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You can win a familiar in one of these monthly contests

No, there are no cat familiars at this time. Can we interest you in a skeletal monkey?
No, there are no cat familiars at this time. Can we interest you in a skeletal monkey?
Chris Breeze, via Flickr, shared under a CC BY 2.0 generic license

Familiars! Don't you want one of your very own? Everyone does. They may be mere cosmetic attributes, but then, so are your pirate's clothes and furniture--what of it? They look cool. Which is, after all, a significant goal in Puzzle Pirates. And what looks cooler than a shoulder-sitting parrot, octopus, or monkey? Unless it's a spider! Or a chameleon! Or an itty-bitty ghostling, or a serpent, or...

You can't buy 'em. You can only win 'em, or stumble upon 'em luck-wise. You've a very, very small chance of finding one in a gold box, a black box, or a treasure chest scavenged from any sea-monster hunting adventure (Atlantis, Haunted Seas, Cursed Isles). It becomes a matter of skill rather than luck, at least to some extent, if you enter a contest with a familiar as a prize. Some will be posted in your oceans "Events" thread--for example, check out this upcoming Interocean Race that Galene has announced. Others happen according to a monthly schedule using the regular tournament and puzzle competition format. That latter is what we're here to discuss...

Each month, the Ocean Masters host a number of such contests across the English-language oceans (Cerulean, Meridian and Emerald). In a tournament, you compete directly against other pirates, playing parlor games head-to-head. In a puzzle competition, you do your very best at a given shipboard or crafting puzzle, and your performance is ranked automatically against all other participating pirates. You can enter either sort of contest via a tournament board, which may be found at almost any Inn. Additionally, puzzle competitions are announced a number of times in your Ahoy! tab, offering you a button to push if you want to join in.

So when are these contests happening? The current month's schedule can always be found on Yppedia under Official Documentation. Bookmark 'em and check 'em regularly!

All the details for each competition may be found there, along with any special themes in place for the current month. For instance, June's puzzle competition theme is Footbrawl 2014! What does that mean? Your Examiner is not sure, but suggests you participate in the competition to find out. Your next chance will be tomorrow, Wednesday the 11th, at 6:00 p.m. game time!