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



Its been a hassle managing the individual zombies which sparked the creation of this post seeking help. The horde token is so going to be a thing


I wanna abandon d20 checks for attacks altogether to allow players to damage enemies in a hack’n’slash game!! :smiley:


Yep no way I’d allow individual zombies.
With 6 players already, additional player controlled characters is over the top.

I agree with the above, I would make them a horde token, that if beside a player provides a buff. Or can make an attack instead of the controlling character.

I’d also be making zombies 1hp minions. So they can’t be making them damage sponges.

Otherwise doesn’t help with pets but I’d look into how to include spell burn


I come from Savage Worlds. In Savage Worlds, players control their PC’s, their minions and their allies. It works great for the players, and it works great for BIG fights. Minions become important (one HP enemies), as do enemies that require gang-ups and high damage thresholds. It does require a lot of planning! I don’t think there’s a good reason to not allow the PC’s and their minions to both go on their turn, other than time (which is a valid consideration.)


Really I think the objection here is that the dm is asking for help. Meaning they aren’t comfortable with how it’s going.

If it was 4 pcs maybe, but 6 pcs + plus what another 3-6 minions/companions that are fully controllable. That really is a lot to handle and for the players only playing themselves that is a lot of downtime.

Fully controllable minions especially if in control of multiples is just really asking for the Spotlight to be on them and that isn’t fair nor fun for the rest of the people at the table.

Edit: at least that is my take.


minions i work in the same way as loot personally, its an item (i.e. a dogs collar allows you to command the dog w/o taking an action) otherwise commanding your allies/minions requires the characters action. the animate dead spell says the animated guys act on your turn in magic pg 44 but it comes down to your table and your needs, do what you feel is right for your group and what will work with your group

for me in big combats like that to keep the game moving with so many player characters the solution is to just put a timer on player turns during combat (like 2-5 mins to decide what they’re doing, not for dice rolls / results)


Fair points all. Another way to handle it would be to divide the minions equally between the players! That way no-one is hogging the spotlight, and all turns are more equal in length. That would really depend on how cooperative the group is and how share-y the minion master is, though.


Another more extreme route could be to let another player BE the animal companion of someone.

treated as another player with 6 stat points, milestones, etc.

The wolf from dark souls comes to mind.

Could still benefit from loot with weapon in mouth and other loot could be reskinned as collars, headdresses, etc.

Maybe even a satchel to bring consumable items to other players like a potion.

Could choose to even have the animal not speak and instead relay their feelings through body language or their humanoid companion could have a telepathic link.


Not really a companion any more than any other player would be.

Fun for a while, but not long term.


Fair point

Just shooting at the hip with pet ideas, but I do like the idea of the animal companions having their own set of milestones now.

Animal Companion
1+ Hearts
+2 to Stat rolls
Armor = Room Target OR a set value
Weapon Effort
Can equip up to 2 Loot pieces at a time
Gets a movement each ROUND
Shares 1 Action with Master (only 1 can perform a non movement action each ROUND)

Starting Milestone: Pick from the list of milestones below


Tag: Guard Duty - CLOSE allies get +2 Armor

Tag: Distraction - CLOSE allies get +2 to Melee Attempts

Tag: Double Team - CLOSE allies get +2 Weapon Effort

Animal Satchel - Can carry up to 5 Items

Heart Stone

Countless Custom Milestones


Armor equaling room target is a sneaky problematic issue…at target 10 but against overwhelming numbers…the companion is very weak…against the displaced shadow sword dancer…room target 18…and the companion can act as a tank.


I recently bought Overlight and there is a class of monks that create a spirit bond with the native monkeys - if a player chooses the Monk, another player has to pick the spirit bound monkey to play. They act as a regular PC, but having a PC play a “companion” could work similarity. Depending on the world and how creatures/species interact with each other would be key.

Something like Pokemon can talk to other Pokemon, but people and Pokemon can’t talk… with the exception of the two PCs. I’ll not sure how you would role play that at a table without lots of whispers and secrets, though.


Good point on the armor, thats oversight on me as I rarely have my room target above 15 and typically it hovers at 13. Could give the animal a set armor just like a player but the adjusting room target armor could be interesting and can RP it. A room with alot of enemies could be overwhelming and make the animal more nervous, a room with a boss with little to no minions could make the animal more focused (especially if the boss is a reappearing villain) and the animal is all pumped and giving the stink eye

Yeah Overlight sounds like a perfect example of a player playing the animal companion. Of course with a player controlling it, it would be best to play it as a partnership and less of a master and pet thing unless your players want it that way lol


Using notes and wzp :slight_smile:


@James_Horn the game does play as a partnership, not master/slave relationship. It allows the two players to build off each other’s weakness, which is a fun way to build character connection. I am also aware that playing that way is not playing with a companion/minion, which is what this thread is about. I like the idea of DM controlled minion because it prevents the characters from just having two characters, or trying to make the minion do more than what a minion should be able to do.

I am currently running a game for my daughter where I let her companion act as a second player character since she is playing solo with the occasional 2nd player joining the table. I want her to be able to play the game and try to find/do different things without feeling like she is limited because of the character she chose. If there were more players, I would probably run the second character by her telling the companion what to do and then role play the character myself. That way if she was asking too much, they would say no or ask for higher compensation. The one game I ran where a character chose a companion (a snake he called Trouser), he never used it. It was more so comic relief, which played well for the story, but didn’t feel like he was taking advantage of the system.

@Angram091 - what is wzp? I am not familiar with that acronym.



Could also have items that combo with Master turns, without adding rolls.
Eg. Attack As One: If pet close to target master hits with 15+ roll (with ranged or melee), +1 WEAPON EFFORT dice.
Eg2. Distract: EASY for Master to attack target that pet is CLOSE to.


Oh, it’s just WhatsApp.


Another couple of ideas, from other systems, mainly to solve the time issue of a player taking long turns to control minions:

  1. Minions do fixed damage. d6=3, etc. (D&D, 13th Age) This eliminates a lot of die rolls and math.
  2. Minions attack as a group, doing the highest minion’s damage and adding one for each additional minion. So a pack of wolves (6) would do 8 damage (3+ (+1)5)). Attacks for groups of minions are Easy. (Dungeon World) (basically the Zombie Horde)
  3. If everyone has a pet, and groups of pets act as a unit (unless there’s Gear to allow them not to) then everyone’s turns should turn out the same length, especially if you rule that multiples trade Easy attacks for a different damage total.


So here’s my take:

Pets get their own movement and a standard amount of effort based on what kind of creature they are. A pet mouse can do a lot less of whatever it’s doing than a pet dragon.

I’d halve or double the effort result based on the answer to a simple question: is it something the pet is good at doing, bad at doing or neither in particular. They have a number of hearts, again based on creature type that determines their hit points.

I’d consider each pet an Item. A spell that makes a pet (like a zombie) is a consumable that gives you a different item when you expend it. If your character has four zombie creation spells and cashes them in for four zombies then he has four zombies.