Magical animal compainion

I was wondering this 'flaw'. A fair few of my players in the past have taken this as the kind of flaw which is apparently a virtue by another name. I wondered how others have managed this?

On a similar note, it did seem to be an easy way for a magus to select his future familiar in advance of starting play.

In the early days I did make more story out of this flaw trying to make it a somewhat anti-social and problemsome relationship for the character; but over time players adapted there spellbook to overcome these problems to the point it became hard to present it as a true flaw.

So... is this just a misprint in the core rules or have my players simply become to smart for me?

Second point.

In True lineages tremere magi seem to have a tradiotion of trapping and catching magical animals for their own purposes. I was wondering if there were any ideas on how this process happens in mechanical terms? Presumably there has to be a magical element to training a magical beast rather than just employing a high quality dog instructor to get a wolf pack trained. In normal cases I would simply deal with this kind of thing through gameplay, but am, looking at a PBM version of the game and am thus interested in simple mechanics so as not to slow down the turnover of seasons with excessive interactive story for minor elements of the game.

Except that the animal might not want to be bound as a familiar, in which case the magus is SOL.

How so? And, by the way, who is playing the animal companion?

No, that's pretty much what was intended: minor story flaws are of benefit to the players, and often were virtues in previous editions. Those which aren't are major story flaws, and that's also why a character is limited to a single story flaw.

Ok, you said who is playing the compainion - that would be me - the storyguide. I dont recall reading anywhere that it was supposed to be a full fledges companion as per character creation rules. Indeed if it was it seems a bit odd that a player has to take a flaw for it to be in game. But perhaps that just my interpretation.

As for how they deal with their animal companion and stop it being problematic. We its only got a tiny magic might score so messing with its brain isnt too difficult, similarly masking its magical nature isnt so much of a problem either. My players have become quite adept at making wolves look like pet dogs, masking their scent, masking their magical nature etc. Given enough exposure to the problem and a little time they can always invent a spell to circumvent the new problems you throw at them.

I hadnt considered the final point, but it makes a lot of sense. By taking the flaw to a large extent you are robbing yourself of a juicy big story flaw.

It doesn't have to be, but it can be. But you don't really need a full character sheet to have one of the players play the animal companion.
I've had some fun playing another character's ghostly warder, despite it's one and only game attribute being an Alertness score. :slight_smile:

Right until it adds up 2 and 2 and comes up with 5 and decides to do something about it (poof, here's a story ... and possibly a promotion to Supernatural Nuisance, Plagued by Supernatural Being or even Enemies) -- the animal companion may already know much about the covenant and its mages. It doesn't have to remain a magus' companion forever. A magical wolf could just leave and join/form a pack (which may lead to an increase in Might). Depending on how much attention they are paying to their animal companions, the mages might not notice until it's been long gone.

Mind control spells don't last forever. And with such a treatment, they're pretty much ensuring it can never become their familiar, which requires a level of trust that's obviously not present... and if they do finally find another animal that'd be suitable for a familiar (in spite of the way they mistreated their current companions), there might be jealousies between the two...

None of which would save you from someone with Magic Sensitivity, would it? In fact, they'd positively glow with magic.

Ah, well, that's a big constant in the game. I fear you need to engineer one or two situations where magic makes things worse (I know, it's easy to say, harder to do).

Plus those stories don't have to be about misbehavior or the magical nature of the animal. Some local noble or clergyman might want to breed their "pet dog", not take no for an answer and have quite a surprise at the litter that results. Or he might want to see how it fares in a dog fight against his own dogs (possible ramifications whether it wins or loses).

Which means you have to find Major flaws in the other categories if you want to spend all V/F points, thanks to the 5 minor flaw limit.

Anyway, it's not that I'm trying to make them regret having taken that flaw, but by taking it, they have effectively introduced characters in the game. What happens from that point is up to them. Just because they have an entry on their character sheet that says "Magical animal companion" doesn't mean that companion doesn't have its own, independent existence.

Thanks for the info, all food for thought, cos I just know this will be appearing on the character sheets I am due to receive soon. I might get a few months where this actually IS a flaw. Right until they dream up new methods.

I quite like the idea of getting one of the other players to play it now and then. This would make for an interesting option when they refuse to let their own Vis-Monkey's out of the lab for a bit of adventure.

After reading the situation, my first thought and suggestion would be to have the animal companion figure out that it's being messed with, and run off. If the PC goes after it and tries to get it back, you've got your story right there. And if not, then the problem Flaw is out of your Saga.... :wink:

They spent time (years?) inventing spells to deal with it, instead of spending that time inventing more useful (less specialised) spells? Sounds like a flaw to me, and if they're willing to spend that time to reduce the flaw, no problem. Flaws and virtues can be gained and lost during play, the players just found a way to deal with it.

Nah not inventing spells in the lab, more thinknig up ways to overcome problems and casting the spells 'on the hoof' i.e. spontaneous magic. Dealing with mundanes doesnt require a lot of magical power and magi 20 years out of gauntlet tend not to have problems deceiving them.

Anything with a Might score they encounter is gonna have its own take on the magical beast anyway so they never botehred much tying to circumvent that unless it was gonna be a real problem.

Companions are mates and not slaves. If they limit its freedom by magic I would suggest to offer the player choosing another flaw instead of this.
It is not necessary the animal is the bad dog it is just a link to other people, monsters, places etc.
If another maga appears and demands the animal as her possession it is not the animal.
Making the companion to his familiar is a cheap solution. But why not? You are the SG and you are able to make his way harder if you feel so.

What F said.

In 5th, not every "flaw" is a vulnerability or hindrance to the character - some are designed to be a help to the SG in telling stories, making the Saga richer. And part of that implies ~not~ running the character themselves, as an extension of that character, but instead as a foil, and a adding complexity to the story surrounding both, not standing mutely by until a problem requires their assistance.

Take a look at the other Story Flaws, ones that are similar, specifically Dependant, True Love and Faerie Friend. Any plotline complication that could involve them could involve an Animal Companion (magical or no).

Well, spont spells on a regular basis are a highway straight to Twilight land, or just awkward botches*. (And remember, some botches make the magical effect, or its opposite, permanent! Remind the Players of that, or just have a particularly ugly example wander in with a visiting mage who's happy to tell the tale...) :wink:
(* Pe & Mu Me botches are especially fun! Exaggerate, warp, get creative!)

As for Mind Control and other, more serious effects, those would be viewed by the target similarly - a "True Love" given a mind control to keep them loyal??? Sheesh, some love. If the relationship is abused, then it's not long for the world, or at least not long as a positive relationship.

As for familiars, that's up to you- not every magical creature is a perfect candidate, even if they are "companions".

If all else fails, look at the Note in the smaller box on page 37 - just veto it, and get back to what works for you. The first job of the SG is to have fun themselves - without that, the game won't last long enough for any else to. :wink: