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General Pet or familiar for a hunter of the undead?

Hey hive mind,

Say I would make a cleric or paladin who dedicate their lives to hunting down undead. And say that this paladin has a pet or familiar. What creatures (which are at least not evil) are really good at hunting down undead?

Note that these are to be NPCs, and as a DM I can give such an NPC any pet or familiar that I like. :)

All I came up with so far is monsters that deal bludgeoning damage, which is good against skeletons. I considered angels, but that is overkill, and in that case the Owner-Pet relationship is likely reversed.
 

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Sir Brennen

Adventurer
Are you asking for a creature more effective fighting undead in combat, or more thematic/flavorful?

For the latter, I'd go with a hyena. Scavengers who can actually eat and digest bone might like corporeal undead giving them a chance to play with their food before eating. Plus, as the paladin would count as an ally, they could use their pack tactics.
 
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Dave Goff

Explorer
Might be fun to have something small, like a ferret or weasel, that can sniff out undead when they're around. Utility rather than combat.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
In my current campaign the party has rescued a Musteval and one of the characters has taken it on as an NPC companion. Mustevals are the small, mouse-like Guardinal variety of Celestial-- the Neutral Good celestials from Elysium. They don't have any distinct affinity for hunting the undead, but as a Celestial their natural goodness could make them focused in that direction.

If you are looking for a small Lawful Good celestial that might fit the bill... you could also try the Lantern Archon. They are the lowest form of LG celestial and whose form is a 1 to 3 foot ball of light-- which would very much be in line with the idea of helping hunt the darkness for undead. Especially considering that a lantern archon tries to work with others to help those in need so as to exemplify their bravery and be promoted into a more advanced form.
 



I'd imagine a dog would be the obvious choice for attacking skeletons and similar creatures made up of bones - they'd just be mobile chew toys! Against zombies and those undead more on the "rotting corpse" end of the spectrum, I could envision the paladin/cleric training a vulture like one would normally train a hawk.

Johnathan
 



doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Get weird, also.
A sentient bell with wings. It's chime does a single target turn effect or a AoE debuff?
A book of the dead. also sentient and flying.
A clay simulacrum of a cat or other creature associated with protection from spirits and the dead.
 

Arvok

Explorer
It all depends on what you mean by hunting undead. I think a dog would be a great thematic choice. In the real world we have cadaver dogs that can sniff out dead bodies even if they're underground. There's also a fairly common trope that animals can sense ghosts and the like.

It seems likely to me that a religious warrior who has dedicated his life to destroying undead might be rewarded by his deity with a dog that unfailingly senses undead and alerts the hero whenever they draw near. Even a small dog that isn't terribly effective in combat would be quite useful if it alerts the paladin to the ghouls that are still 120 feet away, or the invisible ghost that is in the next room and about to come through the wall.
 

A movie I would recommend for a hunter of the dead type is Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Amazing movie - something I thought was cool was Mister Darcy, who hunted the infected, kept a jar of flies with him, and would release them. they'd be drawn to the smell of decay that others couldn't smell.

I also would agree with a dog of some sorts. They're not usually intimidating to normals, can be passed off as just a pet, etc... plus I don't see a reason that they can't take the Aid Other action to get you advantage in combat, even/especially small, fast active dogs like a Jack Russell.
 

Great replies, everyone!
I love the hyena, @Sir Brennen. I may cook up some "weird" idea like the bell that @doctorbadwolf mentioned. Good idea too.

The small companions such as a small sniffing-dog or a weasel/ferret was not what I was looking for, but will now be built into the campaign in a different place. Very useful too for my setting. And I cannot believe that I hadn't thought of a raven myself yet. It's almost too obvious. Thanks, @MiraMels!

I hope you all enjoyed brainstorming these ideas. I surely enjoyed reading it. Thanks!

gets to work
 



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