[Runequest] Familiars

Peter Maranci pmaranci at gmail.com
Thu Oct 11 14:43:49 EST 2012

Let the hijacking begin! Well, just a little. :D

Personally, the whole idea of sacrificing characteristic points to create a
familar has always bothered me a LOT. First off, it makes the idea of
creating a familiar out of anything which lacks INT *insane*. And the idea
of shrinking, or getting clumsier, etc. to make a familiar *also* seems

(I hope this wasn't one of Steve Perrin's ideas - if so, sorry Steve! But
I'll bet he didn't create this mechanism. It doesn't *feel* like one of his
ideas, somehow).

For my own high-level campaigns, I use a modified Create Familiar spell. It
requires the sacrifice of POW, *not* other characteristics. Depending on
the game, the spell might require only one point of POW, or points of POW
may convert directly into other characteristics for the familiar. A
sorcerer may only have one familiar at a time, however.

On Wed, Oct 10, 2012 at 7:29 PM, Marko Perälä <perala at student.uef.fi> wrote:

> Well, I wasn't really going for maximizing stats. I was just curious on
> how to handle the different species thing. In D&D 3.5 (an rpg that has a
> few interesting details, but which I loathe as a system) templates - such
> as undeath - are completely species exchangeable. I'd hope someone could
> have cleared these details for me.
> >Related: if you want to push the limits of the STR and CON stat for a
> >humanoid, then make an ogre into a vampire. And as it has sorcery, it
> could
> >give a large chunk of those stats to a hag as a familiar, which could end
> >up with over 100 STR if the vampire wants to really go for it at its own
> >expense.
> I sense an upcoming thread hijacking on best familiars. Well, let's run
> with it. Hag is excellent familiar matherial. All it needs is a point of
> SIZ to make a complete creature (to make it's own SIZ permanent). It's
> optimal also, because it is pretty much only economical choice for a
> sorcerer, who wants a familiar, but doesn't want to a) play with chaos
> monsters, b) sacrifice INT to a creature with fixed INT, c) dabble in
> necromancy, d) sacrifice a butload of stats to make various spirits
> functional.
> Second possibility would be a ghost possessed elemental. You would only
> need to spend CON and DEX. Although I'm not sure, how a CON 1 elemental
> familiar would handle usual CON-related problems. Is an elemental familiar
> suspectible to poison and disease. I'm sure regular elemental would be
> immune. If answer was no, then CON 1 is not a problem.
> Undead are also good options, for a) they only require spending POW, which
> is simple to replenish and b) they can be made out of just about any
> species that you might be interested in. E.g. dream dragon mummy or
> mummified gorgon would be nice. Notice though that I don't prefer this
> species malleability, because of a chance to get a stat (although those are
> always nice), but because undead familiars allow the sorcerer to access
> special abilities not available on simple magic. I did mention mummified
> gorgon, didn't I? Unicorn mummy familiar for healing, Zombie jabberwock for
> fire gaze, vampire huan-to familiar for creating a ghoul army (hey, that
> last one is an adventure idea).
> However my current favourite undead familiar is a ghost possessed centaur
> skeleton. Requires only CON sacrifice. You see, I realised a while back
> that in close combat skeletons are weak, but in ranged combat they are
> actually quite powerful.
> 1. Since impaling weapons harm a skeleton only on special hits or better,
> skeletons have little to fear from ranged weapons. Bumerang, thrown axe,
> thrown rock, lasso and bola are pretty much non-impaling ranged weapons -
> none of which have long range.
> 2. A skeleton's weapon skills are based upon DEX*5%. A skeleton enchanted
> with 15-16 POW of which 11 given to DEX gets average 38 DEX and therefore
> longbow skill at 190%. That's halved to 95% on extreme range, some 300
> yards. That's well beyond the range of all Spirit and Divine spells as well
> as all non-longbow ranged weapons.
> 3. Centaur skeleton has Move 10. That means it has superior mobility. It
> can pursue and retreat at the speed of a cavalry horse and thus always stay
> at the extreme range. It's virtually untouchable, without sorcery or
> Mobility spells cast on horse.
> 4. Skeleton is virtually indestructible, once enchanted. Sure it can be
> broken, but it nothing a simple Repair 1 doesn't fix. Here's a thought:
> Repair 1-matrix linked to couple of POW-spirits and a trigger condition to
> activate on broken bones.
> 5. Skeleton doesn't tire, living horses do. It can keep on pursuing the
> living all day long, shooting hundreds of arrows from it's saddle bags all
> day long. Notice that as a steed a zombie horse is more comfortable. Bony
> spine is bad place to sit on for living PCs. (Side note: Horses are the
> best creatures to use Create zombie on, to create tireless, non-eating,
> non-demoralized cavalry or wagon pulling steeds. Just don't take them to
> cities containing uptight, sensitive nosed people within.)
> 6. Skeletons don't scare, living cavalry do.
> Bottom line: A skeleton centaur can shoot all day long from maximum range,
> maintaining that range regardless of whether non-flying targets try to go
> away or come towards. Unless they have longbows, they can't even shoot
> back, and even then their to hit % is probably lower that 50% (remember
> halved skill) and THEN it requires impale to do anything. It can keep
> shooting all day, and it ain't gonna run out of arrows soon. As long as it
> doesn't let anyone get close enough to slice it with a sword, it pretty
> safe.
> Well, after those familiar candidates, the next best thing is Chonchon
> (requires only POW, smart, magical, can do aerial recon). It's the second
> alternative to nymphs for a picky sorcerer, but rather weaker. That's why
> it's so low in the list.
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Peter Maranci - pmaranci at gmail.com
Pete's RuneQuest & Roleplaying! http://www.runequest.org/rq.htm
The Diary of A Simple Man: http://bobquasit.livejournal.com/
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