With the ruling in most recent Sage Advice Compendium that any objects are left behind when a familiar vanishes, find familiar can produce 27.5 gp more in sales of Sprite equipment than its own cost. Unfortunately, it takes an hour to cast and ~25 gp/hr is hardly an impressive amount of gp production.

The flock of familiars spell can produce thrice the familiars in one-sixtieth the time, but I'm unsure if the equipment it creates is now permanent, real objects that stick around after the spell ends like with find familiar, or if the equipment created will vanish when the spell ends, thus rendering it useless for mass production.

Given that find familiar does, in fact, produce the above-stated wealth, what textual arguments can be made for and against flock of familiars similarly producing piles of equipment?


4 Answers 4


Your assumptions are faulty.

You're making a lot of unsupported assumptions by claiming it's a given that "find familiar can produce 27.5 gp more in sales of Sprite equipment than its own cost."

First, I'm not sure where you even got 27.5 from. On selling equipment, the Player's Handbook (p.144) says:

As a general rule, undamaged weapons, armor, and other equipment fetch half their cost when sold at market. Weapons and armor used by monsters are rarely in good enough condition to sell.

Assuming you have a full sized, undamaged longsword (15 gp), shortbow (25 gp), and leather armor (10 gp), you can generally sell those for half price, which adds up to only 25 gp, and that's before considering the component price (10 gp) of casting find familiar. And that's only the "general rule"; it's up to the DM to decide whether you can sell any given piece of gear at all and for what price.

Second, is a sprite familiar considered a monster, and thus "rarely" bears items that are worth any sale value? Most likely the answer is "yes", though this is really up to the DM to decide. Note that quality isn't the only consideration here; the sheer size of the items can itself be a reason to say the items aren't worth their potential sale value. That really leads into a separate assumption you're making--

Third, is tiny equipment worth the same price as the usual stuff in the first place? I would think it's obvious that it isn't. Even if a tiny faerie creature might be able to use it as a longsword, it's obviously nothing more than a belt-knife to a human, if even that. The DM will have to decide what the base price of the equipment is when it's not the "expected" stuff from the equipment table. This can go the other way, as well -- a giant's greataxe may not be worth much at market because it's essentially worthless to a human except as a curiosity or scrap metal.

Fourth, while the Sage Advice article says a familiar drops anything it's carrying "when you dismiss it to its pocket dimension", it is silent on the question of whether ending your association with the familiar by permanently dismissing it causes the gear to vanish or remain. The game is similarly silent on what happens to gear dropped by other summoned beings, such as by conjure celestial or conjure fey. Your DM will have to decide whether you can conjure an angel, disarm it, and then dismiss it so you can keep its holy sword.

As a side note, my interpretation of the Sage Advice answer is that it was meant to prevent you from using a familiar as an extradimensional storage unit or a way to teleport items from wherever the familiar is to a location within 30 feet of you, and the 'drop everything' effect should not be interpreted to apply to the equipment that's actually in the sprite's stat block. (I have other issues with that particular Sage Advice, though. I'd personally be a bit annoyed if I had my familiar attune to a magic item, only to find I now have to constantly go collect it every time my familiar pops into its pocket dimension. I don't believe that was the intent of the ruling, and that it was an ill-considered way to patch an exploit, but that's a whole other discussion.)

If you can do that, then in theory you could do the same with a familiar.

You might notice a theme here. It's up to the DM to decide. This isn't even a valid thought experiment, because the question depends entirely on having a DM that will go along with a frankly ridiculous "loophole" in the rules that is no such thing because virtually every step is based on "usually" and "generally" that obviously wouldn't apply to sprite-sized gear that may or may not vanish into the fey realms when you release their owner.

What about Flock of Familiars?

Okay, so let's leave aside the question of money and just focus on the spell in question. Can you summon Sprites with a flock of familiars spell in the first place? I would say no, you can't.

The Warlock's Pact of the Chain says:

You learn the find familiar spell[...] When you cast the spell, you can choose one of the normal forms for your familiar or one of the following special forms [...]

Flock of familiars says:

You temporarily summon three familiars -- spirits that take animal forms of your choice. Each familiar uses the same rules and options for a familiar conjured by the find familiar spell.

I can see how you could interpret these two as combining, but in my opinion, they don't. The special forms are accessible only when you cast find familiar in specific, not any other spell or ability that allows you to summon familiars. The flock of familiars references back to the find familiar spell for the sake of brevity, not to allow you to summon more powerful allies if you have the right combination of powers. And in any case it specifies that your familiar flock have animal forms, which excludes sprites.

And finally, if you could summon sprites with flock of familiars and they dropped their gear, would it remain when the spell ends?

Well, that's back to the "What about an angel?" question. Summoning spells in general don't specify what happens to dropped or lost equipment when the spell ends, but presumably the intent is that the equipment a spirit brings with it into this world is only as material as the spell makes it, and when the summoning spell ends, so does the material reality of its stuff.

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    \$\begingroup\$ In this answer I argue that you can summon a sprite with flock if you have Pact of the Chain: How does the Flock of Familiars spell interact with the Pact of the Chain class feature for Warlocks? \$\endgroup\$ Oct 6, 2020 at 19:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ You're totally right about the gp; I used longbow numbers. This answer is pretty good, it would be better with more quotes about dm discretion where it cites the games reliance on that (I don't mean the rule 0 one, that's pretty obvious, but stuff like "Normally, you can sell your treasures and trinkets when you return to a town or other settlement, provided that you can find buyers and merchants interested in your loot," emphasizing 'normally', and maybe a quote regarding gm role in determining npc reactions and stuff. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 6, 2020 at 19:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ Although speculation, I really think the intent of the errata that prompts this question was to prevent players loading their familiar with excess gear to take with them to their pocket dimension. Hence using them as an extra-dimensional storage service! Unfortunately, the errata to close that loophole didn't consider familiars or other summons that come with their own gear as part of their stat-block. Hence opening another loophole! As a DM I would change the errata to say they "drop anything they didn't bring with them when they disappear". \$\endgroup\$
    – PJRZ
    Oct 7, 2020 at 7:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ @PJRZ I agree, I don't think the intent was that a summoned familiar drops all its own gear when it pockets, but rather to prevent you from using the familiar as a teleporter to bring small items to you from virtually anywhere. (I'm imagining having your familiar infiltrate a location, grab some papers or money, and then pocket so you can pull it out within 30 feet of yourself, with those items in hand.) There's also an issue with the fact that a familiar can attune, wear, and use magic items, only with this ruling, they'll all be left behind every time you use a basic function of the spell. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 7, 2020 at 13:57

What are you going to do with a pile of used doll sized equipment?

To answer briefly, yes, flock produces the same amount of wealth as find familiar: a negligible amount.

From the section "Selling Treasure" in the PHB:

Weapons and armor used by monsters are rarely in good enough condition to sell.

Further, the Sprite is a tiny creature. Good luck selling tiny, used leather armors and swords for any significant value.

At best, you might find a kid willing to part with a copper or two so he can outfit his Drizzt action figure with a sword and bow. Note the damage done by the Sprite:

Longsword. Melee Weapon Attack: +2 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 1 slashing damage.

Shortbow. Ranged Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, range 40/160 ft., one target. Hit: 1 piercing damage

1 damage on a hit. These are not full sized weapons with any perceivable value.

Tiny, soiled leathers notwithstanding, what DM is going to allow you to print money like this?

Even if it made sense, the idea in the question would be a piece of rules-lawyering-trivia. Typically, no DM is going to say "sure, you can make infinite leather armors and my NPCs will always pay for them."

No, the DM is going to say, "Nice try, the rest of us want to get on with the game."

This will be the case in most situations. I do acknowledge that the play style of your game may be conducive to some measure of cheese, and if that works for you and your table, go for it; just recognize that it's inconsistent with the rules for selling treasure and with what is usually going to be expected from shopkeeper NPCs - maybe a very niche collector is interested in your pile of doll sized leathers and letter openers.

Producing wealth with find familiar is homebrew.

As demonstrated, find familiar isn't going to produce any meaningful amount of wealth. But, the question says "given that find familiar does, in fact, produce the above-stated wealth". This is a homebrew feature. Since you're homebrewing this, it is entirely up to you to homebrew flock of familiars similarly.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I understand you may want to respond to the frame of the question, but I would hope you would also address the actual question being asked at least briefly. This question is not about the results of find familiar at all. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 6, 2020 at 18:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Pleasestopbeingevil The results would be the same, as you are still summoning (at least) one familiar, regardless of which spell is used, so framing the answer in regards to Find Familiar vs Flock of Familiars is irrelevant. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 6, 2020 at 18:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ @RevenantBacon That would be content to get support to fill part of one half of an answer, if you fleshed it out. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 6, 2020 at 18:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ The wryly humorous answer to your title's counter question is: I'll find the same kind of market for it that made the inventors of Beanie Babies and Cabbage Patch Dolls rich - among the various nobility who have more money than sense . (Cabbage Patch Kids/Dolls were a craze in the 70's and 80's IIRC, and the Beanie Babies were huge when my kids were young in the 90's) \$\endgroup\$ Oct 6, 2020 at 19:52

Yes, it produces endless wealth in the same manner as find familiar, which is to say, it doesn't.

You're badly abusing the SA question, which doesn't actually say find familiar produces "endless wealth", or even that the equipment brought by the familiar persists after they depart to their pocket dimension.

It's a very reasonable reading of the SA answer* that it's referring to objects picked up by the familiar after they arrive, that is, you can't use the familiar's pocket dimension as a free private storage space by having it pick up your stuff and then dismissing it.

Since a sprite familiar is a spirit temporarily taking the form of a sprite, there's no reason to think its equipment has any separate existence. When you summon it, you choose the form you want it to take; if this form has equipment, then the equipment must be part of the spirit, since it has no opportunity to acquire gear from anywhere else. This is also assuming that a sprite familiar arrives with equipment at all, which is not clear.

Also, the equipment has no stated resale value. It's sized for a Tiny creature, so who are you selling it to? Do you have an endless market of gold-rich Tiny creatures looking to arm themselves? Maybe a royal court that's gotten heavily into miniatures wargaming? It has the problem of using any kind of magic to generate "endless wealth", which is that the equipment price lists in the PHB assume the fairly static situation of a few adventurers trying to equip themselves: sized for creatures medium and small.
Once you saturate the market, those prices go out the window.

*The fact that it's intended to clarify the application of the rules, but still affords multiple plausible readings, is another reason not to rely on SA.


Frame of Reference Challenge

The question starts with a false proposition:

find familiar can produce 27.5 gp more in sales of Sprite equipment than its own cost.

Naked Sprites

The spell find familiar reads:

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

It does not mention any gear. If the familiar was an owl, it doesn't show up wearing a hood or tether. So, why would the sprite show up with clothing and equipment. The stat block in the Monster Manual is "the average individual you'll encounter in the wild." This isn't a random one, it is "fey, celestial or fiend spirit" in that form.

If we are splitting hairs so finely as to assume the Warlock's Sprite leaves behind a tiny bow, short sword and armor, then we must also admit that this spell, as written by the letter, does not conjure them with it those things. By the letter, "the animal", the sprite, would arrive naked.

If the DM is sensible, they will handwave the Sprite familiar to come and go fully dressed and equipped. Otherwise, by the letter of RAW the DM and player must account for where the clothes drop when unsummoned and making sure the Warlock provide clothes and equipment for the sprite on each summons (like you would have to do if you barded your owl familiar).

Alternative Reading: What's in a Form

Alternate reading, a DM could just as easily argue that the "equipment" with sprite is part of the "Form" because it is part of the stat block and not actual equipment.

This reading would just make the short sword, bow and armor not equipment at all, and would vanish when the familiar did no matter where those thing happen to be in regard to familiar.

And, Bring On The Cheeeeeeeeese!

If find familiar did allow you get free tiny bows, arrows, and armor; which from our naked fey above we know it doesn't, AND the DM didn't force you to roleplay trying to sell tiny doll sized equipment AND let it happen behind the scene by not making you sit there and say "I cast....","I collect...","I sell..." AND their world didn't have market forces (like depreciation based on surplus of tiny swords) AND they are alright with cheese of infinite wealth... Then, and only then, sure, under those conditions you could sell each set of bow + arrows + sword + armor at 1/2 PHB list price until you had infinite money.


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