Can Familiars Have Familiars?

According to ACKS Core, familiars have access to general proficiencies, and they have the same number of proficiencies that their masters do. This means that, by the rules, familiars are able to take the Familiar proficiency. Does this recursive string of familiars having familiars that have familiars that…etc. end at some point, or are there entire nations in the Auran Empire that are just filled with familiars?

Halve hit points all the way down. At 14th level, a mage who somehow won the hit point lottery and has CON 18 and max hp (68 hp) yields a string of familiars with 34, 17, 8, 4, 2, and 1 hit point.

That’s six familiars, most of whom are barely survivable . . . and if the bottom one dies, there is the potential for a cascading failure all the way up the chain, depending on how low on hp they are in battle.

Okay, so you would round down on hp in this case? I have noticed that there are rules in which you are instructed to round down, and rules in which you are instructed to round up. I also do not see something in the first chapter along the lines of “If not otherwise specified, round down in all calculations.”

I would, yes.

ACKS doesn’t have much of anything in the way of formal rounding rules: what rules are provided usually seem to be ad hoc common sense, if a Judge was trying to prevent odd side effects from the rounding. Like many other things in ACKS, most rounding decisions are left to the Judge.

With that said, rounding up on 0.5 is not much different: 34, 17, 9 (from 8.5), 4 (from 4.25), 2 (from 2.125), 1 (from 1.0625). Even rounding up every time only gets you a chain of 1 hp familiars at the tail end . . . and the death of the last one in the chain kills the whole line!

And with that said, for my own campaigns, familiars can’t have familiars. That’s not an issue of the rules per se, but of the descriptive elements of the world, which are, in my mind, at least as important as the rules when Judging.

So… by RAW, anyone with the Familiar proficiency can exchange one of his familiar’s proficiencies for unlimited 1HD familiars, who all die simultaneously if any one of them dies.

The real advantage is that each of your nigh-infinite familiars have as many proficiencies as you, allowing them to function as experts in their respective fields of study (have one for every Knowledge, one for each Craft, one with Magical Music + Performance, and so on).

By RAW, rounding is unspecified. Deciding to “always round up” is not RAW; it’s a decision you’ve made about the kind of campaign you want to run.

A campaign with infinite familiars might be interesting and fun! Especially since killing one familiar (any familiar in the chain, actually) cuts the lower chain away and nukes almost everything above it – that might lead to familiar assassinations as a viable strategy.

But it’s not RAW. To work, it requires the Judge to say, “This is how it works in my campaign: round up for familiar HD and hit points.”

Since rounding Familiar hit points would require Judge adjudication, these bottom familiars would by default have small fractions of hit dice and hit points.

Even with rounding down, you could chain familiars until the last one has 1hp.

Just on the general principle, henchmen can have their own henchmen, so why not?

Since there are no rules for fractions of hit points at all, not rounding Familiar hit points would also require Judge adjudication, and probably some interesting house rules.

We discussed this at one point as a group, and our consensus was that it seemed permissible given the possibility of cascade failures and exponentially diminishing HP.

I denied it to my group, because I didn’t want the party’s wagon to contain an armored crate full of baby bunnies who serve as the sole source of the party’s historical, geographical, architectural, and economic knowledge.

Well now I want to allow it in my campaign.

I want to play this campaign.

I want the Brainy Baby Bunny Box.

what have I created

Guys! Guys! Hey! Guys!

Mr. Flopsy says the architectural ornamentations remind him of a post-Reckoning lizardman sub-sect known as the ‘Emeraldine’. Marshmallow concurs on the dating based on our depth underground and the geological strata we passed coming down the rift.

So we should probably be totes careful, ya?

I feel very late to this party. The rules-as-written would allow it. As a Judge, I’d probably give the player a very dirty look and disallow it, unless he had something very clever in mind.

What’s not clever about a box full of brilliant bunnies?

If the GM wants to play completely RAW and allow a certain amount of recursive familiars, but still wants to keep it under control, note that the GM has final say as to exactly what animal the familiar is. Just make each recursive familiar an animal that is more and more inconvenient until it is no longer viable to have more. I’m sorry your koala familiar needs to sleep 16 hours a day and needs to eat a plant only native to a restrictive region. Your large fish familiar needs a large body of water with very specific temperatures and salinity, and your other fish familiar needs a different set of narrow constraints. I wouldn’t throw this at a one-familiar character, but it seems like a reasonable price of entry if they try to get ridiculous.

You can also play the card that the familiar can only be understood by the master. Each animal would have to listen to the next one in the chain for any message that they would want to convey, and some things can be lost in translation, at the DM discretion.

Now the Bunnies of Infinite Wisdom need to play an epic game of Telephone whenever they relay information to the party, and often end up with bizarre errors in their information.

This is looking to be a fun comedy-adventure idea, as a party of adventurers (trying to save money on specialist costs, of course) follows the nonsensical ravings of their bunny-box-brain-trust, and hilarity ensues.