Working on a advanced move for The Wizard for a arcane familiar (which seems like a common enough trope that is…

Working on a advanced move for The Wizard for a arcane familiar (which seems like a common enough trope that is…

Working on a advanced move for The Wizard for a arcane familiar (which seems like a common enough trope that is currently missing). 

Feedback appreciated or examples of other takes on it! (This is super rough draft)

Arcane Familiar

You have a strong magical connection with an arcane creature you have bonded with. When you take this move, describe and name your new familiar. You can communicate telepathically with your familiar, and if it is destroyed it will re-materialize after a nights rest. Additionally your familiar provides one of the following benefits. (Choose One)

– +1 to Discern Realities

– +1 Armor against one related type of damage (fire, ice, electric, divine, necrotic, etc)

– Other benefit C

– Other benefit D

21 thoughts on “Working on a advanced move for The Wizard for a arcane familiar (which seems like a common enough trope that is…”

  1. I like the basic idea – I think that +1 armor against a specific danger is a little underpowered. I’d make it +1 against magic or similar. Other options could be to mentally possess your familiar and see through their senses. Maybe an option that they have an inherent spell, like Invisibility or Telepathy.

    I was just thinking about this last night – not as a move, but as a ritual. I was thinking of a familiar as a hireling, with skill in Adept, and maybe something else depending. I could see a shield golem as a Protector, and maybe even a faerie dragon as a Minstrel or something. Cost would be renewing the ritual.

  2. – I know I want to stay away from hireling rules for a few reasons (one being I do not teach those to new players).

    – Mentally possessing the familiar seems legit. 

    –  It might be too weak, but an imp giving flame resistance (for example) feels fictionally good and better than the generic magic. 

  3. Could do more than just +1 armor as well. The Paladin gets total immunity to one type of damage, so perhaps giving +2 or even +3 armor wouldn’t be out of line for an advanced move.

    I think I disagree with wanting to stay away from Hireling rules overall. They’re not complicated, for sure, and they’re a great way to add flavor and character. For your own game, naturally, don’t do anything you don’t want, but if (and when) I steal this idea, I think adding an option to have the familiar act as a Hireling is a great idea.

  4. You could even keep the number as a steady theme. So, for instance, +3 Armor, or 3 levels of Hireling skills, or … no, +3 to Discern Realities is far too much. Hm..

    Perhaps my theory falls flat 🙂

  5. What about:

    Arcane Senses: +1 to Discern Realities

    Arcane Knowledge: +2 to Spout Lore. Describe how your familiar knows what it does. 

    Arcane Protection: +3 Armor against one familiar related type of damage (fire, ice, electric, divine, necrotic, etc)

  6. I think that, as far as ‘mechanics’ and ‘fiction’ go, Discern Realities and Spout Lore are both just as important as each other, so I don’t think that they should be different numbers.

  7. I’ve been noodling a move like this, too.  I was going to use my follower rules for it, so it might not be what you’re looking for.  Some applicable thoughts:

    – I really liked the D&D4e idea of familiars having a passive state & and an active state.  Passive state, they provided a fixed bonus but where themselves safe.  Active state, they manifested on the battlefield but could take damage and be (temporarily) destroyed.

    – I’m not a fan of the familiar granting a bonus to Spout Lore or Discern Realities.  I’d prefer that they open up new options or make it possible to do things remotely.  Like “When your familiar scouts ahead on your behalf, you can Discern Realities through it. Add what here is magical or illusory? to the list of questions you can ask.”   Or “When you consult your familiar on one of its areas of expertise, ask one of the following questions. The GM will answer to the best of your familiar’s ability.”

    – Did you ever check out John Harper’s Eye of Chaos AW hack? It’s got an example of a horrible little familiar.  One of my favorite things is that you have answer What does it need? and What does it want?  A fun variant on cost and instinct.

  8. Could be a fun Compendium Class too!

    When you develop a deep and mutual bond with a magical creature, you may choose to take ‘Arcane Familiar’ as a class move when you level up.

    Arcane Familiar – You can communicate telepathically with your familiar.  If it is destroyed it will re-materialize after a night’s rest.  Add “What here is magical or illusory?” to the list of questions you can ask while Discerning Realities if your Familiar is present.  Your familiar may attempt to aid you in your Moves, rolling + your Bonds with it.


    When you have Arcane Familiar as a move, the following moves are available as class moves when leveling – 

    Become as One – Your familiar grants you immunity to a specific type of magical damage or + 2 Armor to physical attacks, based on the Familiar’s nature.

    Cross-Possession – You can possess your Familiar’s body, and it yours, whenever you both desire.

    Channeling – (Requires the ability to cast spells) Add a spell from any other playbook to your list.  You may cast this, as usual, when your Familiar is present.

  9. I kinda agree. Y’know what’s nice about Sean Fager ‘s idea? It could very easily be used as a Magician Specialty using Class Warfare rules.

  10. You maybe would need 2-3 more moves but yes. 

    I nominate a 6-10 move that allows you to enlarge your familiar to huge size. 

    “Battletoad! Pounce!*

  11. Also, I wanna tag Dirk Detweiler Leichty , Alexander Glenn , and David Morris . I’m not sure how much they even check this, but hey, this is a cool post that I want them to see.

  12. Tim Franzke , definitely agree with your first point, although I’m not sure about huge size. Still, a bigger size. 🙂 

    Sean Fager , I was wondering about the “familiar aiding you in your moves” thing. Do you think that’s a little clunky? Like perhaps adding another die roll to your rolls is a little much? I’m not saying it is too clunky, or that I don’t like it. I’m just asking for opinions 🙂


  13. See I was thinking that too, but I don’t really like it. That was definitely my first thought, but I think I’d want it to be distinct and different. I like this way of doing it. I will say I think that some advanced moves should be like “add a hireling skill to your Familiar” or some such. That could help fill out a few more moves.

  14. Now, I should say (because that sounded really negative), that isn’t a bad idea by any means. It’s good. I just like something else.

  15. Well, if you DO want to do it as a ranger’s pet, you can just give a basically worded Advanced Move that says “gain the Ranger’s Animal Companion and Command Move”. So it wouldn’t be too hard.

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