In the previous part of this Familiars series, we covered the 15 common familiars in Finding Familiars. We then covered the 19 Warlock familiars in Finding Warlock Familiars. In this last part, we will be talking about implementing a few optional variant rules from the Monster Manual.
To start off with, we need to discuss the Variant: Familiars rule in the Monster Manual (p347). The rule states:
Any spellcaster that can cast the Find Familiar spell (such as an archmage or mage) is likely to have a familiar. The familiar can be one of the creatures described in the spell (see the Player’s Handbook) or some other Tiny monster, such as a Crawling Claw, Imp, Pseudodragon, or Quasit.
Immediately, it would appear this variant rule should only apply to NPC created creatures, using the Archmage or Mage as templates to do so. However, if you suppose that if an NPC mage can fall under this variant rule, it is reasonable for player characters, able to cast Find Familiar, would also get the privilege to summon familiars under this purview.
The requirements would be a Tiny sized creature, and less than CR1, as the Imp or the Quasit are CR1. Under those guidelines, that would add the following creatures: Badger, Crawling Claw, Faerie Dragon, Flying Snake, Pixie, Scorpion, and Stirge. Most of these are no issue at all, but a Faerie Dragon needs to be examined a bit.
The Faerie Dragon can exist as a CR1, but only in Red, Orange, or Yellow varieties, which correlate to age. As it ages, it adds more spells to its Innate Spellcasting trait ability. I believe that all initial summons should just be a red dragon (5 years or less). If the story and/or campaign were to span many many years, then Orange (6-10 years) and Yellow (11-20 years) could be added.
Other Variant Familiar options are directly related to Imps (MM69), Quasits (MM63), and Pseudodragons (MM254). Each of these are geared specifically for Warlocks who can summon them.
Here is the Variant: Imp Familiar description, which mirrors the other two:
Variant: Imp Familiars
The imp can enter into a contract to serve another creature as a familiar, forming a telepathic bond with its willing master. While the two are bonded, the master can sense what the imp senses as long as they are within 1 mile of each other. While the imp is within 10ft of its master, the master shares the imp’s Magic Resistance trait. If its master violates the terms of the contract, the imp can end its service as a familiar, ending the telepathic bond.
I did not including the telepathic bond or magic resistance traits only due to space constraints on the cards. Again, like all Variants, the DM needs to verify it will work for your world and story. If you adopt these Variant options, keep them in mind if using the cards since the text is not included.
Get to the Cards Already
Okay, first up is the Optional Standard familiars that can be summoned via the normal casting of Find Familiars. There are more after these.
You can find a PDF to the 7 variant familiars here: Optional Standard Familiars
For Warlocks who can use their familiars to attack, a different set of cards that has each creature’s Attack abilities are included below:
You can find a PDF to the 7 variant Warlock familiars here: Optional Warlock Familiars