My SG has decided that familiars keep all the learning handicaps from having a might score, so to improve herself without books/teaching, my familiar (a cat, Watchful, Magic Might 8 ) needs to consume Vis to lock in the knowledge.
My question is about timing:
Does she need to consume the Vis before a season starts to negate the penalty for that season, or can she retrospectively eat the vis after a particluarly enlightening event to secure her understanding. As a default, how flexible are the timings either way?
Also if she wishes to gain a new quality, how does she gain xp? Does it go into a pot called "xp" and she can cash it in once she has enough to get a new quality plus inferiority, can she wait until she has enough xp to get the quality outright, or is she forced to get the quality as soon as she is able (with a matching inferiorty).
Or does she need to track xp piles separately, "e.g. this adventure xp is dedicated to getting quality X, next season's is dedicated to getting quality Y" which might mean that she has multiple qualities in development at the same time but no way to shift xp bewteen the pots once allocated?
All of your questions are saga dependent - so ask your storyguide*. Also ask if your familiar can still buy/learn the minor magic quality which gives 50xp (for the cost of 10 actual xp plus sufficient vis, if I remember correctly)....if he/she is using the full RoP:M rules, then that is perfectly valid.
In my last game, we went the exact opposite route: transformation (gaining new qualities etc) could only be done if they were in line with the familiar's essential nature (ie most were ruled out), but there was no need to consume vis for normal learning.
*In my own opinion, any magical creature should be allowed the most flexible route - ie consume vis before or after gaining xp; one 'pot' of xp per season; one lot of vis to be consumed per season to negate the penalty for that entire season. When a Might 10 creature was played as a companion, it started off quite strong, but struggled to improve even when vis was quite plentiful.
Hope that helps, Gilarius
I would think the xp would go straight to a specific transformation, even if the transformation isn't completed. That would be consistent with Abilities. So I would say track the xp separately.
That roughly means 8 pawns per 5 xp for self-study. You might as well pay a daimon to teach the transformation, he certainly has an aspect with Teaching Quality 12+ which'd give you 4 xp before you spend any vis.
The good thing about this that there's no seasonal advancement accounting for familiars. Who wants to track Exposure?
Like Gilarius says, the 'as written' rules from RoP:M do have some exploitable loopholes, such as picking up the extra xp minor quality.
From what I've seen, most sagas tend towards interpreting the RAW section about xp gain with familiars as overwriting the RoP:M rules ("Familiars can learn abilities in the same way as humans.") or house-ruling how the RoP:M and familiar relationship works. In both cases, exploiting the quality to gain 50xp will be met with stern glares from the SG.
Personally my preference is for familiars ignoring the RoP:M xp rules; before RoP:M existed this was how every saga operated and it didn't cause problems. The saga I play in has a house rule; RoP:M penalty applies except when the familiar is being taught by the magus they are bound to.
Still, the saga being run is that of your SG, and if that's the call they want to make then that's their call. 8 might isn't impossible to overcome; standard one-on-one teaching has a base quality of 9 before adding in the teaching ability or communication, so getting the familiar to at least 1 in a relevant ability is doable without needing to spend much at all; get a grog with positive communication to help out with the teaching if you can't spare the time.
in that case if she wanted to acquire the '50 xp for 10' quality what would be reasonable restrictions on source quality? Or would there be none "read a summa on farie lore, but siphon the XP into getting qualities instead"?
I usually see that one banned. A bunch of us picked up on that one a long time ago. I usually see the rest of the background Virtues banned, even for other backgrounds. (You can pick up a Virtue with a Quality.) For instance, my groups wouldn't let you get Well Traveled either.
As for source quality, a summa on Faerie Lore would give experience in Faerie Lore. The page on Transformation explains source quality. Practice something new at 4. Practice something to improve it at 5. Use adventure experience. Have someone/something with that Quality teach you (and determine the source quality normally). Maybe some others.
Well I'm trying to learn languages and area lore (the cat's main motivation is to experience as much of the world as possible, and then go back home and inspire more of her clan (from the pyramids covenant) to leave home. Therefore she's particularly interested in the +50 xp to put into various abilities, but if she only gets XP from languages in the levant, can she (once she's bought the virtue) spend the points on Area (levant) Lore? or vice versa. She's not really that interested in being a lab rat, and is more interested in stories (Like her Maga)
Obviously this is extremely troupe dependent, I just wondered if anyone else had encountered this and how they coped.
As for languages, I've found it better for the magus to learn the language. The familiar gets it for free if the magus knows it.
I require Magic beings to find a tutor to learn new Magic Qualities. The tutor must possess the Quality desired, and it takes a season to acquire, although the xp can be stored up over several prior seasons. If the Quality comes with an Inferiority, it is often one of the tutor's. There is often a (minor) story or obligation that comes with convincing the tutor to spend the time; usually involved with the latter avoiding Acclimation. Occasionally, Magic creatures come looking for tutors at the covenant if it is known to have a Magic being with a useful Quality.
The intent is to stop a familiar suddenly acquiring the ability to breathe fire just because it has bought the Lesser Powers Magic Quality. Instead, it must go to a dragon, convince it to teach it, and only then take part of its essence. If the familiar has been eating lots of Ignem vis, I might even give him a discount on the xp cost.
I have no problem with a Magic being gaining the Improved Abilities Virtue, as long as their tutor has it. After all, the familiar has eaten a lot of vis and stored up plenty of xp to gain the Quality. I usually require it to be applied to a single Ability or a few closely linked Abilities. Furthermore, they can only gain it a second time from a tutor who has the Quality twice, a third time from a tutor who has three copies, etc.
This may be harsh, but it has prevented perceived abuse; it also creates more opportunities for stories, which is always a good thing in my book!
When some Familiar is binded, could be taht in fact; he is winning Improved Abilities but to put px on Languages known by his Magi?
And that, is a GREAT idea and story hook.
"Hi, Mr Dragon here. May I talk with Mr Hawk Familiar, please. I am interested in his puissant flight classes. Oh, for Magic's sakes, take that ballista out of my sight. How rude..." :mrgreen:
I have finally got back to the city with my books in, and have read up a bit:
Currently the cat (Watchful) doesn't have the "improved abilities" quality. If she studies some vis and manages to acquire improved abilities, could she then spend subesquent seasons "practicing a quality with the intention of improving it" [source quality 5] RoP:M p52 and mitigate the xp gain penalty with vis?
In general how does one improve a quality through practice? e.g. how can one improve "Gift of Speech"? or is this method of improvement only applicable to qualities that can be taken multiple times?
Can one improve an inferiority by practice? (i.e. get rid of it). I.e. getting rid of "susceptible to deprivation" could be fluffed as gorging oneself with food for a season, (whilst also consuming the vis to mitigate the might penalty if necessary).
Some qualities can be improved without them becoming a new quality. Reducing might cost of a power, increasing initiative, etc. are all improvements that could be made to an existing quality, and practice would be a logical way to improve them.
Allowing a familiar (or any magical animal) to practice a quality they don't have is call for your SG. They can say no without contravening what's written in the book in this instance.