Dismissable Familiars

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Grenwyn
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Dismissable Familiars

Post by Grenwyn » Mon Dec 17, 2018 6:38 pm

A while back I started a thread suggesting that wizard familiars might see more play if they could be dismissed and resummoned at will. Part of the difficulty with maintaining pets is that you can't really travel between cities with them for fear that a passing bandit will sever their limbs or kill them outright.

I've come up with an idea that I think, in theory, could accomplish this simply with mob & object programs. I'd like to get some feedback on this approach.

General Outline

The familiar "vendor" would start the wizard on a quest, depending what type of familiar the wizard wants. The specifics of the ritual to find and befriend the familiar creature could vary by familiar. Upon completion of the quest, the vendor would give the wizard a "familiar bond", an object like a charm, pendant, etc. marked to the wizard that summons the familiar.

The familiar bond would have a particular keyword that would check if the user is its owner and if the user has no pets. If both checks pass, it summons an instance of the familiar and sets the user as the mob's master.

The familiar would intercept the "dismiss" keyword and vanish instead of simply being left unattended. It would also vanish in reaction to death (or perhaps combat in general). When it vanishes, it will remove/drop everything worn and/or carried, allowing wizards to give their familiars little things like a named collar (for example).

Some Considerations

Unlike the regular pet system, there's no way to name these familiars. It might be possible to create a mob that sells custom collars with names? I'm not positive if you can trigger a program to sell restrung objects with something like "buycollar Raki".

The "dismiss" intercept would only work if the familiar is in the same room. Currently you can dismiss pets from afar, and that would not cause the familiar to vanish.

A global qbit should probably be set to indicate that the wizard has purchased a familiar, preventing them from accumulating more. This could be reset by turning over the familiar bond in order to bond with a different familiar. Because there would be several different types of familiar bonds, the vendor should not check vnums; instead, the vendor could check for a particular code in the unused object values to indicate that the object is a familiar bond.

Here's some proposed code, based on the documentation in the builder lessons. Does this seem viable? Any other concerns I'm missing?

Code: Select all

#QQ11
tiny fluffy owl~
{80}A tiny fluffy owl~
{80}A tiny fluffy owl has found a perch here.~
{80}This owl is about the size of an orc's fist, with dark fluffy feathers
{80}and large liquid eyes that seem to see the world with unusual insight.~
S 5 CLASS_MONSTER RACE_OWL SEX_MALE POS_STANDING DEITY_NONE
ACT_PET
LANG_ANIMAL
LANG_ANIMAL 
>intercept_prog dismiss~
if stringprefix($1) == tiny
or stringprefix($1) == fluffy
or stringprefix($1) == owl
  mpechoat $n {60}You dismiss {80}a tiny, fluffy owl and it vanishes.
  mpechoaround {60}$n dismisses {80}a tiny, fluffy owl and it vanishes.
  mpquiet on
  remove all
  give all $n
  drop all
  mpquiet off
  mppurge $i
else
  mpunintercept
endif
~
>death_prog 100~
smote vanishes back to its home plane.
mpquiet on
remove all
give all $n
drop all
mpquiet off
mppurge $i
~

Code: Select all

#QQ04
scratched owl pendant~
{70}A scratched owl pendant~
{70}A scratched owl pendant lies on the ground here.~
~
ITEM_TYPE_TREASURE
FLAG_MAGIC|FLAG_RESIZE|FLAG_ANTI_ROGUE|FLAG_ANTI_WARRIOR|FLAG_ANTI_PRIEST|FLAG_TRANSPARENT
CAN_WEAR_NECK
QUALITY_AVERAGE MATERIAL_SILVER COND_VERY_GOOD SIZE_MEDIUM
0 0 0 0 LAYER_OVER 0
E
scratched owl pendant~
{70}A crude bit of silver has been worked into the rough shape of an owl
{70}and set with an owl talon. {30}It dangles from a thin cord of rough twine.
~I
This token encapsulates the magical bond between wizard and familiar. OOC: Use "summonowl"
~
>intercept_prog summonowl~
if ownsmark($n)
  if haspet($n)
    mpechoat $n You already have a pet.
  else
    mpmload QQ11
    mpforce mQQ11 follow $n 
    mpforce mQQ11 mpmset self master $n
    mpecho {80}A tiny, fluffy owl answers $n's call.
    mpforce mQQ11 smote circles down to $n.
  endif
else
  mpechoat $n {80}The familiar does not recognize you as its master!
  mpechoat $n {70}The pendant slips from you and falls to the ground.
  mpechoaround $n The pendant slips from $n and falls to the ground.
  mpforce $n remove $o
  mpforce $n drop $o
endif
~
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Elisabeth
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Re: Dismissable Familiars

Post by Elisabeth » Tue Dec 18, 2018 3:55 am

The lines reading, "give all $n", would be convenient if give worked that way. As it is, the minions would end up just dropping everything, which is very fine, too, just thought it worth mention. I like that added thought so that a PC's stuff doesn't just poof like it does now with spell-summoned creatures.

Also, as I've found out through painful experience, dismissing minions in the way you propose (i.e., via intercept_prog on the minion itself), while workable in most situations, becomes broken when you have two summoned minions in the same room and the master of the second tries to dismiss it. This is because, presumably, you would want to check in the dismiss prog whether the triggering PC actually owns the minion before doing anything with it, else anyone could dismiss that minion unconditionally. So if the PC owns the minion, do dismissal stuff; otherwise, unintercept. If the master of a second minion in the room tries to dismiss, then, the first minion in the room will intercept the command, see that the PC does not own it, and stop execution without the PC's actual minion ever having seen the dismissal. (See my recent post on paladin bonded mounts if that made no sense. Hopefully a log will be more understandable.)

I have always missed that FK does not support any form of wizard familiars, so I do like the idea generally. I am sort of unsure about making them re-summonable immediately after death. A tabletop familiar causes XP loss and whatever else when it dies, being essentially an extension of the wizard's very being. But then again, I presume these minions would not actually grant the PC any bonuses as standard familiars do, apart from RP opportunity, so I think the two sort of balance each other out. I have an idea on how you might get that tabletop feel without imposing any penalties or loss, but it's sort of too long/probably-uninteresting to post here. PM if interested. :)
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Grenwyn
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Re: Dismissable Familiars

Post by Grenwyn » Tue Dec 18, 2018 4:26 am

Good considerations, thanks. PMed, and I'll put some more thought into this!
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Re: Dismissable Familiars

Post by Harroghty » Tue Dec 18, 2018 8:47 pm

Thanks for proposing this. Let's focus on the why, not the how. We can figure out the how later.

What would familiars do here? How would that differ from SRD familiars?
"A man may die yet still endure if his work enters the greater work, for time is carried upon a current of forgotten deeds, and events of great moment are but the culmination of a single carefully placed thought." - Chime of Eons

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Grenwyn
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Re: Dismissable Familiars

Post by Grenwyn » Tue Dec 18, 2018 9:19 pm

In 3.5, having a familiar gives the master a bonus to a skill, hit points, or reflex saves, as well as the Alertness feat, when the two are in proximity; in exchange, the wizard suffers an experience penalty if the famliiar should die. The familiar also gains some abilities to improve roleplay with the wizard and other creatures of its type.

What is proposed is effectively the way familiars work in 5e: They confer no specific bonuses, but can be summoned/dismissed at will, and the wizard suffers no penalty if the familiar dies (beyond having to spend components to resummon it).

I think that familiars in 3.5 had two, sometimes conflicting, purposes: the first, as a simple static bonus; and the second, as a minion for the purposes of roleplaying. You might find yourself in a situation where you could use the familiar's roleplaying abilities, perhaps to scout an area or communicate with other creatures, but doing so would put your static bonus at risk - so you might avoid a potentially rich story experience out of fear of loss. 5e chose to drop the stat bonus idea and give the familiar a more coherent identity as a magical roleplaying minion.

I see the same sort of dilemma in game. We don't confer bonuses from familiars, so the primary purpose of a familiar is already for roleplay. But I tend to avoid using them because it's so easy to lose them if you take them outside the protection of a city.

Making it possible to summon and dismiss familiars would encourage familiar roleplay in the field, perhaps while resting up between adventures or while traveling to a different city for an event.
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Re: Dismissable Familiars

Post by Harroghty » Tue Dec 18, 2018 9:24 pm

It basically seems to be a magical pet then (in the 5E incarnation). To me, that's probably more viable in the short term than any bonuses because it would require a quest, and then quests to fit all kinds of wizards.

What do others think about this?
"A man may die yet still endure if his work enters the greater work, for time is carried upon a current of forgotten deeds, and events of great moment are but the culmination of a single carefully placed thought." - Chime of Eons

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Re: Dismissable Familiars

Post by Areia » Wed Dec 19, 2018 11:27 am

I agree fully. I saw a conversation on this same topic the other day, and the player's feelings on familiars boiled down to, "I don't care if it won't boost my skills or have super SR or whatever, I just want a familiar to RP with." I think that rings true for pretty much any dedicated wizardly RPer out there.

The things that make familiars so fun as an RP prop, to me, are their increased intelligence, empathic link, and ability to speak verbally with their masters (in a tongue others can't naturally understand). Those together allow the familiar to bring life and personality to a wizard's RP in ways that, say, a regular old horse can't (or... shouldn't, anyway).

They become a character in themselves. And I've seen some wizards do some pretty cool things with them, like how Caleb from CR has a sort of hidden gentler side to him that comes out not so much through him, but through the story and interaction with his familiar. 10 supernerd points to anyone who knows WTH I'm talking about. *cough*
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