“Assuming you don’t mind coddling the little fellows, they can be quite handy every now and then. And just look at that smile!”
– Marreltok Physan, traveling wizard
Holderkin were created by a young transmuter as her homage to a powerful extraplanar being that she came across during her studies. Unfortunately for the wizard (but very fortunate for her overall health and wellbeing), other than its approximate appearance this tiny monstrosity has very little in common with its inspiration.
The following creature was designed for use with the philosophy that familiars are discovered and bound to the caster, as opposed to summoned as spirits. Both methods of familiar use can be found simultaneously throughout the world, or you can choose to apply the Familiar trait to any of these creatures for use with the traditional Find Familiar spell.
A Taste for Magic
Since their initial creation, Holderkin have sparsely propagated themselves across the continent, budding and reproducing asexually in small numbers. Although Holderkin budding has been witnessed in the wild, to the frustration of many a wizard it’s been impossible to replicate the process in captivity. Most sages attribute this to the Holderkin’s overall fickle nature, although the exact reasons are still unknown. When Holderkin are encountered in the world, it’s typically in small family groups called hums, so named for the soft, monotone murmurs of contentment that the small creatures make when in the presence of arcane energies.
Holderkin are innately drawn to consistent sources of magic, so adventurers typically encounter them near areas where arcane items are often available; in dungeons or near old treasuries in forgotten locations and ruins. When a Holderkin senses magic, their eyestalks pulse with a gentle white light, growing in intensity the closer they get to the origin. Once they’ve sussed out the root of the power, they’ll immediately absorb small charges of the available energy. Holderkin can use the absorbed magic to sustain themselves, avoiding the need for food or water entirely while they have arcane available to them. They also have the ability to dispense these absorbed charges, temporarily supplying more energy to an item or fellow Holderkin, but this small act of selflessness is seen much less often among them.
High Maintenance Allies
The Holderkin’s ability to find magic, combined with their ability to both absorb and dispense it in small amounts would seem to make them an incredibly valuable familiar. But those that have studied Holderkin know that their usefulness comes at a price. Holderkin are very temperamental and require more attention and affection than most adventuring wizards are wont to supply, and they can be pouty and even vindictive if they feel that they’ve been scorned or mistreated. They’re also incredibly intelligent and naturally curious beings who are prone to getting themselves (and their companions) into trouble if not properly stimulated and looked after.
In addition to their slight personality quirks, Holderkin are very tactile creatures and see nothing wrong with sucking a gem, coin, or other small bauble into their mouths for a good chew. Anyone near the Holderkin who finds themselves missing an item may find it in the Holderkin’s small cache of trinkets that they keep hidden to return to for repeat gnawing.
Wizards that take on a Holderkin as their familiar have to be patient, ready to pamper and coddle their new friend, and willing to forgive the occasional missing item or spiteful magic drain. Those that do will find that Holderkin can be loyal, affectionate, and above all, incredibly useful allies.
Tiny monstrosity, neutral
Armor Class 12
Hit Points 25 (10d4)
Speed 0 ft., fly 40 ft. (hover)
|3 (-4)||11 (+0)||10 (+0)||15 (+2)||14 (+2)||11 (+0)|
Skills Perception +6
Condition Immunities prone
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 16
Languages understands Common but can’t speak it.
Challenge 1/8 (25 XP)
Arcane Draw. The Holderkin can detect magic and is drawn to its source. When the Holderkin is within 30 feet of a source of magic, its eyestalks will begin to glow. The glow grows brighter the closer the Holderkin gets to the source of the magic.
Magic Resistance. The Holderkin has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.
Fickle Friend (2/Day). Holderkin can be mercurial. At the GM’s discretion (and generally dependent on how the Holderkin has been treated recently) it will either absorb a charge from or supply a charge to a magic item that it comes into contact with. When the Holderkin absorbs a charge from a magic item it doesn’t need to eat or drink for the next 48 hours.
Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +2 to hit, reach 5ft., one target. Hit: 2 (1d4) piercing damage.
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Featured Image: Holderkin by Anderson Maia
Let us know what you think of this familiar in the comments below!