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DnD Find Familiar 5E spell explained

The WotC DnD Find Familiar 5E spell conjures up a friendly (and useful) animal companion - get the most out of this D&D spell with our handy guide

DnD Find Familiar 5e - Wizards of the Coast art of human Minsc and hamster Boo

The DnD Find Familiar 5E spell can do more than just summon a furry (or scaly) friend for your TTRPG character. You can channel spells through your familiar, teleport them to advantageous locations, or use them to gather secrets. Of course, hanging out with cute animals is still part of the appeal – just ask all the Druids who wasted their last spell slot casting Speak With Animals.

DnD Find Familiar 5E can be a useful tool as well as a fun bit of flavour for your character, but it requires some reading to fully master. In terms of rules as written, Find Familiar has one of the longer descriptions of the 5E spells available. Beginner summoners might want some tips before adding this to their spell list – and that’s what Wargamer’s here to provide.

This guide includes all the essential info on Find Familiar 5E. This includes how to cast it, which classes can cast it, and some upsides and downsides to consider as your campaign progresses. Before long, you’ll have your own Disney-princess-style pal to help you out on whatever escapade you tackle next.

Here’s everything you need to know about the DnD Find Familiar 5E spell:

DnD Find Familiar 5E - Wizards of the Coast art of Boo the Hamster

Find Familiar 5E features

Spell level First
Casting time One hour
Duration Instantaneous
Range Ten feet
School Conjuration

DnD Find Familiar 5e - Wizards of the Coast art of a crow

How to cast Find Familiar 5E

Find Familiar requires verbal components (speaking) and somatic components (gestures), so this isn’t a spell that can be cast quietly. It also has a material component – ten gold pieces of charcoal, incense, and herbs. These must be burned in a brass brazier. Let’s hope your animal-loving Wizard has deep pockets, as you’ll need these components every time you want to perform a summoning.

It’s worth mentioning that Find Familiar 5E is a Ritual spell. This means it can be cast as normal, or you can spend an extra ten minutes casting it to avoid using up a spell slot. For a spell that already takes an hour to cast, that ten minutes might be worth the trade-off.

DnD Find Familiar 5E - Wizards of the Coast art of a Halfling and Hound wearing armour

Once you’ve spent the time and money to cast the spell, your new familiar appears within ten feet of you in an unoccupied space. You’ve technically summoned a spirit, but it can take the form of an animal of your choosing. Your options are limited to small creatures – examples include a rat, raven, or even a poisonous snake.

Now you have your familiar, you can put them to use. A familiar acts independently and has its own initiative in combat, but they will obey your commands. You can also cast touch spells through them. Did an enemy touch your cat without asking? Looks like a good time to cast Shocking Grasp. If the spell requires an attack roll, you’ll be using your attack modifier for the roll.

You can communicate with your familiar telepathically if it’s within 100 feet of you. You can also spend an action using its eyes and ears instead of your own.

If your familiar is in danger, you can also spend an action to temporarily or permanently dismiss them, sending them to a pocket dimension where they will await your summons. If you permanently dismiss your familiar, or they’re reduced to zero hit points, you’ll need to recast Find Familiar to get them back. If you cast the Find Familiar spell while you have a familiar already summoned, you don’t get a second familiar – but you can change the form of your current animal friend. 

DnD Find Familiar 5E - Wizards of the Coast art of elf Drizzt and a panther

Who can cast Find Familiar 5E

Find Familiar is a spell that can only be found on the Wizard spells. Wizards can learn this spell as soon as they start practising magic, but they clearly don’t share their spell list around much.

Arcane Trickster Rogues and Eldritch Knight Fighters can learn Wizard spells, but Find Familiar isn’t from a school of magic that’s overly familiar to them – so they’d need to wait until at least level eight to learn the spell, when they can pick stuff up from any school. Bards can also pinch a few spells from other classes at level 10 (or six, if they’re from the College of Lore).

Warlocks can learn the Pact of the Chain Pact Boon at third level, and this allows them to use Find Familiar as a Ritual. However, they can only summon an imp, pseudodragon, quasit, or sprite. Certain classes can also learn Find Familiar through feats like Magical Initiate and Ritual Caster. 

DnD Find Familiar 5e - Wizards of the Coast art of human Minsc and hamster Boo

Pros and cons of Find Familiar 5E

Familiars may be great for scouting and spellcasting, but their puny five hit points make them pretty weak in other scenarios. If they do get into trouble, they’ll be out of the fight pretty quickly, and they can’t actually attack during combat.

Additionally, while it’s useful for scouting to see through your familiar’s eyes and hear what it hears, it leaves you without hearing or sight of your own – meaning you’re left vulnerable to attacks. You also can’t summon more than one familiar at a time – which may not be such a big deal, but it does stop you overwhelming enemies with an army of rats.