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13

Check out the D20 SRD. There are some class variants that might appeal to your players. Specifically, many of the Specialist Wizard Variants involve replacing the familiar with some other bonus related to specializing in a specific school. There's also an option to take an animal companion rather than a familiar.


13

I like what Pathfinder did with Familiars. Instead of being forced to either take a familiar or ignore a benefit of your class, you can instead choose to take an Arcane Bond with an item. This item gives the caster the ability to cast any spell in their spellbook or that they know once per day. It can also be made magical without having the requisite item ...


12

There is nothing about it on the SRD about cats, but I do remember about a race called Tibbits that could transform into house cats, and the description said something along the lines of "while in cat form, Tibbits function as normal cats and cannot manipulate fine objects or activate magic items", so I'd rule the same for cat familiars. EDIT: Found it. "A ...


11

Communication Issues Most familiars can't speak languages (Ravens, Parrots, and Thrushes can). They can communicate telepathically with their master, but not being able to talk to the rest of the party or NPCs that aren't the same type of animal would present some difficulties. Class Levels? Normally, familiars don't gain levels (or hit dice) on their ...


8

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 ...


8

Familiars should always be present but are frequently forgotten until they are in use. There are a few ways to handle the situation. 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. This option is on the assumption ...


7

Do you have access to new spells? If so have the wizard pick up Hoard Gullet out of Dragon Magic. Turns yourself into a bag of holding. If you're trying to make the Alter Self thing work ask your DM about the final paragraph of Alter Self. Depending on his ruling you may be able to strap your stuff to your legs and then Alter Self into a Merfolk which has a ...


7

The issue in 3.5 is that (Wizard and Sorcerer, and certain other) arcane characters automatically qualify for a familiar, regardless of character concept. If they aren't interested in roleplaying out what amounts to an additional NPC (and the DM doesn't want to either), that's kind of a problem. Although players usually don't balk at the idea of the little ...


6

As familiar-keeping characters in D&D 3.x are generally saddled with the often problematic d4 hit die, I've always liked the solution of trading the familiar in for a d6. It's mechanically almost identical to taking the Toughness feat (the 3.5 version, anyway), and Familiars are just about worth a feat, anyway. (Arguably, they're worth more at higher ...


6

I would say probably not. Typically, creatures that don't have hands can't manipulate objects designed for those that do. As a DM, I might allow a DC 15-20 Dex check as a full-round action to let a cat open a potion. Looking at the potion activation rules in the DMG, there's nothing explicitly preventing animals from opening potions, but it does say you ...


6

From Dragon #375 Oso the Circus Bear Speed 4, fly 6 (hover) Constant Benefits: you gain a +2 bonus on Intimidate checks. Active Benefits: Oso can speak any language you know, and can converse with other creatures. Unlike mere familiars, you can’t hear everything Oso hears and says unless Oso lets you, and you would never be able to tell Oso what to say. ...


6

The mechanics of the stopper matter a lot here. Could a cat uncork a potion bottle? Under a literal interpretation I would say yes. Two paws grab the bottle, the cat uses it's mouth to grab the cork (it's teeth will sink in and grip) and pulls. I would likewise let it open any bottle whose stopper was some sort of bulb and wasn't too big to go in the ...


6

Exactly what your familiar does while in passive mode is unspecified, and entirely fluff. (Arcane Power says "perching on your shoulder or hiding in your pocket," but those are just examples. Later in the same chapter, it also says "you can also what happens when your familiar enters passive mode.") Mechanically, a passive familiar is little different from a ...


5

Familiars don’t actually gain HD They simply are stated to be treated as if they had HD equal to their master’s for the sake of spell effects and the like. As a result, they don’t increase in size category, don’t gain separate HP, save bonuses, feats, skill points, and so on (though those last four are covered by the familiar setting ...


5

I think Improved Familiar is really just a better creature. For comparison, the standard familiars are basically all CR 1/3 or 1/2 creatures. Wait until level 7 and you can get a Mephit, which is a CR 3 monster. Plus that Mephit is going to get all of the other bonuses, like more HD/HP, better saves, deliver ranged touch attacks, etc. With all of the ...


4

I think the article you are looking for is "Transversed Arcana" in Dragon #357, Pages 88-89. Impromptu Metamagic Chose a metamagic feat each day. You can use that feat for free & spontaneously a certain number of times: 5 - metamagic level adjustment. You will not have to decide on which spells you apply it during preparation, but on the fly just before ...


4

The later issues of the Paizo run of Dragon Magazine had some pretty good options - if you're okay with Eberron content, there's an awesome prestige class in issue #357 (Demogorgon on the cover) that lets you take a living spell as a familiar, and it always looked to me like a terribly fun class. Because really, why cast a fireball when you can summon an ...


4

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 ...


4

As Zachiel mentions in his answer, the primary pitfall is the familiar character being less useful than the full character. This problem is going to be exacerbated as the full character gains levels and abilities, and the familiar gains few new or interesting things. For example, at the level that the full character is getting wall of ice and solid fog and ...


4

Waxed cotton, is thick cotton cloth impregnated with paraffin wax. Plain candle wax may be too hard, but boiling it with another oil like lamp oil would result in something that is flexible and waterproof. In case you have tar or pitch available, you can make oilskin, which is sailcloth sealed with tar. The torches you have with you probably have some of ...


4

Only Familiar Abilities Granted to the Master When the text says, "A familiar grants special abilities to its master, as given on the table below. These special abilities apply only when the master and familiar are within 1 mile of each other" (Pathfinder Role-playing Game Core Rulebook 82), the phrase these special abilities refers to those abilities ...


3

The main pitfall would be not letting the other player get a familiar and being less useful than a full-fledged character (unless the other player goes full "let's buff my familiar", which I don't think is a really good strategy because that kind of build often makes for a very weak wizard/sorcerer/whatever). If the familiar player makes some wrong choices ...


3

You really don't need magic to do this. Here are two ideas for you. If a wooden keg will hold beer in, then it stands to reason that it would keep water out. At least for a short time. So, get a keg and put what you want to keep dry in it. Seal the keg and take it with you. If that doesn't work for you then get a large water skin. Cut it open and put ...


3

Houserules for more D&D-style familiars in Savage Worlds have already published and look like more the sort of thing you have in mind. The gist of it is that familiars can be imbued with power points to give them more abilities. It includes two Edges, one to gain the familiar and set its initial powers, and one to improve the familiar later. Personally, ...


3

Improved familiars are better than the usual ones. They could have better stats, magical properties or something else that balances out the loss of those bonuses to skills. I'm not sure a templatized creature should give these bonuses at all. The feat lets you choose a different creature that's inherently more powerful, enough to justify both the ...


2

There were various class replacement options including swapping out familiars in the PHB2 and Unearthed Arcana, I believe. I hate familiars, they are lame and almost always ignored even by wizards that have them IME. They go into the magical wizard familiar dimension 99% of the time till mentioned (usually for either roleplaying or "go get the key, we're ...


1

While unable to find anything that says yay or nay conclusively, the SLAs of a Gnome are tied to his character level. As PCs have character level = Hit dice(Level adjustment not-withstanding), and since Familiars have increased HD, I would strongly believe so. In addition, http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2onib?Improved-Familiar-SLAs-Caster-Level, agrees with ...


1

I don't think you'll find anything definite in the rules. It's something that falls into the grey area of "GMs call". As a game master, I would look at the campaign frame. Is it gritty realism or a cinematic tale of high adventure? If the latter, I would ask myself, would this be something I would expect the pet sidekick of the hero(es) to be able to do? If ...


1

I would suggest that it takes a dexterity check for anyone to open a bottle which utilizes a mechanism not optimized for its species' grip style. I would further suggest to the owner of said cat that these issues can be dodged in the future by purchasing, for a slight markup, cat-friendly potion bottles.


1

I don't know this Dragon-magazine-issue. But possibly it helps, that Paizo used in Pathfinder RPG an mechanism, where a wizard can choose between a familiar and an object. Arcane bond is the name of the ability. Not exactly what you asked for, but also a possibility to make an alternative for familiars.



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