5e SRD >Backgrounds >Open Design LLC >

Transformed Familiar

Your connection to magic began with a term of service, or servitude, to a magician of power. Your partnership continued as expected for years, until the bond was abruptly broken. In the aftermath, you found yourself with a new body. Despite your new appearance, your actions often betray your origin. The struggle between what you have become and what you once were rages within you.

Skill Proficiencies: Perception, Survival

Tool Proficiencies: Artisan’s tools (alchemist’s kit)

Languages: One of your choice

Equipment: A trinket worn or carried by your previous form, a set of traveler’s clothes, an alchemist’s kit, an explorer’s pack, and a pouch containing 5 gp

Life-Changing Event

You were previously a different kind of creature. How you became what you are, and what you know of your former existence, can vary greatly depending on the circumstances.

Choose or randomly determine the life?changing event that brought about your transformation.

d8 Event
1 My bond was severed and my form irrevocably changed in a surge of wild, uncontrolled magic that claimed the life of the mage who called me their familiar.
2 The Pact of the Chain between my warlock and myself was dissolved unexpectedly with their passing. Their patron, not wanting to lose two advocates, granted me my current form as a reward for services rendered, and expects me to continue their works.
3 My service to, and partnership with, a mage of great power and cunning was rewarded with transmogrification into my new body.
4 I awoke in an unfamiliar body, with only dream-like memories of my prior service to a being of great arcane ability.
5 I broke my bond with my master, replacing it with a pledge of service to a higher power. Part of the bargain was providing me with a new form to more easily hide from my past.
6 I stood by my master’s side as aide, ally, and advisor until an unknown enemy severed our connection, robbed me of my true body, and captured my master.
7 My master, infirm with age and senility, unintentionally released me and altered my body in an attempt to rejuvenate themselves.
8 I betrayed my master in a time of crisis, and their last act was to transform me into my current form, robbing me of my natural body forever.

Feature: Familiar Insight

You are a transformed familiar, and although your physical form has changed, you will never forsake the instincts and insights you were born with. When interacting with creatures of your original type, you have a +2 bonus on Wisdom (Insight) checks to detect their motives and the veracity of their claims.

Suggested Characteristics

Transformed familiars often display personality traits and quirks that are holdovers from their prior lives. They might hold to these affectations consciously, or without realizing their behavior is unusual. Either way, every transformed familiar carries their past with them in some manner.

d6 Bond
1 I am still friendly and even loyal to arcane casters, especially wizards.
2 I swear no oaths and make no promises to anyone else. I stand alone.
3 I loathe slavery and enchantments, and work to free those trapped by chains or magic.
4 I have not forgot my former master, and I continue to honor my pledge to them.
5 I prefer to serve, aid, and protect my allies and friends.
6 I dislike disguises or changing my form further; I want the world to see me as I now am.
d6 Flaw
1 I prefer to sleep in the same fashion that I rested when I was a familiar.
2 Transmutation magic of all kinds frightens me to the core. I will not willingly use it or have it used on me.
3 In my heart of hearts, I long for the life I left behind.
4 I sometimes speak in the language of my old form, or forget the speech of humanoids.
5 I still prefer the foods of my prior form, and sometimes refuse the foods commonly consumed by my new one.
6 Life was easier as a familiar, and I am wistful about those bygone times.
d6 Ideal
1 Loyalty. Remaining steadfast when there are no witnesses to see it or accolades to celebrate it is the measure of a person. (Any)
2 Service. The path to enlightenment lies in serving a greater cause. (Any)
3 Freedom. Better to die free than to live in chains. (Chaotic)
4 Duty. A pact, entered into freely, can never be taken back and must be fulfilled. (Lawful).
5 Atonement. It is my lot in my new life to make up for the failings in my first one. (Good)
6 Family. My family is my port in the storm and my refuge from the world. (Any)
d8 Personality Trait
1 I am fiercely independent, and do not form strong emotional connections to others.
2 I seek the advice and guidance of others before acting.
3 I continue to behave as if I’m in my original body.
4 I am lost in social situations, and the behaviors expected of me confound me.
5 I punctuate my exclamations with a subtle growl of emphasis.
6 I keep my own counsel, sharing my thoughts reluctantly, if at all.
7 I am fascinated by seeing familiar places through the eyes of my new body.
8 I react instinctually to stress, problems, and challenges. My gut reaction is the right one.
Section 15: Copyright Notice

Deep Magic for 5th Edition © 2020 Open Design LLC; Authors: Dan Dillon, Chris Harris, and Jeff Lee.