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Familiar Stats anyone?

Well, a long story short:

I'm currently participating in a game where some of the characters have familiars, yet none of the Exalted books are any help in specific familiar rules.

I'm after any resources that can be used, e.g. character-sheets for familiars, I've been through the -WikiContent and read the familiar notes, and CrownedSun's notes are in my opinion the best.. but I would like some decent ideas for stats if nothing else.

Honestly a 5 point familiar having the incredibly detailed text of "a powerful creature with the properties of a 3dot familiar"....

- RincewindTVD

One thought I has was to adapt the Behemoth Rules from Fair Folk. You would need a mutation for the Essence pool effect, and possible some way to reduce the commit cost, but since Lunars can buy them, I think this actually kinda works. Has anyone actually fleshed out something like this. (I don't think it's that origininal). -FlowsLikeBits

I don't believe I've read the Fair Folk book, I might have to take a look next time I'm at my mate's place (he has almost every Exalted book made). -RincewindTVD

I'm not sure I get what you're asking here, Rincewind. The 3dot familiar is either "powerful or dangerous pet — a tiger or a dire wolf — or an impressive and intelligent pet." A 5dot familiar is "powerful or dangerous" and "impressive and intelligent". In other words, it's something like tiger that is also "as intelligent as a child... can communicate with you as well as if it were speaking" and gives a 5 mote Essence bonus when in contact. What do you think is missing? -- Wordman

Many many things, e.g. hitpoints, ability stats etc. if my familiar is smart, then how many points of int/wit does it have? if my familiar is very smart, and i want it to pick a lock/steal something/drop a rock on someone, how is this handled? with a basic familiar stats character sheet and building guidelines this would be laregly taken care of. Oh and iirc a 5 dot familiar is implied to be powerful and intelligent with the properties of a 3dot. (not to be too picky) -RincewindTVD
Thought that was what I just said. Anyway, sidestepping the issue of whether or not the familiar rules should be scrapped, I beleive the intent of the existing rules was to do the following (for the tiger example): Start with the stats (including "hitpoints" and abilities) for a great cat (core book, pg 316). As mentioned on 317, all beasts have Int 1, Per 2 and Wits 3 by default. Since this particular animal is "as intelligent as a child", you could justify pumping its Int to 2 (though you could also just leave it at one and role play it). As for picking locks, well, the tiger's not really built for it and has no innate Larceny ability (though something like a crow, ferret or chimp might). It also gives you the 5 mote pool, you can see through its eyes, etc. Is this worth five dots? Probably not, but it seems fairly straightforward to me. -- Wordman
This is similar to what I've done, but the creation of fmailiars is not even mentioned in the book, and my 4dot familiar is looking woeful compared to my 3dot artifact, even after I got permission to give him telepathy and a bite attack. -RincewindTVD

At the risk of sounding snarky, I'd rather like a set of Familiar rules that didn't suck. Familiar is easily the worst Background in the core book, which is very unfortunate, given how awesome a concept a familiar is. Can anyone try to reasonably argue that Familiar 5 is even in the same league as Artifact 5, Followers 5, or Resources 5? - FrivYeti

Maybe. On the other hand, having an intelligent strix at your command might be more useful more often than, say, Mentor 5 would be. Depends on the campaign I guess. You could probably shave a dot off the first three items in the Familiar list, then have ••• be what the current ••••• is. Make •••• be an intelligent huge creature (like a really brainy tyrant lizard), automaton, or like a ••• that allows extra pool all of the time, not just with contact. Maybe the pool is larger as well. For ••••• maybe a pet elemental or lesser god in animal form. -- Wordman

This is why I think using the Behemonth rules would work well, as they are bought as artifacts. I'm trying to figure out a good way to deal with the base stats though. -FlowsLikeBits

Well FlowsLikeBits, I'll be looking at the behemoth rules tomorrow, I hope it works out ok :) -RincewindTVD

I finally got to read through the Fey book, and some of the behemoth splat book, and I must say that the Behemoth system is beautiful. It would cover everything I want in a familiar creation system (apart from the fact that it is possibly too powerful... then again... a 4 point artifact should have powers like a 4 point familiar.... shouldn't it?). Well, enough chat, I'm off to convince my GM to let me tone down the rules and use it for familiars. -RincewindTVD

If I remember correctly, in the Sidereal book there's mention in one of the charms of "average" stats on a familiar... -grypph,who doesn't have the Sid book handy

You could consider converting the alchemicals familiar background also. Theirs seems much more appropriate, but is also powered under the assumtion that they can get a new one for free. If you fiddled it, it might work however.
-- Darloth

I'm not entirely familiar with the Fair Folk book, but since you said you were looking for a basis...WoD (specifically, Mage: the Awakening) has you custom build your familiars, starting with 5/4/3 in attributes and 9/6/3 in abilities, the equivilant of an essence pool of 10, two numen (WoD spirit equilvilant of charms), and the rest calculated as a starting character. This costs 4 merit dots for them - maybe you could use it to develop some kind of sliding scale? That looks like a •• to •••• dot familiar, depending on how epic you want to be.

We just use the background as is, but allow the characters to improve the familiar's stats using their own xp. We use a generic character sheet and just use the base stats for the creature (or the closest one to it) found in any of the books. The ST of course can change it however he sees fit. Also, I feel the need to add that while the game mechanics make them seem kinda weak, their in game affect is fairly strong. I've had one PC use his cat familiar to track both PCS & NPCs through Nexus, spy on enemies (and friends), and do a multitude of other things he couldn't have done on his own. Sure the examples I've given apply to small animals, but 3 dots can give you a loyal Tyrant Lizard. Yes, I'm aware an Exalt can take down a Tyrant Lizard without much effort. Have you seen a Tyrant Lizard trained by an Exalt? Have you fought a Tyrant Lizard & an Exalt at the same time? Not everything needs a complicated system & high stats to be effective.
--DarkWolff who thinks familiars are better then people realize.

Partially true, but a 3-dot familiar is also a great cat, or an omen dog. There's too wide a degree of difference between these creatures. (And trust me, having always had at least one familiar in play in my games, I've seen what they're capable of.) - FrivYeti
That's true, but I was giving an example of something dangerous in combat. Sure, great cats and omen dogs aren't as dangerous as a Tyrant Lizard, but they have their own range of abilities that makes them useful as well. Don't forget, godblooded creatures can be familiars too, which ups their usefulness substantially.

what I really do not understand is the lack of a Familiar rating on the animals in the main book. I see it as a major oversite on the side of the writer. if they gave every animal they put out then one woud have at least a general idea as to what type and power of animal was at a certain familiar level. I love the backround, I just hate having to invent concepts on the fly. like, one of my Players wanted a hawk familiar, what are the stats on a hawk? once I get those, should I increase them and say that the hawk is a prince among his species, or godblooded? and when I decide that, should it gain experience? if so how much, and how much do you need to spend to gain stats? and if they can gain in power as the years go on, could they learn special charms built for them by their Exalted masters? and could you teach them to use the borrowed essence? just a few thoughts on the subject...

-- Gtroc