How do you run PC minions and pets in your games?

question

#1

Hi everyone,

I don’t know about you guys, but my players love pets and summoned minions and when you’re already running a game with 6 players the action economy gets pretty wild.

Rangers and Druids have their animal companion

Necromancers have X skeleton minions

The wizard conjures a fire elemental

So my question to this fine community is how do you all run pets in your ICRPG games?

  1. Do the pets each get a movement and action each round?
  2. Do the pet’s master forfeit their turn to instead command their pet?
  3. How about something like necromancer that has multiple pets, lets say 4.

#2

the way that i ran animal companions in my recent game was to allow for both to have a move, but only one shared action between them. i also allowed the companion to move FAR on their move since it was a swift dinosaur. basically, they both moved and either the Shepard took their action to do whatever they wanted or he commanded his Dinosaur to do one of several actions we deemed he would have trained it to do (such as head butt, leap, intimidate, etc.). this allowed for both tokens to move smoothly across the board, but reduce the action economy in a way that made it more fair to the rest of the table. it seemed to work out pretty well. if the Shepard used his dino as a mount i allowed for him to move FAR and still have the single action.

as for players with multiple companions (necromancers skeletons) perhaps you could roll with the skeletons to act as a group together, and simply give more bonuses if they add more skelemen to the mob? that way you would still treat the mob of skeletons as one singular token, allowing for the double move/ single action model, but still reward them for being able to summon multiples. they would simply work together in a group.


#3

Some good input there @TheWunderLich

I like the idea of both still moving but sharing an action between them.

and the zombie horde mechanic is a good idea too, I’ll have to review DMgrizzly’s book on it again.

Idea
treat master and pet as a horde? if CLOSE to each other one can give a stat bonus or something similar to loot . (+X to attack or damage)

Could even send the pet to pair up with another ally pc almost like a living, walking buff.


#4

that could be cool, and also a way to give milestones. the longer they have their companion the more tricks they can teach. “zombies protect me” then they surround the mage offering an armor bonus/ zombie in the horde. “sick em boys” roll attack +1/ zombie in the horde for attack and damage. “gas em out” the zombies explode themselves into a noxious cloud dealing Magic+1/ zombie in a near radius with a Dex or Con save for half, but they must be resummoned before they can follow any more directions. those are just a few off the top of my head


#5

Now you got my gears turning about this subject, i really wanna do an old school diablo 2 style skeleton necromancer!


#6

Yes!! Do it!

Let the torrent flow!


#7

i even already made some zombie tokens! and have them separate as well as in a mob too.





#8

I haven’t had to deal with it…but I love pet classes in video games…same way. Creature is fully independent, not a PC. Not an NPC but a creature controlled by the GM at the PCs whim.

Will do what the PC commands,
Attack that guy
Heel
Fetch that.
Jump over this wall.
Scout
So on and so forth.
Each command is an action of the players.
How the creature responds to the command is up to the interpretation of the GM…and they will continue doing that command until told otherwise.
Odd things ensue.
Attack that target… Wolfe attacks the target…target dies, Wolfe continues…perhaps even eating said target.

Player gives a complex command to Wolfe. Attack that guy, until it’s down, then go to that target till down, then that target…

Wolfe attacks the target…target dies, Wolfe continues…perhaps even eating said target.

Attack the target I engage with…player then casts a spell at a target…Wolfe sits there watching for his master to engage a target…

You get the idea. The companions contribute, at the characters command.
Let’s say the companion is a squire or apprentice…much larger ability to comprehend and contribute…but also apt to do something different then the command depending on motivation. The companion is an NPC loyal to the PC at that point. Or disloyal.

If PC controls a large number of creature say in the aspect of a necromancer. Loot that allows for 3 commands per action or D4 commands per action is in order, or a group command might be given.

I’d also have the creatures go just before or after the NPC turns…but in a big battle that might be too much for the GM to track, so companions respond instantly to the commands.

Also, find out how the PC commands the creature. Magic?
How does the magic manifest? Impulse control?
Preset verbal commands?
Hand signals?

This should give the PCs with pets enough coolness points, but not double actions. It should be a happy medium.


#9

On the necromancer side of the wall…what’s the tolerance of the PCs and other NPCs to the walking dead?

I’m always open to the weird in my games, but there needs to be some creative solutions to unacceptable behavior.

Now it it a collection of bones that where treated and prepared for said reality. Bones stay in a bag most of the time… it’s more acceptable.


#10

I agree in most scenarios necromancy is considered “evil” for obvious reasons but each game setting is unique and there could be some wiggle room to allow it.

Maybe the necromancer is royalty and can summon ancient fallen soldiers to rise up and defend the crown.

Maybe the necromancer works for a bank and those who die still must pay their debt and they open a big ledger and read off a debter’s name and summon them forth and upon dying again their debt is forgiven. (I summon Andy Withers who owes a debt of 52000 coin for his student loans)

The party could all be undead who were raised by another necromancer and this is just common

Simply the party could make up of individuals who lack the morals of using necromancy.


#11

another way you could run the necromancer issue is to allow it to choose either summoning 1 special undead with unique actions it can perform, so it only has a single companion, or if they choose to summon multiple undead they use the mob mechanic. that way they have some utility and choice.

special undead i have used are different skeletons with powers based on how they died/ were executed.

  • the hanged skeleton may have a noose to strangle folks with,
  • the burned on the stake skeleton may have fire attacks,
  • a skeleton shot on a firing wall might have a bow or a fire arm for ranged attacks,
  • an impaled skeleton may have a spear with NEAR reach jutting out of its head
  • a skeleton broken on the wheel could have a charge attack (move and attack, if successful push target back)
    etc.

i have already made tokens for these undead as well. they can be found here Inktober greetings! One vtt asset per day
Day7, Day 8, and Day 13 have the above mentioned “skelemen” as i like to call them


#12

Oh, I’m all for necromancer’s I just want a creative way that the Player portrays it. And that it works in the game world, not the video game answer of “who cares?”

The lack of caring that one has to have to not be bothered by rotted remains walking around…doesn’t fit most of my settings is all.


#13

Love the special undead based on how they died. Freaking awesome.

Milestone Reward: Zombie Hulk: Sacrifice X+ undead minions to create 1 zombie hulk. Its STR and HEARTS are based on the number of undead sacrificed this way. Its ARMOR is 10


#14

also, you could go the frankenstein route and let them “Mix’n’Match” body parts that act as loot, giving different bonuses… i will attach the Giant Crab Claw, and the minotaur legs… and what the heck, lets sprinkle on some manticore wings for good measure. then he could start collecting milestone rewards from enemies you throw at them :slight_smile:


#15

dude yes, and maybe the Frankenstein can only be healed by using corpses to patch it up.

(shameless plug) reminds me of the Grafters Conclave magic patron post


#16

yes, that is dope as hell, i like that a lot. see you were already there with the mechanics. that is fantastic. maybe every time the Frankenstein’s Monster (heretofore referred to as the flesh golem for brevity) is killed one of the parts gets mangled beyond repair, and a suitable replacement must be found. basically the flesh golem loses one of its special abilities until something else can get harvested. like you said, the flesh golem can only be healed by using corpses, so it would stand to reason that the parts themselves dont really get healed, rather, just replaced… it is the flesh version of a mecha lol… hey, you could use those mechanics for robots too! just swap out the meat for metal components


#17

the CHUNCKs mechanic seems like a good fit for the flesh golem. When dealt damage a random body part takes the damage unless specified and special chunks can protect other chunks.

Tentacle: 1 Heart - Deals WEAPON effort. All grapple based actions are NEVER hard
Troll Skin: 1 Heart - redirects all chunk damage to this chunk instead.


#18

that is perfect… i love the idea of using CHUNKS…oooh, troll skin just sends shivers down my spine! also, this helps distract from wanting a huge army of zombies. though if they want that, its cool too. i just might ask them why having so many allies is so important to them to try to get at the root cause. that always helps me to tailor LOOT and milestones toward their over all end goal


#19

Agreed, my current group has a necromancer who wants the whole zombie horde feel to it.

currently letting her raise 1 heart zombies from corpses she finds at the cost of 1 max hit point to herself. So if she has 1 heart then the max zombies she can raise is 9 living her at 1 hit point which is scary lol…she usually has 3 or 4 zombies at a time. Lots of good ideas in this conversation to rework her minions in the form of the next milestone.


#20

that seems like a descent way to do it too. though i am a big fan of the horde moving as one token method, i feel like it would keep the battlefield cleaner and easier to follow along with what is going on. or the single super zombie companion like we were just discussing lol. one of my goals i set for myself as a GM is to try to clean up the clutter a bit, so i do see the merit in the way you are running it, just for my own mind i know i couldnt keep track of all those little guys.