The Pact of the Chain gives Warlocks a small magical companion via the Find Familiar spell. While other casters can’t typically use their familiars for combat, the Pact of the Chain Warlock has access to four special kinds of familiar that may fight alongside them. However, these are not equally useful. It’s important to look at their abilities, stats and features to determine how they stack up from worst to best.
4. DnD’s Sprite Familiar Has Strength Limitations
At first, the Sprite may seem like a good choice. Compared to the other familiars, it has a higher armor class and proficiency with both the longsword and shortbow. However, the Sprite’s low strength score limits what it can do in regards to mundane tasks. Being a tiny creature with a strength of 3, its carrying limit is a measly 24 pounds. While many DMs don’t pay too much attention to this, those who do will be quick to point out that the Sprite won’t be much help with basic tasks like building a campfire.
While Sprites have a higher passive perception than most of the other Pact of the Chain’s expanded options, they lack any special senses, including darkvision. Plus, with only 2 HP to their name, scouting is incredibly dangerous for Sprites. As for their attacks, they only deal one point of damage with their Shortsword or Shortbow, and the DC of their Shortbow’s poison is so low that it’s unlikely to come into play. Finally, though the Sprite Heart Sight ability may seem useful, its low DC doesn’t make it worth taking this overall weak familiarity.
3. DnD 5e’s Pseudodragon’s Damage Is Too Minimal
The Pseudodragon boasts many attributes that easily top the Sprite. They have more HP, faster movement speed, and better senses. In addition to a passive perception of 13, they possess 10 feet of blindsight, meaning that even in magical darkness, they can see a limited distance. They also are able to see in mundane darkness up to 60 feet. Keen Senses further enhance the Pseudodragon’s abilities when making perception checks.
Pseudodragons also possess Magic Resistance, giving them advantage on any saving throws against spells or magical effects. While they are unable to speak normally, they do possess telepathy, allowing them to serve as something of a limited translator for the party with anything that has a language.
Unfortunately, the Pseudodragon’s attacks don’t do enough damage to be worth an action. They can only do 1d4+2 damage, and just like the Sprite, their DC is too low for their poison to consistently take effect. Beyond that, the Pseudodragon’s biggest drawback is that it cannot turn invisible like other familiars. This means the creature is easier to target and not as skilled at sneaking in and out of places.
2. The Quasit Has Some of DnD’s Best Damage Resistances
Quasits are small fiends that resemble a gremlin mixed with a cockroach, and they take a massive step in the right direction as familiars. These match Pseudodragons in AC and HP, and while its passive perception is lower, it more than makes up for it with 120 feet of darkvision and the ability to turn invisible.
What’s more, the Quasit possesses a slew of resistances to common damage types, including non-magical weapon attacks. Plus, its Shapeshifting ability can give it a flying, climbing, or swimming speed to fit almost any situation, and Magic Resistance gives it an extra edge against spellcasters.
Quasit’s attacks are slightly better in that their poison does additional damage to an enemy even on a failed save. Their save DC is still low, so it won’t hit consistently, but adding an extra 2d4 poison damage and inflicting the poisoned condition can really help the party. The biggest downside to the Quasit is that, while their Fright power can be useful, it can only be cast once a day. Combined with a laughably low DC, this ability is unlikely to make much of a difference.
1. DnD’s Imp Is the Pact of the Chain’s Best Familiar Choice
Pretty much everything the Quasit does well is surpassed by the Imp. While it matches the Quasit and Psuedodragon’s AC 13, it surpasses their HP with 10. It has most of the same resistances (including Magic Resistance), adding immunity to both Fire and Poison damage types, as well as the poisoned condition.
With 120 feet of Darkvision and the Devil’s Sight ability, they are able to see through darkness both mundane and magical, something even few players can boast. While they do sacrifice the Quasit’s swim speed through shapeshifting, they are still able to gain a high fly speed and a climb speed in their animal forms.
Where Imps truly shine, however, is in their attack. When they land a hit, it does base damage of 1d4 + 3 piercing damage, plus up to 3d6 in additional poison damage. To put this into perspective, a greatsword deals 2d6 slashing damage. Though the poison damage does require a Constitution saving throw that isn’t too hard for an enemy to make, even a failed save results in half damage. Combined with their Invisibility, Imps make for lethal allies on the battlefield in ways that the other Pact of the Chain Warlock familiar options simply cannot match.
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