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D&D 5E Warlock's Pact of the Chain's Imp, Quasit, and Psuedodragon.

Asisreo

Fiendish Attorney
The Warlock's Pact Boon "Pact of the Chain" allows it to cast Find Familiar as a regular spell as well as a ritual, but it gives additional options for the familiar's form. These are the sprite, imp, quasit, and psuedodragon. This thread will focus on the last three.

These three compatible creatures have a variant form of themselves, namely, "Variant: Familiar" which gives the owner of the familiar the ability to sense what the familiar senses while they are within 1 mile of each other and when they are within 10ft of each other, the summoner shares their Magic Resistance feature. I've seen some DMs take issue with allowing a player to summon these variants as they aren't a "base creature" in the MM and therefore aren't a RAW option. I disagree because, while its true they are a variant, that doesn't mean they aren't a compatible creature from the MM. A variant imp is still an imp and therefore can be summoned.

I believe this also does some cool two-fold alleviation for concerns about the pact boon as I've coincidentally heard that its the weakest pact boon for the warlock. Firstly, it becomes an active defensive buff for the Warlock and therefore becomes a pact that's relevant for combat. Secondly, it also makes warlocks' familiars better scouts than a wizard's. Having the ability to have an imp turn into a raven or quasit into a bat means that the familiar still gets to be stealthy to a useful degree while being able to share its senses up to a mile. And if the familiar gets into a scuffle or falls into a trap, it has more ways to avoid getting killed and having a decent chance to fight back.

What do you think? Overpowered? Still underpowered? Would you allow this or you find it too much? I'm interested in the community's thoughts.
 

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ad_hoc

(he/they)
Pact of the Chain is well balanced without the variants.

Without a doubt blade is the least powerful (though people expect more of it than they should. It should just be something that makes the character versatile able to be in melee or ranged).

They get a good invocation in Tasha's to further buff the familiar.

The variants are overboard. Magic resistance alone is very good.
 

tommybahama

Adventurer
I've played in two campaigns with those variant familiars and it wasn't a problem. I'm now playing in a campaign where the DM gave a gazer (like a baby beholder) as as a familiar. So far no problems as the DC on the eye rays are so low that the enemy usually beats them.
 


ad_hoc

(he/they)
I've played in two campaigns with those variant familiars and it wasn't a problem. I'm now playing in a campaign where the DM gave a gazer (like a baby beholder) as as a familiar. So far no problems as the DC on the eye rays are so low that the enemy usually beats them.

It is basically like finding a suit of magic resistance armour.

It doesn't break the game but it is strong and something beyond the intention of the class balance.

I'd be okay with taking it for the cost of an invocation.
 



Yup, it's been mentioned in sage advice - "variant" familiars are pets unrelated to the Find Familiar spell. The extra benefit is in exchange for their mortality.

It's also worth noting that, as per the spell, you specify your familiar's creature type when you cast the spell, so you could have an fiendish sprite or a celestial imp.

Whilst I would allow alternative options for warlock PotC familiars, and would like to see an expanded list, I would not allow the MM variants.
 

I not only allow them to do that, I allow anyone who can cast find familiar to use the spell to get one of those creatures (if found and willing) as a familiar, and allow them to be temporarily dismissed, and if they “die” they merely discorporate and can be revived by casting the spell again like with a normal familiar. That makes becoming a familiar actually a good deal for such creatures rather than a death sentence.

My arguments that this is a valid interpretation (rather than house rule) is based on the sidebar on familiars in the NPC statblock section of the MM, and the Dame Flutterby familiar from Adventurer’s League (an imdependent creature, not just a spell summoned spirit, but who can become a familiar and gain the spell benefits).

As a pure houserule, I allow familiars with attacks to attack normally, and have the attacks you can grant with Pact of the Chain be in addition to their normal attacks.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I don’t believe those variants are intended to be used as familiars for PCs, but I don’t think it’s that big of a deal if do you allow it.
I think they must be intended for PCs, give the wording of the variant writeup. A caster can just befriend one and make it their familiar.
 

Asisreo

Fiendish Attorney
My impression was that the variant familiar is for when you actually find such a creature and make an alliance with it. So it's "better", BUT if the familiar die... that's it. You can't summon it back like a familiar you get with the spell or even pack of the chain.
That's a fair reading. The next question would be can creatures with a Variant/Template version be used to activate or be a target of spells with specific targets?

For example, if I cast Antipathy and have the target be specters, do poltergeists also feel compelled? If I cast True Polymorph, can I turn myself into an Adult Red Shadow Dragon? If I go around looking for an archmage with Locate Creature, will I find the Half-Dragon Archmage?
 


Couldn't find it through Google. Can you give more details about it?
Looks like I misspelled it.

PrecedentFamiliar.PNG
 



doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
My impression was that the variant familiar is for when you actually find such a creature and make an alliance with it. So it's "better", BUT if the familiar die... that's it. You can't summon it back like a familiar you get with the spell or even pack of the chain.
I’d let them be resurrected by casting the spell. RAW, though, you right.
 

I don't allow the MM variants to be selected, they're functionally like boons or magic items for me. Any character could conceivably earn one of them.
That's basically my philosophy on improved familiars. They happen during play.

(I give it to Pact of the Chain as a freebie, just because I want them to be able to have the best familiars automagically.)
 

Asisreo

Fiendish Attorney
(I give it to Pact of the Chain as a freebie, just because I want them to be able to have the best familiars automagically.)
Well, this is the case for this particular thread.

Really, the only time Find Familiar actually allows these creatures to be summoned through the spell is through Warlock's Pact of the Chain.

I also don't have a problem letting a non-warlock character finding them as a reward. I'd even let a Ranger have a Sprite or a Draconic Sorcerer have a Psuedodragon. I'd just let the Warlock be able to summon either variants, though.
 

ECMO3

Hero
The Warlock's Pact Boon "Pact of the Chain" allows it to cast Find Familiar as a regular spell as well as a ritual, but it gives additional options for the familiar's form. These are the sprite, imp, quasit, and psuedodragon. This thread will focus on the last three.

These three compatible creatures have a variant form of themselves, namely, "Variant: Familiar" which gives the owner of the familiar the ability to sense what the familiar senses while they are within 1 mile of each other and when they are within 10ft of each other, the summoner shares their Magic Resistance feature. I've seen some DMs take issue with allowing a player to summon these variants as they aren't a "base creature" in the MM and therefore aren't a RAW option. I disagree because, while its true they are a variant, that doesn't mean they aren't a compatible creature from the MM. A variant imp is still an imp and therefore can be summoned.

I believe this also does some cool two-fold alleviation for concerns about the pact boon as I've coincidentally heard that its the weakest pact boon for the warlock. Firstly, it becomes an active defensive buff for the Warlock and therefore becomes a pact that's relevant for combat. Secondly, it also makes warlocks' familiars better scouts than a wizard's. Having the ability to have an imp turn into a raven or quasit into a bat means that the familiar still gets to be stealthy to a useful degree while being able to share its senses up to a mile. And if the familiar gets into a scuffle or falls into a trap, it has more ways to avoid getting killed and having a decent chance to fight back.

What do you think? Overpowered? Still underpowered? Would you allow this or you find it too much? I'm interested in the community's thoughts.
I don't think it is is OP and in actual play as a DM my players often forget about the magic resistance (and so do I).
 

Casimir Liber

Adventurer
I've played in two campaigns with those variant familiars and it wasn't a problem. I'm now playing in a campaign where the DM gave a gazer (like a baby beholder) as as a familiar. So far no problems as the DC on the eye rays are so low that the enemy usually beats them.
Oh noes - I associate the gazer with the super powerful relative of the beholder (created by Charles Stross no less) in WD12 from 1978....sadly an issue too late for the 1981 Fiend Folio...
 

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