Losing a familiar

What is it like to lose a familiar?

Bad, obviously. ArM5 (pg 105-106) says that a magus "may feel a profound emptiness" that "may last for months, or even years" and likens the closeness of the relationship between a magus and a familiar to that of spouses.

Does a magus experience something more than just the emotional trauma of losing a loved one? (The familiar obviously does; usually, it dies soon after the magus. Still, for the magus it is sort of implied that life will go on.) It isn't clear to me that he does, and I'd be interested if anyone is aware of anything I'm forgetting that might clarify the matter.

The reason I ask I this: An enemy of one of our magi is going to pretend to have killed his familiar, and circumstances are not such as would allow him to quickly verify this. Would he nonetheless instinctively know that his enemy is lying?

He'd basically have to make Communication + Intrigue rolls. He'd ract as anyone might that lost a spouse or child. Some take it 'better' than others, and keep in mind many magi are rather cold and distant. His Personality Traits are probably the best guide as to how he'd react.


Note that a magus is a permanent arcane connection to his familiar, and vice versa. And that there is no Magic Resistance between both.
So he might just cast a spontaneous InAn 15 (Base 3: Sense the state of consciousness of a beast, R: Arc, D: Mon, T:Ind) 'How's my familiar feeling just now?'. And then methodically go about the political destruction of his enemy, who - fool as she is - thinks she can blackmail him.

Kind regards,


Given that the Cords provide bonuses that directly affect the magus' magic, mind and body, I'd argue that he'd be immediately aware if the bond was broken, without needing any further magic.

I'd run the situation in the same way as Fruny. Perhaps if the familiar was put into an enchanted sleep or moved a great distance away the character might not know the familiar's disposition but if the cords are cut then the magus would feel it instantly regardless of distance or any other impediment (save perhaps the limit of the infernal).

OK. One vote for no (qcipher), two votes for yes (Fruny and Erik Tyrell), and one vote for wreaking horrible vengeance (Berengar).

Thanks to everyone who responded. While my original take on this scenario was also "no," I find Fruny's argument fairly convincing, so I think we'll play it that way. As for the "wreaking horrible vengeance" part, yes, that's probably a foregone conclusion at this point. :imp:

Thanks again.

So here's a related question. Does the corpse of a familiar still serve as an arcane connection to a magus?

Note that the arcane connection between magus and familiar could be used to cast a Mentem spell on the magus making him think and feel like his familiar has died. Think "Weight of the Thousand Hells".

My first reaction would be to consider the corpse of a familiar to be almost akin to one of the magus' body parts, which would make it an arcane connection of decades duration.

It could probably be played either way. Allowing the arcane connection to persist raises the issue of familiars who have been severed from their magus as a Tribunal punishment. Are they still an arcane connection? I think the law of sympathy is here on a shakier grounds than with body parts.

It does have interesting consequences.

My only thought as to dead Familiars (who, by the way, aren't much fun) is that if they're lasting arcane connections, this is the sort of thing a thoughtful mage might know. Thus burning of dead familiars might be standard practice through out the order.

Ok, one more thought. perhaps the Arcane Connection is severed when the wizard establishes a bond with another familiar.

You could create a PeMe that destroys the mental link between the familiar and thw wizard. It doesn't have to be a very powerful spell; it just has to work long enough for the target to be effected by the news of his/her familiar.

I would think a PeAn would be more definitive.

To chime in on the vote of how badly mages take losing familiars. I'd say the more socially inept the mage, and closed off and unfeeling, the more dependant on the bond for the only friendship they get.

The very nature of the familiar bond means it cannot be formed without friendship and admiration. Cold hard mages who wouldn't care, cannot get a familiar in the first place.