A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
You can get A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2 now at Gumroad
Results 1 to 21 of 21
  1. - Top - End - #1
    Orc in the Playground
     
    RedWizardGuy

    Join Date
    Oct 2020

    Default Creative uses for an owl familiar in combat?

    Hey folks,

    So first of all, an owl in combat is incredibly fragile, and most of the time, it's probably best if the owl didn't even participate. That said, there are times (e.g. melee-only enemies or out of sight places to end turn) that it's generally safe for an owl familiar to join in the fight. So, the defacto uncreative options are:

    1) Fly-by help for 1 advantage attack from 1 ally against 1 enemy
    2) PC ready casts touch spell for owl fly-by reaction (requires concentration, which makes this meh)
    3) Use a goodberry/potion on a potentially dropped ally

    Any other fun flavorful ideas? Perhaps more/other object uses? I know many objects would be deemed untenable for an owl to use.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    RVA
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Creative uses for an owl familiar in combat?

    A lot of buffs, especially at low levels, are touch spells. Use your owl to make them ranged spells.
    Your owl also probably has better perception than you. Use this to subvert the concept of hiding and cover.
    Your owl also probably has better stealth than you. Use this to surprise your enemy with touch spells.
    Check out a bunch of stuff I wrote for my campaign world of Oz.

    Spoiler
    Show
    I am the Burley, formerly known as Burley Warlock. I got my name changed. Please remember me...

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Halfling in the Playground
    Join Date
    Dec 2021

    Default Re: Creative uses for an owl familiar in combat?

    Give the owl small items(like a bag of caltrops or a flask of oil) to dump onto the enemies.
    When fighting large enough enemies, fly past/into their noses to distract/ induce sneezing. (This one is a bit dangerous to the owl)
    If the caster doesn't have as much darkvision, acting as the caster's eyes in combat, so you still know where the enemies are, even if you still cant see them without burning an action.
    How big is the owl? if the owl is small enough, a party member's pockets could serve as cover.

    EDIT: Cast dragon's breath and have the owl breath weapon your enemies(the spell specifies that it grants an action, not that it uses the Attack action, which a familiar can't use).
    Last edited by Dualight; 2022-01-26 at 11:26 AM.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    LudicSavant's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Los Angeles

    Default Re: Creative uses for an owl familiar in combat?

    Quote Originally Posted by Silpharon View Post
    Hey folks,

    So first of all, an owl in combat is incredibly fragile, and most of the time, it's probably best if the owl didn't even participate. That said, there are times (e.g. melee-only enemies or out of sight places to end turn) that it's generally safe for an owl familiar to join in the fight. So, the defacto uncreative options are:

    1) Fly-by help for 1 advantage attack from 1 ally against 1 enemy
    2) PC ready casts touch spell for owl fly-by reaction (requires concentration, which makes this meh)
    3) Use a goodberry/potion on a potentially dropped ally

    Any other fun flavorful ideas? Perhaps more/other object uses? I know many objects would be deemed untenable for an owl to use.
    - Take advantage of the owl's mobility and Flyby to keep it in an untargetable (or at least sufficiently inconvenient to target) position. Remember, you don't need to STAY near the enemy when using the Help action!

    - Have minions hold a sheet to create a line of sight blocker (used that one to prevent getting Counterspelled before!)

    - Carry light sources like a bullseye lantern remotely, allowing you (and other PCs) to remain unseen in darkness, while lighting up enemies.

    - Use oil flasks to make Create Bonfire squares even more hazardous. Or just combo with any other effect that sets things on fire.

    - Use flour or the like to reveal invisible foes.

    - Use ball bearings or caltrops to add some extra battlefield control.

    - Use Dragon's Breath to give it an AoE attack.

    - Have it deliver a precast Otilluke's Freezing Sphere for a nasty nova combo (works best with Evokers).

    - Action-efficiently administer potions in general (not just for dropped allies!). Don't be afraid to spam healing potions if you've got some gold.
    Last edited by LudicSavant; 2022-01-26 at 04:11 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Osuniev
    As always, LudicSavant, while your expertise on the crunch of the game is obvious, to me it's the way you give fluff a flavour that I love; Every little detail like this is a golden nugget.
    Some of my Stuff:
    An Eclectic Collection of Fun and Effective Builds | Comprehensive DPR Calculator | Resistance Data in MM, Volo's, MToF

    Nerull | Wee Jas | Olidammara | Erythnul | Hextor | Corellon Larethian | Lolth | The Deep Ones

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Dwarf in the Playground
    Join Date
    Aug 2020

    Default Re: Creative uses for an owl familiar in combat?

    Quote Originally Posted by LudicSavant View Post
    - Take advantage of the owl's mobility and Flyby to keep it in an untargetable (or at least sufficiently inconvenient to target) position. Remember, you don't need to STAY near the enemy when using the Help action!

    - Have minions hold a sheet to create a line of sight blocker (used that one to prevent getting Counterspelled before!)

    - Carry light sources like a bullseye lantern remotely, allowing you (and other PCs) to remain unseen in darkness, while lighting up enemies.

    - Use oil flasks to make Create Bonfire squares even more hazardous. Or just combo with any other effect that sets things on fire.

    - Use flour or the like to reveal invisible foes.

    - Use ball bearings or caltrops to add some extra battlefield control.

    - Use Dragon's Breath to give it an AoE attack.

    - Have it deliver a precast Otilluke's Freezing Sphere for a nasty nova combo (works best with Evokers).

    - Action-efficiently administer potions in general (not just for dropped allies!). Don't be afraid to spam healing potions if you've got some gold.

    Adding onto this

    - Have it use a spell from a Ring of Spell Storing

    - Have it give the assist action to anybody trying to do Stealth or Perception checks

    - Make it zoom around the battlefield trying to bump into invisible foes

    - Theoretically you could cast Major image of a glyph on a scarf (6th level for permanent), have your owl fly into combat above enemies. Next step is to be a 14th level illusion wizard and use your action change the illusion into a massive adamantine cage or something, following that up with a bonus action to make it real. Your owl now carries major images across the battlefield for you to use.

    - The owl can technically grapple and move characters who are small.... So an owl can effectively give a player 30 ft. of flight as long as they are short. With the new changes giving more races the ability to be medium or small, this could become even more viable!

    - Give the owl a bag of inhaleable poisons which the avian assassin can drop upon unsuspecting foes

    - ^^^ Just as the above, contact poisons, acid vials, and alchemist fire also work well for the bombing runs your owl can accomplish.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    RogueGuy

    Join Date
    Oct 2019

    Default Re: Creative uses for an owl familiar in combat?

    Owls make good McGuffin retrievers as long as the thingamabob is small enough.

    They are good for seeing what's in the next room, around the corner, etc.

    They make good alarms (stay here and watch for XXX - scream if anyone comes) or distractions.

    They are expendable - they are good a delivering doomsday devices, poisoning the water supply, or whatever.

    A generous DM once let me fly my owl into the nostril of a dragon and down into its lungs where it tore the crap out of it's wind bags, but I wouldn't expect that to be the norm.

    Cast light on him and send him to spot light your targets while you stay hidden in darkness.

    Give him a torch and send him off to set everything on fire.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Orc in the Playground
     
    RedWizardGuy

    Join Date
    Oct 2020

    Default Re: Creative uses for an owl familiar in combat?

    Quote Originally Posted by Burley View Post
    A lot of buffs, especially at low levels, are touch spells. Use your owl to make them ranged spells.
    Ah, so have the owl land behind an ally, then next turn have the PC cast a buff without using the Ready action. Nice!
    Quote Originally Posted by Burley View Post
    Your owl also probably has better stealth than you. Use this to surprise your enemy with touch spells.
    Yep, Bestow Curse is great for this!
    Quote Originally Posted by Dualight View Post
    How big is the owl? if the owl is small enough, a party member's pockets could serve as cover.
    1ft, which is the smallest I could go for the "Tiny" size. Still seems too big for a pocket.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dualight View Post
    EDIT: Cast dragon's breath and have the owl breath weapon your enemies(the spell specifies that it grants an action, not that it uses the Attack action, which a familiar can't use).
    Yes, love it!
    Quote Originally Posted by LudicSavant View Post
    - Have minions hold a sheet to create a line of sight blocker (used that one to prevent getting Counterspelled before!)

    - Carry light sources like a bullseye lantern remotely, allowing you (and other PCs) to remain unseen in darkness, while lighting up enemies.

    - Use oil flasks to make Create Bonfire squares even more hazardous. Or just combo with any other effect that sets things on fire.

    - Use flour or the like to reveal invisible foes.

    - Use ball bearings or caltrops to add some extra battlefield control.
    All great, thanks!
    Quote Originally Posted by Melphizard View Post
    Adding onto this

    - Have it use a spell from a Ring of Spell Storing

    - Have it give the assist action to anybody trying to do Stealth or Perception checks

    - Make it zoom around the battlefield trying to bump into invisible foes

    - Theoretically you could cast Major image of a glyph on a scarf (6th level for permanent), have your owl fly into combat above enemies. Next step is to be a 14th level illusion wizard and use your action change the illusion into a massive adamantine cage or something, following that up with a bonus action to make it real. Your owl now carries major images across the battlefield for you to use.

    - The owl can technically grapple and move characters who are small.... So an owl can effectively give a player 30 ft. of flight as long as they are short. With the new changes giving more races the ability to be medium or small, this could become even more viable!

    - Give the owl a bag of inhaleable poisons which the avian assassin can drop upon unsuspecting foes

    - ^^^ Just as the above, contact poisons, acid vials, and alchemist fire also work well for the bombing runs your owl can accomplish.
    Yeah, ring of spell storing with Haste, then pop the familiar back to its pocket dimension would be strong. Like the rest too... Bumping into Invis foes is funny...
    Quote Originally Posted by da newt View Post
    They are expendable - they are good a delivering doomsday devices, poisoning the water supply, or whatever.

    A generous DM once let me fly my owl into the nostril of a dragon and down into its lungs where it tore the crap out of it's wind bags, but I wouldn't expect that to be the norm.

    Cast light on him and send him to spot light your targets while you stay hidden in darkness.

    Give him a torch and send him off to set everything on fire.
    Love it... I've got my owl on a Find Familiar spell storing tattoo infusion (artificer), so I don't even have to pay 10g, but I can only summon once a day. I like the doomsday device ideas!

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Orc in the Playground
     
    RedWizardGuy

    Join Date
    Oct 2020

    Default Re: Creative uses for an owl familiar in combat?

    Also, just realized Sanctuary is fantastic to cast on my owl. Now he can fly around and Help with much less fear of losing him (as long as my DC is high enough).

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Barbarian in the Playground
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Creative uses for an owl familiar in combat?

    Do note as well that, unless 10gp really put a dent in your finances, the owl is expendable. A shot at the owl is a shot not directed at a party member (who are also expendable, of course, but it costs more to revive them). That's not to say you should let your owl die and not bother with it at all, but even in situations where you feel it'll be unsafe, don't hesitate to employ it.

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    RVA
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Creative uses for an owl familiar in combat?

    I imagine that an owl would be able to carry a dagger, but, I think, they're both considered "Tiny," right? Maybe, if you have an artillerist artificer, your owl could drop its turret in the middle of the enemy group? The turret can be tiny, but... I dunno. Probably too heavy, right?

    5e doesn't have as many attack items, like tanglefoot bags and alchemist fire, as 3.5e, when familiars where bombardiers. At least there's no XP penalty for a Familiar gettin' got.

    Maybe your familiar wouldn't mind getting blown up a lot and could carry parchment with Glyph of Warding on it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Silpharon View Post
    Also, just realized Sanctuary is fantastic to cast on my owl. Now he can fly around and Help with much less fear of losing him (as long as my DC is high enough).
    Sanctuary and Find Familiar are spells from different class lists. I don't think your wizard can cast it, unless there's a subclass feature I'm not thinking of.
    Last edited by Burley; 2022-01-27 at 07:53 AM.
    Check out a bunch of stuff I wrote for my campaign world of Oz.

    Spoiler
    Show
    I am the Burley, formerly known as Burley Warlock. I got my name changed. Please remember me...

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

    Join Date
    Dec 2021

    Default Re: Creative uses for an owl familiar in combat?

    Quote Originally Posted by Burley View Post
    Sanctuary and Find Familiar are spells from different class lists. I don't think your wizard can cast it, unless there's a subclass feature I'm not thinking of.
    I think Silpharon using an Artificer infusion of a spell tattoo to get his Owl.

    I normally use it to drop claptraps, ball barring's or alchemist fire/acid flasks. I normally don't use dragon's breath, I don't think its a great spell for the level. I use it for potion delivery and help action with flyby for the rogue or GWM marital.

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Barbarian in the Playground
    Join Date
    Dec 2017

    Default Re: Creative uses for an owl familiar in combat?

    Give an Eversmoking Bottle to your familiar. When needed, get it to uncork a bottle (something owls can do, even while flying). You now have masses of flying heavy obscurement when needed, far better than Fog Cloud. You need a command word to close the bottle, not to open it. Give the owl telepathic directions of where to fly, and it/ you/ the party have a patch of super-cover assuming there's no high winds.

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    RVA
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Creative uses for an owl familiar in combat?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pildion View Post
    I think Silpharon using an Artificer infusion of a spell tattoo to get his Owl.
    Oh... Well, then, definitely use it to drop an Artillerist's turret.
    Check out a bunch of stuff I wrote for my campaign world of Oz.

    Spoiler
    Show
    I am the Burley, formerly known as Burley Warlock. I got my name changed. Please remember me...

  14. - Top - End - #14
    Titan in the Playground
     
    KorvinStarmast's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Texas
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Creative uses for an owl familiar in combat?

    Quote Originally Posted by da newt View Post
    Cast light on him and send him to spot light your targets while you stay hidden in darkness.
    Strictly speaking (RAW) he has to have a small object to cast the light cantrip on, but I and a few other DMs I know have allowed it to be cast on a creature to light them up. A little tag/wrist band on a leg will suffice.
    You touch one object that is no larger than 10 feet in any dimension. {snip} If you target an object held or worn by a hostile creature, that creature must succeed on a Dexterity saving throw to avoid the spell.
    Give him a torch and send him off to set everything on fire.
    *scribbles notes to self* (Of course, owl can't hold it too close to himself or owl may set self on fire (torches do 1 HP damage and owls usually have 1 HP damage)
    Last edited by KorvinStarmast; 2022-01-27 at 10:17 AM.
    Avatar by linklele. How Teleport Works
    a. Malifice (paraphrased):
    Rulings are not 'House Rules.' Rulings are a DM doing what DMs are supposed to do.
    b. greenstone (paraphrased):
    Agency means that they {players} control their character's actions; you control the world's reactions to the character's actions.
    Gosh, 2D8HP, you are so very correct!

  15. - Top - End - #15
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    RogueGuy

    Join Date
    Oct 2019

    Default Re: Creative uses for an owl familiar in combat?

    W/ a ST of 3 and tiny size an owl can carry 15*3/2 = 22.5 lbs right? That's useful.

    IRL owls can vary from Blakiston’s Fish Owl – (Bubo blakistoni) Weight: 6-8.8 pounds Wingspan: 6.5 feet, to the Elf Owl Standing less than six inches tall, weighs less than an ounce and a half — a bit less than a golf ball.

    If you use those as limits your "tiny" owl can be pretty darned big or easily fit in a pocket.

  16. - Top - End - #16
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    RogueGuy

    Join Date
    Oct 2019

    Default Re: Creative uses for an owl familiar in combat?

    (Of course, owl can't hold it too close to himself or owl may set self on fire (torches do 1 HP damage and owls usually have 1 HP damage)

    Very true, but do you ever ask your players to make a torch handling check to see if they burn themselves? Ask your owl to hold onto the end that isn't on fire ...

  17. - Top - End - #17
    Titan in the Playground
     
    KorvinStarmast's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Texas
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Creative uses for an owl familiar in combat?

    Quote Originally Posted by sambojin View Post
    Give an Eversmoking Bottle to your familiar. When needed, get it to uncork a bottle (something owls can do, even while flying). You now have masses of flying heavy obscurement when needed, far better than Fog Cloud. You need a command word to close the bottle, not to open it. Give the owl telepathic directions of where to fly, and it/ you/ the party have a patch of super-cover assuming there's no high winds.
    I am so stealing this idea.
    Quote Originally Posted by da newt View Post
    Very true, but do you ever ask your players to make a torch handling check to see if they burn themselves?
    No, they are a lot bigger than a torch. A torch is as tall as, or maybe taller than, an owl.
    Ask your owl to hold onto the end that isn't on fire ...
    Owl familiars, being actually fey spirits, are trainable. yes.
    Last edited by KorvinStarmast; 2022-01-27 at 11:06 AM.
    Avatar by linklele. How Teleport Works
    a. Malifice (paraphrased):
    Rulings are not 'House Rules.' Rulings are a DM doing what DMs are supposed to do.
    b. greenstone (paraphrased):
    Agency means that they {players} control their character's actions; you control the world's reactions to the character's actions.
    Gosh, 2D8HP, you are so very correct!

  18. - Top - End - #18
    Orc in the Playground
     
    OrcBarbarianGuy

    Join Date
    Oct 2021

    Default Re: Creative uses for an owl familiar in combat?

    Cast Enlarge on it and have it do small size stuff, rather than tiny.

  19. - Top - End - #19
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Greywander's Avatar

    Join Date
    Nov 2017

    Default Re: Creative uses for an owl familiar in combat?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dualight View Post
    How big is the owl? if the owl is small enough, a party member's pockets could serve as cover.
    Apparently the smallest owl is the elf owl, which is about 5 inches long. The largest owls can get to over 30 inches. So it's a pretty wide range.

    I recall seeing an owl up close a couple of times. A charity that works with raptors would sometimes have fundraising events were I used to work, and they would sometimes bring one of their owls by. the thing was huge, like the size of a medium-small dog, probably more than 2 feet tall. It would sit so still that you'd think it was a prop, until it turned to look at you. Such a cool animal.

    It's an old thread, and some of the tricks have later been confirmed to not work, and also this was primarily for chainlock familiars (the imp, specifically), but it's worth reading over to see if you can glean any useful tactics. Here's the thread: The Many Uses of an Imp Familiar

    I think a lot of the tricks mentioned there have already been mentioned here, though.

  20. - Top - End - #20
    Orc in the Playground
     
    RedWizardGuy

    Join Date
    Oct 2020

    Default Re: Creative uses for an owl familiar in combat?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chaos Jackal View Post
    Do note as well that, unless 10gp really put a dent in your finances, the owl is expendable. A shot at the owl is a shot not directed at a party member (who are also expendable, of course, but it costs more to revive them). That's not to say you should let your owl die and not bother with it at all, but even in situations where you feel it'll be unsafe, don't hesitate to employ it.
    Indeed! My owl is fey and unceasingly happy, regardless of what I have him do.
    Quote Originally Posted by Burley View Post
    I imagine that an owl would be able to carry a dagger, but, I think, they're both considered "Tiny," right? Maybe, if you have an artillerist artificer, your owl could drop its turret in the middle of the enemy group? The turret can be tiny, but... I dunno. Probably too heavy, right?
    I don't see a weight on it, a tiny bird can carry a tiny object. You could also just have the owl fly the cannon around while you're using it, though the initiation differences might make that awkward.
    Quote Originally Posted by Burley View Post
    Maybe your familiar wouldn't mind getting blown up a lot and could carry parchment with Glyph of Warding on it.
    I think the Glyph can't move more than 10 feet without dispelling. If you were able to cast the Glyph inside a bag of holding, and had the owl empty it out that might work (if the DM thinks crossing planes is 0 feet of movement). Speaking of which, if the owl could hold it's breath long enough (for which there are creative solutions), it could continue using it's reaction to create the Glyph in the bag of holding to begin with.
    Quote Originally Posted by sambojin View Post
    Give an Eversmoking Bottle to your familiar. When needed, get it to uncork a bottle (something owls can do, even while flying). You now have masses of flying heavy obscurement when needed, far better than Fog Cloud. You need a command word to close the bottle, not to open it. Give the owl telepathic directions of where to fly, and it/ you/ the party have a patch of super-cover assuming there's no high winds.
    Very cool, though is it just far better than Fog Cloud because you don't have to concentrate? Otherwise they seem pretty close.
    Quote Originally Posted by JLandan View Post
    Cast Enlarge on it and have it do small size stuff, rather than tiny.
    Nice, or the opposite! Maybe they could sneak through a keyhole...
    Quote Originally Posted by Greywander View Post
    It's an old thread, and some of the tricks have later been confirmed to not work, and also this was primarily for chainlock familiars (the imp, specifically), but it's worth reading over to see if you can glean any useful tactics. Here's the thread: The Many Uses of an Imp Familiar

    I think a lot of the tricks mentioned there have already been mentioned here, though.
    Those are done fun uses of an imp! I think they're mostly imp specific though. I liked your idea of pretending the imp was a Dark Lord!

  21. - Top - End - #21
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    NinjaGuy

    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Arlington, TX, USA

    Default Re: Creative uses for an owl familiar in combat?

    Quote Originally Posted by da newt View Post
    Cast light on him and send him to spot light your targets while you stay hidden in darkness.
    If you do it that way, you're illuminated first when you cast the spell. But--one of my greatest realizations: light ... is a touch spell.

    Once cleared most of a cavern complex by sending the owl on ahead, and casting light from 100 ft away into caverns full of enemies. The bad guys' 60' darkvision was not particularly useful against longbow fire coming from 100' to 150' away out of pitch darkness. And the owl's 120' darkvision, high flight speed, and stealth score made it pretty easy to get the drop on them with this tactic.

    It's dependent on the size and openness of the dungeon, naturally. But when terrain allows, this is absolutely vicious.
    -Christian
    "You're thinking of the 'peace and love' monks across the valley. We're the 'law and order' monks."

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •