D&D 4E Q about designing a 4e-style Companion


I am currently running a 3-player party (Half-Orc Paladin, Human Warrior, Halfling Sorcerer) who have recently reached level 4. Along with them, I have provided a Dwarven Tempest Cleric as their guide. I have found that the T-Cleric's abilities are largely reactionary and, combined with spellcasting, is a lot to micromanage while I DM. I'd like to make him a 'Companion' as per 4e (basically a "half" class with a few key class abilities) without sacrificing his Thunder flavor.

Suggestions welcome. :)

log in or register to remove this ad


First Post
Ever since Dungeon Mastering the 4th edition game I have handed companion characters to the group to run. I typically didn't have them go on every adventure. I learned this trick from Savage Worlds RPG. You have plenty to do as a DM already so that RPG suggested it. It may have seemed like sacrilege in the old AD&D games but I love it now. Obviously the older your players (not necessarily age but gamer experience) the better this works.

This does go against my personal rule about a player running two characters in some ways. See back in the AD&D days there was another DM in our area who was a pretty good DM. He allowed the players to each run two or three characters at the start of most of his campaigns. He actually handled the combat aspect pretty well considering they didn't use miniatures or maps. He also kept exacting notes on each character down to the number of charges on wands. He should have been an accountant. The problem that developed was his players didn't really role-play at all. With so many characters to manage it degenerated into heroquest without a board. I didn't care for it. Later, many of the same players traveled to GenCon in Milwaukee and seen the difference between the play styles available. In later games and also under different DMs they seemed to consider the non-combat aspects of the game with only a single character. Characters became evermore complicated beginning with 3rd edition as well so it made it worse.

So while I don't like to saddle a player with more complication in a permanent situation I don't mind having a player run an NPC companion character for me on a limited basis.

So one suggestion is you could have a different player in your group run the cleric each session and leave his sheet as is. You can advance the sheet and keep it simple as possible.

Another suggestion is you can write him up as a true NPC. Use the Priest as a starting guideline (Page 55 in the DM Basic or page 348 in the Monster Manual). Replace Divine Eminence with some thunderous ability or just have it do thunder damage instead of radiance. Advance the hit dice and proficiency bonus as needed when PCs level and throw in more spell slots when appropriate. Much simpler for you to run.


Well, you make a 4e-style Companion by following the back-of-MM re base stats model. What I tend to do in addition is remove spellcasting & replace with a subset, so eg my 5e Companion Paladin can Bless, Smite, & Lay on Hands, but not the full Pally spell range.

You can select a small number of Classic Cleric spells, eg Cure Wounds, & Thunder-related spells, plus a class ability like Turn Undead, give him those and call it a day.

The Paladin Companion IMC:

Malenn, Paladin of Mitra
Cohort (lover) of Hakeem.
Armor Class 17 (+2 DEX +2 shield +3 CHA)
Hit Points 56 (9d8 + 18)
Healing Dice 4 (d8+2)
Speed 30 ft.
Proficiency +3
STR 8 (-1) DEX 14 (+2) CON 14 (+2) INT 11 (+0) WIS 13 (+1) CHA 17 (+3)
Good saves WIS, CHA.
Senses passive Perception 14
Challenge 3 (700 XP)

Divine Sense: 4/day she can focus - as an Action - & detect supernatural celestial, fiend or undead within 60', but not mortal alignment. Can detect consecrated or desecrated ground.

Brave. Malenn has advantage on saving throws against being frightened.

Unarmoured Grace. Malenn adds her CHA bonus to AC when unarmoured.

Duelist fighting style. +2 damage with single one-handed weapon.


Multiattack. Malenn can make two melee attacks.

Blessing of Mitra 6/day: Recharges after Long Rest - requires prayer to the rising sun to recharge. Action, requires a sprinkling of holy water, affects up to 3 willing allied creatures within 30'. In the next 10 rounds whenever the Blessed allies make an attack roll or a saving throw they add +2 to the roll. A creature can benefit from only one Bless die at a time. Requires Concentration - this effect ends if Malenn is incapacitated.
Alternately she can use the same energy to Divine Smite on a hit for +2d8 radiant damage, +3d8 vs undead or fiend, this does not require holy water.

Lay on Hands: She can touch someone and restore up to 30 hp per day (or spend 5 hp to cure disease/poison). Recharges after long rest.

Weapons (2 attacks/action)
Bronze Shortsword ATT +5 dam 1d6+4 (+2d8 smite)
Unarmed ATT +2 dam 0 (+2d8 smite!)

Epic Threats

An Advertisement