Monday, June 10, 2019

Familiar ideas for Sorrow in Haven

People love their familiars, and well they should! But more often than not they get ignored and just show up when needed. Mechanics have been built around this idea to match how the players play. Which at first irked me, but then I got this idea ...

Normal animals walking around in Haven aren't going to cause anyone to lose their mind. But monsters, even "tame" monsters cause the citizenry to get nervous and possibly even freak out and start calling for the Hammers to "Destroy the Demon!"

Walking Your Familiar
If a familiar is near the wizard that is their master and generally minding it's own business and the wizard isn't doing anything particularly odd or alarming, people just tend to not notice it. If Edward the wizard is walking around town with his Astral Beast, which is a mind-bending creature from the astral plane, it is just a wizard walking his weird dog. If Edward tells his beat to investigate an alleyway, however, folks will (probably) notice there is a freaky unnatural creature skulking about. This ruling cannot be used to "get away" with things ... it doesn't make the familiar invisible, and anyone directly interacting will notice it. It just lets the wizard walk around town with his weird-ass pet.

There. That was easy. But familiars aren't exactly normal creatures, even if they look like one. Your cat isn't a cat - it is a special cat. A magical cat. Not entirely on this place. Familiars are imbued with an intelligence and arcane possibilities that indicate they MUST have a connection to the Patchwork Kingdom like their master. In fact, their conduit is intertwined with that of the wizard. That makes them otherworldly, and they must have their own desires and goals. Familiars all want something, and if asked to do something they don't really want to do, they will ask for a payment, which they all call a gift.

Familiar Gifts
If the wizard asks a task to their familiar and they don't feel like doing it, or know the wizard needs them to do this thing, they will ask for a gift. If payment is not made, they may wander off for 1d6 days or more and sulk. The gift is particular to the familiar's tastes and desires. The gift may be presented immediately, or may be given later, but not too much later. Promising a gift and refusing it may have dire consequences.

Sample Gifts
A quick chart using your favorite 1d12 to get things going. Don't over-use this idea, just when things are important or interesting.
  1. A bowl of milk from a Black Goat
  2. A sip of the wizard's blood (1d4 VIT)
  3. A silver coin stolen from an honest person
  4. A lock of golden hair from a virgin
  5. Knowledge of a dark secret, suitable for blackmail
  6. A vial of tears mixed 
  7. A cake of ash from a burned contract
  8. Some fancy new clothes (probably a hat, maybe a vest)
  9. The teeth of a hanged man
  10. To be carried around like a baby for 1 week
  11. To bite an innocent child
  12. A crown of ivy plucked from a grave under the full moon