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The last paragraph of the Find Familiar spell contains the following:

...when you cast a spell with a range of touch, your familiar can deliver the spell as if it had cast the spell. Your familiar must be within 100 feet of you, and it must use its reaction to deliver the spell when you cast it.

Since the attack functions as a reaction for the familiar, it must already be within touch range of the target to deliver the spell, correct?

If a target is 30ft away, could a wizard ready a Shocking Grasp spell for "when my familiar is within touch range of that bugbear", allowing his owl to fly over, deliver the spell attack, and then fly away on its turn?

I assume his owl could not ready an action to fly to a goblin and back triggered upon "the wizard casts shocking grasp" since both would require a reaction, correct?

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I don't see why this wouldn't work, as nothing prevents you from taking a reaction on your turn.

Thus, the following sequence is valid:

  1. The wizard uses their action to Ready the shocking grasp spell, which the familiar will deliver.
  2. The familiar uses part of its movement to move within touch range of the target.
  3. The familiar uses its reaction to deliver the wizard's shocking grasp spell. (The wizard also uses their reaction to use their readied action.)
  4. The familiar uses its action to do something.
  5. The familiar completes its movement.

The only catch here is that the wizard's reaction is consumed, and they have to maintain concentration until that time.

But yes, the familiar cannot use a readied move if the wizard wants to use the familiar to deliver a touch-range spell, as both would need to use the familiar's reaction, and the familiar can only take one reaction.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ And it is better to have familiar use the dodge action (since it is an owl, it has flyby and does not trigger AoO anyway) just in case somebody pounces it. The 30ft distance is easily covered by its fly movement of 60ft. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mindwin
    Aug 12 '17 at 1:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ Who rolls the touch attack? The owl or the wizard for purposes of determining a hit for the touch? \$\endgroup\$
    – Praxiteles
    Nov 15 '17 at 23:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'd rephrase a couple of those points for clarity: 1 - Wizard uses action to Ready Shocking Grasp for familiar to deliver 3 - Wizard uses reaction to cast the readied spell. (Familiar uses it's reaction to deliver it) It's a subtle but important bit of clarity that the wizard is still the one casting the spell. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 8 '18 at 3:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ @keithcurtis: I've edited the answer to correct the phrasing accordingly. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Apr 5 at 6:58

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