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Familiars 5E [Benefit From A Magical Companion In DnD]

  Written By: Ashish Arya
Updated On: 11/20/2023
Est. Reading: 10 minutes

If you’re diving deeper into Dungeons & Dragons, you’ve probably heard of Familiars 5e. These extraordinary companions aren’t your everyday pets, and they can give you an edge in your daring adventures.

They’ve been the talk of the game. These subtle enigmas bring to life vivid fantasies and breathe charisma into characters’ narratives – and it’s high time we unravel this interesting facet of gameplay.

Don’t worry, though; understanding familiars isn’t necessarily a colossal task. In fact, if anything, it can be quite exhilarating. Get ready to study the ins and outs of these magical creatures in this neat guide we’ve put together for you.

We’ll cover everything, from choosing your familiar to exploring the perks that come with having one around. You’ll know enough to start using them efficiently in no time.

What are Familiars in D&D 5E?

In the world of Dungeons & Dragons, familiars give a new meaning to the phrase ‘pets with benefits.’ But don’t misunderstand; these aren’t your average cats or dogs.

They are spirits introduced into our world, designed to make your adventurous journey way more interesting. So how does it happen?

When you cast a ‘Find Familiar’ spell, a spirit pops up into your life, taking an animal form that you get to choose. But bear in mind – these aren’t physical beings; they’re magical spirits embodying an animal shape. They could appear as anything: an owl, a frog, or even something more exotic like a pseudodragon.

You might be thinking, why does this matter? Why would anyone decide to have such a creature by their side? The reason is simple: familiars bring perks to the game.

They can help you with tasks like scouting and can relay information they’ve picked up in their travels. Some can even help with spells, which is useful during gameplay.

So basically, think of them as magic-fueled pets who are bound to assist you as much as possible, from sniffing out danger to seeping vital information about threats lurking around corners. Buckle up and prepare yourself for an exciting journey alongside these fantastic creatures in D&D 5E.

Can Familiars Attack in D&D 5E?

While familiars bring a unique flair and numerous utilities to your gaming experience, they aren’t known for their combat skills.

Can Familiars Attack in D&D 5E?

In fact, families can’t attack. But don’t be bummed yet. Though they lack physical offense, they shine in other ways.

While you may not send them into the heat of battle as your main damage dealer, your familiar has the unique ability to deliver touch spells on your behalf. That means it can extend the reach of your mystical essence.

Just think about it. Your familiar could flutter or scramble up to an ally (or perhaps an enemy) and deliver that vital cure wounds or shocking grasp spell.

So, remember, even without a bite or a claw attack, these magical pets are fantastic assistants and adept support ‘characters’ on your D&D journey.

Also Read: Find Familiar 5E Spell [Summon A Magical Companion In DnD]

How do Familiars Work in D&D?

Starting your journey with familiars isn’t all that complicated. But, it would be best if you cast the ‘Find Familiar’ spell as a ritual. But like any other spell in D&D 5e, this requires specific material components.

How do Familiars Work in D&D?
  • The Components: Charcoal, incense, and herbs worth 10 gold pieces should be available to you. These bring the essence needed for your spell.
  • Casting Time: Casting ritual spells isn’t a quick process. It usually requires an additional 10 minutes on top of the original casting time – so with ‘Find Familiar,’ you’re looking at at least an hour of casting time.

What You Need To Remember When Using a Familiar:

  • Plan Ahead: Considering the long casting time of ritual spells, make sure to plan ahead when deciding to bring your familiar into play.
  • Material Components Matter: Do keep enough material with you; running out of it halfway might spoil everything.
  • Consult Your Dungeon Master (DM): Your Dungeon Master can help provide necessary guidance about components and how to use them effectively.
  • Find Quality Materials: Also, don’t forget about finding a good shop where you can buy high-quality and reliable material components for casting.

With these steps in mind, you should have no trouble incorporating familiars into your gaming sessions.

How to Use Familiars 5E?

So you’ve summoned your familiar and are ready to harness the power of your newfound companionship. Let’s take a look at how you can leverage these quirky allies for the win.

  • Scouts: Having eyes in the sky, or rather on your chosen terrain, not only sounds cool but can be a real game changer. Familiars can be deployed as scouts to survey areas that might be too dangerous for you to venture into.
  • Spies: A little birdie told me,” – well, that little birdie could well be your raven familiar. These spirits are extremely useful in gathering intel from sources out of reach for a human companion.
  • PC Vision: Ever dreamed of flying? Well, with a familiar by your side, you could see what it’s like – they can grant you their perspective! It’s crucial to remember, though, that while seeing through your familiar eyes, you remain vulnerable, so it’s best to do this in a secure space.
  • Spellcasters: If you’ve chosen an intelligent and powerful familiar like a quasit or pseudo-dragon, they might just be able to cast touch spells on your behalf!
  • Help Action: Need a hand with skill checks? Get your trusty familiar to lend their “help” action when performing skill checks or providing distraction during combat scenarios.
  • Items Grabber: Imagined needing something from across the room but didn’t want to walk over. Well, familiars got you – they are perfect at fetching items of interest!
  • Potion Administrators: In case of critical damage or knockouts during battles, having someone relay those life-saving potions is immeasurable – and if there’s no someone around? No worries; families have got it all under control. These magical buddies are great at administering potions.

Having families around means getting unexpected assistance when you need it. Your journey in the world of Dungeons & Dragons is bound to get more thrilling with them around and a lot easier, too.

Read More: What Is Insight In D&D 5E? 2024 [In-Depth Class Analysis]

Best Familiars In Dungeons & Dragons

Diving deeper into the magical diversity of familiars within D&D can lead you to some of the most curious and intriguing companions.

Best Familiars In Dungeons & Dragons

Each has unique abilities that lend a different dynamic to your gameplay experience. Now, let’s peek into the world of two such unique familiars: the raven and the octopus.

Raven

A raven brings more to your gaming table than just its inky-black feathers and piercing observational prowess. With a potent combination of intelligence and interaction, it warrants serious consideration for becoming your D&D 5e familiar.

Its ability to mimic sounds and voices can work as an unexpected tool for distractions or mere entertainment during tense game sessions.

But where it really shines is communication: ravens can understand one language (Common), making telepathic communication a piece easier.

What sets a raven apart from other potential familiars is its quirk: when it drops to 0 hit points, it doesn’t disappear like others. It just reverts to its spiritual form until summoned again, providing an uninterrupted flow of assistance throughout.

Octopus

Moving away from land-dwelling familiars, let’s dive underwater with another popular choice, the octopus.

Compact in size yet quite an adventurous spirit in-game, this particular familiar tends to slide under the radar for those who stick with traditional animal choices. As a familiar, it offers some helpful abilities that are sure to get you out of sticky situations.

The octopus has camouflage power and excellent visual perception underwater or in dim light conditions. This makes it perfect for spying missions in aquatic environments or sneaking through shadowy corridors inconspicuously.

Most impressively, perhaps, is the ‘Ink Cloud’ ability. If attacked underwater, your octopus can release a cloud of ink for a quick escape.

From dark feathered ravens to cunning underwater octopuses, the world of D&D familiars is your oyster or, should we say, your ‘octoyster’! Explore these fantastic families, and you might find the perfect partner in your next adventure.

Owl

Fortunately for you nocturnal adventurers, owls make excellent familiars in D&D 5e. Renowned for their keen sight, they are perfect for reconnaissance missions, as they can spot potential threats even in the darkest conditions.

Their silent flight ability is a fantastic asset, too; it means your owl can perform stealth tasks effortlessly. Plus, with an advantage on perception checks that depend on hearing, they will hear danger lurking long before it hears them.

Bat

Bats come with an exciting twist: echolocation. This means your bat familiar can navigate effortlessly even in pitch-black or heavily obscured areas, a tremendous advantage in certain scenarios. They excel at sensing their environment, helping you avoid traps or ambushes in Dungeons & Dragons 5e.

Cat

Who hasn’t dreamed of having an intelligent cat as a companion? Cats blend the best of both worlds. They’re excellent at stealth and dexterous tasks, ideal for your companion to sneak around undetected and retrieve items.

But what sets them apart is their keen sense of smell and hearing that might sniff out or listen into secrets!

Frog

Don’t underestimate the humble frog! In D&D 5e, a frog familiar might not sound intimidating but prove advantageous due to its amphibious abilities.

It can breathe both air and water, giving you an eye (or should we say a frog’s eye view’) above and below water lines. Plus, standing jumps that are a whopping 10 feet long, your frog familiar might hop right into some unexpected places.

Explore More: Dual Wielder 5E Feat [Increase Your Attack Options In DnD]

Hawk

Sleek, swift, and sharp-eyed, the hawk offers some distinct advantages as you are familiar with D&D. A hawk’s superior sight allows it to spot even the most obscure details from great heights, making it a valuable scout.

This powerful vision can provide you with detailed aerial views of landscapes or potential threats ahead.

Additionally, hawks can fly at impressive speeds, which is super handy for relaying messages or objects quickly and efficiently.

IMP

Stepping away from typical animal familiars, let’s dive into some mythical creatures. Enter the IMP, a tiny devilish entity from the infernal realms.

Emphasizing more tricks and trouble than mere observation, an IMP could be one naughty addition to your team. Apart from their immunity to fire & poison and recognizable resistance to cold or other nonmagical attacks, they can shape-shift into animals (ravens in particular), making them incredibly versatile and stealthy.

They come with their own devilish senses like darkvision and magical resistance, giving them a certain edge during your mystical encounters.

Pseudodragon

While dragons might seem overwhelming at first thought, rest assured, these are much smaller versions! Pseudodragons are intelligent and have telepathy up to 100 feet, which makes communication a breeze.

Their sting inflicts a potent venom that can send enemies to sleep or paralyze them, which is very advantageous during combats. Their keen senses permit them to detect invisible enemies, a huge bonus during gameplay.

Weasel

Underestimate not this small but clever companion in your quest. With a knack for squeezing through tight spaces that larger creatures cannot access, weasels prove exceptionally handy when it comes to exploration or scouting within confined areas like dungeons or castles.

Their sharp senses give an added edge to spot hidden objects or perceive impending danger. They are vigilant and swift, always ready to warn their master about lurking threats or sneak past enemies undetected.

Crab

Moving out of the sea but not far from its shore, we stumble across another familiar option – the crab. Small but versatile, these hard-shelled companions are exceptional scouts, and their sturdy exterior grants an impressive armor class.

They are amphibious and can survive both on land and underwater. Their blindsight makes them perfect candidates for dark areas or undercover missions. So, if you’re ready for some pinchy fun, a crab might be your go-to familiar.

Rat

Somewhat overlooked due to their commonplace nature, rats actually embody beneficial qualities as a D&D 5E familiar. This small creature comes with an innate ability to squeeze through tiny spaces, opening up an array of possibilities for exploration.

Rats prove useful familiars in urban settings where beneath-the-streets antics can hold key game information and paths unseen by the eyes above ground level.

Sea Horse

For all you sea-faring adventurers out there, the seahorse presents itself as a brilliant choice as a familiar in D&D 5E. With sightings as rare as they may come in typical campaigns due to obvious circumstances, once involved in naval or island-hopping adventures, a seahorse proves invaluable.

Swiftly navigating through water bodies with ease and grace is its forte – if marine exploration is your character’s calling, investing in a seahorse is quite natural.

Spider

Let’s talk about one of the most intriguing familiars – spiders. Intimidating yet sneaky – just how you’d expect spiders would be.

Benefitting from their unusual size and wall-crawling abilities offers an amazing perspective on dungeon reconnaissance missions that other familiars might struggle with.

These agile creatures also possess poison-laced attacks, putting enemies at bay. It’s truly worth considering if you’re up for some back-alley investigations or dungeon delving.

Poisonous Snake

You wouldn’t ordinarily look to a poisonous snake for companionship, but in D&D, this does have a certain appeal. They make excellent familiars due to their unique capabilities that can enhance your gameplay.

Known for their swift, sly moves, they can be incredibly difficult for enemies to spot, making them excellent scouts.

Your slippery friend comes armed with its deadly venomous bite – while it can’t physically attack, this feature makes it a potent deterrent for others and provides a perfect role-play opportunity.

What’s more? These slithering specters communicate using telepathy in D&D 5E, making them savvy silent communicators on your journey.

Quasit

More on the exotic side of the familiar list is the Quasit. This demonic imp-like creature usually serves chaotically aligned warlocks but appeals to any adventurer looking for a bit of devilish aid.

Shape-changers by nature, Quasits can morph into a bat, centipede, or toad at will – adaptability that is sure to come in handy during your adventures.

Perhaps its most intriguing ability is the ‘Scare’ feature: once per day, your Quasit familiar can effortlessly frighten your enemies into submission. A tool like that makes the Quasit particularly appealing as not just a familiar but also as an intimidating enforcer.

Sprite

Beautiful and ethereal are words you’d typically associate with spirits. These fey creatures could be mistaken for hummingbirds or dragonflies due to their tiny size and elegant wings!

Sprites are loyal familiars with an extraordinary, unique skill: they perceive alignment and emotions, helping you understand foes or potential allies.

Also handy in tight spots is their invisibility power. Who wouldn’t want an invisible partner providing support? While unable to attack directly like all familiars, they still carry a bow and have a touch that can put the unsuspecting enemy asleep.

Also Read: Charm Person 5E Spell [Make Friends And Influence People In DnD]

FAQs about familiars 5E

Can a ‘Find Familiar’ spell be dispelled, causing the familiar to disappear?

Yes, if the ‘Find Familiar’ spell is dispelled, your familiar will vanish. They’re also gone if they reach 0 hit points.

Are familiars able to perform tasks on their own, or do they need specific instructions?

Familiars act independently unless provided with specific instructions from you.

Can my D&D character have more than one familiar at a time?

No, you can only have one familiar at any given time according to the rules for the ‘Find Familiar’ spell.

Can familiars ruin a stealth attempt by being spotted?

Yes, but this depends entirely on the Dungeon Master’s discretion and situation.

What happens when my familiar dies?

If your familiar hits 0 hit points, it disappears, leaving behind no physical form, but it can be summoned again using the ‘Find Familiar’ spell.

Author

  • Ashish Arya

    I'm a tech enthusiast and lifelong gamer, hailing from the beautiful city of Chandigarh. My passions range from immersing myself in worlds like GTA V, COD, SIMS, Roblox and Minecraft to exploring the latest innovations in laptops and technology. Armed with a Bachelors Degree in Computer Application, I love sharing my insights through writing and engaging with fellow enthusiasts. Join me on my journey through the ever-evolving realms of gaming and tech!

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