Saturday, May 22, 2010
Will McLean Cartoons: Wizards And Their Familiars
Another Will McLean cartoon, this time from page 44 of the 1979 ADnD Dungeon Masters Guide. In the above cartoon, two mercenaries are holding a Magic-user's familiar hostage, and threatening to kill it if the MU makes a false move.
Part of the glorious mess of OD&D and AD&D was the imprecision of the rules. Frustrating, no doubt, to those of us who may have been rules-lawyers, but a tremendous boon to others who wanted to take a germ of an idea and create their own grand experiment with it.
The 'Find Familiar' spell was one of those glorious messes. In the DMG, Gygax writes, "Purposely killing or causing to be killed a familiar is most likely to find great disfavour with the gods...". What specific disfavour that might entail was left entirely up to the Dungeon Master. Did it mean you would have a -1 adjustment to your rolls for the remaining game session? Or perhaps that all similar animals attack you on sight from then on? Did you really want to know what your malicious DM was waiting to spring on you, should you 'accidently-on-purpose' step on your unwanted rat familiar?