Instead of a familiar

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Not everybody likes familiars. Some players love them; most ignore
them except when they're briefly useful; but a few actively dislike
them.

Suppose you have an arcane spellcaster PC who just doesn't want a
familiar and is willing to give it up. What would be reasonable, in
game balance terms, to replace it? A bonus feat? More skill points?
Access to a clerical domain?


Waldo
21 answers Last reply
More about instead familiar
  1. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    "Waldo" <peggoliathy@yahoo.com> wrote in message
    news:1121718889.876223.293740@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...
    >
    > Not everybody likes familiars. Some players love them; most ignore
    > them except when they're briefly useful; but a few actively dislike
    > them.
    >
    > Suppose you have an arcane spellcaster PC who just doesn't want a
    > familiar and is willing to give it up. What would be reasonable, in
    > game balance terms, to replace it? A bonus feat? More skill points?
    > Access to a clerical domain?

    There is a flaw called "Forlorn" which is, basically, the lack of a familiar
    (for someone who is supposed to have one). A flaw gives you a bonus feat,
    and a character can take up to two flaws (generally only at character
    creation).

    --
    ^v^v^Malachias Invictus^v^v^

    It matters not how strait the gate,
    How charged with punishment the scroll,
    I am the Master of my fate:
    I am the Captain of my soul.

    from _Invictus_, by William Ernest Henley
  2. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    Unearthed Arcana has variant specialist wizards that provide some
    ability related to the specialized school in lieu of having a Familiar.
    There are also abilities for in lieu of bonus Feats and/or bonus
    spells.

    My DM has a house rule where you can give up the Familiar for an item
    creation feat or meta-magic feat, but you have to decide at 1st level
    wizard/sorcerer. The downside, at least some people would think it's a
    downside, is that full spell progression prestige classes become more
    attractive because wizard/sorcerers now give up less, i.e. the lack of
    stunded Familiar improvement. Sorcerers give up nothing except BAB and
    saves, as do practically all prestige classes anyway. Wizards lose
    bonus item creation/meta magic feats, but any desired can be taken
    anyway as a normal character feat and prestige class abilities can be
    juyst as good.

    To make familiars more useful is to let them be useful. If a PC wizard
    wants his familiar to scout or spy on something, the DM shouldn't
    prevent this or make it very difficult every time. The bad guys should
    not be constantly spotting the familiar, recognize it for what it is,
    and try to kill it. The DM should be making separate spot, search,
    and listen checks for the familiar and have it relay important
    information to the wizard. When the party is locked up in a cage with
    no gear, instead of the rogue trying to pick the lock, for a change as
    DM fiat and flavor have the familiar "find" the key from a sleeping
    guard as an automatic success. (Inspired by a true story of my
    paladin's pseudodragon of many years ago, or should I say the
    pseudodragon who used my paladin as his Mount. :)

    Gerald Katz
  3. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    "Waldo" <peggoliathy@yahoo.com> wrote in news:1121718889.876223.293740
    @f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com:

    > Not everybody likes familiars. Some players love them; most ignore
    > them except when they're briefly useful; but a few actively dislike
    > them.
    >
    > Suppose you have an arcane spellcaster PC who just doesn't want a
    > familiar and is willing to give it up. What would be reasonable, in
    > game balance terms, to replace it? A bonus feat? More skill points?
    > Access to a clerical domain?

    A feat would be fine, but not just any feat.

    Notice that the "Master benefits" for each familiar duplicate the
    functionality of a minor feat: a Skill Focus, a saving throw feat,
    or, in the case of the toad, Toughness. Plus they get Alertness.
    So if you're going to give a familiar-less sorcerer something,
    make it one of those minor feats, or maybe one of the +2/+2
    skill feats.

    -Ben Adams
  4. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    Benjamin Adams wrote:

    > A feat would be fine, but not just any feat.
    >
    > Notice that the "Master benefits" for each familiar duplicate the
    > functionality of a minor feat: a Skill Focus, a saving throw feat,
    > or, in the case of the toad, Toughness. Plus they get Alertness.

    Right. So, two feats.


    > So if you're going to give a familiar-less sorcerer something,
    > make it one of those minor feats, or maybe one of the +2/+2
    > skill feats.

    Um. Having a familiar gives you /two/ feats, plus other benefits --
    being able to use your familiar to spy, deliver messages, run away when
    you're captured and fetch rescuers, etc.

    ISTM that it should be worth at least one feat of your choice in
    return.


    Waldo
  5. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    Waldo wrote:
    > Benjamin Adams wrote:
    >
    > > A feat would be fine, but not just any feat.
    > >
    > > Notice that the "Master benefits" for each familiar duplicate the
    > > functionality of a minor feat: a Skill Focus, a saving throw feat,
    > > or, in the case of the toad, Toughness. Plus they get Alertness.
    >
    > Right. So, two feats.
    >
    >
    > > So if you're going to give a familiar-less sorcerer something,
    > > make it one of those minor feats, or maybe one of the +2/+2
    > > skill feats.
    >
    > Um. Having a familiar gives you /two/ feats, plus other benefits --
    > being able to use your familiar to spy, deliver messages, run away when
    > you're captured and fetch rescuers, etc.
    >
    > ISTM that it should be worth at least one feat of your choice in
    > return.

    Seconded. Familiars are very useful. At higher levels, keeping them
    alive is a bit of a challenge, but they can still come in handy, quite
    apart from the two feats they grant.

    Laszlo
  6. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    Rupert Boleyn wrote:
    >
    > My personal feeling is that they should get no replacement benefit.
    > Familiars aren't a huge advantage anyway, so unless the replacement
    > benefit was very weak it'd be over-powered.

    Hell, the game designers thought that it was OK for the
    familiar to be optional, and saw absolutely no need to
    balance the lack of a familiar with other compensation.

    Familiars entail an amount of risk as well. And they
    are an excellent way to draw the party into situations
    they normally would avoid ("We gotta go in there, they
    have my familiar. Do you know what they can do to me?").

    If you feel generous and want to give something, make sure
    it isn't too much. A single feat seems like plenty to me,
    but that's just my opinion.
  7. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    Hadsil wrote:
    > (Inspired by a true story of my
    > paladin's pseudodragon of many years ago, or should I say the
    > pseudodragon who used my paladin as his Mount. :)
    >
    > Gerald Katz
    >

    Do you know Bob Sanzone? This sounds like something he says/does. Weird.

    Alex
  8. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    laszlo_spamhole@freemail.hu wrote:

    >
    > Waldo wrote:
    >
    >>Benjamin Adams wrote:
    >>
    >>
    >>>A feat would be fine, but not just any feat.
    >>>
    >>>Notice that the "Master benefits" for each familiar duplicate the
    >>>functionality of a minor feat: a Skill Focus, a saving throw feat,
    >>>or, in the case of the toad, Toughness. Plus they get Alertness.
    >>
    >>Right. So, two feats.
    >>
    >>
    >>
    >>>So if you're going to give a familiar-less sorcerer something,
    >>>make it one of those minor feats, or maybe one of the +2/+2
    >>>skill feats.
    >>
    >>Um. Having a familiar gives you /two/ feats, plus other benefits --
    >>being able to use your familiar to spy, deliver messages, run away when
    >>you're captured and fetch rescuers, etc.
    >>
    >>ISTM that it should be worth at least one feat of your choice in
    >>return.
    >
    >
    > Seconded. Familiars are very useful. At higher levels, keeping them
    > alive is a bit of a challenge, but they can still come in handy, quite
    > apart from the two feats they grant.

    My gnome Arcane Trickster had a weasel familiar who saved his life once.
    There was this room that we couldn't get into for some reason, the
    door was melded into the stone or some such. Bing (the gnome) offered
    to use his Blink spell to go into the room and check it out. He did so,
    walking through the wall during a Blink, and took his familiar with him
    (also affected for free by the Blink spell as per the rules on sharing
    spells with familiars).

    Well, in the room was a pissed-off Intellect Devourer or some such, and
    it used its funky mind powers to stun/paralyze Bing. That's when
    Bartleby (his weasel familiar) used Blink to run out of the room and
    jump up and down chattering excitedly in front of the other PCs who were
    waiting outside.

    As it turns out, another PC had a scroll of Dimension Door, and used it
    to bring himself and others into the room to rescue Bing. They had to
    wait in the room for a day until Bing could memorize Dimension Door to
    bring them out, IIRC.

    Then there was the time Bing's wand of wonder shrank him to Fine size,
    and he had to ride Bartleby around the combat. :^)

    The moral of the story is that familiars can save your ass.

    - Ron ^*^
  9. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    Werebat wrote:
    > Jasin Zujovic wrote:
    >
    > > In article <1121775103.426747.186810@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com>,
    > > decalod85@comcast.net says...
    > >
    > >
    > >>>My personal feeling is that they should get no replacement benefit.
    > >>>Familiars aren't a huge advantage anyway, so unless the replacement
    > >>>benefit was very weak it'd be over-powered.
    > >>
    > >>Hell, the game designers thought that it was OK for the
    > >>familiar to be optional,
    > >
    > >
    > > Well, there is that, but I think that's false logic. After all, the
    > > designers also though that it was OK for spell acquisition beyond the 2
    > > at each level-up to be optional for wizards, and I don't think that
    > > anyone would argue that a wizard who was *limited* to the 2 spells at
    > > each level-up shouldn't be compensated in some other way.
    > >
    > > IMO, a feat is about right, but I'd prefer to let the character have
    > > something of about equivalent power that is not a feat. Always
    > > interesting to have a little special something that isn't available to
    > > the general public... exactly what would that be would depend on the
    > > character concept.
    > >
    > > Oh, and I'd also look toward something that improves as you go up in
    > > levels, just like a familiar does.
    >
    > Compare Nymph's Kiss to having a familiar.
    >
    > Familiar grants Alertness when held, is a companion with some minor
    > magical abilities and duplicate skills, and can give a bonus of +2 to
    > one saving throw. The familiar can die and then you are a sad panda.
    >
    > Nymph's Kiss grants +1 saving throw bonus to all saves, +1 skill point
    > per level, and +1 bonus on all Charisma-based checks. Your faerie lover
    > can die and then you are a sad panda.
    >
    > Nymph's Kiss wins!

    You... you DARE imply that Nymph's Kiss is overpowered?

    Laszlo
  10. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    Michael Hathcock wrote:
    > Jasin Zujovic <jzujovic@inet.hr> wrote in news:MPG.1d47410484ffc60d989794
    > @news.iskon.hr:
    >
    > > In article <1121775103.426747.186810@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com>,
    > > decalod85@comcast.net says...
    > >
    > >> > My personal feeling is that they should get no replacement benefit.
    > >> > Familiars aren't a huge advantage anyway, so unless the replacement
    > >> > benefit was very weak it'd be over-powered.
    > >>
    > >> Hell, the game designers thought that it was OK for the
    > >> familiar to be optional,
    > >
    > > Well, there is that, but I think that's false logic. After all, the
    > > designers also though that it was OK for spell acquisition beyond the 2
    > > at each level-up to be optional for wizards, and I don't think that
    > > anyone would argue that a wizard who was *limited* to the 2 spells at
    > > each level-up shouldn't be compensated in some other way.
    > >
    > > IMO, a feat is about right, but I'd prefer to let the character have
    > > something of about equivalent power that is not a feat. Always
    > > interesting to have a little special something that isn't available to
    > > the general public... exactly what would that be would depend on the
    > > character concept.
    > >
    > > Oh, and I'd also look toward something that improves as you go up in
    > > levels, just like a familiar does.
    > >
    > >
    >
    > In one of my past campaigns, I rewrote the sorcerer somewhat for just
    > this reason. They didn't get the familiar at first level, they got Eschew
    > Materials as a bonus feat

    This is a common Sorcerer mod. Makes sense.

    > and at second level they gained Bloodfire (Su).
    > The bloodfire ability gave the sorcerer a spot check (DC 20 - spell
    > level) to notice any spell currently in effect within 10 feet/class
    > level. This also became the basis for several feat trees designed to
    > personalize the sorcerer.

    Cool effect. Horrible name.

    I mean, Bloodfire? For a limited Detect Magic ability?

    Make it something like Wyrmsight. That ties in nicely with Sorcerers'
    draconic theme, and you could make it a prerequisite for the fire-based
    feat tree (below). Or you could get fancy and have the Sorc pick a type
    of dragon, and give him feat trees based on the relevant element. Or
    whatever.

    > For example:
    >
    > Self-consuming Fire
    > Prerequisites: Bloodfire
    > Benefits: When casting a spell with a costly component, the spellcaster
    > can choose to sacrifice 1 XP for every 5 gp of the component's cost.

    Cool.

    > Self-immolation
    > Prerequisites: Bloodfire, Self-consuming Fire
    > Benefits: When casting a spell with a spell cap, the spellcaster can
    > exceed this spell cap by 50%. The spellcaster loses 100 XP per caster
    > level gained in this way. This feat does not grant the spellcaster the
    > ability to exceed his normal caster level.
    > Example: Hommenman, a 17th-level casts a fireball spell. Normally a
    > fireball spell's damage caps at 10d6. By activating this feat,
    > Hommenman's fireball now deals 15d6 points of fire damage. He then loses
    > 500 XP.

    This, however, is practically unusable. I'd decrease the XP loss.
    Perhaps 50 XP per level is appropriate. Perhaps even that is too much.

    > Other feat trees granted abilities like Detect Magic at will then
    > followed by Identify 1+cha bonus/day. The idea was that the sorcerer
    > could use his life force as a wizard does, but instead of creating
    > lasting magic items, he funneled it into his magicks.

    I like the idea.

    Laszlo
  11. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    <laszlo_spamhole@freemail.hu> wrote in message
    news:1121806684.476704.119130@g47g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
    > Michael Hathcock wrote:

    >> Self-immolation
    >> Prerequisites: Bloodfire, Self-consuming Fire
    >> Benefits: When casting a spell with a spell cap, the spellcaster can
    >> exceed this spell cap by 50%. The spellcaster loses 100 XP per caster
    >> level gained in this way. This feat does not grant the spellcaster the
    >> ability to exceed his normal caster level.
    >> Example: Hommenman, a 17th-level casts a fireball spell. Normally a
    >> fireball spell's damage caps at 10d6. By activating this feat,
    >> Hommenman's fireball now deals 15d6 points of fire damage. He then loses
    >> 500 XP.
    >
    > This, however, is practically unusable. I'd decrease the XP loss.
    > Perhaps 50 XP per level is appropriate. Perhaps even that is too much.

    It is, especially considering you have to burn two feats to get it. I would
    rather it be 3 times per day or the like, or perhaps even base it off
    Charisma.

    --
    ^v^v^Malachias Invictus^v^v^

    It matters not how strait the gate,
    How charged with punishment the scroll,
    I am the Master of my fate:
    I am the Captain of my soul.

    from _Invictus_, by William Ernest Henley
  12. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    On 18 Jul 2005 13:34:49 -0700, "Waldo" <peggoliathy@yahoo.com> carved
    upon a tablet of ether:

    >
    > Not everybody likes familiars. Some players love them; most ignore
    > them except when they're briefly useful; but a few actively dislike
    > them.
    >
    > Suppose you have an arcane spellcaster PC who just doesn't want a
    > familiar and is willing to give it up. What would be reasonable, in
    > game balance terms, to replace it? A bonus feat? More skill points?
    > Access to a clerical domain?

    My personal feeling is that they should get no replacement benefit.
    Familiars aren't a huge advantage anyway, so unless the replacement
    benefit was very weak it'd be over-powered.


    --
    Rupert Boleyn <rboleyn@paradise.net.nz>
    "Just because the truth will set you free doesn't mean the truth itself
    should be free."
  13. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    In article <1121775103.426747.186810@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com>,
    decalod85@comcast.net says...

    > > My personal feeling is that they should get no replacement benefit.
    > > Familiars aren't a huge advantage anyway, so unless the replacement
    > > benefit was very weak it'd be over-powered.
    >
    > Hell, the game designers thought that it was OK for the
    > familiar to be optional,

    Well, there is that, but I think that's false logic. After all, the
    designers also though that it was OK for spell acquisition beyond the 2
    at each level-up to be optional for wizards, and I don't think that
    anyone would argue that a wizard who was *limited* to the 2 spells at
    each level-up shouldn't be compensated in some other way.

    IMO, a feat is about right, but I'd prefer to let the character have
    something of about equivalent power that is not a feat. Always
    interesting to have a little special something that isn't available to
    the general public... exactly what would that be would depend on the
    character concept.

    Oh, and I'd also look toward something that improves as you go up in
    levels, just like a familiar does.


    --
    Jasin Zujovic
    jzujovic@inet.hr
  14. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    Jasin Zujovic wrote:

    > In article <1121775103.426747.186810@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com>,
    > decalod85@comcast.net says...
    >
    >
    >>>My personal feeling is that they should get no replacement benefit.
    >>>Familiars aren't a huge advantage anyway, so unless the replacement
    >>>benefit was very weak it'd be over-powered.
    >>
    >>Hell, the game designers thought that it was OK for the
    >>familiar to be optional,
    >
    >
    > Well, there is that, but I think that's false logic. After all, the
    > designers also though that it was OK for spell acquisition beyond the 2
    > at each level-up to be optional for wizards, and I don't think that
    > anyone would argue that a wizard who was *limited* to the 2 spells at
    > each level-up shouldn't be compensated in some other way.
    >
    > IMO, a feat is about right, but I'd prefer to let the character have
    > something of about equivalent power that is not a feat. Always
    > interesting to have a little special something that isn't available to
    > the general public... exactly what would that be would depend on the
    > character concept.
    >
    > Oh, and I'd also look toward something that improves as you go up in
    > levels, just like a familiar does.

    Compare Nymph's Kiss to having a familiar.

    Familiar grants Alertness when held, is a companion with some minor
    magical abilities and duplicate skills, and can give a bonus of +2 to
    one saving throw. The familiar can die and then you are a sad panda.

    Nymph's Kiss grants +1 saving throw bonus to all saves, +1 skill point
    per level, and +1 bonus on all Charisma-based checks. Your faerie lover
    can die and then you are a sad panda.

    Nymph's Kiss wins!

    - Ron ^*^
  15. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    Jasin Zujovic <jzujovic@inet.hr> wrote in news:MPG.1d47410484ffc60d989794
    @news.iskon.hr:

    > In article <1121775103.426747.186810@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com>,
    > decalod85@comcast.net says...
    >
    >> > My personal feeling is that they should get no replacement benefit.
    >> > Familiars aren't a huge advantage anyway, so unless the replacement
    >> > benefit was very weak it'd be over-powered.
    >>
    >> Hell, the game designers thought that it was OK for the
    >> familiar to be optional,
    >
    > Well, there is that, but I think that's false logic. After all, the
    > designers also though that it was OK for spell acquisition beyond the 2
    > at each level-up to be optional for wizards, and I don't think that
    > anyone would argue that a wizard who was *limited* to the 2 spells at
    > each level-up shouldn't be compensated in some other way.
    >
    > IMO, a feat is about right, but I'd prefer to let the character have
    > something of about equivalent power that is not a feat. Always
    > interesting to have a little special something that isn't available to
    > the general public... exactly what would that be would depend on the
    > character concept.
    >
    > Oh, and I'd also look toward something that improves as you go up in
    > levels, just like a familiar does.
    >
    >

    In one of my past campaigns, I rewrote the sorcerer somewhat for just
    this reason. They didn't get the familiar at first level, they got Eschew
    Materials as a bonus feat and at second level they gained Bloodfire (Su).
    The bloodfire ability gave the sorcerer a spot check (DC 20 - spell
    level) to notice any spell currently in effect within 10 feet/class
    level. This also became the basis for several feat trees designed to
    personalize the sorcerer.

    For example:

    Self-consuming Fire
    Prerequisites: Bloodfire
    Benefits: When casting a spell with a costly component, the spellcaster
    can choose to sacrifice 1 XP for every 5 gp of the component's cost.

    Self-immolation
    Prerequisites: Bloodfire, Self-consuming Fire
    Benefits: When casting a spell with a spell cap, the spellcaster can
    exceed this spell cap by 50%. The spellcaster loses 100 XP per caster
    level gained in this way. This feat does not grant the spellcaster the
    ability to exceed his normal caster level.
    Example: Hommenman, a 17th-level casts a fireball spell. Normally a
    fireball spell's damage caps at 10d6. By activating this feat,
    Hommenman's fireball now deals 15d6 points of fire damage. He then loses
    500 XP.

    Other feat trees granted abilities like Detect Magic at will then
    followed by Identify 1+cha bonus/day. The idea was that the sorcerer
    could use his life force as a wizard does, but instead of creating
    lasting magic items, he funneled it into his magicks.
  16. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    Waldo <peggoliathy@yahoo.com> wrote:
    >
    >
    > Benjamin Adams wrote:
    >
    >> A feat would be fine, but not just any feat.
    >>
    >> Notice that the "Master benefits" for each familiar duplicate the
    >> functionality of a minor feat: a Skill Focus, a saving throw feat,
    >> or, in the case of the toad, Toughness. Plus they get Alertness.
    >
    > Right. So, two feats.

    Not really. You only get the familiar-specific 'feat' when within a
    mile of each other (which, while may often be the case, is not certain,
    especially if you leave your familiar somewhere safe). Alertness only
    applies when your familiar is within arm's reach.

    Hardly the equivalent of two feats.

    >> So if you're going to give a familiar-less sorcerer something,
    >> make it one of those minor feats, or maybe one of the +2/+2
    >> skill feats.
    >
    > Um. Having a familiar gives you /two/ feats, plus other benefits --
    > being able to use your familiar to spy, deliver messages, run away
    > when you're captured and fetch rescuers, etc.

    The ability to be hosed when something kills it -- and they tend to be
    pretty damned fragile even when compared to you. Granted, they have
    some options than help them from being hurt (improved evasion, better
    natural armor, eventually SR), if they get hit, they get broken.

    Unless you spend a fair amount on beefing them up (which is another
    expense, something you're not spending on yourself).

    I'd be willing to balance this fragility and potential XP hit on
    familiar death against the other benefits gained, leaving just the two
    semi-feats. More or less.

    > ISTM that it should be worth at least one feat of your choice in
    > return.

    I think having a familiar is, on balance, worth about a feat. The
    semi-feats you gain when it's close enough are kind of nice, but they
    aren't worth a feat on their own. The additional benefits of having a
    familiar are worth a little more than the disadvantages of it.

    I'd probably limit the feat chosen, though -- Item, Metamagic, or Spell.

    'Spell' feats affect how you cast spells, but aren't metamagic.
    Augment Summoning, Eschew Materials, Spell Focus, etc. I allow
    fullcasters (cleric/druid/sorcerer/wizard types) to take them as class
    feats.


    Keith
    --
    Keith Davies "Trying to sway him from his current kook-
    keith.davies@kjdavies.org rant with facts is like trying to create
    keith.davies@gmail.com a vacuum in a room by pushing the air
    http://www.kjdavies.org/ out with your hands." -- Matt Frisch
  17. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    Jasin Zujovic wrote:
    > In article <1121775103.426747.186810@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com>,
    > decalod85@comcast.net says...
    >
    > > > My personal feeling is that they should get no replacement benefit.
    > > > Familiars aren't a huge advantage anyway, so unless the replacement
    > > > benefit was very weak it'd be over-powered.
    > >
    > > Hell, the game designers thought that it was OK for the
    > > familiar to be optional,
    >
    > Well, there is that, but I think that's false logic. After all, the
    > designers also though that it was OK for spell acquisition beyond the 2
    > at each level-up to be optional for wizards, and I don't think that
    > anyone would argue that a wizard who was *limited* to the 2 spells at
    > each level-up shouldn't be compensated in some other way.

    That's not really true. The intent of the designers
    was not to limit a wizard to 2 spells, but to have the
    wizard get as many spells as he could from scrolls,
    spellbooks, and research. This is the major attraction
    of the wizard class, the wide variety of spells and how
    to attain them, not an option to supplement the two you
    get at each level.

    In the olden days, all spells came from other wizards
    spellbooks or scrolls, and it was an optional rule that
    you could visit your teacher and copy spells out of his
    spellbook when you leveled (or you researched them and
    made a check).
  18. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    Waldo wrote:
    >
    > Not everybody likes familiars. Some players love them; most ignore
    > them except when they're briefly useful; but a few actively dislike
    > them.
    >
    > Suppose you have an arcane spellcaster PC who just doesn't want a
    > familiar and is willing to give it up. What would be reasonable, in
    > game balance terms, to replace it?

    The Class Acts feature in Dragon Magazine often has useful suggestions along
    these lines.

    #332 has a Class Act for Sorcerers which replaces the familiar with a draconic
    ray attack as a manifestation of a sorcerer's draconic heritage (if you assume,
    of course, that a sorcerer's magic derives from such).

    Once per day the sorcerer fires a ray as a spell-like ability, which does 1d4 +
    class level damage and also has a secondary effect depending upon the type of
    dragon the ray represents - for instance, a black draconic ray has a secondary
    effect called "shadow eyes" - the target's eyesight is clouded and everything he
    attacks effectively has concealment (20% miss chance) from him for 1d6 rounds.
    All secondary effects are given a save to resist (with a DC of 10 + Charisma
    modifier + 1/2 class level) of a type dependent upon the effect - "shadow eyes",
    for instance, is a Will save to resist.

    Alternatively, there are options for different or better familiars. For
    instance, #331 has alternative benefits from the Improved Familiar feat if the
    character keeps their original familiar; #329 allows a character with Improved
    Familiar to gain a swarm as a familiar.

    --
    Christopher Adams - Sydney, Australia
    What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you
    understand?
    http://www.users.bigpond.net.au/mhacdebhandia/prestigeclasslist.html
    http://www.users.bigpond.net.au/mhacdebhandia/templatelist.html

    Berawler: Is there any sanity or light left in this shrivelled husk of a world?
    SingingDancingMoose: There was, but we had to trade it in for the internet.
    Berawler: That is quite possibly the best response to any question ever.
  19. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    laszlo_spamhole@freemail.hu wrote in
    news:1121806684.476704.119130@g47g2000cwa.googlegroups.com:

    >> In one of my past campaigns, I rewrote the sorcerer somewhat for just
    >> this reason. They didn't get the familiar at first level, they got
    >> Eschew Materials as a bonus feat
    >
    > This is a common Sorcerer mod. Makes sense.
    >
    >> and at second level they gained Bloodfire (Su).
    >> The bloodfire ability gave the sorcerer a spot check (DC 20 - spell
    >> level) to notice any spell currently in effect within 10 feet/class
    >> level. This also became the basis for several feat trees designed to
    >> personalize the sorcerer.
    >
    > Cool effect. Horrible name.
    >
    > I mean, Bloodfire? For a limited Detect Magic ability?
    >
    > Make it something like Wyrmsight. That ties in nicely with Sorcerers'
    > draconic theme, and you could make it a prerequisite for the
    > fire-based feat tree (below). Or you could get fancy and have the Sorc
    > pick a type of dragon, and give him feat trees based on the relevant
    > element. Or whatever.
    >

    Well, the ability did more than just this, but the main game rule effect
    was the ability to sense magic. (The idea of the ability came from 'The
    Wheel of Time' novels.) Sorcerers could perceive each other at a sub-
    conscious level. They would see each other as flames in their minds, the
    stronger the fire meant the stronger the sorcerer. It was this trait
    that I named the ability after.
  20. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    Keith Davies wrote:
    > Not really. You only get the familiar-specific 'feat' when within a
    > mile of each other (which, while may often be the case, is not certain,
    > especially if you leave your familiar somewhere safe). Alertness only
    > applies when your familiar is within arm's reach.

    It's called a 'Familiar' not 'Casual-Aquaintance'. It should be near you pretty much all
    the time. :)

    > The ability to be hosed when something kills it -- and they tend to be
    > pretty damned fragile even when compared to you. Granted, they have
    > some options than help them from being hurt (improved evasion, better
    > natural armor, eventually SR), if they get hit, they get broken.
    > Unless you spend a fair amount on beefing them up (which is another
    > expense, something you're not spending on yourself).

    It can stay out of combat, total defense or Hide, or that the other PC protect it if you
    can't.
    --
    "... respect, all good works are not done by only good folk. For within these Trials, we
    shall do what needs to be done."
    --till next time, Jameson Stalanthas Yu -x- <<poetry.dolphins-cove.com>>
  21. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    Christopher Adams <mhacdebhandia@yahoo.invalid> wrote:
    > Waldo wrote:
    >>
    >> Not everybody likes familiars. Some players love them; most ignore
    >> them except when they're briefly useful; but a few actively dislike
    >> them.
    >>
    >> Suppose you have an arcane spellcaster PC who just doesn't want a
    >> familiar and is willing to give it up. What would be reasonable, in
    >> game balance terms, to replace it?
    >
    > The Class Acts feature in Dragon Magazine often has useful suggestions
    > along these lines.
    >
    > #332 has a Class Act for Sorcerers which replaces the familiar with a
    > draconic ray attack as a manifestation of a sorcerer's draconic
    > heritage (if you assume, of course, that a sorcerer's magic derives
    > from such).
    >
    > Once per day the sorcerer fires a ray as a spell-like ability, which
    > does 1d4 + class level damage and also has a secondary effect
    > depending upon the type of dragon the ray represents - for instance, a
    > black draconic ray has a secondary effect called "shadow eyes" - the
    > target's eyesight is clouded and everything he attacks effectively has
    > concealment (20% miss chance) from him for 1d6 rounds. All secondary
    > effects are given a save to resist (with a DC of 10 + Charisma
    > modifier + 1/2 class level) of a type dependent upon the effect -
    > "shadow eyes", for instance, is a Will save to resist.
    >
    > Alternatively, there are options for different or better familiars.
    > For instance, #331 has alternative benefits from the Improved Familiar
    > feat if the character keeps their original familiar; #329 allows a
    > character with Improved Familiar to gain a swarm as a familiar.

    I've considered feats to augment familiars. For instance, 'enlarge
    familiar' (I forget where I found it) increases your familiar's size,
    with all related changes. I've considered others that change your
    familiar, without requiring you to discharge it (as Improved Familiar
    does).

    For instance, one might change the 'race' of the familiar -- it starts
    as a cat, becomes a cougar, then a tiger, etc. Others might apply
    templates -- a diabolist, rather than calling up an imp that eats his
    familiar, can imbue his familiar with diabolic energy (giving it the
    fiendish template). Later he might give it more nasty mojo, increasing
    it to half-fiend template.


    Keith
    --
    Keith Davies "Trying to sway him from his current kook-
    keith.davies@kjdavies.org rant with facts is like trying to create
    keith.davies@gmail.com a vacuum in a room by pushing the air
    http://www.kjdavies.org/ out with your hands." -- Matt Frisch
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