FAMILIAR RACE GROUP
Familiars are part of the Enchanted race group. Copy and paste in-world to join:
See the Enchanted group for any leadership information. You are free to make your own unofficial Family (Familiar group), according to the unofficial grouping rules.
Familiar spirits (sometimes referred to simply as "familiars") are supernatural entities that assist human magic practitioners from backyard witches to shamans to mages. A familiar is a magically-inclined spirit that has taken the form of an animal. The stereotypical familiar is the black cat, though a familiar may be nearly any animal. Other common forms are a dog, an owl, or a toad, though it varies by location. Familiars are most commonly drawn to humans, perhaps since they are the ones needing the most help in their journey. However, under special circumstances, a familiar may pick a magic user of nearly any race. Only magic users are able to attract a familiar.
The spirit seeks out and picks their person, hence the nomenclature of “Chosen” for magic practitioners who have obtained a familiar, though some instances of familiars being given to a witch have been described. In these cases, it’s presumed the gifting was orchestrated by the familiar. Each familiar has their own reason for settling on a particular person, and the person generally knows instinctively when they have found their familiar. Many familiars seem to appear during times of great personal difficulty. Special circumstances leading to a familiar choosing a supernatural include gifting, having served a relative, sensing intense psychological turmoil and pain, and a few other reasons that have not been fully discovered.
For the sake of Ascension, you may play a familiar as one already attached to a Chosen, or seeking one out. A familiar may only have one Chosen at a time, and a Chosen may only have one familiar, though again -- you can play an unattached familiar indefinitely if you prefer. The bond can be broken at any time if either party wishes to be released from their pact, and most familiars have served several Chosen throughout their lifetimes.
Like everything supernatural in Ascension, familiars tend to be drawn to the Stone, accounting for the larger than usual number of familiars in the city. The relationship of a familiar with their Chosen is similar to that of an assistant or even an equal, rather than a slave or pet. They may wear a small token of their Chosen, such as a ring or a bracelet.
As a holdover from the Salem days, most familiars do everything in their power to keep their true nature hidden, both to protect their Chosen and themselves. They generally do not shift in the open, and keep any use of magic or abilities in their animal form relatively low key.
Familiars have two corporeal forms: the default animal form and the shifted human form.
⊱✦§ Animal form §✦⊰
Any animal that would realistically be found in an urban setting (i.e. no elephant or even *gasp* penguin familiars). Animal avatars that are realistic and make sense for the setting are acceptable, but they should not be anthropomorphized in any way.
⊱✦§ Shifted form §✦⊰
Appear completely human, with not even cat eyes or other telltale signs of something amiss. Generally familiars are fairly secretive about what they are, except to their Chosen, and make every effort not to be seen shifting.
Familiars may exist for up to 200 years.
Unlike other shifters, the default form of the familiar is the animal form. They cannot speak in their familiar form, except to their Chosen, as described in Empathic Speech. They are nearly powerless in human form, retaining only the barest grasp of magic themselves. However, they are able to communicate normally with others besides the Chosen.
The shift is not painful as it is for lycans and werecreatures. Familiars will be naked upon shifting from their animal to human forms. The transformation is fueled by willpower rather than the moon, but does take up quite a bit of energy. Transformations are unlimited, but should be exhausting if several occur during a day. The familiar can shift under duress, but it will sap their energy and leave them in a very weakened state. It is far easier (takes less energy) to shift into the smaller animal form.
Familiars take all of the attributes listed below.
The familiar has the abilities of its animal form, such as keen eyesight for owls, keen smell for dogs, etc. This only applies while in their animal form.
The familiar’s bond to their Chosen can work as an ephemeral tether that the Chosen can “tug” in order to summon their familiar. The familiar will sense it is being called, and must physically seek out it’s Chosen. (i.e. no instant teleporting to their Chosen)
⊱✦§Cross Your Path§✦⊰
The familiar gives off such a strong sense of unease that a person may be compelled to avoid them. A defensive power, may be used to “guard” one other person, though effectiveness depends on how susceptible the target is to superstition.
The familiar can communicate with its Chosen while in animal form using non-verbal speech.
Can heal minor wounds and ailments of their Chosen only. Requires touch (the animal must be sitting on/next to person).
The familiar assists in adding focus, and when directly next to a Chosen, is able to make it easier for the Chosen to cast spells. (Requiring less energy).
An inherently magical being, the familiar can do magic at the level of an apprentice, with greatest facility with nature magic, though it is limited by their desire to remain undiscovered as a familiar. (i.e. the little black kitty doesn’t want to be seen doing magic)
The saliva of familiars is imbued with magical essence. Don’t ever get one angry! The bite of a familiar can temporarily afflict the victim with a magical fever and madness. (Discuss length OOCly)
Everyone knows how annoying animals can get sometimes. Familiars take advantage of this and are able to pester/troll others while in animal form, sometimes to the point of driving them away on purpose.
⊱✦§Presence of the Chosen§✦⊰
The familiar is able to sense when their Chosen is in the vicinity -- meaning nearby, but not across the city.
Characters must have at least three weaknesses. You may choose more if you like. Two must be from the following list; a third can be your own. Bear in mind that character flaws (alcoholic, violent temper, selfish) are not the same thing as weaknesses.
Anything in the lily family will make a familiar ill and weak, either through contact or ingestion.
Worn or placed in a home, it will prevent the familiar from entering/spying.
The familiar feels more at ease in their animal form. Not only with their mood, but with their physicality. While human, the familiar is uncoordinated and can make little use of weapons.
For nocturnal animals, the familiar is sensitive to light even in their human form. Daylight irritates and bright light shone in their eyes can briefly blind and confuse.
If lured into a ring of clover petals, the familiar will be forced to shift. If in human form, to their animal. If animal, to their human. They'll be trapped in whatever form they've changed into until there's a break in the circle. Once used in witch trials to determine if someone was dabbling in magic, by cornering their familiars and exposing them.