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Is there any way to raise a wizard's familiar's Intelligence? Or is there another spell or feat that raises the Intelligence of a familiar or conjures a smarter familiar?

The paladin's 2nd level spell find steed raises the paladin's steed's Intelligence to a minimum of 6, whereas the wizard's 1st-level find familiar spell leaves the familiar at the beast's natural Intelligence of 2 or 3. They're both unnatural creatures, Fey, Celestial, or Infernal, but the paladin's horse somehow goes through a gifted program. With the 5th-level awaken spell, even a druid's shrubbery is smarter than a wizard's familiar will ever be.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Is there a specific problem you are trying to solve with having a smarter familiar? \$\endgroup\$ – Szega Oct 11 '18 at 23:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ Mostly roleplaying reasons. I imagine a wizard talking with their familiar, discussing spell formula and mysteries they're trying to solve, and whatnot. But I could ask the same question, is there a specific reason a paladin's horse or a druid's shrub needs to be smarter than a wizard's familiar? \$\endgroup\$ – ProfessorZ Oct 11 '18 at 23:21
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There are magic items you can use

A headband of intellect gives any creature attuned to it 19 Intelligence. Familiars can attune to magic items, so this would work.
A tome of clear thought increases a creature's Intelligence by 2 permanently. There are other magic items that have similar effects.

Other than magic items, there are no methods to permanently increase ability sores (apart from a custom wish).

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    \$\begingroup\$ Oh that's a good one! I couldn't figure out what a Headband of Intellect was good for since the wizard will probably have 18 Int by 4th level. It's Uncommon too, so it's cheap to make. \$\endgroup\$ – ProfessorZ Oct 11 '18 at 23:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ Plus the idea of a cat with a magical headband is inherrently funny. \$\endgroup\$ – MooseBoost Oct 12 '18 at 13:35
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By being friends with a druid, (or a bard)

Druids have access to the spell "awaken" which boosts the intelligence of a beast/plant with it less than or equal to 3, to a 10.

It's the cheapest option. Only problem is finding a druid to cast it for you.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I like that idea, but I think the wizard's familiar is fey, celestial, or infernal, technically not a beast, so Awaken won't work on it. Although I agree with you that it should. \$\endgroup\$ – ProfessorZ Oct 13 '18 at 1:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ I forgot about that. My answer doesn't work then. \$\endgroup\$ – Garret Gang Oct 15 '18 at 20:43
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Find Familiar is a celestial, fiend, or fey.

Awaken targets beast or plant.

Find Familiar is a creature bound by magical properties, in which doesn’t gain xp / levels up.

Only magic items (permanent) or spell benefits (temporary) that fall within the familiar being an acceptable target for said spell.

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One possible solution is that a "wizard's familiar" need not necessarily come from the spell find familiar. Essentially a wizard makes a 'deal' with some entity to act as a familiar - if you want a smarter one, without necessarily having the benefits listed in the spell, consider looking in-character for interesting creatures or working with your DM to come up with alternatives. Additionally, other spells can give access to more powerful creatures which could be entreated to become your familiar (like the Create Homunculus, Conjure Fey, and Awaken spells).

In the monster manual, it states that certain creatures are sought after as familiars (I believe I am remembering text from the Pseudodragon entry), which would support the assumption that familiar as a term does specifically refer to the creature generated by the Find Familiar spell.

I will go on a tangent - the substantive sum of my answer is above. However, consider that familiars might already intelligent entities limited by their bestial form by the spell Find Familiar. Their nature as Fey, Fiends, or Celestials might suggest, as you say, that they should be more intelligent. Note that one could interpret the spell to mean that they can help (advantage on an ability check) you make intelligence checks to recall lore and on almost anything else. I like to imagine, personally, that Familiars speak in conversation through telepathy and allow my players to roleplay as such - though their animal instincts and limited form restrict them.

There is no place in the RAW that says there is a minimum intelligence for knowing a language, and though it is unlikely that DM would allow a familiar to have a known language - Intelligence itself is just a number that determines how much success a creature will have in investigating, recalling information, or resisting certain magical effects. So a familiar, even when operating alone, could make relatively difficult knowledge checks (up to DC16 or 15).

A character is not the sum of its ability scores - if that weren't true, Dungeons and Dragons would not be a roleplaying game. The player or DM that roleplays a character contributes his or her own experience, intuition, and decision making. Things that we consider intelligence in real life often have to do with how people act and whether their decisions are 'intelligent' or not. I think everyone would have to concede that a high intelligence character can still make consistently stupid decisions and a low intelligence character can make consistently smart decisions; and, while I have seen DM's that believe otherwise and relegate all decision making to premade narration based on rolls, I don't believe that is proper roleplaying.

Thus, going back to Find Familiar produced familiars, one does not need to roleplay them as untintelligent beasts. They can be rich characters that contribute to the game, and people shouldn't feel the need to roleplay them as stupid because the number that says how often they succeed on an intelligence check or saving throw is low.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Please explain how this is relevant to the question of raising the intelligence of a familiar? \$\endgroup\$ – user47897 Oct 12 '18 at 21:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ @MarkTO While the inquirer referenced the spell Find Familiar, I answered the question with the assumption that a 'wizard familiar' need not come from the spell Find Familiar, an assumption supported by Dungeons and Dragons lore and content in the 5e Monster Manual. I'm a considering an edit to make the answer a little more clear since its pretty jumbly at the moment. \$\endgroup\$ – patternseeker Oct 13 '18 at 3:04

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