6
\$\begingroup\$

Continual flame does not produce heat nor require oxygen and lasts until dispelled:

A flame, equivalent in brightness to a torch, springs forth from an object that you touch. The effect looks like a regular flame, but it creates no heat and doesn't use oxygen. A continual flame can be covered or hidden but not smothered or quenched.

If it doesn't produce heat, it presumably does not burn whatever it is touching.

Now suppose you have an owl familiar. If you cast Continual Flame on the owl, will the owl become a flying torch? And if you dismiss the owl and have it reappear, does the continual flame, having never been dispelled, reappear as well?

\$\endgroup\$
  • \$\begingroup\$ You could always have the owl wear jesses and cast on that - however it might get a little distracted by having a flame on its foot. Having a familiar that could wear a collar might be a bit better as the flame would be behind its face and not so obvious... Now the question of what happens to anything the familiar is wearing when it's dismissed / killed is a different one ;-) \$\endgroup\$ – Rycochet Jul 18 '18 at 8:12
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Owls are night creatures, right? If I were one, and you'd fix a permanent magical light on me, I'd peck your eyes out... \$\endgroup\$ – ilkkachu Jul 18 '18 at 10:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ Instead, attach something to the owl (say, a cloth) and cast the EF over the cloth instead. \$\endgroup\$ – Luis Masuelli Jul 18 '18 at 16:41
26
\$\begingroup\$

You could not cast continual flame on your familiar

Continual flame states (PHB, p. 227, bold added):

A flame, equivalent in brightness to a torch, springs forth from an object that you touch. The effect looks like a regular flame, but it creates no heat and doesn’t use oxygen. A continual flame can be covered or hidden but not smothered or quenched.

But a familiar is a creature, not an object. So it is not a valid target of continual flame.

A similar question (about a different spell that targets an object) was answered by Jeremy Crawford:

The ... spell targets an object. A creature is not an object.

As such (credit to enkryptor for making this point), if you tried to cast continual flame on your familiar, according to Xanathar's Guide to Everything's (optional) rules on invalid targets (XGtE p. 86, bold added):

If you cast a spell on someone or something that can't be affected by the spell, nothing happens to the target, but if you used spell slot to cast the spell, the slot is still expended.

(Whether or not your material component would be consumed would be up to your DM).

\$\endgroup\$
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ It's worth pointing out that the rules in Xanathar's Guide to Everything are optional. The core rules don't say how to handle an invalid target. The DM may choose to resolve the issue using the quoted rule, or they might use some other house rule. \$\endgroup\$ – Doval Jul 18 '18 at 17:20
16
\$\begingroup\$

No, but...

As addressed in the other answers, you can't cast Continual Flame on a familiar as it is a creature, not an object.

However, if you mechanically want your familiar to act as a flying torch, you could invest in a collar or even a small length of string and attach it to the familiar, then cast CF on that item, satisfying the targeting requirements of the spell.

In this case, if you dismissed your familiar (or it was killed), the item would remain behind, effectively falling to the ground from where your familiar was when dismissed. You could then retrieve it, store it, and then use it again the next time your familiar was called forth.

\$\endgroup\$
  • \$\begingroup\$ You saved me the trouble of writing an answer about identical to this. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Jul 18 '18 at 15:52
13
\$\begingroup\$

Continual flame is cast on an object, not a familiar

A flame, equivalent in brightness to a torch, springs forth from an object that you touch. 

(emphasis mine)

A familiar is not an object and is therefore not a valid target for the spell. A familiar is a creature:

You gain the service of a familiar, a spirit that takes an animal form... the familiar has the statistics of the chosen form.

\$\endgroup\$

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.