View Full Version : 3.5 familiar revision PEACH

2011-05-22, 12:09 AM
I felt there really wasn't any incentive to have a familiar- they are really just extra baggage in 3.5. So hopefully this will make it fun and interesting without being ridiculous. there are questions at the end.

All of the normal rules for acquiring a familiar apply, except that a caster need not use a feat to acquire a different type of familiar. Instead, the caster must spend 24 hours per level he has, spend 250 g.p. x his level, and meet the requirements to obtain the familiar. For example, a 10th level Chaotic Good wizard wants to obtain a copper dragon familiar. He meets the alignment and level requirements, and he does not already have a familiar. He must then spend 10 days and 2,500 g.p. in materials to call the familiar. In that he may not do anything else for those ten days, or he must begin the process again. A first level caster need only spend 30 g.p. and 1 day to call a familiar. If a spellcaster with an animal familiar wishes to add the celestial/fiendish template or dire template, and he meets the level requirement, he may simply pay the cost and spend the time to ďupgradeĒ his existing familiar.
Once a familiar has been obtained it provides special benefits to the master.

Master Class Level Nat. Armor adj. Intelligence Special
1-2 +1 6 or +1 Alertness, Improved Evasion, share spells, empathic link
3-4 +2 7 or +1 Deliver touch spells
5-6 +3 8 or +2 Speak with master
7-8 +4 9 or +2 Speak with creatures of its kind
9-10 +5 10 or +3 See through familiarís eyes
11-12 +6 11 or +3 Spell resistance
13-14 +7 12 or +4 Store spells
15-16 +8 13 or +4 Telepathic link, greater teleport
17-18 +9 14 or +5 Psychic Link
19-20 +10 15 or +5 Foresight

see page 141 in the Draconomicon for dragon familiars.

Additional abilities: In addition to the abilities granted above, each familiar bestows a unique ability to its master. Prerequisites to gain the familiar are also listed with each entry.

1st level- each first level familiar grants the master a skill. He receives 3 ranks, plus one per CL. Every level gained adds 1 skill point, so the skill is always at maximum ranks.
Bat: Listen
Cat: Move Silently
Dog: If it is a riding dog, same as horse. If it is a normal dog, Diplomacy.
Hawk: Spot
Horse: Ride. A horseís master cannot fall out of the saddle (or bare back), but they may still be forcibly removed. Because of Empathic Link, a master does not need to use the Ride skill to Guide with Knees, Leap, Spur Mount, or Control in Battle. A horse familiar requires no training to ride.
Lizard: Climb
Owl: Survival
Rat: Hide
Raven: speak additional language
Snake: (Tiny Viper) Bluff
Toad: Swim
Weasel: Escape Artist

3rd level-
Celestial animal from the first level list: The master must be of good alignment to choose this option. The master may use Smite Evil 1/day with any ranged or melee touch spell. The spell deals an additional point of damage against evil foes per caster level.
Fiendish animal from the 1st level list: The master must be of evil alignment to choose this option. Smite evil as above, but against good creatures.
Stitched Flesh Familiar: The master must be of evil alignment. The familiar gains the undead traits listed in the monster manual. Its Hit Dice change to d12ís. In addition to the ability granted by a familiar of its kind, a stitched flesh familiar grants its master the ability to control 4 more Hit Dice of undead than normal.

5th level-
Blink Dog: Master must be of good alignment. Twice per day, the master may use the dimension door spell as a spell-like ability at caster level 8 (regardless of the masterís actual level). When using this ability the caster may act immediately after teleporting (unlike the actual spell).
Flying Snake: (The statistics for this creature are at the end of this document). The master gains any bonus feat that he meets the prerequisites for.
Lantern archon: Master must be Lawful Good. A Lantern Archons master must be actively pursuing a good quest and must never cast an evil spell or perform an evil act; if they do, the Archon leaves immediately. The master and familiar lose all connections, and the master must have an Atonement spell cast on him by a Lawful Good spellcaster in order for the master to be able to ever gain another familiar. A Lantern Archonís master gains immunity to electricity and petrification.
Pixie: A pixieís master must be either neutral or chaotic good alignments. A pixie does not gain intelligence points as a normal familiar does, nor does it have the Empathic Link ability. A pixieís spell resistance is whichever is higher, where applicable. A pixieís master must never commit an evil act or use an evil spell. If he does, he suffers the consequences as above. A pixie familiar grants itís master Damage Reduction 10/cold iron.
Small Elemental: The elemental may be of any of the four types listed in the Monster Manual. Each elemental bestows a different ability on its master. Air: fly speed equal to move speed plus 10í. Earth: earth glide equal to normal move speed minus 10í. Fire: +20í to land speed and use Fire Stride once a day as an 8th level spell-like ability. Water: May use Water Walking at will as a free action plus gain swim speed equal to land speed.

7th level-
Dire animals: in addition to the skill bonus granted the normal version, each dire animal grants an additional ability.
Bat: Silent Spell
**Cat : Craft Wand
+Dog : Exceptional Bond- any spell effect that either you or your familiar receive from a spell caster other than yourself can simultaneously affect you both 2/day. (e.x. another clericís cure)
*Hawk: Spell Focus (any) [greater in same school if master has this already]
*Horse: Once per day when you regain your spells, you may cast any personal or touch range spell on your horse familiar. This spell lasts for 24 hours or until you regain spells again. It cannot be dispelled, only suppressed for 1d4+2 rounds.
()Lizard : Extend Spell
***Owl : Improved Counterspell
Rat: Craft Wondrous Item OR Sculpt Spell
^Raven : master can use Tongues as a spell-like ability 2/day at his own caster level.
^^Snake : Spell Penetration (or greater spell penetration if the master has this feat).
*Toad: Empower Spell
Weasel: Still Spell
*Found in Monster Manual 2.
**use the Dire Weasel without 'Attach' or 'Blood Drain'
+ use the Dire Wolf
() use Monitor Lizard.
***use the Giant Owl for all except the Intelligence and Medium size
^ use Dire Hawk
^^ use the Medium Viper

Hippogriff: Master cannot be of evil alignment. A hippogriff grantís its master Ride as a class skill, 4 bonus ranks in Ride, and one metamagic feat that he meets the prerequisites for. A hippogriff need not be trained in order to use it as a mount due to the link between master and familiar.
Imp: Master must be of Lawful Evil alignment. An Impís master gains immunity to poison and Damage Reduction 10/good.
Juvenile Kython: (Book of Vile Darkness p. 179). Master must be evil in alignment. A Kython grants to its master Resistance to Fire and Electricity 20, as well as Blindsense out to 60í.
Pseudodragon: A Pseudodragonís master must be of any good alignment. The master gains Blindsense out to 60í feet as described in the Pseudodragon entry of the Monster Manual as well as immunity to poison. For all abilities that the Pseudodragon already has that it would gain for being a familiar, take the greater value.
Quasit: A Quasitís master must be either Chaotic or Neutral Evil. A Quasitís master gains immunity to poison and Damage Reduction 10/good.
Shadow: A Shadowís master must be neutral or evil in alignment. It grantís its master immunity to ability damage. A shadow familiar cannot create spawn.
Wight: A Wightís master must be of evil alignment. A Wight familiar cannot create spawn. It grantís its master immunity to negative levels from spells and creatures (this excludes those gained as a result of handling a magic item).

Dragons: Dragon alignment and level requirements are listed at the top. Dragons do not age while they are familiars. A dragonís master must be true to their alignment. If the masterís alignment changes, or he does an act outside the alignment, (like a good caster casting an evil spell or committing murder), he loses the dragon. All normal rules apply for attaining a new familiar as if the dragon had died. For any abilities a dragon already posses that it would gain as a familiar, use the greater value. Dragons grant their masterís immunity to the corresponding energy type as appropriate, as well as Blindsense out to 60í.

New Feats:
Improved Dragon Familiar [Epic]
Prerequisites: Caster level 21st, dragon familiar.
Benefits: Taking this feat allows your dragon familiar to advance one age category, but only if it has reached that age. For example, a Wyrmling black dragon is 4 years old when you take this feat. Your familiar cannot advance to Very Young until it is 5 years old.
Special: You may take this feat more than once, but your dragon cannot advance beyond Young.

Improved Familiar
Prerequisites: Caster level 9th, familiar
Benefits: Your familiar gains +2 Str, +4 Dex, +4 Con, +2 Wis, 4 skill points per skill, and 1 bonus feat that it meets the prerequisites for.

Improved Share Spells
Prerequisites: Caster level 6th, familiar
Benefits: The maximum distance between master and familiar when sharing spells increases to 30í. In addition, any spell cast by another ally caster on either the familiar or the master can affect the other, but not both. This does not affect the distance of the Foresight ability.

Greater Share Spells
Prerequisites: Improved Share Spells, Caster level 12th
Benefits: The share spells distance increases to 60í, and any spell cast by another ally caster can affect both master and familiar, if desired. This does not affect the distance of the Foresight ability.

Hit Points: A familiar may roll appropriate hit points, or it may have hit points equal to its masterís. This must be determined when the familiar is summoned, and cannot be changed. If its hit points are equal to its masters when summoned, then it gains hit points as its master does.
Attacks: The familiar uses the masterís base attack bonus, but its own ability scores.
Saves: The familiar uses its own saving throws or its masterís, whichever are better. It uses its own ability scores.
Skills: The familiar retains its own skills, modified for a higher intelligence where applicable.
Natural Armor: Every familiar gains this bonus to its armor class.
Intelligence: A familiar that starts with an Intelligence score 6 or lower uses the column on the left. All others use the right-hand column.
Alertness: When a familiar is within armís reach the master gains the benefits of the Alertness feat.
Improved Evasion: When subjected to an attack that normally allows a Reflex saving throw for half damage, a familiar takes no damage if it makes a successful saving throw and half damage even if the saving throw fails.
Share Spells: At the masterís option, he may have any spell (but not any spell-like ability) he casts on himself also affect his familiar. The familiar must be within 5 feet at the time of casting to receive the benefit. If the spell or effect has a duration other than instantaneous, it stops
affecting the familiar if it moves farther than 5 feet away and will not affect the familiar again even if it returns to the master before the duration expires. Additionally, the master may cast a spell with a target of ďYouĒ on his familiar (as a touch range spell) instead of on himself. A master and his familiar can share spells even if the spells normally do not affect creatures of the familiarís type (magical beast).
Empathic Link (Su): The master has an empathic link with his familiar out to a distance of up to 1 mile. The master cannot see through the familiarís eyes, but they can communicate empathically. Because of the limited nature of the link, only general emotional content (such as fear, hunger, happiness, curiosity) can be communicated. Note that the low Intelligence of a low-level masterís familiar limits what the creature is able to communicate or understand, and even intelligent familiars see the world differently from humans, so misunderstandings are always possible. Because of this empathic link, the master has the same connection to an item or place that his familiar does. For instance, if his familiar has seen a room, the master can teleport into that room as if he has seen it too.
Deliver Touch Spells (Su): If the master is 3rd level or higher, a familiar can deliver touch spells for him. If the master and the familiar are in contact at the time the master casts a touch spell, he can designate his familiar as the ďtoucher.Ē The familiar can then deliver the touch spell just as the master could. As usual, if the master casts another spell before the touch is delivered, the touch spell dissipates.
Speak with Master (Ex): If the master is 5th level or higher, a familiar and the master can communicate verbally as if they were using a common language. Other creatures do not understand the communication without magical help.
Speak with Animals of Its Kind (Ex): If the master is 7th level or higher, a familiar can communicate with animals of approximately the same kind as itself (including dire varieties): bats with bats, rats with rodents, cats with felines, hawks and owls and ravens with birds, lizards and snakes with reptiles, toads with amphibians, weasels with similar creatures (weasels, minks, polecats, ermines, skunks, wolverines, and badgers). Such communication is limited by the intelligence of the conversing creatures.
See through familiarís eyes (Ex): At will, a familiarís master may see through its eyes. This ability functions only when both are within 1 mile of each other. The master must close his own eyes and concentrate on what he is seeing on the other side. He uses his own Spot and Search modifiers, but the familiarís ways of seeing, like Low-light vision or echo-location. If he opens his eyes the effect ends.
Spell Resistance (Ex): If the master is 11th level or higher, a familiar gains spell resistance equal to the masterís level + 5. To affect the familiar with a spell, another spellcaster must get a result on a caster level check (1d20 + caster level; see Spell Resistance, page 177) that equals or exceeds the familiarís spell resistance.
Store Spells: A spellcaster may store spells in his familiar to be cast by the familiar later that day. Any stored spells not cast at the time the caster regains his spells are lost. Each day the caster may store spell levels in the familiar equal to half the masterís level. These can be any spells the master can cast provided the casting time is a standard action or less. The caster must provide the material components and any other cost when he stores the spell. The familiar may cast these spells as if the master were there, with all the masterís abilities and variables such as metamagic. The spellcaster may only store spells he knows, not spells from magic items. Also, he cannot store Epic Spells.
Telepathic Link: This ability replaces Empathic Link. The master and familiar are telepathically linked as long as they remain within one mile of each other.
Teleport to Master: 1/day, a familiar may, as a standard action, instantly teleport to its masters side, provided they are on the same plane. The familiar always arrives adjacent to his master (or within the same space if small enough). The familiar may only teleport to its master, nowhere else.
Psychic Link: This ability is similar to see through familiarís eyes, except that the master can experience the familiarís surroundings as it does. The master can smell, see, hear, taste, and touch all the familiar does. Any magical spell-like senses the master has, like true seeing, now function when using this ability. The master may also speak through his familiar to any language-speaking creature that understands any language the master can speak. If the master is using Tongues, it applies here.
Foresight: When the master and familiar are within 5í of each other, both receive the full effects of the spell Foresight.

Flying Snake
Small Magical Beast
Hit Dice: 3d10+6 (22)
Init: +8
Speed: fly 30í
Armor Class: 17 (+4 dex, +2 natural, +1 size)
Base Attack/ Grapple: +2/+4
Attack: bite +5 (1d6+2)
Space/Reach: 5í/5í
Special Attacks: Spit Acid
Special Qualities: low-light vision, scent
Saves: Fort +5, Ref +7, Will +2
Abilities: Str 12, Dex 19, Con 15, Int 1, Wis 12, Cha 10
Skills: balance+8, climb+8, listen+8, spot+8
Feats: Improved Initiative, Weapon Finesse
Environment: Warm Forests
Organization: Solitary
Challenge Rating: 2
Treasure: none
Alignment: neutral
Advancement: 4-5 HD (small), 6-12 HD (medium)
Level Adjustment: ---

Spit Acid (Ex): Once every 1d4 rounds a Flying Snake may spit a small gob of acid with a range of 20í as a ranged touch attack. The gob deals 2d6 points of damage.

I feel the Improved Familiar feat is weak- what would make a caster want to take it? How could I improve it? I haven't been able to play-test any of it, so let me know what you think. Also, this is all my design, besides the obvious stuff from the PHB and some supplements. Any cross-overs or apparent plagiarism are completely accidental.

2011-05-22, 12:20 AM
If you change familiars/your familiar dies how does that affect the skill ranks and class skill it granted you?

2011-05-22, 10:03 AM
when you change familiars, as in upgrading your animal familiar, you keep the skill bonuses. animal familiar powers stack, so your fiendish dire hawk provides you with the spot skill, smite evil, and spell focus. when a familiar dies you lose all of the benefits.

2011-05-22, 11:09 AM
Wikipedia-like cross indexing:
Artillery Mage (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=6485821#post6485821)
Coward's Strike Warlock (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/printthread.php?t=171845)
I haven't really looked at your post, but I will say that just on general principles I wouldn't GENERALLY recommend stacking Artillery Mage with any familiar "fix".

2011-05-22, 11:15 AM
[QUOTE I wouldn't GENERALLY recommend stacking Artillery Mage with any familiar "fix".[/QUOTE]

while this fix would be really helpful for your class, some DM's might find it to be too powerful- just by taking a quick glance at the Artillery Mage

2011-05-22, 12:57 PM
when you change familiars, as in upgrading your animal familiar, you keep the skill bonuses. animal familiar powers stack, so your fiendish dire hawk provides you with the spot skill, smite evil, and spell focus. when a familiar dies you lose all of the benefits.

Yes but how do you adjudicate losing the benefits?

For example I have a hawk familiar at 1st to 6th level and get 4 bonus ranks in Spot and then put another 5 ranks into it, giving me 9 ranks in Spot. Then my hawk dies and Spot is no longer a class skill; I suddenly lose 4 ranks in Spot and it is no longer a class skill so I'm not allowed to have more than 4.5 ranks in it.

Honestly I'd advise against something that can be lost being used to make a skill a class skill and giving bonus skill ranks. Possibly make it give a bonus that increases based on how many ranks you have in the skill (which, I'll admit, is better for multiclassed mages).

Edit: As to your red text in the original; duskblades, and hexblades love it because they have full BAB and good hp. A familiar's nat armor bonus to AC, coupled with mithril barding, and a basic ring of protection makes its AC high enough to matter. A polymorph happy wizard can also find it useful once they can get a Blink Dog familiar, since its weaknesses (low Str, bad physical attacks) are lost when (draconic) polymorphed and its advantages (free action teleportation + free action toggle on and off Blink) remain due to being Su; of course for best effects you need the feat Enspell Familiar from the Dragon Magazine Compedium (although if Spellbond Companion could work on Familiars that would also do nicely) so that you don't have to be adjacent to share spells.

2011-05-22, 01:39 PM
good point about the skill loss. here's what I'm thinking:
the familiar instead grants 3 skill points in that skill, plus one for each appropriate level of wizard (or whatever). then add any appropriate ability modifiers. now when the familiar dies, the master has not invested any skill points of his own, and so there is no need to worry about that. any points gained from a feat are retained.

also, a new feat idea:
Improved Share Spells
prerequisites: a familiar with the share spells ability.
benefits: the share spell ability works at a distance of 60' (?) rather than the normal 5'.

2011-05-22, 02:55 PM
Yes but how do you adjudicate losing the benefits?

For example I have a hawk familiar at 1st to 6th level and get 4 bonus ranks in Spot and then put another 5 ranks into it, giving me 9 ranks in Spot. Then my hawk dies and Spot is no longer a class skill; I suddenly lose 4 ranks in Spot and it is no longer a class skill so I'm not allowed to have more than 4.5 ranks in it.

This strikes me as making things unnecessarily complicated. It was a class skill when you took ranks in Spot, now that you don't have the hawk familiar it's no longer a class skill. Agreed. You can't advance ranks in it until you're high enough that 9.5 (or 10, to be useful) is the max ranks on a cross-class skill. It shouldn't be any different from multiclassing from one class to another, or taking a substitution level that allows you access to a different class skill than normal.

2011-05-22, 04:39 PM
on the contrary, this makes the animal familiars that much more enticing. its a free skill, with automatically maxed out ranks. and i do want it to be so that losing the familiar means losing the abilities they grant.

2011-05-22, 04:52 PM
I wouldn't GENERALLY recommend stacking Artillery Mage with any familiar "fix".

while this fix would be really helpful for your class, some DM's might find it to be too powerful- just by taking a quick glance at the Artillery Mage
My point was that I would tend to agree with those DM's. Either by itself is fine, using both at the same time is probably not.

Or did you mean that Artillery Mage is overpowered in and of itself?

2011-05-22, 06:10 PM
My point was that I would tend to agree with those DM's. Either by itself is fine, using both at the same time is probably not.

i would agree that both would be overpowered.

also, changes I have recently made are listed in purple.