Familiar House Rules

Hi all,

The troupe recently spent some time trying to add some spice to the familiar rules. I give B+ for effort. Sharing the fruits here so that you may ponder on the ideas too :slight_smile:
Should be noted that in current campaigns, all skill are capped @ 6 (including magic theory). In order to go beyond, you need some sort of initiation or exposure to a "greater" source.

On top of canon rules we added the below. We also removed the benefits of the cords found in the core rules (Bronze adding to soak, aging,etc. Gold to botches, etc) and replaced them with the below.

Enchantment Bonus (same as core book)
House Rule - Personal effects can be invested but will only be activated by the one that is targeted by the effect.
House Rule - Touch effect can be activated by either

Each Cord Points = Points to buy qualities of the same type. Qualities tagged as CORE are free. Each item cost 1 point except minor virtues which cost 3.

Golden Cord CORE - Cord value is added to totals for acclimatisation (Vis & Aura totals)

Increase magical skill cap by 1 (Pen, Fin) *
Reduce level of effect by 1 for effects invested in the bond *
Add 2 to max vis use *
Gold Cord value reduces number of botch dice, minimum is still 1
Add 1 to Casting total for 1 Form *
Add 2 to Casting Totals for 1 Form + Technique combination *
Add 2 to Twilight Comprehension Total *
Add 2 to Twilight Avoidance Total *
Add 1 to Might *
Add 2 to form resistance (form specific) *
Minor magical virtue (3) *
Major Magical virtue (6)

Silver Cord CORE - Add Cord Value to Natural resistance rolls against supernatural influence. Can free you if your mind is overcome by another force on cord roll 9+, one try per day. Acts as resistance to social distractions, granting cord value as extra free days prior to impacting negatively season’s activity.

Add cord value to All personality rolls of a given type (Bravery, Loyalty, Perseverance, etc)
Add cord value to concentration rolls
Increase Social/Academic skill cap by 1 (Includes Concentration) *
Increase by one point a mental statistic that is lower than your familiar’s, the familiar gets an increase in one of his lower than you statistics as well. Can be taken once per lower mental statistic
Minor social virtue (3)*
Major social virtue (6)

Bronze Cord CORE - Add cord value to Resist deprivation totals (hold breath, resist sleep).

Add cord value to Healing totals
Add 1 to Soak totals *
Add 2 to Aging totals *
Increase Martial & Physical skill cap by 1 (Awareness, Brawl, Melee) *
Increase by one point a physical statistic that is lower than your familiar’s, the familiar gets an increase in one of his lower than you statistics as well. Can be taken once per lower physical statistic
Minor Martial/Physical virtue (3)*
Major Martial/Physical virtue (6)

  • Can be taken multiple times


It does look interesting...a way of customizing what the base Familiar cords give you, I think? But I think I'm missing something major. What do you mean by 'Bonus Variables'? How exactly do you calculate how many qualities someone can buy?

The Silver Cord needs some love in the RAW, and I like what you've done there regarding concentration so much I'm proposing it in a game I'm playing in. But your other House Rules necessitate some of these House Rules, so they kind of cancel each other out.

Out of curiosity, do you also limit advancement of Arts past level 14 (same experience points needed to get to Art 14 as Ability 6).

Your binding lab total allow you to forge your cords as usual. Each cord point is worth a quality point which you can then spend to buy them. I.e if you have one gold cord point, you could buy an extra might point or add two to a specific form resistance, etc.

I see how the term "bonus variables" could be confusing. I'll edit to clarify.


We haven't seen a need to cap arts so far. In the last 15 years of play, arts kinda cap themselves with Vis rarety and low quality tracts.


I don't have any context for what this mean. Do you mean it's rare for anyone to get an Art up to 14, let alone two?

I asked the question about capping Arts because, in a game that already gives magi extraordinary power over mundanes, capping abilities disadvantages the companions and grogs, especially if the only way to advance abilities beyond a score of 6 is some form of special initiation.

Going back to the Arts issue, if we presume a MT of 5 and an Int of 2 and an aura of 3, you are also capping the maximum spell that can be learned by magi as a level 35 spell, and only if they have a lab text or want to try and invent it over 3 years... Higher auras and intelligence might yield higher level spells. Or it makes Puissant and Affinity even more common or important.

I'd say we typically see a cap of arts around 20-25 with one exception where the player took puissant & affinity + specialised on it to get 30+

Companions and grogs were already not playing on the same field as mages so really litle impact there.

You forgot lab, focus, apprentice, familiar, slave mages, virtues (inventive genious for ex.). But yes, makes virtuoses standout and specialists, the only ones to perform well in their speciality as MT / pen are limited. You also see more spell mastery.