Monday, April 7, 2014

A to Z of Witches. F

F is for Familiar

Deu 18:10 There shall not be found among you [any one] that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, [or] that useth divination, [or] an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, 

Deu 18:11 Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer.

One of the easiest ways to be labeled a witch during the European Witch hunts was to be an older woman with a lot of animals.  Today you are more likely to be labeled as a "Cat Lady" or worse "Crazy Cat Lady".

I talked about Familiars in my very first A to Z blog challenge.
For me familiars are what really set witches apart from Wizards.  While wizards can certainly use them, witches HAVE to use them.

In my 2011 post I was focused on my then WIP The Witch.  Today I am thinking more along the lines of Pathfinder.  The Pathfinder witch needs her familiar to learn her spells. The familiar is not a pet but the conduit to her Patron.

While most religious texts and witch hunting manuals refer to familiar spirits as being evil in the game they can be of any alignment (good or evil) and most often reflect the will, or at least the whim, of the Witch's Patron.

Pathfinder Witch Familiars are a little different. The witch familiar in Pathfinder is in fact the source of the witch's magical knowledge.   With a bit of re-skinning you could have a familiar like Bob the Skull from the Dresden Files or even the Book of Shadows from Charmed.
Obviously things like "Speak with other animals of it's kind" and the familiar special ability would need to be seriously retooled.

For a "Book of Shadows" familiar (that is where is book is a semi-aware artifact) I would give a +3 check on Use Magic Device or even a +3 Knowledge (Arcana).  I like that one.  Same with the Floating/Semi-aware Skull.

The speak with others is trickier.  Maybe with a Book of Shadow Familiar the witch gains the ability to read other languages, though in a modified way.  I think a certain limited number of languages would need to be decided on in the beginning of the witch's play and then only those languages could be used.  Sure a cat and only speak to other cats, but that is speech and easier.  A written language would be different and you could say that the book needs to have been written in one of those languages.  The witch can read it in her Book of Shadows right away, but not when she sees it elsewhere, at least not till 7th level.  I would rule 1 common (ei it appears on the list in most books) and 2 rare languages.

Here are the others.

Natural Armor Adj.
A Book of Shadows or Floating Skull gets this as well.

Alertness (Ex)
Same with both the BoS and FS.

Empathic Link (Su)
This works differently for the BoS.  Since the BoS acts like something akin to the Akashic Records maybe replace this with a feat like Skill Focus (Knowledge).
Actually I rather like the idea of the Akashic Record being the source/familiar and the Book of Shadow being the physical manifestation.  After all, familiars can get killed in the game but brought back.  A book can be burned and brought back via the copy in the Akashic record.

Improved Evasion (Ex)
Feats like improved evasion are still good for a Floating Skull, but for a book maybe Improved Fortitude for spells or situations that might set it a flame. (See there is a reason witches are burned, destroy their spellbooks too).

Share Spells

Store Spells

Deliver Touch Spells (Su)
This one is different.  It would be fine for a floating skull, but not so much a Book.  Gotta replace this one with something similar.

Speak with Master (Ex)
If the master is 5th level or higher, a familiar and the master can communicate verbally as if they were using a common language. Other creatures do not understand the communication without magical help.

Speak with Animals of Its Kind (Ex)
Mentioned above. For a Floating Skull I would say Speak to the Dead.

Spell Resistance (Ex)

Scry on Familiar (Sp)
Another tricky one.  If the book or skull are left in a covenstead (a place where the coven meets) then it works. Carried with the witch it is a little harder.

Those are the ideas I have had brewing now for a bit.

Yeah I know I sometimes get grief for my love of Charmed. Too bad. My blog.

Supernatural AtoZ


Sophie Duncan said...

I like the idea of a non-animal familiar - a semi-sentient object as a route to power - now you've got me thinking :)
Sophie's Thoughts & Fumbles - A to Z Ghosts
Fantasy Boys XXX - A to Z Drabblerotic

Tasha Duncan-Drake said...

Dammit, Soph said what I was going to say - that's the fourth time today she got to a post first! I will reiterate that semi-sentient objects as a familiar is a very interesting idea. I'd never considered a book of shadows could be a familiar before.
Tasha's Thinkings - AtoZ (Vampires)
FB3X - AtoZ (Erotic Drabbles)

Anything and Everything Paranormal Blog said...

I've always been fascinated about familiars. Didn't know that a book of shadow could be a familiar. Great post.

DLGardner said...

I have a lot to learn it seems! I do know a Crazy Cat Lady though!

Pun Isaac said...

I love this idea, thanks for the crunch to go along with it.

Unknown said...

One of my favorite books when I was little was about an older lady who lived by herself that all the neighborhood kids whispered was a witch. Strange how some things never change through the ages.

Anonymous said...

I loved the idea of my cats being my familiars, but this is really interesting! Can't bring my cars with me everywhere I go, anyway lol.

Mina Burrows said...

You know every time I used to think of familiars I would totally think of an animal and never an object.

I love your knowledge of Charmed & witches. Awesome post!