Truly Underrated Familiars in D&D

In the vast tapestry of Dungeons & Dragons, familiars are crucial in aiding spellcasters, providing unique abilities, and enhancing the overall gameplay experience. While some familiars may shine in the spotlight, others often go overlooked, underrated for their hidden potential. Players who delve into the lesser-known companions may shed light on creatures that, despite their humble appearances, offer distinct and valuable contributions to an adventuring party and their quests.

Lizard on a Log

1 Lizard

The humble lizard, often overlooked in favor of more exotic choices, possesses qualities that make it an underrated familiar. Its darkvision allows it to navigate tight dark spaces with ease. At the same time, its adaptability to different environments and its climbing capacity provide spellcasters with a versatile companion for exploration and strategic positioning.

Poisonous Snake in a Forest

2 Poisonous Snake

While seemingly straightforward, the poisonous snake offers a unique blend of utility and intimidation. Its venomous bite can be a potent deterrent, and its slim form allows it to access tight spaces, making it an excellent scout. With careful strategic planning, spellcasters can leverage the poisonous snake’s abilities for offense and reconnaissance.

Rat in the Streets

3 Rat

Often dismissed as a common pest, the rat proves to be a surprisingly effective familiar. Its small size and agility make it an adept scout, capable of slipping into unnoticed places. The rat’s unassuming nature may be its greatest asset, as it provides a subtle and inconspicuous companion for spellcasters who prefer a low‑key approach.

Hare in the Forest

4 Hare

The hare may lack grandiloquent arcane powers but deserves recognition for its agility, speed, and stealth. Its escape ability gives the Hare an ever-present exit strategy, and its burrow capability may offer the most unique strategic advantage over other familiars. While most summoned creatures must rely on their ability to hide in plain sight, a hare can lie in wait underneath the surface, out of sight of the typical observer.

Sprite in the Feywild

5 Sprite

While sprites are known for their magical charm, more exotic familiars often overshadow them. However, their innate abilities to turn invisible and detect a creature’s emotional state make them reliable scouts and messengers. Their weapon proficiencies can also provide valuable aerial support to their summoners.

Pest Mascot in a Tropical Swamp

6 Pest Mascot

The pest mascot, embodying the essence of common vermin, may seem unremarkable at first glance. However, its higher-than-average HP and regenerative ability make it a solid choice for glass cannons that could use the pest to absorb a hit or two from an enemy. These mascots can also serve as inconspicuous spies in urban environments or places teeming with similar, less savory creatures.

Abyssal Chicken in a Demonic Landscape

7 Abyssal Chicken

Despite its humorous name, the abyssal chicken brings more than meets the eye. Its disturbing appearance and fearsome attacks can be a surprisingly effective tool for intimidation, and its quirky appearance may shock or deceive adversaries. In the right circumstances, the abyssal chicken can become an unexpected and underrated asset in the spellcaster’s arsenal.

Almiraj in the Feywild

8 Almiraj

The almiraj often goes overlooked when selecting a familiar. However, despite the eye-catching horn, their darkvision combined with high perception and stealth make them valuable allies for hushed information gathering. Spellcasters who value a bit of deception and espionage may find the almiraj an underrated gem.

Flying Monkey in the Mountains

9 Flying Monkey

Though an unexpected addition to the flight-capable familiars, the flying monkey makes an excellent and versatile choice for spellcasters. Along with its aerial mobility, it still maintains its ability to climb, providing unique advantages in exploration and combat, allowing it to access difficult-to-reach places or execute strategic maneuvers. Spellcasters seeking a companion with flexible maneuverability may find the flying monkey a hidden gem.

Fox in the Hills

10 Fox

The fox, often overshadowed by more magical creatures, deserves recognition for its clever and cunning nature. With its keen hearing, high perception, and darkvision, the fox excels as a scout and can aid in avoiding potential dangers. Its wily nature and adaptability make it an underrated familiar choice for spellcasters who value intelligence and resourcefulness in their allies.

In the magical realms of Dungeons & Dragons, familiars are not only about flashy appearances but also about practical utility and strategic advantages. Despite a spellcaster’s choice, even underrated familiars can bring unique abilities. As the party embarks on their epic quests, the discerning choice of a familiar involves recognizing the hidden gems that, despite their unassuming nature, can contribute significantly to the magical tapestry of D&D.

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