Seiraryu/Familiar

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Familiars

The Age of Sorrows is one of despair and loneliness, where people find themselves stranded, alone, or even surrounded by hostile enviorments and creatures wherever they go. Some people, however, particularly Exalts, may find companionship and assistance in creatures that, while not like them, may share more than appearance would suggest.

The Familiar Background is a valuable one, as it gives the character not depth, but extension in the shape of an animal or animal-like creature. Familiars can be companions of the most loyal sort, becoming a sort of extension of the character and allowing yet another way in which the character can interact with the vast and alluring world of Creation.

Familiars can color a story in many different ways, some minor and some major. A Familiar can be a friend, a pet, a ride and sometimes, in the case of very powerful Familiars, can even provide the Storyteller with plothooks (or entire plots!) to derive an interesting story in and of itself.

Heroic Mortals, Heroic Ghosts and God-Blooded can only have one Familiar at a time. Solars, Abyssals, Lunars and Terrestrials can have as many dots in the Familiar background equal to their Essence x 2, but the background itself can never go above 5. Thus, while usually these Exalts only have one Familiar, it's possible that, for example, a Solar with Essence 3 have two level 3 Familiars, or one level 1 and one level 5, or any other combination.

Sidereal Exalted can have a number of Familiars equal to their Essence rating, and are not hindered by their Essence as to how many dots all the Familiars add up to.

Rating

|| Rating || Awarded Points || Description || |[ x |[ No points to spend. |[ You must afront the perils and existence of the Age of Sorrows without a Familiar companion. Poor guy, must be lonely. || |[ o |[ 15 points. |[ You have a weak Familiar who possesses all of the common attributes of it's type of creature and perhaps a weak supernatural ability. Additionally, it's probably quite small. || |[ oo |[ 30 points. |[ Your Familiar is a bit larger, or more readily apt to be the companion of an Exalt. The bond you share has grown stronger, and it genuinely respects you. || |[ ooo |[ 45 points. |[ Your relationship with your Familiar has grown to the point where it influences you in an non-obvious manner. The creature is probably large, or extremely powerful for its small size. || |[ oooo |[ 60 points. |[ Almost certainly a large Familiar, perhaps as big as a Yeddim or Tyrant Lizard. The relationship you have with it is strong, and you influence each other to the point in which you sometimes even take it's advice (if it can give it) to heart. || |[ ooooo |[ 80 points. |[ You have a Familiar of legendary and mystical propotions. It is your friend, your sibling and your closest companion. It's also terrifyingly power, even if it's small, and may already be far removed from it's original species in shape and character. ||

Familiar Creation

General Traits

All Familiars begin with 1 dot in Essence, Willpower, all Physical and Mental Attributes, as well as their Incapacitated Health Level. Abilities, Virtues, Willpower and additional dots in other traits, as well as Qualities must be bought with Familiar Points. Starting Willpower is equal to the two highest Virtues (as well as any additional Willpower dots were bought seperately) as usual. All Familiars will generally respect their companions, and can soak Lethal damage with half their Stamina.

Attributes: 3 dots per Familiar point.
Abilities: 3 dots per Familiar point.
Virtues: 2 dots per Familiar point.
Willpower: 1 dot per 2 Familiar points.
Health: 2 levels per Familiar point. The first level bought is -1, the second -2, the third -4, the fourth -0, and any additional ones alternate between -1 and -2. A Familiar can have a maximum number of health levels equal to their Stamina x 2 (not counting the Incapacitated level).
Specialties: 5 dots per Familiar point.
Essence: 1 dot per 8 Familiar points (3 maximum)

Qualities

Armor/Hide
Cost: 1 or 3
Minimum Traits: Stamina 2
Minimum Essence: 1
Prerequisite Qualities: None
The Familiar gains +3B/+3L to their natural soak. The first purchase of this quality costs 1 point for beings that would naturally have it (especially large creature with the Large/Huge Size quality such as yeddim, tyrant lizards, horses, etc) and 3 points for others (such as dogs, wolves, snakes etc). Each additional purchase costs 2 Familiar points, invariably.
Flight
Cost: 1 or 3
Minimum Traits: Dexterity 3
Minimum Essence: 1
Prerequisite Qualities: None
The Familiar can fly under its own power. This power is necessary for any animal that naturally flies, though for a higher cost it can be given to beings that are not naturally able to fly. A Familiar with this power can fly at 20mph per turn per dot of Dexterity.
This quality costs 1 point for Familiars that would normally be able to fly (because of wings, etc) and 3 for beings that couldn't fly normally (dogs, horses, etc).
Natural Weaponry
Cost: 1+ or 3+
Minimum Traits: Brawl 1
Minimum Essence: 1
Prerequisite Qualities: None
The Familiar has a form of attack, be it claws, teeth, gore (horns), that does lethal damage (bashing damage attacks such as a horse's hindkick are automatic if the Familiar is apt for it). The base stats for these attacks are: Spd +1, Acc +1, Damage +0L, Defense +1, Rate 2.
This quality costs 1 point for Familiars that would normally have the attacks (wolfs for bite/claw; ichneumon hunter for stings; yeddim for trample). This 1 point buys all of the animal's normal attacks. If the player wishes to buy attacks that the animal wouldn't normally have (like "Gore" for a dog) she may purchase it for 3 points.
For every point after the first spent on this Quality, the player can divide 3 bonus dice on Speed, Accuracy, Damage, Defense and Rate. These may never be higher than the Familiar's Valor or his Exalted master's permanent Essence, whichever is lower.
Binding
Cost: 1 or 3
Minimum Traits: Dexterity 3
Minimum Essence: 1
Prerequisite Qualities: None
This quality costs 1 point for Familiars that would naturally possess it, and 3 for those that would not. A Familiar with binding can assault its victims with threads, webs, chains, or anything else that fits the profile, and entrap them, making it impossible for the victim to move in any significant way while trapped in this manner.
To entrap someone, the Familiar makes a Dexterity + Athletics roll. If successful, the victim of the assault will be unable to move for a number of turns equal to the Familiar's Conviction, unless they escape the binding. To escape, the target must succeed on a Strength + Athletics roll with a difficulty equal to the Familiar's Essence + extra successes on the attack roll.
Essence Battery
Cost: 3
Minimum Traits: Compassion 2
Minimum Essence: 1
Prerequisite Qualities: None
This quality enables the Familiar to assist his Exalted master with much more efficiently than just a pet or a battle companion. With this quality, the Familiar's Essence rating offers him an Essence Pool that he can give access to to the Exalt, allowing her to pull a modicum of reserve power from the Familiar. For each dot of permanent Essence, the Familiar has 5 motes of Essence to offer his Exalted master.
Sense Sharing
Cost: 2
Minimum Traits: Perception 3
Minimum Essence: 1
Prerequisite Qualities: None
A Familiar with this quality can share one of his sense with his exalted master. Sight, scent, hearing, taste or touch can be shared at a distance equal to (Familiar's Essence) + (Exalt's Essence) in miles. The sense doesn't ahve to be specified before hand, and can be any sense at any time, but only one at a time.
Night Vision
Cost: 1 or 3
Minimum Traits: Perception 3
Minimum Essence: 1
Prerequisite Qualities: None
With this quality, the Familiar can see perfectly in the dark and does not suffer from penalties while in the dark or dimly lit places. This costs 1 for beings that would normally have such an ability (cats, snakes, mice) and 3 for those that wouldn't normally possess it (horses, monkeys, yeddim).
Dange Sense
Cost: 3
Minimum Traits: Perception 2, Wits 3
Minimum Essence: 1
Prerequisite Qualities: None
Whenever the Familiar is in danger, if they possess this extremely useful quality, something occurs that automatically alerts them they are about to suffer an attack or some sort of dangerous situation. When this happens, the Familiar can attempt a dice action that will get him out of trouble (dodge, block, pre-emptive attack, jump, etc).
Rapport
Cost: 3
Minimum Traits: Intelligence 3
Minimum Essence: 1
Prerequisite Qualities: Sense Sharing
A more powerful and varied form of Sense Sharing, this quality allows the Exalt and Familiar to communicate telepathically. This is not mental speech, per se, since there are no actual words exchanged (unless the Familiar possesses the Talk quality), but the ideas that are being thought are communicated perfectly from one being to the other, and understanding is instant. As an extension, the Familiar may now share any and all his senses with the Exalt, from anywhere in Creation, no matter how far apart they are, as long as they are within the same plane (Yu-Shan, Creation, Underworld or Wyld). However, it costs a Willpower for the Familiar to initialize the telepathic communication, though the Exalt master can activate it at will.
Enhanced Speed
Cost: 2
Minimum Traits: Dexterity 4
Minimum Essence: 1
Prerequisite Qualities: None
This quality enables the Familiar to put on bursts of speed that allow it to move at twice the speed he would normally be able to in his chosen mode of transportation. Aquatic Familiars swim faster, land-runners run faster, fliers fly faster, etc. Enhanced Speed applies to just one mode of transportation, so while a Familiar may be able to run and swim, he can only do so at double his natural speed in one of these two...unless the player takes Enhanced Speed twice (one for running and one for swimming).
Large/Huge Size
Cost: 1 or 3 for Large, 2 or 6 for Huge
Minimum Traits: Strength and Stamina 3 for Large, 6 for Huge
Minimum Essence: 1
Prerequisite Qualities: None
This quality is a simple way of seperating small Familiars from larger ones. Familiars with this quality are of the larger variety. There are two versions of this quality: one allows for Familiars the size of horses, bears, oxen and other animals larger than a wolf or a large feline and that can be ridden. The other, designated Huge Size, allows for Familiars who's size is immense, such as yeddim, river dragons, mammoths and tyrant lizards.
The first version grants an extra 2 Health Levels (-0, -1), as well as allowing for the Familiar to be rideable and large enough to carry provisions, etc; although some, like great cats, might not be ridable, depending on their Strength and Stamina, and other Storyteller determined prerequisites). The second version adds 4 Health Levels (-0, -0, -1, -2) and also allows for riding (unless it's something naturally unriadable, like a river dragon) and can carry an even greater amount of provisions. Note that the bigger the Familiar, the more points that will have to be spent on physical Attributes to merit such a huge size (especially Stamina).
The first version of this quality costs 1 for animals who would normally have it (horses, bears, etc) and 3 for animals that wouldn't (mice, cats, wolves); it also has the prerequisites of a minimum Strength and Stamina 3 each. The second version costs 2 points for those that would normally have it, and 6 points for those that wouldn't (but would normally have the first version of this quality). It has the prerequisites of Strength and Stamina 6 minimum.
Any Familiar who would normally be smaller than the first version of this quality can not take the second version (the difference in size is simply far too great).
Enhanced Healing
Cost: 4
Minimum Traits: Stamina 3
Minimum Essence: 1
Prerequisite Qualities: None
Familiars with this particular quality are much quicker healers than others of their natural species. They heal at the same rate that Exalted do (no, this is not regeneration in the Lunar sense). This is especially fitting for animals who are naturally associated with rapid healing, such as wolves and cats.
Logevity
Cost: 2 or 4
Minimum Traits: Stamina 4
Minimum Essence: 1
Prerequisite Qualities: None
Familiars with the 2 point version of this quality will live for a century, plus a number of decades equal to the character's Familiar background. Those with the 4 point version become effectively immortal until their master dies, and may acquire the Phantasm quality if their master lingers as a ghost (though it qould require the Familiar to die as well).
(Element) Immunity
Cost: 5
Minimum Traits: Stamina 3
Minimum Essence: 1
Prerequisite Qualities: None
Extremely popular among Familiars of dragon-blooded, this quality grants the Familiar complete immunity to attacks of one of the five elements. Only one Elemental Immunity can be chosen for one Familiar, and if the being has a natural affinity to a certain element, it would be wise to pick that one, due to the probability that that will be the element he will most likely come into contact with.
A Familiar with immunity to water will never drown (which is not to say they can breathe underwater, for that they need the Amphibious quality) or be crushed by tidal waves or frozen by the chill of water; wood-immunized beings will never be poisoned by plant-borne venoms nor will they ever be pricked by thorns or attacked by vines. Those who have protection from fire will never be burned and the ones who resonate with earth will never be crushed or torn by avalanches or the metal of mortal weapons. Lastly, Familiars who are immunized against air will never be struck by lightning or frozen by gusts of wind.
This quality requires activation. It is a Reflexive action and costs 1 temporary Willpower or 3 motes of Essence.
Essence Channeler
Cost: 7
Minimum Traits: Compassion 3
Minimum Essence: 1
Prerequisite Qualities: None
The Familiar with this quality is special indeed. Not only does he have a permanent Essence rating, but he has an Essence pool that he can use to power his own abilities! The Essence pool equals the Familiar's Essence x 6, and regenerates at the standard Exalted rate. This Essence pool is not the same one that the character receives from the Essence Battery quality--they are completely different pools.
Adhesive Limbs
Cost: 1 or 3
Minimum Traits: Dexterity 3
Minimum Essence: 1
Prerequisite Qualities: None
The Familiar's limbs have something that makes them stick, be it succions cups, a thin mesh of some naturally excreeted liquid, or small, spiky pertrusions that allow it to get an extremely good grip on things. Characters grabbed or attached to the creature by this grip must make a contested Strength roll (difficulty 2 for the character) to get free, and may suffer some damage if, for example, the adhesiveness is due to the aforementioned spiky pertrusions. Beings with this quality gain an two-dice bonus to all climbing, clinging and clinch rolls. This ability is a must for those creatures that would already possess it (though there are very few) such as arachnids and many insectoids, but can be bought for other Familiars for a higher Cost.
This quality costs 1 for beings who would normally have it, and 3 for those that would not.
Talk
Cost: 4
Minimum Traits: Intelligence 2
Minimum Essence: 1
Prerequisite Qualities: None
The Familiar can talk, amazingly enough, albeit the level of speech is dependant on how intelligent the beast actually is. It's vocal chords and tongue have the extra advantage of being able to move like a human's (or nearly enough so that they can speak like one), and they can communicate verbally with anyone, as long as they know the language.
Amphibious
Cost: 1 or 3
Minimum Traits: Endurance 2
Minimum Essence: 1
Prerequisite Qualities: None
The Familiar can breathe both underwater and on land. This quality is mandatory for most reptiles, sea mammals and, obviously, all amphibians, but like Flight and other animal-specific qualities, can be given to creatures that would not normally possess it for a higher Cost. It costs 1 point for Familiars that would commonly be amphibious, and 3 for those that would not.
Venom/Poison
Cost: Varies
Minimum Traits: Stamina 2
Minimum Essence: 1
Prerequisite Qualities: Natural Weaponry
The Familiar generates a natural poison or venom that it can inject via a bite, sting, claw, or other method appropriate to the creature (even noxious fumes from the mouth). Depending on the potency and system of poison or venom, the cost of this quality varies. The Familiar must do at least one Health Level of damage when injecting the venom via their Natural Weaponry.
The way to calculate the cost of this quality as follows: if the poison or venom does bashing damage, it's cost is 1 points, while if does lethal, it's 3. Add an extra 2 points to the value if the poison or venom continues acting over a period of turns (Familiar's Essence x 2) or add 4 if the poison continues to act indefinitely until counteremedied or the victim is dead.
Poisons and venoms do two levels of damage (soakable) of the type of damage (determined by the system above), and an extra two levels for every additional quality point spent.
Creatures that naturally have this ability (such as snakes, some spiders and other poisonous or venemous animals) subtract 2 from the total cost of the quality. Familiars with this quality must possess a means to deliver the poison (re: Natural Weaponry) or must pay an extra 2 Familiar points (and some manner of inflicting the poison must be devised).
Healing Touch
Cost: 5
Minimum Traits: Compassion 3
Minimum Essence: 1
Prerequisite Qualities: Essence Channeler
The familiar has the very useful ability of being able to heal other beings of physical damage. Some do it by licking wounds, others by spraying or spitting a naturally secreted balm or liquid that helps the healing process. The Familiar spends 2 or more motes of Essence, and heals a target's wounds at the rate of one Bashing damage fopr every two mores spent, or one Lethal damage per every four motes spent. This is magical healing, and cannot be used on Aggravated damage.
Phantasm
Cost: 2 or 4
Minimum Traits: Conviction 2
Minimum Essence: 1
Prerequisite Qualities: None
The Familiar is a ghost. It exists and thrives in the Underworld and Shadowlands, and always comes back after being destroyed, since its Essence is tied to its master, and because of that cannot enter Lethe. Since they are ghosts, they are naturally immaterial in Creation (and in Shadowlands during the day), though a rare few can actually travel through Creation at night if accompanied by their masters. Ghostly Familiars are tireless, but otherwise have the same characteristics as other Familiars.
This quality costs 2 Familiar points initially, but for an extra 2 (for a total of 4) the Familiar can accompany its master to Creation and remain material at night. During the day, the Familiar becomes immaterial, but materializes again at dusk. These gifted creatures, however, suffer a dice penalty of 2 to all rolls while in Creation, due to the fact that it unnatural to them, no matter how apt they may be at following their masters, and they are still slightly ephemeral.
Only Abyssal Exalted, Ghost-Blooded and Heroic Ghosts may take have ghostly Familiars. However, Heroic Ghosts' Familiars receive the lesser aspect of this quality for free (though it still costs 4 points for them to go out in the day...though it doesn't make much sense).
Alpha
Cost: Special
Minimum Traits: Conviction 3, Valor 3, Varies
Minimum Essence: 1
Prerequisite Qualities: None
Some species are social creatures. They get together in packs, murders, schools and flocks. Familiars that belong to these types of creatures tend to be above-and-beyond the average for their species, and thus tend to become the leaders and organizers of their group. These Familiars have the Alpha quality. It allows them to command and make use of the loyalty and respect that other animals show it, due to its awesome power. However, Alphas must be strong, and so depending on the type of animal, an Alapha must show certain attributes.
While an Alpha can be ill-tempered or simply ruthless, it cannot be hesitant or cowardly, or the other animals will sense it. Thus, all Alphas must possess Conviction and Valor 3 each. Additionally, pick the highest Physical Attribute of an average member of that species; that Attribute must be at least one dot higher for the Alpha. Assuming the Familiar meets all these requirements, it must then pay a number of Familiar points equal to the Background's rating (so a Familiar of level 4 would pay 4, while one of level 2 would pay 2) + 1 point for each additional member of the species (maximum the Alpha's Conviction + Valor).
With this quality the Alpha may command and order its pack to attack, flee, or otherwise do anything that they would do for their Alpha, even if the Familiar is making them do it for the character and not the Familiar itself.
Terrifying
Cost: 3
Minimum Traits: Conviction 3
Minimum Essence: 1
Prerequisite Qualities: None
The Familiar can inspire fear in other beings with a snarl, hiss or other form of intimidation. This quality goes above and beyond simple intimidation, however, and is supernatural in nature, making is harder to resist. The creature spends a Willpower point (or 3 motes of Essence) and growls, grunts, rakes its claws, hisses, and otherwise makes intimidating gestures. The player rolls Charisma or Strength (depending on the creature and the manner of intimidation) + Presence. Characters target of this power must make a standard Valor roll (unless Mortal, in which case the difficulty is 2 for Heroic Mortals and 3 for common mortals) or be petrified. If the victim botches, he flees, terrified.
(Elemental) Attack
Cost: 6
Minimum Traits: Stamina 2, Athletics 3
Minimum Essence: 1
Prerequisite Qualities: Essence Channeler
The Familiar can command one of the five elements to a certain degree,a nd use it to inflict harm on others. For every mote spent, the Familiar shoots a blast of elemental force (re: Elemental Bolt Attack, Exalted: The Dragon-Blooded p. 181) that does 2L damage upon contact. The roll for this attack is the Familiar's Dexterity + Athletics.
Familiars with this quality tend to belogn to Terrestrial Exalted, who pride themselves in their Familiar's ability to control (usually) the same element as they can. It's very, very rare to see a Dragon-Blooded with a Familiar who uses an Elemental Attack that is not aligned with it's master's Aspect.
Polymorph
Cost: 3
Minimum Traits: None.
Minimum Essence: 1
Prerequisite Qualities: Essence Channeler
The Familiar can change shape. This is not an illusion or a crafty disguise--it can actually change its shape and form. It may go from being a cute, adorable rabbit, to a fearsome devil-tiger in an instant. This requires a manipulation of Essence, and a loss of the Familiar's original shape (if it ever had one). Thus, polymorphing Familiars may not buy natural qualities at their discount cost (i.e. Flight, Armor, Large, Huge, etc. must all be bought with a higher cost). While they may change their physical shape almost at will, polymorphing Familiars cannot deny their true, magical natures. Thus, all magical qualities (from Sense Sharing and Essence Battery to Elemental Immunity and Phantasm) are immutable.
When making a polymorphing Familiar, one must choose a natural state. This is the state the Familiar will be in unless it is trying to look like something else. That said, while polymorphs may have an unlimited amount of forms, their statlines are limited. Changing a statline is what the player does to the Familiar everytime the Familiar morphs into something else. The Familiar may only possess a number of statlines equal to its Essence + 1. While there is a limited number of statlines, there's no such limit for forms. The Familiar's tiger shape will, more than likely, have the same statlines as its wolf shape, or other shapes roughly the same size and with (roughly) the same capabilities. Things like natural weaponry can, between forms, be changed from "Gore" to "Bite," but the system and dice remains the same (as it is only flavor that changes).
Shapes and statlines should be determined before the Familiar comes into play, as it can take a very long time to reassign stats to Familiars who may shapeshift in the middle of a combat. Morphing from one shape to the other costs 5 motes of Essence. When a Familiar shapeshifts, the player can do the following things (though, again, it is suggested that this be done beforehand!):
    • Re-distribute Physical Attributes in any way the player likes.
    • Re-distribute any Specialties the Familiar may have any way the player likes.
    • Dismantle into raw Familiar Points the physical qualities that the Familiar would no longer possess (if a winged creature morphs into a wingless dog, then the player would acquire 3 Familiar Points to distribute again, since the Familiar is now wingless).
    • Re-distribute those newly acquired Familiar points into other (natural) qualities.

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