Discussion:
Familiars and Int bonus
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tetsubo57
2018-04-27 20:15:15 UTC
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If a familiar is given a boost to their Intelligence (via Wish) do they cease being a familiar because they are no longer a 'natural' animal? Or would they be considered a higher level familiar? Would bonuses to other stats have any negative consequences?
Ralph Glatt
2018-04-28 13:35:35 UTC
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Post by tetsubo57
If a familiar is given a boost to their Intelligence (via Wish) do they cease being a familiar because they are no longer a 'natural' animal? Or would they be considered a higher level familiar? Would bonuses to other stats have any negative consequences?
I thought that animal familiars already have an Intelligence boost when they became familiars. And, don't brownies, imps, and quasits have a relatively higher Intelligence than animals? (I'm going by 1E rules, so things might have changed.)
Spalls Hurgenson
2018-04-28 13:44:08 UTC
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On Fri, 27 Apr 2018 13:15:15 -0700 (PDT), tetsubo57
Post by tetsubo57
If a familiar is given a boost to their Intelligence (via Wish)
do they cease being a familiar because they are no longer a
'natural' animal? Or would they be considered a higher
level familiar? Would bonuses to other stats have any
negative consequences?
I think this is something that is up to the individual DM.

However, since it is possible to have /intelligent/ familiars (at
least in some editions, imps, brownies and pseudodragons were
summonable familiars) it doesn't seem like animal-level intelligence
is a pre-requisite of being bonded to a wizard. Nor would enchantments
cast on said familiar break that bond; spells like Enlarge,
Invisibility or Silence are all acceptable. So magically making a
familiar smarter doesn't seem like it would be a problem.

However, an intelligent familiar does bring certain issues. An
intelligent familiar is more likely to recognize and/or resent the
unfair demands put upon it by its master. Ordering your cat familiar
to scout ahead in the dark dungeon isn't a problem; the cat doesn't
understand how risky that is. An /intelligent/ cat, however, might
start wondering why its master keeps sending it ahead while the mage
hides safely behind a ton of meat-shields and clerical magics. This
can have an affect on the relationship between master and familiar.
Anonymous Jack
2018-04-30 13:04:54 UTC
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Post by Spalls Hurgenson
However, an intelligent familiar does bring certain issues. An
intelligent familiar is more likely to recognize and/or resent the
unfair demands put upon it by its master. Ordering your cat familiar
to scout ahead in the dark dungeon isn't a problem; the cat doesn't
understand how risky that is. An /intelligent/ cat, however, might
start wondering why its master keeps sending it ahead while the mage
hides safely behind a ton of meat-shields and clerical magics. This
can have an affect on the relationship between master and familiar.
I don't know how "unfair" a demand that would be. . . depends on the cat/familiar's personality, I suppose.

Some rogues/thieves also get all the crappy, "you scout ahead" assignments, but that is more a function of, "well, makes sense to have the stealthy one scout". In early editions that I played that always came along with the thief's demand for certain spells first (indivisibility, usually, because IIRC, low level thieves were terrible at stealth).

Some resented it, most didn't, because it was also an opportunity to pocket choice items ahead of time.

I suppose a familiar would be smart enough to ask for certain protective buffs, if the rest of the party forgets or does not offer.
Paul Colquhoun
2018-05-01 04:07:17 UTC
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On Mon, 30 Apr 2018 06:04:54 -0700 (PDT), Anonymous Jack <m8r-***@mailinator.com> wrote:
| On Saturday, April 28, 2018 at 9:44:28 AM UTC-4, Spalls Hurgenson wrote:
|>
|> However, an intelligent familiar does bring certain issues. An
|> intelligent familiar is more likely to recognize and/or resent the
|> unfair demands put upon it by its master. Ordering your cat familiar
|> to scout ahead in the dark dungeon isn't a problem; the cat doesn't
|> understand how risky that is. An /intelligent/ cat, however, might
|> start wondering why its master keeps sending it ahead while the mage
|> hides safely behind a ton of meat-shields and clerical magics. This
|> can have an affect on the relationship between master and familiar.
|
| I don't know how "unfair" a demand that would be. . . depends on the
| cat/familiar's personality, I suppose.
|
| Some rogues/thieves also get all the crappy, "you scout ahead"
| assignments, but that is more a function of, "well, makes sense to
| have the stealthy one scout". In early editions that I played that
| always came along with the thief's demand for certain spells first
| (indivisibility, usually, because IIRC, low level thieves were
| terrible at stealth).


Cool! A spell to stop you being hacked to pieces! I don't see how it
would help much with stealth missions, although there are certain traps
that it would protect you from.


| Some resented it, most didn't, because it was also an opportunity
| to pocket choice items ahead of time.
|
| I suppose a familiar would be smart enough to ask for certain
| protective buffs, if the rest of the party forgets or does not offer.
--
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Spalls Hurgenson
2018-05-01 16:01:28 UTC
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On Mon, 30 Apr 2018 06:04:54 -0700 (PDT), Anonymous Jack
Post by Anonymous Jack
Post by Spalls Hurgenson
However, an intelligent familiar does bring certain issues. An
intelligent familiar is more likely to recognize and/or resent the
unfair demands put upon it by its master. Ordering your cat familiar
to scout ahead in the dark dungeon isn't a problem; the cat doesn't
understand how risky that is. An /intelligent/ cat, however, might
start wondering why its master keeps sending it ahead while the mage
hides safely behind a ton of meat-shields and clerical magics. This
can have an affect on the relationship between master and familiar.
I don't know how "unfair" a demand that would be. . . depends on
the cat/familiar's personality, I suppose.
It depends on the requests, of course. But I've known some players to
use their familiars as expendable drones, relying on the creature's
ignorance of the situation (and the magical bond to the mage) to
enforce the request. Dark room ahead? Send in the familiar. Is that
corridor trapped? Familiar. Are those forms ahead statues or just
sleeping monsters? Familiar.

A request here and there probably wouldn't be taken amiss, especially
if it is obvious that the others in the party - and the mage himself -
are taking an equal amount of the risk. But if the wizard is
continually putting his familar at risk to spare himself and the other
party members? I can imagine this might cause some friction between
mage and familiar.

Of course, the familiar has no real option but to obey but how he
follows that order can vary. Told to "scout ahead", and an intelligent
familiar that feels put upon might do the barest minimum to fulfil the
strictures of that command (pokes head in room, immediately retreats)
, or might neglect to mention certain details ("Oh yeah, there IS a
treasure in the room"... but says nothing about dragon sitting on
treasure). Or maybe it'll just start demanding a cut of said treasure
:)

But this sort of behavior is far more likely to occur the more
intelligent the familiar becomes. Nobody likes being treated unfairly.
LL
2018-05-02 14:17:06 UTC
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Post by Paul Colquhoun
On Mon, 30 Apr 2018 06:04:54 -0700 (PDT), Anonymous Jack
<snip>
Post by Paul Colquhoun
Of course, the familiar has no real option but to obey but how he
follows that order can vary. Told to "scout ahead", and an intelligent
In which edition of the rules is the familiar forced to obey?
3.5: "...serves as a companion and servant"
PF: "...to aid him in his study of magic"

In both rules familiars start at Int 6 and go up from there.
They have a will of their own. It's okay to let the Wiz play
his familiar, as long as he plays it as a separate creature
and not an "expendable asset".
As GM I have no problem taking over a familiar and playing it
for a while - if the Wiz is lucky it stays within a mile...
h***@gmail.com
2018-04-29 11:18:24 UTC
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Post by tetsubo57
If a familiar is given a boost to their Intelligence (via Wish) do they cease being a familiar because they are no longer a 'natural' animal? Or would they be considered a higher level familiar? Would bonuses to other stats have any negative consequences?
What version of d&D are you playing?
3.0 has familiars as magical bests from the start, they start with 6 int and it goes up to 15
Spalls Hurgenson
2018-04-29 13:32:10 UTC
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Post by h***@gmail.com
Post by tetsubo57
If a familiar is given a boost to their Intelligence (via Wish) do
they cease being a familiar because they are no longer a 'natural'
animal? Or would they be considered a higher level familiar?
Would bonuses to other stats have any negative consequences?
What version of d&D are you playing?
3.0 has familiars as magical bests from the start, they start with 6 int and it goes up to 15
All versions of the game (barring OD&D & Basic, which had no
familiars) had familiars being smarter than usual. In 1st Ed,
familiars are "abnormally intelligent". In 2nd Ed, they are "more
intelligent than others of its type, typically by 2 to 3 intelligence
points)". In 3E/3.5E, the PHB reads, "Familiars are as smart as
people, though not necessarily as smart as smart people." And in 5E,
while they don't actually specify intelligence since the familiar is
described as not actually an animal but "a spirit that takes an
animal form", we can assume it has greater-than-usual intelligence as
well.

So familiars have never been truly "natural" animals (and in 5th
Edition, aren't animals at all anymore). Thus spells that affect their
status shouldn't automatically negate the fact that they are a
familiar although, it might cause issues in the relationship between
wizard and familiar. The more intelligent the creature, the more it is
likely to recognize - and resent - unfair treatment.

As it says in 2nd Ed, "Deliberate mistreatment, failure to feed and
care for the familiar, or continuous unreasonable demands have adverse
effects on the familiar’s relationship with its master. Purposely
arranging the death of one’s own familiar incurs great disfavor from
certain powerful entities, with dire results."

But ultimately this is an issue I think the individual DM has to
determine for himself; he has to think of how he wants familiars to
act in his universe, what their abilities are and what restrictions
are placed upon the wizard. Just strive for consistency; for instance,
if you rule that a spell that makes a familiar more intelligent breaks
the familiar-bond, what about a spell that Enlarges the creature, or
Polymorphs it. Are familiars just normal animals that serve as "magic
batteries" or fey spirits? Don't depend on rules to explain the world;
it's a game of imagination, after all.
Ubiquitous
2018-05-12 15:49:10 UTC
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Post by tetsubo57
If a familiar is given a boost to their Intelligence (via Wish) do they
cease being a familiar because they are no longer a 'natural' animal?
Or would they be considered a higher level familiar? Would bonuses to othe
Does a character boosting his Intelligence cause him to change his type?

(Hint: The answer is the same to both questions)
--
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