Can a familiar use a Help action to grant advantage on an Attack to a near by ally?

As I understand it, a familiar can aid in any action it can take itself. But by the spell Find Familiar, a normal familiar cannot attack. Is it correct that by extent a familiar thus cannot Help an Attack action?

Superior Warlock familiars (Pact of the Chain) can attack if the Warlock gives up her attack action to grant the familiar an attack.

Additionally, when you take the Attack action, you can forgo one of your own attacks to allow your familiar to make one attack of its own with its reaction. (SRD p. 46)

Can a superior familiar Help in an Attack action? If so, would the Warlock be required to use an action to allow the familiar to Help?

Are their any official errata or posts related to the above?

It is commonly explained that the familiar is aiding by distracting an opponent rather than attacking themselves. But I didn't find an explicit answer to this question, so I'm posting it here. Similar questions listed are:


2 Answers 2


Yes, familiar can be used for gaining advantage for allies.

From Find Familiar spell description (PHB, p240), emphasis mine:

Your familiar acts independently of you, but it always obeys your commands. In combat, it rolls its own initiative and acts on its own turn. A familiar can't attack, but it can take other actions as normal.

Help is listed as one of the actions that could be taken in combat and is a legitimate option for a familiar.

And it's also logical thing from roleplay point of view. From Help action description:

Alternatively, you can aid a friendly creature in attacking a creature within 5 feet of you. You feint, distract the target, or in some other way team up to make your ally's attack more effective. if your ally attacks the target before your next turn, the first attack roll is made with advantage.

As you pointed out, even small familiars can distract enemy, which will help ally in their attack.

The Word of Designer also supports this. Jeremy Crawford answered this question in the September 2016 Sage Advice column:

Can the familiar you conjure with the find familiar spell use the Help action to grant you advantage on your attack roll? A familiar can’t attack, but it can take non-attack actions, including Help. As the text of the Help action indicates (PH, 192), the action doesn’t require you to be able to attack; you simply need to be able to provide some sort of distraction.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Familiars can definitely take the Help action. Can someone (not just a familiar) Help in an action that they themselves cannot perform? \$\endgroup\$
    – Imaginary
    Commented Aug 9, 2016 at 17:01
  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ @Imaginary RAW doesn't limit Help action in any way neither for skill checks, nor for attack. When character aid someone in attacking, they don't attack themselves, thus they don't have to be able attack. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 9, 2016 at 17:09
  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ @Imaginary you may be thinking of the very closely related "Working Together" rules on p.175. There it's specified that one can only assist on a task which narratively makes sense to help with. The Help action used in combat is a specialized call-out of this idea, with its own specific prerequisites and benefits. \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60
    Commented Aug 9, 2016 at 17:13
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Is this reference relevant: rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/83774/… ? How does the "Working Together" rules apply to the Help action in combat if at all? \$\endgroup\$
    – Imaginary
    Commented Aug 9, 2016 at 17:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Imaginary Helping isn't necessarily both doing the same thing. A nurse can help a surgeon by passing him tools. Just because the nurse can't do surgery herself, doesn't mean the surgeon shouldn't get +2 for being able to not take his eyes off the patient. \$\endgroup\$
    – Superbest
    Commented Aug 9, 2016 at 20:52

A dissenting view:

A familiar can't help with an attack to give advantage, because to help, a creature must be able to do the thing itself, and a familiar can't attack.

Working together says that to help, you must be able to do yourself the thing you're helping with. In combat, working together to give another player advantage takes the Help action. The Help action is the combat action that is used to work together in combat.


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