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

tommybahama

Adventurer
Pact of the Chain is well balanced without the variants.


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

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

Imagine my surprise when I saw this 3 year old video in my recommends tonight that argues that the imp's magic resistance doesn't transfer over. According to the YouTuber, the magic resistance only applies as part of an infernal contract with the imp. If you gain the imp familiar from the find familiar spell or warlock invocation it is only a spirit that takes the form of an imp. Most relevant part starts at about 7:42 into the video.

 

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Why would we need a video to explain what is in the text of the Find Familiar spell?

Of course, most pact of the chain special invocations do not specify that your familiar must be acquired by casting the Find Familiar spell.
 

tommybahama

Adventurer
Why would we need a video to explain what is in the text of the Find Familiar spell?

Of course, most pact of the chain special invocations do not specify that your familiar must be acquired by casting the Find Familiar spell.

The monster manual says that "the imp can enter into a contract to serve another creature as a familiar, . . . While the imp is within 10 feet of its master, the master shares the imp's Magic Resistance trait." I assume this is why Ad_hoc thought the imp familiar might be too powerful. According to the video, the warlock doesn't gain that benefit with the find familiar spell.

I'm not sure about your last sentence. The Pact of the Chain boon says, "You learn the find familiar spell and can cast it as a ritual. The spell doesn’t count against your number of spells known. When you cast the spell, you can choose one of the normal forms for your familiar or one of the following special forms: imp, pseudodragon, quasit, or sprite." What invocation provides a familiar without the find familiar spell?
 

The monster manual says that "the imp can enter into a contract to serve another creature as a familiar, . . . While the imp is within 10 feet of its master, the master shares the imp's Magic Resistance trait." I assume this is why Ad_hoc thought the imp familiar might be too powerful. According to the video, the warlock doesn't gain that benefit with the find familiar spell.

I'm not sure about your last sentence. The Pact of the Chain boon says, "You learn the find familiar spell and can cast it as a ritual. The spell doesn’t count against your number of spells known. When you cast the spell, you can choose one of the normal forms for your familiar or one of the following special forms: imp, pseudodragon, quasit, or sprite." What invocation provides a familiar without the find familiar spell?
You can get an imp by entering into a contract with it, as stated in the monster manual. In which case it follows the monster manual rules. But it also benefits from warlock class features that state "your familiar", A DM might role-play acquiring such a contract for a fiendpact warlock as part of an interaction with their patron. Such a familiar does not benefit from the features of the Find Familiar spell, such as temporary dismissal, or summoning a replacement if it dies.

Alternatively, you can cast Find Familiar. in which case your familiar is "in the form of" an imp. It is not an actual imp. It has the advantages (e.g. temporary dismissal, replacement on death) and the disadvantages (no attacks, no shared magic resistance) of the spell.
 

Asisreo

Patron Badass
Alternatively, you can cast Find Familiar. in which case your familiar is "in the form of" an imp. It is not an actual imp. It has the advantages (e.g. temporary dismissal, replacement on death) and the disadvantages (no attacks, no shared magic resistance) of the spell.
Would you conclude that a wizard also couldn't polymorph themselves into a spellcasting vampire or dragon since those are also variants?

What about shadow dragons or dracolichs?
 

Would you conclude that a wizard also couldn't polymorph themselves into a spellcasting vampire or dragon since those are also variants?

What about shadow dragons or dracolichs?
Given that the wizard is not polymophing themselves using the Find Familiar spell, I don't see any connection.

The Find Familiar spell specifies exactly what forms the familiar can take. Pact of the chain adds additional forms, but makes no mention of variants.
 
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Asisreo

Patron Badass
Given that the wizard is not polymophing themselves using the Find Familiar spell, I don't see any connection.
They're using the spellcasting mechanic. Notably, the connection is that they neither of them really changes the creature, it just changes the form they take. You've brought up this distinction that the familiar isn't an Imp, but merely in the form of an Imp.

Would you say a player polymorphed into a Vampire isn't really a Vampire and therefore can't be the spellcasting variant?
 


Bolares

Hero
By RAW I''d say you can't get the benefits from the variant. Because the MM specifically mentions what I'd have to do to make those creatures become your familiar and grant you the benefits... also, the familiar in the find familiar spell is a spitir that takes the form of a creature listed on the find familiar (or pact of the chain) spell.

That's what I read as RAW, but I'd probably allow the variants in my game, because I like powerfull PCs in my games.
 


They're using the spellcasting mechanic.
So does fireball. So what?
Notably, the connection is that they neither of them really changes the creature
Yes, yes they do. Specifically, Find Familiar does:
"the familiar has the statistics of the chosen form, though it is a celestial, fey, or fiend (your choice)"

A familiar summoned by a Find Familiar spell uses the (modified) stat block of the form it takes, but it is not actually that creature.

Note that there is no "Variant Imp" in the Monster Manual. There is a "variant familiar" in the Monster Manual. The variation being, the familiar is acquired by the master entering into a contract, not by casting Find Familiar. If you get a familiar in this way it is different to a familiar gained by casting Find Familiar. This contract gives the imp a telepathic link with it's master, and the shared magic resistance ability. The shared resistance is gained from the contract, not the imp, which is a perfectly ordinary imp.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
By "Polymorph" I include both 4th-level Polymorph and True Polymorph.

True Polymorph and spellcasting is a bit of a grey area, but mostly with fiends. For Dragons, I would say no. True Polymorphing into a dragon does not give you new spells that you can cast 1/day on top of your normal spell allotment. Can you cast spells as a dragon? Sure, but they are the spells you normally had access to.

For fiends... well, is it fair to be able to cast a spell to gain access to new spells and new spell slots? I don't think it will is. But, maybe you could cast those new spells with the spell slots you have? It is a grey area.

As for the Familiars, I think the main reason that Chain is seen as weaker than Tome is because Tome can also get Find Familiar for 90% of the value. The Sprite (from personal experience) can be incredibly valuable... but only in the right style of campaign. I'd rather find other ways to buff all the familiars for chainlocks rather than give them better powers in certain forms. I mean... I'd love a chainlock to be able to have a raven, think that'd be cool, but the Imp statistics are still so far superior that I would feel compelled to take the Imp instead
 

Asisreo

Patron Badass
Yes, yes they do. Specifically, Find Familiar does:
"the familiar has the statistics of the chosen form, though it is a celestial, fey, or fiend (your choice)"

A familiar summoned by a Find Familiar spell uses the (modified) stat block of the form it takes, but it is not actually that creature.

Note that there is no "Variant Imp" in the Monster Manual. There is a "variant familiar" in the Monster Manual. The variation being, the familiar is acquired by the master entering into a contract, not by casting Find Familiar. If you get a familiar in this way it is different to a familiar gained by casting Find Familiar. This contract gives the imp a telepathic link with it's master, and the shared magic resistance ability. The shared resistance is gained from the contract, not the imp, which is a perfectly ordinary imp.
Let me rephrase:

Vampires' statblocks are in the monster manual. Vampire spellcasters are not, but they are listed as a Variant near the vampire's official statblock (MM 298).

A vampire with the exact spellcasting abilities as the Variant can be considered a RAW vampire, not homebrewed. As such, if a spell like Antipathy: Vampire would take affect, both the Variant and Regular version should be affected by RAW unless the DM adjudicates counter to that.

Now, a Wizard meets a Vampire with the spellcasting variant. He thinks the vampire is cool and wants to True Polymorph into that spellcasting Vampire. Would you consider that spellcasting creature a compatible, RAW, and legitimate form that the wizard can take?
 


ad_hoc

(he/they)
By RAW I''d say you can't get the benefits from the variant. Because the MM specifically mentions what I'd have to do to make those creatures become your familiar and grant you the benefits... also, the familiar in the find familiar spell is a spitir that takes the form of a creature listed on the find familiar (or pact of the chain) spell.

That's what I read as RAW, but I'd probably allow the variants in my game, because I like powerfull PCs in my games.

Also if you take the variant then it is free to leave you at any time which is in contradiction to the Find Familiar spell.
 

Bolares

Hero
Also if you take the variant then it is free to leave you at any time which is in contradiction to the Find Familiar spell.
Yeah, you can't take part of the variant rule and ignore the rest. It's either a creature that agrees to be your familiar and can leave at any time, and gives you resistance OR has all the benefits and restrictions of the find familiar spell. You either have the cake or eat it :p
 

Asisreo

Patron Badass
Also if you take the variant then it is free to leave you at any time which is in contradiction to the Find Familiar spell.
Could just be a case of general vs specific.
I don't think that true polymorph is a good comparison....
The point is:

There's 2 points that need clarification:

Are variants considered compatible with player-facing features?

Are the forms of creatures considered that creature?


In other words:

Is a Variant Vampire a vampire for the purpose of spells that affect only vampires?

Is something that is in the form of a different creature (like a polymorph target) considered that creature if its not truly that creature?

An example:

Druids can/cannot turn into diseased giant rats. Which would you allow?
 

Bolares

Hero
Could just be a case of general vs specific.

The point is:

There's 2 points that need clarification:

Are variants considered compatible with player-facing features?

Are the forms of creatures considered that creature?


In other words:

Is a Variant Vampire a vampire for the purpose of spells that affect only vampires?

Is something that is in the form of a different creature (like a polymorph target) considered that creature if its not truly that creature?

An example:

Druids can/cannot turn into diseased giant rats. Which would you allow?
I get what you are saying but I say it's not a good comparison because the thing with familiar is not that the familiar imp (or the others) are variants. It's that the variant has very specific conditions for when it's applied and can give bonuses, and none of this conditions are met by casting the find familiar spell. even if the chain warlock can call a fey/fiend spirit to take the form of a imp, it doesn't fill the requirements for the variant bonuses.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
Let me rephrase:

Vampires' statblocks are in the monster manual. Vampire spellcasters are not, but they are listed as a Variant near the vampire's official statblock (MM 298).

A vampire with the exact spellcasting abilities as the Variant can be considered a RAW vampire, not homebrewed. As such, if a spell like Antipathy: Vampire would take affect, both the Variant and Regular version should be affected by RAW unless the DM adjudicates counter to that.

Now, a Wizard meets a Vampire with the spellcasting variant. He thinks the vampire is cool and wants to True Polymorph into that spellcasting Vampire. Would you consider that spellcasting creature a compatible, RAW, and legitimate form that the wizard can take?

No.

To take this a step further, if Malenar the Vampire Wizard has the Ritual of Eternal Night as something he knows, could you True Polymorph into him and learn that ritual? Could you True Polymorph into him and learn the layout of his castle and his plans? Obviously not.

Some beings, like Fiends, it makes a lot of sense to say that their magic is part of their very being, and so turning into them would grant you those powers, mechanically debatable, but lore-wise it makes sense. Others, it is knowledge, and you can't True Polymorph and gain specific knowledge. So, you couldn't True Polymorph to learn the spells of a vampiric Wizard.
 

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