Home // Blog // Rack & Ruin Designer Journal #3: Familiars

No expansion I have written in the history of Rack & Ruin has ever repeatedly produced a resounding “meh” reaction as much as Familiars. However, unlike a lot of other bits and pieces that have come and gone over the years, familiars are a fantasy staple and a lot of cool miniatures come with them. So, dropping the mini-expansion all together simply isn’t an option. This left me with one simple choice, make them worth using.

So, with that goal in mind let’s go over what I came up with.

First of all, familiars are no longer equipment. They are more like a follower that’s attached to the base of the master. They have no movement of their own, but count towards the number of miniatures a player can have on their field. Familiars get their own profile, complete with attributes, skills and traits. They get an action each round, and out of game actions.

Familiars can be attacked, but only disappear if they lose all their health, and can’t be used for the remainder of the game. Familiars reappear afterward and never take injuries.

In mind my mind I always felt that familiars needed to have a drawback, reducing casting total or spell power. The overwhelming feedback I got from play testers is that those scores are too precious. So, those restrictions are gone.

All familiars automatically get the Magical Training trait from the Rack & Ruin Core Rulebook and another trait. The other trait may be selected from the list of Familiar Traits provided.

Which means that no longer is a player limited as to what their familiar can do based on how it looks, now any miniature with a familiar can use any of the traits that are listed, almost.

Another change is that some traits require race-specific masters. There is one race-specific trait for each of the races present in the Rack & Ruin Core Rulebook.

Finally, traits that gave random skills or abilities that a magic user might not find helpful have been removed. New traits have been added that are designed for spell casters to use.

I am not totally sure why it took me so long to realize that familiars should be modular and customizable. That is the strength of Rack & Ruin and now this mini-expansion should reflect that.

Familiars still needs a better name though, and I hope someone out there has one for me.

If you are on the Beta Testing mailing list Familiars Beta Version 3.0 will be on its way to you in the next few days. I eagerly await your opinions and suggestions.

Thanks for reading,


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