Below you’ll find some general notes on Familiars, in the form of Questions and Answers. Details on specific types of Familiars you’ll not find here: the types differ between modules, as well as what each type does.
Q: When summoning a familiar, do I place my character number, the word “self,” or the ID number of silverleaf in the target box?
A: Target is your character’s id# with the letter C in front; so C1 would be character 1.
Q: My character did cast the summon familiar spell and met with an funny animal, which reports to know certain spells. What thus the word “Strength” means on its overview?
A: You can cast the spells on the familiar’s overview as if your character knew them himself (so the spell does not have to appear on the character’s own spell overview). And if you cast such a familiar spell, you will even have some free mana, the amount of this free mana being given by this ‘Strength’. Spell nor free mana of the familiar will ever be used up. And of course you can also use your own Mana (from the character’s skill or any free mana from an item he has) when casting a familiar’s spell.
For example, if you have a Familiar with “Spell #1 Shell of protection: Character–str 10”, and your character has 23 mana, then you can cast spell #1 at str 33 (familiar 10 + character 23).
Note: Familiar spells in principle always use Magic Mana, not Holy Mana. So a Priest-Mage who casts with S9 an arcane spell that his familiar knows, will not get the free mana (STR) that the familiar has for that spell. To get the familiar’s free mana, you must always use S8.
Q: Is my familiar thought of as another possession or character? Can it ever leave me, or be injured?
A: The familiar is an ‘aspect’ of your character, no possession, so it can not be transfered (T6, T11) to another character, and it will not get hurt by combat or magic. The only three times it could go away is:
* when you relearn the Summon Familiar spell (or an Ancient Arcane variant of it) and cast it again – bringing forth a new animal, replacing the old loyal fellow (how utterly cruel!); note that casting spell 111 will wipe out your current Familiar regardless of the type of Familiar you have. Also note that Ancient Arcana familiars can overwrite and can be overwritten just like standard familiars.
* when you do an adventure which has as reward a familiar, then this new familiar will replace your current familiar.
* when you loose your arcane skill.
Familiars do somewhat have the traits of an independent character, in the sense that they can morph into stronger and bigger familiars, eventually even giving the possibility of getting separated from the owning character in a (VERY, VERY) few cases. In theory, Familiars can become ‘cranky’ and ask for various things now and then (likely depending on GM action? I’ve never seen it happen). And in some past games, some familiars were seen having a status. But in 99.99% of all recorded cases, morphing is the only individuality familiars exhibit, giving them more the nature of an aura-like status than of a character.
Q: As my character can use the familiar’s spell as if they were his own, does that also mean that he can teach these spells to other characters?
A: No, he cannot! The ties between master and animal are too personal…
Note: Spells that a Familiar knows can NOT be taught BUT you (character) can view them with V6.
Q: I cast my summon familiar spell, and the spell has vanished. I don’t want to use it again, but will the same thing happen with my other spells?
A: The Summon Familiar spell (111) is a ONE USE spell which means it goes away after casting. It is the only spell like that in the Standard Arcana in Swords (Spells 1-300 and 400-500). In fact, the group spell for the Summoner discipline allows one to cast #111 Summon Familiar as many times as one likes without losing the spell. As said above, you can also research the spell again and recast it if you don’t like your familiar.
Q: What factors determine what type of familiar you’ll get (your race? your religion?), and can priests have them too?
A: Familiars come totally at random, nothing can influence that (you can even get the same type back when replacing the old). Priests can NOT have familiars. But in modules that have the set-up option of Mage-Priest, such a Mage-Priest can have a familiar.
Q: But my Priest knows the spell “Netherworld Summoning” which allows him to cast “Summon Familiar.” Doesn’t this mean he can have a familiar?
A: No. Priests cannot have familiars. In technical terms, the familiar is part of an overlay that is on all characters with an arcane arts skill. Without an arcane skill, a character does not have an overlay and thus cannot have a familiar. Of course, he can cast the spell Summon Familiar, but he won’t get the familiar he summons. The same goes for a non-arcane character casting “Summon Familiar” with the help of a magic item. Familiars just do not ‘stick’ on non-arcane shoulders…
Q: What types of familiars are there?
A: This differs per module. There are 10 Standard Familiars (to get by spell #111; types sometimes listed in Rules and Module book) and there are Special Familiars (to get by Ancient Arcana spells found in books, or to get via Adventures or Special Events; these are often rather strong types, often knowing AA spells themselves).
Q: What benefits do familiars give?
A: Such a lovely arcane pet is often the fastest way to improve your Hero at the beginning of the game; so get one quick! It basically does five things (but sometimes at rate zero):
1) Improve his master’s personal characteristics: Physical Strength, Constitution, Personal Combat, Tactics, Influence, Combat Factor and Defense. Note that negative bonusses exist too: a spooky critter could well reduce your Influence rating, for example!
2) Improve his master’s Stealth, if he has any.
3) Add to his master’s Magical Attack Resistence
4) Give diplomatical bonusses towards certain races
5) It knows certain spells, with free mana added
Q: Familiars are said to morph. What does that mean?
A: Familiars may morph at production (Character Event). The most common thing to happen, is either that one (or more) of the base spells of the familiar turns into the group spell to which the spell belongs, or that more free mana (STR) becomes available for the base spell. Less often a totally new spell is added, or Influence bonusses for certain races are increased or lost. More rare are familiars morphing to a different Familiar tree, or a familar morphing into something involved in story lines/Adventures, or even becoming a real Character in time (but do not hold your breath for the latter to happen).
This article is reproduced with kind permission from “Aayko’s The Legends Corner”.