Find Familiar - rewrite

Because I really hate what they've done with familiars in D&D5e, I've rewritten the spell description. It's heavily based in the way it was presented in AD&D2e.

Find Familiar

1st level Conjuration (Ritual)

  • Casting Time: 2-12 hours
  • Range: 1 mile
  • Components: V,S,M (10gp/hour of charcoal, incense and herbs that must be consumed by fire over the course of the ritual in a brass brazier)
  • Duration: Instantaneous

This spell enables the caster to attempt to summon a familiar spirit to inhabit the body of a small creature, and to act as his or her aide and companion. Familiars are typically animals such as cats, frogs, ferrets, crows, hawks, snakes, owls, ravens, toads, weasels, or even mice, though more exotic creatures are sometimes (rarely) found in the role, such as imps, quasits, or pseudodragons.

A creature acting as a familiar can benefit a wizard, conveying its sensory powers to its master, conversing with them, and serving as a guard/scout/spy as well. A wizard can have only one familiar at a time, however, and he or she has no control over what sort of creature answers the summoning, if any at all comes. If an appropriate animal is supplied by the caster for use in the ritual, it can improve the chances that the spirit (if it answers the call at all) will inhabit the desired form.

The familiar will be of normal human intelligence — 3d6 (3-18) INT. It will normally be longer-lived than the normal animal, but familiars are not immortal, and the bodies will eventually wear out.

The wizard receives the heightened senses of his familiar, which grants the wizard a +1 bonus to Passive Perception.

Familiars have the same hit points and armour class as their animal prototype, plus 1 hit point per caster level.

The wizard can drop into a trance-like state in which he or she can see, hear, smell etc. through the familiar's senses. While in this state, the wizard has no use of their own senses, and cannot move about or perform any other actions. Any damage taken by one member of the link is also experienced by the other.

If separated from the caster, the familiar loses 1 hit point each day, and dies if reduced to 0 hit points. When the familiar is in physical contact with its wizard, it gains the wizard's saving throws against magical attacks. If a magical attack would normally cause damage, the familiar suffers no damage if the saving throw is successful and half damage if the saving throw is failed. If the familiar dies, the psychic shock is intense: the wizard must successfully make an immediate DC 10 CON save or drop to 0 hit-points (at which point they are dying — make Death Saves as usual). Even if he or she survives this check, the wizard permanently loses 1 point from their Constitution when the familiar dies.

When the wizard decides to find a familiar, he or she must load a brass brazier with charcoal. When this is burning well, he or she adds 10gp worth of incense and herbs per hour that the ritual lasts. The spell incantation is then begun and must be continued until the familiar comes or the casting time is finished. The DM secretly determines all results. Note that most familiars are not inherently magical, nor does a dispel magic spell send them away.

Deliberate mistreatment, failure to feed and care for the familiar, or continuous unreasonable demands have adverse effects on the familiar's relationship with its master. Purposely arranging the death of one's own familiar will almost certainly result in no spirit ever voluntarily acting as a familiar again.

A familiar spirit can be dismissed by means of a similar ritual as that which invokes one, whereupon the creature becomes a normal animal once again.

Random Familiar Summoning Results
D20 RollFamiliar*Sensory Powers
1-5CatExcellent night vision & superior hearing
6-7CrowExcellent vision
8-9HawkVery superior distance vision
10-11OwlDarkvision, superior hearing
12-13ToadWide-angle vision
14-15WeaselSuperior hearing & very superior olfactory power
16-20No familiar available within spell range

* The DM can substitute other small animals suitable to the area.

Yet another miniature painting WiP post

If I ever get back to DMing my own campaign, I might have the need for a half-orc or two. Fortunately, I got a half-orc or two (or three...