Dragon Familiar Question:

Hi Guys,

In their adventures, my PC's have met a Dragon named Goratrix, a huge dragon who loves to "play" (i.e wrestle ) with things/people and has a really joyus and happy personality along with his amazing destructive capability. "i.e. I'll do a favor for you, but it was to be something awesome like burning down the country side and eating everything in my path so those men with the metal who ride horses come play with me. Also not very bright.) One of my PC's is interested in getting him as a familiar.

Now, per RAW, the lab total needed would be 145. (25+5size+Might = 25+125+60=145) This kind of total could possibly be done with lots of studying and the right virtues, (namely, the right Major or Minor Magical Focus, lab assistants, but I'm wont to dissallow that, as the binding the familiar is a very intimate procedure that I'm not sure outsiders could help with) but would take so much time that it would be an end game possibility.

As an alternative, I can see 2:

1.) Doing some kind of original research into making the binding of familiars much easier, perhaps with added benefits.

2.) Doing some research into Legends to find some kind of plot device item that makes binding a familiar much easier.

My PC's absolutely love quests and would go gonzo over 2, and mayfind 1 really boring. (i.e. "no quest and just a bunch of dice rolls? Lame!) So, the question becomes, what the hell kind of item would they have to find? And if you have other suggestions about the whole situation, please let me know. I'm generally ok with my PC's doing crazy things as long as the stories are fun to SG and my players are having a great time. I don't like to dissallow things out of hand unless I know they will result in poor outcomes.

One other question, does binding a Magical Creature mean that the creature no longer has to live in an Aura for most of the year? (Magical Realms book)

Edited to add: Two of the other PC's have "Magical Animal Companion" Flaw for an Owl and a Cat. I'm not sure if they want to make them familiars or not.

I'd be careful about how I tweak the familiar rules. Familiars can be a huge source of power and any changes you make might effect how they balance out to other aspects of hermetic magic. You might end up with the magi in your saga doing nothing but collecting bigger and better familiars with huge cord ratings and tons of special powers. (gotta catch em all :slight_smile: )

A one shot boost for one Magi to bond a huge dragon would avoid some of the trouble but might cause other problems.

"Why does Maricus Suicus get a giant dragon familiar and I'm stuck with this silly old bat?"

Another option might have the players questing for a one shot object that would make Goratrix easier to bind by making him smaller and reducing his might. Considering all the trouble that dragon can get into it might be the best solution for all involved. He won't see it that way of course.


Your point about the other PC's preferences are valid. IN fact, now I'm thinking a bit... The PC's have recently come across some ancient history books (Egyptian, Celtic and Mesopotamian ) that may shed light on magical practices of the time.

The response i generally hate is: Make it a Major Mystery Virtue!
Find a Cult of Echidna , or have them contact you.
Initiate a Minor Mystery Virtue of some kind before you get the Major one needed to bind a dragon or other monstrous/epic familiar.

Wait for Legends of Hermes and create your own cult to self-initiate a Dragon-binding Mystery.

Or just go with the: why would the dragon be bond to a magus which is merely less potent than him (proof is he can't even bind him!), not immortal and which will prevent him to crunch any human (since he would be responsible regarding the Code).

If there is a plot device item that makes it possible for a mage to bind this dragon, surely somewhere there is one that makes it possible for the dragon to bind the magus as his familiar ? And possibly the instructions manual got mixed up by a mischievous faery ?

And what about that similar plot device which actually conjures a demon that looks like ad dragon and binds it to the character ? I mean, if the first is possible, surely that one is too, and demons would work hard at helping magi find it.

Seriously, having a Might 60 creature as a character's sidekick is going to skew the balance of the game all to hell. Plus, once you magically help him get his sky high Lab Total, the cords will follow, compounding the problem.

RoP:M p 34 states that in a legendary saga, a magus character (or mythic companion) could have MM 50. Is there a player that wants to play the dragon as his main character?

Who wouldn't? :mrgreen:

Thanks for the ideas guys, this is quite helpful. I've also reread the original research rules, where with the appropriate magic theory, getting a discovery would be very easy. I think what I'll do is present the player and the group with some options.

I would say there is zero point zero chance for the dragon to agree to something as horrible as that!


AFAIK, yes.

Could be a nice idea.

I'm not sure. If you are speaking of acclimitation, it can be right - I'm not familiar with it-, but if you speak about a flaw, then I wouldn't let the familiar bond remove it so easily.

Quick Question: What level of Discovery from the True Lineages book would you classify making familiar binding easier? How would you do it yourself? I'm leaning towards Major discovery myself.

It depends the "easier" intensity.

Giving a bonus to binding by [some ability like magic lore] would be minor.

Giving some kind of focus effect in the binding process would be a major

Not counting the size or the might in the process would be a major. Both would be an hermetic (or two major, it depends your way of conceiving it).

My initial reaction to the suggestion would be that, to make it possible to "bind" the dragon as a familiar, any research or story woul require the character to give up some of the power linked to a familiar bond.

For example, the character could delve into the familiar rituals of the early time of the Order, looking for more basic ways to link to the dragon. That may mean a weaker link possibly much weaker. An obvious possibility would be limited strength or more costly cords. Maybe only a single one can be formed at all, at minimal strength. Or some other flaw like loosing fatigue when the familiar expends Might, shared wounds, etc.

I would certainly not allow anything that would allow the character to get more strength out of the familiar link, since having a dragon is already so much more powerful and unbalancing. IMHO, the more powerful the familiar, the more limited the familiar link should be!

Not acclimation. IIRC the bond replaces the need for staying in an aura. And if the need remains, then the bond isnt really worth much now is it?

Hee hee. If you were sneaky and clever, you could destroy part of the might of the dragon in order to lower the lab total requirements.

You could make it so that the dragon might even agree to the bond to protect him against whoever is attacking him! (Just make sure that he never finds out the truth... equivalent to Dark Secret Flaw.)

Overall, though, I think that making the dragon a familiar is a terrible, terrible idea. Its too powerful by half. Better to have him as a powerful if problematic ally to the covenant: he'll help them out in a fight, but they have to work overtime to hide a homicidal half-wit flying three-story lizard.

If you must make the dragon a familiar, I'd suggest searching for the origins of the Elder Runes, in the great forests of the north. These runes allowed Wayland Smith and Verditius the founder to make Greater Items of preposterous power, with lab totals of 150+ very reasonably attainable.

Be warned: In order to learn the secrets, Verditius hunted for years, and nearly died several times. Only when he'd given up hope was he able to gain admittance by cutting off his foot, forever hobbling himself.

These secrets have never been gained lightly.

But essentially you'd need a Cult centred around familiars to the same extent that Verditius is around enchanted items. Even Merinita never had such power.

If they must learn the secrets, I'd make them start their hunt by wresting the starting clues from the hearts of Verdi and Irencella themselves, initiate at least one of the Cults, gain inner mysteries of Elder Runes and/or Nature Lore + Awakening, accept a quest to follow the footsteps of Verditius to the place of initiation of Elder Runes (the site where he met Wayland) and hunt through the area through hidden temples, confront the lost cult of the Enchanters of the North beat out by Verditius for exclusive place as Enchanters in the Order, perhaps travel into the lands of the Order of Odin to learn the final secrets of the runes having both found the last refuges and survived contact with said Order, cobble together the initiations for a lost rite, initiate it at target 30.... and that I think would be a reasonable process to gain the power to initiate a Dragon of Might 60.

Actually doing so would be quite another matter.

If they survived.

The big question is how having a Might-60 familiar (or a few, if other players would also want to pile-on after you make the precedent) affect the saga. The answer to this question determines how you should treat the request.

It seems from your post that a Might-60 dragon character would overshadow even the magi. If so, I recommend simply sticking to the rules on this - this isn't a "no", it's a "your character isn't powerful enough to do this... yet".

Alternatively, and if the character would effectively take the place of a potent martial companion in some adventures (where a flying, fire-breathing, engine of destruction is an asset) - then I would recommend addressing it at three levels. At the gametable level, clarify that (unlike, perhaps, weaker familiars) the dragon is to retain his independent personality (although he would be a True Friend), and should be played as a companion - by another player - when he goes out on adventures.

At the rules-level, establish a "cost" for binding such a powerful familiar in that the binding is weaker. This would discourage other players from this choice, and make having a powerful familiar not obviously better. There are two aspects to this - the bond scores themselves can be lowered, providing lesser benefits, and the accumulating of Magic Theory can be slowed down (if using the ROP:M rules, that is already established). I would, however, also allow a powerful familiar a unique non-Hermetic power, to set it apart from your "standard" familiar even if the saga progresses to high power-levels. For the above character, I'd suggest fire that ignores MR, double MR against physical damage, or some form of access to the Ignem part of the Magic Realm.

Finally, at the saga-level, I'd recommend either Ancient Magic or a unique artifact. The artifact should probably relate to the dragons specifically, and I for one would link it to those Egyptian or Mesopotamian works. Consider questing to find the Eye of Set or the Beast-Crown of the great king Enlil, the Son of the Wilderness in the story of Gilgamesh. Or I'd just use Ancient Magic based on these cultures to allow to re-invent the familiar-binding rules to allow for the weaker binding (as per the rules above) of higher-Might creatures, probably as a Major breakthrough.



I would totally recommend AGAINST this. Artificially retconning like this is one of the worst things you can do as a GM. You´re basically acting as author instead of GM.

Having a more powerful familiar be far more independent and played by a separate player or the GM, you dont really need to arbitrarily nerf the familiar then. And it also makes sense.

Could be fun having the dragon assist with labwork though.

page 104 , ArM 05.
Trust could be an issue with a dragon.

page 105.
Can't readily see a powerful , immortal magical beast choosing this as an option.
(Story as to why it may occur notwithstanding)
Also , if you love and care for or even admire it so much , why do you want to Bond it and eventually have it die.

This is something i´ve always totally ignored, because it makes no sense.

I cant readily see much of any immortal being happy with such, nor the magi. It´s simply a bad rule.