Double familiar?

There are a lot of mythical beings who have two bonded animals, like Odin's two ravens, or Mars' two horses. Is there a quality (or qualities) that would let a magical animal pull double duty and be two animals for similar effect?

not yet, but you could always make one. Of course your examples are gods, not mages, but if you decide to create one I'd suggest making it a major virtue and require that they be the same species.

In a very old campaign (Ars 2nd ed.), Manfred van Alkmaar, my mage, invented a « Heart Cord », that was allowing him to bind a number of familiar equal to its bond value (so he needed a value of 2 to have 2 familiars). But in term of laboratory, it was a single labtot and both familiars were identical animal (a couple of faerie dragons that my mage did not want to separate). My mage was very family oriented (he had a wife and several kids) and wanted to have his magic to reflect that. He belonged to the Beast Mage tradition (2nd ed), which granted huge bonus for familiar bonds, so my ST agreed on that (instead of having +3 in all cords, kind of boring).

Odin actually had even more:

  • 2 Ravens (Hugin & Munin)
  • 2 Wolves (Gere & Freke or Geri/Freki)
  • 1 Horse w/ 8 legs (Sleipnir/Sleipner)

In the L&L Normandy Tribunal book, there is a legless Magus living underneath Paris whose cart is pulled by two dogs - one is his Familiar, the other is his Magical Animal Companion.

Why not if you like it ?

The decision is up to you regarding how you balance this. Enchanting a familiar is quite a lot of (lab and out of lab) work, so few magi would do this several times, IMO, unless it's unbalanced (and so, a way of abusing the rules).

I would advice you to, at the very least, disallow enchanting different cords for different familiars (i.e. new familiar must have each cord at least as strong than it is for its predecessor) and to check the humor compatibility if from different species (see house Bjornaer chapter in HoH Mystery houses). First limit is to prevent abuse, the second one to keep some coherency in your magu's menagerie.

Take a look at the magical wolf in the back of the core book (p.193). Use its power, Pack of One, as a guide.

I'd actually suggest for it to be a Minor Virtue, obtainable through a Minor Breakthrough; ideally with some perks, and possibly limitations.
Spirit Familiar, for examples, is a Minor Virtue that allows you to take a spirit as a familiar (not normally allowed), with some extra perks.
Faerie Magic, as a Minor Virtue, allows you to take faerie familiars (not normally allowed); with some perks and serious limitations, but Faerie Magic also gives you a lot more.

I would require the familiars to somehow qualify as a group on a mystical level; not necessarily being of the same species. For example, if a particular goddess is known to take the three forms of a salmon, a bear, and an owl, than you could take a salmon, a bear and an owl somehow associated with the goddess as familiars (no more, no less -- taking only two would see the bonds erode as those of faerie familiars).

unless you can only get certain benefits from one at a time that is definitely a major advantage. Two bronze cords to subtract from your aging rolls? Add two magic theories to all your labs? Familiars are way too powerful for this to be a minor virtue unless it is severely handicapped in some way.

It really depends how you run the mechanics. If they count as a single 'bond' a lot of that is reduced. If the cords use highest instead of stacking, it is reduced. Lots abuse potential though.

I was actually thinking of some way to bind a "group" of familiars as a single familiar, in line with what racoonmask is saying. So, you have a single gold cord (thread?) to the entire group, etc. The simplest way to do it would be to say that you can bind a group of familiars as a single familiar whose size and Might equal the largest size and Might in the group, modified as follows:
2 familiars: +1 size, +5 Might
3-4: +2/+10
5-10: +3/+15
11-20: +4/+20
21-40: +5/+25
41-100: +6/+30

Note that finding a group that is mystically a group is harder, and having a group of familiars does give you more options, but also makes you that much more vulnerable -- I would rule that any death in the group gives the caster a number of warping points equal to the size modifier above, and/or forces him to reforge the bond; with the bond being impossible if the group is no longer a group in the mystical sense (e.g. if you had four magical wolves, one associated to each season, the death of one would make the remaining ones unbondable until a suitable replacement was found). So, It would be interesting to come up with small perks that having a group of familiars, instead of just one, gives you -- in the same way that the spirit cords give you small (and not so small) perks.

Hmm. Perhaps:

Gold Thread: In addition to functioning as a gold cord, find the minimum between your Gold thread score, and the Size modifier above. You get these many "free" magnitudes towards extra Size and/or T:Group in your spells. If your spells are formulaic, they must be invented with the extra magnitudes (you do not get the equivalent of Flexible Formulaic Magic): you simply do not subtract them from your Casting Total. Your familiars receive the same benefits to any inherent magics they might possess. (This is probably a bit strong, particularly with Spontaneous magic).

Silver Thread: In addition to functioning as a silver cord, find the minimum between your Silver Thread score, and the Size modifier above. You get this as a bonus to Concentration rolls, and to rolls where having "many heads on a problem" might help. Examples include Leadership rolls to control large number of people, combat rolls in which you fight as a trained group, and rolls to find stuff in a library. Note that most Hermetic research is unrolled, so it gets no bonus.

Bronze Thread: In addition to functioning as a bronze cord, find the minimum between your Bronze Thread score, and the Size modifier above. You can reduce both Wound penalties and Fatigue penalties by this amount, reducing and possibly negating their impact (but that's as far as the bonus goes: if you are unwounded and unfatigued you get no bonus). The troupe might allow this bonus to apply to similar penalties, such as those that might arise from intense pain. (This is pretty weak, considering Endurance of the Berserkers, and not very flavourful...)

I am just thinking about how the remaining three wolves would be very resistant to bonding with the caster again as they have proved that they can't keep the pack safe. It would certainly be an interesting adventure to rebuild that trust.

Hi! I am very leery of that Super-duper Greater Power (not named as such, but hey!), so would not really wish to even include it in the game at all. It's not defined by the RoP:M (because it predates it), but I note it's not mentioned at all in that book, even to clarify it in any way, or include it as an option.
Really, a power that multiplies a creature and all its capabilities, as well as protecting it from death (as long as 1 copy remains alive) is ripe for ridiculous abuse, including a Verditius with Bind Magical Creatures. :cry:


Pack of One is one of my favorite powers in AM. It is so right for the wolf. So atmospheric. I even interpreted it as the pack not being resisted as a magical medium, but being a real pack of wolves for the duration.

It's not being supported by RoP:M is, for me, one of the fatal flaws of that book. (Yes, one can always just make up powers, but then the chapter in RoP:M can be reduced to a sentence.)

(After Pack of One, I can imagine Pack of Two, which might allow a Tremere and his wolf to form a pack, so that both have to die for one to die. Or the two form a pack with some fake wolves, with the Tremere shifting to wolf form, so that any two survivors become the magus and familiar. Either is clearly a better power than PoO, requiring a much Mightier wolf.)