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Familiary

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Image:Scroll2.png "Familiars were a thing for honor students from the third year onwards. Naturally, I was constantly ineligible because of my low grades, but I never envied those who got one. The smartest girl in class kept showing off her new 'pet' for weeks on end - ugly horned thing that it was. After a while, we started seeing her less and less. A few months later, they found her dead in her room; she had hanged herself with the sash of her wizard's robes. It turned out that her Familiar had outgrown her, constantly bullying her and turning her into its personal slave, until she could take it no more."
- Vuld Shaik, "Magic and I"
Familiary
Personal magic
Full nameFamiliary
AvailabilityThroughout Mizahar
Learned fromPractice, interaction
Key conceptInteracting with a helping Familiar
UsesGeneral support, companionship
RisksShared life, personality conflicts


Familiary is a discipline of personal magic that allows the wizard to keep a personal Familiar, an creature from the world of Fyrden that is linked to the user's Djed in order to survive outside its homeworld. A Familiar often matches its master's personality and interests, and will grow in size and power as the master establishes stronger bonds with it. While a Familiar knows it is in its best interest to obey the master, it has a mind and a personality of its own. The user shares their Djed with the familiar, and if one is wounded, so is the other; to kill one is to kill the other. Only death can break the link between the two. Because the bond is irreversible, the decision whether to obtain a Familiar should be carefully pondered.

Contents

Overview

Wizards tend to be reclusive beings, and for those who keep a Familiar, it is often their only friend. A Familiar is a creature from the distant world of Fyrden, one of the most nightmarish low worlds to live in; because of this, Fyrdenese are eager to move into the world of Mizahar and will enter a contract with a like-minded wizard in order to do so. When this happens, the Familiar is reborn into a new body formed from its Djed link with the wizard, which it will use until they both die. Because they share an unbreakable bond, most will go to great lengths to protect their master from death, but this does not necessarily mean they will care for the master's mental well-being. Familiary is a lifelong commitment on both ends, but it can easily degenerate into a sick relationship in which either party tries to dominate the other.

Binding

Except in very rare cases where a Familiar is granted through direct divine intervention, Binding to a Familiar happens through another Familiar already present and bound to a wizard. This Familiar, who must know the basics of Summoning, acts as a go-between, contacting the homeworld of Fyrden and looking for suitable candidates. It should be remembered that many Familiars will be far from unbiased in their suggestions, and will (at least at first) shamelessly try to make the wizard bond with a relative or friend of theirs, regardless of character compatibility. Haggling and negotiation are a very important part of Familiary, and since this is a life-altering choice, rushing it is not advisable. It is usually better to interview several Familiar candidates first, and make a choice later. If none of the candidates seem trustworthy, there is no shame in picking none, though the same go-between will likely not offer a second chance, especially if they are trying to push some personal agenda.

Actual Binding requires the signing of a contract in blood, in a manner reminiscing of a Grand Oath. After both parties have signed the contract, which is prepared by the go-between, the deal takes full effect and the creature officially becomes the wizard's Familiar. From now on, it will have full access to the world of Mizahar, and its life will be one with the wizard's. This is just the start of the journey, though. At first, the wizard and his Familiar will be poorly synchronized, which reflects in the Familiar's size and powers. As they interact with each other and overcome obstacles with teamwork, the Familiar's abilities will grow and its body will also mature as a reflection of the wizard's increased Familiary skill.

Major Traits

A shared life

Familiary implies that the wizard and his companion will share much of their lives within close proximity of each other. Both will feel incomplete without the other - even if they should grow to hate each other. In those instances where a wizard was forced to trap or even Void the Familiar, they often fell victim to depression afterwards. In many cases, though, the Familiar will be a welcome companion, a trusted confidant and one's most reliable ally in life; it depends on the two personalities at play.

As mentioned, the wizard and the Familiar are one and the same. If one is wounded, the other receives the same wound. If one dies, it will be the other's demise, as well. They also share the same Djed, so any spell cast by the Familiar will tax the wizard as if he had cast it himself, and vice-versa. A fully mature Familiar can effectively double the wizard's potential, at the cost of wearing him down twice as fast.

Familiar shapes

All Familiars can shapeshift, though they do not have access to all of their shapes at the time of Binding. While some breeds may differ in the details, generally speaking a Familiar has four forms, of which only the first two are available from the start:

  • Natural form, which is what it will look like most of the time. This depends on which of the six major Fyrdenese groups the creature belongs to: Sarawanki, Avavali, Pascid, Irylid, Kirt or Gordios. The natural form will grow as the wizard's Familiary skill improves, meaning that the two have interacted more, learned from each other, and overcome difficulties through their bond. A newborn Familiar will usually be about as large as a small bird, a fully mature one about as large as a horse. A Familiar can always scale itself down to a smaller size, for example to be able to stay perched on the wizard's shoulder, though they cannot make themselves larger than their actual size. Care should be taken if the Familiar becomes physically larger and stronger than the wizard, as it might feel justified to take control.
  • Sealed form is the other form that is immediately available. This is an inconspicuous shape that allows the wizard to travel with his Familiar without drawing too much attention to himself. The Familiar will take on the form of a small animal reminding of its nature, such as a black cat, or an item that can be worn and stored away. The item often displays features of the Familiar, such as a golden buckle shaped like an open-mouthed Familiar's face, or a figurine. The Familiar cannot speak in this form, though it can still communicate with the wizard telepathically. Switching between natural and sealed forms is all but effortless for the creature.
  • Replicant form is an advanced form in which the Familiar takes on the guise of the wizard himself, and optionally his clothing as well. It can be used for deception, though just because the Familiar can look like its master, does not mean it can act like him, too. In fact, it will still think and speak like the extra-dimensional creature that it is, and can usually be found out through conversation. Replicant form is moderately taxing on the Familiar-wizard duo.
  • Released form is the ultimate form, and one that only masters can hope to achieve. In this form, the wizard and the Familiar merge into a single entity that sits somewhere in the middle and enjoys the best of both worlds. A creature of considerable power, a Released wizard is doubled in every physical and mental regard, and possesses whatever innate abilities his Familiar has. This form can only be maintained for a very short time before the user falls into overgiving, however.

Familiar abilities

A Familiar might have several abilities depending on exactly what creature type it is. For example, Avavali are ethereal whereas Kirt possess camouflaging powers. Regardless of their origins, though, all Familiars derive certain powers from the nature of their link with the wizard.

  • Telepathy: the Familiar shares a part of its mind with the wizard, and as such the two can communicate telepathically without any effort or exertion. The maximum range for this power increases dramatically with experience, to the point where it becomes virtually unlimited. Familiars can also freely communicate with each other in this fashion: the world of Fyrden has barely any atmosphere, thus impeding verbal communication.
  • Empathy: the Familiar can learn to perceive the wizard's feelings extremely well, and vice-versa. When one experiences strong emotional states, their feelings will overflow and invade their counterpart, who might find them quite unsettling. Interpreting empathic readings is of paramount importance to a successful wizard-Familiar relationship, but learning to interpret them will take a long time.
  • Shared senses: an advanced ability, it allows the wizard to experience the world through the senses of the Familiar (and vice-versa, should it become necessary). The sense of sight is unlocked first, but true masters can share all senses. Its range is the same as telepathy and it will require a light amount of the duo's Djed in order to function.
  • Shared skills: perhaps the Familiar's most desired ability, the creature can absorb a part of the wizard's skills and knowledge - including those of a physical nature - with the exception of Familiary itself (Familiars cannot have their own Familiars!). When this ability is first unlocked, the Familiar inherits a highly weakened version of the wizard's skills, but at the highest levels it will match his full arsenal of skills. While this may sound very convenient, it is actually a double-edged weapon, as it makes the Familiar extremely influential on the "master"'s life. It is at this stage that quite a few Familiars decide that the wizard "just isn't good at leading" and try to take over.

Risks

Other than the aforementioned risks of the Familiar turning out to be a lifelong burden, the risks of Familiary are mostly in the realm of mental and personality disorders. Wizards that gets very close to their Familiars often have trouble forming relationships with other people, and jealous Familiars that chase potential rivals away are not unheard of.

From a technical standpoint, overgiving is possible with Familiary, but rare. No activities really cause enough Djed transmutation to give heavy overgiving, except maintaining the joint Released form. Overgiving in this case tends to lead to generic physical and psychic trauma, with the occasional strange side effect, such as wizard and Familiar switching bodies or parts thereof.

Progression

Familiar abilities, by skill level
Power Novice Competent Expert Master
Natural form Yes Yes Yes Yes
Sealed form Yes Yes Yes Yes
Replicant form No No Yes Yes
Released form No No No Yes
Telepathic range Same room Same street Same city Unlimited
Empathy No Vague Accurate Total
Shared senses No No Sight All senses
Shared skills No Skill/3 Skill/2 Same levels
Novice (1-25)
The wizard and his Familiar have just bonded and as such they barely know each other. They will have to learn to get along before they can work as a team. At this stage, the relationship may very well be as much of a liability as an asset. Synchronization is modest and a great deal of interaction is necessary before one can reap the rewards of companionship, but care must be taken, because mistakes at this stage can permanently affect the relationship.
Competent (26-50)
Having grown to know each other better, the two have a good understanding of their way of thinking, which allows them to expand the scope of their bond. Being able to touch each other's minds to a greater degree, the Familiar will now be able to absorb a small amount of the wizard's skills (divide skill points by 3, rounded down), except Familiary itself.
Expert (51-75)
The Familiar is by now a constant presence in the wizard's life, and they have ample access to each other's minds, senses and emotions. The Familiar can now take on the shape of the wizard if they so wish, and they can now see through each other's eyes within the range limit of their telepathic bond.
Master (76-100)
Very few couplings ever ascend to this level, and the Familiar truly is one thing with the wizard at this point. In some cases, the wizard's other relationships may be affected, usually for the worse. This is probably the most dangerous stage, as the Familiar is by now as powerful as the wizard himself, and will at the very least want to have a big say in all of his decisions.


Part of a series of articles on Magic
Concepts Magic · Magic list · Djed · Personal magic · Gnosis · World magic
Personal magic Auristics · Familiary · Flux · Hypnotism · Leeching · Morphing · Projection · Reimancy · Voiding · Shielding
Gnosis Gnosis · Gnosis list· Gnosis Marks · Religion
World magic Alchemy · Animation · Glyphing · Magecraft · Malediction · Summoning · Spiritism · Webbing
Magic in Society Magic academies · Magic factions · Famous wizards
Lost Disciplines Architectrix · Dominion · Pathfinding · Static · Sensing
Other Antimagic · Paramagic · Wizard psychology