A steel familiar

You could always invent a ritual to create a magical animal. It's not easy, mind you...

Its essential nature is still 'piece of steel'.

That doesn't sound like it can apply to something, that you can return to the state of 'piece of steel' any moment.

A magus with a few Virtues from Breakthroughs in AM p.75ff Heron of Alexandria's Legacy could bind a self-awakened simulacrum from steel, though.


Since a human turned into an animal via MuCo(An) cannot be bound as a familiar either, I don't really see why it would?
Unless I'm much mistaken, there's no indication that the Familiar Bond relies on the Art of Animal in any way, so I fail to see the logic.

Hmm, this is a good point. I'm convinced.

evil smile

I might allow it.

But I'd remind the character that when the Muto spell expires (and all Muto spells expire), the animal reverts to its true nature, which is not an animal at all. At which point, there is no familiar bond at all. All that time? All that vis? Lost. Feel free to try again....

Remember that (at least in the example I was giving) it's a constant effect produced by a magical device.
Sure, one could disenchant it. But it probably takes as much effort as killing the familiar in the first place.

Constant effects can also be disrupted, since they are based on Sun duration. Sure, there might be another charge, but the moment the effect lapses, the familiar is gone.

What if you made the effect constant through the Familiar bond?


Sort of like

a) Create initial Mu effect through an enchanted item or Ritual spell
b) Befriend and bind created animal, which is now your familiar
c) Create new Muto effect via familiar bond, that replicates the initial effect
d) Let initial effect expire

So we've now bootstrapped the familiar. Excellent.


  • The magus needs to concentrate at sunrise and sunset to maintain this new effect, iirc. An Int roll 2/day to remember. Stress, of course, because the stakes are high, especially if he's doing anything interesting that day, such as adventuring, reading a good book from the library, doing lab work.... With appropriate penalties as things get more interesting. Life truly sucks if a magus accidentally crosses to or from the Magic Realm, etc.

  • This effect can be disrupted exactly as for an item.

Finally, antagonists or just plain random entities will try to make this happen. The fundamental rule of drama is that people who live in glass houses attract throwers of stones. (AM5 has an entire supernatural realm dedicated to drama, to encourage reluctant GMs!)




And it would also be completely reasonable for a magus with a familiar of this kind to enjoy 1 Warping Point per season, for having such an intimate bond with something sustained only by magic.



As I said, I'm convinced that this can't work (Tellus did it), but for the sake of discussion:

Sure, someone who dispels your effect bypassing the familiar's resistance breaks the bond. But someone who can do that can probably kill a familiar anyway without taking this particularly perverse approach!

Whether a constant effect can be disrupted as if were "Sun", or if it's a truly constant effect that can only be temporarily suppressed, short of breaking the enchantment, is something that has been discussed at length elsewhere. I think the official position is the second, though I like the first better.

I think you can invest constant effects in the bond -- you are not limited to D:Conc + item maintains concentration. I may be wrong on this though, and I'm too lazy to check.

Ovarwa, you seem to have this sort of nasty cruelty streak that makes you suggest, whenever there's something you don't like, that tons of stress rolls should be made to see if something bad happens as a consequence. I'd hate it if I were a player! I'd never impose the Int stress roll to see if the magus remembers renewing the effect, any more than I'd impose it in a random situation to see if he remembered to renew his Parma.

I'm a nasty cruel person!

I would never do this without warning way up front. But if something is dubious but legal, it is totally proper to say, "hey, there are all kinds of issues with this approach,which is why it is not prevalent, so you are free to do it but be aware that it is likely to fail horribly, and you get no script immunity for this."




Maybe a person mutoed into an animal CAN be bound as a familiar in this way.



What about walking/flying/swimming/etc. into a foreign Aegis?

It had been the second, but David changed stances and switched to the first.


FWIW, I do miss having an explicit Constant duration for device effects, rather than weirdness about Sun duration, concentration, charges, etc. Less intuitive.

I'd still want it possible to temporarily disrupt such effects.



As the saying goes: thread with care! :smiley:
Actually, the more I think of it, the more I like this solution: it's not that unbalancing, and it has a number of quirks/drawbacks that make it interesting.

Oooohh. I had missed that! Can you provide a link? Just curious about how he addressed the issue.

Originally it was the former, this being the basis behind not fixing The Anointing of the King in the errata. Focus on the last part.

The Anointing of the King does not work as written without 2/day if the effect keeps restarting at dawn/dusk. But if it is one effect that is truly ongoing, then it works. So the interpretation had been the first of the two. Then David changed it here:

You can now see that The Anointing of the King has been changed in the errata. I sent that in after David's post. That makes things more consistent, maybe totally. Of course, you could also take the last line to allow for open interpretation and that either method is valid depending on what method the maker chooses.

You'll also spot flaws in the reasoning if you look closely. He cites the 2/day, environmental trigger, Sun as the reason you can't have unlimited constant effect stuff, that it only works on one target. That really isn't true. If this is all a constant effect is, a continuing repetition of casting this way, I can easily design nigh unlimited constant stuff using other parameters and some cleverness. Also, all you need to do is switch to T: Group to get more than one target. Meanwhile some things can be essentially disenchanted without a ritual, whereas previously they required one. Hermetic "Constant" used to be something special; this ruling really renders it non-existent, just a term applied to one of many ways of having a repeating effect.

Prior to this, I had considered things like the steel familiar, though in less questionable territory. My thought had been to turn fire into a solid to wear it as a Talisman via Trapping the Fire (ArM5 p.142) - start by maintaining a D: Concentration version and then enchanted a Constant version. I thought it would be cool to clothe an Ignem magus in transformed fire. No need to deal with the Essential Nature issue there like here, though.

Basically, the new ruling says that the target has to be in range at Sunset/Sunrise when the effect is technically recast.

I'm also in the camp of preferring a simple Constant duration. All this complication of sunrise/sunset, concentration, flicker, etc. seems too clever by half.

I can see why they are doing that, and I can see why it's a bad idea as well. I think the solution is just to decide when you make the "item" whether or not it's actually constant (no flicker, but can't "add" people to the effect) or the daily flicker (flicker, obviously, but can add or subtract people at dawn and dusk, if targeting allows.). Same cost for either, but you have to choose once..........