Something left out of the BLH was the idea of a sorcerer’s familiar/bonded animal companion/etc, mainly because I didn’t want to put as many extras onto the sorcerer as I did the other classes.
So why not make the idea available to everyone? For a price, that is.
Try this on for size —
Any normal (or even not so normal) beast can be trained with time, effort and care, but to forge a deeper link between a PC and an animal takes sacrifice. The ritual to forge that link eats into the vital essence, but many consider the results worth it.
A PC with a bonded beast loses hit points from their total HP equal to twice the Hit Dice of the creature. In return, the following features are gained:
– The beast is unfailingly loyal, barring extreme abuse
– The bonded and their beast can communicate without words, heedless of distance
– The beast is more intelligent than the usual for their kind and can follow instructions at least as well as a child can
– When the beast is Close, the bonded gains AP equal to the beast’s HD, minimum of 1 AP
– A sorcerer can use their bonded beast as a conduit for their spells, up to Far-Away
Lowering one’s maximum hit points is a dangerous proposition, particularly for sorcerers, but the ability to gain a spell conduit outweighs the danger for many.