Friday, April 11, 2014

Four Familiars

Lately a short work, On the Conjuration of Unique and Fashionable Familiars, has appeared in certain River-Town bookshops frequented by sorcerous types.  The author is listed as one Elsie Dodge, who my sources tell me is a wizardess of middling repute.  Miss Dodge's thaumaturgical researches, as detailed in the pamphlet, have yielded a few interesting twists to the summoning of familiars.  By following her instructions - which involve a convex mirrored surface and a peculiar arrangement of chess-pieces - while casting the standard 'Find Familar' conjuration, the creature that appears may be one of those described below (a d4 is acceptable).


BOROGOVE BIRD
A tall, stick-like bird which, in its stiller moments, might be taken for a mop due to its wild shock of dreadlock-like feathers, typically a bluish-grey; they also have notably large beaks.  The borogove is not suited for combat, or riding, or really much of anything, a flaw of which it is keenly aware, making it continually miserable and just awful to be around as it sighs deeply for attention.
Familiar Bonus: The miasma of depression and self-loathing which surrounds the borogove bird has a tendency to disrupt emotion-bending magic nearby; any sentient within ten feet of the borogove receives a +2 to all saves versus fear or emotional manipulation.  Also, should you ever need a sympathetic link to a dimension of para-elemental angst, the borogove is it.


TOVE
An early, lizard-like mammal from the dawn of time, the tove feeds by boring holes in cheese using its corkscrew-like proboscis; in some fancy extraplanar restaurants, toves are employed to make Swiss cheese.  Despite a fondness for time-pieces, the tove's chief attribute is its penchant for nimble activity, coupled with a naturally slimy, mucus-covered hide which makes it deucedly difficult to grab as it gimbles to and fro.
Familiar Bonus: The sorceror bonded to a tove receives a +2 on any rolls to escape grapples, wriggle out of manacles or rope, or anything else sufficiently Houdini-esque.


RATH
These small green piglets make a horrible wheezing, whistling, chuffing, screaming, whining sound basically all the time, and never seem to sleep.  Successfully owning a rath involves either deafness - itself an impediment for a wizard - or the cleverness required to figure out exactly what sort of inanimate object your particular rath wants to suck on as a pacifier; typically a certain kind of rock, a salad fork, left shoe, or other seemingly mundane thing.  The rath will happily suckle its chosen object in perpetuity, cuddling up in a near-fetal state, and not actually needing to be fed.  When the pacifier is removed, the rath will immediately resume its ridiculous cacophany.
Familiar Bonus: When the rath is outgrabing, sonic effects within thirty feet are partially countered, either giving targets +4 to resist (for save-able issues) or sometimes actually nullifying the spell entirely (an audible glamer, for example).


HUMPMONCULUS
This vaguely humanoid impling better resembles a chicken's egg in both shape and size; it bears a humanoid face, often sporting a wide grin or, alternately, a sour expression.
Familiar Bonus:  The wizard who is bonded with a humpmonculus may consult with it on matters of history or linguistics, providing a +2 to any rolls to that effect.  The GM should, however, roll a d20 each time the humpmonculus eggman is consulted; on a 1, the advice is completely rotten.

Painfully obvious, perhaps, what I'm currently reading to the Boy at bedtime.

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