The Fabulousity of Familiars

2009 July 1
by Stupid Ranger

Arcane Power gave us back something our spellcasters were desperately missing: Familiars.  Life as a spellcaster just isn’t the same without a little friend to share it.

The Specifics

If you haven’t checked out the details on Familiars from Arcane Power, here’s a quick run-down.  Any Arcane class can take the “Arcane Familiar” feat to gain a Familiar.  Once you have a Familiar, you can take additional feats to supplement its abilities.

Familiars are either in Passive Mode or Active Mode.  In Passive Mode, your Familiar cannot be targeted or injured; it just sits on your shoulder.  In Active Mode, your Familiar can move around, but it is subject to being attacked, which means it won’t live long with its 1 hit point.  Fortunately, if your Familiar dies, it will reappear after a short rest or extended rest.

Familiars will also grant you bonuses, depending on what kind of Familiar you have.  The list of Familiars is on pages 140 and 141 in Arcane Power, and each Familiar has unique properties, such as bonuses to skill checks and bonus languages.

Familiars Should Be Special

Familiars are fun, but they should also fit your character.  So if the standard list of Familiars just doesn’t have something to strike your interest, work with your DM to find something perfect.  For instance, while looking for a Familiar for Eaerenel, my fiery wizard, the options on the list just didn’t suit her.  Dante & I came up with a great compromise.  We took elements from the Dragonling and the Falcon, added a little twist and suddenly, we had a Phoenix.

Even if you don’t want to develop something different, I still recommend working with your DM to make the introduction of your Familiar something special.  Instead of just suddenly popping into existence, Dante & I worked out that my Phoenix would emerge from the ashes of the campfire in the middle of the night.

You are using a feat to gain a Familiar; it should be something pretty special.  So don’t hesitate to involve your DM in your decision to add that extra something to make your Familiar extra Fabulous.

2 Responses leave one →
  1. Saragon permalink
    July 1, 2009

    If I remember my readthrough of Arcane Power they specifically say that the appearance of one’s familiar should be customized to your character. Which makes a lot of sense given the nature of 4E familiars (minor spirits, bound or summoned or befriended.)

    My Eberron game’s party has a changeling warlock – I may try to talk him into taking a familiar just so we can come up with crazy ideas for it.

  2. Stupid Ranger permalink*
    July 2, 2009

    Hope you and the warlock have fun with crazy Familiar fun!

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