While I will go ahead and make and run Cheech, (a magical animal companion) I am creating a thread to walk through the process- if anyone has questions or comments feel free to mention them- I am human and capable of mistakes.

To begin with the question of power level is addressed: in this case an easy decision: cheech is a magical animal companion as well as being a familiar- a companion to a magus, which makes this a companion character.

The next issue is the question of it's "status", due to it being a monkey. The obvious choice I magical animal, but this specifies that it would have no hands, and while this is easily corrected as a magical virtue, I feel the character should be able to have hands without magic. I'll treat this as a major virtue, the inverse of no hands major flaw...

Depending on the type of monkey Cheech could be from size -2 to -3... I'm going to go with -2. Looking in Mystery Cults for guidance, a clawed beast has cunning 0, per 0, pre -2 and com -5, and clooking at a monkey as a large herbivoire gives guideline stats of St:2, Sta:2, Dx:0 and Quick:1, or as a small herbivoire Str:-7, Sta:3, Dex:2, Quick:2- these are guidelines, not actual stats. (besides, monkeys are not really clawed and are omnivorous)

I'll assign stats later- for other virtues and flaws I'm going start with carefree (minor flaw) and reckless (minor flaw). There is obviously much more to do, but I need to cede the computer to my children to Skype with their mother, so I will handle the rest later.

Using the option in magic to use 7 points for all of the magical animals base stats, I give the monkey Int:2 Per:0 Pre:-2 com:0 Str:2 Sta:0 Dex:2 Qui:1. Modifying these for size makes the monkey Str:-4 and Qui:4
For flaws we currently have reckless and carefree, along with magical friend, which balance the has hands virtue, along with magical animal.

The size modifier is 2* size to strength and -1.5 * size to quickness?

Hi guys, just found out there are stats for a monky in Lord of Men p. 45 !

I think it is + size * 2 to strength and - size to qik

That sounds like what I had seen somewhere, but since SilverOak got from Qui 1 to Qui 4 with a size -2, I was slightly confused, which is why I ask. Presumably when he surfaces from job and family, he will clarify.

size -3, but let me look at lord of men... (monkeys come in a variety of sizes, I envisioned a spider monkey kind of familiar)
I like the LOM monkey better- we'll use it, with the following from ROP:M-converting cunning:2 into Int:2, (free) add virtue magic animal (special), and flaw magical friend (minor) and essential personality trait (curious), then balance the social flaw with unaffected by gift.

The monkey has might:13 with qualities of gift of speech, and 2 levels of focus power with a focus on penetrating security. I expect to putthe remaining 6 quality points into a ritual power, but this requires more thought...

Sounds like a good outline. Persuading Cheech not to talk to the patients (too often) will be "interesting". Which is part of why one of the two grogs will be what we would now call a hospital orderly.

He will have ritual power: grant (apt student) and Vis mastery for his final qualities

Will you be doing skills for Cheech as well (I assume he is a Spring being, but its up to you).
Also, will you be doing advancement for him? Related to that, I note an apparent oddity in the rules in that if Cheech spends two season practicing a minor magical quality, he can gain it. And 50p of Abilities is a minor magical quality? Presumably that doesn't work when he works with me in the lab for a season, or in any other circumstance where he is busy for the season. It also leads to the question of what other magical qualities he might want to spend time learning. Or am I completely misreading the qualities and advancement section of RoP:M?

I believe you are either misreading that or missing some points- while a magical entity can gain a minor magical quality with 10 xp, their current might has to be subtracted from each season of gaining experience, so practice for Cheech would yield effectively nothing. Also there are limits to how many qualities a magical creature can have, in that qualities-inferiorities must be less than or equal to their magic might.

I will do skills for Cheech here fairly soon...

I thought that the familiar bond removed the magical might penalty to learning. Is there a line I missed about that removal being partial?

Also, I thought the qualities limit was only at magical character creation. Although it being a consistent limitation does make sense. I was not able to figure out how magical creatures gain might.

It removes the penalty to learning when they are working with or learning from the mage, not in all circumstances. The mage cannot teach qualities.

Cheech would begin with 120 points in abilities.
From Lords of Men he will have Athletics:3(30), Awareness:4(50), Brawl:4(50), stealth:4(50), and survival:3 (30) which is 210 points. Since I don't want Cheech to be less than a normal monkey, I am moving him up to summer for 360 points, leaving Cheech 150 points to spend.
Romany:5 (75) takes half of that, and since Cheech has been around Magi for a bit I'm going to give him Latin:3(30) and Magic Theory:3(30), along with Finesse:2(15)

As long as you are declaring this as a house rule, I am happy to go with it. It makes internal sense. The reason I am being pedantic is that the errata to RoP:M says "Finally, as stated in ArM5 (page 105), magic creatures bound as familiars to Hermetic magi learn in the same way as humans, and retain those Abilities if the familiar bond is broken." That does not say "learn from the Magus the same way as humans. It says that they learn the same way as humans. (Interestingly, this can quite reasonably be read to mean that they simply can't practice to learn magical abilities, because that is not learning the same way as humans. Also, other players on this saga have indicated that Cheech could learn from books if he had the patience / interest, and we trusted him with a book.

Other discussion I found on the board seems to indicate that other people believe that magical creatures can learn extra magical qualities, so I rather like having a good reason for Cheech not to do so.

Thanks for the skills setup.

Actually what it says is "Familiars can learn abilities in the same way as humans" which I understand to mean as opposed to animals which (originally) could not learn. Technically a magical familiar can learn in the same way, it simply has some penalties to do so, same as a magical human. I will however post this in the house rules and rulings for clarity.

Thanks. That works for me.

Just checking that the duplication of skills for 105 xp giving him Romany 5 and Latin 3 is intentional, since he gets Romany 5 and Latin 4 once he is my familiar.

Good point, switch that to Arabic:5 and Itallian:3

apparently I missed 50 xp in abilities- he will also have a 4 in swim.