D&D 5E 5e Companion System

Goober4473

Explorer
In planning an Out of the Abyss game, I came across a problem. There are a lot of NPCs that could end up tagging along with the players. I like all of them, and want them to be available, but I don't want to bog down combat with tons of extra turns for all these extra characters, even if the players get to control them. But neither do I want them to sit back and do nothing.

So, my solution was this, the Companion System: Companion System

The gist is, companion NPCs don't normally use their stat blocks. Instead, they are sort of equipped to PCs, and grant one or more bonuses to special abilities to that PC. Most have an ability that requires them to spend their inspiration, which they regain by having conversations with the players. This means they get to be there and provide mechanical benefits, but aren't bogging anything down, and it provides an extra incentive to interact with them.

As a secondary benefit, it provided a platform to simplify mounts and familiars, and make beast master rangers both more effective and less complex.

Here is the document I put together for the companions for OotA (spoilers, of course), to be printed on index cards:
OotA Cards

Some notes:
  • Keep track of the madness avoided with Buppido's Desensitized. It all comes back, all at once, when he eventually betrays the party.
  • Sarith's Restorative Salve also causes disadvantage on saving throws against spores for 24 hours. He's probably not consciously aware of that fact, or at least can't control himself enough to say anything.
  • Dawnbringer's Restoration ability replaces the 1/dawn ability it normally has.
- Khalessa and Aljanor, and the faction leaders aren't meant to travel with the party all the time, but may end up fighting alongside them in some cases. My plan is to have the various regular soldiers only sometimes accompany the players as well, with many more soldiers available in the larger picture, but that's just me.
  • The earth elemental becomes loyal in place of gaining bonus hit points if the temple is cleansed.
  • An infant hook horror cannot be used as a companion. Once it is young (1 month old), the companion stats apply. Check off an age box at juvenile (3 months old) and adult (6 months old).
  • For the basilisk, check off an age box at young (3 months) and adult (12 months).
  • For the wyrmling red dragon, check off a box at 1 month and 6 months. At an age of 5 years, the dragon is no longer a companion, and becomes a full fledged young dragon.

I also didn't include any damage immunities in the cards, but companions shouldn't take injuries from critical hits or area attack that deal a damage type they are immune to. For instance, Topsy and Turvy should be immune to injuries from damage dealt by non-magic/non-silver weapons, Glabbagool should be immune to injuries from acid damage, and the red dragon wyrmling should be immune to injuries from fire damage.[/sblock]
And here are some I put together for a D&D In Space game that I'm currently running:
So far the system is working out pretty well, and I'm excited to use it in OotA, which it was originally created for. It allows for a sort of Bioware style acquisition of NPCs in a game where you already have a full party of characters.
 
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Bupp

Adventurer
Very interesting. I like how it simplifies things. I have a rogue in my group that wants to collect pets, and I think this would be a fun way of doing it.
 


Ezequielramone

Explorer
I just can't say how much I love this. I'm in the way to run OotA and this is.... well, perfect. I see love to the game there, thank you for sharing this with us selflessly.
 

Oxydron

First Post
Very nice indeed. Maybe some games for balancing. And with this, every character can have a animal companion for instance, what is cool.
 

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