Been a few days since i checked this post and wow, interesting takes. I definitely feel Alex with pets can become a “gimmick” in games, which is what i’m trying to avoid. I think the 1d4 turns before you can use it again is a great way to mitigate pet use from hogging the spotlight, In Some scenes, if you roll a 4, the combat will be over before they get their next turn.
also i dont allow players to “tame” pets or “convince” companions to follow them.
As far as Summoned creatures go, (which is another topic entirely imo) how i run it is that; they last 1d4 and they’re gone, while theyre summoned you use your turn to command them, creatures summoned from beyond the veil do not have conscious thought, and creatures brought from the fey need to be controlled, otherwise they would attack you too, so while the summoned creatures are in play, wizards cannot cast other spells, they can only move and must command their creatures, dropping the spell to cast another leads them to use the rest of their turns to attack YOU, their SUMMONER, as most creatures do not willingly return.
There are also ways to mitigate pets following you, A dog cannot swing across a chasm on a rope. A Bear cannot fit in a narrow hallway. A Bird cannot talk to you (unless its a parrot, and even then it cannot communicate that there are enemies about) Each has a use and a purpose, but they are a tool in your belt, not a crutch. All can be used in unique and variety of ways to help the party. I am a huge pet-lover in real life, I have owned frogs to dogs to cats to rats to birds to lizards to fish, and most pets need a TON of training, so its something i require to be made at the start of your character not something that can be gained from milestones at a great sacrifice to their initial pool of resources to draw from.
Dogs are used for tracking, bears are extra combatants, horses are mounts, birds are messengers (as in you put a message on them and they take it to another person or place, this can be extremely clutch when splitting the party, but thats another subject for another day)
But yes, other important notes, pets dont get their own turn, if you forget to use your pet on your turn, its on you, i’m not going back out of order for your pet to act.
My take away is drawing heavily from Kane’s initial comment from Grizzily
Pets give a Minor Bonus, (sacrifice of loot/stats etc at character creation)
Pets can only act every 1d4 rounds. OR the player must sacrifice their turn to utilize the pet.
Pets are minions, and usually have 1 HP, a dog that is slashed by a sword is probably on a dying timer now for example. A bird that gets backhanded by an orc is almost certainly dead or unable to fly for quite a long time.
and most importantly; Pets can be killed just like PC’s.
Pets should be used realistically, to “speak or communicate” with your pet would need a successful spell roll or interpretation roll and these should be VERY, basic commands or knowledge gained. A dog might bark if there’s an intruder, just like irl. But it won’t know how many or the extent of the enemy’s capabilities.