D&D 5E Sidekick'n

I'm about to take over DMing our group that just finished up a 2 year long campaign,
I offered the players the option to make a sidekick as well as their character (in case someone drops out and we end up with only 2 players)

I was wondering how people have found using sidekicks in their games?
What's the coolest idea you've used or seen for a sidekick?

In thinking about it myself, I had the idea of using a shadow as a sidekick so as to have a character who's own shadow is alive.
Now I just need to find a DM who'd allow it.

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My party is only four players, so I add in a Sidekick every time a player is gone. The Warrior wolf, who substitutes for our Fighter, died after a few sessions, but the Expert Elven Scout, who substitutes for her daughter when our half elf Rogue can't make it, and the human Wizard, Greta, who substitutes for our Warlock are both doing fine and are ready for their next appearances.
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Well, it doesn't have to be an actual Shadow (as in, the monster stat-block) or at least, it doesn't need to have Strength Drain.

I've played with several Sidekicks. I love 'em. My kids played where my daughter was a tiefling with an imp expert sidekick, and my son played a gnome artificer who rode in the backpack of a clockwork warrior.

I was using the shadow as an example of something that I might no allow to my players, (was just trying to think of a CR 1/2 undead off the top of my head). afterwards the more I thought about it, the more I thought it could be a really interesting concept.

One of my players is considering playing a warforged artificer, so I've suggested an Anvilwrought Raptor from Theros could make a cool sidekick, but he's still thinking it over.


I find them fine, but are generally like a 2nd PC for most players. If they can run another PC, then fine, but some people can run only one sheet at a time. They are a bit simpler overall with lacking choices but are able to keep up in terms of power.

Another thing I recently done in my campaign was to introduce a Horn of Valhalla but it summon only one fighter. I kind of based it off the newer Drizzt books with the horn Brunnor has. It summons a 3rd level fighter for 1 hour, but it has humanoid stats instead of being a ghost or something. The player can use it in a big fight if needed and it can take a few blows away from the PCs. The player enjoys roleplaying it as it walks down the hall looking for more monsters to attack shouting challenges. Freed up some of the sneaking and checking for traps on each door. It might work to have a 'sidekick' in certain situations while not running 2 PCs all the time.


Having 2 characters per player can be a headache.
Turns take long as it is.

That is why I do not like animal companions/summons/spirits etc...
Having a Bonus action cost to activate your summon/companion helps a little.

If you have a small party(2 or 3 players), gestalt to me is alway a better option than having everyone 2 characters.

I’ve made sidekicks hired help. They are one step above a mercenary mook and therefore take a share of the treasure and xp. That being said I’ve only used one and it ended with them falling into a bottomless pit the same session they joined the group. So not a lot of experience running them.

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