "work week", which is a five-day period of time where they work eight hours a day. However, they also have to provide half the value of the finished product in raw ingredients, so their actual gain from this work week is 25 gp, or 5 gp one eight-hour period.

    It seems reasonable, then, to allow a character to spend sixteen hours of downtime collecting 10gp worth of herbs and spices assuming they have proficiency with herbalism tools and access to a suitable wilderness area for the collection of said herbs. Similarly, someone with proficiency with woodcutter's tools should be able to spend 16 hours collecting 10 gp worth of lumber if they're in a hardwood forest, or someone proficient with miner's tools to be able to spend 16 hours collecting 10 gp of ore provided they have access to a mine.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    PirateWench

    Join Date
    Oct 2015

    Default Re: Find Familiar at low levels

    I assume that the reason they don't have buying non-magic items as a downtime activity is because it doesn't take that long. You just go to the local apothecary. Got a few minutes? Just walk over
    Quote Originally Posted by krugaan
    All it takes is once:

    "Grandpa, tells us that story about the Ricalison the Great again!"

    Hours later...

    "... and that, kids, is how he conquered the world with dancing lights."

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Tanarii's Avatar

    Join Date
    Sep 2015

    Default Re: Find Familiar at low levels

    Quote Originally Posted by Gungor View Post
    Is this as it should be?
    Absolutely working as intended. Costly component access for starting spells is an important consideration when selecting them. Another common example is Chromatic Orb.

    The assumption you'll quickly have 10gp or 50gp and instant access to purchase the components is far too common among players. Or even other basic equipment. Healing kits, and later on healing potions / acids flasks / alchemists fire, spring to mind. IMO it's important to find out what kind of campaign you'll be in before designing your character around that assumption.

    Otoh if you really want access 'in the wild' so to speak, ask your DM to insert roving traders occasionally. The way many video games handle it.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    GnomeWizardGuy

    Join Date
    Jul 2019
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Find Familiar at low levels

    10gp isn't much at all, and if you have a component pouch or focus, you're allowed to just substitute gp for the actual components RAW, I believe. I can never recall if you actually need the item itself if it's a gp-value one and consumed or if it's just the gp RAW, but that's because I don't enforce any of the material components rules as DM. I like them and encourage players to follow them for fun, but it's waaaay too much effort for me to actually double-check and police players during a game and would really slow down the fast pace most players desire.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    PirateWench

    Join Date
    Oct 2015

    Default Re: Find Familiar at low levels

    Quote Originally Posted by firelistener View Post
    10gp isn't much at all, and if you have a component pouch or focus, you're allowed to just substitute gp for the actual components RAW, I believe. I can never recall if you actually need the item itself if it's a gp-value one and consumed or if it's just the gp RAW, but that's because I don't enforce any of the material components rules as DM. I like them and encourage players to follow them for fun, but it's waaaay too much effort for me to actually double-check and police players during a game and would really slow down the fast pace most players desire.
    It is absolutely not covered by pouch/focus. Those only handle non-costed components. If it has a price, you need to rely on the special components. Also note that for spells like Chromatic Orb, you need to drop your spell focus if that's what you were using (although if you were using a component pouch and it's small enough to fit there, you should be fine).
    Quote Originally Posted by krugaan
    All it takes is once:

    "Grandpa, tells us that story about the Ricalison the Great again!"

    Hours later...

    "... and that, kids, is how he conquered the world with dancing lights."

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Mar 2011

    Default Re: Find Familiar at low levels

    Quote Originally Posted by firelistener View Post
    10gp isn't much at all, and if you have a component pouch or focus, you're allowed to just substitute gp for the actual components RAW, I believe. I can never recall if you actually need the item itself if it's a gp-value one and consumed or if it's just the gp RAW, but that's because I don't enforce any of the material components rules as DM. I like them and encourage players to follow them for fun, but it's waaaay too much effort for me to actually double-check and police players during a game and would really slow down the fast pace most players desire.
    It might be a common handwave, but it's not RAW.
    Quote Originally Posted by kardar233 View Post
    GitP: The only place where D&D and Cantorian Set Theory combine. Also a place of madness, and small fairy cakes.

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Orc in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

    Join Date
    Dec 2018

    Default Re: Find Familiar at low levels

    You have to be a pretty fussy DM to not allow spellcasters to start at 1st level with all of the required components for their spells, including ones with a gp cost.

    What are you trying to accomplish as a DM if you don't let the party wizard start with the spell components he needs to cast Identify or Chromatic Orb?

    Spell components are just a weird leftover of old D&D. I wish they'd just gotten rid of it in 5e altogether, or abstracted it completely (i.e., it costs spellcasters X gold pieces per level of spells known per month to buy the needed components).

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    SD
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Find Familiar at low levels

    Quote Originally Posted by Hail Tempus View Post
    You have to be a pretty fussy DM to not allow spellcasters to start at 1st level with all of the required components for their spells, including ones with a gp cost.

    What are you trying to accomplish as a DM if you don't let the party wizard start with the spell components he needs to cast Identify or Chromatic Orb?

    Spell components are just a weird leftover of old D&D. I wish they'd just gotten rid of it in 5e altogether, or abstracted it completely (i.e., it costs spellcasters X gold pieces per level of spells known per month to buy the needed components).
    Why stop there? Give them all a legendary magic items, max stats, and immortality.
    Costly spell components, ammunition, and the like need to be tracked because it's one of those things that players don't know what's good for them enjoying the game. Every background gives enough gold to grab the components for find familiar so it's not like you a barring the spell.

    Now saying that I do allow players to use the herbalism kit to try to collect the necessary components for the spell and the alchemy kit is used to process them into useable spell components for this spell.

    The identity component can be found but a jeweler might have to refine it and so on.
    what is the point of living if you can't deadlift?

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Dec 2017

    Default Re: Find Familiar at low levels

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    Absolutely working as intended. Costly component access for starting spells is an important consideration when selecting them. Another common example is Chromatic Orb.

    The assumption you'll quickly have 10gp or 50gp and instant access to purchase the components is far too common among players. Or even other basic equipment. Healing kits, and later on healing potions / acids flasks / alchemists fire, spring to mind. IMO it's important to find out what kind of campaign you'll be in before designing your character around that assumption.

    Otoh if you really want access 'in the wild' so to speak, ask your DM to insert roving traders occasionally. The way many video games handle it.
    That 100gp pearl so I could cast Identify on my low level Knowledge cleric/wizard was a pain :) .. the spell was always prepared but I couldn't cobble together the coin until around 3rd level and it competes with the costs of copying spells.
    Last edited by Keravath; 2019-09-30 at 09:32 AM.

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Orc in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

    Join Date
    Dec 2018

    Default Re: Find Familiar at low levels

    Quote Originally Posted by stoutstien View Post
    Why stop there? Give them all a legendary magic items, max stats, and immortality.
    Costly spell components, ammunition, and the like need to be tracked because it's one of those things that players don't know what's good for them enjoying the game. Every background gives enough gold to grab the components for find familiar so it's not like you a barring the spell.

    Now saying that I do allow players to use the herbalism kit to try to collect the necessary components for the spell and the alchemy kit is used to process them into useable spell components for this spell.

    The identity component can be found but a jeweler might have to refine it and so on.
    Magic items are kind of different from the basic tools to cast first level spells.

    You do you, I suppose. But, I deal with enough spreadsheets at my job. When I DM, I don't really care if the players are counting their arrows or whatever. Seems like a waste of everyone's time, when we could just be playing the game.

  14. - Top - End - #14
    Orc in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

    Join Date
    May 2018
    Gender
    Female

    Default Re: Find Familiar at low levels

    Rolling starting gold is another option to try for more spending money. The wizard comes with 4d4x10 gp, which averages to 100 gp. There is still risk, as you can easily swing below (or above) that number.

    The main thing to keep in mind is that the wizard does not start with their (50 gp!) spell book if they roll gold instead of going with default equipment. That said, if you go with the cheapest focus (staff), buying back all the equipment listed only costs 67 gp and is neatly below your average gain. Ditch the dagger, and you're down to 65.
    Last edited by dragoeniex; 2019-09-30 at 09:53 AM.

  15. - Top - End - #15
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    SD
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Find Familiar at low levels

    Quote Originally Posted by Hail Tempus View Post
    Magic items are kind of different from the basic tools to cast first level spells.

    You do you, I suppose. But, I deal with enough spreadsheets at my job. When I DM, I don't really care if the players are counting their arrows or whatever. Seems like a waste of everyone's time, when we could just be playing the game.
    that's my point, not counting these things actually removes core balance aspects of the game. 5e already removed most of the trade off for ranged attackers and primary casters.

    The DM doesn't track it, the players do. If your players wanted cheat let them but now they are making the decision to remove the mechanic. Another words, they're putting on a cheat code you're not which is a big psychological difference.
    what is the point of living if you can't deadlift?

  16. - Top - End - #16
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

    Join Date
    Dec 2017

    Default Re: Find Familiar at low levels

    Quote Originally Posted by Hail Tempus View Post
    Magic items are kind of different from the basic tools to cast first level spells.

    You do you, I suppose. But, I deal with enough spreadsheets at my job. When I DM, I don't really care if the players are counting their arrows or whatever. Seems like a waste of everyone's time, when we could just be playing the game.
    Quote Originally Posted by stoutstien View Post
    Why stop there? Give them all a legendary magic items, max stats, and immortality.

    ---

    that's my point, not counting these things actually removes core balance aspects of the game. 5e already removed most of the trade off for ranged attackers and primary casters.

    The DM doesn't track it, the players do. If your players wanted cheat let them but now they are making the decision to remove the mechanic. Another words, they're putting on a cheat code you're not which is a big psychological difference.
    You are being very judgmental in these posts, stoutstien. The false equivalencies between handwaving 10gp worth of herbs or removing the tracking of broken arrows to granting players immortality and legendary magic items and accusing people of cheating is uncalled for.

    The approach that Hail Tempus takes is a common one for tables that enjoy the game but don't find that enjoyment coming from forcing the party to listen while the archer collects their arrows and then has a discussion with the DM over whether the Mend cantrip can be used to repair some of the others that aren't usable. It is hardly removing a core mechanic because these issues are easily worked around by experienced players who simply purchase an excess of components, ammunition, etc. if their character intends to regularly utilize these assets. The game works just fine without these things and is not remotely comparable to every player starting out with a legendary magic item.

    It is 100% fine for you to think that this type of handwaving makes the game less fun for you and is something that you don't want to see at your table. But to act like anyone who does this is "doing it wrong" is a bit over the top. Heck, you say in your post that you already deviate from RAW by allowing players to the herbalism and alchemy kits as a way to make this a less important factor at your table. What is to stop someone from saying that your changing of the rules for material components amounts to a "cheat code"? They are different approaches to alter the game to make it more fun for your table. There is no "one size fits all" approach on this issue and for me, personally, I would have zero problem playing at a table with the approach that you or Hail Tempus are taking. As long as the players understand the rules and buy in, these are both perfectly acceptable ways to play a home game.

  17. - Top - End - #17
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    SD
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Find Familiar at low levels

    Quote Originally Posted by AHF View Post
    You are being very judgmental in these posts, stoutstien. The false equivalencies between handwaving 10gp worth of herbs or removing the tracking of broken arrows to granting players immortality and legendary magic items and accusing people of cheating is uncalled for.

    The approach that Hail Tempus takes is a common one for tables that enjoy the game but don't find that enjoyment coming from forcing the party to listen while the archer collects their arrows and then has a discussion with the DM over whether the Mend cantrip can be used to repair some of the others that aren't usable. It is hardly removing a core mechanic because these issues are easily worked around by experienced players who simply purchase an excess of components, ammunition, etc. if their character intends to regularly utilize these assets. The game works just fine without these things and is not remotely comparable to every player starting out with a legendary magic item.

    It is 100% fine for you to think that this type of handwaving makes the game less fun for you and is something that you don't want to see at your table. But to act like anyone who does this is "doing it wrong" is a bit over the top. Heck, you say in your post that you already deviate from RAW by allowing players to the herbalism and alchemy kits as a way to make this a less important factor at your table. What is to stop someone from saying that your changing of the rules for material components amounts to a "cheat code"? They are different approaches to alter the game to make it more fun for your table. There is no "one size fits all" approach on this issue and for me, personally, I would have zero problem playing at a table with the approach that you or Hail Tempus are taking. As long as the players understand the rules and buy in, these are both perfectly acceptable ways to play a home game.
    I didn't say anybody's cheating what I'm saying is it moves the decision from the DM to the player as far as how in-depth they want to do it. I used the example of the cheat codes because it's a conscious decision on the players part. Poor wording on my part but I can't think of a better one at the moment. There are alot of things that the game does this with like encumbrance or current health of the character. By moving that responsibility to the players the DM can focus on other things.

    By just flatly removing those factors you're actually removing player agency.

    The 10g cost for find familiar at level 1 is an important factor at low levels but then becomes less of an issue as gold becomes more available and the party levels up and advances generally.

    Costly spell Components, ammunition, food, and lodging are the few things that players need to spend gold. At what point is currency too much of a problem to track?
    Last edited by stoutstien; 2019-09-30 at 11:19 AM.

  18. - Top - End - #18
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    ElfWarriorGuy

    Join Date
    May 2015

    Default Re: Find Familiar at low levels

    Quote Originally Posted by Damon_Tor View Post
    It seems reasonable, then, to allow a character to spend sixteen hours of downtime collecting 10gp worth of herbs and spices assuming they have proficiency with herbalism tools and access to a suitable wilderness area for the collection of said herbs. Similarly, someone with proficiency with woodcutter's tools should be able to spend 16 hours collecting 10 gp worth of lumber if they're in a hardwood forest, or someone proficient with miner's tools to be able to spend 16 hours collecting 10 gp of ore provided they have access to a mine.
    What an equitable world were one could be a cobbler, lumberjack or jewelcrafter and make the same money a day...

  19. - Top - End - #19
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    London, UK

    Default Re: Find Familiar at low levels

    Idea: If players are a few GP short of what they'd really like as starting equipment, might it be reasonable for the DM to allow them to start with a small loan from e.g. a family member, mage guild, herbal goods shop, dodgy loan shark or whatever? (As long as the player makes a gentleman's agreement not to weasel out of it). 10gp loan now to start the game with Hedwig and your character has a commitment to either pay it back with interest or do some other significant favour for your patron later. Added plot hook!

  20. - Top - End - #20
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    WolfInSheepsClothing

    Join Date
    Aug 2013

    Default Re: Find Familiar at low levels

    Quote Originally Posted by Rukelnikov View Post
    What an equitable world were one could be a cobbler, lumberjack or jewelcrafter and make the same money a day...
    The crafting downtime rules already create this situation, I'm just expanding on it.

    The system doesn't model supply and demand. Just because you harvest an amount of lumber "worth" 10 gp, that does not mean you have a market for it. Just as fabricating a 1500 gp suit of platemail doesn't mean you automatically have a buyer.

  21. - Top - End - #21
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    ElfWarriorGuy

    Join Date
    May 2015

    Default Re: Find Familiar at low levels

    Quote Originally Posted by Damon_Tor View Post
    The crafting downtime rules already create this situation, I'm just expanding on it.

    The system doesn't model supply and demand. Just because you harvest an amount of lumber "worth" 10 gp, that does not mean you have a market for it. Just as fabricating a 1500 gp suit of platemail doesn't mean you automatically have a buyer.
    but then if no one will buy your "10 gp worth of wood" at 10gp, is it really worth 10 gp?

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •