Familiar Bonding bonus

My problem is that everyone can just declare every lab to be a transient lab, and then everyone can just move into any lab without a problem. There becomes no point in a non-transient lab, and they cease to exist. Then you wonder why there was ever a rule about a transient lab v. any other kind. Yes, like you I prefer "and" to "or" here.


Depends how you play it up to Varkos. "You are so powerful that I need another magus' help to really pay hommage to your magnificence, my dear friend!" A decent Guile or Charm roll might be required, or not, by the storyguide.

A better aura increases Varkos' magic resistance; it does not boost a creature's Might. This it has no effect on the Familiar Bonding Level and provides a net bonus to the lab total.

So if you ignored the aura in the lab total because of that argument, the problem may be solved already.


I know a lot of people have offered good advice, and a lot of good ideas in Covenants. Personally, if your troupe is not already using the lab modification rules, then you may not want to open that can of worms to the entire saga. Alternatively, it's a good opportunity to do so. Take a look and decide if you want that mess.

Setting up a lab in a new location may be good - if Varkos and the Flambeau have hit it off so well, it should be possible to convince him to wait... or help. If using the rules for Auras in ROP:M, you could seek out a specific Ignem-aspected aura. This could double as a private lair for Varkos, and a backup lab for the mage.

You can get help from other magi, as mentioned. I had a similar saga where my Flambeau was short of binding a prideful dragon, and another magus assigned their apprentice to me for the 'learning experience'. You could look into borrowing an apprentice in return for some teaching time.

I doubt his Technique or Form are low enough to use Vis to gain the levels he needs, if he's binding a dragon, but those are also ideas for a bonus.


How far is the mage from gaining those 3 points of lab total?
Going from Ignem I assume is the relevant Form) 15 to 18 is difficult, but the lab total has many different elements to it, which can each be increased one point easier than one them them cna be raised by 3.

Which arts is the magus using, what is his Magic Theory, and which speciality? Does he even have one? If not, maybe it's time!
It sounds like you're not using Covenants for Lab characteristics and specialization
Even if the non-standard rutines for a +3 are too harsh for poorer living conditions, then maybe just use this for part of it, +1 for early riser or night owl rather than the full +3 for triple overtime.

Does the magus have vis to study, to boost his arts?
Covenants allows studying a phenomenon (like an actual fire breathing drake) instead of spending vis, but for the same kind of study.

How chummy are the covenants magi around each other? Maybe on of the sodales can help, it all he needs is +3 then someone should have an Int+Magic Theory in this range, I hope. He needs not go find an experienced magus, those kinds of people are unlikely to bother working as lab slaves.

I have brought this thread to the troupe's attention. We will see what they decide.
Thanks to all.


Has he capped out on vis per season?

Why would that matter? Vis can be spent to boost spell casting totals, however I don't see core rules saying it can boost lab activities.

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Extra vis can be used to boost the lab total of a longevity ritual, but not of a familiar bond.


Oh man, we've been doing that wrong in my game. Thanks.

Might already be the case in Varkos current Lair and the Flambeau might just need to convince him to setup a lab there.


Have you considered why Varkos might want to commit to a familiar bond?

he commits to dying when the magus does and to having a permanent arcane connection made to himself and to being treated as something in between property and a pet by the order of Hermes?

It is eminently possible for Varkos to say something along the lines of: "hmm a familiar-bond sounds interesting, but it is not something degrading is it? But I think it is a bit early to forge our souls together in a magical bond. I will consent to hanging around your lab and finding out more, and then if I feel like bonding our souls together then you can proceed".

This both puts the Flambeau on a sort of probation/first base in familiar-dating terms, and also conveniently gives him time to increase his lab total.

There is really no reason why a magus and prospective familiar need to go through the ritual of bonding right away. The book explicitly compares the familiar bond to marriage and it is normal enough to be betrothed for some time before marrying.