Idea for Mounts and Companions

Combine Animal Companions, Familiars, Mounts (magical, mundane, and otherworldly), and Cohorts into 2 systems for Companions and Followers.

Essentially D&D Next could define loyal NPC allies as Companions or Followers.

Companions are NPCs that are trained, created, or cared for by the PC. They "level up" with the PC and are generally capable in combat with the PC's foes. PCs would typically be limited to a single Companion but there could be rules for 2 companions at fractional power.

Followers would be the loyal or devoted NPCs who hang on to them and offer minor services. They are usually limited to 1 or 2 HD, numerous, and are not used for combat or placed in dangerous situations. Most likely this would be have to be an aspect of the Legacy system. My suggestion would be be a combined HD of Charisma score + Level.

The base version of the system if the group uses it would have mounts and same class apprentices as defaults.

Certain classes have the option of special companions and follower. The wizard sorcerer, or warlock can opt for a familiar companion. The druid and ranger can go for animal companions and several critters as followers. Paladins can use a celestial mount for a companion.

Nonmagical classes would have other aspects to add to their companions. Fighters can train their mounts to wear armor easier, teach maneuvers to their companions, raise followers to a serviceable combat level. Rogues can teach skills and tricks to their companions. Barbarian rage can overflow to their cohorts and followers. And explanations of what Warlord can do should not be required in this paragraph.

The entire system could easily be adjusted with feats or other modules by being separated in this way. The DM can rule whether a special companion or companion adjustment is automatic, requires a feat, is class or race restricted or whatever. And why separating them into two systems, the group can choose whether they use companions, followers, both, or neither. Also by separating these features, the major past issues for these systems can be handled: power and action economy.

So what do you think?

Orzel, Halfelven son of Zel, Mystic Ranger, Bane to Dragons, Death to Undeath, Killer of Abyssals, King of the Wilds. Constitution Based Class for Next!

I think this sort of thing is a grand tradition and often totally appropriate for a player to have in the context of a story. We should have some guidelines for how to handle it.


Personally though, the further they stay away from actual combat resolution and stuff like that, the happier I'll be and the more easily I can ignore them or determine that they're there when we want them and not there any other time, the better. I'm speaking both as a player and a DM.


The approach suggested here would serve my purposes.

I think any NPC that has notable mechanical impact (not just providing a mundane service) in a group should count as a partial share for both XP and treasure. I'd prefer to see the guidelines reinforce this, as I think it would become self-regulating when parties have to share the spoils with NPC members. For mounts, that share would go for upkeep and maintanence. People might think carefully about riding griffon mounts if much of the spoils are going into their mount's belly.

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So what do you think?


I like it and have suggested much the same.  I'd call them Hirelings and Henchmen .  Hirelings are menial workers who do not fight and work for coin.  Henchmen are combat appropriate characters, including animal companions, who follow the PC for glory, loyalty, etc.

I could see a familiar being built under either scenario. 
So what do you think?


I like it and have suggested much the same.  I'd call them Hirelings and Henchmen .  Hirelings are menial workers who do not fight and work for coin.  Henchmen are combat appropriate characters, including animal companions, who follow the PC for glory, loyalty, etc.

I could see a familiar being built under either scenario. 



Even more than a familiar you could have a summoner or necromancy specialty that allowed you to bring in level appropriate assistants similar to WoW's Warlock or you could be a Warlord and have a Bannerman similar to Lotro's captain.
 
My idea is the "level of power". The level of power would be the level of classes and the extra help (allies, pets, ammunition, magic item and some template like half-dragon).

Do you rebember the fantasy wargames where "points of army (creation)" are spent to get monter mounts and magic item for champions and generals?

The XPs reward should be adapted to the right level of power. A dungeon would be easier if PCs are a big group (six or seven players) or lot of "extra help" (lots of magic tatoos with healing spells, for example, and fireams with ammunition, and squires to reload crossbows).

"Say me what you're showing off for, and I'll say you what you lack!" (Spanish saying)

 

Book 13 Anaclet 23 Confucius said: "The Superior Man is in harmony but does not follow the crowd. The inferior man follows the crowd, but is not in harmony"

 

"In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of." - Confucius 

@wrecan

Names aside, I see people who are associated with PCs in 3 levels.

1) People whose loyalty is solely purchased for short term. These are your hired bodyguards and craftsmen. No difference from retail services.

2) People who follow you due to friendship, contractual or societal loyalty, or long term service. These people are not major aspects of your adventures and do not typical contribute to mechanical success. They do not advance.

3) True adventuring companions who truly can contribute to your success outside of being a warm (or cold) body that can talk or looks skilled.

So a fighter might hire a few archers (1) to back up his loyal men-at-arms (2) on castle defense while he and his noble steed (3) are away dragon slaying.

There are people you hire, people who follow you but suck and are to be left home, and people who follow you and are not liabilities.

Orzel, Halfelven son of Zel, Mystic Ranger, Bane to Dragons, Death to Undeath, Killer of Abyssals, King of the Wilds. Constitution Based Class for Next!

I like further distinction:

Orzel's #1 would be the Hirelings,
his #2 would be the Henchmen,
his #3 would be Followers or Compatriots,
while above average intelligence animals/mounts would be Companions,
and magically created/summoned creatures would be Familiars.

EDIT:
Hirelings are hired, for a specific purpose, and serve only in that capacity.
Henchmen are also hired but can serve in multiple capacities.
Followers/Compatriots are gathered, usually of their own accord.
Companions are found or bought and are personally trained by the PC.
Familiars are created or summoned through magic, and usually provide associated, situational benefits to the PC. 
So long as the concepts of "PC's mounts/lackeys/etc. share actions" and "by the way, NPC's mounts/lackeys/etc. don't." aren't carried over...
So long as the concepts of "PC's mounts/lackeys/etc. share actions" and "by the way, NPC's mounts/lackeys/etc. don't." aren't carried over...


I'm not sure I understand the "action sharing" definition here. Could you clarify, please?
So long as the concepts of "PC's mounts/lackeys/etc. share actions" and "by the way, NPC's mounts/lackeys/etc. don't." aren't carried over...


I'm not sure I understand the "action sharing" definition here. Could you clarify, please?

NPC's mounts act independently.  PC's mounts do not.
NPC's animal companions are just another monster to fight.  PC's animal companions eat up that PC's action economy.

So long as the concepts of "PC's mounts/lackeys/etc. share actions" and "by the way, NPC's mounts/lackeys/etc. don't." aren't carried over...


I'm not sure I understand the "action sharing" definition here. Could you clarify, please?

NPC's mounts act independently.  PC's mounts do not.
NPC's animal companions are just another monster to fight.  PC's animal companions eat up that PC's action economy.



I can see the "basic" rules for mounted combat being simply:

Mounted combat: When a character is mounted on a willing creature with Intelligence of 6 or lower, the mount loses all actions.  The mount and rider move as one, with the rider using the mount's speed.  The rider can also use its action to order its mount to use one of its attacks.  The mount and rider are separate targets for an attack and maintain separate defenses and hit points.  If the rider is unable to take actions at the begining of his turn, he will fall from the mount and the mount regains its actions, taking its place in the initiative right after its former rider.  The rider must use one hand to remain mounted, unless the rider makes a 15 DC Dexterity Check as part of the action requiring two hands.  On a failure, the character falls off the mount and the action does not occur.

Intelligent Mounts: When a character is mounted on a creature with an Intelligence of 7 or greater, the creature maintains its own actions and place in the initiative order and remains a NPC in control of the DM (unless the rules state otherwise).  The rider is considered to be in a grab with the mount and as long as the mount does not fight the grab, the rider moves whenever the mount moves. The rider must use one hand to remain mounted, unless the rider makes a 15 DC Dexterity Check as part of the action requiring two hands.  On a failure, the character falls off the mount and the action does not occur.

Voila.  If you want a mount ot have its own action, give it an Intelligence of 7 or higher.  I note the bestiary's entry fo Dire Wolf indicates a variant called the "Warg", which can have an Intelligence of 6-8.  So this is entirely in the control of the DM, in conjunction with the players at the table, to determine when and whether a mount gets its own suite of actions.  Generally, as long as the player has unintelligent mounts, he'll be using the streamlined rules to maintain action economy.
That works.

Unintelligent mounts, mounted hirelings, and mounted henchmen/followers, mounted conpanions don't get actions unless the rider give it an action. The rider has advantage when handling follower and companion followers. The rider can add their skill die to rolls to handle companion mounts.

Then you can make special rules for companion team action using skill dice and disadvantage.

Orzel, Halfelven son of Zel, Mystic Ranger, Bane to Dragons, Death to Undeath, Killer of Abyssals, King of the Wilds. Constitution Based Class for Next!

That works. Unintelligent mounts, mounted hirelings, and mounted henchmen/followers, mounted conpanions don't get actions unless the rider give it an action. The rider has advantage when handling follower and companion followers. The rider can add their skill die to rolls to handle companion mounts. Then you can make special rules for companion team action using skill dice and disadvantage.


Thanks.  The hidden benefit of setting 6 as unintelligent mount is you can have Master Blaster!

 
In my first playtest, a halfling and elf did the Master Blaster route (then he attempted to hide behind the elf to sneak attack fliers).

D&D Next has to handle the Fastball Special and The Master Blaster Combo.

Orzel, Halfelven son of Zel, Mystic Ranger, Bane to Dragons, Death to Undeath, Killer of Abyssals, King of the Wilds. Constitution Based Class for Next!

I warn you some gamers will want use th rules to create "pokemon" allies.


The subgenre of "magic pet" like Pokemon, Digimon, Huntik, Bakugan, Monsumo...is popular actually. I imagine the D&D version of "magic pet tournament". The monster companion would the "sidesick".


* Do you rebember the grogs and companions rules from "Ars Magica". There were practically second PCs, or almost-PCs.


* What if a psionic PC can use telepatic powers with companions, sidesicks and henchmen?  

"Say me what you're showing off for, and I'll say you what you lack!" (Spanish saying)

 

Book 13 Anaclet 23 Confucius said: "The Superior Man is in harmony but does not follow the crowd. The inferior man follows the crowd, but is not in harmony"

 

"In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of." - Confucius 

..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true">Intelligent Mounts: When a character is mounted on a creature with an Intelligence of 7 or greater, the creature maintains its own actions and place in the initiative order and remains a NPC in control of the DM (unless the rules state otherwise).  The rider is considered to be in a grab with the mount and as long as the mount does not fight the grab, the rider moves whenever the mount moves. The rider must use one hand to remain mounted, unless the rider makes a 15 DC Dexterity Check as part of the action requiring two hands.  On a failure, the character falls off the mount and the action does not occur.

Our group has delt with this in Pathfinder, having a mounted paladin (the mount is int 6 but same difference), a summoner who likes to ride his eidolin sometimes and several familiars. We have found it a lot simpler to put them on the same initiative, even if they have separate actions. The primary PC roles initiative and they go together. If they get separated and act independently they can end up with different initiatives, but most of the time they stay together and act together so it rarely comes up.

If my memory doesn´t fail, I rebember 3rd Ed "the arms and equipment guide" where the ogre was a monster mount. I don´t joke, but only a little size rider like halfling or gnome. 

Do you imagine the "D&D master blaster"? A ogre rided by a goblin (maybe a blue, a psionic subrace) with a steampunk crossbow.

"Say me what you're showing off for, and I'll say you what you lack!" (Spanish saying)

 

Book 13 Anaclet 23 Confucius said: "The Superior Man is in harmony but does not follow the crowd. The inferior man follows the crowd, but is not in harmony"

 

"In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of." - Confucius 

So long as the concepts of "PC's mounts/lackeys/etc. share actions" and "by the way, NPC's mounts/lackeys/etc. don't." aren't carried over...


I'm not sure I understand the "action sharing" definition here. Could you clarify, please?

NPC's mounts act independently.  PC's mounts do not.
NPC's animal companions are just another monster to fight.  PC's animal companions eat up that PC's action economy.

I don't like this method. War horses in particular, even as low/non-intelligent animals, can and do make their own actions in battle. They kick and/or bite opponents and trample those that get underfoot; all while keeping their rider aboard and obeyinghis/her instructions.

Besides, why would a NPC's mount or animal companion get to have individual actions if the PC's mount or animal companions do not? It is a double standard.

So long as the concepts of "PC's mounts/lackeys/etc. share actions" and "by the way, NPC's mounts/lackeys/etc. don't." aren't carried over...


I'm not sure I understand the "action sharing" definition here. Could you clarify, please?

NPC's mounts act independently.  PC's mounts do not.
NPC's animal companions are just another monster to fight.  PC's animal companions eat up that PC's action economy.

 
I can see the "basic" rules for mounted combat being simply:

Mounted combat: When a character is mounted on a willing creature with Intelligence of 6 or lower, the mount loses all actions.  The mount and rider move as one, with the rider using the mount's speed.  The rider can also use its action to order its mount to use one of its attacks.  The mount and rider are separate targets for an attack and maintain separate defenses and hit points.  If the rider is unable to take actions at the begining of his turn, he will fall from the mount and the mount regains its actions, taking its place in the initiative right after its former rider.  The rider must use one hand to remain mounted, unless the rider makes a 15 DC Dexterity Check as part of the action requiring two hands.  On a failure, the character falls off the mount and the action does not occur.

Intelligent Mounts: When a character is mounted on a creature with an Intelligence of 7 or greater, the creature maintains its own actions and place in the initiative order and remains a NPC in control of the DM (unless the rules state otherwise).  The rider is considered to be in a grab with the mount and as long as the mount does not fight the grab, the rider moves whenever the mount moves. The rider must use one hand to remain mounted, unless the rider makes a 15 DC Dexterity Check as part of the action requiring two hands.  On a failure, the character falls off the mount and the action does not occur.

Voila.  If you want a mount ot have its own action, give it an Intelligence of 7 or higher.  I note the bestiary's entry fo Dire Wolf indicates a variant called the "Warg", which can have an Intelligence of 6-8.  So this is entirely in the control of the DM, in conjunction with the players at the table, to determine when and whether a mount gets its own suite of actions.  Generally, as long as the player has unintelligent mounts, he'll be using the streamlined rules to maintain action economy.

This would be okay, provided war horses (and any other animal that is trained specifically for war or even attack/defense) are treated as "intelligent" animals in this regard; who knows, maybe they are.

...Intelligent Mounts: When a character is mounted on a creature with an Intelligence of 7 or greater, the creature maintains its own actions and place in the initiative order and remains a NPC in control of the DM (unless the rules state otherwise).  The rider is considered to be in a grab with the mount and as long as the mount does not fight the grab, the rider moves whenever the mount moves. The rider must use one hand to remain mounted, unless the rider makes a 15 DC Dexterity Check as part of the action requiring two hands.  On a failure, the character falls off the mount and the action does not occur.

Our group has delt with this in Pathfinder, having a mounted paladin (the mount is int 6 but same difference), a summoner who likes to ride his eidolin sometimes and several familiars. We have found it a lot simpler to put them on the same initiative, even if they have separate actions. The primary PC roles initiative and they go together. If they get separated and act independently they can end up with different initiatives, but most of the time they stay together and act together so it rarely comes up.

I tend to do it this way as well. Whenever the two are not acting in unison, they can have different initiative placements.

Good ideas. Personally, I've always tried to hack 'true' companions as you guys are describing into the game as I've played it (in a balanced way). In 4e, this meant creating companions that were the equivalent of artifacts. It was kind of nominally counter-intuitive, but actually played quite well. The concordance system or some analogue thereof might be something to consider with companions/henchmen/hirelings.