DCC Core Rulebook pg. 49

Familiars: More than one wizard has found comfort in the company of a black cat, hissing snake, or clay homunculus. A wizard may utilize the spell find familiar to obtain such a partner.

For the life of me, I can't figure out what this means. I can only see three plausible interpretations:

  1. Wizards automatically learn the find familiar spell, in addition to their other spells. This explanation doesn't seem right since this feature is phrased so differently than the elf's "Supernatural patrons" feature.

  2. Elves cannot learn the spell find familiar, since they don't have the "Familiars" feature.

  3. This feature does literally nothing. In that case, why is it even there?


As Page 56 of the DCC Core Rulebook says:

Elves can cast spells as wizards do. An elf of the same power level as a human wizard also has many decades of combat experience. As such, elves typically cast their spells just as competently as human wizards and also have martial skills.

The feature is there so you know that only wizards (including elves) can get a familiar, since it is possible to attempt wizard spells without having the class. (Scrolls for instance, can be read by even warriors).

Also, page 316 goes into depth in explaining familiars, which never really says Elf wizards can't have the spell.

A wizard can summon a familiar with the spell find familiar. The resulting familiar is determined by his spell check and alignment. The higher the spell check, the more powerful the familiar and the greater effect it has on the wizard’s magic.

Page 320 further supports the idea that all races should have access to all the spells, but in a re-skin fashion:

Racial casting: Why should an elf’s spell be the same as a wizard’s? Furthermore, why should a dark elf’s be the same as a high elf’s? And further still, why would an orc shaman cast spells the same as either elf or human?

Also, some food for thought. Elves have this note explaining exceptions in their section, but there is no such exceptions noted anywhere when it comes to the Wizard / familiars section.

Page 57 says

Elf spells are determined randomly like a wizard’s, except for invoke patron and patron bond, as described below...

Which further confirms my belief that elves should have access to it. Otherwise there would also be an exception note on the Wizard section on familiars, and there isn't.

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    – V2Blast
    Jul 31 '20 at 1:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think I did ok explaining what the entry means. It means that the wizard class can cast a ritual which allows the caster a possibility of bonding with an animal which will provide the caster with permanent in-game benefits. The game rule book is required for a more detailed break-down of what it means to have a familiar but in general that's all you get as far as what that entry means. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 31 '20 at 2:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ @MarkerThirteen I don’t think you’ve answered the core question, which is what information the feature conveys. The ritual is already listed in the table of wizard spells, none of the rest of which are called out in class features. The feature as written just gives a brief description of the spell. So the OP’s question is not about the spell; it is asking why there’s a feature about it, and what if any rules effect the feature has. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 31 '20 at 3:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ @MarkerThirteen thanks - I think this addresses the question! Is there rules text you can quote to support it? That would improve the answer. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 31 '20 at 7:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ @GuybrushMcKenzie I quoted the specific part of the rules text that explicitly says Elves cast spells as wizards do (with no difference or "lack of spells" explicit). \$\endgroup\$ Jul 31 '20 at 12:21

A good rule of thumb: Rules are supposed to mean something

Sometimes a rule is so poorly worded that part of it, in fact, doesn't mean much (or mean anything at all). But in general, writing rules like this takes a lot of time and effort, and that means someone had to get paid for it. It's probably supposed to mean something (even if that something sometimes is 'repeating what was said somewhere else, because it's also relevant here and someone might forget/miss it').

So you shouldn't even consider option #3 until you are very sure option #s 1 and 2 can't work.

Option 1 can likely be ruled out

The description for the Elf's "supernatural patrons" feature explicitly says elves get two spells for free. This is also explicitly mentioned in the description of the elven version of the "Magic" feature - which says they randomly know spells like wizards do, except they always know those two specific spells.

If in one place, the rules explicitly call out something like this happening, it's usually a good idea to assume they'll always call it out in the same way.

Furthermore, the spell list has a note saying that if a wizard rolls either patron bond or invoke patron, they learns both spells for the price of one spell slot. This would be completely meaningless if wizards got the spells for free implicitly, because they were mentioned in a feature.

In other words, because the find familiar description does not say 'wizards get the spell automatically at first level, in addition to their other selections', that means it doesn't work that way.

Option 2 has support in the text

The find familiar spell is called out specifically in a feature exclusive only to the wizard class. Only 3 spells get the special treatment of being called out by name in either the wizard or elf class. This supports the idea that find familiar gets special treatment.

This is still ambiguous

So, what does happen if an elf rolls find familiar? The rules (at least, the version Google found marked 'beta') do not say. The wording implies that elves can't have familiars, but they could explicitly spell it out, and they don't.

But from an in-story perspective, it doesn't make a lot of sense an elf would even want to bother with the spell. The supernatural patrons feature makes it clear the fact elves live for a long time has a big impact on their spellcasting.

This will interact very poorly with find familiar, which has a net loss to the caster of the familiar's HP total, when said familiar dies. From the perspective of an elf, as opposed to a wizard, this is probably rather inevitable.


The most reasonable interpretation is that no elf would ever want or bother to learn find familiar, and therefore any elf PC who rolls it simply rolls again.


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