Finding Familiars: which approach ?

Hi folks!

My Maga is about to go looking for a familiar and reading the rules hereabout made me think about the ways to choose one. I see three of them:

  1. Animal-based approach: The Magus simply chooses the kind of magical animal he would want. Example: the Magus wants a snake with Mentem powers.
  2. LT-based approach: The Magus will be looking for a familiar which matches his best LT(TeFo). Example: As the Magus is best at MuHe, he will go looking for a chameleon.
  3. Vis-based approach: The Magus will be looking for a familiar he can bind with the vis he has. Example: the Magus has In, Au, Te and Vi vis, he could then go looking for an eagle.

The thing is that you have to find a balance between these three approaches. If you haven't vis that matches your best LT(TeFo), it is useless to go in that direction. On the other side, you could suck in the Arts in which you posses vis.

Which makes me wonder: how do Magi in your Saga choose their familiars ?


Unless the magi is a generalist with many Arts at roughly the same level, nearly always pick a familiar based on highest TeFo combination. The argument for the pick doesnt have to be obvious though.

If you dont have the Vis you need, who cares, you better find a way to get it then!

What Direwolf75 said. Also, you have to find a familiar that is compatible with you, even if this is not reflected in a game mechanic. If the familiar matches your best TeFo, you have a good argument right there for compatibility. If not... well, not only is that snake with Mentem power a very rare animal to begin with, possibly one of a kind, but once you finally track it down it might well hate you at first sight. Depending on your troupe playstyle and your ST, that might or might not be a problem.

OK, so the higher TeFo is the best way to determine what kind of animal the Magus would be compatible with.

Any suggestions for a Maga specialized in InMe and MuMe ? I should add that the Maga is a Jerbiton living in the Provence Tribunal.

By doing some further research on the familiars topic, I read that it is possible to bind faerie animals (providing you were initiated to the Faerie Magic Mystery). Is there something similar for the Divine and the Infernal Realms ?

In case you'd bind an animal belonging to another Realm than the Magical one, do you need vis of the corresponding Realm ?

I'm not going that way with my familiar, but I just wonder :stuck_out_tongue:


It just makes too much sense, and few TeFo combos would absolutely exclude a specifically desired animal type if that were an important IC element.

Acquiring the needed vis is simply another story, and unless your mage is isolated or a pariah in the Order, not (necessarily) a very challenging one. Redcaps are usually eager to swap vis, if at their painfully high rates (2:1 for Form vis, but that's practically an automatic transaction unless you've alienated House Mercere somehow).

As a Jerbiton, she probably wants something relatively banal - a mini-dragon on the shoulder would probably not be the most subtle addition to the Jerbiton's habits. But then again, there are always ways around that, and having an awkward animal could add some interesting story elements on occasion.

First, I'd suggest you look forward and decide whether it's InMe or MuMe, unless you are dedicated to keeping both Intellego and Muto equivalent in the long term. If you see one dominating, that's the way I'd recommend you lean, planning for the future.

(If you want to include the purely mechanistic game elements, consider the effects you want to enchant into your familiar - are there going to be more Intellego or more Muto, and which will she need help with to achieve? Those will add +5 to her Lab Total, which is handy - but not every player feels this is an approp factor in the decision, understandably.)

And one last consideration for that first option is Magical Might, if the animal has too much going on in the supernatural direction. Too high and it may be difficult to bind - see page 104 again for details on that obstacle.

The book suggests "animals that have a true mind, or which can affect the minds of people" (p 104), so either discuss an "awakened" animal with your SG/Troupe, or grab a medieval bestiary and go for the second option. (The former really doesn't matter except perhaps in personality, since the Familiar will attain human intelligence once it's bound either way.)

I'm not sure a mundane snake would be approp (tho' there may be some exceptions), but wyrms of one variety or another are always an option. Beyond that, I'm not remembering any animal that can affect the minds of men - of other animals, yes, but not men. But I'm sure there are some - there have to be! There is always some sage who suggests some obscure characteristic of an animal that fits. And if not, you can always invent one w/ SG approval, or ask your SG to do so - not all under heaven has been catalogued by man or mage.

Not by the rules, but that never means it's not possible. IC there is not going to be a lot of accurate and easily available info on it - it might turn out to be one way or the other, as decided by the SG and/or Troupe.

But the SG should always balance the difficulty of such with the Story of the Covenant. Delaying the primary story arc with a search for faerie vis could be a mistake overall, but covering it narratively - just rolls and a season spent - may be approp, depending on their call.

Serf's Parma, but RoP: Magic suggests any animal with an Intelligence score (as opposed to Cunning) resonates with Mentem.

For your animal i would suggest a cat. I think they are mentioned in ROP:Magic and perhaps in HOH:Societates(jerbiton section), as breed of cats that are supported by House Jerbiton, and that are able to affect both the minds of men (to like them :stuck_out_tongue:) and spirits, wich are the purview of Mentem. And, of course, they are fairly inconspicuous :stuck_out_tongue:.

Hope it helps!

The Black Cats of RoP:M are (Serf's Parma) decended from the Familiar of Jerbiton himself.

Indeed, and it would make sense given the Founder Jerbiton's familiar was a prince of the Egyptian cats and my Maga's mother was a Egyptian witch.

I think I will go for InMe. She is currently good in MuMe simply because our Covenant has a very nice Muto summa at hand :stuck_out_tongue: She uses much more InMe and ReMe and will do so in the future.

I already thought about the Lab Total bonuses, as I am going to instill some MuAn effects in my familiar. But I guess you can't have it all :unamused:

Thank you very much for the link, it will be pretty useful in our Saga!

Aren't wyrms a bit... (too) big ? As for the snake, it's story related :wink:

Well, it will probably be between a snake, a cat, or a falcon (trendy for a Jerbiton).

Thanks for the input!

Wyrms come in all sizes, at least in my mind. If you want to term the "snake sized" ones differently, far from me to quibble fantasy semantics.

Cats and snakes both seem to be perfectly likely candidates to have "mind effects".

And don't forget things that "look" like cats or snakes (or can choose to in one form), but with Magical Might are something more (by any name).

No need to cite RoP, and it's more than "suggested". Anything with Intelligence (even a -5 Int) has a "true mind", and thus falls under Mentem (as opposed to Cunning, which is Animal), which is the definition quoted above...

This Intelligence=Mentem/Cunning=Animal definition can be found spelled out in the Animal Guidelines, and is echoed under the Mentem.

My Feline Master wishes to convey his opinion that cats are indeed compatible with Mentem effects, especially ReMe. :wink:

Feline Master.

Such a delusion.... Didn't you know yet that feline dealers are just minions of the true rulers of the world? :laughing: