This mageocracy is controlled by mages, who exist in all walks of society. Magic is practiced on the open, and there is an entire education system built around its study (elementary schools, colleges, etc). Research and information are readily available, with libraries cantaining written material and experienced mages functioning as teachers.

Familiars are supposed to be spirits given form and sentience in the mortal world. They are used as guides and tutors to mages as they advance in their studies. The problem is that they seem somewhat redundant. Creating a familiar is also a difficult, long, and complex process, and the individual would already have a deep understanding of magic in order to make it.

How do I make summoning a spirit worth time time and effort put into it?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ What do you mean by "worth it?" This could be social prestige, magical power, or anything else. You don't give any concrete advantages that a familiar provides. This question sounds opinion based, as it is. $\endgroup$
    – kingledion
    Commented Oct 24, 2018 at 18:18
  • $\begingroup$ @kingledion I think the OP is looking for those concrete advantages. Or at least ideas pointing in the general direction s/he wants. Either situation would lie within the primarily opinion-based close option, though. $\endgroup$
    – Frostfyre
    Commented Oct 24, 2018 at 19:31
  • $\begingroup$ Summon a Samoan or a Tongan. I've yet to find anything they can't do. They're always worth it. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Oct 24, 2018 at 20:25
  • $\begingroup$ This related question might be helpful: worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/q/124706/54384 $\endgroup$
    – John Locke
    Commented Oct 24, 2018 at 21:15

2 Answers 2


Some ideas:

You need a familiar to be initiated into magic

You can't become a mage without the help of a familiar. Whatever special quality a person has that allows them to perform magic can only be initially awakened by that person's familiar, so it's the first (mandatory) step towards all other magics.

Familiars store magical energy

There's a limit to how much mana a given person can accumulate and expend at a given time (although those limits might be different for different people). Familiars can also accumulate mana, and mages who use familiars can expend their familiar's energies as well to make their spells more powerful.

A familiar is like training wheels

Some mages are skilled enough to do magic without a familiar. Others need a little bit of help to properly focus their magic. A familiar doesn't do anything that you couldn't have done on your own, but having a familiar to metaphorically hold your hand while you're casting spells you makes it a that much easier.

A familiar is a "free" servant

Familiars can do other things besides just helping you do magic. They can also run errands for you or perhaps do simple chores. Why are familiars willing to do these things? Maybe they appreciate having a physical form and are happy to show their gratitude this way. Maybe they secretly siphon away a mage's soul bit by bit. Maybe they just think of mages as pets that need to be cared for.


It may be difficult to relate to people who aren't mages. And mages might view each other more as rivals than as friends. If that's the case, it might be nice to be able to summon someone (or something) who understands magic well enough to relate to you, but who isn't going to try to steal your ideas or usurp your power.


Perhaps, like the Internet, the sheer amount of information available is overwhelming.

But familiars are magically intelligent and can figure out what you need and guide you to the specific spells and ingredients you need. They are a 24/7 personal assistant for magic. Learn how to summon a familiar, and everything else you need to know will come much easier. So summoning a familiar is the first order of business, as soon as you are able, it makes you more productive and therefore more powerful.

Think of it as having Google on your smartphone instead of having to drive to the city library, find a specific book, read it, then have somebody explain the details to you. The familiar can do all that for you. And if the familiar is a spirit, say their alternative is eternal boredom in limbo, so they are eager to become familiars with compatible souls (you) and back in the world for a time having some adventures.


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