What reasons have the designers stated for making Find Familiar limited to a specific list of creatures rather than summoning any creature of a particular type or size or challenge rating?

Similarly, have they explained why it can't it be cast to get better familiars at higher spell levels?

  • \$\begingroup\$ @Robbie what do you think about making a separate question about mechanical drawbacks of allowing different creatures as a familiars? Like Oblivious Sage said, there is a possibility that there will be no answer given to this question, so it can be a good idea to think what problems game can encounter if DM allows you to select other creatures, both similar in size/challenge or bigger (with level). \$\endgroup\$ – Ivan Kolmychek Jun 19 '17 at 6:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Timi We do appreciate that you're advising others to not leave answers in the comments. However, suggesting that that particular answer-in-comments be posted as an answer wasn't great advice, since it was speculation with no basis in designer statements, and the resulting answer post had to be deleted. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jun 19 '17 at 21:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ Related Question here \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Jun 19 '17 at 22:01

The designers wanted to nerf summons, compared to previous editions.

You're probably not going to find a specific designer statement regarding the find familiar spell. However, the answer to this related question cites an instructive tweet from designer Mike Mearls, saying:

Adding more creatures to the party is very, very powerful. Toned down based on past experiences.

The limitation of Find Familiar to that specific list of creatures is consistent with the designer's desire to tone down the power of summoning in general.

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