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Low strength spellcasters could use a strong, loyal companion to carry any loot and excess equipment. They can fairly easily get a loyal companion in a familiar, but most familiars aren't exactly weightlifters themselves. How can I best optimize a familiar to haul and caddy items for me? I'm especially (though not exclusively) interested in lower levels, as eventually there are other solutions to carrying things. Having a familiar who can more easily find and pass items to me is also helpful.

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2 Answers 2

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Get a pack-pig

Pig is on the list of familiars, and has a strength of 11 -- probably a good bit more than your wizard has, and enough to haul a good amount of load.

As a small quadruped can carry 1x the list value in the carrying capacity table, so up to 38 pounds at full 30 feet speed, and up to 115 pounds at 20 feet speed.

A goat works even better, with Strength 12 it can carry 43 pounds at 30 feet and up to 130 at 20 feer speed. (thanks to @Leezard — I had overlooked it)

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    \$\begingroup\$ Worth noting you need a pack saddle to actually use that carrying capacity. I know you can do better on raw strength at higher levels-at CL5 you can take Improved Familiar->small Earth Elemental with 16 str, which gives a carrying capacity of 12 str. Depending on how things are interpreted, they may have hands and be able to pass you items on request rather than needing you to go digging. If not, a Hellfire Ignis also has 11 effective str and definitely has hands. Are there other items, archetypes, spells, etc that improve either the carrying capacity or item handling utility of a familiar? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 30, 2023 at 21:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ @TheDarkCanuck Well you asked for low level. I did look at Improved familiar but felt it was a bad match given your request for lower level solutions. By mid levels, just get a bag of holding and you're good. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 30, 2023 at 22:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ Pig is a good choice but I think goat is a candidate too. Its carrying capacity is better with a 12 strength. (43 pounds at 30ftp and up to 130 at 20) \$\endgroup\$
    – Leezard
    Commented Dec 1, 2023 at 0:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Leezard You are totally right, I’d just missed it. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 1, 2023 at 5:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ I was originally worried that the absolute best answer would involve Improved Familiar and items and spells that only come online at high levels, but yeah I did specify low levels. Still, I'm interested in seeing if this can be optimized further. Bags of Holding are probably better for most characters, but I think the charop side of this is a worthwhile challenge. Plus, I'm not sure a BoH works for my character, a 4 STR ratfolk. The smallest bag is already a Medium load, and only 5 lb from Heavy. I'll probably be relying on having other people or spells to carry my stuff going forward \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 1, 2023 at 17:30
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You need a Helper Monkey

Sure, at low levels that pig or goat may look like the way to go but take a moment, think of the monkey magic you could have!

Armed with a tiny backpack, your little buddy can sort through a 5 pound collection of wands, potions, and scrolls, 15 pounds at a slower movement speed. That's a lot of scrolls. And those little monkey hands can pull stuff out and pass it to you in your moment of need! Again and again, your Helper Monkey will show you it's not about how much they can carry, it's about how they can help you use it.

Monkey is the best of caddies!

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    \$\begingroup\$ Also a good use, and I think address the OPs request to find and pass items. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 1, 2023 at 5:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ youtube.com/watch?v=_qtG82HJB2I \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 1, 2023 at 14:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ Monkey is definitely the best helper familiar! Unfortunately, the low carrying capacity kinda sinks it for my purposes. I wonder if there's a reasonable way to use a monkey familiar as a jockey for a horse or donkey or the like? Might be possible to get the best of all worlds \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 1, 2023 at 17:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ @TheDarkCanuck That would rule! \$\endgroup\$
    – Leezard
    Commented Dec 1, 2023 at 21:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Kirt Wow, and it is pretty determined about it, too! \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 6 at 6:09

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