Is a polymorphed familiar still considered a familiar for purposes of casting touch spells through them?

  • 3
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    – Conduit
    Apr 3, 2017 at 20:33

2 Answers 2



While polymorph bans the polymorphed form from casting spells, the wording of the find familiar spell states that familiars do not cast spells--they only deliver them:

Finally, when you cast a spell with a range of touch, your familiar can deliver the spell as if it had cast the spell.

All familiars, polymorphed or not, are merely conduits for your spells, and cannot cast spells themselves. Because you are not polymorphed, you can still cast a spell and deliver it through your familiar. The animals you can have as a familiar can't cast spells to begin with, anyway.

The CR limit ensures balance

Note that all of the creatures you can have as a familiar have CR0, except for the poisonous snake at CR1/8. This means that the number of creatures you can polymorph your familiar into is quite limited.

An explanation in the fiction

Your familiar is merely a spirit that takes on a "familiar form":

You gain the service of a familiar, a spirit that takes an animal form you choose...

Moreover, recasting the find familiar spell allows you to change its form:

If you cast this spell while you already have a familiar, you instead cause it to adopt a new form.

This suggests that the physical form of a familiar, which polymorph targets, is not as important as its connection to its master--after all, it is merely a spirit that can take on many mutable forms.

  • \$\begingroup\$ this answer completely ignores all of the effects of polymorph. recasting "find familiar" and casting polymorph on said familiar are two completely different effects \$\endgroup\$
    – DForck42
    Apr 3, 2017 at 20:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ But his point is correct. Familiars can't cast spells either, so changing its form to one that also can't cast spells doesn't affect this power. If the polymorphed familiar still has a connection to the spellcaster (e.g. telepathy, usage of its senses, etc.), then the connection allowing you to cast touch spells through it would also be maintained. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 3, 2017 at 20:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ I feel like the best way to answer the question is to answer: Are polymorphed familures still familures? Just because casting the spell over can change it's shape doesn't mean it's the same mechanic as polymorph \$\endgroup\$
    – Jihelu
    Apr 4, 2017 at 4:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ Honestly, that part of the explanation is just to give some basis in the fictional reality. As far as rules go, the fact that familiars only deliver spells and don't cast them is all that matters. \$\endgroup\$
    – Icyfire
    Apr 4, 2017 at 4:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Dforck42 Do you wish to ask the question "can a familiar summoned by Find Familiar be polymorphed" as it's own question? (While I suspect the answer is "yes" it might be worth asking. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 4, 2017 at 14:41

No. Polymorphed creatures can't cast spells

The effects of Polymorph over the target creature's new capabilities include the following (I have added emphasis to the relevant parts of the text):

The creature is limited in the actions it can perform by the nature of its new form, and it can't speak, cast Spells, or take any other action that requires hands or Speech.

The target's gear melds into the new form. The creature can't activate, use, wield, or otherwise benefit from any of its Equipment.

The familiar's ability to deliver one of your spells reads as follows:

Finally, when you Cast a Spell with a range of touch, your familiar can deliver the spell as if it had cast the spell.

A polymorphed creature cannot cast spells, and the ability to deliver a touch spell reads that the familiar is treated as the one casting the spell. Thus, it's not possible.

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    \$\begingroup\$ The quoted text reads differently to me; it seems to explicitly point out that the familiar doesn't actually cast a spell, but merely delivers it. If you do interpret it as stating that a familiar actually performs the casting, then do you also use the familiar's caster level (presumably zero) for the purpose of determining spell effects? \$\endgroup\$
    – Nat
    Apr 3, 2017 at 21:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ "When you cast a spell ... can deliver the spell as if it..." indicates quite clearly that it is the character and not their familiar which is doing the spell casting. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 4, 2017 at 13:39

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