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The rulebook states that carrying capacity is the strength score times 15 (lbs). Find familiar allows me to get a hawk, which has a strength score of 5. This results in a carrying capacity of 75 lbs. This is well within the range of weights for small people such as gnomes or halflings. Does this mean my familiar can carry them and fly away (given they do not struggle)?

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Yes

Yes, a familiar can carry loads if it can properly grip or support them, including a willing creature if they fall within this weight limit. However, a hawk can only carry 37.5 pounds, as it is a Tiny creature, and thus its carry capacity is halved (PHB 176 'Size and Strength').

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    \$\begingroup\$ Thus with the gnome at 40lbs before equipment, it is impossible. However Enlarge Reduce can change their weight to allow it. \$\endgroup\$ – Baergren Sep 22 '17 at 16:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Baergren Or it's a juvenile/otherwise vertically-challenged gnome. \$\endgroup\$ – JAB Sep 22 '17 at 19:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks, I overlooked the modifier to carry weight from creature size. I figured 75 lbs. seemed unrealistically high. \$\endgroup\$ – user25861 Sep 22 '17 at 22:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Co3O4 - 37.5lbs is ridiculously high. \$\endgroup\$ – Clockwork-Muse Sep 22 '17 at 23:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ 37.5 is correct. You only halve for Tiny creatures, no change for small creatures and double per size class greater than medium. \$\endgroup\$ – E. Downer Dec 5 '18 at 5:32
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Yes, well sort of yes.

Druid + Find Familiar method

  1. Take at least two levels in Druid.
    • Gain access to the Find Familiar spell (Magic initiate feat if you don't want to be a Wizard or Pact of the Chain Warlock). Use it to find a hawk familiar.
    • Wild Shape yourself into a creature lighter than 18.75 lbs.
    • Success! (sort of)

Find Familiar + Polymorph method

  1. Be a spell caster who can cast 4th level spells (or have a scroll or ring of spell storing with the spell stored in it)
    • Gain access to the Find Familiar spell (Magic initiate feat, or spell caster class spell). Use it to find a hawk familiar.
    • Polymorph yourself into a creature lighter than 18.75 lbs. (And make sure to maintain concentration and let the hawk know when it needs to land).
    • Success! (sort of)
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  • \$\begingroup\$ Ritual Caster would also work to gain find familiar. \$\endgroup\$ – Zeiss Ikon Aug 20 at 18:11
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With a kobald and a hawk familiar(can carry 37.5lbs) it will work kobalds weighing 30lbs alone, you could carry an extra 7.5lbs of equipment while flying.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Hello and welcome! Please take the tour to learn about how the site works. This post does not seem to actually answer the question. Keep in mind answers are expected to answer the original question. Regardless, thank you for trying to help strangers! \$\endgroup\$ – Sdjz Dec 4 '18 at 0:36

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