the Familiar gone the way of the Dodo.

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familiars are gone.

so are summoning spells.

my guess is the little critters were incompatible with the dnd insider interface.

the game is COMPLETELY DIFFERENT. It is very Diablo - like.
It seems like it will be easier to play, however it does seem to have lost a lot of its flavour with the change in rules.

dont know if ill like it, although it probably will work better with the hack and slash crowd.
I don't see how not have familiars or summoning spells makes it hack and slash or Diablo?

They have simply gone in a different direction, and will most likely approach familiars and summoning spells later on. Hell, considering how there is probably going to be a Necromancer race, it seems pretty definite there will be summoning.

Also, DDI, is simply translating D&D to the computer, so DDI interface has nothing to do with the rules.
WOTC has promised the return of familiars and of summoning.

The problems for including familiars in the initial release was the "little creature who shows up randomly then everyone forgets about because it is usually irrelevant." WOTC wants to figure out a way to make familiars cooler when they are released.

Summoning was changed not because of DDI, but because in order to use it, the summoner ends up taking more time at the table (to control creatures and to take their own turn) slowing down the game. WOTC has also promised summoning will be back when they solve these problems.


You're right that the games flavor has changed, and I'm disappointed with some of it... but I think some of the changes, like the rise of really creepy fey, are a good thing. I think there is plenty of stuff in there for deep immersion gaming as well as hack and slash.
I don't see how not have familiars or summoning spells makes it hack and slash or Diablo?

Just one straw on the camel's back, contributing to breaking the poor thing's back. Others have been named.
Isn't Diablo II, like, Pet City, especially when you add Necromancer abilities and hirelings? If anything, the lack of summons and pets should make it less m'mor'p'gah-like. But really... that's just me thinking things clearly.
But really... that's just me thinking things clearly.

More like you cashing your check to shill for WotC, sellout. :P

Seriously, the game still has summoning. The Pit Devil can summon, so they have thought about how to implement summoning. I'm just glad they haven't saddled every wizard with a Pokemon, or inflicted upon Core-only DMs the horror of multi-summoning.

"Ah, the age-old conundrum. Defenders of a game are too blind to see it's broken, and critics are too idiotic to see that it isn't." - Brian McCormick

Also, this game doesn't have machine guns, which is exactly what Diablo doesn't have either. They might as well admit D&D stands for Diablo and Diablo.
Also, this game doesn't have machine guns, which is exactly what Diablo doesn't have either.

But you know what does have machine guns? Team Fortress 2. What did TF2 come in? The Orange Box. What else does the Orange Box have? Portal. Does Dungeons and Dragons have portals? Yes. Know what this means?

Valve is buying Dungeons and Dragons from Wizards of the Coast / Hasbro / The Infernal Kurzak'Nithoth, Demon-Lord of Commerce.
The problems for including familiars in the initial release was the "little creature who shows up randomly then everyone forgets about because it is usually irrelevant."

I hate to say it (because I like the idea of familiars), but I have to agree with that assessment. In my experience: at first, having a cute little pet tagging along with you can be fun. After a while, the novelty wears off.

I played a lot of the Neverwinter Nights modules (it's a 3E CRPG, for those who don't know), and in that game you were forced to take a familiar, many of which were actually magical. Fun at first, but after a while I got sick and tired of it and ignored that ability as best I could.
But you know what does have machine guns? Team Fortress 2. What did TF2 come in? The Orange Box. What else does the Orange Box have? Portal. Does Dungeons and Dragons have portals? Yes. Know what this means?

Valve is buying Dungeons and Dragons from Wizards of the Coast / Hasbro / The Infernal Kurzak'Nithoth, Demon-Lord of Commerce.

But... that would mean... and then... but the... gklrj... *head explodes*
Quite frankly, pets just slow everything down and aren't an integral part of the game. If your players really want one, give them a monster or pet or something and then see if they manage it well, and see if the same problems we had before with summons don't crop up.

Pets and summons only matter during combat. I for one have never really seen one contribute much to a character or roleplaying situation. As such, they're only one element of the whole 'hack 'n slash' interface- pulling pets out of combat just makes combat smoother. I'm sure if you wanted a dog or something for roleplaying you could buy a dog- but that isn't really what you want, is it?
I prefer familiars as an option, rather than as a default. They make sense for some characters and not for others.
As a DM, animals friends are a pain, none of my players used familiars (too annoying), and summoning was great for Baldur's Gate, but for P&P, I never used it and my players rarely did (once they realized they had to keep track of the little buggers.)




4E is great. DDI not so much.
Erm... Actually there is one Summon spell in the game. Available to Infernalist Warlocks at level 12 called Life Spark Summons.

It takes a creature that died under the effects of your curse and brings it back to life under your control but with only 10 hit points. The creature has a full set of actions taken independently of you, but can only move and do basic attacks.

There's also a spell (Infernal Warlock again) that summons fire imps that attack and take hits for you, but mechanically it's the same as having an aura that attacks enemies that come too close to you and some temp hp. There's another Infernal spell that summons an imp to deliver messages for you.

But yeah those last two don't count, and the first one is really limited by the hit points of conjured baddie.
As a DM, animals friends are a pain, none of my players used familiars (too annoying), and summoning was great for Baldur's Gate, but for P&P, I never used it and my players rarely did (once they realized they had to keep track of the little buggers.)

Not for me.... I am almost exclusively a DM and I love to have those Familiars/Animal Companions around...

I handle them like NSC´s ...
And I had entire adventures evolved around a familiar...
I will wait until D&D is complete (with familiars and all) before I decide if I buy it...

I hated it to wait for patches... and right now it seems to me that D&D needs "patches" as soon as possible...

greets
Claw
In 3e, you got a familiar and scribe scroll. All other magic item creation, metamagic, and so forth were feats. You were either spending a class feature that provided a bonus feat on them or you were spending feats for them. And you had to wait.

In 4e, you get Implement Mastery, the starting equivalent of metamagic, and Ritual Casting, which with the right rituals gives you all item creation, you don't have to buy another thing for the character in game mechanics terms, just get the rituals and the gold during play.

Plus at will magical attacks so that you're not lugging around a crossbow if you don't want to, potential access to all the rituals you can eat, and the ability to cast all of your cantrips whenever you want.

So, if I had to make a choice between being a full wizard up front, or having to wait for ways to modify my magic or enchant (and disenchant) things until I had the ability to spend feats and meet the prerequisites but having a fuzzy stat bonus that everyone kept forgetting, I think I'd choose full wizard up front without the fuzzy, forgettable sidekick.

I think that overall wizards got a pretty good deal here.

And really, if you want a pet, just have a pet. It won't have any mechanical benefit, but you can still roleplay a wizard with a familiar. If you want a magical pet, well, toss some of those free-to-use cantrips at it and roleplay that the familiar can do these things. Or get the nature skill, and use nature rituals. There are rituals that effectively turn animals into magical messenger pigeons and so forth, I believe.
But I dont want workarounds...
I want working features...
I want to be able to continue my campain without workarounds...
thats all...
I am patient, I can wait... and if I am not satisfied I will play on with 3.5...
But I dont want workarounds...
I want working features...
I want to be able to continue my campain without workarounds...
thats all...
I am patient, I can wait... and if I am not satisfied I will play on with 3.5...

Then play Pathfinder, the game for people who wanted a 3.75 instead of a 4th Edition
Then play Pathfinder, the game for people who wanted a 3.75 instead of a 4th Edition

Actually I think I will have a look in that product...
thanks for reminding me to peek ^^
My bet is that a familar is going to be just like the Iron Kingdoms Arc Node. Only instead of being mounted on a mighty Warjack (A steam powered Golem) it is a little house cat, or rat. So you can extend your spells range by bouncing it threw your familar but that's about it.

Heck I might just throw that out right away as a rule. Familiars are living magic items created by Wizards! They are created with a ritual


















[/deck]
Minion rules for HP? You'd be blowing through 180gc each battle enchanting new cats. At least let the little bugger revive after being KOed in combat instead of being used to restring the ranger's bow.
someone had a neat idea of Familiars as a type of Impliment
The problems for including familiars in the initial release was the "little creature who shows up randomly then everyone forgets about because it is usually irrelevant." WOTC wants to figure out a way to make familiars cooler when they are released.

http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0003.html
Minion rules for HP? You'd be blowing through 180gc each battle enchanting new cats. At least let the little bugger revive after being KOed in combat instead of being used to restring the ranger's bow.

I had thought of giving it a amount of hit points, but then again, really after all it is just a wizard minion. And with the higher defenses it should last more than just one battle. Though I will have to change that perception bonus to item, after all you can have more than one of them at once.
someone had a neat idea of Familiars as a type of Impliment

That's how I'd treat them for the time being. I'd let the familiar serve as a stand in for orbs and rods, and if I really wanted to make them special I'd come up with a new Implement Mastery property that they confer to wizards-- maybe an accuracy reroll? But really, I'd just love to see the ritual that converts a cat into a +2 cat.
That would be awesome. Although thanks to this thread I have a sudden desire for a dodo familiar. Maybe if we ever play as giants...
Simplest way to deal with familiars for now is to make them a feat that gives say a +2 bonus to all ritual casting skill checks. No more sending off familars to scout or flanking bonuses and if you want your familar to attack or flank or give a bonus to spell attacks it will have to be rolled into a specific power.

How you as a DM deal with villains directing specific attacks at familiars is more problematic. My advice... don't bother!
Team up with another player, so that one of you is the wizard and the other is the familiar.

The player that is the familiar chooses the druid class and uses the wild shape ability to take the form of the wizard's familiar on a near-permanent basis.

pros:
- legal under current rules
- familiar is as powerful as other characters, so not likely to be wiped out easily
- talking to the familiar is via talking to another player, so neither of you will get bored
- two characters controlled by two players, so no-one gets more actions than other players
- if absolutely necessary, the familiar can always shift back to humanoid form to operate doorknobs, etc
That would be awesome. Although thanks to this thread I have a sudden desire for a dodo familiar. Maybe if we ever play as giants...

Why would you need to be a giant to have a dodo familiar?
They are a little on the large side. Somewhat.
I choose Godzilla, King of the Monsters as my familiar. With his mighty atomic breathe (radiant energy obviously) he battles as a paladin in the defense of myself and occasionally Tokyo in an alternate dimension....on alternate wednesdays....when I give him the day off.
I choose Godzilla, King of the Monsters as my familiar. With his mighty atomic breathe (radiant energy obviously) he battles as a paladin in the defense of myself and occasionally Tokyo in an alternate dimension....on alternate wednesdays....when I give him the day off.

The alternate dimension is Lilliput, and your familiar, Godzilla, is a shocker lizard with one of the umpteen draconic templates to give it a breath weapon. This also explains why it likes walking into the Lilliputians' power lines.
I would guess that part of the problem with familiars is that they would have to be Minions. And, this means that they would be VERY susceptible to instant death, and there controller/master/owner would then be subject to what ever penalties would ensue. So, in this light, familiars become much more of a liability than a benefit.

I also expect that there will be some kind of advanced animal companion system the future. Mounts for the marshal classes, companions for the ranger, etc.

Remember, before 3rd ed, familiars were something you had to spend money on, and may never get. The automatic thing is in 3rd ed only.
Team up with another player, so that one of you is the wizard and the other is the familiar.

The player that is the familiar chooses the druid class and uses the wild shape ability to take the form of the wizard's familiar on a near-permanent basis.

pros:
- legal under current rules

Since the current rules are 4e, and 4e doesn't yet have a druid, there is a slight problem with both the viability and legality of your suggestion.
Summoning was changed not because of DDI, but because in order to use it, the summoner ends up taking more time at the table (to control creatures and to take their own turn) slowing down the game. WOTC has also promised summoning will be back when they solve these problems.

I think I've got a partial solution or two for this. I've got some pet-based classes on the backburner for when I get finished tinkering with my Monk design. Each experiments with a different mechanic: minion summons for the Conjurer & Necromancer (encounter powers, supported by the lifeforce of the summoner), allied creature as bonus damage source for my Beastlord Striker/Defender hybrid (which basically uses the creature as an extra attack, a la the Ranger), and summoner replacement (a la FFXII) for my Lurker-like Shaper class.

The core element of each variation is that no pet can act independently. Making a pet attack requires the sacrifice of an action by the PC. It's kind of the core at-will power of the class.
I would guess that part of the problem with familiars is that they would have to be Minions. And, this means that they would be VERY susceptible to instant death, and there controller/master/owner would then be subject to what ever penalties would ensue. So, in this light, familiars become much more of a liability than a benefit.

Not necessarily. Familiars don't have to be corporeal anymore. They could work like the spiritual guardian powers that Clerics get. Think also of the Hexblade's Dark Companion class feature from PHB2 or the spirit guide that the Spirit Shaman got in 3.5.

Also, even if they were corporeal, we could completely remove any penalties for resurrecting / replacing them. The idea of an immortal familiar (so long as the master lives) isn't without precedent. We just don't want them to be useful in combat -- otherwise you have time-taking issues again.
The idea of an immortal familiar (so long as the master lives) isn't without precedent. We just don't want them to be useful in combat -- otherwise you have time-taking issues again.

Maybe something like the familliar being a part (1% ?) of the master's soul.
That way he could very well be a minion and a conduit for the spells range.
And if he gets ''killed'', he disappears in a puff of smoke and re-appears after a certain time (like when the master sleeps)
Well, I think the problems with a familiar are as follows:

1. Extremely obvious dependent NPC for kidnapping and/or killing.

2. Extra character for wizard player.

3. Traditionally supposed to help a wizard with spellcasting, but doesn't generally do that.

Possible solutions:

1. Maybe have some death curse attached to killing a familiar. This would prevent most sensible sentients from pointing a crossbow at kitty, but the Tarrasque doesn't care about curses and same with most dumb brutes. Worse, curses are treated as a minor nuisance in D&D, easily fixed by any cleric.

Better solution: Whoever/Whatever killed kitty is haunted by kitty's spirit, inescapably (look at the Taunting Haunt write up, simply turning undead doesn't work) and Mr. Wizard not only always knows where kitty's spirit is (and thus the killer) but can't summon a new familiar until he kills kitty's killer. Obviously wishes and simple raise dead can get around this, and if kitty is killed by a falling block or some dumb beast, even the Tarrasque, it won't bother with a haunting. But sentients? Oh yes.

I think even a mindflayer would be upset at waking up to find a dead cat yowling at him while a wizard in a tower somewhere plots his death, possibly by remote means, such as summoned creatures or simply magically armed assassins.

2. The extra character option is best handled this way: Your familiar is an independent creature, not a hand puppet, and while it is possible for a wizard to herd cats, or at least one particular cat, micromanaging your familiar takes up your action for the round. Otherwise, the familiar is an NPC and will do whatever the DM wants it to do, most of which will be helpful but some of which may be troublesome. Kitty may spot a tripwire and point it out to Mr. Wizard, or kitty may decide it's an entertaining cat toy. (If it's a scything blade trap, set at human height, it's still an entertaining cat toy.)

3. Since familiars are supposed to help wizards with spells, maybe a familiar comes with some appropriate spell attached, and so long as you have the familiar, you can also cast that spell. Or maybe it helps with spell recovery. Whatever. Nothing too wimpy, nothing too unbalancing.

A few of the other 3.x familiar powers are fine as well, all at the appropriate levels.
Seems to me there needs to be risk along with the reward. And not simply a cost for converting your favorite squirrel via a ritual.

Consider this:
Getting a familiar would require higher levels, probably above 10, and a feat available only to spellcasters at that level. The feat allows them to create and animate a familiar from whatever their power source is and it takes the shape of whatever you use as a medium for the spell/ritual. It can be a carved idol, a small animal, whatever; granting it intelligence and the ability to communicate with the caster(and to a lesser extent other beings). A part of the character's soul is imbued within the newly animated familiar, linking them magically and spiritually.

Whatever was used in the ritual is completely consumed during the spell, creating a new being from it, which shows aspects of the power source it comes from: A familiar from an arcane source shimmers with arcane energy, a familiar from a demonic source smells of sulfur and appears burned with glowing eyes, etc. This being can return to the 'power source' at any time, or whenver it takes 1/4 the damage of the caster's max HP, where it remains until the caster is well rested and automatically resummons it the next morning(or at will, if he prefers not to have it around).

Their specific uses in combat would be much like the rest of you describe: can be used to channel spells from the caster so he can avoid getting into the frey, or carry out small tasks like fetching a key behind a monster's back while distracted with combat(assuming the monster is inattentive enough not to notice). It has an AC equivalently scaled to the caster, and would be particularly hard to hit, but would go down pretty much the first time it took any reasonable amount of damage. Half of all damage done to it is transferred to the caster who makes a save to resist the 'soul damage'. Each time his familiar dies, the caster has to make a save to avoid losing a turn because of some effect that strikes at his very soul for having the familiar (and thus a piece of himself) forced back to its power source.

if not used in battle, simply having the familiar on or within one square of him boosts a casters +hit with spells by 1 or +spell damage by whatever (choose one when creating familiar). Having a familiar in a square doesn't keep a party member or monster from entering that square.

In any case, I'm basically just rambling. I've been away from D&D for a long time but familiars are one thing I certainly noted missing when I looked through my new 4th edition books.
In any case, I'm basically just rambling. I've been away from D&D for a long time but familiars are one thing I certainly noted missing when I looked through my new 4th edition books.

That is the most awesome rambling I have ever seen, even if it is mostly fluff. The only problem I found with your idea is that it doesn't solve the problem of forgetting about the squirrel/bird/monkey or whatever your familiar happens to be. The damn thing just doesn't do anything important enough to be remembered.
Well that depends on the person in control of it. Obviously you'd want ways to make it better so it can be of more use in and out of combat. Perhaps there can be Familiar level 2 and level 3 or simply "at level X can do this, at level Y can do this, no matter what level the feat is originally taken". Which would allow things like, "switch places with your familiar once per encounter" "familiar can cast one at-will ability once per day as a free action independant of your normal turn" "familiar can take on power-source form, becoming immune to damage until the end of your next turn, after your next turn, familiar 'burns out' and returns to the power source until you are well rested." Things like this give it a bit more utility for strategy but don't make them overpowered necessarily and it isn't just sitting on your shoulder for a stat boost. Mostly having a familiar would be a choice (Perhaps make it a Paragon Path?) so the people who want one(and would use one) can and those who would rather just boost up their explosions and whatnot can ignore them and have a pet scorpion just for flavor.
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