Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Ask Syruss

Ask Syruss!
by Cal "Syruss" O'Leary

Sir Syruss is a seasoned adventurer with over 10 years of experience slaughtering undead, charming the ladies, beating up bad guys, frustrating the good guys, and grossing out ladies. SO, if you have a question no matter how bizarre, weird or funny (the funnier the better, then we can sell more issues of the View), consider asking the man who loves to tell you how to live your life; even though no one tells you how to live your life!

Photo by Jesse Gifford

Dear Syruss,

What do you suggest would be the best familiar that I could claim for my own? There are so many creatures out there, both magical and mundane, it's so hard to choose! I'll stay away from bats of course, since that seems to be your thing and all, but surely there must be a method to this madness...please advise!

Imaginary Menag-er-ie


Dear Totally Your Real Name,

This is a tough question. I generally found when choosing a familiar I looked for sentient creatures who could have a real conversation. Like a real conversation, you know what I am saying? Sometimes you need to vent and these little buggers are guaranteed to listen. In fact, they have to and they generally won’t be too judgey to boot.

Now people may not know this but our resident Jerky Master Jean Baptiste is also one heck of a trapper. Now ever since he discovered these powerful magical ball traps he has been bringing ALL KINDS of creatures to the castle. Now some of them have been awesome, like the Nacho Cheese Breathing Dragon, the Sentient Giant Apple Tree or the Whiskey Fairies but some of them have been terrible like the Troll
of Smothering. This troll just does not understand personal space!!! Everywhere you turn boom there it is, with its constant need for attention *shudders*
Or the Non-Alcoholic Gelatinous Cube. I was excited when JB told me he was working on a jello shot jerky but when I heard the crash kaboom coming from the kitchen only to see JB, three of our petitioners, and half the kitchen staff being digested, well I lost my hankering for jello.
But if you want solid advice follow Syruss’ five simple steps to picking an animal companion, familiar, and other magical creature friends.

More than a mere spell
Familiars are like family members, as loved as the kids, country members and are a lifelong commitment (or until you unlearn magic and forget that you have a Wookie in the Neden Castle). So before you wander down the ‘what familiar to choose path’ ask yourself these basic questions to check if you’re familiar-ready:
  • Who’s going to look after it? – let’s be realistic about this one, it is going to be you. No one is walking your T-Rex at 4 am when it needs to go potty. No one is going to feed your War Llama except you.
  • Can we make sure it gets regular exercise? The thing is that your pal is going to want to get out and about often. Once they have had a taste of adventuring then the life of a castle hawk is not so exciting so make sure they can spread their legs/wings/fins.
  • What will happen to it when you go away? Who is looking after it when you leave it back at home and how will you deal with the sudden loss of supreme power? Magic is thrilling and addictive. Face it, we always want more. That’s why we learn familiar in the first place to gain access to their natural magical abilities. But remember when they are not around you lose that and they lose out on a fun weekend with their best buddy (you!).
  • Is your country equipped to deal with its needs? Aka do we need fencing? If your lava hound is known for getting out you may not want to reside in a wooded area. If you have Small Banshee you probably shouldn’t live on a Snow Mountain top.
  • Can you afford a familiar? – Have you considered what it takes to feed a tiger? Have you seen how much Dragon litter it takes to fill up their litterbox?

Woof, woof or meow or RAWWWWWWWWW?

Dogs, wolves and cats, cheetahs, beholders are still the most popular familiar and it is possible to choose a creature that will fit in with your lifestyle, suit your backyard size and the level of maintenance you’re prepared to outlay. But with so many magical creatures and cross-breeds to choose from, trying to work out which one to get can give you a headache. I try to think of what I handle and manage. If the familiar is more likely to kill me rather than aid me I tend to stay away.
Fur, feathers or scales?
If you’re thinking beyond the typical unicorn or rhinoceros then there are plenty of things to choose from: cat, dog, fish, birds, reptiles, bear with a knife, small mammals, trolls, rodents, crab-shark and even insects. These alternate familiar choices can really work in with your lifestyle and home, especially if you don’t have a Self-Repairing Castle! But don’t be fooled into thinking they’re necessarily low maintenance – even a three-headed goldfish (that can’t be taken into certain fishing villages in Corsica) needs regular water changes and feeding that can be more work than a pedigree Creathorne horse!
Ask the familiar store salesperson all about the level of up-keep required before giving in to your first choice.
Are you ready to be a new parent?
Baby animals are almost as cute as newborn elves and raising a dog from a pup is a wonderful experience. But just like dwarven babies, animal bambinos require a lot of care – think potty training a Grebinar only with a dragon! If you’re not up for the extra effort of raising a creature, consider choosing a grown up familiar with a lot of spell experience or buying down for another spell.
If you have an allergy-prone country member, or an asthmatic in the family, you’ll need to think long and hard about the type of familiar that’s not going to turn your village into sneeze city. Familiar fur, saliva, and skin flakes are magical and can set off a number of allergic reactions to an extreme and while there are some hairless breeds, these are still not entirely hypoallergenic. Chat to an experienced Sorcerer about the best pet choice for your allergies.
Familiar and Friends
Owning a familiar can teach you responsibility and give you a special and unique companion that simply doesn’t compare to human friendships. Unfortunately, though, some of your country mates may not get along with your familiar, especially if they thinks it’s funny to pull Fido’s ears, tail, wings, or horns on a daily basis. Before you invest in a familiar, remember that they are not an emergency sacrifice on a quest, someone else’s plaything or someone else’s pet’s chew thing…they are your friend and new family member.
In the end, you are the only one who can decide what creature best suits you but maybe this story Nymbous once told me about selecting a familiar can help:

“One day Nymbous goes into a familiar shop and tells the owner he wants to buy a familiar that can do everything. The shop owner suggests a faithful dog. The man replies, “Come on, a dog?” The owner says, “How about a cat?” The man replies, “No way! A cat certainly can’t do everything. I want a pet that can do everything!” The shop owner thinks for a minute, then says, “I’ve got it! A centipede!” Then Nymbous said, “A centipede? I can’t imagine a centipede doing anything, but okay… I’ll try a centipede.”
Nymbous gets the centipede home to Neden and says to the centipede, “Clean the kitchen.” Thirty minutes later, he walks into the kitchen and… it’s immaculate!  All the dishes and silverware have been washed, dried, and put away. The counter-tops have been cleaned and the appliances are sparkling. Even the floor was waxed.  He’s absolutely amazed. He says to the centipede, “Go clean the living room.” Twenty minutes later, he walks into the living room.  The carpet has been vacuumed, the furniture cleaned and dusted and the pillows on the sofa plumped. It even watered the plants. Nymbous thinks to himself, “This is the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen. This really is a familiar that can do everything!” Next he says to the centipede, “Run down to the corner and get me some whiskey.” The centipede walks out the door.  Ten minutes later…no centipede. Twenty minutes later… no centipede.  Thirty minutes later… no centipede. By this point, Nymbous is wondering what’s going on.  The centipede should have been back after a couple of minutes.  45 minutes later… still no centipede!
Nymbous couldn’t imagine what could have happened.  Did the centipede run away?  Did it get run over by a cart?  Where is that centipede?  So Nymbous goes to the front door, opens it…and there’s the centipede sitting right outside. Nymbous says, “Hey! I sent you down to the corner store 45 minutes ago to get me a whiskey. What’s the matter?!” The centipede says, “I’m goin’! I’m goin’! I’m just puttin’ on my shoes!

Hope this helps. sorry if it doesn’t and remember it’s like Lord Nymbous O’Leary always says “……..What do you want from me? I already told you a story get that pen and paper out of my face!!!!!!!”

Love Always,

Duke Sir Syruss O’Leary
Duke of Neden
Knight of the Blue
Knight of the Potentium
Love Guru
World's Greatest Detective
Dance Master
Neden’s Pogs Champion
Champion of MIN

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