New Mystery - Animal Binding

Hi guys,
I dug out my old notes to look into some things, and I found a lot of unfinished/untested minor mysteries that I was playing with. Here is one of them, it was actually planned for Tytali, but anyone could theoretically do it.

Animal binding

Before magi had familiars, it was common to see a magus with an animal companion or two. They would be mystically bound to each other – though the creatures were more subservient than a hermetic familiar. Using this process a magus may bind as many animals to himself as he wishes, though he must use his leadership ability to control them. This isn't a problem if the animal is mainly left to its own will, or only gets simple instructions. However, trying to use many animals at once for complicated tasks needs the leadership ability, and the number of animals able to be controlled is limited to the leadership score (but is always 1, even with no score in the ability).

A magus can use a non-hermetic seasonal activity to bind a captured creature or Magical Being to himself. During the season a magus attempts to bring the creature under his control by making 6 contested Presence + Leadership + Personality Trait + Stress die rolls against the creature. The animal always uses its strongest personality trait to oppose the magus, the Magus must use the same personality trait for the each attempt in a season. The magus doesn’t know if he succeeds or not, the SG rolls for the creature in secret. The SG will take away the creatures total from the magus’ total and add the result to a cumulative bond total. At the end of the season the magus casts a CrMe(Vi) ritual to create a mystical bond between the two. This ritual must Penetrate any Magic Resistance.

The contest rolls must be made every two weeks, if the magus abandons the attempt, or misses a roll, the total drops by half after missing one contest and fails after the second. The process can be resumed only if one contest has been missed. Each contest takes a day to prepare, conduct and recover from, causing a six day loss to any seasonal activities. A magus suffers from 1 long-term fatigue loss for each creature he is trying to bind. For example, if a magus tried to bind 3 creatures in the same season, he would be at -3 fatigue for the whole season.

Creatures without Might are easier to bind to a magus. Creatures with Might gain a bonus of Might/5 to resist the control, as their essential nature asserts itself.

Magus Presence + Leadership + Relevant Personality Trait + virtues + expended confidence points + Stress Die


Creatures Presence + Leadership + Highest Personality Trait + virtues + Might/5 + Stress die

At the end of the season, the magus casts a ritual spell to create a permanent connection between himself and the creature. A group variant is also known for multiple bindings. After the bond has been created, the magus finds out the result of his seasons activities.

The SG reveals the bonding total, and uses it as experience to create a new personality trait, “Follower of Magus (type)”, which builds like an ability. For example a personality score of +3 would need the magus to accumulate 15 points during the season.

If the bonding score is negative, the magus gains the personality trait and instead becomes loyal to the creature!

The creature (or magus) will now accept the other as their natural leader, and will obey most commands. The SG will request a roll of the leaders presence + leadership + followers “Follower of ...” + a stress die against the followers presence + counter personality trait + ease factor depending on how hard/dangerous the order is.

Presence + Leadership + Followers “Follower of xxx” + stress die


Presence + countering Personality Trait + ease factor

Sample ease factors:

0 – do some minor task the follower could be inclined to do anyway

3 – do something without any danger but is boring or against the creatures natural inclination

6 – do something slightly dangerous or greatly against the creatures nature

9 – do something mildly dangerous

12 – do something dangerous

15 – do something very dangerous

18 – do something that is almost certain death

It should be noted that while the bound creature can understand simple instructions, the magus will need to either have the virtue “Animal Ken” or enchant effects into the creature that enable it to understand his spoken words. The same also applies for understanding what the creature says.

The type of relationship the two gain will depend on the Magus personality trait used for the bond. Positive traits will engender love, friendship or respect; whilst negative ones will create a relationship of anger, hatred or fear. The actual relationship is up to the SG, but will colour all interactions with the creature and how it interprets any orders given.

Differences with a hermetic familiar

The bound creature is not a true familiar.

There are no chords between the creature and magus

The magus can be bound to multiple creatures.

The creature does not need Might to be bound.

The creature does not need to like the magus, it can be bound against its will.

The creature does not gain any languages or abilities from the magus

If it has Might, it will still suffer from the learning penalties associated with its Might

The creature and the magus do not share Magic Resistance or Parma Magica

If the creature used cunning instead of intelligence, it still uses cunning

If the creature ages, it carries on ageing, though it can now use a full longevity ritual.

The creature and magus do not gain the “true friend” virtue

Similarities with a hermetic familiar

If it has Might, it does not suffer from acclimation as it is supported by the bond.

The creature and magus are an Arcane Connections to each other.

The bond can be enchanted with hermetic effects

Enchanting the bond

Once a creature is bound to a magus, he can invest magical effects into the bond as if it was a magic device. The bond is already classed as “opened”. Any hermetic non-ritual effect with Range: Personal can be enchanted into the bond. The target must be the creature, the magus or both.

These effects do not cause warping on beings with Might.

The effects are designed for the magus and creature, high powered effects don’t cause warping.

If the enchantment affects the magus/creature for more than 2 seasons a year, it will cause warping.

This ability could be easily adapted for use with spirits, and I don't think it would be crazy if sahirs knew a supernatural ability that mimics the process you described ( I would probably call them Solomonic Chains ). Similarly, I imagine that the followers of the circles would be the ones who most often have this ability. I always thought it was weird that the closest thing to a familiar in the Suhar Sulayman was the Khadim bond, although perhaps this would be more secret considering it brings the sahir into more overt domination over jinns and spirits (which is looked down on for Jinns I think).
All in all this is a cool thing that could be easily adapted into other uses IMO.