When I first started playing D&D, familiars used to give their Wizard bonus hit points equal to the familiar's own hp.

For instance, if your familiar had 2 hp, you got a bonus 2 hp. However, if your familiar died or was killed, you lost double its hit points. At the time, Wizards had a d4, so losing your familiar could literally kill you at low levels.

When did familiars stop giving bonus hit points?


1 Answer 1


Familiars stopped generally granting bonus hit points in 2e AD&D

The 1e version of Find Familiar indeed grants the lucky wizard bonus hit points equal to the familiar's own:

Normal familiars have 2-4 hit points and armor class of 7 (due to size, speed, etc.) [...] The number of the familiar’s hit points is added to the hit point total of the magic-user when it is within 12” of its master, but if the familiar should ever be killed, the magic-user will permanently lose double that number of hit points.

However, the 2e version of Find Familiar lacks any mention of this particular benefit, and the penalty for the death of the familiar becomes an immediate system shock check or death regardless of how many HP the wizard has. It does, however, introduce the empathetic bond between familiar and master and the ability of the master to telepathically issue instructions, increasing the familiar's utility in other respects.

A bonus hit point benefit is available as an option in 3/3.5e D&D, where each different kind of familiar offers a specific special bonus to the master. From the default familiars available, the toad can improve its master's HP, either by granting a +2 bonus to their constitution (3e) or simply by granting 3 bonus hit points (3.5e). Other familiars, however, provide non-hit-point benefits.

4e doesn't actually feature familiars in core, only introducing them in the Arcane Power supplement, but no familiar-related options there benefit the master's hit points. The closest 4e gets, as far as I can tell, is the Familiar's Vitality feat from the Heroes of the Feywild supplement, which improves the master's "second wind" healing when their familiar is nearby.

5e restores familiars to the core set, but they still don't provide any generic health benefits. The closest we get to the concept is that a Pact of the Chain warlock may take the Gift of the Ever-Living Ones Eldritch Invocation, which causes any healing they receive to be maximised while their familiar is nearby.


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