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If I cast find familiar, what is the creature's alignment? I ask because the majority of entities that change forms retain their alignment and the familiar is simply a spirit assuming the form of a beast (or Pact of the Chain form).

You gain the service of a familiar, a spirit that takes an animal form you choose.

One way this is relevant is the ability for a Pact of the Chain familiar (such as Imp) to damage a Rakshasa with a magical piercing weapon.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie The reason I edited into the title (Pact of the Chain) was to match that specific concern in the text with the title. The generic spell, and the pact, are distinct in their application. I think it would be better to put that back into the title, but don't want to get into a pingpong match of edits of the title. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Feb 21 '18 at 15:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Korvin I disagree. The familiars who are not pact of the chain still have a question of alignment. The specific clause is distinct in providing a reason for it to matter since only pact of the chain familiars can wield a piercing weapon. \$\endgroup\$ – David Coffron Feb 21 '18 at 15:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ OK. I'd be interested to see you find any of the garden variety familiars from the spell (not the pact) that will have any alignment as they tend to be beasts, which are typically unaligned. Won't mess with the title. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Feb 21 '18 at 16:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Korvin the question is relevant because the creatures are not beasts but a spirit in the form of beasts. The question involves whether the alignment of the form is assumed or not \$\endgroup\$ – David Coffron Feb 21 '18 at 16:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ Then please take what you just said in your comment and put it in your question. It would make your question more clear. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Feb 21 '18 at 16:02
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The Creature would have the alignment specified by its respective stat block

Neither Find Familiar nor Pact of the Chain specify changing the alignment, or any other stats of the familiar.

Sprites and Pseudodragons are among the available familiars for Pact of the Chain, which are "good" creatures that could circumvent the Rakshasas resistance.

At your DMs discretion he may allow you to determine the alignment of your familiar, given that there is no guidance as to whether a found familiar is an actual imp/sprite/cat etc. in every way or if the spirit taking that form temporarily retains elements of its "true self" (alignment, personality etc.).

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    \$\begingroup\$ Fine answer but certainly the creature is a spirit taking the form per the spell description. \$\endgroup\$ – David Coffron Feb 20 '18 at 15:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ You're right, that's poor phrasing on my part - I will update \$\endgroup\$ – Sir Cinnamon Feb 20 '18 at 15:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't see how you could get a pseudodragon to wield a magic weapon (wield: hold and use) but sprite would definitely work with this ruling. \$\endgroup\$ – David Coffron Feb 21 '18 at 16:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ On page 6 in the Monster Manual, it does describe celestial as "good by nature" and fiends as "creatures of wickedness". So, there is some anecdotal evidence that those types of familiar get their respective alignment. \$\endgroup\$ – The Hidden DM Feb 25 at 23:06
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The Familiar either has no alignment, or has an alignment chosen by the caster of the spell.

In each case the spell describes, the spirit's variable characteristics are chosen by the caster:

You gain the service of a familiar, a spirit that takes an animal form you choose... the familiar has the statistics of the chosen form, though it is a celestial, fey, or fiend (your choice)...

and the spirit is unfailingly loyal to the caster:

Your familiar acts independently of you, but it always obeys your commands.

The implication appears to be that the spellcaster has absolute determination of both their familiar's actions and its very nature -- which is to say, control of its alignment, at least for creatures which have an alignment (like the Imp).

However, the Alignment entry from the Monster Manual reads,

Many creatures of low intelligence have no comprehension of law or chaos, good or evil. They don’t make moral or ethical choices, but rather act on instinct. These creatures are unaligned, which means they don’t have an alignment.

Since beast-form familiars copy the statistics of the basic creature, and those creatures have low intelligence, they would fall under the guideline of "having no comprehension."

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That, as usual, is a DM decision; it is not specified anywhere. The spirit that is summoned to create the familiar is chosen by the caster to be a Celestial, Fey, or Fiend, so as a DM I would have its alignment match that choice. But it isn't defined RAW.

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I’d say it’s up to the DM. But an evil aligned familiar usually hints at an evil spell caster and vice versa.

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