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Familiars are the constant companions to a character, like a mercenary in Diablo. They can be of several types and can respond to commands (e.g. stand back, fight shoulder to shoulder, range ahead; be aggressive, responsive, passive; etc.).

(this section rewritten).

Familiars have one or two runes that they are connected with, an aura, an effect (the result of the runes), skills (each with a trait that goes along with it), characteristics, a sense, and advantages and disadvantages. The standard advantage/disadvantage groups are combat, spirit form and stealth. More on that follows below.

To render a familiar in game terms requires working through each of the parameters, in a proper balance. A character can gain a "standard' familiar easily or a unique familiar by completing a quest.

The "standard" familiar has mastery and magic as their runes. This combination results in the character having a mastery that off-sets the normal -1 that in my campaign the normal world has to magic and increases the amount of magic energy available to the character (somewhat like a spirit shirt overcomes the standard range disadvantage). This creates the basic sorcerer's familiar. Of the effects/skills/Characteristics, 4 are shared, five if a disadvantage is taken without an advantage in type.

Samples:

Black Cat (Standard Magician's Familiar.  Example of a beginning familiar)

Wolf (Standard Fighter's Familiar).

Shadow Cat (Amber's original familiar, gained on a quest).

Ice Falcon (A beginning quest familiar).

Great Snow Griffin (Ariel's familiar -- gained and transformed via quests:  example of an advanced familiar)

White Raven (Michael's Familiar -- gained via quest:  example of an advanced familiar).

The Red Bull (Indigo's Familiar, gained via quest, example of an advanced familiar)


Discussing types and attributes.

A character gains a familiar as part of their early questing and then decides how to grow and improve them at each level. A familiar may start as an aura familiar, then at the next difficulty level gain a mastery, and at the next a new aura or perhaps a skill or a different mastery, all depending on how they grow.

The Oreads at the roof of the world transformed several of the familiars, but not all (i.e. the ice falcon became a snow griffin, the shadow cat became a flame lion, but the red bull remained the red bull, the dragonsnakes remained as they were, etc.).


Useful Charts of Familiar Attributes, etc.
Traits - Runes (Rune -- Rune that Opposes it) - Auras - Advantages/Disadvantages
Chaste Lustful
Air Dark
Increase characteristic
Stealth
Non-Combat
Energetic Lazy
Anarchy/Chaos* Law*
Regenerate characteristic
Forgiving Vengeful
Beast Plant
Increase calculated bonus
Spirit Form
Resist All 75% (including own attacks)
No resistance to Spirit/Dream Forms
Generous Selfish
Change/Movement* Stasis*
Regenerate calculated bonus
Honest Deceitful
Dark Fire
Increase substance pool
Combat
Large Target
Just Arbitrary
Death*  Life/Fertility*
Regenerate substance pool
Merciful Cruel
Disorder* Harmony*
Erode hostile effect
Intense
Non-mobile/No aura range
Modest Proud
Earth Air
Composite**
Pious Worldly
Entropy/Chaos* Infinity*
Mastery
Reduced combat effectiveness
Extra characteristic
Temperate Indulgent
Fate Mastery


Trusting Suspicious
Fire Water



Valorous Cowardly
Harmony* Disorder*






Illusion* Truth*






Infinity/Dragon* Entropy/Chaos*






Law* Anarchy/Chaos*






Left/Dragonewt* Magic*






Life/Fertility* Death*






Luck Fate






Magic* Left*






Man Beast






Mastery Luck






Plant Man






Shadow* Spirit*






Spirit* Shadow*






Stasis* Change/Movement*






Truth* Illusion*






Water Earth









** Composite auras are less effective than
non-composite auras. Treat composite as an extra skill (so replenish life, replenish magic, composite, 2 levels of effect for every three levels of magic in the aura).





(* means rune is part of an opposing pair, e.g. Illusion/Truth)
More useful information



For more creatures (not all translated to heroquest terms):


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