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Revised Familiar Background
A familiar is a natural creature whose Essence has bonded with that of the Solar, creating a companion that will stay by their master's side for all eternity. The resulting creature is often far more capable and powerful than a standard example of their race, extending to intelligence and Essence of their own.
All Familiars have the following basic abilities, in addition to being creatures:
They do not age so long as their Exalted companion lives.
They heal and resist disease and poison as though they were Exalts as long as their Exalted companion lives.
They always have the Motivation "Serve my master" and an Intimacy to their master. These cannot be broken by any means.
The Familiar background provides Familiar Points, which are used to customize the character's Familiar.
0 - A weak familiar. 1 pt. 00 - A familiar who is slightly more powerful or impressive. 3 pts. 000 - A powerful and useful companion. 6 pts. 0000 - A devastating magical compatriot. 10 pts. 00000 - An awe-inspiring supernatural creature. 15 pts.
The points can be spent as follows:
CREATURE: (At least one point must be spent in this category)
1 pt - The creature is something small and without exceptional talents. Examples: Mouse, cat, starling.
2 pts - The creature is a useful or skilled animal. Examples: Horse, wolf, falcon.
3 pts - The creature is powerful and dangerous. Examples: Omen hound, raiton.
4 pts - The creature is useful in a variety of ways. Examples: Claw Strider, Eight-Tailed Mole Hound.
5 pts - The creature is among the pinnacle of natural power. Examples: Tyrant Lizard, Strix.
1 pt - The creature has 5 additional bonus points over the normal template. If unintelligent, the creature can raise any Physical Attribute, or Ability it already possesses, by up to 3 pts. It may also raise Willpower, Virtues, and (if it is magical) Essence. If sentient, it may raise any Attribute or Ability to 5 or 3 above its baseline rating, whichever is higher. If using Flaws, the character may also purchase up to 2 pts worth of physical, mental, or supernatural Flaws. This may be purchased repeatedly.
Familiars may spend bonus points on mutations, or purchase mutations using negative mutations, as per The Wyld.
1 pt - The creature has Awakened Essence. It has a natural Essence pool of (Essence x10) motes, and a supernatural heritage (godly, demonic, fae, ghost, or Exalt). It may learn Charms of the appropriate Exalt types and raise its Essence up to (character's Essence halved, rounded up). It attunes to artifacts as though a creature of the appropriate type. The creature purchases Charms at a cost of 5 BP or 12 XP, and Essence at a cost of 8 BP or (Current Rating x10) experience. All other costs are as normal for mortals. Note that a creature can have Awakened Essence either due to existing supernatural heritage, or due to their bond with their owner (which will always give an Exalt-type the same as their owner's), but not both.
1 pt - The creature has natural Essence reserves drawn from its link to the character. Each time this is purchased, the creature gains 5 motes which the character can draw on and spend. If the creature has Awakened Essence, it may also spend these motes. This power may be purchased once per Essence dot of the creature.
1 pt - The connection between the character and her Familiar is such that they may reflexively share each others' senses as long as they are within (Combined Essence) miles of each other. They can also always sense roughly where each other are.
1 pt - The creature is intelligent. It develops an Intelligence of 2, is considered to have human intellect, distributes 5 dots among its Virtues (in addition to base Virtues of 1), develops a Willpower score equal to the sum of its two highest Virtues (if not already higher), and may learn new Abilities and raise its Mental Attributes with bonus points or experience. In addition, it gains experience - every 2 XP that its owner gains gives it 1 XP. This may be spent on anything the creature can buy, up to the limits for bonus points.
I like that your system gives more power then the RAW system, but I still think investing even a single dot in Familiar should get you something more useful then a pet mouse. I mean, anyone can have a pet mouse for no background points at all! It should at least be a talking mouse or an intelligent mouse or a mouse that can fly.
- I feel that a pet mouse which is supernaturally tough and loyal, and who lasts indefinately, is about as valuable as a hearthstone amulet or five average dudes without useful skills. Or being a poor person. One dot in Familiar is one dot in a Background, I figure that's about the same as Followers 1 or Resources 1. But that's a personal opinion; it's pretty easy to add one or two points to the starting scale here. - FrivYeti
The scale of "natural" power is also somewhat off. Considering the fact that even a Wood Spider can take down a Strix, Tyrant Lizard or Siaka in mere seconds...I don't think that asking 1/3rd of a Familiar 5's points to be burned on an essentially weak-sauce-special animal is very fair.
- I would disagree. If a Tyrant Lizard hits a wood spider, it will DIE. Strix are less powerful, but have the advantage of being a flying mount, which is pretty awesome by itself. Given that Familiar 5 can give you not just a tyrant lizard, but an intelligent tyrant lizard with Awakened Essence, Essence 2, Dexterity 5 and a few Charms who will gain experience as you do... well, that's plenty for me. That said, I am going to clarify and slightly reduce the cost on Essence and Charms. - FrivYeti