Monday, September 22, 2014

Brain in a Jar familiar

This morning I read the following tweet by Insane Angel Studios and thought it was great:

With Halloween around the corner the idea of some necromancer or warlock with a brain in a jar familiar really inspired me. Below is the find familiar spell from the current 5E Player’s Handbook. I like the new iteration of the spell and think its generic enough that there is plenty of wiggle room for a fun home brew tweak.

Find Familiar
1st-level conjuration (ritual)
Casting Time: 1 hour
Range: 10 feet
Components: V, S, M (10 gp worth of charcoal, incense, and herbs that must
be consumed by fire in a brass brazier)
Duration: Instantaneous

You gain the service of a familiar, a spirit that takes an animal form you choose: bat, cat, crab, frog (toad), hawk, lizard, octopus, owl, poisonous snake, fish (quipper), rat, raven, sea horse, spider, or weasel. Appearing in an unoccupied space within range, the familiar has the statistics of the chosen form, though it is a celestial, fey, or fiend (your choice) instead of a beast.

Your familiar acts independently of you, but it always obeys your commands. In combat, it rolls its own initiative and acts on its own turn. A familiar can’t attack, but it can take other actions as normal. When the familiar drops to 0 hit points, it disappears, leaving behind no physical form. It reappears after you cast this spell again. 

While your familiar is within 100 feet of you, you can communicate with it telepathically. Additionally, as an action, you can see through your familiar’s eyes and hear what it hears until the start of your next turn, gaining the benefits of any special senses that the familiar has. During this time, you are deaf and blind with regard to your own senses. As an action, you can temporarily dismiss your familiar. It disappears into a pocket dimension where it awaits your summons. Alternatively, you can dismiss it forever. As an action while it is temporarily dismissed, you can cause it to reappear in any unoccupied space within 30 feet of you.

You can’t have more than one familiar at a time. If you cast this spell while you already have a familiar, you instead cause it to adopt a new form. Choose one of the forms from the above list. Your familiar transforms into the chosen creature.

Finally, when you cast a spell with a range of touch, your familiar can deliver the spell as if it had cast the spell. Your familiar must be within 100 feet of you, and it must use its reaction to deliver the spell when you cast it. If the spell requires an attack roll, you use your attack modifier for the roll.

As you can see a brain in a jar obviously would not be able to perform the regular functions of a familiar since it is sedentary and without vision. So below I have outlined some changes for this very cerebral familiar.

While your brain in a jar is within 100 feet of you, you can communicate with it telepathically. You may ask the brain to help you unravel some arcane or historic mystery. This comes at a cost however as the madness of the brain’s memories flash before your eyes. Make a DC12 Wisdom saving throw or suffer 2d6 points of psychic damage. Succeed or fail you gain advantage on one Arcana or History skill check on the next round.

Additionally, once per day, you may sustain two concentration spells at once. During this time, you must hold the brain in the jar and may take no other actions save movement.

So maybe this All Hallows Eve your players will wander into some dust covered alchemy shop at the end of dark alley. Inside they find a twisted old man with a droopy eye selling pickled monster parts and an odd assortment of pulsing brains inside glass jars. Be warned however rumor has it that certain undead are attracted to brains and may pursue any arcane practitioner using one as a familiar!

Get your brains here for 100 Gold!