You can then simply use the statistics of the existing animal as those for your desired familiar. Conversely, using the stats for a bat to represent a flying fish, despite some similarities, is probably suboptimal. Consider some of the Advanced Method options for making more significant adjustments to a creature.
The Approximate Familiars chart provides a list of the animal familiars most suitable for approximating other types of creatures, suggestions on what those creatures might be, and the sources of the statistics for the base animals. The suggestions listed beside each entry are not exhaustive, of course; they are merely there as guidelines to help you devise the perfect familiar for your character.
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You may want a familiar that is radically different from any other creature on the list. Skills : Reverse-calculating where skill ranks went is generally easier with familiars than with other creatures, since familiars rarely have more than 1 Hit Die , and rarely have more than 1 or 2 skill ranks to begin with. For instance, to create a primate familiar that is good at stealing small trinkets, you might start with the statistics of a monkey and simply reallocate its skill ranks from Perception to Sleight of Hand or Stealth.
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There are also new feats relating to familiars, allowing a great deal of customization and sometimes adding unusual mystical qualities and abilities. Generally, you should replace a primary natural attack with another primary natural attack , and secondary attacks with other secondary attacks. Source Ultimate Campaign. In a typical campaign, each player controls one character. However, there are several ways for you to temporarily or permanently gain the assistance of a companion, such as an animal companion , a cohort , an eidolon , or a familiar.
This section addresses common issues for companions and the characters who use them. In some cases, the rules do not specify whether you or the GM controls the companion. If the GM is control, you can make suggestions or attempt to influence the companion, but the GM determines whether the creature is willing or able to attempt what you want. Animal companions , cavalier mounts, and purchased creatures such as common horses and guard dogs fall into this category.
You can direct them using the Handle Animal skill, but their specific behavior is up to the GM.
Sentient Companions : a sentient companion a creature that can understand language and has an Intelligence score of at least 3 is considered your ally and obeys your suggestions and orders to the best of its ability. Paladin bonded mounts, familiars, and cohorts fall into this category, and are usually player-controlled companions.
Eidolons : Outside the linear obedience and intelligence scale of sentient and nonsentient companions are eidolons: intelligent entities magically bound to you. Whether you wish to roleplay this relationship as friendly or coerced, the eidolon is inclined to obey you unless you give a command only to spite it. An eidolon is normally a player-controlled companion, but the GM can have the eidolon refuse extreme orders that would cause it to suffer needlessly.
Magical Control : Charm person , dominate person , and similar effects turn an NPC into a companion for a limited time. You might have to use Diplomacy or Intimidate checks to influence a charmed ally, and the GM has the final say as to what happens.
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Treat it as player-controlled, with the GM making its saving throws to resist inappropriate commands. You can use Bluff , Diplomacy , and Intimidate to influence such companions, but the GM is the final arbiter of their actions. For example, a PC might use threats to convince a caravan guard to hold back an ogre for a few rounds or to prevent her zealous followers from attacking a rival adventurer, but the GM makes the decision whether the guard runs away after getting hit once or the followers attack when provoked.
The GM may deviate from the above suggestions, such as allowing a druid to control an animal companion directly, creating a more equivalent or even antagonistic relationship between a summoner and an eidolon , or roleplaying a mentoring relationship between a veteran warhorse and the young paladin who inherited his loyalty. That way, everyone is fully informed about all aspects of dealing with the companion. The specifics of controlling a companion vary for different campaigns. An evil campaign where companions are unwilling slaves of the PCs creates a dynamic where the PCs are trying to exploit them as much as possible—perhaps even sacrificing and replacing them as needed—and treat them more like living tools than reluctant allies.
The GM should keep in mind several factors when it comes to companions, whether handling them as suggested above or altering the balance to give you more or less control. Ease of Play : Changing who controls a companion can make the game easier or harder for the GM. Controlling a cohort in combat is one more complex thing for the GM to deal with.
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Giving you control over these decisions while still allowing the GM to veto certain actions alleviates some of the burden and allows you to plan interesting tactics between yourself and your cohort , much as you would have mastered during times you trained together. Conversely, giving a player full control over the actions of two characters can slow down the game. Game Balance : Even a simple change like allowing players to directly control companions has repercussions in the game mechanics.
The GM can create a middle ground, such as requiring you to put ranks in Handle Animal but not requiring you to make checks, or reducing the action needed to command an animal , but these decisions should be made before the companion joins the group. Sharing Information : Whenever you control multiple creatures, there are issues of sharing information between you and your companions. Animal companions , eidolons, and cohorts all advance much like PCs, making choices about feats, skills, special abilities, and in the case of cohorts class levels.
Animal Companion : Advancement choices for an animal companion include feats, skills, ability score increases, and tricks. As with feats, you should decide what skills your animal companion learns, chosen from the Animal Skills list and subject to GM approval. Ability score increases are straightforward when it comes to physical ability scores—training an animal to be stronger, more agile, or tougher are all reasonable tasks. Training an animal to be smarter, more intuitive, or more self-aware is less easy to justify—except in the context where people can cast spells and speak with animals.
Cohort : Advancement choices for a cohort include feats, skills, ability score increases, and class levels. A cohort is generally considered a player-controlled companion, and therefore you get to decide how the cohort advances. The GM might step in if you make choices that are inappropriate for the cohort , use the cohort as a mechanism for pushing the boundaries of the game rules, or treat the cohort unfairly. Examples of inappropriate advancement choices are a good-aligned companion selecting morally questionable feats, a clumsy cohort suddenly putting many ranks in Disable Device so he can take all the risks in searching for traps instead of you , a spellcaster cohort taking nothing but item creation feats so you get access to plenty of cheap magic items at the cost of just one feat, Leadership , a fighter cohort taking a level in wizard when he had no previous interest in magic, or you not interacting with your cleric cohort other than to gain defensive spells from a different class or a flanking bonus.
Not only does this give the GM the opportunity to reject a cohort concept that goes against the theme of the campaign, but the GM can plan adventure hooks involving the cohort for future quests. The random background generator in Chapter 1 can help greatly when filling in details about the cohort. Once the discussion is done, writing down a biography and personality profile of the cohort helps cement his role in the campaign and provides a strong reference point for later talks about what is or is not appropriate advancement for the cohort.
Eidolon : Compared to an animal companion or cohort , an eidolon is a unique type of companion—it is intelligent and loyal to you, and you have absolute power over whether it is present in the material world or banished to its home plane. This means the eidolon is usually willing to take great risks to help you. The eidolon is a subservient creature whose very nature depends upon your will, so you decide what feats, skill points, ability score increases, and evolutions the eidolon gains as it advances.
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If your Leadership score improves, just add new followers rather than advancing existing ones. However, if events require advancing a follower such as turning a follower into a cohort to replace a dead cohort , use the same guidelines as for cohorts. If extraordinary circumstances merit a mount gaining Hit Dice , and you have Handle Animal ranks and take an interest in training the animal , use the same guidelines as those for animal companions.
Even if the animal is taught to understand a language, it probably lacks the anatomy to actually speak unless awaken is used. An intelligent animal is smart enough to use tools, but might lack the ability to manipulate them.
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Even if the animal is physically capable of using a tool, it might still prefer its own natural body to manufactured items, especially when it comes to weapons. An intelligent gorilla could hold or wield a sword, but its inclination is to make slam attacks. No amount of training including weapon proficiency feats is going to make it fully comfortable attacking in any other way. For example, an intelligent wolf companion can pick the weakest-looking target if directed to do so, and that same wolf trapped in a burning building might push open a door or window without being told.
Props : Physical props can help you, the other players, and the GM remember companions. If the campaign uses miniatures on the tabletop, the companion should have its own miniature or token. Even without miniatures, having a physical representation of the companion on the tabletop keeps it in mind. Whether this is a stuffed animal, a toy, an action figure, a cardboard stand-up, a GameMastery Face Card, or a simple character sheet with a colorful illustration, this kind of reminder gives the companion a presence on the tabletop. Another Player : If you regularly forget the presence of your companion and the GM is busy dealing with the rest of the game, another player can take over playing the companion.
If the second player has an introverted character or one whose actions in combat are fast and efficient, allowing that player to control the companion gives him another opportunity to have some time in the spotlight. Allowing another character to play the companion also gives the group additional roleplaying opportunities.
Wearing a hat or mask, or holding up a small flag or banner to represent the companion can help other players keep track of who is acting when you speak. This is an opportunity for that person to get involved in the game without the responsibility of being a full contributing member to the group—and just might be the hook that convinces that observer to become active in the game. If playing a companion goes well, the GM may create a one-shot spin-off adventure in which all the players play companion creatures instead of normal PCs perhaps because the PCs are captured, incapacitated, or merely sleeping , returning to the normal campaign when that adventure is completed.
An animal companion or cohort follows the druid silently and acts only when a skill check or attack roll is needed. An eidolon is used as a mount or an expendable resource in battle. Followers also have a unique companion role in that they spend most of their time away from you, and might use that time positively or negatively.
What did it do before it met you? What is its motivation for joining the adventuring party? What are its goals? Unless you raised your animal companion from birth, it has its own history and secrets that are likely important and could surprise you. What happens when that wolf recognizes that helpful ranger , savage orc , or mad wizard? What if the companion was once a humanoid , but was cursed or polymorphed into a different shape and lost its memory about its original identity?
What if another druid previously cast awaken on it, and it has been pretending to be a common animal so it can watch over or spy on a PC? The answers to these questions are the seeds to side plots or entire adventures. Animal companions can also incite fear or prejudice among ignorant townsfolk. Stables might charge more to board exotic animals or entirely refuse to do so, and might not have appropriate food for them. If a village is experiencing attacks on its livestock, angry people might be quick to blame a carnivorous animal companion.
Conversely, innocent children could have a circus-like fascination with exotic animal companions and help break the ice between visiting adventurers and suspicious locals. A cohort could have a former life as a criminal that she abandoned after being inspired by your heroic deeds. Just like a PC, a cohort has family and friends, with hopes and concerns for those people.
The cohort might be a target for your enemies who are unwilling or unable to strike directly at you though be careful to avoid making the cohort become a liability or look incompetent. She may have secret vices or virtues that become more prominent over time and can directly affect her relationship with you. An eidolon has the same mystery as a cohort , except its origins are far weirder. It might have been linked to another summoner before its bond with you. It might be a natural creature altered by planar energies and banished to a far realm, or a former adventurer lost in a disastrous mission to an unknown plane.