A familiar is a normal creature that has been summoned to service by a sorcerer or wizard, after which it becomes a magical beast and gains new powers. They are magically linked to their masters, in some sense, practically existing as one being. All familiars have special abilities along with granting special abilities to its master.
Acquiring a FamiliarEdit
In order to aquire a familiar, the prospective master must first locate the kind of creature desired. This can be as convenient a task as visiting a city and purchasing a suitable animal within an appropriate shop. Some more exotic familiars usually take more effort to locate.
After locating the familiar, the master must arrange to keep the familiar nearby for the day-long ritual that binds the two together. Wise masters choose familiars that are friendly enough not to wander away, but sometimes the creature must be caged or otherwise restrained.
There are various rituals that bind familiars to spellcasters, ranging from a few gestures or chants to some drawings sketched on the floor around the pair – all repeated necessarily at intervals throughout the day. The ritual will fail if the intended familiar is hostile or unfriendly to the master, or has been charmed into amiability in any manner.
After the Spellplague, wizards could use the spell find familiar to gain a familiar, although some creatures could still choose to bind to them in the traditional way. Familiars acquired through the use of the spell were spirits that could assume the form of a number of small animals, and could change form through repeated castings of the spell.
Familiars and their master share an empathic link with one another that allows them to communicate, albeit in a limited capacity, at a distance of up to 1 mile (1.6 km). Only general emotional content, such as fear or curiosity, can be communicated; also, seeing as how familiars naturally see the world in a different light from their masters, a misunderstanding in translation is always a possibility. While not hampered by line-of-sight, the link is a supernatural ability so it ceases to function within an antimagic field; it also does not cross planar boundaries.
The empathic link makes the familiar an extension of the master's being, which means that when a familiar has been somewhere or experienced something, the master has the same connection to it as the familiar has.
Sometimes, a master will wish to be rid of a familiar, usually because they have suffered some debilitating injury or because the master simply wishes to acquire a new creature. To dismiss a familiar, the master simply wills it so, breaking the link that binds the two. Immediately on being dismissed, the familiar loses all abilities and becomes a normal creature of its kind, returning to life as such while suffering no ill effects, with the exception that it will likely be unable to remember most of what it experienced as a familiar.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Steven E. Schend (July 2006). Blackstaff. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 16. ISBN 978-0786940165.
- ↑ Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford (2014). Player's Handbook 5th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 240. ISBN 978-0-7869-6560-1.
- Skip Williams (2005-09-06). Familiars (Part One). Rules of the Game. Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved on 2010-10-17.
- Skip Williams (2005-09-13). Familiars (Part Two). Rules of the Game. Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved on 2010-10-17.
- Skip Williams (2005-09-20). Familiars (Part Three). Rules of the Game. Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved on 2010-10-17.
- Skip Williams (2005-09-27). Familiars (Part Four). Rules of the Game. Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved on 2010-10-17.
- David Howery (December 1993). “Familiar Faces”. In Kim Mohan ed. Dragon #200 (TSR, Inc.), pp. 30–33.
- Jean Rabe (April 1996). “Greater Familiars of Faerûn”. In Pierce Watters ed. Dragon #228 (TSR, Inc.), pp. 76–82.