The question is about Familiar variants of creatures in the Monster Manual. This answer says that the traits and restrictions from the Find Familiar spell don't apply when enlisting a quasit, imp, or pseudodragon as a familiar to become a Familiar variant of the monster.

Consider the case where a DM allows a character to get that special kind of familiar. Because Find Familiar's restrictions don't apply to the existing familiar, would anything stop that character from getting another one from the Find Familiar spell?

  • \$\begingroup\$ I feel that asking for a confirmation of another question's answer (in this case mine) is inappropriate for this site. I think the question would be better if focused on the implication questions found in the last paragraph, which are more in line with the title. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 12 '16 at 19:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ I've removed the unnecessary focus on the answer that inspired it, which made this seem like a critique of it, and made the question just go directly to asking the question about the game itself. I've also removed the extra question about whether familiar variants of monsters count for the Pack of the Chain, as that seems to be a similar but different question. (You can ask it as its own question, of course.) \$\endgroup\$ Dec 12 '16 at 22:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ related rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/87211 \$\endgroup\$
    – enkryptor
    Dec 13 '16 at 6:50

Types of Familiars

As the answer you quoted from and linked explains. There are three kinds of familiar:

  • Find Familiar - Does exactly what the spell says.
  • Pact of Chain - Does exactly what the Find Familiar Spell says, with the exceptions that it can be an Imp, Pseudodragon, Sprite, or Quasit, and can attack if the warlock gives up his turn. This really is just the first type with some changes, and those changes might change again depending on the warlock's invocations.
  • Variant Familiar - Is not RAW, but is an optional rule a DM may choose to include. The variant follows the rules of the Variant familiar sidebars for the given option.

A familiar will be one of these three types (or some homebrew), but only one of these three.

Multiple Familiars

The variant rule is a variant that doesn't apply the conditions of Find Familiar, because Find Familiar is never cast. Here's the variant for IMP as an example (MM 69)


Imps can be found in the service to mortal spellcasters, acting as advisors, spies, and familiars. An imp urges its master to acts of evil, knowing the mortal's soul is a prize the imp might ultimately claim. Imps display an unusual loyalty to their masters, and an imp can be quite dangerous if its master is threatened. Some such imps have the following trait.

Familiar. The imp can enter into a contract to serve another creature as a familiar, forming a telepathic bond with its willing master. While the two are bonded, the master can sense what the imp senses as long as they are within 1 mile of each other. While the imp is within 10 feet of its master, the master shares the imp's Magic Resistance trait. If its master violates the terms of the contract, the imp can end its service as a familiar, ending the telepathic bond.

That a player can't have more than one familiar at a time is a restriction of casting the spell find familiar. Variants do not follow those rules so that restriction isn't explicitly stated, so if your DM allows it, you may have multiple Variant Familiars. A few things here to remember:

  • The variant familiar is a Variant, and not stock rules. A DM may or may not choose to not allow your party/character to find any of such creatures (imps, quasits, or psudeodragons) that are willing to travel with the party in this way. Adventure League, for instance, doesn't include this variant rule.

  • The variant is may or may not controlled by the player, but could be controlled by the DM. So, DM has a whole lot more ability to reign in attempts at rules abuse. It also means the variant familiar can be a traitor.

  • That said, allowing a player the variant multiple familiars all with the ability to take its own full turn including attacking is a big deal. For instance, the imp is invisible until it attacks (so attacking with advantage), it can deal 1d4+3 damage plus up to poison 3d6 damage (or half as much). That is a max of 7+18 = 25 (* 2 on crit = 50 points of damage), or an average of 10 damage. A warlock can do this once per turn using his/her "improved" familiars, but it costs their action; to allow multiple free attacks per each with advantage and doing 10 damage each time is unbalanced and can be game breaking.

  • Since the contract in the variant is voluntary, it is also unlikely that an Imp, Quasit or Pseudodragon would be interested in serving a master that already is in a similar arrangement with another creature. Especially if the types of the would-be familiars differ. For example, Imps are devils and Quasits are demons, the two are bound in a eternal fight with each other, and would never voluntarily work together.

  • Jeremy Crawford apparently also ruled that the variant was only meant to be for NPC spellcasters:

    The familiar variants in the Monster Manual are for monster and NPC spellcasters. PC spellcasters use the PH. -- https://twitter.com/JeremyECrawford/status/725190105451888640?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

  • \$\begingroup\$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 12 '16 at 22:11

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