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Thread: Bane of Ravens

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Bane of Ravens

    I was DMing the other day and my friend was playing an illusionist with a raven familiar. They got ambushed by some shadows, and one of them hit his raven. Raven's have 1 str and so the thing fell down, unable to support itself. However, shadows outright kill creatures who fall to 0 str from their attacks, so his familiar died and he lost 1,100 exp. Does this seem right for a familiar to be so weak to a specific attack?
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    Default Re: Bane of Ravens

    Familiars are pretty big weak points for casters. I think one of the NPCs in Complete Mage actually starts most of his fights by going straight for the familiar.
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    Default Re: Bane of Ravens

    Generally, one of three things is done with familiars:

    1) The player keeps his familiar in his backpack / way far away from the fight whenever fighting unless he specifically wants to use the familiar for something.

    2) The player gives up the familiar for another class feature (more power, less hassle)

    3) The player and DM both act as if the familiar doesn't exist except when the player suddenly remembers his familiar can be used for something in particular. This happens both from not wanting to deal with the hassle and the knowledge that familiars really are very easy to kill, especially as you get past level 3 or 4 and their stats just don't keep up with players.
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    Default Re: Bane of Ravens

    Quote Originally Posted by Edge of Dreams View Post
    Generally, one of three things is done with familiars:

    1) The player keeps his familiar in his backpack / way far away from the fight whenever fighting unless he specifically wants to use the familiar for something.

    2) The player gives up the familiar for another class feature (more power, less hassle)

    3) The player and DM both act as if the familiar doesn't exist except when the player suddenly remembers his familiar can be used for something in particular. This happens both from not wanting to deal with the hassle and the knowledge that familiars really are very easy to kill, especially as you get past level 3 or 4 and their stats just don't keep up with players.


    Familiars>>>>>>>>90% more powerful than most ACFs they can be traded for.

    Case and point, any spell such as Polymorph, Alter Self, Body of War, Form of the Threefold Beast, etc. THose spells are what make the familiar powerful

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    Default Re: Bane of Ravens

    Quote Originally Posted by Sinfire Titan View Post
    Familiars>>>>>>>>90% more powerful than most ACFs they can be traded for.

    Case and point, any spell such as Polymorph, Alter Self, Body of War, Form of the Threefold Beast, etc. Those spells are what make the familiar powerful
    Your caster BAB and 50% of your caster HP. I'd rather have the ability to Dimension Door as an Immediate Action, thanks. Or get a free feat. I'm not willing to risk myself Polymorphed and in melee, why would I risk something that's specifically weaker than me?
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    Default Re: Bane of Ravens

    Well he was using his familiar in battle for some reason. I like to use mine for making touch attacks. He likes to use his for a blocker with mirror image.
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    Default Re: Bane of Ravens

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Zander View Post
    Well he was using his familiar in battle for some reason. I like to use mine for making touch attacks. He likes to use his for a blocker with mirror image.
    Then he deserves every point of the XP loss.
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    Default Re: Bane of Ravens

    Oh, I'm not disagreeing there. But the familiar died from a strength drain. Strength drain isn't even suppose to kill you. That just hit us as a wtf moment.
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    Default Re: Bane of Ravens

    Quote Originally Posted by Sstoopidtallkid View Post
    Your caster BAB and 50% of your caster HP. I'd rather have the ability to Dimension Door as an Immediate Action, thanks. Or get a free feat. I'm not willing to risk myself Polymorphed and in melee, why would I risk something that's specifically weaker than me?
    Other viable answers: Coure Eladrins or Imps with max ranks in UMD and the Spell-linked Familiar feat. extra actions per round.

    Or maybe because you can pump your familiar's stats into the stratosphere with the right spells, thus making the 1/2 BAB and 50% HP very moot compared to the 70+ AC, the 50% Concealment, and the massive Str score?


    CO has abused the unholy hell out of familiars. They are better than people give them credit for, due to how many spells can be shared/cast on them. This was once a method for Pun-Pun to ascend to his godhood (level 6 Wizard), you should never underestimate a class feature that opesn the gates for Divine power beyond all belief.

    People think they are squishy. If left unbuffed they are, and very weak for the trade-off (just like Dragons; when they are unbuffed, the entire encounter is weakened). Buffed up? Ouch...

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    Default Re: Bane of Ravens

    Quote Originally Posted by Sinfire Titan View Post
    Other viable answers: Coure Eladrins or Imps with max ranks in UMD and the Spell-linked Familiar feat. extra actions per round.

    Or maybe because you can pump your familiar's stats into the stratosphere with the right spells, thus making the 1/2 BAB and 50% HP very moot compared to the 70+ AC, the 50% Concealment, and the massive Str score?


    CO has abused the unholy hell out of familiars. They are better than people give them credit for, due to how many spells can be shared/cast on them. This was once a method for Pun-Pun to ascend to his godhood (level 6 Wizard), you should never underestimate a class feature that opesn the gates for Divine power beyond all belief.

    People think they are squishy. If left unbuffed they are, and very weak for the trade-off (just like Dragons; when they are unbuffed, the entire encounter is weakened). Buffed up? Ouch...
    Yes, but the buffing requires actions and spell slots. Yes, you can make your Familiar far more useful than you yourself are, but is that because it's so good, or because you suck? If I was going to buff something, it would be a meatshield, as it starts as the most powerful target. If that's not an option, I'd use a Summon, as no one cares if it dies. Me or a Familiar...that's XP loss and a poor base to start the castings. it's to me just not worth it.
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    Default Re: Bane of Ravens

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Zander View Post
    Oh, I'm not disagreeing there. But the familiar died from a strength drain. Strength drain isn't even suppose to kill you. That just hit us as a wtf moment.
    ??

    Yes, it is supposed to kill you when a shadow is Str-draining you. What is the issue? What did the player imagine would happen? Shadows kill you by draining your Strength.

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    Default Re: Bane of Ravens

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Zander View Post
    Well he was using his familiar in battle for some reason. I like to use mine for making touch attacks. He likes to use his for a blocker with mirror image.
    Ah, the ole Screaming Toad of Lightning Death! touch attack routine.

    @OP: The player let his character's familiar end up in a bad situation and paid for it the hard way. He was unlucky is all. OTOH, he won't make the mistake of using a (small and squishy) familiar as a WoW-style pet next time around.

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    Default Re: Bane of Ravens

    Quote Originally Posted by Tsotha-lanti View Post
    ??

    Yes, it is supposed to kill you when a shadow is Str-draining you. What is the issue? What did the player imagine would happen? Shadows kill you by draining your Strength.
    We just thought it was odd was all. There is no issue. I was simply pointing out the fact that raven familiars can;t even withstand a single touch from a shadow, no matter how high level their master is.
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    Default Re: Bane of Ravens

    Familiars are too weak and vulnerable to be used in combat (unless maybe you're a gish), but that doesn't mean that they're useless, it just means that their use is out of combat. They can scout for you, or retrieve small objects such as keys, or keep watch, and they open up all sorts of fun role-playing opportunities.

    Where they get really awesome, though, is with a skillful character like a bard, beguiler, or factotum (you'll need the Obtain Familiar feat). Familiars get all of your skill ranks, so it's like having a whole extra skillmonkey.
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    Default Re: Bane of Ravens

    I think the raven's proper course of action should have been flying far, far away from the shadows. Most likely they would'e let it fly off and focused on the PCs, and if one did try to chaise it and killed it anyway (I forget who has better speed) at least it would've died doing something useful, i.e. drawing shadows away from PCs.

    Shadows are nasty, perhaps the nastiest critter of their CR. Throwing a raven at one is just... mean.
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    Default Re: Bane of Ravens

    Well this was a case where the shadows jumped out from coffins along a wall, and beat the familiar's initiative. The poor bugger never had a chance. If it did, the player probably would have ordered it to fly out of the room.
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    Default Re: Bane of Ravens

    When used correctly, familiars are as powerful as a PC, if not more so.

    1) Familiars can hold the charge of a touch spell. Before combat you can cast a touch spell, and it stays with your familiar indefinitely unless you cast another spell. Then on the first round of combat, your familiar can move in and deliver the spell with a touch attack, and you are free to cast anything else. Essentially its a free Quicken, usable every single combat.

    2) You can Share Spells. Alter Self (which lasts 10 minutes per level) and Polymorph are the most obvious abuse of this, but there are MANY other buffs.

    3) Familiars get Improved Evasion and Spell Resistance, giving them some solid defenses against the real threat of any mid-high level campaign (magic).

    4) You can greatly improve your familiar with various feats.

    5) If you're a Hexblade, Duskblade, or a Gish, your familiar has the potential to be better in combat then most Skill Monkey and hybrid classes.

    When used incorrectly, your familiar is basically just a weak bonus feat. It's unfortunate that a DM would choose to ambush the familiar in such a way when the PC obviously wasn't using the familiar in an optimal fashion. But it happens.
    Last edited by Person_Man; 2008-10-15 at 12:31 PM.

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    Default Re: Bane of Ravens

    Level 5 wizard with shocking grasp uses familiar to deliver 5d6 damage touch attack: Fear the electrified raven OF DOOM!

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