Find Familiar (spell)

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Find familiar summons a preternatural spirit as a permanent attendant for the caster, appearing in the guise of an animal, beast, demon or sprite. This being will serve and obey the caster, while escorting and accompanying him or her constantly. Most familiars appear quite ordinary and can easily be mistaken as pets.

Find Familiar
Range self
Duration life of the familiar
Area of Effect 1 creature
Casting Time 2-24 hours; see text
Saving Throw none
Level mage (1st)

The caster is able to telepathically communicate with the familiar, being able to sense directly those things the familiar sees, hears, smells and so on. This sensory connection may be made whenever the caster wishes, though it requires a combat round to "acquire" the familiar's viewpoint.

As regards to giving commands, the familiar is able to read the caster's thoughts, so there is no need for verbally dictating orders, or even having the familiar within line-of-sight. To an outsider, the familiar will appear to take actions on its own, since no visible communication between caster and familiar need take place.

All familiars function as retainers with respect to their relationship to game-play between it, the caster and the character party. With one exception, a familiar will remain in attendance should the caster be killed, until it's known if the caster's to be raised or resurrected before ending their retainership.


The familiar will not venture further away than a mile for any reason, even in times of trouble, for beyond this point the telepathic connection with the caster is lost. At all times, the familiar chooses actions that secure the well-being and security of the caster, of its own accord. It serves as a guard, spy or scout, without the need to rest or sleep — but the being's purpose is always first and foremost to protect the caster, and not the caster's allies, followers or friends. A familiar will only aid another creature when this directly influences the survival and protection of the master or mistress. It will sacrifice itself only when there's no other course of action.

Only one familiar may be called by the spell at a time. Once obtained, the spell cannot be used until the familiar dies ... and should the familiar die under suspicious circumstances, suggesting the caster did not appreciate its presence (due to perhaps wishing for a "better" form of familiar), then another spirit will not allow it to be summoned, ever. The familiar is a boon, one that must be appreciated highly by the caster.


Roll Familiar
monkey 48-53
owl 54-63
pseudo-dragon 64
quasit 65
rat 66-73
toad 74-84
weasel 85-94
call fails 95-00
Roll Familiar
brownie 01
cat 02-19
chameleon 20-22
crow 23-33
dog 34-40
fox 41-44
imp 45
mongoose 46-47

To call a familiar, the caster must find an isolated location, no less than half a mile from civilisation. There, a fire is built. The caster sits crosslegged before the fire and begins to quietly chant. This chanting will continue for 2d12 hours, minus 1 hour per level of the caster above 1st. The minimum period of casting is 1 hour. The caster may take precautions, allowing others to guard the area against wandering monsters, to ensure the spell is cast undisturbed, but no person may move nearer to the fire than 50 ft. — else the spell is broken and must be attepted again the next day.

The table shown indicates which potential familiar forms that might appear following the spell's casting. Cats, chameleons, crows, dogs, foxes, mongoose, monkeys, owls, rats, toads and weasels are "lesser familiars", whose advantages and powers are of minor benefit. By comparison, the "greater familiars, "brownies, imps, pseudo-dragons and quasits, are of considerable more assistance to the caster.

Should the result "call fails" occur, then after 24 hours of continuous chanting the caster will discover there are no familiars within hearing range of the spell (or those familiars in the area find the caster "unworthy"). This is most ungratifying and onerous to the caster, but it's not a permanent failure. The caster must relocate to a distance at least 20 miles from the first attempt, then try again. New attempts can be made until success occurs, always remembering to attempt the spell at least 20 miles from all places where former calls have failed.

Lesser Familiars

Lesser familiars all have an armour class of 7, attack as 1 hit dice and enjoy a THAC0 of 20. Movement will vary, with some familiars capable of moving very quickly, while others, like the chameleon or toad, will possess only 2 action points and a movement of only stride-1. When attacking, they're able to cause 1 damage upon a hit, regardless of their form.

Each of these beings will possess 2-4 hit points (h.p.). By means of the association between caster and familiar, this number is also added to the caster's h.p. 'For example, the mage Pazruk has 9 h.p. at the time of casting, when he succeeds in calling forth a dog familiar with 4 h.p. Pazruk's points are thus increased to 13. These points will remain part of Pazruk's total until such time as the familiar passes away — whereupon Pazruk will subtract those four h.p. from his total.

In addition, each type of lesser familiar conveys its powers or special knowledge to the caster, as described below:

Cat: increases the caster's ability to see in the dark by two grades of illumination; for example, from full dark to dim moonlight, or dim moonlight to dusk. Better hearing enables the caster to reveal the approach of others at a 3rd level of ability.
Chameleon: enables the caster to change skin and hair colour within the range permissible to the caster's race; this power does not change the caster's features or style of hair.
Crow: provides excellent distance vision, so that it gives a +2 to hit with missile weapons at medium and long ranges. Reveals mirage, two-d'llusion, dancing lights and similar magic.
Dog: provides benefits associated with the senses I sage ability. Acquiring the dog's natural ferocity allows the caster to attack four times every three rounds when engaged in hand-to-hand melee.
Fox: increases the caster's intelligence stat by +1, while giving the caster the right instincts to employ the passing through sage ability.
Mongoose: grants a +2 attack against snakes of all forms, while simultaneously providing a +2 saving throw vs. snake venom. The mongoose possesses a ferocity that allows the caster to attack four times every three rounds when engaged in hand-to-hand melee.
Monkey: increases the caster's wisdom stat by +1, while transferring the monkey's natural ability to scramble and climb trees.
Owl: increases the caster's ability to see in the dark by two grades of illumination (see cat); for example, from full dark to dim moonlight, or dim moonlight to dusk. Peripheral vision, and an eerie sense of "having eyes in the back of one's head" reduces the chance of the caster being surprised to 1 in 12.
Rat: provides a +2 saving throw vs. poison, while also conferring complete immunity to disease.
Toad: increases the caster's constitution stat by +1, while providing a +2 saving throw vs. magical attacks and breath weapons.
Weasel: enables the caster to heal an additional 2 hit points per day, beyond that normally gained through rest. In addition, the weasel confers a complete immunity against magically-induced fear.

Greater Familiars

These are each unique unto themselves, with characteristics that are found on their individual page descriptions. Whatever the number of hit points they possess, having one of these familiars enables the caster to add 5 h.p. to their own total. Descriptions of the each greater familiar's behaviour and benefits follows.


See Brownie

These diminuative faeries make every effort not to be seen by the spellcaster's companions, succeeding in this nearly always. It's possible the brownie might be seen during a fight, defending it's master or mistress; but even then, it's unlikely another character would have the time to observe and gain any insight as to the brownie's appearance. When solving problems, or giving aid, brownies like to achieve their aims without causing undo harm or loss to others — though if there's no other way, they will resign themselves to the caster's inevitable need.

When acquired by the caster, the brownie will be 2nd level, with between 2,501 and 2,700 experience points (X.P.); it will be able to gain more as a member of the caster's party. The brownie could be a he or she, possessing the spells feather fall, protection from malevolence, ventriloquism and unseen servant, making great use of the last; with an additional three useful cantrips and one legerdemain cantrip. These and the brownie's other abilities are available for the caster's purposes.

The brownie's presence also increases the caster's constitution stat by +2, while also bestowing a certainty of the caster never being surprised.


See Imp

These demonic spawn, while completely obedient to the caster, are nevertheless insidiously evil — and therefore, whenever carrying forth the wishes of its master or mistress, will nearly always take the course of action that will cause suffering and harm. Due to their appearance, the imp will most commonly assume a polymorphed state, one that appeals to the caster. It has a wide variety of powers that are detailed in depth on the imp page.

The imp is able to transfer the following protective powers to the caster: a complete immunity to magical cold, fire and electricity; this immunity does not apply to natural attacks such as a dragon's breath weapon. The caster's saving throw will be, at minimum, increased to 7th level (though once the caster supercedes that level, the benefit is no longer of use). Finally, the imp bestows upon the caster a 25% magic resistance.


See Pseudo-dragon

These affectionate, nurturing beasts are playful and caring for their master, mistress and others. When among a party associated with the caster, the pseudo-dragon will seek trust from others and allow itself to be touched and carried. It remains, always, most loyal to the caster, but it doesn't disdain to be outgoing with others. Its leathery hide is preternaturally smooth to the touch.

The creature is innately able to become invisible and possesses a breath weapon of scalding steam when defending itself. It is able to grant ultravision to the caster, a +2 saving throw against magical attacks and the knowledge of how better to act with stealth (which increases with the caster's level).


See Quasit

These chthonic beings originate from the planes of Limbo and Pandemonium; of all the possible familiars the spell might call, these are the most difficult to manage, as they will chafe against the prospect of working cooperatively with the caster's party. Though they will not act deliberately against others, they will find "excuses" not to rescue an ally or follower of the caster, even when given an order to do so.

Despite this, they will loyally perform the caster's wishes when it's the caster's well-being that matters. Apart from the special abilities they possess, which are outlined on the quasit's page, a familiar of this form has only one power to bestow upon the caster: the ability to regenerate 1 h.p. per round. This means the caster cannot be meaningfully wounded and for the most part has no need to heal. This regeneration power is lost when the caster dies; and unlike every other familiar, if the caster dies, the quasit will depart immediately and never return.