Jeremy Crawford Talks Sidekicks

jgsugden

Adventurer
I think assumption of usage is the point... and the advantage of choosing a Beastmaster... if the DM says no Beastmasters well it's a moot point...Yeah but this sounds like an issue with the overall concept of sidekicks... but they are optional and at the DM's discretion... As a DM if you don't think they would be a good fit for your game... why introduce them at all? On the other hand the fact that they are not a good fit for your game doesn't mean they shouldn't be available for other games.
I'm saying they have problems. You're saying, I'm not forced to use them. That overlooks a few things:

1.) Once presented as an option, players often feel entitled to the option. It may not be right, but it happens.
2.) A DM may allow it (for whatever reason) for one or more players and it might cause the game to suffer, hurting other players' experiences through no choice of their own.
 

Pauln6

Explorer
Traps in AD&D could easily slay Henchmen, who were gaining XP at half the rate and who insisted on going on adventures anyway with the party.
Ha ha. To be fair, traps could kill anybody! Tomb of Horrors? Eek! I don't miss save or die in 5e.
 

Saelorn

Adventurer
That you didn't need hp before is a lost battle. That ship has sailed.
Not entirely. Fifth edition (nominally) supports many different healing options, and if you can reel the healing back far enough, then you can start having meaningful encounters with the sorts of lower-level enemies that won't one-shot an NPC.

HP are only such an important combat metric, because characters have so much free healing that it's assumed they'll enter every fight at full health, so enemies need to be powerful enough that they can get through all of that health in one fight, if there's going to be any tension at all. If you nix the healing, then it changes that default assumption by enough that henchfolk remain helpful, even without bloating their HP.
 

Azzy

Cyclone Ranger
I'm saying they have problems. You're saying, I'm not forced to use them. That overlooks a few things:

1.) Once presented as an option, players often feel entitled to the option. It may not be right, but it happens.
2.) A DM may allow it (for whatever reason) for one or more players and it might cause the game to suffer, hurting other players' experiences through no choice of their own.
So, no one else should have these options because of this? Sorry, no.
 

Pauln6

Explorer
This is true.
I guess my group just had better working conditions than yours.Admittedly, most of my hirelings were killed by the Dragon Prophet Aulicus while trying to escape the Black Brotherhood through the Vast Swamp but, you know, a frickin' dragon!
 

Imaro

Adventurer
I'm saying they have problems. You're saying, I'm not forced to use them. That overlooks a few things:
No I'm saying the problems you are citing seem to be problems with your group and how they choose to use a tool vs a problem with the actual tool.

In other words it's like claiming that hammers are problematic because some people drop them on their feet or miss and hit their thumbs... those aren't problems with a hammer though that's a problem with how you are choosing to use/handle the tool. If you are incapable of using a hammer without dropping it on your foot or banging your thumb, well then you probably shouldn't use a hammer... those who are capable however, will find the hammer an advantageous tool to use.

1.) Once presented as an option, players often feel entitled to the option. It may not be right, but it happens.
2.) A DM may allow it (for whatever reason) for one or more players and it might cause the game to suffer, hurting other players' experiences through no choice of their own.
1. This edition has made leaps and bounds to re-empower DM's but there is a point where you have to actually take responsibility for your game as a DM. Do you use every optional rule in the DMG, UA and 3rd party products? If not why not?

2. If it's really causing the game to suffer discuss the issue with your DM... any DM worth playing with is going to want to make the game as fun as possible for as many people as possible.

I don't see how either of these group problems are a reason not to do sidekicks for 5e as a whole??
 

jgsugden

Adventurer
So, no one else should have these options because of this? Sorry, no.
It is a problem that isn't unique to a single group. The problems I have described are universal costs that every game that allows these will face, and I will note are real problems that will detract from the game for the players that do not get sidekicks.

They're generally bad for the game.
No I'm saying the problems you are citing seem to be problems with your group and how they choose to use a tool vs a problem with the actual tool.
No, this is more of a defective design in the hammer. Most of the costs of having this available apply to all games that allow them. Slower game. Less focus by players on their characters.

In other words it's like claiming that hammers are problematic because some people drop them on their feet or miss and hit their thumbs... those aren't problems with a hammer though that's a problem with how you are choosing to use/handle the tool...
But if the head of the hammer falls off constantly - smacking into people, making it slower to hammer things in - and it is a design flaw - then it is something quite different.

Slower play.
Diluted focus on characters.
Does just one player get a sidekick or everyone?
Optimization problems magnified.

Some of those issues may not happen in every game. Some will.

If you'd like to explain how sidekicks do not slow play, dilute focus on characters, result in questions about who gets them and who does not, and runs the risk of expanding upon existing optimization challenges, I welcome the conversation.
 

Imaro

Adventurer
They're generally bad for the game.
No they are generally bad for your game.

No, this is more of a defective design in the hammer. Most of the costs of having this available apply to all games that allow them. Slower game. Less focus by players on their characters.
No they don't.

But if the head of the hammer falls off constantly - smacking into people, making it slower to hammer things in - and it is a design flaw - then it is something quite different.
Yes but that's not what you are presenting. You are presenting problems that arise because of the particular group and how it has chosen to use the tool.

Slower play.
Diluted focus on characters.
Does just one player get a sidekick or everyone?
Optimization problems magnified.

Some of those issues may not happen in every game. Some will.
And some groups won't experience any of them... You're basically stating here that they are not problems intrinsic to the nature of sidekicks when you say that some of the cited issues may not happen in every game.

If you'd like to explain how sidekicks do not slow play, dilute focus on characters, result in questions about who gets them and who does not, and runs the risk of expanding upon existing optimization challenges, I welcome the conversation.
Sure...

1. Are you claiming that it is impossible for some people to have a secondary character without an appreciable slowdown in combat time?

2. This is a choice. Having a secondary character does not inherently mean a diluted focus on one's main character.

3. The DM should decide this based on what is best for his group and if necessary a discussion with his players.

4. You're assuming optimization is taking place and that it is an issue in every game.... if it is (and in games that encourage high levels of optimization it won't be) that is a player issue and should be discussed (and resolved) between player and DM.
 

jgsugden

Adventurer
1. Are you claiming that it is impossible for some people to have a secondary character without an appreciable slowdown in combat time?
Yes. More time spent on more actions does slow the game.
2. This is a choice. Having a secondary character does not inherently mean a diluted focus on one's main character.
False. Your time available to focus on something is finite. If you divide it between two, it will be less than if you focus it all on one.
3. The DM should decide this based on what is best for his group and if necessary a discussion with his players.
That is the best approach, but every answer to that approach has problems. Only one player gets one - inequality. Everyone gets one - doubling the length of player turns, if not more.
4. You're assuming optimization is taking place and that it is an issue in every game.... if it is (and in games that encourage high levels of optimization it won't be) that is a player issue and should be discussed (and resolved) between player and DM.
I'm assuming it is a problem in enough games to be a concern that should be considered by the rules. If there were an entirely broken class, should they not fix the problem because the class does not appear in every party?
 
I want henchmen but not for combat. I want them for more menial tasks like gathering information in a new town, like keeping our horses safe. Heck most of what I want a henchman for isn’t combat related but is instead out of combat related. As such I don’t think henchmen need more hp I just think the campaign needs to be handled in such a way that henchman are t placed in direct fire normally at least not without offering the players an opportunity to avoid such a thing happening.
 

Imaro

Adventurer
Yes. More time spent on more actions does slow the game.
I said appreciable slowdown... if the slowdown is 10 seconds because you already know what you want your secondary character to do and are ready to roll that's not appreciable (and could be comparably less than say a caster player who doesn't know what he wants to do trying to decide)... again whether the game slows down appreciably or not is determined by how prepared a player with that responsibility is when it comes time for them to declare an action.

False. Your time available to focus on something is finite. If you divide it between two, it will be less than if you focus it all on one.
Lol... you're assuming everyone's focus is 100% on only their character when they are playing the game.. IME it rarely is since you wouldn't be able to do anything else like focus on what the other players and their characters are doing or on the descriptions the DM is giving, make small talk or joke with other players and so on. So no it's not a 100% or nothing sum. You can take some of that focus away from other areas if necessary and devote it to the secondary character... Or for those who are exceptionally good at multitasking they may actually need something else to focus on in order to occupy their attention during lulls with their primary character and a secondary character might keep them more engaged with the game.

That is the best approach, but every answer to that approach has problems. Only one player gets one - inequality. Everyone gets one - doubling the length of player turns, if not more.
Again assumptions that don't bear out are being made... if only one player, who is adept at running multiple characters wants to run a sidekick and the other players are ok with that then none of the above problems arise. That's why the problems you keep citing are based in individual groups and not the sidekick rules themselves.

I'm assuming it is a problem in enough games to be a concern that should be considered by the rules. If there were an entirely broken class, should they not fix the problem because the class does not appear in every party?
Emphasis mine... that's exactly the problem you're assuming alot about an enormous variety of groups and even individuals and how they play/act/feel/decide things/etc. in order to support your own assumptions about how the particular tool would be used by the majority. What you haven't shown is that the problems are inherent to the tool... as opposed to individual groups.

As an example everything you cite as a problem with sidekicks here could also arise from the wrong player choosing/being allowed to play a wizard in the wrong group...
 

jgsugden

Adventurer
...As an example everything you cite as a problem with sidekicks here could also arise from the wrong player choosing/being allowed to play a wizard in the wrong group...
I'll let you figure out the fundamental differences on your own. Regardless, I think you'e too busy arguing to consider my points. I've said my peace. Done.
 

Imaro

Adventurer
I guess when you don't have an answer or followup the next best thing is quoting and replying to someone but putting them on ignore so they can't actually see or reply to what you said...
 

Pauln6

Explorer
My players play each other's characters if one of them can't make a session. It's perfectly possible but if you do it permanently in my experience it can be very difficult at higher levels. Hit points are more key than class features. I think the sidekicks could function adequately with half the features they had in the first draft.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Yes. More time spent on more actions does slow the game.
Sure it does. Same would happen were each player to have two PCs, or the DM to throw a greater number of slightly-weaker opponents at the party each time - the more participants* there are in a battle the longer it's gonna take.

The only question is whether this is a problem or not; and for many I'd posit it's no problem at all.

* - ignoring swarms, of course.

That is the best approach, but every answer to that approach has problems. Only one player gets one - inequality. Everyone gets one - doubling the length of player turns, if not more.
This makes a huge assumption: that every player (or PC) wants one.

Sometimes a player-as-player doesn't want a sidekick (or hench, or cohort) even though she's playing the sort of PC for whom a sidekick would make loads of sense. Other times a player-as-player wants a sidekick even though she's playing a lone-wolf PC who doesn't get along with anyone. Ideally the characterization of the PC takes precedence over the player's desires here...repeat, ideally.

And sometimes a player (or PC) wants more than one hench. In 1e your Charisma score determined how many you could have at a time; it was a big change when 3e knocked this back to just having one, and even that not coming until and unless you qualified for the feat with which it came.

The 'inequality' piece is, to me, largely a red herring. There's far worse possible inequalities in the game that are given a pass, why worry about this one?

I'm assuming it is a problem in enough games to be a concern that should be considered by the rules. If there were an entirely broken class, should they not fix the problem because the class does not appear in every party?
The optimization piece can be handled in a number of ways, the first and simplest of which is to make the DM solely responsible for rolling up and statting out all henches or sidekicks - the DM can then choose the degree of optimization in that character (e.g. a lower or higher point-buy total, if using that system) or just do everything at random.

The player says "Falstaff's going to recruit for a hench while we're in town - a healer, preferably, to patch me up after fights and battles."

The DM says "OK", and [insert appropriate-to-table degree of detail and roleplaying here regarding success chance, number of 'applicants', interview process, etc.] after rolling something up says "Right, here's the best you get: her name's Kalliandre; she's a Cleric (to Demeter) with a bit of Mage to her; smart, very wise, but a bit clumsy and a little bit on the spindly side. She's an expert with healing herbs and poultices, and has even done a small amount of field-adventuring - she knows what she's getting into. But be warned: she's nice enough most of the time but if you're her patient she can be very bossy while she's tending you!"

The player either says yes or no, with 'no' meaning Falstaff is out of luck and has to try again next time in town.
 

thundershot

Explorer
As a DM, I personally love cohorts or sidekicks, as it adds another character personality into the mix. That was always my stipulation on cohorts is that they had to be different from the main PC. It's nice that they're codifying it for 5E, but in 3E, half the group had Leadership with a slightly lower level cohort as well as followers. Lots of great roleplaying interactions. One player even had a list of his followers names, races, and jobs (cooks, scroll caddy, pet groomers, etc.). They didn't participate in combat, but it was cool to add things like "Floyd serves up a nice catfish dinner with redskin potatoes this evening".
 

Weiley31

Explorer
If your lvl 5 party is complaining about Karl Azgard (made up LVL 10 UA Warrior Sidekick), a veteran and well seasoned mercenary who's seen his fair share of bloodshed and battles, hogging up the glory and combat, then either don't hire him or don't complain about him doing his job.

He ain't got time to babysit your PCs who should know how to swing a sword or sling a spell already at this point of the campaign. ESPECIALLY if your about to assault the Warlord's base camp.
 
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Ruin Explorer

Adventurer
Whilst the above post is an impressive necro, I feel compelled to comment on the unfortunate juxtaposition between Jeremy Crawford saying this in January:

"If a group has anxiety about their NPC companions doing well, I recommend not having NPC companions."

And the actual sidekick rules, not the UA ones, but the actual ones, which are 110% designed around ensuring, at all costs, that the sidekick does not "do well" or "become beloved", and instead is mechanically ineffective and dull!

I guess that failed to pass their 70% approval bar and they had to send it back to the shop for surgical fun removal.
 

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