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Fun with Gruesome Familiars

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Gruesome Familiars are really powerful. I'm trying to figure out exactly how powerful.

 

So, let's take Aysa. Give her a Gruesome Familiar. She has an innate spell, Undying Host. Give her no other spells. Put her in a corner of the board. Pick a target you are going to attack via the Gruesome Familiar. Double move the GF from wherever you start it. It has the same stats as Aysa, so GF moves 12". Now, Aysa casts Undying Host at the location of the GF. The resulting spectral minions (if any) gain 2" more towards the target. Spectral Minions go last in the turn. Double move and charge with the minions for 14" more. Those spectral minions effectively moved and charged 28"! Who needs cavalry?

 

Under the assumption that 'if it's too good to be true, it probably isn't', I was worried this wasn't legal. But it's in the FAQ that you can double move the GF and cast from either base. Nifty!

 

Damaging the familiar makes Aysa "sacrifice" a spell for each point of damage. From the rules for the familiar: "...if the familiar is attacked and successfully damaged, the casting model must sacrifice a spell... These spells are lost but the spell caster suffers no damage." Aysa only has the innate spell. From the rule for Innate spells, page 70 of the rulebook: "...in the event the spell is used, it is not lost and can be cast again the next round."

 

There is a bit of ambiguous language involved here. "Sacrificed" and "lost" are different words. The only explicit language for innate spells is that using innate spells doesn't lose them. The intent seems to be that innate spells are "part of the model", not something that can be used up. But can it be destroyed?

 

So, finally, here's the questions:

 

- Is an innate spell subject to being destroyed (forever) by damage to a gruesome familiar?

- What happens to damage to a GF when there are no spells to be sacrificed? Are GF really invulnerable?

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I can't answer what happens to the Innate spell when the Gruesome Familiar gets damaged. From your wording, it sounds like the caster (in your example, Aysa) would start taking damage. Wound the GF enough, and Aysa dies. That doesn't sound so horrible to me. Now I know to target the little bugger with my piercers. ::):

 

Wild Bill :blues:

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I would say that since "Innate" spells are like a SA and are always available , it can't be destroyed . As for the damage , it should go directly to Aysa as she does not have any "real" spell to expend . :down:

Good hint about using the familiar though ! ::D:

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I agree with Brushmaster on Innate Spells. They are always available and can't be destroyed.

 

Invulnerable Gruesome Familiars? Hardly. In addtion to having the Casting Model's stats, they also have their Damage Tracks. When a GF is successfully damaged, it actually takes the damage in addition to causing the Caster to lose a Spell. Damage them enough and they die.

 

Nice trick with Undying Host though... I'll definitely give that one a try :devil:

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I guess I also read it that the owner loses a spell *instead* of the familiar taking damage, but now I see that I was making an assumption that is not in the text of the rule. I see now that the familiar takes damage *and* the owner loses a spell.

 

I think that gruesome familiar was only meant to be used for casting spells, not other things such as invoking an SA (innate spell):

 

Can Naomi perform a ranged attack through a gruesome familiar?

Can a gruesome familiar be used for cohesion?

 

Other questions:

 

What exactly are the "stats" of the owner? Do they include SA's?

 

Rich

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I guess I also read it that the owner loses a spell *instead* of the familiar taking damage, but now I see that I was making an assumption that is not in the text of the rule. I see now that the familiar takes damage *and* the owner loses a spell.

 

I think that gruesome familiar was only meant to be used for casting spells, not other things such as invoking an SA (innate spell):

 

Can Naomi perform a ranged attack through a gruesome familiar?

Can a gruesome familiar be used for cohesion?

 

Other questions:

 

What exactly are the "stats" of the owner? Do they include SA's?

 

Rich

 

The rule says the GF 'uses the Casting Model's data card for all stats... However, if the familiar is attacked and successfully damaged, the Casting Model must sacrifice a spell." I see where I made the erroneous assumption that GF's do not take damage - the 'however' at the beginning caused me to assume that the way the GF took damage was different than other models. If I might suggest a revision when and if there's a new printing: 'However, if the familiar is attacked and successfully damaged, the familiar takes the damage and the Casting Model must also sacrifice a spell."

 

The data card includes the SAs of a model, so I assume Moandain's GF is Vile, Horrid, Tough/4. More problematic is Tactician and Spy. I assume Moandain plus GF do NOT get two additional initiative cards, even though there are two bases in that troop with Tactician. That would be quite the bargain at 30 points! (And quite the headache to word a rule successfully describing which SA's apply to the GF and which do not provide a "double effect".)

 

Make sure you are using the datacard statistics for the GF, not the pumped up statistics provided by magic equipment. The rule says datacard, not datacard plus enhancements.

 

The GF does not actually do much of anything. "The Gruesome Familiar cannot take actions other than movement or to loot." The Casting Model takes the action, it just uses the GF base for LOS and range. So, I think innate spells and SA's are fair game. "The benefit of a Gruesome Familiar is that the model may either use it's own base or determine line of sight and range from the Gruesome Familiar's base." There is no restriction explicitly limiting the Casting Model to using that LOS and range for magic. You can infer one because the GF's owner is called the 'Casting Model', not the 'Shooting Model', but it's not really stated. Can Naomi shoot from the familiar's base? I think so, according to the rule as written. (If it makes this easier to swallow, there's nothing describing what Naomi does to use her Scrye Shot - there's no reason it can't be a spell instead of something physical. Indeed, there's no bow on her model...)

 

I can go either way on the cohesion question. Who is the active party when determining if a model is in cohesion? If the leader uses range to determine if another model is in cohesion, then sure, a GF allows the Casting Model to use a different LOS and range. If the trooper is looking around to see how close it is to the leader of the troop, then no - the GF is not the leader of the troop. I can imagine fluff for either scenario. Mostly for Necropolis, it's a moot question anyway, as being out of cohesion has zero effect on undead models.

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I can't answer what happens to the Innate spell when the Gruesome Familiar gets damaged. From your wording, it sounds like the caster (in your example, Aysa) would start taking damage. Wound the GF enough, and Aysa dies. That doesn't sound so horrible to me. Now I know to target the little bugger with my piercers. ::):

 

The Casting Model takes no damage just because the GF is damaged. The rules state so explicitly.

 

When I thought the GF was invulnerable, sacrified spells was more worrisome to me than now. After all, target a GF with your piercers, damage it four or five times, and that's four or five sacrificed spells, which is potentially a lot of points! Now I know I can only lose the number of spells that the GF has damage tracks (depending upon tough rolls, of course.) Easy-peasy, just take a few 5 pt. Fear or Drain spells to cover damage to the GF.

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I can go either way on the cohesion question. Who is the active party when determining if a model is in cohesion? If the leader uses range to determine if another model is in cohesion, then sure, a GF allows the Casting Model to use a different LOS and range. If the trooper is looking around to see how close it is to the leader of the troop, then no - the GF is not the leader of the troop. I can imagine fluff for either scenario. Mostly for Necropolis, it's a moot question anyway, as being out of cohesion has zero effect on undead models.

 

Undead models can be affected by the Shock SA, which is determined by cohesion.

 

PS

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Well, I for one am happy that the little bugger isn't unstoppable. Doesn't matter when your Archers with a RAV of 5 still manage to miss the stupid DV....no damage, no lost spells. GGGGRRRRRRRRRRR!

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Make sure you are using the datacard statistics for the GF, not the pumped up statistics provided by magic equipment. The rule says datacard, not datacard plus enhancements.

So if I take this statement to be accurate , then when casting a spell through the familiar , I should only use the Data card stats of the mage's CP ? :rolleyes: I think not , as the famailiar is used for LOS not CP .

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Could we please get some official rulings on the questions posed here? The wording is very ambiguous and though some things may be interpreted correctly, others surely will not and come tournament time there will likely be on-the-spot rulings made and challenged.

 

To summarize:

 

What exactly DOES it mean when it states "The familiar uses the Casting Models' data card for all stats (and gains Undead as well)"? Does this include Damage Tracks? Does this include SA's or not because it says "(and gains Undead as well)"? Does it include Items, Equipment, Weapons and/or other Upgrades?

 

Does the GF actually take damage OR does the Casting Model just sacrifice a Spell INSTEAD of the GF taking the damage? Or does both happen?

 

What about Innate Spells? Are those lost temporarily, permanently or not at all when a GF takes damage?

 

"The benefit of a Gruesome Familiar is that the Model may either use its own base or determine Line of Sight and Range from he Gruesome Familiar's Base." Is this only for Casting Spells? It doesn't specifically say. Can Naomi use her Ranged Attack using the GF's base for LoS and Range?

 

Here's some new ones: Since the GF becomes an actual Model, does it gain Dark Energy in a Crypt Legion Army? If so, can the Casting Model use the GF's base for LoS and Range when the GF Model is Stunned? What about Musicians and Standards?

 

Thanks in advance.

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Make sure you are using the datacard statistics for the GF, not the pumped up statistics provided by magic equipment. The rule says datacard, not datacard plus enhancements.

So if I take this statement to be accurate , then when casting a spell through the familiar , I should only use the Data card stats of the mage's CP ? :rolleyes: I think not , as the famailiar is used for LOS not CP .

 

Yes, if the GF ever casts a spell, it would use the non-enhanced CP from the Casting Model's datacard. But that's moot, the GF cannot cast a spell. When the Casting Model casts a spell, regardless of the base it measures LOS and range from, you use the current CP of the Casting Model.

 

On the other hand, if you give your mage GMA, the DV of that mage's gruesome familiar is NOT enhanced.

 

Seem right?

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Nice summary of the outstanding questions, Ravenwolf!

 

Here's some new ones: Since the GF becomes an actual Model, does it gain Dark Energy in a Crypt Legion Army? If so, can the Casting Model use the GF's base for LoS and Range when the GF Model is Stunned? What about Musicians and Standards?

 

I agree that official clarification would be nice, but two of your new questions seem clear to me:

 

Despite the fact that a GF is really 'detached equipment', the rules for the GF clearly make it a model, too.

 

From that, Dark Energy is pretty clear. From the rules for Dark Energy, page 37: "All models ... in a Crypt Legion sub-list company gain the benefits of Dark Energy." From the rules for Equipment, in which the Gruesome Familiar is listed on page 38: "The following equipment items are only available to models of the Necropolis faction (which includes the Crypt Legion sub list...)"

 

So yes, GF gets dark energy. (But even outside Crypt Legion, GF inherits the Casting Model's Tough SA, so you can get stunned GFs in any Necropolis list...)

 

The GF clearly gains the benefits of Musicians and Standards, too. The rules for standards and musician explicitly specify that they operate on "models in a troop".

 

(Wow! GFs and minions are even faster. With a standard, the GF doublemove/Minion doublemove and charge combo just made 30"!)

 

Now, venturing into unknown territory: The GF rule doesn't mention stunned, it just talks about the base. Personally, as long as the base is in play, I'd say you can use it. (YMMV, of course - official clarification would be nice.) Stunned doesn't mean dead or blinded. The GF might be dying, but can still see until it fails it's tough check.

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OK, let's combine my two favorite subjects: :devil:

 

Can you mercy a gruesome familiar? (Stop screaming, you in the peanut gallery! ::D: )

 

My answer is that you might be able to, but there's no point to doing so. The gruesome familiar is Necropolis specific equipment, and thus if mercied, it ceases to exist because a GF cannot exist in a Crusader army.

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