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In a 3.5 game I'm in right now, I'm playing a Duskblade with a Hippogriff familiar. As Hippogriffs are quite large, I'm getting worried as to whether it will fit through small spaces or narrow hallways in caves or dungeons without being a bother to the rest of the PCs. I can't seem to find any information to explain how this works, and I'm very curious about it. In addition, I've been reading Order of the Stick, so Blackwing's constant disappearing and reappearing has been confusing me even more.

Are familiars always present, or are they able to appear and disappear when needed?

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Blackwing appearing and disappearing in OOTS is a reference to the tendency of DnD groups (DMs and players alike) to forget that one player character has a familiar with them unless the player gets the idea that they need it, leading to paradox situations and plotholes. –  Philipp Jul 29 '13 at 13:44
    
For what it's worth, Hippogriffs are Large, which means they should be able to Squeeze through any space a Medium size creature (like your PC) can. –  Raven Dreamer Jul 29 '13 at 13:56
    
While that's true, that might still annoy/slow/threaten a party, especially when running away in a dungeon. –  kravaros Jul 29 '13 at 14:03

2 Answers 2

up vote 8 down vote accepted

Familiars should always be present but are frequently forgotten until they are in use.

There are a few ways to handle the situation.

  1. When the characters are going into a cave or dungeon state whether or not the familiar can fit or not. If not then it will have to wait for them to come back out or meet them somewhere else.
  2. This option is on the assumption this is a spirit familiar. Allow the familiar to be able to be summoned or 'un' summoned. If this is an animal companion another option would be needed.
  3. This option is for Animal companions like the druid has. Have the owner of the familiar learn a spell that will allow them to shrink their animal companion for x amount of time. Then if the spell wears off before they get through the space they will need to cast it again.
  4. Obtain a magic item that allows the creature to shrink to a smaller size when needed.

All of these answers (as far as I know) should follow the rules. Homebrew options would be to just assume all caves are large enough or something such as that.

Edit:

Credit to KRyan I just wanted to add his suggestion. The Spell Familiar pocket: a 2nd-level Sor/Wiz spell from Complete Arcane that allows you to store a familiar in an extradimensional space for 1 hour/level.

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The best way I've made it work with groups I've played with is the Neverwinter approach (option 2). Familiars are summoned and unsummoned, with a spell-like. One cast per day. The best thing about this choice is that you have a definite answer for the 'is my familiar here?'. You just say: It's not, want to summon it? –  Lucas Famelli Jul 29 '13 at 14:09
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Tangentially related: Unlike Familiars, Paladin special mounts are not always present. They are called and dismissed by the Paladin. –  Ernir Jul 29 '13 at 14:58
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Familiar pocket is a 2nd-level Sor/Wiz spell from Complete Arcane that allows you to store a familiar in an extradimensional space for 1 hour/level. It's a free action to put the Familiar in, and a Free action to take it out, which is pretty convenient. –  KRyan Jul 29 '13 at 16:32
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Familiar pocket is a spell, not an item. –  KRyan Jul 29 '13 at 20:56
    
Sorry. Fixed it. –  Aaron Jul 29 '13 at 20:59

Yes, yes they are. As Phillip mentioned in the comments, Blackwing appearing and disappearing in OOTS is a reference to the tendency of DnD groups (DMs and players alike) to forget that one player character has a familiar with them unless the player gets the idea that they need it, leading to paradox situations and plotholes. You and your group might do just that, which will be convenient for you and decrease the sense of reality. Or, you might lug your hippogryf around in a bag of holding and refresh his air every 10 minutes. Or you might just decide in your group to focus on wilderness adventures, if you are really keen on a hippogryf. Out of these, I reccomend the latest.

Otherwise probably no hippogryfs for you, or maybe normal hippogryfs that you can just stable when dungeon crawling.

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