D&D: Pets & Familiars Guide

D&D: Pets & Familiars Guide

Quick Links


For some inexplicable reason, many Dungeons & Dragons players also happen to be proud pet owners. It seems that the game table is not complete without a furry, feathered, scaled, or otherwise adorned companion by their side. And let me tell you, these critters are not just for show! They bring a whole lot of benefits to the adventuring party. So, let’s dive into the wonderful world of pets and familiars and discover how to make the most of these delightful creatures.

Acquiring Pets And Familiars

Baby Yeti by Marcela Medeiros

When it comes to familiars, any spellcaster worth their spell slots can summon one using the 1st-level conjuration spell Find Familiar. This spell allows you to choose from a delightful array of forms for your familiar, including bats, cats, frogs, hawks, and even octopuses! Each form comes with its own set of abilities and proficiencies, making them more than just cute companions.

On the other hand, acquiring a pet is a task left to the dungeon master’s discretion. But fear not, brave adventurers! With a little Animal Handling skill and some good old-fashioned roleplaying, you might just convince that adorable creature to join your party. Whether it’s through providing food, casting Speak with Animals, or lending a helping hand, your efforts will surely pay off.

Now, it’s important to note that there are no hard and fast rules for pets in the Dungeon Master’s Guide. So, have a chat with your dungeon master to figure out the mechanics of acquiring a pet in their game. And remember, convincing a critter to become your loyal companion might require more than just a single successful Animal Handling check. It’s a relationship that needs time and effort to flourish.

Scouting

Dungeons & Dragons Player’s Handbook Art by Wizards of the Coast

Ah, the wonders of having a tiny companion! Pets and familiars are perfect for scouting out those hard-to-reach places. Their small size allows them to slip through cracks, crawl through rubble, and even fly through open windows. They can go where no ordinary adventurer can!

And the best part? These little creatures often go unnoticed in the adventuring space. A rat familiar sneaking into a lizardfolk hideout? No problem! It’s unlikely to raise any suspicion. With their mundane attributes and minuscule size, pets and familiars make excellent scouts, even outshining the stealthiest of player characters.

Help Action

Zadash Market via Wizards of the Coast

Now, let’s talk about the real MVPs of the pet and familiar world: the Help action distributors. While these adorable creatures are forbidden from attacking, they can still lend a helping paw, wing, or tentacle. The Help action grants advantage on ability checks or attack rolls made by your fellow adventurers.

This is where the magic happens in combat! But be warned, in order to provide advantage on an attack roll, your pet or familiar needs to get up close and personal with the enemy. It’s a risky move that exposes them to danger. So, keep a watchful eye on your little companion and make sure they don’t become a dragon’s afternoon snack.

Now, the extent of your familiar’s Help action may vary depending on your dungeon master’s interpretation. They might decide that your familiar can’t help you bust open a door or eavesdrop on a conversation. But hey, don’t let that discourage you! There are still plenty of opportunities for your furry friend to lend a helping hand.

Touch Spells

Complete Arcane by Matt Cavotta

Ah, the power of touch! Did you know that familiars can deliver touch spells for you? It’s a hidden gem that many players overlook. With a simple touch, your familiar can unleash spells like Cure Wounds, Inflict Wounds, and even Vampiric Touch. It’s like having a magical extension of yourself!

While other spellcasters have to risk getting up close and personal in melee combat, you can sit back and let your familiar do the dirty work. They’ll deliver the spell while you remain safely at a distance. It’s a win-win situation!

Object Interaction

Wizards & Spells Cover Art by Conceptopolis

Last but not least, familiars are excellent at interacting with objects. Need to retrieve a small item, like a precious gem or a secret letter? Your trusty familiar or pet can swoop in and grab it without raising suspicion. Who would’ve thought that a hawk could be such a skilled thief?

But it’s not just about stealing shiny things. Familiars can also help with other objects commonly found in dungeons, such as keys and trap triggers. With a simple command, they’ll fetch, carry, or activate whatever you need. It’s like having a magical assistant by your side!

So, my fellow adventurers, embrace the joy of having a pet or familiar in your party. They bring laughter, companionship, and a whole lot of fun to your Dungeons & Dragons adventures. And remember, the bond you forge with your little friend is as magical as any spell in the game.


NEXT: Dungeons & Dragons: How To Build A Circle Of Stars Druid