My game group is pretty RP heavy and I'm playing a Warlock for this campaign. I'm in the first stages of character creation, and I know I want to do Pact of the Chain. I like the Imp as a familiar for a lot of reasons (shapechange, invisibility, Stinger, cool factor etc.), but I'm running into the issue of why some patrons would give me one. Fiends are obvious, and a Great Old one would totally corrupt an imp for my service but I was leaning toward Archfey or Celestial for the game.

Are there any lore reasons why an Archfey or a Celestial patron would give a character a technically fiendish familiar, or the other way (i.e. fiend patron with sprite familiar)?

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    \$\begingroup\$ By the way, welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour if you haven't already. ...Also, idea generation questions aren't really answerable on RPG.SE. This is a Q&A site; we focus on questions where it's possible to pick a single "best" answer. Idea generation questions are entirely opinion-based, and are probably better suited to a forum (or Role-playing Games Chat, once you have enough reputation on the site to join it). \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Aug 24, 2018 at 8:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ Sadly enough, 'does anybody have ideas' questions don't really work well for the stackexchange format, and 'roleplay reasons this might fit' is entirely opinion-based, which makes an objective "right" answer tricky to produce. You might be able to salvage the question by asking if there are imps in the forgotten realms lore that work for celestials or archfey. \$\endgroup\$
    – Theik
    Aug 24, 2018 at 8:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm Playing 5e but my group is pretty cool about porting anything from other systems one of the players is reworking a Pathfinder shifter for 5e. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 24, 2018 at 9:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think I fixed the question to be lore based as requested. Sorry for the confusion, this is my first question on the site. PLZ Release me (╯︵╰) \$\endgroup\$ Aug 24, 2018 at 9:27
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    – Theik
    Aug 24, 2018 at 9:36

2 Answers 2


It's not actually an imp

The Find Familiar spell doesn't summon an actual factual cat, bat, imp, pseudodragon, or whatever. When you cast the spell, what you get is:

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

And for the Pact of the Chain warlock, the spell is modified as so:

When you cast the spell, you can choose one of the normal forms for your familiar or one of the following special forms: ...

Nowhere does it say that it changes the fundamental nature of the spell - you don't get an actual imp, you still get a spirit that happens to be taking the form of an imp. The familiar's form reflecting your patron's nature is a stylistic choice that you aren't actually beholden to. The new options don't even override the choice of type that you get from the basic spell, so as written you could easily have a familiar that is in the form of an imp but is actually a fey or celestial spirit.

If you want your familiar to have the imp form for its mechanical benefits, but you don't want it to look quite like an actual imp, it'd seem reasonable to talk to your DM and ask if you can reskin the imp as some sort of tiny celestial servant rather than a little devil, if you want it to reflect a more heavenly patron. If I were your DM, I'd be happy to work with you on the flavour of the class/character in this way - it has no mechanical/balancing impact problems.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I like the idea of reflavouring the creature, since it's just a form of a spirit rather than the actual creature. Having a tiny Cherub following a Celestial Warlock around sounds like an interesting idea; using a reskinned Sprite would even allow it to shoot a bow too. \$\endgroup\$
    – NathanS
    Aug 24, 2018 at 9:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ Oph, the Cherub is a can of worms. Now I'll be in negotiations with the DM for some sort of low-level healing familiar, with some healing may be a cooldown or something like lay on hands with a daily healing pool. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 24, 2018 at 9:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ @StedmanReGester Ah, well that would be changing the stats/mechanics of the base creature (Imp, Sprite, whatever) and that would be something for the DM to decide, as you said (although Celestial Warlocks have a healing pool anyway, so you could "share it" between you, as so not to unbalance things). However, these comments are now steering further away from the essence of Carcer's answer (my bad) so it's probably best for me to wrap it up here :) \$\endgroup\$
    – NathanS
    Aug 24, 2018 at 9:41

I put a similar question up on DnD Beyond, and I got an answer back I thought you all might find interesting. 'InquisitiveCoder' first covers the same mechanical information as Carcer then gives some gives some pretty interesting RP Ideas.

... A celestial spirit is still a celestial even if you give it an imp's form.

Since you don't need a reason to pick one familiar over the other, instead of struggling to come up with reasons that don't need to exist try exploring the consequences of your mismatched choices instead. Maybe your celestial or fey spirit isn't happy to be in an imp's form, but it's obligated to serve you. That's a great roleplaying opportunity. Is it resentful? Does it put up with it because it cares about you? Do you let it change forms every now and then - at your own expense - to make it happy? Their reactions to being in imp form can even be different by type. A celestial may despise being in imp form because fiends are evil, while a fey spirit might hate it because it's ugly, while a different fey spirit might think it suits their mischievous nature or like that you've given them what it perceives as the strongest form.


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