5E Familiars!
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  1. #1
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    Familiars!

    Reading a certain other threadbrought my feeling to the fore of the topic of familiars in 5e.

    Now, for the most part, I find 5e's rules for familiars okay. However...

    I don't like that the familiar is a spirit rather than a normal creature of its ilk. The spirit thing is neat, but for me it's not as cool as bonding with an actual creature.

    I don't like that the familiar can't attack. I know, chainlocks have this as a special ability, but mehthey have access to more powerful familiars early on, and most familiars aren't exactly deadly opponents. Like the above, this is mostly just a "feel" thing.

    I don't like that non-chainlocks are limited to familars certain familiars. Sure, I get the chainlock has special access to more powerful critters and that's cool. However, I think that casters of other classes should be able to take more powerful creatures, too, at higher levels (that preserves some of the chainlock's specialness). I mean, why shouldn't a 10th-level wizard have a pseudodragon familiar (like they could in some previous editions)?

    Yes, these are just my feelings and, sure, I can houserule to hell and back. But these are things that I find disappointing in an edition that I am mostly satisfied with (there are other small things like this that I can whinge on about, but they're all pretty minor). So, here I am ranting online.

    But that brings me to you guys... What are your thoughts and feelings concerning familiars in this edition and how they size up with your experiences and feelings of previous editions and your expectations of how they should work?
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  2. #2
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    The Grand Druid (Lvl 20)



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    Quote Originally Posted by Azzy View Post
    Reading a certain other threadbrought my feeling to the fore of the topic of familiars in 5e.

    Now, for the most part, I find 5e's rules for familiars okay. However...

    I don't like that the familiar is a spirit rather than a normal creature of its ilk. The spirit thing is neat, but for me it's not as cool as bonding with an actual creature.

    I don't like that the familiar can't attack. I know, chainlocks have this as a special ability, but mehthey have access to more powerful familiars early on, and most familiars aren't exactly deadly opponents. Like the above, this is mostly just a "feel" thing.

    I don't like that non-chainlocks are limited to familars certain familiars. Sure, I get the chainlock has special access to more powerful critters and that's cool. However, I think that casters of other classes should be able to take more powerful creatures, too, at higher levels (that preserves some of the chainlock's specialness). I mean, why shouldn't a 10th-level wizard have a pseudodragon familiar (like they could in some previous editions)?

    Yes, these are just my feelings and, sure, I can houserule to hell and back. But these are things that I find disappointing in an edition that I am mostly satisfied with (there are other small things like this that I can whinge on about, but they're all pretty minor). So, here I am ranting online.

    But that brings me to you guys... What are your thoughts and feelings concerning familiars in this edition and how they size up with your experiences and feelings of previous editions and your expectations of how they should work?
    What I think you may be missing is you **can** go find certain creatures and bond to them as familiars. It's just the easy peasy first level sprll that locks in the "fauxmiliar" thing. Check the MM.
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    I think familiars are fine in D&D 5e. Useful scouts, helpful allies for attacking, and fun to cast spells through.

    I try not to let my experiences with other editions of the game influence how I feel about this edition.

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    My distaste for familiars is their use in combat to gain advantage. The special familiars are fine in combat (actually their a bit weak from what I've heard), but using a house cat to "help" an attack is incredibly stupid IMO. I suppose it might be mechanically fine, but the image of it bugs the grouch old man in me. I remember when having a familiar dying actually hurt you, rather than being an annoyance.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shiroiken View Post
    My distaste for familiars is their use in combat to gain advantage. The special familiars are fine in combat (actually their a bit weak from what I've heard), but using a house cat to "help" an attack is incredibly stupid IMO.
    I think your experience with house cats has been different than my experience. #littlekillers
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  6. #6
    It bugs me that familiars are only as smart as their mundane type. I think they should have an Int of, at least, 6. Like a Paladin's mount.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shiroiken View Post
    My distaste for familiars is their use in combat to gain advantage. The special familiars are fine in combat (actually their a bit weak from what I've heard), but using a house cat to "help" an attack is incredibly stupid IMO. I suppose it might be mechanically fine, but the image of it bugs the grouch old man in me. I remember when having a familiar dying actually hurt you, rather than being an annoyance.
    It's not a house cat. It's a magical spirit shapeshifted temporarily into the form of a house cat.

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    My feeling about Familiars is something similar to a how someone else feels about Gnome Paladins with or without their Rapiers. Now as spirits they just keep coming back no matter how many times I kill the damn things.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Azzy View Post
    But that brings me to you guys... What are your thoughts and feelings concerning familiars in this edition and how they size up with your experiences and feelings of previous editions and your expectations of how they should work?
    Yeah, very disappointed with how they handled familiars in 5E. We house-ruled a new description for the spell, and I even wrote up a Brownie familiar as a new special familiar type:

    Find Familiar

    Conjuration
    Casting Time: 1 hour (Ritual)
    Range: 10 feet
    Components: V, S, M (10gp charcoal, incense, herbs; consumed by brass brazier's fire)
    Duration: Special

    An animal becomes your familiar, obeying your commands, though it is still an independent creature. You can choose any animal that is a Tiny Beast with a CR 0.

    It has the appearance and statistics of the animal form you choose, but has minimum hit points equal to your level and uses your proficiency bonus in place of its own. Your familiar gains a bonus to its AC and all saves equal to your proficiency bonus. Its minimum Intelligence is equal to your spellcasting modifier.

    You can attempt to summon a special familiar instead of an animal. Make a DC 20 check using your spellcasting modifier when you cast the spell. You can only attempt to summon a special familiar once every three months. If you succeed you can summon a Brownie, Pseudodragon, Sprite, Quasit, or Imp.

    Your familiar acts on your initiative and you can command it to move verbally. You can spend your bonus action to verbally order your familiar to Attack, Dash, Disengage, Dodge, or Help. Any spells you cast on yourself can benefit your familiar if you choose. You familiar can also be a target for any of your spells.

    You can telepathically communicate with your familiar and as an action you can see and hear what it does until the start of your next turn. If your familiar has any special senses, you also gain the benefits of those senses while you are seeing or hearing through it. While doing so, your body is blind and deaf. You can also cast spells with a range of touch through your familiar as if it has cast them itself, but you must be within 100 feet of it and the familiar uses its reaction to cast the spell. Otherwise the spell is cast as if you had done so yourself.

    After a long rest, you gain temporary hit points equal to your level while your familiar is within 1 mile of you. If your familiar is further away or dies, you lose any remaining temporary hit points from this feature. If your familiar dies, you suffer one level of exhaustion and you cannot summon a new familiar until you recover that level of exhaustion.

    And here is the Brownie:

    Name:  Brownie.png
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  10. #10
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    The Great Druid (Lvl 17)



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    I don't like that the Familiar and the Revised Ranger's Beast Companion are both basically immortal. If it dies in combat, you can just re-summon it afterwards. Pfft...

    IMO, the death of a beloved pet is a ripe roleplaying opportunity, and it should be part of the game. So should the rewarding experience of keeping a fragile animal companion alive for a whole campaign.
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