You and your familiar...Edit
One of the common tropes of magicians is the familiar: the witch with her black cat, or the aged wizard with his raven or dove and staff, figure heavily into the image evoked by this word.In Mage, you can have a familiar similar to those, or entirely different from them, as your own personal companion. Familiars can provide their mages with additional information, protection of various sorts, and even rid the mage of some accrued paradox. In return, the familiar will expect certain considerations.
The Pact that joins Mage and Familiar is a bond on the spiritual level. The Mage agrees to provide Quintessence equal to the Familiar's Background cost per week, as well as other appropriate pact considerations, and the familiar agrees to be a companion, assistant, and ally to the mage, consuming or nullifying Paradox and possibly providing other services as well (spying, information gathering).
Gaining a Familiar in PlayEdit
To gain a Familiar in play you must do the following:
- Pay 3xp/dot of the Familiar Background that you wish. All Familiars gained in play must be approved by the Mage ST.
- Work up a sheet and information on the familiar, using the Familiar template sheet for WoD: Dusk.
- Possess the appropriate spheres to attain a familiar (at the bare minimum, Prime 3 and Spirit 4) or have another character not played by you willing to summon, materialize, and bind the familiar to you.
- Roleplay summoning the appropriate spirit, requiring 3 successes per dot of Familiar.
- Roleplay out the chiminage offered, and the pact desired with the Familiar.
- Use a Prime 3 Permanent rote to make the familiar's Materialized form permanent, or provide a body in one of the other ways listed in Forged By Dragon's Fire.
- Enact the pact with the Familiar, a rote requiring Spirit 4/Prime 3.
If you want a fairly common familiar type, you can use the templates listed on this link to do so. The entire process from start to finish is explained in this link.
Quick and Dirty ProcedureEdit
This is the general procedure for creating a Familiar. Details are listed below.
- Assign your mage's Background Dots to the Familiar. This is your Familiar Rating.
- Choose Type and Form, and assign Background dots to the Form.
- Calculate Trait Pool.
- Record the Paradox Absorption and Thaumivore (Quint needed) ratings for your Familiar. This is equal to your Familiar Rating.
- Assign Physical Attributes from a creature template from the reference page, or from the ST. Start all Social and Mental Attributes at 1. Use allowed Attribute dots among the remaining Attributes however you like.
- Assign Abilities from the creature's template and granted Ability dots.
- Record Willpower. (2 + Trait Pool)
- Record Essence. (10 + [2*Trait Pool])
- Spend Freebie Points (10 x Trait Pool) as follows:
- Add Attributes (5/dot) or Abilities (2/dot).
- Buy Charms. (costs as listed.)
- Add Bans (up to -7) to gain additional freebie points.
- Add Willpower (2/dot) or Essence (1/dot).
Creating a Familiar, in DetailEdit
Familiars range in strength from fairly weak to very powerful (1 to 5 Background dots). Their stats are generated as follows:
Name your familiar. Easy enough.
- Assign your Mage's Background dots to Familiar, and record this. This is the relative strength of your Familiar, and will allow you to choose abilities for your Familiar to provide.
- A player may not have more than 3 dots in Familiar without prior ST approval.
- Choose the type of familiar you want. You can design a new form from the page linked here.
All familiars have the following abilities.
- Stats: A Familiar's Physical Attributes and some innate Abilities come from his type.
- Arcane Connection: The Familiar and Mage share an arcane connection. The Familiar's presence is the same as if the Mage was present for the purposes of magic.
- Communication: All Familiars can communicate empathically with their Mages. Additional options can be purchased as Charms.
- Pact: The agreement between Mage and Familiar will grant each benefits. Detail how your pact works with your familiar.
- Paradox Absorption: The Familiar can absorb up to its BG rating in Paradox per week.
- Thaumivore: The Familiar needs its BG rating in Quintessence per week to survive.
Follow these steps to customize your familiar:
- Form Cost and Trait Pool:
- Pay the cost for your familiar's form, in dots.
- Whatever dots remain are your Trait Pool. For example, if you spend 3 dots in Familiar, and use a 1-dot familiar form, your Trait Pool is (Familiar dots  - Form dots)
- Each attribute starts with 1 dot. Record the appropriate Physical stats from your form onto your sheet.
- You then have 3 + the Familiar Trait Pool in dots to apportion among the other six non-Physical Attributes however you like. Attributes of 4 or greater are granted specialties just like a character.
- Some animal forms begin with Abilities. Record those on your sheet.
- You then have the Familiar Trait Pool x3 in dots to apportion among Abilities of all kinds. Please be realistic. A mouse cannot possess Drive, for example.
- Willpower begins at 2 + Familiar's Trait Pool level.
- Essence is equal to 10 + your Familiar's Trait Pool to start.
- Freebie points: You gain Familiar Trait Pool x10 in freebie points to spend on your Familiar. This can be spent on any of the above, as well as Charms.
- Add Bans (up to -7) to gain additional freebie points.
- Bans are Flaws for Familiars. There is a limit of -7 just like a character, but the Flaws must both fit and be played. In addition, they cannot replicate Form qualities. (For example, a gnome familiar cannot be given the Short flaw, since he already possesses it in his Form stats.)
- Most Bans are spiritual, psychological, or mystical compulsions or prohibitions. For example, a raccoon could have the Ban: Compulsively Washes Food in Water.
Finishing Touches: Edit
Detail how your mage came to pacting with the Familiar, and how their relationship is, as a rule. Add a list of duties or expectations on each side, where appropriate. Having a familliar is much like having a totem spirit. There are usually conditions and bans attached to the deal that the Mage must follow to keep the familliar satisfied.
Use the appropriate table on the Mage Experience page to spend XP on your familiar. Once the familiar is approved, his abilities can only be improved with XP.