Friday, December 30, 2016

Gross! Combine The Tumor Familiar With A Familiar Archetype For Disgusting Results

Familiars catch a lot of flak from people who claim they're a useless class feature. Sure they provide the caster with a small benefit, and they can deliver spells, but what happens when the familiar becomes a target? It's just a raven/snake/cat, after all, and all it takes is one good thwack to leave your party's magic user without his special friend.

How tough could it- HOLY SHIT WHAT IS THAT!
The familiar archetypes give us more flexibility when it comes to what our familiars can do. Maulers are a force to be reckoned with on the battlefield, Protectors can help the caster live to fight another day, and even the Pilferer can do some serious damage when it comes to stealth missions. But if you want to take this cheese wheel and crank it up to Limburger, you need a tumor familiar.

This Is When Stuff Starts To Get Gross

For those who've never looked at the alchemist discovery tumor familiar, it's pretty straightforward. The alchemist grows a specialized tumor on his body that acts as a familiar. It uses the alchemist's class level as his caster level, and it can detach from his body as a standard action. Even better, the familiar continues to provide bonuses to the master when attached, and as long as it's attached to his body it gains fast healing/5.

It's unpleasant at first... but it really grows on you.
By combining the benefits of the tumor familiar with an archetype, you begin to create some truly powerful combinations. A tumor protector, for example, can increase the master's AC using Bodyguard, and siphon off half his damage, while regenerating quite quickly. A tumor mauler is a dangerous, secret weapon that can be deployed when people thought the master was unarmed, and what's worse it can be beefed up using the master's mutagens and extracts to turn it into a snarling, rending beast. A snarling, rending beast which can still shrink back down and attach to his master to heal up if the last combat was particularly rough.

A Few, Final Thoughts

While this might seem like a toy only alchemists get to play with, there is a way you can give one of these disgusting little tricks to anyone with the aberrant bloodline. Simply take the fear Aberrant Tumor, and you gain a tumor familiar as if your levels in the class that grants the bloodline were your alchemist levels.

That might be a minor boon to a sorcerer, but an aberrant bloodline bloodrager would be hell on wheels with a protector sitting on his shoulder, or a mauler joining him in the fray.

Brew up a tumor buddy of your very own, today!
Lastly, there's the little matter of the Improved Familiar feat. While there's a whole list of creatures you could gain as familiars with this feat, it's not something you can combine with the tumor familiar ability by the rules. It allows you to create a basic animal familiar, and Paizo has ruled that's all you can make with it. So, as cool as it would be to have a tumorous pseudodragon with a poison-dripping bone tail, you'll need to persuade your DM to bend the rules for you if that's what you want.

Even if you can't, though, you've still got a disgusting surprise for anyone who thinks they've caught you unawares.

That's all for this week's Crunch update. Hopefully it wasn't too gross for you (either in terms of subject matter, or in bone-crunching possibility). If you'd like to help support Improved Initiative, then take a stroll over to The Literary Mercenary's Patreon page, and toss some change in my cup. As little as $1 per month goes a long way in terms of helping me create the content you love to see. Lastly, if you haven't followed me on Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter yet, I've been saving a spot for you.


  1. The question about tumors and Improved Familiar was answered months ago on the official FAQ:

    Second, tumor familiars, as lumps of flesh in the shape of animals, can’t become Improved Familiars.

  2. I would totally allow a character to implant a lump of devil flesh as a fiendish tumor familiar.