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Episode 1559: Familiar With the Rules


Those not familiar with familiars should familiarise themselves with this. Familiars are often used in fantasy games, as an enhanced or partly magical animal companion of wizards and sorcerers and the like, granting them certain abilities shared by the animal. The stereotypical witch's black cat is an example of such a creature.

Allowing familiars in other genres is typically not supported by historical mythology. But that seems a rather arbitrary restriction, now, doesn't it?

Don't do this. Don't allow one character to have so much power that you have to up the challenge rating of a later encounter to deal with it.

Trust me, this will not end well.

Now, one set of senses split between two people is a clear disadvantage. However, allowing free psychic communication negates most of that this advantage, and by allowing a person two vantage points on a battlefield, you are arguably giving them enough offsetting advantages that there is no points for the disadvantage.

If the deaf and mute familiar was acting as spotter for the monk in combat, this actually means that the monk was not only able to see clearly through the eyes of the familiar, but was also not distracted by being in the middle of combat while looking. This is not a disadvantage; having clear view of the battlefield while in the middle of the battle is a serious advantage. Your awareness is not bogged down by the one person you are fighting, and it is almost as if you have a third person view of everything on the battlefield, with the ability to see where the shots are coming from, even while you're in the middle of something.

It's almost like you're watching on a screen as you dance a character around incoming fire...

— Keybounce

"Familiars come with psychic communication for free."

Well that certainly sounds like a better deal than a free blender.

Pete's min-maxing skills are truly incredible. Splitting one character's senses between two people is a brilliant idea.

Having a person as a familiar is a little... non-standard to say the least, though. Most familiars are basically pets and are typically drawn to the PC by some sort of magical force. So is Baze his friend? His brother? Just some guy he found? Are either of them good at pinball? Since this is a Pete character, I'm not sure we'll get much backstory, but I am curious.

Also that encounter looks amazing. I'm currently imagining K-2 and Chirrut/Baze taking that entire army on. I hope that's what happens.

— aurilee


Ben: {present day} Wait, wait, wait. Familiar?? How did you get a familiar? Sounds like your character was already min-maxed up the wazoo.
Pete: Oh ye of little faith. I was blind. Baze was deaf and mute. One set of senses split between two people. A clear Disadvantage.
Ben: But he had a great honking weapon!
Pete: Bought with the points saved on lack of senses.
Ben: So how did you communicate?
Pete: Familiars come with psychic communication for free.
Ben: That...
Ben: How did you let him get away with this?
Pete: It's totally within the rules!
GM: He was having fun.
GM: And I adjusted the challenge rating of a later encounter...
{background shows an attack by troopers supported by multiple AT-AT walkers}

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Published: Tuesday, 10 October, 2017; 03:11:02 PDT.
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