A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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    Titan in the Playground
     
    Thurbane's Avatar

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    Default [3.5] Familiar HD, Master's Level, and "Effects"

    Hey all,

    Just trying to gather some citations.

    There seems to be two distinct schools of thought on this:

    Hit Dice
    For the purpose of effects related to number of Hit Dice, use the master’s character level or the familiar’s normal HD total, whichever is higher.
    So some people (lets call this reading 1) take this to mean only in terms of hostile effects, such as a Sleep spell or other things which check the target's HD.

    Others (we'll call this reading 2) take it to mean all effects - so if the familiar had the Celestial template, for instance, it's DR and resistance to energy would be based off the master's level, rather than the familiar's innate HD, if it was a higher figure.

    I'm pretty certain I've seen citations in the books which support reading 2, but I'm struggling to find them. The only ones I can find are stat blocks, which are notoriously bad as far as citations go (Setios, one of the sample Fiend-Blooded, for instance. Since he doesn't even qualify for the PrC they are discussing, not a great citation).

    AFAIK, "effect" does not appear in the glossary as a defined game term.

    Any citations for either reading would be much appreciated.

    Cheers - T

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    Question Re: [3.5] Familiar HD, Master's Level, and "Effects"

    So...nothing?

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    RangerGuy

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    Default Re: [3.5] Familiar HD, Master's Level, and "Effects"

    Since it doesn't refer to any specific type of effects, it would have to be reading #2. If it has something to do with the familiar based on its hit dice, use the familiar's or master's; whichever is higher.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: [3.5] Familiar HD, Master's Level, and "Effects"

    I would assume that it is #2. What do published familiars have?

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    Default Re: [3.5] Familiar HD, Master's Level, and "Effects"

    Reading #2 seems to apply, as it never differentiates between hostile or otherwise effects.

    "Summon a Strong Monster, and you're good for an encounter. Learn how to Planar Bind a Strong Monster, and you'll never have to worry about an encounter for the rest of your Adventuring Days."

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    Default Re: [3.5] Familiar HD, Master's Level, and "Effects"

    A RAW reading is clearly #2, since there are no specification of the kind of "effects" it concerns, as already noted.

    A more pressing question would be whether those "virtual HD" can also count with effects depending on Character Level...
    Last edited by St Fan; 2021-09-28 at 04:07 PM.
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    Default Re: [3.5] Familiar HD, Master's Level, and "Effects"

    Quote Originally Posted by redking View Post
    I would assume that it is #2. What do published familiars have?
    Well, in the Fiend-Blooded PrC entry the familiars follow reading 2. Same with the familiar for the sample Alienist PrC. Not sure how many other templated familiars there are out there in stat blocks to check.

    Quote Originally Posted by St Fan View Post
    A more pressing question would be whether those "virtual HD" can also count with effects depending on Character Level...
    That is a tough one: I've seen this debated quite vigorously.

    The glossary says this:

    character level
    A character's total level. For a character with levels in only one class, class level and character level are the same thing.
    Which is not that useful when you are talking in terms of HD rather than class levels.

    It was discussed in a thread about creatures over 21HD having access to Epic feats or not a little while back.

    FWIW, here's what ELH says:

    Quote Originally Posted by ELH p.25
    MONSTERS AS EPIC CHARACTERS
    As first introduced in the FORGOTTEN REALMS Campaign Setting (and discussed in detail in Savage Species), the effective character level (ECL) of any creature more powerful than the standard races in the Player’s Handbook is equal to the creature’s Hit Dice and class levels (if any) plus its level adjustment. This replaces the rule in the Monster Manual that states that a creature’s "monster level" is equal to its Hit Dice.
    Quote Originally Posted by ELH p.25
    In any other place in this book where “character level” is indicated, you can use effective character level instead. For example, a creature with a level adjustment of +5 who is also a 13th-level fighter/3rd-level blackguard is ECL 21 and eligible to select an epic feat provided he meets the prerequisites.

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