A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    St Fan's Avatar

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    Default Good Feats for Familiars?

    I have noticed something interesting within the rules for familiars:

    Quote Originally Posted by SRD
    Attacks
    Use the masterís base attack bonus, as calculated from all his classes. Use the familiarís Dexterity or Strength modifier, whichever is greater, to get the familiarís melee attack bonus with natural weapons.
    Now, most familiar species have Weapon Finesse as a bonus feat, since they are small animals with low strength, but the above familiar trait make this feat superfluous, since they can use Dex to attack even without it.

    Which mean that the feat can be switched to another with Dark Chaos Shuffle.

    Thus, the question is, what feats could be interesting to give to a familiar?

    There are certainly plenty options, and I'd like to read your suggestions.


    One I've been musing about as potentially interesting is the Giantbane feat from Complete Warrior.

    Now, I'm not saying that it is necessarily a smart choice - familiars, as a general rule, should avoid direct combat.

    But since they are of tiny size, they could use the feat against Medium-sized creatures, most notably the Climb Aboard maneuver. Although it's not completely clear, said maneuver imply that the familiar could move into the square of the target without provoking an attack of opportunity (which is a risk when they're doing normal attacks) and cling to the target with just a climb check (which should deliver any touch spell automatically, since you can't quite climb something without touching it).

    Any familiar with a Climb speed won't lose its Dexterity bonus to AC and have quite high Climb bonuses against attempts to shake it off. This is even better if the master has the Enspell Familiar feat, which should allow her to cast a new touch spell every round for the familiar to deliver.

    Not saying this is an infallible tactic, but it certainly could be fun to watch.
    Last edited by St Fan; 2021-09-18 at 04:51 PM.
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    DM: At the end of the meal, the innkeeper is bringing you the cheese plate. Roll for initiative.
    PC: Excuse me, what?
    DM: I said, roll for initiative. They like their cheese really ripe in these parts. They have the ooze type.


    "Excuse me, but... is it a GOOD or a BAD thing when the DM can't help bursting into laughter every time he hears the phrase 'level-appropriate encounter'? No, just curious..."

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    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Default Re: Good Feats for Familiars?

    If you're interested in delivering touch spells, might I suggest this?

    Combat Familiar (PHB2): "If your familiar holds the charge for a touch spell, it does not provoke an attack of opportunity for entering an opponent's square."

    Alternatively, you can use the dragon familiar (Draconomicon) feat to shred.

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    Default Re: Good Feats for Familiars?

    Draconic Aura: Vigor is one of the best. Fast heals the entire party up to half max hp, including itself. It gives a reason for everyone to keep the little guy (or gal) protected for you.
    Last edited by MaxiDuRaritry; 2021-09-18 at 06:57 PM.

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    RogueGuy

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    Default Re: Good Feats for Familiars?

    The fabulous cats article suggests giving a feline familiar feats. Why choose one when you can choose 6?

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    Default Re: Good Feats for Familiars?

    Quote Originally Posted by Albanymusicfund View Post
    If you're interested in delivering touch spells, might I suggest this?

    Combat Familiar (PHB2): "If your familiar holds the charge for a touch spell, it does not provoke an attack of opportunity for entering an opponent's square."

    Alternatively, you can use the dragon familiar (Draconomicon) feat to shred.
    Note that these feats are for the familiar itself to take, not for the master.

  6. - Top - End - #6
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    Default Re: Good Feats for Familiars?

    Planar Touchstone? Shape Soulmeld? Wild Cohort? Some trick to give it an arcane caster level + Obtain Familiar? Familiar-ception.

    If your familiar happens to be a gold or silver wyrmling dragon, it can assume humanoid form, which may open up interesting new avenues to explore.

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    BardGuy

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    Default Re: Good Feats for Familiars?

    Quote Originally Posted by Maat Mons View Post
    Some trick to give it an arcane caster level + Obtain Familiar? Familiar-ception.
    Arguably, Magical Training could be considered to grant a caster level, although by the RAW I think it only allows you to act as if you had a caster level for the purposes of the spells and spell-slots granted by the feat. It's also a regional feat, and that may raise some issues depending on whether the DM lets you grab that with the dark shuffle.

    On the note of getting extra minions: Dragon Steed could also work depending on how many HD your familiar has.
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    Default Re: Good Feats for Familiars?

    Quote Originally Posted by MaxiDuRaritry View Post
    Draconic Aura: Vigor is one of the best. Fast heals the entire party up to half max hp, including itself. It gives a reason for everyone to keep the little guy (or gal) protected for you.
    IF the DM allows you to select from Dragon Shaman auras as well as those listed in the feat, that is.

    Depending on the cheese level, Leadership, Wild Cohort etc. could be powerful. Note that you familiar uses your HD for "effects related to number of Hit Dice". Some people take this to only mean things like Sleep spells, but certain stat blocks and other text in various 3E books clearly show this is meant more generally.

    If you are Good, VoP might be interesting, to make the familiar a lot more resilient (and theoretically get it bonus feats - see above).

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    Default Re: Good Feats for Familiars?

    Quote Originally Posted by Thurbane View Post
    If you are Good, VoP might be interesting, to make the familiar a lot more resilient (and theoretically get it bonus feats - see above).
    I see many reasons for Vow of Poverty to not work, beyond the fact that a sane GM won't allow it.

    First, it has a feat prerequisite, and second most familiars are true neutral, they don't get the alignment of the master.

    Exalted familiars are an entire other can of worms, I'm mostly focusing on standard animal familiars. (Especially since a Changeling master can have a shapeshifting familiar.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Thurbane View Post
    Depending on the cheese level, Leadership, Wild Cohort etc. could be powerful. Note that you familiar uses your HD for "effects related to number of Hit Dice". Some people take this to only mean things like Sleep spells, but certain stat blocks and other text in various 3E books clearly show this is meant more generally.
    Yeah, whether Hit Dice get equated to character level is a big question here. And also whether the master's skill ranks, which the familiar can "use", are also valid for prerequisite needs.

    A familiar having a few awakaned animals of its type as cohorts could be fun, for sure.

    Quote Originally Posted by daremetoidareyo View Post
    The fabulous cats article suggests giving a feline familiar feats. Why choose one when you can choose 6?
    I have no idea what you're talking about, beyond a knee-jerk reaction of "obvious cheater bull**** that won't be allowed," so a link would be nice.

    Quote Originally Posted by Maat Mons View Post
    Shape Soulmeld?
    Sure has potential, but most standard familiars have Constitution 10-11, and Shape Soulmeld requires 13. You'd need to boost their Constitution first.
    Last edited by St Fan; 2021-09-19 at 05:20 AM.
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    DM: At the end of the meal, the innkeeper is bringing you the cheese plate. Roll for initiative.
    PC: Excuse me, what?
    DM: I said, roll for initiative. They like their cheese really ripe in these parts. They have the ooze type.


    "Excuse me, but... is it a GOOD or a BAD thing when the DM can't help bursting into laughter every time he hears the phrase 'level-appropriate encounter'? No, just curious..."

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    Default Re: Good Feats for Familiars?

    Quote Originally Posted by St Fan View Post

    I have no idea what you're talking about, beyond a knee-jerk reaction of "obvious cheater bull**** that won't be allowed," so a link would be nice.

    Here you go, is an April Fools article but it's reasonable enough overall that most people are like 'sure ok fair enough' for it all.

    http://archive.wizards.com/default.a...ools/20030401c
    Atomic laser breath!

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    Default Re: Good Feats for Familiars?

    Quote Originally Posted by Malphegor View Post
    Here you go, is an April Fools article but it's reasonable enough overall that most people are like 'sure ok fair enough' for it all.

    http://archive.wizards.com/default.a...ools/20030401c
    Variant: If you want to make the feline familiars in your game more exciting, consider letting them gain additional feats at the same rate as their masters do (at master levels 3rd, 6th, 9th, 12th, 15th, and 18th). In this way, a 10th-level human sorcerer could have a cat familiar that possessed four feats.

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    Default Re: Good Feats for Familiars?

    Psicrystals gain HD based on their masters' HD, and they gain feats based on their HD, just like any other creatures, so they've gotten a lot of threads asking for good feats for them. Maybe look up some of those threads for some ideas? They tend to skew towards psionic feats for obvious reasons, but that's not all they are.
    Last edited by MaxiDuRaritry; 2021-09-19 at 09:50 AM.

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    Default Re: Good Feats for Familiars?

    Well, not many interesting suggestions till now.

    Shape Soulmeld seems like an obvious choice, but basic soulmelds with no essentia to invest in it aren't that powerful. Maybe Dissolving Spittle to give a familiar a ranged attack every round...

    Another I've been thinking about is Martial Study. Again, I don't believe familiars should get involved in combat, but some options can be funny.

    Especially if giving Insightful Strike to a familiar. Sure, it's gonna work once in a fight, but since a Wizard is likely to have maxed out concentration, and the familiar can use her ranks... then even a tiny pecking from the familiar can inflict 1d20+concentration ranks in damage. Can make quite the surprise attack.
    Spoiler
    Show

    DM: At the end of the meal, the innkeeper is bringing you the cheese plate. Roll for initiative.
    PC: Excuse me, what?
    DM: I said, roll for initiative. They like their cheese really ripe in these parts. They have the ooze type.


    "Excuse me, but... is it a GOOD or a BAD thing when the DM can't help bursting into laughter every time he hears the phrase 'level-appropriate encounter'? No, just curious..."

  14. - Top - End - #14
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    OrcBarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: Good Feats for Familiars?

    Quote Originally Posted by St Fan View Post
    Well, not many interesting suggestions till now.

    Shape Soulmeld seems like an obvious choice, but basic soulmelds with no essentia to invest in it aren't that powerful. Maybe Dissolving Spittle to give a familiar a ranged attack every round...

    Another I've been thinking about is Martial Study. Again, I don't believe familiars should get involved in combat, but some options can be funny.

    Especially if giving Insightful Strike to a familiar. Sure, it's gonna work once in a fight, but since a Wizard is likely to have maxed out concentration, and the familiar can use her ranks... then even a tiny pecking from the familiar can inflict 1d20+concentration ranks in damage. Can make quite the surprise attack.
    Familiars actually become pretty powerful when you are using duskblade where you have the life and bab to really make use of a familiar. Especially if you are using improved/dragon/etc. familiar and in that case they work very well in combat.
    Martial Study and Stance are good options and so are feats like Knowledge Devotion that take advantage of the owner's skills. Some of the other devotion feats can also be pretty good ideas. Beyond Giantbane, underfoot combat and Confound the Big Folk can also be great for small and tiny familiars like Musteval Guardinal and Pseudodragon.

    Beyond that if you are a spontaneous spellcaster you could also look at abusing spell-linked familiar and bloodline feats from Dragon Compendium

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    Default Re: Good Feats for Familiars?

    Don't forget all the utility and movement abilities that initiators get. Teleporting around as move/swift actions and dealing damage equal to your Concentration check is pretty great when you're the familiar of a wizard who's maxed out that skill. Also remember that familiars with the appropriate body slots can also use magic items, so getting, say, White Raven maneuvers on your little friend can actually give you more actions per turn.

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    Default Re: Good Feats for Familiars?

    Yeah, lots of option, especially those that grant advantages to allies, hence the master benefiting the most. Although, from a glance at White Raven techniques, most would work solely with a talking familiar.

    Also interesting are those feats with disadvantages, but since they are devised for PC use and not familiar, those disadvantages get milder and can even be ignored. Or at least, the familiar can spare the master from being saddled with them (I'm thinking Abyssal Heritor, for example).

    Constant Guardian is one such feat; +2 dodge bonus for the master if the familiar is within 10 feet, in exchange for a -2 to hit (the familiar being unlikely to join the fight directly anyway).

    Though that's a Fighter bonus feat... those are a less attractive picks as permanent feats, since they can otherwise be easily conferred with the heroics spell.
    Last edited by St Fan; 2021-09-26 at 04:07 PM.
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    DM: At the end of the meal, the innkeeper is bringing you the cheese plate. Roll for initiative.
    PC: Excuse me, what?
    DM: I said, roll for initiative. They like their cheese really ripe in these parts. They have the ooze type.


    "Excuse me, but... is it a GOOD or a BAD thing when the DM can't help bursting into laughter every time he hears the phrase 'level-appropriate encounter'? No, just curious..."

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