Search Results : familiars shouldn’t suck

Jan 222013
 

ifamilr001p1
Last week, I ranted about sucky familiars. This week I’m going to try to do something about it. And I’ll try best to make this as system neutral as possible. And of course GM’s and players need to do a little discussion about any specifics and do be afraid to use a little imagination. Let common sense be your guide.

The basics:
Familiars are free willed but still bound to help the Magic-User. Familiars like to pampered. Bribes work extremely well. It makes them happy and a happy familiar is a helpful familiar. It’s not the value of an item. It’s the effort taken to acquire it.

Familiars are unable to attack each other.

A Familiars are immune to spells cast by their masters.

Type (Roll 2d6)

2: The familiar exists in spirit form only. Can pass through walls and is invisible to all except the Magic User.

3 to 4: The familiar takes the form of a weapon. The weapon is considered magical. The Magic-User is considered proficient with it even if it is of a type that is not normally allowed due to class restrictions. For example, a great sword.

5 to 6: The familiar takes the form of a small demon/devil such as an imp or quasit or a small magical beast like a dragon or griffon.

7: The familiar takes the form of a small mundane animal (Cat, Rat, Bat, Lizard, Snake and so on.)

8 to 9: The familiar takes the form of a parasitic worm and lives inside the Magic-User. It can come out but you really don’t want to see that.

10 to 11: The Familiar possess the Magic-User. It exists only within the mind of the Magic-User.

12: The familiar takes a human form that is annoying, disturbing and/or distracting to the Magic-User

Base Familiar Stats: Let common sense be your guide as to what base stats should actually apply to a particular familiar.

AC (Ascending): 10+ (1/3 the Magic-User’s Level)

HD: Same as Magic-User.

Saving Throws: As Magic-User.

Damage: HD 1 to 3: 1d4; HD 4 to 6: 1d6; HD: 7 to 9: 1d8; HD 10 to 12: 1d10; HD: 13+: 1d12

Familiar chart (Roll d20+Magic-User Level). Roll on this chart each time the character levels.

Special Abilities: If a particular ability makes no sense based on the familiar’s type then re-roll.

3: Friends in low places: The Familiar has been around. There is a 1 in 20 chance that it personally knows any demon, devil or similar creature encountered. GM’s should roll an NPC Reaction to determine the relationship between the familiar and the entity. If this result is rolled again increase the chance to 2 in 20 and so on.

4: The familiar and the Magic-User can perceived through each others senses. (Yes, this can work both ways.)

5: The familiar and the Magic-User are capable of telepathic communication. If this result is rolled again then re-roll.

6 to 7: The Familiar learns a random First level Magic-User spell. It may cast this spell one time per day. If this result is rolled again and the same random spell occurs then the Familiar may cast it two times per day and son.

8 to 13: No new powers.

14: The Familiar learns a random Second level Magic-User spell. It may cast this spell one time per day. If this result is rolled again and the same random spell occurs then the Familiar may cast it two times per day and son.

15: The Familiar learns a random Third level Magic-User spell. It may cast this spell one time per day. If this result is rolled again and the same random spell occurs then the Familiar may cast it two times per day and son.

16: Eater of magic: Any potion or scroll can be consumed by the familiar. This acts as a Cure Light Wounds Spell on the Familiar. If this result is rolled again then re-roll.

17: Magic Resistance: The Familiar gains 5% Magic Resistance. If this result is rolled again then increase Magic Resistance by 5% and so on.

18: Demonic Library: The Familiar has access to the secrets of the universe. There is a 1 in 12 chance that the Familiar knows a piece of obscure arcane knowledge. If this result is rolled again then increase the chance by one and so on.

Jan 152013
 

familiars
There’s lots of cool things about playing a Magic-User. Unfortunately, one of those is not having a familiar. Let’s face it. Familiars suck. In Old-School games, the risk generally isn’t worth the reward. In newer (Pathfinder/3.x) games, you many get a little boost but once again I think it’s pretty damned lame. Think about. Master of the Arcane. Summoner of Demon Lords. Here’s my familiar. A Toad. Really? Yes, I know there’s historical precedence on familiars. But screw that. You want to be cool.
This is one of those things that’s just brewing in the back of my head and not yet a complete thought but we’ll see how it goes.
First, let’s ditch all the mundane animals as familiars. Let’s stick to some the more cool ones like the imp, quasit and pseudo-dragon. Brownie is a possibility too but personally, it just never clicked with me.
Here’s some more basic thoughts:
It is what it is. Familiars have all the special powers and abilities according to what they are.
Adviser & Spy: A Magic-User and familiar will have a telepathic bond. The Magic-User can perceived through the senses of the familiar. Familiars should grant a bonus for magical research and the like. Not only should a familiar be able to spy for the magic-user. The familiar will also keep tabs on the magic-user for a powerful demonic/supernatural entity.
Free Will: Familiars should have a bit a free will. Almost like a hireling or a henchman. That means they should also have a personality with their own unusual quirks. Plus they should have their extra spell casting abilities.
Hit Points: At higher levels, familiars tend to get squashed quickly. A quick and dirty method. Familiars have the same amount of HP as the Magic-User.
Losing a familiar: This is where things usually suck. Generally, it ends draining the Magic-User of HP, permanently. This really does nothing to encourage the acquisition of a familiar. Instead, it just gets harder and harder for a Magic-User to replace the familiar. And subsequent familiars become more and more free willed.
So that’s it. A few system-neutral quick thoughts. I’ve got a couple of other ideas rolling around in my head but those are for Part 2.

May 132013
 

Brendan Strejcek made a real cool post a couple of weeks ago about simple corruption for magic-users and I made a comment back then on G+ and well the idea has bounced around in my head and stayed there. So I figured I’d share it here as part of my “Familiars Shouldn’t Suck” rants. I’ve embellished on this idea a bit and twisted it with a Lamentations of the Flame Princess vibe.
Every magic-user has a familiar spirit. This spirit possesses the magic-user. It cannot control him but does drive the wizard to learn more and more spells and perform all sorts of magical experimentation.It is the source of arcane power. It feeds off the magical power summoned by the spell caster and grows in power as the magic-user gains power.
When the magic-user dies, the familiar consumes his soul and erupts from the corpse or even sometimes just reanimates it as demon/eldritch horror of HD equal to the level of the magic-user. Just turn to the Summon Spell and start rolling to see what kind of horror has been added to the world.
And there you go simple and strange. And yes, I know I should have posted this sooner but real life has been really busy of late. Enjoy.