Familiars are creatures that you are able to send out in battle to fight for you. They level up and evolve alongside you, and you can recruit certain enemies to your team. Characters — such as Oliver, Esther, and Swaine — can use familiars to fight in place of themselves during creature battles. These familiars are controlled through commands issued directly from the heart of whoever their "owner" may be and even non-magic persons are known to have familiars. Since a character controls their familiar(s) through their heart, the familiar(s) and the character share HP and MP and while familiars can be used in battle at any time, they can only fight for a certain amount of time before its stamina becomes depleted, reducing its effectiveness until they have re-charged. While a few familiars are simply obtained through story progression during the game, most must be tamed. Familiars come in a wide variety of shapes and forms that can be obtained as you travel through the world.
To obtain familiars in the game, you must first complete the Temple of Trials, there the Great Sage Solomon will give Esther a harp which gives you the ability to tame familiars. To tame a familiar, the player must serenade the creature during battle and after it has been defeated, hearts may appear above it, giving you the chance to serenade it by switching to Esther therefore taming it. However, if not done fast enough, the monster will run away. If successful, you'll be able to keep it or let it go. If you keep it, you'll have to name it and then it will take up a place in the familiar reserve or if not possible, join the Familiar Retreat.
The only exceptions are:
- The Mite Oliver obtains at the beginning of the game as it's summoned with the Form Familiar spell.
- The Thumbelemur Oliver is given by Tommy Stout.
- The Drongo Esther starts with when she joins Oliver.
- The Hurly Swaine] starts with when he joins the party.
- The Seed Sprite that hatched from the egg in Golden Grove.
- The familiar given to you by Solomon Sage when completed the Temple of Trials (You may choose one of the three he offers you).
- The familiars you get through 'Familiar Tickets' at the completion of Derwin's quest, which includes the elusive Lumberwood, Relixx and Dinoceros.
- SPOILER: and the Relixx Marcassin starts with when he joins the party near the end of the game.
There are 4 astral signs that a familiar may fall under within the game. Sun, Moon, Star, and Planet types. Each type is more effective against one of the other types than against others. The following is taken from the Wizards Companion and tells how the signs are related:
- "The light of the sun will outshine the moon,
- The glow of the moon will put stars in shade.
- The glamor of the stars will cause sun to swoon,
- When two combine, their strength's sum is made.
- The once-ringed planet stand apart front the three,
- While the twice-ringed planet rules as king.
- Before it, sun, moon, and stars bend their knee,
- Yet it holds no sway o'er its once ringed sibling."
In the game, the familiars can evolve through a process called Metamorphosis into stronger form of themselves by using stones that correspond to the familiar's type. (Ex. A Mites-type is a sun sign, so to metamorphose, it needs to be fed a Sundrop.) After feeding them the stone, they will metamorphisise into a stronger version of themselves. From it's first incarnation, a familiar can be metamorphosed twice. The third and final metamorph, allows the player to choose between two different versions of the familiar which can be chosen to suit your playstyle and which role you want that familiar to hold within your fighting group.
Tricks and Miracle moves
In the game, familiars will learn special moves other than the normal Attack and Defense moves they learn as they level up. These moves are called "Tricks." Each trick has an elemental quality which determines its usefulness on the battlefield. The elemental quality of a trick dictates its effectiveness against the target creature being attacked and may have greater or lesser effect on the opponent. Each trick can give you an advantage or a disadvantage over your opponent, so choose your attacks wisely.
After being metamorphosized, familiars will be able to learn different tricks and acquire additional slots for tricks and moves to be equiped, meaning that more will be available in battle at one time.
Note: Every trick that is used in battle consumes the MP of the respective character. If no MP is left, then tricks cannot be used. They also have a cool down like any other battle option.
Miracle moves are extremely strong tricks that can only be performed after getting a rare glim known as a golden glim. Unlike normal tricks, miracle moves use no MP whatsoever. Both players and familiars can obtain these golden glims. Although some familiars may have the same type of miracle move, each familiar and character has their own. For example, Mite's miracle move, slash dance, hits all enemies, whereas Puss in Boats' miracle move, inner strength, increases its attack strength.)
Note: A golden glim will stay on the field for a very short time. If not captured quickly, it will float away.
Feeding, Fullness, and Familiarity
Once you have obtained a familiar, you can go to the creature cage and feed it. All types of treats can be fed to your familiar, but a familiar genus has a favorite treat. Treats can add stats to your familiar, such as accuracy, evasion, etc, but feeding your familiar will fill its fullness meter, limiting how many treats any one familiar can be fed at any one time. Feeding a familiar with treats, favorite or not favorite, will fill its familiarity meter. Feeding it its favorite treat will boost its familiarity meter even more than feeding your familiar non-favorite treats. The favorite treat of all familars can be located in the Wizards Companion section for each genus.
- Familiars share many similarities to Pokemon.