Bjornaer can't bind familiars. But could you in theory bind one as a familiar? I'm talking about pure (hermetic) theory here, not about political/ethical/etc. ramifications, nor whether it is conceivable (though note that it could be: two magi, one of Bjoraner, fall in love and want to try this "soul sharing" thing out).
Ok, back to the theory.
You need an animal "with inherent magic".
A Bjornaer in heartbeast form certainly qualifies as an animal, since we know that he is perfectly undistinguishable from an animal by Hermetic magic.
What about inherent magic? Well, the corebook says that an animal with inherent magic is likely to have a might score - implying that you could have animals with inherent magic but without a might score. A Bjornaer, with the Gift and all, probably has as much inherent magic as you can get without having a might score.
Now, what happens when the Bjornaer reverts to human form? Well, HoH:MC says that "Animal spells cast on the Heartbeast remain in effect after transformation to human form". It would then seen reasonable to assume that the same holds for the cords and any enchantment upon them.
Any ideas? Again, I'm just wondering about the hermeticfeasibility* of this according to the RAW, not whether it would make a good or bad story.
I see the familiar bond as being two way, so it shouldn't work because of the Ban/taboo on his side. Ie, he can't return your "handshake". If your mysteries are more "open" then canon, then it might be possible to do it to a Bjornaer who had been brought into the cult with a different script. That's a story there. I would be careful, the familiar bond allows access to each others "powers". I have no idea if that would include supernatural virtues. It could get very gross, very quickly.
As a side note, do you think that (assuming that Bjornaer can be bound) a Bjornaer with the Mystery of the Anima who has transformed his heartbeast "into a spiritual form" can be bound with as a spirit by a magus with the "spirit familiar" virtue?
I'm more of the mind that a Familiar bond is a two-way thing. If the magical nature of a Bjornear is altered sufficiently that they cannot bond with a familiar then no one can bond with them in heartbeast form.
If having a familiar, ever, prevents you from initiating into the house, then I would say that the Heartbeast magic and the familiar magic are deeply incompatible.
That all being said, your magus might do some research into the area (Major or Hermetic breakthrough, I'm not sure) and find a reasonable facsimile.
Of course it is. But from what i can find, the restriction is only stated to be in one direction.
Why would they have to be in heartbeast form?
There have been occasions stated of magi bonding with other humans anyway. Well at least unless they have been written out of RAW lately, dont know about that...
Current RAW is pretty clear. Magical animals, spirits(mysteries) and faerie(mystery cults). People are covered by corpus, not anima, and so can not be bound by RAW. The heart of this discussion is could you bind a Bjorner in heart beast form, when they would be covered by anima, not corpus.
I know that this is not part of the OP's question, but canon is very clear:
It is also clear that the Ritual of Twelve Years is the only initiatory mystery for the Heartbeast; if there were others, then a character who fails the Ritual of Twelve Years could enter the house through a different route, and that is explicitly nixed.
Naturally, you could allow variant scripts in your own saga. But then you are allowing some Bjornaer to have familiars; which makes them a very different house. Given the advantages of familiars, I'm sure Bjornaer magi would have them if they could; thus the variant script would become the norm rather than the exception.
I would love to see your lab total for this project in order to prevent the bjornaer from losing all his hermetic arts et al
Not that I would allow it IMS, since I consider binding a Free Willed being impossible (limit of the Divine), but you can try. YMMV about this restruiction, since it is a loose interpretation of canon.
Hmm, I disagree - see for example the discussion on why many Verditius magi strongly objected to allowing outsiders in the House, who would be able to acquire the mysteries of Verditius without the "crippling" of the casting tools - and only relented after the Primus came up with a way to break the Gift of a prospective entrant so as to force him to rely on casting tools.
Still! Assuming that the Heartbeast can be bound (whether because the link is broken "one way" or because a different script is used) any ideas on whether:
the binding remains intact when the Bjornaer returns to human form?
the binding is effective when the Bjornaer returns to human form (e.g. it could be intact, but not working until the Bjornaer goes back to animal)?
a spirit binding (from the virtue "spirit familiar") would be effective on an anima inner heartbeast (e.g. a shadow)?
Perhaps the Bjornaer are wrong. Common symptom in Mystery Cults.
Perhaps the reason Bjornaer magi cannot bond with a Familiar is because they are already bound to their Heartbeast. The Bjornaer are mistaken in their belief that they are descended from an animal ancestor. Instead, they are bound with an ancestral animal spirit. Through the Mystery of Heartbeast, the two become one and the same. Thus a Bjornaer magus cannot bind with a Familiar (nor can the be bound as a Familiar), because they are already bound to their Heartbeast.
I like to toy with this idea, and perhaps permit Bjornaer magi to attain Spirit Familiar as an Inner Mystery. They have to seek out this ancestor spirit, and it is the one and only spirit that can be his Spirit Familiar. Or perhaps it should be Daemonic Spirit Familiar? The Ancestor spirit is perhaps a Daemon, and you bond with an Aspect of it
Or perhaps that is all too complicated.
It is more reasonable to say a magus cannot bind another magus. Whether in human or heartbeast form, a Bjornaer magus is still a magus.
Or perhaps magi can bond with one another. This is an interesting idea, and gives new meaning to the concept of Amicus. This would still exclude the Bjornaer though.
A Familiar bond is indeed a two-way connection. Magus and Familiar are bound to each other, Familiar to magus and magus to Familiar, they are bound together. If you cannot bin, then you cannot be bound; and visa versa.
As prima facia evidence of this, I point to observation of the grammar that is used in RAW when discussing Familiars: â€œThe bond between you and your familiar (â€¦)â€ ; â€œAny magus should be able to bind with (â€¦)â€ ; â€œThe magus and the familiar are magically linked.â€ ; and so on and so forth.
Maybe not in a power level being equal sense, but cannon seems pretty clear that the Magnus and would be familiar must Love/really like each other. Which would seem to imply they see each other as equals....