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I had an odd idea for a Warlock character who was pretty much under the control of his familiar. Backstory-wise, he had made a contract with an extraplanar entity that would allow it to live on the material plane in exchange for giving power to the warlock. However, the warlock edited his end of the pact so that the entity would lose most of its power and be bound to him and be dependent upon him, while the entity changed its end of the bargain to give it complete control over the warlock. End result: warlock gained his powers but lost his mind and will, while the entity found himself in control of the warlock, but bound to him and incapable of interacting with the physical world without his assistance (though he could see and hear in addition to being seen and heard).

Bottom line, warlock character with exotic familiar. Familiar is an extraplanar entity that lost its power and is only capable of doing things familiars are usually capable of. Familiar is also the actual character while the warlock is just a meat puppet the familiar needs to fight or do anything else significant.

My question is this: are there rules for/against this type of character, and what could be done to make it work while keeping the concept intact?

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Excellent character idea! I like it. – Rob Oct 24 '12 at 13:52
A brilliant idea, I'd love to have a chance to use it in my own campaign, – Maurycy Oct 24 '12 at 20:16
I don't see why you can't use a similar concept; frankly, I haven't even settled on what kind of extraplanar entity this would be. I'm kinda trying to avoid just going for "demon", though. I'm looking for something a little more exotic. – Cobalt Oct 24 '12 at 22:09
What happens when the entity goes to sleep? – Philip Oct 25 '12 at 21:40
The Warlock would probably go to sleep along with him. – Cobalt Oct 25 '12 at 21:43
up vote 10 down vote accepted

I see it as perfectly laid out plan. The idea is cool and you already set up the base for justify it within the framework of rules that usually govern the master-familiar relationship in term of power level.

The quirks that I currently see here are:

1) Because there is a sort of mind-controlling effect established, your DM and you should write down some guidelines to find out what happens when another caster tries to charm or dominate the warlock. You also should decide how difficult is for others to notice (Sense Motive, Detect Thoughts...) that the familiar is the real chief in charge.

2) What happens upon death of the warlock? Or the familiar? What happens if one of the two is resurrected? Is the contract broken?

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Thanks, though I kinda meant for it to be somewhat obvious that the familiar is in control, as he is also the character's source of dialogue. I don't suppose charming/dominating the warlock wouldn't have any unusual effects other than the familiar complaining that his toy isn't listening to him Sense Motive/Detect Thoughts might yield blank results unless used on the familiar, though. – Cobalt Oct 24 '12 at 13:27
I think you've set a good expectation: to go on with rules as intended and adapt your story by only changing the master/familiar perspective. With such mild expectations you should have no problem with most of the rules, and only minor tweaks must be taken in very special cases (see answer). – Erik Burigo Oct 24 '12 at 13:35
As for your second question, I suspect killing the familiar would cause the warlock to regain consciousness but retain his powers still remaining after the XP loss from the death of a familiar (he might opt to re-forge the contract on new terms if "death" only forces him back to his home plane). Still debating what would happen on resurrection, though. – Cobalt Oct 24 '12 at 13:36
I can see this principally as a roleplaying thing; and if you keep the concept purely as that, even with no rule changes whatsoever, what's to stop you doing this in 3.5? Nothing! If the Warlock speaks in third person all the time or even as the familiar that's pretty easy to run it with rules-as-is. – Rob Oct 24 '12 at 13:57
And on the second point; in a world where resurrection is possibly, any sensible demon is going to write that into a contract ;) – Rob Oct 24 '12 at 15:58

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