Heraldic Servant, General Information

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As a reward for a successful quest, sometimes Immortals bestow a heraldic servant to the head of a deserving noble family or a warrior in their service. The servant is incorporated into the design of the family coat of arms, remaining as part of the inheritance when the original bearer passes away.

These servants are highly intelligent, bestow special abilities on their bearers, and provide services as required. Twenty-one types of heraldic servants are known to exist. Some are noted only in legends and family histories, but 18 are currently serving bearers along the Savage Coast. More than one of each type of heraldic servant may be reported, but each servant is unique - created by an Immortal for a particular family.

Heraldic servants each possess three forms: one inactive and two active. The inactive form appears on the coat of arms; it can be worked into the design however a person wishes - as the central element on the shield, part of the crest, or as one of the supporters. For example, the Emperor of Eusdria displays his eagle servant as the main feature on his coat of arms. The eagle is fully spread out, its wings and tail dividing the field into three areas. Regardless of how many times a servant appears on the coat of arms, only one such creature can be summoned.

The primary active form of the heraldic servant is a man-sized version of the creature (regardless of original size). Perfectly formed, each has abilities and magical powers roughly comparable to their real world equivalents. All heraldic servants possess a High Intelligent or better.

The second active form is a humanoid one, retaining characteristics that relate to the natural form. For example, the humanoid form of the dragon is covered in scales, still possesses deadly claws, and retains facial features consistent with a dragon.

Combat: Heraldic servants attack with natural weapons when in their true forms. Those who would seem to be out of their element, like the dolphin servant of Savaria's Baroness, are suspended in magical fields that allow them to approximate normal movement. Combat statistics such as AC and hit points never change between natural and humanoid form, but methods of physical attack might. All servants have special magical abilities of some type, from spell immunities to breath weapons; these are available in either form unless otherwise noted.

A heraldic servant will willingly wade into battle if its bearer so orders; if in one of its active forms, the servant automatically moves to defend the bearer unless specifically ordered not to interfere. However, because the heraldic servant is such an immense sign of prestige and because it can be killed, it is usually relegated to the safer activities of heralds or emissaries. Heraldic servants can only be killed when in active form.

Special Abilities: A heraldic servant may be summoned at any time by its rightful bearer. The rightful bearer is the person originally granted the heraldic servant, or the head of the family after the original bearer's passing. If three successive generations prove themselves unworthy according to the judgment of the Immortal, the servant will be taken away and not returned until two successive generations prove their worth.

A heraldic servant also acts as a familiar to its rightful bearer. When the servant is in active form, a telepathic link exists between it and the bearer, extending up to one mile. This link allows them to share thoughts and sensory impressions. The bearer gains the benefits of being one experience level higher in all respects, regardless of character class. The bearer also gains the spell immunities and an equivalent level of magic resistance that the heraldic servant naturally possesses. Other special abilities belonging to heraldic servants are covered in the individual descriptions.

If the servant is in its inactive form, the bearer gains the bonus experience level and magic resistance by personally carrying the coat of arms on which the heraldic servant rests. No other abilities are gained unless specifically mentioned in the individual servant descriptions. No penalties apply if the servant is out of range or the coat of arms is not being carried, but the death of a heraldic servant removes all bonuses and permanently drops the bearer two levels of experience. A deceased servant is withheld until that bearer passes on and a new generation assumes control of the family line, at which time it returns, appearing at the deathbed.

Habitat/Society: The heraldic servant is devoted to its bearer. They never entertain notions of freedom or treachery, and their alignments will either remain neutral or match those of the bearers. The creatures prefer their natural forms, but hold no resentment at being forced to become humanoid. Heraldic servants are magical creatures, requiring no food or sleep. A heraldic servant does not normally collect treasure, though it might be carrying valuables belonging to its bearer, and it never gains experience. A servant could appear in any climate or terrain, though bearers rarely allow their servants to range very far.

When taking on an active form, the heraldic servant seems to emerge directly from its position on the coat of arms. When returning, the servant must touch the coat of arms it is to become part of. In this manner, the servant may be transferred to a new coat of arms.