Hello Fellow Game Masters & Players,
New GM here with a party of 5 players at lvl 1 (2 soon), experienced with DnD but not Pathfinder. I hope you can shed some light / give advice about familiar handling. In my case, it's about a Level 1 Witch with a Rat Familiar, but i think this question can be applied to most familiar classes / familiar types. I am in favor of handling the familiar as a NPC = GM controlled (but ofc loyal and helpful to its master)
How should communicating between master & familiar be resolved before level 5 when Speak with Master (Ex) comes into play? How do you handle it?
This Witch is about to enter a fairly dangerous underground dungeon. What if she decides to make her (really stealthy) familiar scout ahead, and after it comes back, she wants to know what he encountered / saw.
"Nibble (thats its name), go ahead, look around if there are enemies, don't be seen and come back afterwards. Don't put yourself in danger!"
resolving stealth & maybe perception rolls
"I am back mistress - there are 5 Kobolds in the room ahead, 3 of them armed. i was not seen!"
Would the familiar understand it? Should i make her describe the command to the familiar in a different way (in terms of pictures / feelings, to cater to the "Empathic Link" thing)?
Would the familiar be able to communicate the information it gathered? Maybe in a more general way like "Danger ahead"? What is a logical way to make a familiar an useful scout before level 5? What is the RAW way to make a familiar an useful scout before level 5?
Where would be the line between possible and not(yet) possible?
- "Nibble, try to get the key thats hanging on that wall and bring it to me"
- "Nibble, follow that man and alert me if he meets with Rodrick (who we know)"
- "Nibble, grab the potion from my bag, run to [Unconcious Party Healer] and pour it in his mouth"
- "Nibble, grab the potion from my bag, run to [Party Healer] and pour it in his mouth, whenever he falls unconscious"
- "Nibble, run across this room that is riddled with traps activating from a weight > 20 pounds and push the colored bricks at the south wall in the order red blue green"
- "Nibble, look around the camp if you can find some onions for me"
Solutions / Ideas
I had a general idea of making either both or only the familiar use kind of sign language with a limited vocabulary (Yes, No, Numbers 1-10, Friend, Enemy, Don't understand, ...) but am worried this might be too tedious?
I am aware that answers to this can be on the line between opinion-based and rule-based. Feel free to criticize / improve the question itself!
Happy rolling to all of you