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Familiars Anyone?

posted Aug 27, 2012 00:57:42 by Sunwolfe
Greetings All!

My brother and I are having a great time digesting RQVI and look forward to giving it a live go in the near future. We've spent the past few weekend afternoons highlighting, underlining and discussing how the new version might impact our players and change the timbre of play.

We noticed that the RQIII sorcery spell "Create Familiar" hadn't been included in the new rule set. I'm wondering what thoughts any of you who are more knowledgeable with the game and its mechanics might have on the subject of creating a RQIII-like familiar using RQVI?

Cheers,
Sunwolfe
Nemo vir est qui mundum non reddat meliorem
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18 replies
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DavidCake said Sep 19, 2012 06:19:11
In RQ3, of course, the primary purpose of Familiars was Free INT, but that doesn't apply to RQ6 (and good riddance). So we do indeed need to think about why sorcerers would have familiars (or even if they should - familiars in real world magical traditions would seem to be much more associated with animist traditions than sorcerous, at least if you assume European witchcraft is more animist).

Of course, if considered just as an animal companion that you can communicate with and ask to perform mundane skills like scouting or combat, that is already Useful, but that isn't particularly restricted to or connected with Sorcery, or magic at all (Animal Familiar is a generic Gift, available to any Cult/Brotherhood). And at least in RQ3, Familiars were not always animals, but often animated objects.

In RQ6 one possible use is maybe familiars could maintain Concentration on a sorcery spell? Such as maintaining Flight, commanding Dominated Creatures, maintaining a Portal? That would be Useful.

Of course, if a sorcerer can use a Familiars Magic Points, that would be Very Useful on its own, as sorcerers can run out pretty quick.

If you want to make Familiars Very Useful Indeed then allow a sorcerer to use a Familiars magic points for Enchant (Object). The more Useful familiars are, the more they should probably have a requisite high status required in the sorcerous tradition to get one. You could either do this by treating them as Gifts, or by making the hypothetical Create Familiar spell available only to high status characters.

If the Familiar is also able to cast the characters spells on the characters behalf, that would also be potentially Very Useful Indeed.

Note that shamans fetches are already Very Useful Indeed, so adding a sorcerous equivalent doesn't seem unreasonable.

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dreamer_prophet said Sep 19, 2012 17:22:15
Thanks for sharing your ideas. Very interesting.
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SteveLieb said Dec 26, 2012 17:44:21
Very good question Dreamer.
We're all familiar with the METAGAMING standard reasons for familiars, depending on the game - more hp for the caster (in games where the casters are physically weak), supplemental abilities, or in RQ-tradition 'spell storage receptacles', or 'mana batteries'

Any of this reasonably supportable mythologically?

I suspect a reading of the history of witchcraft, etc would suggest that familiars were:
- companions, as magick was generally a fairly lonely business. Thus they could also serve as spies, lookouts, or guardians per their abilities
- counselors and conduits as the familiar was often a spirit or demon (often in the guise of a normal animal), suggesting that they might thereby 'buff' a caster's skill at something or another, or at the very least be substantially more familiar about the ecology and world/pyschology of demons and spirits generally.

JUST looking at it this way, I'd say a Familiar is essentially a sort of a limited 'fetch' for a Sorcerer, with certain fixed abilities:
Conjugated Autonomy
maybe Imperishable
maybe Mana
maybe Perception
probably Posession (albeit just the normal animal it inhabits)
probably Sagacity
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