The Sith familiar was a type of Sith-developed creature that resembled a small scavenger bird. Familiars were created by the Sith—an order of dark-side adherents—and were produced via Sith alchemy. A familiar was bonded via the Force to the individual who created it, which allowed the master of a familiar to experience the sights and sounds encountered by his or her familiar and to project Force powers via the creatures, as if the master was at the familiar's location in person.
Biology and appearance
A Sith familiar was a non-sentient, Force-sensitive creature that had the appearance of a small scavenger bird. Familiars were created by the Sith, an order of dark-side-wielding adepts. Such creatures were winged and possessed the ability to fly, and typically they had a wingspan of about 1.5 meters. Sith familiars were brought into existence via the application of Sith alchemy from information recorded on Sith scrolls and within Sith holocrons; the process was expensive and time-consuming, requiring some 10,000 of materials and alchemical apparatus to complete. The creatures were also fragile and easily damaged by combat.
Sith familiars were bonded to their creators via the Force, allowing the master of such a creature to experience the sights and sounds that crossed the path of his or her familiar. In addition, the master of a familiar could use the beast as a conduit through which select Force powers could be projected, as if the master was at the familiar's location. Abilities that could be channeled via a Sith familiar included the powers Drain Knowledge, Force defense, Force empathy, Force stealth, Hatred, Illusion, Telepathy, and the summoning of storms, although when a familiar was used in such a manner, the energy required to sustain the Force conduit sometimes could consume the creature, resulting in its death.
The Sith pioneered the creation of Sith familiars at some point during galactic history but were not the only culture to utilize familiars. The Nightsister witches of the planet Dathomir possessed familiars of their own, though they were different in nature to those of the Sith.
Sith familiars in the galaxy
Sith familiars saw usage amongst the Sith, although their creation was not widespread, and the propagation of familiars remained one of the lesser-known applications of Sith alchemy. Many Sith were dissuaded from deploying familiars by the expense and time required when creating them, although some Sith Lords did consider the benefits of possessing the creatures to be worth the effort.
Behind the scenes
Sith familiars were created by Michael Mikaelian and first mentioned in The Sith Compendium, an article in the 2001 magazine Star Wars Gamer 5 that provided roleplaying statistics for various Sith-related weapons, vehicles, and creatures. The familiars subsequently received a further mention within the 2004 roleplaying sourcebook Ultimate Adversaries.