Author Topic: [Pathfinder] Is a UMD Raven Familiar still uber?  (Read 10900 times)

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Endarire

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[Pathfinder] Is a UMD Raven Familiar still uber?
« on: January 25, 2010, 07:40:42 PM »
In 3.5, a raven familiar could speak a language (usually Common) and activate command words and spell trigger items.  I heard of creative uses for this and having a personal, loyal, flying artillery platform is something a Wizard would want.

In Pathfinder, a Wizard can still get a raven familiar to speak a language.  Spell trigger items like staves and wands still require a spoken word, as in 3.5.  Activating command word items hasn't changed since 3.5.

My DM is doubtful this would work, but the group has a craft-happy Artificer (nerfed a bit from Tome of Secrets, but still viable) who can make wands next level.  I have the skill points to spare for UMD.  We can still use unupdated 3.5 material.
Hood - My first answer to all your build questions; past, present, and future.

Speaking of which:
Don't even need TO for this.  Any decent Hood build, especially one with Celerity, one-rounds [Azathoth, the most powerful greater deity from d20 Cthulu].
Does it bug anyone else that we've reached the point where characters who can obliterate a greater deity in one round are considered "decent?"

bearsarebrown

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Re: [Pathfinder] Is a UMD Raven Familiar still uber?
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2010, 08:08:28 PM »
Yes, it still works perfectly.

Endarire

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Re: [Pathfinder] Is a UMD Raven Familiar still uber?
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2010, 11:33:45 PM »
Where are links to other articles supporting this view?
Hood - My first answer to all your build questions; past, present, and future.

Speaking of which:
Don't even need TO for this.  Any decent Hood build, especially one with Celerity, one-rounds [Azathoth, the most powerful greater deity from d20 Cthulu].
Does it bug anyone else that we've reached the point where characters who can obliterate a greater deity in one round are considered "decent?"

bearsarebrown

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Re: [Pathfinder] Is a UMD Raven Familiar still uber?
« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2010, 11:51:03 PM »
You don't need articles. It's intelligent, can speak, can wield one, and can make the UMD check.

What reasons are there that you can't?

Akalsaris

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Re: [Pathfinder] Is a UMD Raven Familiar still uber?
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2010, 02:12:32 AM »
The PHB notes that "some skills might be beyond a familiar's ability to use" even though it shares ranks with the master.  I've always ruled in my games that if any skill is beyond the ability of a familiar, it's probably use magic device.  I'm also pretty sure that if you asked directly on the PF boards, Jason or one of the other devs would shoot it down, since they're conservative like that :P

Still, I don't think anything has changed from 3.5 to PF regarding this particular trick.

PhaedrusXY

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Re: [Pathfinder] Is a UMD Raven Familiar still uber?
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2010, 10:51:06 AM »
I don't really understand the reasoning behind that, though (except for balance concerns). The raven is intelligent, has an appendage that can hold the wand, can talk, and has use of ranks in the skill. If the party's half-orc barbarian can use the skill, so can the raven. The raven is probably even smarter, and has more ranks. So there is no legitimate in-game or mechanical justification that I can see that would prevent it. It is basically just DM fiat using a vaguely worded bit of text to justify it.
[spoiler]
A couple of water benders, a dike, a flaming arrow, and a few barrels of blasting jelly?

Sounds like the makings of a gay porn film.
...thanks
[/spoiler]

Akalsaris

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Re: [Pathfinder] Is a UMD Raven Familiar still uber?
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2010, 01:36:18 AM »
You pretty much hit the nail on the head for my reasoning - I don't really feel the need to give my PC wizards a "personal, loyal, flying artillery platform" as part of their free class feature, and that, along with the vaguely worded text is the justification that I used when I made the ruling.  My PC just nodded and picked a viper familiar, and that was that as far as my group went.

I understand the logic behind allowing the trick to work (and I'll have to remember to ask about it next time I get a chance to play my conjurer - he has skill ranks to spare, a bunch of wands, and soon an imp familiar).  But there is still an in-game case to be made against allowing familiars to use every skill that the master possesses.  If Endarire's DM doesn't want to allow the wand-slinging bird, there's precedence, and he wouldn't be the first DM to make that call.

For what it's worth, I don't think WoTC thought through the ramifications of familiars sharing ranks with their master - it almost certainly wasn't RAI to have the familiar count as a free +2 aid another on every skill on top of everything else. 

Hand_of_Vecna

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Re: [Pathfinder] Is a UMD Raven Familiar still uber?
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2010, 09:09:54 PM »
It's a pretty weak argument, it specifically cites craft; implying that the familiar can't perform some skills because they are physically incapable due to their small size and lack of opposable thumbs not because of a mental or mystical limitation.

Bozwevial

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Re: [Pathfinder] Is a UMD Raven Familiar still uber?
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2010, 10:43:08 PM »
Quote
To activate a wand, a character must hold it in hand (or whatever passes for a hand, for nonhumanoid creatures) and point it in the general direction of the target or area.

Doesn't mention anything about size or opposable thumbs. If size is an issue, you could certainly craft wands smaller than normal.

PhaedrusXY

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Re: [Pathfinder] Is a UMD Raven Familiar still uber?
« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2010, 12:09:15 AM »
It's a pretty weak argument, it specifically cites craft; implying that the familiar can't perform some skills because they are physically incapable due to their small size and lack of opposable thumbs not because of a mental or mystical limitation.
That sums my objection up pretty well. Really, I'd rather the DM just be honest and say "No, that's too powerful", than try to cowardly justify it with some bullshit pseudo-rules interpretation. I use plenty of house rules, but I call them out as such explicitly. Sorry if that's offensive, but really... that's how I feel about that. It's no better really than PCs trying to dishonestly misinterpret the rules in order to make their character's more powerful, and there is a common insult we use for that. Maybe we should make up a corresponding term for DMs who do basically the opposite?
« Last Edit: January 28, 2010, 12:12:30 AM by PhaedrusXY »
[spoiler]
A couple of water benders, a dike, a flaming arrow, and a few barrels of blasting jelly?

Sounds like the makings of a gay porn film.
...thanks
[/spoiler]