One of the founders of our hobby and one of the most unsung contributors to Dungeons & Dragons, Len Lakofka has passed away at the age of 76.
Along with the many adventures, classes, spells, and rules he created, Len was also father of the Suel in Greyhawk, designer of their gods, and namesake of the Lendore Isles.
The value of his work goes without saying, but his presence will be sorely missed. The adventures of Leomund go on.
This thread pertains to mage familiars. Here goes:
1) The spell description states that familiars have unnaturally long lifespans due to the connection between wizard and familiar. However, to my knowledge, it does not specify just how LONG this extension lasts.
Ideas, suggestions? What about familiars for gnomish, half-elven, or elven mages, all of whom have longer lifespans than human mages?
2) What happens to the mage when the familiar finally dies from natural causes? Does the mage still have to roll System Shock or perish?
3) A mage (with a familiar) is turned to stone (by spell, gaze attack, whatever). What happens to the familiar? After all, the mage is neither dead (if made System Shock roll) nor alive.
I would contest the familiar has to make a System Shock roll, too, in order to survive the temporary breaking (or alteration) of the link. However, is the familiar now 'free' of the magic and turns wild? Or is the link still, somehow, intact, and the familiar now suffers a 1 hp loss per day until the mage returns back to his/her living state?
4) A mage (with a familiar) suffers an aging attack (ex: from a ghost's attack). What happens to the familiar? Does the familiar age, too? The aged mage (alliteration intended!), who now has to make a System Shock roll, is still linked to the familiar. Doesn't the familiar likewise have to make a roll???
The could be something...out there...somewhere...on familiars, for 2E. I justdon';twnt to look right now. For what it is worth, my 2 cents:
The "unnaturally long" lifespan of a familiar mirrors that of its master (i.e. it lives as long as its master does). Why?
(Yes, it is hard to imagine so much awesome could be encapsulated in one gif, but it has! )
Question number 2 therefore does not apply. They both naturally age and die at the same time, unless some sort of magical link transfer takes place. An aged wizard might magically transfer his familiar link (via a unique spell) to an apprentice for a period of time, though this seems most suitable for a story purpose.
"I have helped you all that I can, young master, but now you must stand on your own, and I must make my own journey into the great beyond as our master already has. Good luck to you." The venerable lemur familiar Akelio then closed his giant wisdom-filled eyes one last time, and breathed his last.
As to 3, I would say the familiar has to make system shock roll, though it uses its own or its master's, whichever is better. You may say that, in the case of something that outright kills the master (finger of death, disintegration, etc.), the familiar that does makes its system shock roll will lose a good measure of its resilience, and begin to age a bit more quickly (but not as quickly as a regular animal of its type), its life force link having been removed, but still be more than a regular animal of its type (EDIT: or you can have it lose 1 hp per day as usual and die). If the master is somehow revived though, the familiar should slowly become reinvigorated until it is recovered to its normal state (EDIT: if it still lives).
Familiars shouldn't just turn wild/feral though, as they are not regular animals. You might have them sort of become more like a normal animal of their type, meaning they could sort of lose a sense of themselves to some degree, but that could be activated again if a new wizard were to come into the area and cast a find familiar spell and, as such, newly acquire that same familiar, linking it to a new master. You could use this opportunity as story element similar to the example above (i.e. imparting guidance indirectly, excepting the familiar wouldn't soon croak), or go with something a bit different, depending on the mood/tone of your campaign...
"Oh, you are nothing like my previous master! She was smart. She was beautiful. She fed me REAL food. What's this garbage you feed me? Parsley! PARSLEY!"
"But I thought rabbits liked pars..."
"Parsley is a garnish, you idiot! A GARNISH!!! Ever hear of *ROOT VEGETABLES*?! You know, carrots, turnips, and similar things?"
"I will endeavor to fill the larder more appropriately from now on."
"Yes, you do that! No rutabagas though. They make me a bit...gassy."
As to number 4, I would say the familiar ages *proportionally* with its master, but it would seem both might need to make a system shock roll. Depends on how tough you want to be on those with familiars, so maybe you just have one roll. Your call. _________________ - Moderator/Admin (in some areas)/Member -
Last edited by Cebrion on Mon Dec 05, 2016 3:30 am; edited 1 time in total
Cebrion, thank you for your response. I very much enjoyed your whimsical reply! Quite amusing.
So, if the familiar has an enhanced longevity proportional to the race of the 'master' wizard, basically, a mage gets only one familiar in his/her life time (unless the familiar dies a violent death)...
...and elven familiars potentially live for decades, maybe a century, or so?
I mean the physical health of the familiar is proportional to its relative age. If an elven master is elderly (i.e. hundreds of years old), the familiar will look (and physically be) equivalent to an elderly animal of its type. It will live as long as its master unless something prematurely ends its life. _________________ - Moderator/Admin (in some areas)/Member -
Not to drag the thread too off topic, but topically speaking it is no doubt one of the most perfect gifs ever created. It couldn't be any better in my opinion, and I can't help but smile a little bit every time I see it. It is based on a clip of Shia Lebouf from an SNL skit called "Its A Match" from 2008, but this is the "enhanced" version, which I think really does make it all the more better.
...and now back to our regularly scheduled programming - Familiars.
I am a big proponent of sympathetic magic, and that usually influences my opinion on most things magical. With wizards and their familiars we have not just two companions, but two companions who are linked body and soul. That can be played up in many ways, and not just in crunchy rules ways, but also in fluffy presentation ways. One example of the latter would be to have the master and familiar sort of look like one another. I'm sure most of you have at one time or another seen a picture of a pet and owner that resembled one another. A Player/DM could use that, or instead might say that they don't specifically look alike, but over time develop similar mannerisms/habits. It is just window dressing for sure, but it is fun window dressing. Crunchy-wise, you might choose to have a familiar gain the statistics bonuses (and penalties) that their master does due to aging, because a venerable mongoose is probably not going to be scragging cobras like it once was able to, but it surely will be far smarter and wiser than a young mongoose familiar.
One might also have the master and familiar be able to feel each others' pain, emotions, etc. - a really deep and all-encompassing link. Or one could go the other way and treat the link as a more superficial thing where the familiar is viewed more as a useful tool; sort of a homonculus with more brains/capabilities, but with no really deep connection so far as the master-familiar link is concerned. _________________ - Moderator/Admin (in some areas)/Member -
No, the wizard is not aged. The master and familiar are linked, but not that linked.The wizard will just potentially have a decrepit (or even dead) familiar, depending on how much it was aged. Though the wizard may not be aged, if the familiar is aged beyond its master's normal lifespan it would die, as that age is all the link allows for so far as the familiar's extended lifespan goes.
As to the 1hp damage per day, I'd say it could be healed magically. It is already easy enough to lose a familiar. I see no need to make it easier for a wizard to lose a familiar and suffer all the downsides that entails.
Just my opinions. _________________ - Moderator/Admin (in some areas)/Member -
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