Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Viper & Weasel

The last two familiars from the Bestiary both have negative connotations: the viper implies poison and treachery, the weasel evasion and dishonesty…and the respective bonuses they offer spellcasters to Bluff checks and Reflex saves bear this out.  The animals themselves probably don’t deserve this scorn—they are effective predators, nothing more—but it’s up to you to determine if, in a magical landscape, the species of familiar reveals something about a caster’s character.

The Hesperus twins mix spellplay and thievery with great aplomb.  Tesha, a cutpurse (see the Advanced Player’s Guide) and sorceress, serves as the charismatic face behind the counter of their magic shop and exotic animal menagerie—her sales no doubt aided by the influence of her sapphire viper familiar.  Jass, a burglar and wizard, uses his studies and weasel-charmed reflexes to steal from the very patrons who frequent their shop.

When a noted merchant falls over dead from snakebite, everyone suspects the vishkanya trade delegation, the members of whom made no secret of their desire to crush the merchant personally and professionally.  Actually the deed was done by the viper familiar of Snowflower, a vanara jester positively delighted to have an excuse to revenge an old insult.

Aside from weasels, mustelids in general are popular familiars, particular if one can manage their distinctive odors.  Bushy-tailed martens are popular among the pine elves of the Seven Tals.  Fishers are popular among gnomes, especially those who travel among humans and skinwalkers of the Bear Clans, who regard fishers as symbols of luck.  And Shem Turnroot dotes on his ferret Blackmask—likely because the ferret terrorizes the prairie dog spies of his rival, the druid Archibus.

Pathfinder Bestiary 131–133

I hate going back on my word after teasing you yesterday, but my promised discussion of porn—by which I mean White Dwarf’s new format(s)—is going to have to wait a day; my thoughts are still too jumbled to share.  Hopefully tomorrow?

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