[New Spell] Conjure Familiar

Conjure Familiar

Ah, my good fellows, so kind of you to drop by. I trust that the take was sufficient?” the wizard asked casually.

Well, boss, it seemed smaller than I thought, hardly any coins,” replied one of the thugs.

The wizard looked over at the small tabby laying on a cushion. The small cat looked into the wizard’s eyes briefly. The magic-user set his jaw and glared at the thugs. With a flourish of his hand they thug who spoke dropped to his knees in pain.

You two hoodlums are skilled enough that I like your work. Yet, it would be wiser to not lie to me again, I have ways of finding out the truth. Understand me?” the wizard said harshly.

The two thugs nodded like idiots and scrambled for the door, one nursing a nasty burn on his right hand.  

Conjure Familiar (Any spellcaster)

Level 1

Range: Special

Duration: Indefinite or until dismissed, or if either the summoner or familiar are killed

A very handy spell that allows anyone who can cast spells to summon forth a familiar. The summoned creature is bound to serve their new master for as long as the master lives or until they are dismissed by their master or destroyed. If dismissed the spellcaster may not cast this spell again for another year. It costs the one calling a familiar one hit point (permanently) to summon a familiar. The familiar will obey their master implicitly and can communicate via telepathy with the familiar or see through the eyes of the creature up to a distance of 100 feet. If the familiar is killed the spellcaster will take 1d8 points of damage and suffer shock for 6 rounds on the result of “1” on a d6. The familiar will generally be of a type that the spellcaster desires in conjunction with their alignment (or outlook on life). Clerics, druids, elves and magic-users can all cast this spell.

For example:

Law- Owls, eagles, doves, rabbits, small dogs, minor divine entities, etc.

Neutral-Wolf, monkey, hawk, bat, minor elemental or fey creatures.

Chaos-Gnome-sized skeletons, disembodied spirits, imps or other low-powered demons or devils, black cats, rats, giant spiders, etc.

Variant: This spell can be cast once per year and the familiar may accrue several familiars and at the cost of 1 permanent hit point may infuse one familiar with an extra Hit Die up to 4HD. Note that temporary augmentations (like Enlarge or Shrink spells, for example) will work normally on a familiar.

Familiar:

These creatures are conjured to the side of a particular spellcaster and will obey them and be loyal for the duration of their service. A familiar can be almost any small to medium sized creature that a referee deems appropriate for the particular spellcaster. The player and the referee should discuss the creature and the referee will decide the statistics and the abilities. Familiars are going to be varied and the referee can adjudicate any abilities that a particular creature has (for example an imp will have abilities that an owl or a giant spider doesn’t). Due to the magical nature of a familiar I would suggest making them all at least 1HD +2 creatures and giving them all a reasonable intelligence considering that they interact with their masters.

 

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9 Responses to [New Spell] Conjure Familiar

  1. Rubezahl says:

    Ah hello again my friend bat, ’tis (the poster formally known as) Lizardfolk.

    A good take on the familiar here I think. it’s sometimes hard to balance the magical pet/familiar at 1st level since there is an expectation of additional magical powers, or a tendancy to make them a bull’s eye to cripple the summoner quickly. This approach seems reasonable, though I question whether imps or other innately magical creatures are so easily subdued into servitude at this low level.

    To my mind maybe an improved Conjure Familiar II spell at a later level might allow for a more potent pet with a magical ability (cat becomes shadow cat, or whatever) and also allow imps, psuedodragons, etc. with less balance concern.

    Then again, if there isn’t a great deal of concern for minor balance details (or you’re using more puissent familiars only for chaotic villain-types) then I think it’s likely fine as-is.

  2. bat says:

    Hey there, my friend!
    Thank you for the comment. I tried to keep this spell a bit open-ended on purpose and possibly the variant that I listed would work with your thoughts. Instead of once a year, perhaps once every three levels? That way a spellcaster could have a trio of familiars of differing power at 9th level. Hmmmm….

  3. Timeshadows says:

    Nice write-up and a good suggestion to expand it. 🙂

  4. Rubezahl says:

    I think you’re wisest sticking to the broad and open approach to the spell, my own particular rules for the spell-summoned familiars (as opposed to perhaps class-granted/demonic pact assigned ones) would not be the same, and likely nor would anyones! But the basis is solid, and it is open to that kind of Ref’-variation, which is of course the ‘old school way’.

  5. Nellisir says:

    I like it. I’m not wild about the “View through familiar’s eyes within 100 miles” though – I think it’s a bit overpowered and reinforces the “familiar as spy” schtick, while doing nothing for “familiar as wizard’s assistant”. If you don’t want to spy with your familiar, it’s not of tremendous use.

    Otherwise great. Like the flexibility to choose the type (and the inclusion of spirits, etc). Maybe more powerful creatures like imps can only be summoned by higher-level casters?

  6. bat says:

    Nellisir: Thank you for the comment, I really appreciate it. When I sit to write I have a billion fragments of trivia, oddballs movie scenes, pieces of literation and my own imagination at work all at once. Upon reflection, I see your point quite clearly and will change the “see through the eyes of” ability and lower the range. The ability is useful for different things, like poking ahead in dungeons for traps, not just spying.

    Also, remember that everything I write has two purposes: all of these spells and items can work for the players or be used by those with different interests than that of the players.

  7. Spawn of Endra says:

    A year and a half late to the game, but I was thinking of using this spell in Carter’s Lands of Ara campaign, and am wondering if you could clarify this sentence:

    “The familiar will obey their master implicitly and [their master] can communicate via telepathy with the familiar or see through the eyes of the creature up to a distance of 100 feet.”

    Does the second half of the sentence mean that either the master can communicate via telepathy OR see through the eyes etc. at all times, or can the master do both (or only one at a time)? Maybe that is not very clear.

  8. Spawn of Endra says:

    I mean maybe my question is not very clear.

    • bat says:

      I would say that it is up to you, but I just allow the master to see through the eyes of the familiar. However, this working either way could be interesting too.

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