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Currently there are very few familiars that have the flyby ability.

I was wondering: is there any spell or magic item that can give a familiar the flyby ability?

My familiar is a tressym so he is able to fly. In case of emergency the wizard would like to send him to go scouting and/or use the Help action without triggering any attack of opportunity.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Could you please elaborate, what problem do you want to solve? Speaking of opportunity attacks prevention, there's a few options to do that except of the Flyby feature. \$\endgroup\$
    – enkryptor
    Commented May 21 at 11:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'd like for the flying familiar of my wizard (a tressym) to be able, in case of emergency, to be able to go scouting and/or use the Help action without triggering any attack of opportunity. The wizard is now quite fond of his tressym, so switching to an owl is not an option. Since I have read that the familiars can attune magic items, I was wondering if there is any option for the familiar to get the flyby ability - now I will add this to the original question \$\endgroup\$
    – sigmud
    Commented May 21 at 12:59

4 Answers 4

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At the cost of concentration, Darkness is a workaround

You want to give your tressym flyby, but what you really want is to have it be able to scout or Help without incurring opportunity attacks.

But foes can make opportunity attacks on the tressym only if they can see it.

You can make an opportunity attack when a hostile creature that you can see moves out of your reach.

So, if this is for emergency situations, when needed you can cast darkness on a small object the tressym can carry or wear. Since it has blindsight to 30' it can scout at least within a range of 30'. Unless its opponents also have blindsight or a similar ability, they will not be able to make opportunity attacks on it. A flying sphere of darkness is not the most stealthy of scouts in any areas that are lit, but even most regular attacks on the familiar would be at disadvantage.

Helping is a little more complicated, as covering an opponent in darkness may negate the advantage the tressym is giving if the attack being assisted itself relies on sight. If the darkness-enchanted item is something the tressym is easily able to pick up and set down, say a stuffed toy mouse, it can approach the foe within 20 feet, drop the item on the ground, continue to move fifteen feet, and be within 5 feet of the foe (as required to Help) with the tressym still covered by darkness and the foe not. That might mess up lines of sight in the battle, but you should be able to coordinate it such that at least the attacker you wanted to provide advantage to can still see the target foe.

If your DM permits, Invisibility is better

If you make your familiar invisible (and there are more magic item options for this than there are for darkness), most things will not be able to make opportunity attacks, and even their normal attacks will be at disadvantage. Invisibility is great for scouting, and the tressym will not announce its presence they way it would with darkness.

For Helping, an invisible tressym will not interfere with allies' attacks on the target, which is another improvement over darkness. However, it is a DM's call as to whether the familiar can still 'distract' the target enough to qualify as Helping while unseen. This site's consensus is that invisible creatures can Help, and I agree, but your DM might not.

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For scouting, just use the Disengage action

If you just want to have your familiar scout around without provoking opportuniy attacks, you can have him take the Disengage action on any turn in which he must move through the melee range of an enemy. Then on turns when he's not moving within melee range of an enemy, he can use his action to carry out his scouting activities, whatever those may be.

For combat... keep your familiar out of combat

If you want to have your familiar wade into combat to grant advantage on attacks with the Help action, you're going to have to accept some risk of him getting killed. Even if he had Flyby to negate opportunity attacks, there are still ranged attacks, area of effect attacks, etc. As long as your familiar is not participating in combat, enemies will probably not shoot at him, because they're probably focused on killing the people who are trying to kill them (that's you). But as soon as he starts contributing meaningfully to the battle, he becomes an attractive target, especially if his AC and hit points are low enough to take down in 1 or 2 attacks.

So, Flyby or not, if you aren't willing to risk your familiar dying, don't send him into combat.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ And while scouting, any turn he is not disengaging is a turn he could be Dodging. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Commented May 22 at 4:03
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Polymorph

There (as of this writing) is no spell or magic item that outright grants a creature that does not have it flyby. You could however transform your tressym into an owl with the polymorph spell. Owls have the same CR of 0 so they are a valid target form, and they do have flyby. Its stat block will then be replaced by that of the owl, and your familiar will have flyby. Since the features that let you interact with your familiar are not part of its stat block, those will remain unaffected.

(You also could pick an owl directly as your familiar, it is one of the standard forms; but the Tressym is not, so you may not be able to get back your Tressym in that case; and you stated in comments that switching it outright is not an option).

As this answer states, sending your familiar into combat is risky. Polymorph does little to change that, as excess damage ofter the 1 hit point the owl has will spill over to your Tressym.

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Flavor an owl as your tressym.

The owl has the flyby feature.

Talk to your DM

If you like the features of the tressym that the owl doesn't have, talk to your DM. They've already given you permission to conjure a tressym, so perhaps they would be willing to let you swap out Detect Invisibility or Poison Sense for flyby.

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