[RPG] Do imps and pseudodragons serving as variant familiars earn XP, or share XP with the party


This question is directly related to two other questions:

  1. Do familiars or animal companions earn or share XP with the party?

  2. How is a variant familiar imp and pseudodragon (in the Monster Manual only) different from the summoned familiar.

    The question is based on the premise that, unlike the tweet referred to from Mr Crawford in answer two, the DM permits the unusual case of the variant familiar imp or pseudodragon, an situation that has informed numerous questions and answers on this SE regarding the use of that variant familiar by PCs.

    This is not a dupe of the summoned creatures question, since these two familiars cannot be summoned by a spell, and that question is about creatures summoned by a spell. That is why I asked this question: it is an edge case, an unusual case.


The imp, quasit, and pseudodragon variant familiar as described in the Monster Manual are treated as NPCs. Because NPCs who aid a party during an encounter get a share of XP (DMG, p. 260) it would seem that those unique familiars would be expected to earn/share XP with the party whenever (1) XP is awarded and (2) they were present and participating in the event. Other familiars, being not NPC's, but instead the results of a summoning spell, would not.

On the other hand, the variant familiars are not described as having class levels, nor levels of experience, so it's unclear why they would have or earn XP.

The variant familiar information in the Monster Manual for quasit, imp, and pseudodragon are on MM pages p. 63, 76, and 254.

Question restated

Does the party have to share XP with an imp, quasit, or pseudodragon variant familiar who is serving one of the party members as a familiar? While I suspect that the answer is no, I am open to understanding why the answer would be yes.

Best Answer


As noted in the linked question, Crawford clarified that the Variant Familiar was to be used for NPC spellcasters and not for PCs.

If a DM at your table has allowed the use of them for PCs, then they simply expand the options of familiars for the PCs and fall under the standard rules around XP and familiars.