Questions about the Familiar

I’m just trying to get a feel for the Familiar proficiency and what that entails.

  1. The familiar is a “magical animal”. Should it be an animal that has some “magical template” put over it, an animal where we just say “yeah, it’s magical” and don’t fuss over it, or should it be a fantastic creature that doesn’t get described as “intelligent” and thus falls into an animal category?
  2. The familiar gains as many proficiencies as the master. Say my level 1 mage has 3 generals and a class due to Intelligence. Is it cheesy to just give the familiar three proficiencies of Animal Husbandry (to heal itself) and Beast Friendship (to better understand animals and even enlist them as retainers)? Side note: Can a familiar have retainers? That seems funny.
  3. I’ve never played with a familiar before, but 3rd edition gave the idea that it will be a small thing that you can shove in a backpack and not worry about its death one bit because you don’t give it the chance. Is this the same mentality I should keep with an ACKS familiar?
    4)Who else here has played with a familiar? What was your perspective on it?
  1. It’s an animal that happens to be magical. For purposes of spells, its considered an animal.
  2. Nah, that’s not cheesy. The main benefit of a Familiars are the possible proficiency combinations. My mage in Greg Tito’s campaign had a Hawk familiar with Sense Power, Hunting, and Tracking, so it could find magic items and track enemies for us.
    2a) I suppose Familiars can have retainers. That strikes me as hilariously awesome.
  3. The exact creature is up to you. The increasing HD of the familiar can be modeled in the game however you’d like. For instance a familiar might start off as a baby leopard cub, and then grow into a leopard as you level up. Or it might be a crow, and just become a supernaturally tough crow.
  4. We’ve had several in the playtest campaigns. An important point is that the mage does NOT get a new familiar if his old one dies.

Thanks for the reply! Knowing that you only get one shot at a familiar is definitely important and worth keeping in mind. I’ll have to see how animal retainers work. I’m probably going to make Art cry, though. =P

Looking at v23 rules as written - Familiar + Polymorph Other is a great combination for raising the HD and adding more powers, a 7th level Mage could have a young Dragon sidekick*
*well, until the other players get XP hungry and kill it.