Help in the lab, familiars and others

In the core rules it states you can always have one assistant in addition to your familiar. What it doesnt seem to explicity say is that your familiar is able to make any genuine assistance. For one thing, the rules are pretty clear you have to have the gift to assist in the lab. In previous editions there was no such impediment, or at least I didnt notice one.

Secondly, what about help from other 'magical' creatures. For style reasons I rather fancy having an NPC magus in a future saga with a ghoul for an assistant. Would that actually be persmissible... assuming it was possible to train such a creature in the first place.

I like the idea of an undead lab assistant. I suppose as long as he counts as a magical creature (i.e. has magic might), has an int score and has the capacity to learn magic theory, i'd allow it in my games.

I guess whether your familiar can help you is more due to what kind of animal your familiar is. I can see a monkey being very helpful, a camel, less so. Even a bird could provide a useful companion to bounce ideas off and discuss concepts. It doesn't necessarily have to be hauling test tubes.

Page 105: "They cannot, however, learn magic, although they can learn Magic Theory and serve as laboratory assistants."

And yet, a Failed Apprentice (page 42) can also learn Magic Theory and assist in the lab, although he may not have the Gift.

It is true that it is rather unclear what kind of people can act as lab assistants in ArM5. From a game design point of view, if the pool of potential assistants is too wide, it removes much of the incentive from training apprentices.

It would probably give a bonus similar to the "Lesser Horde" laboratory virtue (Cov p. 118) ... though maybe neither Aesthetics nor Safety bonuses (come on, it's a freaking ghoul!)

Ghoul?

Igor?

Yeeees Maaaa-Aaaster! :smiling_imp: :laughing:

[size=75]Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: What a filthy job.
Igor: Could be worse.
Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: How?
Igor: Could be raining.
[it starts to pour][/size]

The Restless Kaiser:
Don't bother with the rules so much. If it helps your story do what you want.

Edit: Till you actually need a solution for the problem (your players indentify the situation) you may find a cool reason for this ghoul assistant.

Under the section in the core book on Familiars there are suggestions that imply that transforming it into human form, or at least giving it hands, might be necessary.

I'm not sure that having a "lab consultant" would be adequate, tho' perhaps. :confused:

I interpreted the RAW like this:
Only gifted persons and you familiar add their Int and magic theory to your lab total.
Other persons / things (like The Tireless Servant in Convents on p. 121) / sentient animals add some bonus (General Quality, Safety, Aesthetics) to the lab total.

BTW, I think the item The Tireless Servant fairly overpowered. Just CrCo, no requisite and not necessarily a greater enchanted item. O.K. level 40 will probably force most magi to spend more than one season on their servant...