The player of a dread necromancer character chooses one of the following creatures: imp (devil), quasit (demon), vargouille, or ghostly visage.

Dread necromancers have 4 options to pick as a familiar. Do non-animal familiars give bonuses to master as in typical animal familiar that boosts some skills of the master?

Dread necro handbooks out there confuses me on this topic.

A quote from K's revised necromancer handbook:

You have only one choice at this level: your familiar. There are two good choices: Quasit and Ghostly Visage. The Ghostly Visage is the combat choice, because it makes you immune to mind affecting effects and uses your level as its Hit Dice to generate a save DC for a gaze attack that paralyzes your enemies. Quasit is the less-combat choice because it gives you Commune, unlimited Detect Magic, and can still hand out quite sizeable amounts of Dex damage and its 1/day fear stacks with your fear aura.

for example ghostly visage: Does the master automatically gains immunity to mind affecting effects, or does she have to be possessed by her familiar?

same goes for quasit, does the master gain unlimited detect magic directly or through her familiar, indirectly?


1 Answer 1


Familiars Without Specials Don't Grant Their Masters Specials

When a creature gains a familiar yet that familiar doesn't have associated details for what Special it grants the master (such as the chart on Player's Handbook 52), the familiar grants the master no Special. Does this kind of suck? Yes. Are familiars that don't grant Specials almost always better than familiars that do? Yes.

A generous DM may house rule unlisted familiars grant their masters Specials anyway, arguing a creature shouldn't lose something after improving something, but it's the DM's call what these Specials, if any, would be.

Improved Familiars Don't Grant Their Masters Their Powers

K's talking about how a familiar's master can command the familiar to use its powers on the master's behalf. K assumes the familiar obeys despite being NPCs under the DM's control--"The creature serves as a companion and servant" (PH 54), after all--which is a reasonable assumption.


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