Monday, March 3, 2014

New Tricks for the Old Dog

I've been considering companions of the animal kind.  I'm not talking about familiars.  Never been a huge fan of those, but never disallowed it.  Although they tend to have a short life span in most of my campaigns.  I'm talking about significant animal companions that have followed an adventurer for a significant amount of time.  I'm plan on adding these companions to my ranger and druid classes. 

When someone gets a familiar it is very useful in the first few levels, but then after that (if it lives) it becomes less helpful and sort of an after thought.  I can't remember in my experience, when anyone used one past the first levels. 

Here's my plan.  Animal companions level up with their master.  Makes record keeping much simpler.  So when a ranger reaches a new level, here's what he can do with his animal buddy.  He can chose one of the following:
Roll for extra hit points
  • Add 1d4 hit points
  • Add +1 to hit 
  • Add +1 to damage
  • Add +1 to AC
  • Add a new task it can perform
This way the companion can improve with the character without becoming overpowering.  The new task that the companion can perform can be different depending on the animal type.  If the companion has some magical ability maybe they acquire a new one, or improve an existing ability.

Say the ranger loses his companion in a fight.  It's going to happen, adventurers live dangerous lives.  What would happen then is the player could eventually get a new companion, maybe with a little RPing involved, and the new companion would start as a newb.  Base template stats, and then move up from there.  Or of the almighty GM has been plied enough with praise and pizza, a different, more powerful companion could be found.

Anyway, I like the idea of it.