RPGBOT.Podcast Episode 14 – Pets, Companions, and Hirelings

Show Notes

In this episode of the RPGBOT.Podcast, we discuss cohorts, followers, hirelings, minions, pets, sidekicks, and other varieties of followers and NPCs who might be part of your “party” in a TTRPG. We discuss the mechanics in current and historical versions of DnD and Pathfinder, and discuss how to make these NPCs creatures and characters work in your games.

Special thanks to @webJWF for this week’s question of the week.

Materials Referenced in this Episode

Transcript

Randall  00:23

Welcome to the RPGBOT.Podcast. I’m Randall James, your assistant to the regional manager and with me is Tyler Kamstra.

Tyler  00:29

Hi everybody.

Randall  00:30

and random Powell.

Random  00:31

Howdy.

Randall  00:32

Alright, welcome to episode 14, the 15th episode of the RPGBOT.podcast. Tyler, what are we going to do today?

Tyler  00:38

Today we’re going to talk about kind of a collection of things. You might know them by different names, minions, pets, companions, hirelings, sidekicks, followers. Basically all those extra non-player characters who follow your character around doing cool stuff.

Randall  00:53

So it’s like the NPCs that sometimes the player’s PC or sometimes the DMPCs? So they’re like PCs, but they’re NPCs.

Tyler  01:02

Sometimes, yeah.

Randall  01:03

Except for the players.

Tyler  01:04

Yeah, sometimes they’re part of your character. Sometimes they’re not. Sometimes you adopt an npc and drag them around, maybe against their will. Basically, if it’s all the same thing at the end of the day, it’s another it’s another character in the world who follows your party around through whatever shenanigans they get into.

Randall  01:21

And a spoiler, the DM’s guide says that maybe if you’re, if you die, you could just become your friend. That sounds terrible. But anyway, yeah. I guess, has this always been part of tabletop gaming?

Tyler  01:33

Absolutely. So the earliest versions of Dungeons and Dragons had rules for hirelings. The rules originated from Chainmail, which was a medieval fantasy war game, essentially. And a lot of the early rules were very simulationist. So you had a lot of rules around building a following, gaining a stronghold, things like that. And that was very much the natural progression of your character. You started out as a level one nobody and as you gained the levels, your character accumulated a following, gold, influence, and then eventually, you’d get, like, land and you’d have a small army and cool stuff like that. Wizards would get apprentices, fighters would get armies. Barbarians would get a horde of smaller barbarians.

Randall  02:22

I’m imagining the Keanu Reeves meme with, like, big Keanu, and little Keanu.

Tyler  02:26

Yes, in the maxes. The rules have obviously changed across every edition, and they’re different between every RPG rule set. But the presence of those kind of followers assisting your character has existed since the earliest days of Dungeons and Dragons and similar RPGs. And it continues to this day. And it’s an interesting mechanic to explore.

Randall  02:48

Yeah, but I mean, my my character is basically a superhero. What do I need? Partners, or hirelings or sidekicks.

Random  02:56

There’s a lot of fun stuff that you can do with this. Like Tyler said, some of these these are built into the character, right? You know, you’re very obvious examples from Fifth Edition. You’ve got your your Beast Master Ranger, your Drakewarden now from Fizban’s. Technically speaking, you could even say the swarm keeper, although you’re probably not going to play those as intelligent, but nothing stops you I guess, if you really want to. In any case, whether or not this is a part of your character innately or whether it’s something that you pick up via DM fiat, here’s a character. Or you know, something like you go out and pay money for it. It introduces some really interesting mechanics. It introduces a way for the DM to give you information that is not just like a messenger from the King. No, it introduces a way to generate buy-in like we talked about a bit in the fear episode. Because here’s your animal companion, your friendly, low-level Wizard in town, who knows things. Your, um, who can be targeted by things. Far as what it can bring to a character, there’s a lot, maybe it is a lot of power, maybe it’s not a lot of power. Whether or not you’re a superhero, if you’re a superhero in a vacuum, who are you going to save?

Randall  04:10

Yeah, that makes sense. That best purpose for a sidekick is actually just to have somebody to save. No, I think it’s maybe worth for listeners, let’s hit kind of what we want to talk about in this episode. So of course, we’re going to talk about all the different features in 5e. We want to talk about Pathfinder two. We’ll spend a little bit of time on like 3.x and Pathfinder one, maybe a few other tabletop rule sets. And then we want to talk about as a player character, and as a DM, how do we roleplay generally across different rule sets with these things? Yeah, so, so you went through some of the FFIV classes and subclasses that are available to us. So we have the Beast Master. We have the Drakewarden. Let’s talk about ’em.

Tyler  04:48

Player’s Handbook gave us the original version of the Beast Master and there are some other kind of follower mechanics that we’ll talk about too. So the Beast Master’s the most prominent example because that’s the one where your companion is the most visible part of your character. So your beast companion is as much a part of your character as a longsword. Like, they follow you into battle, they are part of your character’s capabilities. And they are, for all intents and purposes, a class feature. Now since it’s an animal, they’re not intelligent, they’re, it’s a slightly better than average animal. So you can have your wolf for your bear or whatever, and it can do tricks, but nothing beyond what an animal can do. But if you have pets, you know animals have can have very big personalities. And in a lot of parties, the Beast Master’s companion will frequently become the party’s mascot in a lot of ways. Because who doesn’t like to have an adorable puppy following around on adventures?

Randall  05:49

I’ve actually never played in a campaign where there’s a Beast Master with an animal companion. Anytime that I’ve looked at it, my concern has been that this is going to be really cool through like the first six levels, and then the fact that I can, what is it like you have to take a CR quarter or less animal as your companion?

Tyler  06:10

Something like that. I forget the exact number. But it does advance based on your character stats, so it’ll get more hit points, and it adds your proficiency bonus to like its attacks and its AC and things like that. So it’s not going to fall over as you gain levels. The problems with the Player’s Handbook version of the Beast Master run a lot deeper than the stats.

Randall  06:29

Well, I guess I want to even just answer that question. So cool, I get a, a, I think it is CR quarter, I take a creature of that level or below. Ensure as it advances, it gets additional hit points, and it gets to add my proficiency bonus, 2, 3, 4 points to to certain roles that it’s making. You know, when we talked about character optimization, we talked about the opportunity cost, and what’s the opportunity cost of taking that creature and that whole skill tree versus other things that are available to the Ranger? It seems like, real quick, it seems like it’d be a lot of fun for the RP. But from just a crunch standpoint, my naive eyes say that it doesn’t appear to be worth it.

Random  07:08

For the original Beast Master, you are exactly correct. Specifically, because the original Beastmaster you had to spend your action to command your pet, which means that you don’t get to do anything else basically for your turn.

Randall  07:24

I have a great longsword. But just, uh, meow at it.

Random  07:28

Right. Now, of course Tasha’s version of the Beast Master fixes this by changing it to bonus action, which is what it should have been the whole time. Once you get to the second iteration of the Beast Master, the opportunity cost is pretty negligible. So at that point, your opportunity cost is instead of getting my neat planar warrior teleport and force damage shenanigans or instead of getting my gloom stalker, I am the edgiest Ranger to have existed and also if we’re fighting in the dark, I win LOL. You get a lot of power out of having another chess piece to move around. Your animal companion is very helpful in terms of it is a thing that can draw attacks. If as it gets all these extra hit points. That’s the thing that that is hit points that are not being put onto you or your friends. That’s very helpful. It can do some tricks, right? You know, if you do things like take a wolf, then it will happily trip things.

Randall  08:33

I brought my blink dog.

Tyler  08:37

I wish that was an option.

Random  08:38

Suddenly Charlie barks in all three of our recordings. I mean, realistically, once you get past the overwhelming, glaring flaw of how they did the first version, opportunity cost is… I would say you’re not able to do other cool things. But instead you have a whole other reasonably effective party member who will unerringly follow your commands. Opportunity cost? Not really for that and for the Drakewarden as well. Those are really good because that’s a whole extra body that you know, a whole extra set of action economy, basically. what you are doing is increasing the number of attacks that you make by 25% as a party. That’s really good.

Randall  09:21

Yeah, actually, look, let’s hit on this right so Fizban’s Treasury of Dragons, we just put out in RPGBOT.News, we had an episode where we talked about the contents, we hit at the Drakewarden, but in this context, let’s dive a little deeper. So what is the Drakewarden buying us beyond even the Tasha’s Beastmaster.

Tyler  09:37

So it follows a lot of the same mechanics as the Tasha’s Beastmaster. The five or six years between the release of the Player’s Handbook and Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, Wizards really figured out how they wanted pet classes essentially to work. Because we’ve gotten so many versions of how to command a thing that is functionally a combat pet. The Beastmaster had the I spend an action to command my pet, and then later I can give up on attack to have my pet attack. There were familiars in the Player’s Handbook and they just take verbal commands, but have their own turn, there are some creatures that will just obey verbal commands. And then, finally, with Rasha’s, we got to command your thing to command your combat pet, you spend a bonus action, and that shall be the rule. Everything from here on uses that rule. It’s very simple. It’s very efficient. And it keeps your turn from becoming burdensome, overly complicated in a way that becomes burdensome. Because you’re essentially taking two turns for two or more creatures, especially if you’re summoning like, Ah, yes, here are my eight tiny velociraptors. Yeah, the rules have definitely gotten better over time, the opportunity cost is actually diminished because of the improvements to the action economy. But just that making the pet work in the action economy is such an important thing across rule sets. I’m honestly surprised that fifth edition didn’t get that one right in the Player’s Handbook, and more recent rule sets have learned from that. But yeah, it’s super important to be able to command your pet in a way that doesn’t essentially cost your entire turn.

Randall  11:17

I think that makes perfect sense. And actually, I think I really want to dive into this when we talk about like, both from a DM’s perspective and a PC’s perspective. How do we leverage companions? Because I think we have a few other, let’s say, friends to talk about, and then I think a lot of how we would leverage them are probably going to come together. Does that seem right?

Tyler  11:34

Yeah.

Randall  11:34

Yeah. So the Drake Warden seems really cool. Early on, it can fly but you just get to ride it on the ground. And then finally, when you when you hit level 15, the Perfected Bond, like you finally actually figured out what if you flew while I was sitting here? That’s exciting, right?

Tyler  11:53

I’ve wanted to be able to ride something meaningful since the since the player’s handbook came out. And we’ve done an episode where I got to beat on fifth edition’s mounted combat rules. The Drakewarden is the closest we’ve ever gotten to a sensible mount option. The singular…

Randall  12:10

Wait, to be clear: a sensible mount, or sensible flying mount?

Tyler  12:14

Both

Randall  12:15

Period mount. Okay, wow, keep going. Do tell.

Tyler  12:20

So, I think we talked about this in mounted combat episode a lot. But basically, if you’re going to ride your pet, it needs to be durable enough that it can’t just be killed by the first fireball that encounters. In fifth edition, you want it to be unintelligent, because if it’s intelligent, it takes its own turn on a separate initiative, and that will just mess up whatever you want to do. If you want to be in melee, riding an intelligent creature is basically impossible. The Drakewarden got so close, like, so annoyingly close. They have eight intelligence and they speak a language so they’re clearly intelligent. I’ve been in plenty of parties with eight intelligence characters in them. I think there are three in our party.  We are not smart people. So the Drake Companion has eight intelligenc,e so it’s intelligent, which means it’s an independent moubnt. The rules for the Drake Companion feature specifically say that it takes its turn immediately after yours. An unintelligent mount, like a horse or whatever, you take your turn at the same time and can just intermingle your actions. Like, your horse can move, you can attack your horse can continue moving and that’s awesome. That is exactly what you want if you want to be dude on a horse with a lance. Drakewarden got so close. But since it takes its turn after yours, the best you can do is ready an action to attack in melee when your Drake gets into melee range. And it’s awesome that it can eventually fly when you ride it because Beastmaster doesn’t even have an option for something that you can ride. But, like, so close. Swing and a miss.

Randall  13:59

I feel like this is easily fixable though. And I’m just going to assert this that everybody is going to agree. DM’s at home, write this down. Just give your motion walking or if you have flying to the creature, let the Drake move it’s motion on your turn. But still separate the rest of the combat features to you take your actions and then the drake takes its actions. Would that be game breaking?

Random  14:23

I’ll be perfectly honest, I think is needlessly complicated. There is no real reason to not just let them act as unintelligent mounts. That is a three second house rule fix. It’s just, yes, you can treat it as an unintelligent mount. Done.

Tyler  14:37

Yep.

Random  14:38

There’s no reason not to allow that because it’s a class feature. What, well, if you did listen to the, the mounted combat, you know, we did sort of make an interesting point of like, okay, well what if you are riding something smart and it wants to leave for whatever reason? If your DM is making your class feature want to take you away from the fight, you have larger problems than what can be solved mechanically.

Randall  15:01

Yeah, that can quickly get meta of like, the player is saying, I know that my PC would want to go in. I think I’m going to die. I think that my mount would know I’m going to die. Like, that you could you could do that rigmarole. But yeah, I think your DM working against you is a problem. And I don’t think we actually have to get more specific than that. But vice versa, you would know when the moment’s right to maybe have that intelligent mount make a different decision. When it advances the story and improves everybody’s fun.

Tyler  15:31

I want you to shelve that thought for a little while because we’re going to talk about 3.x and Pathfinder first edition a little bit and we’re gonna come back to that. And in a way that might surprise you, Randall.

Randall  15:42

Okay. Yeah. I have no idea. Yeah, like, we’re gonna talk about sidekicks. Actually, let’s go and talk about sidekick. So are we ready to do it?

Tyler  15:49

Yeah, let’s do it.

Randall  15:49

I had. I had actually never opened up the Payer Handbook to sidekicks. I’ve heard people talk about it. I had no idea. I actually liked it. I thought it was pretty good when I read it with my eyeballs. I’m a little bit worried about what you two are gonna say about it, though.

Tyler  16:04

So, I’m gonna say it’s not in the Player’s Handbook. The rules for sidekicks first appeared in the Essentials Kit, and then got reprinted in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything.

Randall  16:14

Ah, okay.

Tyler  16:14

I really like the sidekick rules. I think they’re awesome.

Randall  16:19

I’m gonna, I’m gonna correct myself. So I found it on a D&D Beyond link directly and just assumed it was in the PHP. That’s my mistake team.

Tyler  16:27

Gotta love D&D beyond. Yeah, the sidekick rules release solved a lot of interesting problems with one solution. One of the selling points of the Essentials Kit is it’s very easy to run as an introduction to D&D. It’s built so that you can play with one player and one DM and go through the whole adventure. And there were three follow-up adventures published for free on D&D beyond. If you buy the Essentials Kit, you get a code that you can redeem for the adventures on D&D Beyond, but it will take you to like level 12 or 13. So you can play a multi-year campaign with one player and one DM, but you still need that, you know, you still need that four person party, so you fill out the party with sidekicks. Now, sidekicks aren’t gonna be as strong as a player character class, but they’re way simpler. So it’s really easy to say, Okay, you, single person in the party, you have three or four sidekicks, however many you guys decide that you need, and you can control them. But their turns are very simple, like the spellcasters get one or two level spells at each spell level. The Fighter equivalent is basically just a stat block and attacks, the Rogue equivalent is skills, attacks, and it has like a bonus action help thing. So they’re built to not be a ton of work. And that solved the we just need somebody in this party to fill up the party problem. If you need to healer, you just want to use one of the spellcaster sidekicks. It works great. In addition to that, it also solved the problem of help, my party has adopted an npc and is dragging them into a dungeon. I don’t have combat stats for this random bartender that they’ve dragged along with them. What do I do? So you just flip open the sidekick rules. Ah, yes, first level warrior.

Randall  18:19

Cool.

Random  18:20

Yeah. And one of the other things that I have talked about really enjoying is the way that fifth edition is a really useful framework. Where Tyler was just talking about, like, here’s the human, let’s apply these classes to it. Realistically, you can take these sidekick rules, and you can skin them to do kind of anything. I mean, if you, you want to ignore the way that intelligent items work so far, and you’re like, No, I want to have this animate suit of armor that follows me, but I don’t want to use any particular statblock. This animate suit of armor is a warrior sidekick. There’s a lot of flexibility in how you use that. So one of the main drawbacks for sidekicks is that they are intended to count as a party member for splitting XP. We sort of touched on this in the mountain combat episode. But realistically, I would say that in fifth edition, I haven’t actually yet encountered a game where people are trying to do XP, numerically. It is far more common, and indeed literally written into some modules. And the absolute word of law for Adventurer’s League, to use milestone. At that point, if you’re trying to figure out, like okay, well, how do I penalize the fact that they just have this cool new thing? Make yourself a little bit harder if you want. If you’re going to say great, I’m just going to increase the hit points of all monsters by 25% to account for the one extra, the 25% more players, essentially, then that’s one option. The nice thing about that is that it does sort of give you some scaling while simultaneously not making it more lethal to the players, which is always a thing that you want to keep an eye on whenever you’re tweaking numbers,

Randall  20:03

I was gonna say, I don’t know if that math actually checks out, nut…

Tyler  20:06

It’s solid advice, though. Just bumping up the hit points without that won’t increase the lethality but does make the combat to last just as long even with the other party member. That’s solid advice, Random.

Random  20:18

Thank you. Sidekick rules are great, they’re very flexible. Be aware that that you are adding power to the party, and that the way that that’s intended to be balanced is almost always ignored. So make sure that you are balancing it some way so that the players don’t feel like it’s just a walk in the park.

Randall  20:32

And, you know, you always talk about the social fix, right? The social fix is probably that if you have three PCs, probably each of them doesn’t get a sidekick for the action economy for just maintaining turns during combat. Like for all the reasons for all the reasons it’s a terrible idea, we probably don’t want a sidekick character.

Random  20:49

If you’re going to run a three-person party, everyone knows you should instead just run them as gestalt characters. Oh no, I’m in their audition again.

Tyler  20:57

We’ve done that game, it’s fun every time.

Random  20:59

It really is.

Tyler  21:01

So a sidekick for every party member. Probably not something you want to do in your typical four person party. Like, Randall, the game that you and I are in right now. We’ve got four party members. So if everyone had a sidekick, nothing would get done.

Randall  21:16

Yes.

Tyler  21:16

In smaller parties that can work really well. Like, I’m I’m running a game right now for two players that we’re doing Wild Beyond the Witchlight. And we have a Ranger and a Druid, and I’m thinking about introducing some sidekicks to kind of like fill out those missing proficiencies. I might take the sidekick rules, and one of the things with psychic rules is they say you can just throw the sidekick levels on to any creature with CR, I think one half or below. I might make Charles Barkley the blink do, a sidekick and bring him into the campaign.

Randall  21:56

I love this. I want to hear about this when this happens. It sounds amazing.

Tyler  22:00

Gosh, I hope it works.

Randall  22:02

Well, and the other thing is a sidekick, you know, it can be controlled by the player character. But a sidekick could also be controlled by the DM. And so especially if you have newer players who you’re trying to introduce the game, it might make sense to say, like, you picked what you wanted to play. And I think that’s fantastic. You have no healer. So here’s your healer. And I’m gonna manage this for a little bit. And then as soon as you’re ready, I’m gonna hand it off to you. Exactly. It could be a game, you know, when you when you don’t have a huge group, it might be a great way to balance it.

Tyler  22:29

Yeah, and it also means that no one no one feels like they’re getting stuck as the healbot, which, admittedly way less of a problem in fifth edition, but people coming from video games might not realize that. And everyone might look at the Cleric or the Druid or whatever and say no, that is the healer class and I’m not touching that. Yeah. So no one builds anything that can heal, and the DM says, Okay, fine, here’s your sidekick. They’re are Cleric equivalent spellcaster, they have cured wounds, etc. It’s fine. We’ll work with it.

Randall  22:56

And I think we said this at the top, but I kind of want to I want to run through it again. And I think it is worth for folks who maybe haven’t looked at the rules. So we have three canonical sidekick types.

Tyler  23:06

Classes.

Randall  23:07

Classes? Good. Okay. So we have the expert, which as I read it as basically what do you suck at from the skill list? Okay, and like what keeps biting you? Lots of locks to be picked, and nobody has the ability to do this or lots of people to be, you know, intimidated, or harassed and nobody really has the charisma to pull that off. Great. We’re going to grab the Expert. We’re going to put everything that we need to into the skills that were missing. And now we have somebody who rounds us out skill-wise. Is that the right read?

Tyler  23:41

Yeah, that’s about right.

Randall  23:42

And then we should probably try to not get them killed.

Tyler  23:44

I mean, hopefully you get attached to your your NPC party numbers, like at least enough not to throw them into pits.

Randall  23:50

Yeah, exactly. Unless that’s there, yeah, that’s, that’s their whole thing. That’s where they’re gonna know. We have the spellcaster, which actually, this is another aside, and I apologize, I had never heard of the idea of a 1/2 or 1/3 spellcaster until offline, the two of you explained it to me. And as soon as you did, it made perfect sense. But I don’t know how many people at home are actually familiar with it. I guess do what do you want to kind of take us through like, what is the full spellcaster versus half versus a third?

Random  24:16

In fifth edition it’s a lot less complicated. There’s no real such thing. There’s just if your class is intended to cast spells, you’re a full caster, you get up to level nine spells. So that’s your Bard, your Cleric, your Sorcerer, your Wizard Druid. Your Druid? Yes, thank you.

Randall  24:33

And the telltale sign of that is that like every two levels, you get access to one additional higher spell slot, right?

Random  24:41

Exactly. So yeah, so every other level, you will get access to an additional tier of spell slots that goes from one to nine. And then what we would call a “half caster” is something like a Paladin or Ranger where they never get spell slots above five. That’s much more slowly, and in fact, they don’t get spells to start in general, they will get spells at level two or three, I think.

Tyler  25:04

Two.

Random  25:04

Now in previous editions, in 3.x, you had bards. Bards were the two thirds caster, who would get spells up to level six. Because they were bards, they had a bunch of Bard-only skills. There’s Bard only spells that were balanced around the fact that like, Yes, this is a sixth level spell, but you’re not going to get it until level 17. So it’s going to be crazy powerful. And so, irresistible dance, which has since been ported into this, this edition and balanced for being where it is, and the fact that bards are full casters now. That’s the whole, like, fractional casters is basically just how often do you get your spells? And also how critical to the play of your character are they?

Randall  25:47

Yeah.

Random  25:48

Is a Paladin going to be casting a whole lot? Probably not. Maybe some. Mostly that’s that’s not the point of the character.

Randall  25:54

And so in 5e, our half casters, they’ll gain access to additional spell slot every four levels. And the spell castersidekick is a half caster. So the highest spell level that they’re ever going to get access to is five, and they have three kind of sub classes within this, which is you can be a damage dealer, you can be a healer. So, the mage, the healer. Or you can be, I guess, would you consider it a controller? The Prodigy, which is a they say are the spell list comes from Bard and Warlock.

Tyler  26:26

You know, controllers probably accurate and bards get really good control options. Warlocks do, too, to kind of a lesser extent, depending on the options you look at. But yeah, controller probably fits the role of the Prodigy pretty well.

Randall  26:41

Okay. And so again, like if you have no healer, this is something access or something available to you. If you have nothing that can do magic damage, you could take something that can do mad magic damage. If you have nothing that can cast haste on you, and you really wish you were faster, it’s something that you can go grab, to. And then the final is is the the warrior. So somebody who can just go out there and take punches and get knocked down, but they get up again.

Tyler  27:08

You ever budget Fighter or essentially,

Randall  27:11

on a budget, it’s probably because you’re paying.

Random  27:13

I never expected this podcast to venture into Chumbawamba. But there we go. And speaking of adventuring, as we did touch on 3.X for a second, there’s a particular thing that I wanted to cover. Well, technically speaking, there are mechanics for leadership in fifth edition and they’re fairly similar, it’s much harder to optimize around in fifth edition than it was in 3.X because of how leadership scales where it’s based on your charisma. And that’s a intentionally bounded system in fifth edition, you’re not supposed to get it above 20 as opposed to 80 because you’re a intermediate deity and convinced Bahamut to walk away from his posts and let you fill it in because now all of a sudden, you have 100,000 followers to worship you. But…

Randall  27:56

Suspiciously specific, okay.

Random  27:57

Suspiciously specific. Leadership also introduces cohorts, which is a…

Randall  28:03

Okay, real quick leadership is not a qualitative thing. When you’re saying leadership or No, leadership is a feat, or…

Random  28:11

It is a qualitative feat, yes. It is a literal feat that you had to be level six to take. And there’s a table and you know how much we love tables. If your hit dice plus charisma score is this number, you have this many followers. By default, they are the NPC classes, which are actually interestingly, very similar to the sidekick classes in 3.x. You could trade some of the levels, you would always have, for instance, and it calculated it backwards because you would get a certain number of first level NPC followers and then 10% that many second level, and then half that many third, half that many fourth, and on down until you run out. But you could trade some of those for like PC levels. So you know, if you wanted to have a follower that was a Cleric to rez you, if you were sufficiently powerful, you could get that, or any of that kind of jazz.

Randall  29:00

I don’t need to learn I can convince other people to learn?

Random  29:03

Right. Well, and here’s the fun part. So this leadership concept did in fact, borrow stuff from all the way back into Chainmail. You could get modifiers to leadership, your leadership score included things like has a keep, or how many times have I let my cohort die? And it would make it harder for you to attract things.

Randall  29:23

Seems right.

Random  29:23

And then also well while we’re in 3.X for a second one other really interesting thing that was introduced in a Pathfinder supplement is a third party Pathfinder adventure called Way of the Wicked. Really good if you are ever trying to play Pathfinder first edition. I would highly recommend it. It is a intentionally evil campaign where you must be some flavor of evil to be a character, and then that’s the story is based around that. They include rules for evil organizations, which work really well actually until you realize that by far the most effective thing to do with your evil organization, if you don’t have a particular political motive to accomplish is to literally just run them as a money laundering front and make money through legitimate business. I was playing a sourcer when I was playing this campaign with Tyler and a few other people. And it turned out that by far, the best thing for me to do was to just run my youth group as, you know, the Italian restaurant front and use that to make money. And it broke the game. Like, I was generating far more money than I knew what to do with to the point where I started just making a spaceship. The rules are really good, just make sure that you watch for that edge case.

Tyler  29:24

Yeah, 3.5 leadership was pretty nuts. You could do a lot of things with it. There’s no ceiling on how high you could get your leadership score. So you could just rack up mountains and mountains of followers and just solve the game’s problems with your army. We don’t have a comparable mechanic for that in fifth edition, which… probably a good thing.

Randall  31:03

It seems like they learned something. Yes.

Tyler  31:05

Yes. But one one problem that people have had with fifth edition since its releases, I’m a high level character. I’ve got all this gold. I can’t just buy magic magic items. What do I do with this gold? Hirelings. That’s when you bring in hirelings. Crack open the Player’s Handbook, you go to the end of the equipment chapter, and there’s a table with, like, hirelings and services. And you can hire skilled and unskilled NPCs to do stuff for you at like some pittace. For, I think skilled NPCs are two gold pieces a day. And the skilled NPC is described as basically anything that requires a proficiency. So okay, my my skilled soldier is in leather armor and proficient with a sword. That’s all I need. But for two gold pieces a day I can hire myself an army and throw it at my problems.

Randall  31:57

One, I love that they put people under equipment, and we’re just gonna… Okay, good. Alright.

Random  32:04

Welcome to Chelliax.

Randall  32:07

Two, so how, how do you actually… so I have that soldier that I’m paying because they have a proficiency bonus. How do I use that soldier in combat?

Random  32:18

That is a tricky question. Because the short answer is, it’s still a person. And so that is very up to DM interpretation. Unlike a class feature, this is not something where you’re going to have a reasonable expectation that it will do everything you tell it to. And so they don’t have good rules for it. It may be it’s persuasion?

Randall  32:38

Well, it’s obviously an intelligent mount. So…

Random  32:42

You know, if you’re riding it, you’re not wrong. Is it persuasion? Are you going to have to roll persuasion for every thing you tell it to do? Maybe for just unreasonable things you tell it to do?

Randall  32:52

I’m thinking, we’re gonna…. Here we go. We’re doing this. I’m thinking of Brendan Fraser’s The Mummy.

Random  32:58

Yes.

Randall  32:58

And like, Hey, everybody, go attack the mummy. And then of course, everybody fleeing, like, what roll would I have to get to actually get? Right? Behold, the lich, which has killed 1000s of folks. Everybody go attack the lich. No, of course not.

Tyler  33:17

Yeah, I’d say probably either persuasion or intimidation, depending on how you want to lead those NPCs.

Randall  33:23

I’m also looking for really low intelligence soldiers in this case.

Tyler  33:28

That shouldn’t be hard. They’re commoners. Yeah, but yes, you’re right. The players throwing an army at there problems is another problem that has kind of lingered between editions, because… have we discussed the Elminster problem before, Randall?

Randall  33:46

No, I… say the words you just said again,

Tyler  33:49

Okay, “the Elminster Problem.” So there’s a famous character in the Forgotten Realms named Elminster. He is a high level Wizard. And when you get sufficiently powerful as a Wizard, you get to a point where you can solve society’s problems. Like, just, I am a Wizard, I can cast X, Y, and Z. Society’s problems are now functionally solved so long as I have enough time to dedicate to this. So the Elminster problem is essentially, why doesn’t he? Like, given sufficient power to solve all problems. Why isn’t every problem solved by Elminster? It’s, it’s to draw other comparisons: Superman. Why doesn’t Superman solve world hunger or global power shortages because he’s Superman? He has the capacity to produce infinite cold or infinite heat, or fly around the planet sufficiently fast to reverse time, whatever.

Randall  34:42

Okay, so in a world where with an infinitely powerful, benevolent Wizard, why does evil or bad exist?

Tyler  34:52

Pretty much.

Randall  34:53

That’s a novel concept. I’ve never considered this.

Random  34:56

Yeah, it has no real world parallels that you can draw for arguments that people make about anything,

Randall  35:02

None at all. This is… okay. Cool. So what’s the resolution?

Tyler  35:06

Hirelings! Let’s see. So, so we should talk about the Elminster Problem.  Okay, good. The Elminster Problem should basically be its own episode, because the solving it is surprisingly, both hard and simple. At the same time, when you get sufficiently powerful, the budget that you have to manage essentially is your time. You can’t be everywhere, you can’t be in every cave full of monsters, you can’t crawl every dungeon because you have to eat sleep, teleport between problems, all those things. So the way you solve that problem is hirelings. You say, I am a level 15 PC, I have all of the money in the world. And there are simultaneously three apocalypses going on. Fine, I’m going to go deal with one and I’m going to hire an army to throw at the other problems. But as soon as you bring those NPCs into, like, a dungeon or whatever, everything goes off the rails. Going back, I don’t know how many editions, there’s the classic problem of Oh, great, someone wants to play a necromancer. They’re going to raise an army of the dead, and they’re going to parade that army of the dead into every single dungeon, and then every dungeon just becomes Okay, how many skeletons does this cost?

Random  36:26

I’m not saying that I explicitly mentioned Dread Necromancer when we talked about Heroes of Horror for a reason. But the short answer is all of your second level spell slots are controlled on debt and all of your third level spell slots are extended, controlling dead. And the back of the napkin math that I worked out several years ago you got something like two to the 12th power 20-hit dice skeletons controlled.

Tyler  36:51

Something like that.

Randall  36:53

To the 12th Okay, so we’re at what 4098 and then you roll that many d20s.

Random  37:02

No, no, no.

Randall  37:03

Okay.

Random  37:03

They are d– They are 20 hit die skeletons.

Randall  37:07

Oh, 20. Okay, so Okay, good good good.

Tyler  37:09

Yeah, so these are big, chunky skeletons. Not your like, I found a peasant and turn them into a skeleton skeletons. But you could do that too. You could just, instead of having one 20-hit die thing, you just have 20 1-Hit die things and there’s your army. And that’s actually a fun character optimization exercise in any givenn edition. Just see Okay, if I build a hypothetical mnecromancer, how many skeletons can I have? The answer may surprise you.

Randall  37:37

Yeah, that’s a, like, Diablo 2. That was that was totally my jam. I think that would be a lot of fun to play. The number is more than 10 I’m guessing and 5e?

Tyler  37:47

is so fifth edition, probably. Gosh, I can’t remember what the number is in fifth edition. The ability to control undead, there are enough options between various classes and spells that the number is hard to calculate off the top of my head. You can’t have an army, but you can have enough of them that it’s a problem.

Randall  38:06

Okay. All right. So I guess it could be worth hitting. All in one, one batch. So what haven’t we talked about four sidekicks, hireling companions, friends, partners, you know, all the, all along in 5e. We can animate undead. We haven’t talked about familiars.

Tyler  38:25

So familiars are super simple. They obey verbal commands, they have their own turn, which can be somewhat annoying to manage if you’re using them for like delivering spells or whatever. But the best part about familiars is all that they cost is the time to summon them and I think it’s like 10 Gold Pieces worth of material components. But they’re not hugely complex. They have a very specific and limited number of things that they can do with their actions. And short of some surprising cases like casting Dragon’s Breath on them, generally, they’re not going to cause too much trouble in combat. But then everyone gets an owl because it has flyby so it flies in and uses help, flies out and use that to have rogues murder things. So every every non-player character that you bring into an encounter can complicate things and become problems. But fifth edition has, over time, eventually gotten it mostly right to the point where it’s just bonus action, do things.

Randall  39:27

Okay. Alright, so I think we have beaten the 5e drum to death. There’s a few other things I think we could talk about, but yeah, let’s let’s talk Pathfinder 2.

Tyler  39:37

Yeah. So Pathfinder 2, I think, got the entire issue of pets minions, etc. I think they got it right on the first try in the core rulebook. They have a very simple core system just called “minion.” Like, it is a tag that you put on a creature and when a creature is a minion, it essentially belongs to some character, and that character can control that character by spending an action. And if you’re not familiar with PF2, you get on your turn three actions. You can spend one action to do any combination of things. Some things cost more actions. So commanding a minion costs one action, and then once you command your minion, they can take two actions that you dictate. So if you have an animal companion, a familiar, an inventor’s automaton thing, a, if you’ve created an undead, like a skeleton, or zombie, or whatever, those are all minions. If you’ve summoned a thing, it’s a minion. Like, anything that your character says, I know how this combat pet, it is a minion, you spend one action, it gets to take two actions. And that’s it. Like, that is that is as simple as it gets.

Randall  40:49

And I want to add to this by making it more complex, though. So talking about having three actions, and you can give up one or two, then gift to to your minion. The other thing to keep in mind like you can often make if an attack takes one action, you can make consecutive attacks. But most actions have a penalty for attempting to make a second attack. And so that makes it even more attractive to say, well, I’m going to attempt this first attacked, you know, either went well or didn’t, but I know I’m going to take a penalty next time. So instead, I’m actually going to use a second action on my minion where I won’t have that same issue. I won’t be taking that penalty to take that attack. So to me, that seems very attractive.

Tyler  41:28

Yeah, and it’s a great reason to explore animal companions, special mounts, things like that. Special mounts are actually just animal companions because Pathfinder second edition managed to solve a bunch of concepts with one rule. They also managed to solve the I have too many pets problem, like, I’m a necromancer, and I’m going to walk my army into this room. You can only command two minions at a time. So no matter how many minions your character might have on your turn, even though you get three actions, you can only command two minions on one turn and the rest of your minions just stand around slack jawed, I guess.

Randall  42:04

Okay.

Tyler  42:04

So there’s a mechanical disincentive to parade your army into a dungeon or whatever. They leave you room to build around minion, so you can still have, like, I have an animal companion. And I have this zombie that I summoned. And they’re going to go do most of my fighting with me. But I still have to spend an action doing something, like, walking around or smack talking the enemies.

Randall  42:27

In 5e. It’s typical that without giving any command, they’ll take the I think dodge action.

Tyler  42:35

Yeah.

Randall  42:35

So if I don’t tell you to do something, you you will dodge by default. In Pathfinder, do you know what the default action is? Like? If I if I did, if I do storm 10 In, I give two commands, the other eight are sitting there like sitting ducks. Will they at least protect themselves? Or will they attack? Do they get reactions? Or is there is no reaction right?

Tyler  42:54

There are reactions, yes. I believe minions can take reactions on their own without being commanded to do so. So if they have, if they have a reaction mechanic like attack of opportunity, they could take that on their own, but that’s not a default rule in Pathfinder Second Edition. So most things by default can’t do, like, opportunity attacks or things like that.

Randall  43:13

Okay.

Tyler  43:14

But if they have the ability to a minion can on their own without being commanded.

Randall  43:17

Okay.

Tyler  43:18

If you don’t give them commands, if I remember correctly, they just don’t take actions. It would be nice that they did some equivalent of fifth edition’s dodge action, and maybe they do. I might have that one wrong. Generally, if you’re going to bring a minion into combat, you want to command it every turn.

Randall  43:34

Okay. Is there an equivalent to like the sidekick rules of, like, here are some well sculpted NPC like minions that you might bring to the party?

Tyler  43:42

I don’t know of one. There, there may be and my ignorance is showing, I should probably figure that one out. I don’t believe that there is an NPC sidekick rule kind of like that. There are enough options for bringing minions into the party between animal companions and things like that, that you generally don’t need to do that in Pathfinder second edition, there are a lot of good options for getting a pet and because of the multiclass archetype rules, literally any character can have an animal companion. So if you want a pet, you can either use the ritual system and summon a zombie, or you can just get an animal companion.

Randall  44:21

Okay, and then what kind of animal companions are available to us?

Tyler  44:24

The animal companions, if I remember correctly, don’t use like a specific animal as a base. You have a kind of like the primal companions from Tasha’s, you’ll have like, this one’s a predator, and this one’s a horse. And basically, there are there’s a collection of… template’s not the right word. Like, the basic foundation of your animal companion and you can skin it as whatever makes sense. And then you customize it over time by putting more feets into it so your horse gets faster, your dog gets bigger teeth, things like that.

Randall  44:59

No, that So that makes sense. And then basically in Pathfinder, because every like everything is basically built on top of this feat tree in order to make your minion stronger. What that says is that you’re dumping feats when they become available into things that make your minion stronger.

Tyler  45:15

Yeah, exactly. Just like any core competency of your character in any… well, not any RPG. In most RPGs that we talked about on the show, at least, like your animal companion is part of your character. So the more you invest in that, the more powerful it gets.

Randall  45:30

Okay, cool. Awesome. How do we, as a player character, like strategically? How do we leverage the fact that we have the sidekicks or hirelings, or we have these minions partnered with us? Like one of the things that I was thinking about earlier that I figured I’d save till now is, in 5e, where I have opportunity attacks, it might make sense to actually say I’m actually going to put my sidekick over here engaged, so that I can, you know, either force this this enemy to take the disengage action, wasting an action to get away, or just pin it down until I’m ready to deal with it. So even just dispersing the crowd, like, crowd control feels really powerful. What are the tactics that we can be using in combat because we have our minions or sidekicks available to us?

Random  46:16

This brings up one very large question that we will not cover this week although it will certainly be pointed in a future episode is are you playing with flanking? If you are playing with flanking then, literally stick any body on the other side of an enemy from you and bam, you have advantage. I don’t actually like but, again, that’s a later conversation. What a… one thing that even by basic rules, rogues rogues will love having any body near an enemy that they want to attack because congratulations. Now you can sneak attack. Area control like you talked about, if you are using these sidekicks, having them do things like heal in combat, having them perhaps the the Prodigy having some area control spells be very helpful. Realistically, it’s really going to depend on how you’ve built this sidekick, what you’re going to want to use it for. Hirelings there’s not much beyond what I just said. Or beyond being like, expendable hit points. Which, boy, let’s take a look at your alignment real fast.

Tyler  47:18

Skeletons. Skeleton!

Random  47:20

Exactly. Emergency triage skeleton. There you go, Karuma, you’re welcome. If you are using something like a familiar or like a, like your Paladin’s summoned mount, something that you don’t care about it dying, you can absolutely use that in a lot more ways. Maybe you throw your horse at the boss. And that gets you a turn of the boss murdering your horse instead of murdering your party member and… great. But realistically it is going to really depend on how you’ve built that particular thing. Because apart from the things that I just mentioned, there’s there’s not really much else helpful about just having a body in combat. It’s more about what have you done to make this useful. And the same way that you need to optimize your character.

Tyler  48:06

Well, sometimes just having a body taking up the space can be useful since you can’t move through other creatures spaces generally. Like, there are some features that you do that. But if you… there’s a lot of summon spells in the fifth edition Player’s Handbook that way you summon X number of low-CR creatures, so you get some like, here’s eight cows. Here they are, they’re large, they take up space, and the enemies can’t get to me. So I’m just going to put a bunch of cows around my enemies. And that solves my enemies getting next to me problem and I can just hit them with Magic Missile or whatever or just drop cantrips pm them. Area control by means of having disposable bodies can be very helpful. Like I said, skeletons. They fill the space very nicely and you don’t feel bad when they die.

Randall  48:53

You just bring them back.

Tyler  48:54

Yeah! And unfortunately, your bag of rats is too small to take up space. Oh, let’s see. Fifth Edition, the action economy is super important. Perhaps more so than most other comparable RPGs. So having a summoned creature, or having some pet feature like your primal companion. Having those extra actions on your team’s side is super helpful. Even if whatever you summon is low level. Like if you have an NPC hireling who’s the equivalent of slightly weaker than a first level Fighter, they can still take the help action which is awesome because it means like whoever makes an attack against that target gets advantage. So you’ve got a Rogue they’re going to get advantage if you have a spellcaster with like a powerful attack roll to be done like inflict wounds or something like that. Guiding bolt, whatever. Having NPCs that you don’t care too much about who are willing to run into combat and take the help action can be super helpful at any level. And if your enemies kill those NPCs, like your your skeleton, your summon cow, whatever. That’s actions that they’re not spending attacking you and your party.

Randall  50:06

So you’re using your cows or your skeletons as tanks.

Tyler  50:09

Exactly.

Randall  50:10

It’s kind.

Tyler  50:12

There’s no like damage overflow or anything. I don’t know of an RPG that has, like, party damage overflow. It’s like, Ah, yes, I’ve killed your cow, you take the remaining damage.

Random  50:22

Let’s imagine. DnD trample.

Randall  50:25

Exactly.

Tyler  50:25

Oh no,.

Randall  50:27

Let’s, let’s not.

Tyler  50:29

Yeah, let’s not. Even if you’re summoning just like a whole bunch of things that are large and have one hit point, just the action cost for your enemies to create a path through those creatures can tip the balance in your favor a ton. As a DM, you’ve got to be really careful not to let those things happen, or if they do happen, do it to your players.

Random  50:52

Yeah, this of course, runs into the tank fallacy though, which is why I didn’t talk about this much as, like, if you do summon a bunch of cows, nothing stops it from just for example, flying over the cows, or burrowing under the cows, or bull rushing the cows because that’s a bonus action that everyone can take.

Randall  51:10

AOE-ing the cows.

Random  51:13

But that’s, yeah. Er, not bull rush. Overrun. That’s the one I wanted.

Tyler  51:18

I don’t think overrun made it into fifth edition.

Random  51:20

I am reasonably certain it did. But I will take a look at that. Okay, offline.

Randall  51:24

He successfully use it without his DM stopping him several times. As long as we’re all equally confused, it’ll be fine. And the other half, er, Yeah, no, I was gonna say like we’re talking about using them as fodder. But the sidekicks or hirelings or companions, they can actually be really useful, too. Like, two things I’ll call out on the 5e side, like, talking about the Drakewarden. The idea that they have resistance and they, at higher levels, can give you… how did this work? It’s like, strategically you can choose for a minute to take resistance.

Tyler  51:56

When you summon the, when you summon the Drake, you can pick an element, and its bite gets bonus damage based on that element. You eventually get a breath weapon based on that element, and it grants you resistance to that damage type. Okay, it’s like if you chose fire, you get fire resistance. And it can, as a reaction give, you or any, any ally within 30 feet as its reaction can add a d6 of that damage type to your attack.

Randall  52:23

Okay, I mean, so those are all fantastic skills to have. I guess one of the things that I wondered with is if I happen to kill off my drake like, Oh, I’m going into an ice temple. I would like to get in ice Drake. So, like, that’s viable, right?

Tyler  52:37

Yeah, depending on depending on the mechanic. Like, Drakewarden is a good example because you can just spend any spell slot to re summon it.

Randall  52:44

Okay.

Tyler  52:44

Even if it’s still there. Usually I spend an action in a spell slot and you are now in a strike at full hitpoints.

Randall  52:50

Perfect, okay.

Tyler  52:51

PHB Beast Master, you had to spend eight hours to get a new companion, the primal companions in Tasha’s it’s just a spell slot and an action. Depending on the feature, it’ll cost you something.

Randall  53:03

Okay, gotcha. And then I was gonna say for, like, Pathfinder 2, what you you know, you you stack up enough feats you can get to something like this average animal companions feat, where they get a strength bonus, they get additional damage to unarmed strikes, and every strike counts as magical damage. And so if you, you know, hopefully by the time you get to that level, you have some ability to do magical damage, but having you know, a look, my companion can also do this I feel. Yeah, it feels super valuable depending on the fight.

Tyler  53:30

Yeah, definitely things with resistances will really mess you up if you can’t do magic damage.

Randall  53:35

Yeah, we talked earlier about like, if you have a smaller group, the idea that you might manage sidekicks, you might manage hirelings for them. We also talked about basically as a DM, don’t be a jerk. So try to be helpful. Try to add to the fun. So just because something’s unintelligent mount, it doesn’t necessarily need to run away from combat because, you know, somebody stabbed in the leg. That happens, it’s combat.

Tyler  53:57

I don’t know a single person who ever actually used this rule, but in 3.x and Pathfinder, first edition, your animal companions, technically, you had to use an animal handling check to issue them commands. I played some combination of third edition and Pathfinder for 15+ years. Every time you give them a command, you have to make an animal handling check and they still follow the rules for just I am a trained animal. So if they take damage, they had to make a will say have to avoid getting scared and running away. And I don’t know a single person who ever used those rules, because no other class has a class feature that’s going to get scared and run away.

Randall  54:35

It’s like the equivalent of a concentration check. Like, can you just stay here and not? Okay. Yeah, that’s terrible.

Random  54:40

Mechanically, you did have to worry about that. Realistically, I mean, while that was something that was technically printed, again, rule zero. I kind of want to take this towards a thing that I tend to harp on more here which is the the role playing aspect of this. I talked about this some in the mounted combat episode. When you have these extra characters, it is really worth figuring out how you’re going to determine who is running them. Is the player running themselves and their sidekick? Are you running their sidekick? Are you running their familiar? Are you running their summoned Paladin mount? Like I touched on earlier, it can be a really good way to introduce things like more that they have no other way of finding out. Paizo is renowned for giving pages and pages of content in their modules that a player has literally no way to interact with, because there’s just… why? There’s some really cool stuff that you can do. It really is going to focus more on, play this in a way that’s going to make the game more interesting. Make it faster, make it fun. You as the DM. While I will go back to my constantly harped on line that the only metric is everyone having fun. Also, you are the one facilitating. Don’t make a character that you are playing that is better than player characters, because that is a real quick way to make people not have fun. Play something in a way that is consistent with what your players want. You know, if this is meant to be a familiar or a summoned mount, don’t try and use this as a way to ah, yes, I’m going to suddenly introduce my brand of humor through this character all the time. To some extent, yes, add flavor to it. One really important thing is you as the DM, know the story, because you’re writing it. On the one hand, you can take that to say don’t push your characters towards the thing that they may otherwise want to enjoy the process of finding themselves. And also don’t pull them away from, like, if your characters are walking into what they are just sure is the right answer. And you know, man, that is either the deadest dead end or something lethal, then don’t necessarily try and be controlling. Don’t railroad them just because you have this maybe a little bit more vested interest because you’re playing this character. Let them have their game and just use that as the opportunity to be a vehicle for fun little story beats. So I saw the map earlier, I don’t think we should go that direction. Right. Now I want to I want to bring maybe a weird example of how to portray a sidekick really well. C3-P0. C3-P0 is, like, has a very specific defined capabilities. He is a protocol droid. Diplomacy is this thing. He translates things. But the Droids in Star Wars are meant to be a stand-in for the audience in by in the original trilogy primarily, less so in the future movies. They’re, they’re there to observe. They fill specific functions in the story from time to time when it’s necessary for the story. Like, ah, Jabba the Hutt needs to speak. C3-P0 is his mouthpiece. They never take away from the main characters, you would never look at them and say, the story’s about this character. The character is along for the ride just as much as everybody else. I don’t know what you’re talking about. The story is particularly about R2-D2.

Randall  58:21

Yeah.

Tyler  58:23

Highest killcount of any character in the movies.

Randall  58:27

Yeah. Obviously the Prodigy.

Tyler  58:30

Yes. To some degree, droids actually are a better example than that, too. Since droids can have such specialized functions in in the world, in RPGs. In Star Wars games, it’s very simple to solve a lot of your problems by just hiring a bunch of droids. So as a DM like they are, they’re both a good exam– they’re a good example of what to do wrong and what to do right. You can let them solve every problem, but at that point, the game stops being a challenge. Or you can use them as a good stand-in for when the DM needs a mouthpiece or when the DM needs to move the story along.

Randall  59:07

Now, when you say that you’re specifically talking about like Fantasy Flight.

Tyler  59:11

Yeah, Fantasy Flight, Star Wars is a good example. But there were Star Wars RPGs. Before that, which I don’t think we’ve talked about too much on the podcast. But the problem remained. Why build a doctor when I can hire a doctor bot?

Randall  59:22

Yeah, that makes sense. I’d like to take a look at one of these things at one of these points, but it is not this day. All right. I think we did it. I think we did a whole episode. So yeah, we have a question of the week this week. Question of the week is coming from @webJWF. How does light work for 5e’s Twilight Cleric?

Random  59:39

Let me jump in and answer this because I’m currently playing Twilight Cleric. And please don’t hurt me. There’s a couple things that I think this question might mean. First off, if you are just talking about their darkvision and the capacity to share their darkvision, it’s basically just 300 feet because they haven’t already started. Low light is treated as broad daylight, so that the dim light condition. And complete darkness is treated as dim. if you mean the Twilight Sanctuary, their channel divinity, when you use that, in addition to all of the other mechanical stuff for 30 feet around you, it sets the light condition to dim. Now, because you have darkvision, that means you see it perfectly fine. But that will override both darkness in the area and light in the area. Because it sets the light condition, but it is not a spell, you’re not going to overpower things like a leveled spell that is trying to generate something like the darkness spell or the daylight spell. At least it wouldn’t in my game. That is something that is open to interpretation, because, technically speaking, it’s a divine power. So maybe it’s stronger? But realistically, I think, I would say that it is not intended to be able to overpower actual leveled spells, and is more just about messing with the natural light conditions.

Tyler  1:01:09

I think I’d interpret that the exact same way.

Randall  1:01:11

Nice. All right, well, thanks for that @webJWF. Alright, so next episode, we’re going to be talking about feasting and meta feasting, so you can eat while you eat. All right, I’m Randall James you can find me at amateurjack.com and on Twitter at Instagram @JackAmateur

Tyler  1:01:27

I’m Tyler Kamstra. You can find me online at RPGBOT.net. Find me on Twitter and Facebook at RPGBOTDOTNET and find me at patreon.com/rpgbot.

Random  1:01:38

And I’m Random Powell. If you have found me, I have been doxxed, please help. Realistically, you’re most likely to find me here on RPGBOT.net contributing articles and to the podcast. Although if you look in places people play games, you might find me as Hartlequin or Hartlequint.

Randall  1:01:52

Awesome. Mari this episode was done with producer Dan. All hail the Leisure Illuminati.

All  1:01:57

Hail!

Randall  1:01:58

Yeah, so we’re heading into holiday season. And I know I guess if you’re listening to this, do you are probably your own nerd in your own life. And I think that’s great, but you might have other nerds in your life too. If you’re a player and you have a DM that you love, if you’re a DM and you have a player you tolerate, we have posted, I think it’s RPGBOT’s first gift giving guide on the site. We’ll have it linked in the show notes. I think it’s worth taking a look at. And give us feedback! Like, if you if you know something that you love and gifts that you would love to give and you think a lot of other people who play tape tabletop gaming would love to give. Definitely give us that feedback because we want to put this together to be something powerful to give to those people in our lives who say “I don’t know what to get you but I like you.” You’ll find affiliate links and source books and other materials linked in the show notes following these links helps us make this show happen every week. You’ll find our podcast wherever find podcasts are sold. If you enjoy this podcast, please rate, review, and subscribe, and share it with your friends. Ultimately, that’s how we grow. That’s how we get to keep doing the thing that we’re, you know, at the moment really enjoying doing. If your question should be the question of the week next week please email it podcast@RPGBOT.net or message us on Twitter @RPGBOTDOTNET. Alright, folks.

Tyler  1:03:27

I’ve got to put my minions to sleep.

Random  1:03:44

Maybe this gets cut in later. Tyler open the DMG to page 272.

Tyler  1:03:52

You’re gonna make me get my physical book? How dare you. Ugh, I can’t reach it. I’m short! Okay, what page.

Random  1:04:02

272.

Tyler  1:04:03

272? That’s one of the pages! Okay, there’s your, uh, there’s your foley contribution=. Lingering injuries. What am I looking for? Cleaving through creatures, injuries…

Random  1:04:18

Overrun.

Tyler  1:04:19

Oh wow, look at that!

Random  1:04:20

Overrun. Technically speaking it’s an optional rule, but it’s there.

Tyler  1:04:24

Huh. It’s an action or bonus action. The mover makes a strength athletics check contest… Huh. Wow, well, that’ll make athletics powerful.

Random  1:04:33

Yeah.

Tyler  1:04:35

Neat!

Randall  1:04:37

Actually, there’s all kinds of good stuff here. Yeah, we could almost do our own episode.

Tyler  1:04:42

Just on variant rules. That would actually be a really fun episode.

Random  1:04:45

That would actually be a good episode.

Randall  1:04:46

Okay. Let’s write that down.

Tyler  1:04:47

Pathfinder 2nd edition’s variant rules in the dungeon master’s guide are awesome. Like, they’ve got some really cool stuff.

Randall  1:04:54

I wanted to get this in on the web on the… in the podcast, but I’m gonna get it in now. So I went to the index to look up minions, and there’s a paragraph on minions in the PF2 core rulebook with no page links what’s, it, like, no page numbers whatsoever.

Tyler  1:05:09

Of course.

Randall  1:05:10

So it’s like, I read this paragraph on minions, I’m like Paizo you… You screwed me. Like, I needed to study one mechanic!

Tyler  1:05:19

The problem with the core rulebook in second edition is the the same rule is generally explained in three different places in the core rulebook. Like, there’s a the first time, it’s here’s just the basics of this concept. Here’s the actual thing. And here’s the dungeon mastering section with the exact same text as the first time calling back to the second time. And the index is confusing.

Random  1:05:41

Uh, so real quick so what is the heading that I’m going to be able to find that under so that we can link it in the show notes?

Tyler  1:05:47

Minions?

Random  1:05:48

No, uh, that 272.

Tyler  1:05:51

Oh, where was that book…

Random  1:05:56

Cuz you can’t search for it. Like, it’s real hard to find.

Randall  1:06:01

I’m almost there.

Tyler  1:06:03

Getting cover… it’s right before creating a monster. Combat options.

Randall  1:06:07

Combat options.

Tyler  1:06:08

Yeah.

Random  1:06:10

What chapter? Oh wait, creating encounters?

Tyler  1:06:14

Dungeon Master’s Workshop. Chapter nine, combat options.

Random  1:06:18

Chapter nine, combat options. There it is.

Tyler  1:06:20

Speed factor! For when you want to play The Flash! Oh look, there’s the art with lasers. It’s in there. Neat. I forgot that was there. Oh, she’s got a jet pack! Cool.

Random  1:06:40

There we go. And now I have pasted a link in podcast so that we can put it in the show notes.

Tyler  1:06:47

I will work on the show notes.

Random  1:06:50

But you should real quickly scroll up in the podcast channel and find what Charles Barkley looks like as a sidekick.

Tyler  1:06:57

OVERRUN. Well, that’s a black wire with a knife. That is delightful.

Random  1:07:09

I should just link that all the time.

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