This is a brief guide on familiars: how they help you and how you train them.
It is very incomplete as I haven't used familiars much. Please add any and all tips!
Familiar's Subskills and skills will be added to your character subskills and skills following this formula:
- Your SubSkill + Familiar Bonus = the number used for SubSkill Rolls
The Familiar Bonus formula is as follows:
- If your Familiar's Subskill is less than its Bond Level
- Familiar Subskill/2 = Familiar Bonus
- If your Familiar Subskill is more than its Bond Level
- Bond Level/2 = Familiar Bonus
Basically, it is half of your familiar's subskill but never any more than half the bond level.
For example, your Cat's Bond level is 4, which means the maximum bonus it can bring to your number is 2. If you train its Hunting to 6, your Hunting bonus is still 2. You must expand the Bond to 6 before you can get the bonus 3. And if your Cat's Scouting is 2, then your bonus will only be 1 though the maximum is 2.
As you can see, it's quite troublesome to raise Familiar's Skills to help your character. For every 2 Familiar Skill Levels you raise, it only raises your Skill Levels by 1... However, it might be worth your while in certain subskills, like Piety for Cleanse and Remake, Revision Methods for Organized Mind etc...
Plus, word is Year 2 and beyond will make more use of Familiars.
The number of steps it takes to level each Bond depends upon your Familiar's Attributes.
The difference between an Attribute Level of 1 and 2 is several steps. For example, the Hawk has Fitness 1, Intelligence 2, and Luck 1. At Level 3, the Bond of Silver is still leveling with 1 SkillStep. The Bonds of Iron and Stars took 2 SkillSteps to get to level 1 and 3 SkillSteps to go from level 3 to level 4.
One option is to choose a Familiar that has Fitness, Intelligence, and Luck at 2 or more for a head start. Of course, the only 3 familiars that qualify are exotic so "choose" means reloading until you get one of these:
The other option (as far as I know) is cranking Familiar Kinship up to 10 (or 11 for the Godina kids) and use The Familiar's Gift. You get a a week long temporary increase of all your familiar's attributes that will greatly help familiar training.
Familiar and the Human Language
According to a forum posting by the Legate of Mineta only Pamela, the Shade, the Strange Doll, and the Sprite can speak the human language right from the start.
The Muffler, Faux Dragon and Carnivorous Plant might be able to learn the human language in a later year.
All other familiar available to the player char in year 1 can communicate with the player character in some form but not with other humans.
Actions and Things
Train Familiar (Action)
Groom Familiar (Ability)
Exchange Familiar (Action)
Trade Insights (Action) (decent)
Explore with Your Familiar (Action)
Explore the Forest of Broken Pines (Ability) (good)
Go outside of the Fences (Action) (good)
Improved Familiar Handling (Ability) (awesome)
Calculate the Familiar Equation (Action) (awesome)
Gift of the Familiar (Action) (animal sacrifice is not cool)