the AD&D Monster Manual (p.54) states that if an imp is within 1 mile of the "master", he/she gains an additional level of ability. What ability are they referring to?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to the site! Take the tour. I can answer this in a purely legal fashion, but how it actually works in play is another story! I hope another user can explain the mechanical ramifications of having—and losing!—an imp familiar. (E.g. does the amount of XP needed to advance a level vary depending on the closeness of the imp familiar?) No matter what, though, thank you for participating and have fun! \$\endgroup\$ Oct 4, 2020 at 8:31

1 Answer 1


If the imp is within 1 mile its "master" gains an additional level of ability, but if the imp is over a mile distant the character loses 1 level, and if the familiar is killed the character drops 4 ability levels.

There’s nothing complicated here.

For example, for a 5th level magic-user:

  • while the Imp is within 1 mile, they are a 6th level magic-user
  • while the imp is further away, they are a 4th level magic-user
  • if the imp dies, they are a 1st level magic-user

Proceed with caution.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Does the amount of XP needed for the "master" to advance a level vary then depending on the closeness of the imp familiar? Can the magic-user game his imp familiar's distance so that the magic-user can advance at an abnormal pace? In short, how do the rules handle the magic-user temporarily gaining and losing levels? \$\endgroup\$ Oct 4, 2020 at 9:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan sounds like another question \$\endgroup\$
    – Dale M
    Oct 4, 2020 at 9:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan (Not adding as an answer as not definitive.) Much of a magic-user's power is expressed via spells scaling with level e.g. Fireball does 1d6 per level of the caster. The easiest way to interpret the "gains/loses a level of ability" is to read it just as adjusting the casting level for spells, saving throws, attack rolls, but is otherwise the same level regarding to XP. \$\endgroup\$
    – Erics
    Oct 9, 2020 at 12:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Erics Sincerely, you're kind to offer me a recap, but my concern isn't how to interpret the imp's level gain/level loss feature but what the game actually says about level gain/level loss in places beyond the Monster Manual's imp entry. If A asks B, "Do you have the time?" and B says Yes, that may be accurate but not as helpful as B saying It's 8 AM. This is a Yes answer, and I don't think it helps readers play the game better. I haven't downvoted it because it doesn't hurt anything, but I can't upvote it either. (Sorry, Dale M!) \$\endgroup\$ Oct 9, 2020 at 15:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan but you haven’t asked “do you have the time”. At best you’ve asked “do you own a watch”, to which the answer “yes, I own three” is perfectly acceptable. This answer answers the question posed. If you want to know the answer to another question, ask it. There’s no charge for questions. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dale M
    Dec 11, 2020 at 19:26

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