PDA

View Full Version : D&D 5e/Next Shorter (Simplified) Sidekicks and Leveled NPCs



snafuy
2019-04-20, 01:17 PM
Purpose Statement: sidekicks should NEVER be 20th level. They need to be powerful enough to help the PCs, but no more than that. Major changes are MARKED IN UPPERCASE

Leveled NPCs & Sidekicks

This is a modification of the 2018 Unearthed Arcana Sidekick rules (https://media.wizards.com/2018/dnd/downloads/UA_Sidekicks.pdf), to take creatures with low challenge ratings and give them level advancement, for use as either sidekicks OR STANDALONE NPCs. A sidekick is a creature who is your friend and who accompanies you on adventures. It's essentially a second character you play. (The DM might decide to play it instead, or you could co-play it with other players at the table.)

A leveled creature must have a stat block with challenge rating 1 or lower in the Monster Manual or another D&D book. Furthermore, a Sidekick must be your character's friend, and be approved by your DM. SIDEKICKS LEVEL UP AT HALF THE RATE OF PCs, maxing out at 11th level. This allows sidekicks to have a clear path of advancement without overshadowing the PCs.

Game Balance Recommendations: CR 1/4 or 1/2 Beasts and Humanoids tend to be the best options. Be wary of allowing a sidekick with damage or condition immunities (e.g. Animated Armor), unusual abilities (e.g. Rust Monster), or future growth beyond CR 1 (e.g. Dragon Wyrmling). Also, creatures that cast spells of 2nd level or higher should always be Spellcasters.

Gaining a Class
A leveled creature gains one of the classes detailed below: Warrior, Expert, or Spellcaster. They are similar to the classes available to player characters but simpler, focusing on passive boosts rather than activated abilities. Multiclassing is not supported.

To gain the Expert or the Spellcaster class, a creature must have at least one language in its stat block that it can speak.

Leveling Up Sidekicks
Whenever you gain AN EVEN-NUMBERED LEVEL, your sidekick gains a level. It doesn't matter how much of your recent adventures the sidekick experienced; the sidekick levels up because of a combination of the adventures it shares with you and its own training.
Standalone NPCs gain levels when deemed appropriate by the DM.

Hit Points
A 1st level Warrior or Expert should have about 12-20 hit points (not including Warrior's Improved Health feature); a 1st level Spellcaster should have about 8-16 hit points. If the creature doesn't, add or subtract up to 2 hit dice in its stat block to convert it towards this range.

Whenever the creature gains a level, it gains one Hit Die (the type of die appears in the creature's stat block) and its hit point maximum increases by half the hit die size plus its Constitution modifier. It gains a minimum of 2 hit points per level.

Proficiency Bonus
A sidekick's proficiency bonus is EQUAL TO YOUR PROFICIENCY BONUS. Standalone NPCs have the usual proficiency bonus appropriate to their level.
Whenever a leveled creature's proficiency bonus increases by 1, increase each attack bonus, DC, skill, and proficient saving throw in its stat block by 1.

Ability Score Increases
Whenever a leveled creature gains the Ability Score Improvement class feature, remember to adjust anything in its stat block that relies on the increased ability score's modifier. For example, if it has an attack that uses Strength and its Strength modifier increases, increase the attack's modifiers to hit and damage. If it's unclear whether a melee attack in the stat block uses Strength or Dexterity, the attack can use either.

Unlike PCs, leveled creatures' ability score increases are limited to 20 PLUS THE ABILITY SCORE'S MODIFIER IN THE ORIGINAL STAT BLOCK. For example, a leveled Sprite could raise its Dexterity from 18 (+4) to as high as 24, but could only increase its Strength from 3 (-4) to a maximum of 16.

Leveled creatures should not replace ASIs with feats that provide additional action choices (such as Magic Initiate, Observant, or Sharpshooter). Feats with continuous passive effects (such as Alert, Moderately Armored, or Resilient) are acceptable.

Skills Gained (vs Skills Already Proficient)


Class
0
1-2
3-4
5-6
7+


Warrior, Spellcaster
+3
+2
+1
0
0


Expert
+5
+4
+3
+2
+1


The Skills Gained table shows how many skills a creature should gain at 1st level, depending on the number of proficient skills already listed in its stat block. Examples: A Tribal Warrior has no proficient skills, so as a Spellcaster it would gain 3. A Panther already has 2 skills, so as a Warrior it would gain 2 more. A Spy already has 7 skills, so as an Expert it would gain 1 more.

--

WARRIOR

A Warrior might be a soldier, a town guard, a battle-trained beast, or any other creature honed for combat. A creature gains the following class features as it gains levels in this class, as summarized on the Warrior table.

The Warrior


PC
Level
Features


1st
1st
Bonus Proficiencies, Improved Health


2nd
2nd
Danger Sense


4th
3rd
Improved Critical (19-20)


6th
4th
Ability Score Improvement


8th
5th
Extra Attack (1 extra)


10th
6th
Ability Score Improvement


12th
7th
Improved Defense (+1 AC)


14th
8th
Ability Score Improvement


16th
9th
Improved Defense (+1 saves)


18th
10th
Ability Score Improvement


20th
11th
Extra Attack (2 extra)


-
12th
Ability Score Improvement


-
13th
Improved Defense (+2 AC)


-
14th
Ability Score Improvement


-
15th
Improved Critical (18-20)


-
16th
Ability Score Improvement


-
17th
Improved Defense (+2 saves)


-
18th
Fast Healing


-
19th
Ability Score Improvement


-
20th
Extra Attack (3 extra)



Bonus Proficiencies
IF THE WARRIOR HAS LESS THAN TWO PROFICIENT SAVING THROWS, it gains proficiency in one saving throw of your choice: Strength, Dexterity, or Constitution.
In addition, it gains proficiency in A NUMBER OF SKILLS OF YOUR CHOICE BASED ON THE SKILLS GAINED TABLE, from the following list: Acrobatics, Animal Handling, Athletics, Intimidation, Nature, Perception, and Survival. If it's a humanoid, it also gains proficiency with all armor, shields, and simple and martial weapons.

IMPROVED HEALTH
The Warrior's Constitution score increases by 2 at 1st level. In addition, its hit point maximum increases by 1 at 1st level, and by an additional 1 at every warrior level gained thereafter.

Danger Sense
Beginning at 2nd level, the Warrior has advantage on Dexterity saving throws against effects that it can see, such as traps and spells. This feature doesn't work if the Warrior is incapacitated.

Improved Critical
Starting at 3rd level, the Warrior's attack rolls score a critical hit on a roll of 19 or 20.
Starting at 15th level, a Warrior NPC's attacks score a critical hit on a roll of 18-20.

Ability Score Improvement
At 4th level, and again at 6th, 8th, and 10th level (also 12th, 14th, 16th, and 19th for NPCs), the Warrior increases one ability score of your choice by 2, or increases two ability scores of your choice by 1. This feature can't increase an ability score above 20 plus that score's modifier in its original stat block.

Extra Attack
Beginning at 5th level, the Warrior can attack twice, instead of once, whenever it takes the Attack action on its turn. The number of attacks increases to three when it reaches 11th level, and to four if it reaches 20th level.

Improved Defense
At 7th level (and again at 13th for NPCs), the Warrior's Armor Class increases by 1.
At 9th level (and again at 17th for NPCs), the Warrior gains a +1 bonus to saving throws.

Fast Healing
Beginning at 18th level, if a Warrior NPC starts its turn with at least 1 HP but less than half of its maximum HP, it regains 5 hit points.

--

EXPERT

The Expert is a master of certain tasks or knowledge, following a path that favors cunning over brawn or spellcasting. It might be a scout, a musician, a librarian, a clever street kid, a wily merchant, or a burglar. To gain the Expert class, a creature must have at least one language in its stat block that it can speak. It gains the following class features as it gains levels in this class, as summarized on the Expert table.

The Expert


PC
Level
Features


1st
1st
Bonus Proficiencies, Expertise


2nd
2nd
Expert Action


4th
3rd
Jack of Many Trades


6th
4th
Ability Score Improvement


8th
5th
Extra Attack


10th
6th
Expertise


12th
7th
Evasion


14th
8th
Ability Score Improvement


16th
9th
Inspiring Help


18th
10th
Ability Score Improvement


20th
11th
Reliable Talent


-
12th
Abillity Score Improvement


-
13th
Bonus Proficiencies


-
14th
Abillity Score Improvement


-
15th
Sharp Mind


-
16th
Abillity Score Improvement


-
17th
Expertise


-
18th
Inspiring Help


-
19th
Abillity Score Improvement


-
20th
Stroke of Luck



Bonus Proficiencies
IF THE EXPERT HAS LESS THAN TWO PROFICIENT SAVING THROWS, it gains proficiency in one saving throw of your choice: Dexterity, Intelligence, or Charisma.
In addition, it gains proficiency in A NUMBER OF SKILLS OF YOUR CHOICE BASED ON THE SKILLS GAINED TABLE. If it's a humanoid, it also gains proficiency with light armor and simple weapons, as well as THREE TOOLS AND/OR LANGUAGES of your choice.
At 13th level, the Expert NPC gains proficiency in two more skills of your choice. If it's a humanoid, it also gains proficiency with two tools of your choice.

Expertise
At 1st level, choose two of the Expert's skill OR TOOL proficiencies. Its proficiency bonus is doubled for any ability check it makes that uses either of the chosen proficiencies.
At 6th level (and again at 17th for NPCs), choose two more of the Expert's skill or tool proficiencies to gain this benefit.

Expert Action
Starting at 2nd level, the Expert's agility or cleverness allows it to act quickly. On its turn in combat, it can take the DODGE, disengage, HELP, or hide action as a bonus action.

Jack of Many Trades
Beginning at 3rd level, the Expert adds half its proficiency bonus to any ability check it makes that uses a skill but doesn't already include its proficiency bonus.

Ability Score Improvement
At 4th level and again at 8th and 10th level (also 12th, 14th, 16th, and 19th for NPCs), the Expert increases one ability score of your choice by 2, or increases two ability scores of your choice by 1. This feature can't increase an ability score above 20 plus that score's modifier in its original stat block.

Extra Attack
Starting at 5th level, the Expert can attack twice, instead of once, whenever it takes the Attack action on its turn.

Evasion
Beginning at 7th level, the Expert is skilled at avoiding certain dangers. When it is subjected to an effect that allows it to make a Dexterity saving throw to take only half damage, it instead takes no damage if it succeeds on the saving throw, and only half damage if it failed. The Expert doesn't benefit from this feature while incapacitated.

Inspiring Help
Starting at 9th level, the Expert's assistance becomes especially inspiring. When it uses Expert Action to Help, the creature being helped also gains a bonus to the d20 roll equal to the Expert's proficiency bonus. If that roll is an attack roll, the creature can forgo adding the bonus to it, and then if the attack hits, the creature can add the bonus to the attack's damage roll against one target.
Beginning at 18th level, the bonus increases by the Expert NPC's Intelligence or Charisma modifier, whichever is higher.

Reliable Talent
By 11th level, the Expert has refined its skills to an exceptional degree. Whenever it makes an ability check that includes its whole proficiency bonus, it can treat a d20 roll of 9 or lower as a 10.

Sharp Mind
At 15th level, the Expert NPC gains proficiency in Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma saving throws (your choice).

Stroke of Luck
At 20th level, if the Expert NPC misses with an attack roll or fails an ability check, it can treat the d20 roll as a 20. Once it uses this feature, it can't do so again until it finishes a short or long rest.

--

Spellcaster

A leveled creature who becomes an Spellcaster walks the paths of magic. It might be a hedge wizard, a priest, a soothsayer, a spell-wielding performer, or a person with magic in their veins. To gain the Spellcaster class, a creature must have at least one language in its stat block that it can speak. It gains the following class features as it gains levels in this class, as summarized on the Spellcaster table.

The Spellcaster





Can-

S
L
O
T

L
V
L



PC
Level
Features
trips

Spells
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9


1st
1st
Bonus Proficiencies, Spellcasting
3
2
2
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-


2nd
2nd
Magical Recovery
3
3
3
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-


4th
3rd
-
3
4
4
2
-
-
-
-
-
-
-


6th
4th
Ability Score Improvement
4
5
4
3
-
-
-
-
-
-
-


8th
5th
-
4
6
4
3
2
-
-
-
-
-
-


10th
6th
Empowered Cantrips
4
7
4
3
3
-
-
-
-
-
-


12th
7th
-
4
8
4
3
3
1
-
-
-
-
-


14th
8th
Ability Score Improvement
4
9
4
3
3
2
-
-
-
-
-


16th
9th
-
4
10
4
3
3
3
1
-
-
-
-


18th
10th
Empowered Spells
5
11
4
3
3
3
2
-
-
-
-


20th
11th
-
5
12
4
3
3
3
2
1
-
-
-


-
12th
Ability Score Improvement
5
12
4
3
3
3
2
1
-
-
-


-
13th
-
5
13
4
3
3
3
2
1
1
-
-


-
14th
Focused Casting
5
13
4
3
3
3
2
1
1
-
-


-
15th
-
5
14
4
3
3
3
2
1
1
1
-


-
16th
Ability Score Improvement
5
14
4
3
3
3
2
1
1
1
-


-
17th
-
5
15
4
3
3
3
2
1
1
1
1


-
18th
Reactive Casting
5
15
4
3
3
3
3
1
1
1
1


-
19th
Ability Score Improvement
5
16
4
3
3
3
3
2
1
1
1


-
20th
Signature Spells
5
16
4
3
3
3
3
2
2
1
1



Bonus Proficiencies
IF THE SPELLCASTER HAS LESS THAN TWO PROFICIENT SAVING THROWS, it gains proficiency in one saving throw of your choice: Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma.
In addition, the Spellcaster gains proficiency in A NUMBER OF SKILLS OF YOUR CHOICE BASED ON THE SKILLS GAINED TABLE, from the following list: Arcana, History, Insight, Investigation, Medicine, Performance, Persuasion, and Religion. If the it's a humanoid, it also gains proficiency with simple weapons and light armor.

Spellcasting
At 1st level, the Spellcaster gains the ability to cast spells. (If the creature already has the Spellcasting trait, this feature replaces that trait.) CHOOSE ITS SPELLCASTING ABILITY SCORE. THIS CHOICE DETERMINES THE SPELL LISTS and spellcasting focus it uses, as shown on the Spellcasting Ability table.

Spellcasting Ability


Ability Score
Spell Lists
Spellcasting Focus


Intelligence
Artificer & Wizard
Arcane Focus


Wisdom
Cleric & Druid
Holy Symbol or Druidic Focus


Charisma
Bard & Sorcerer
Musical Instrument or Arcane Focus



Cantrips
At 1st level, the Spellcaster knows three cantrips of your choice from its spell lists. It learns additional cantrips of your choice at higher levels, as shown in the Cantrips Known column of the Spellcaster table.

Spell Slots
The Spellcaster table shows how many spell slots the Spellcaster has to cast its Spellcaster spells of 1st level and higher. To cast one of these spells, the Spellcaster must expend a slot of the spell's level or higher. It regains all expended spell slots when it finishes a long rest.

Spells Known
At 1st level, the Spellcaster knows two 1st-level spells of your choice from its spell lists, AND CAN CAST DETECT MAGIC. The Spells Known column of the Spellcaster table shows when it learns more spells of your choice. Each of these spells must be of a level for which it has spell slots, as shown on the Spellcaster table. For instance, when the Spellcaster reaches 3rd level, it can learn one new spell of 1st or 2nd level.
Also, when the Spellcaster gains a level, you can choose one of the spells it knows from this class and replace it with another spell from its spell lists, which also must be of a level for which it has spell slots.

Spellcasting Ability
The Spellcaster uses its spellcasting ability whenever a spell refers to that ability. In addition, it uses its spellcasting ability modifier when setting the saving throw DC for a spell it casts and when making an attack roll with one.
Spell save DC = 8 + proficiency bonus + spellcasting ability modifier.
Spell attack modifier = proficiency bonus + spellcasting ability modifier.
The Spellcaster can use a focus for its spells depending on the choice you made on the Spellcasting Ability table.

Magical Recovery
Beginning at 2nd level, when the Spellcaster finishes a short rest, it can recover expended spell slots with a combined level no higher than half its level (or HALF YOUR CHARACTER LEVEL for a Sidekick) and none of the spell slots can be 6th level or higher.
Once the Spellcaster uses this feature, it can't use the feature again until it finishes a long rest.

Ability Score Improvement
At 4th level, and again at 8th level (also 12th, 16th, and 19th for NPCs), the Spellcaster increases one ability score of your choice by 2, or increases two ability scores of your choice by 1. This feature can't increase an ability score above 20 plus that score's modifier in its original stat block.

Empowered Cantrips
Starting at 6th level, the Spellcaster can add its spellcasting ability modifier to the damage it deals with any cantrip.

Empowered Spells
At 10th level, choose one school of magic. Whenever the Spellcaster casts a spell of that school by expending a spell slot, it can add its spellcasting ability modifier to the spell's damage roll or healing roll, if any.

Focused Casting
Starting at 14th level, the Spellcaster NPC has advantage on any Constitution saving throws it makes to maintain concentration on a spell.

Reactive Casting
Starting at 18th level, the Spellcaster NPC can use its reaction after an enemy attacks it or casts a spell at it, to cast a cantrip that it knows.

Signature Spells
At 20th level, choose two spells of 1st, 2nd, or 3rd level that the Spellcaster NPC knows. It can cast each of the chosen spells once at 3rd level without expending a spell slot. After it does so, it can't do so again until it finishes a short or long rest.

Crisis21
2019-04-20, 02:47 PM
Most of this looks awesome save for the Skills Gained table. According to it, Warriors and Adepts can become proficient in 9 Skills and Experts in 28. Out of 18 in the game (1 STR-based, 3 DEX-based, 5 INT-based, 5 WIS-base, 4 CHA-based).

Considering that anything more than 5 Skill proficiencies is considered high for a PC...

snafuy
2019-04-21, 08:00 AM
Thanks for the feedback. I have added explanatory details to the Skills Gained table.

Crisis21
2019-04-21, 01:31 PM
Thanks for the feedback. I have added explanatory details to the Skills Gained table.

Ah, okay, that makes more sense. Also, maybe put that table somewhere other than under the Warrior class? Maybe above as part of the basic sidekick information?

snafuy
2019-04-25, 09:03 AM
Ah, okay, that makes more sense. Also, maybe put that table somewhere other than under the Warrior class? Maybe above as part of the basic sidekick information?
Good point. I also added some other clarifications and formatting.

snafuy
2019-05-11, 08:31 AM
ARISTOCRAT

The Aristocrat (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/npcClasses/aristocrat.htm) is a class for leveled NPCs only, not Sidekicks. An aristocrat usually doesn't follow PCs on their adventures. Instead, an aristocrat might seek out PCs for their services (e.g. bodyguard, investigator, safari guide, or "acquisitions specialist"). In other words, aristocrats are more adventure hooks than adventure assistants, and can be allies, opponents, foils, or frenemies to the PCs.

An aristocrat is a long-time member of the social elite, with connections (by blood or tradition) to various other members of the ruling class. An aristocrat must be a civilized person, usually a humanoid (or at least humanoid in shape & speech).

An aristocrat gains the following class features as it gains levels in this class, as summarized on the Aristocrat table.

The Aristocrat


Level
Features
Lackeys
Total CR
Individual
Max CR


1st
Bonus Proficiencies, Lackey, Wealth
0
0


2nd
Bonus Feat
0
0


3rd
Lackey Improvement
1
1/2


4th
Ability Score Improvement
1
1/2


5th
Extra Attack
1
1/2


6th
Lackey Improvement
2
1


7th
Wealth Improvement
2
1


8th
Ability Score Improvement
2
1


9th
Lackey Improvement
3
2


10th
Expertise
3
2


11th
Bonus Feat
3
2


12th
Lackey Improvement
4
3


13th
Ability Score Improvement
4
3


14th
Soul of Deceit
4
3


15th
Lackey Improvement
5
4


16th
Ability Score Improvement
5
4


17th
Wealth Improvement
5
4


18th
Lackey Improvement
6
5


19th
Ability Score Improvement
6
5


20th
Followers
6
5



Class Features
An aristocrat NPC gains the following class features:
Armor: all armor and shields.
Weapons: simple and martial weapons.
Languages or Tools: any combination of three languages and/or tools (except Thieves Tools).

Bonus Proficiencies
If the aristocrat has less than two proficient saving throws, it gains proficiency in one saving throw: Dexterity, Wisdom, or Charisma.
In addition, the aristocrat gains proficiency in a number of skills based on the Warrior row of the Skills Gained table, choosing any skills except Perception, Sleight of Hand, or Stealth.

Lackey
Every aristocrat has one or more servants. As opposed to hirelings, lackeys are funded behind the scenes from the aristocrat's family wealth. They are loyal to the aristocrat depending on their treatment. Loyalty increases if the aristocrat is just, caring, and persuasive to subordinates; it decreases if the aristocrat is abusive, callous, or unreasonable.
Starting at 1st level, the aristocrat gains the services of one CR 0 lackey: a Commoner who has a bonus proficiency in a helpful artisan tool.
At 3rd level, and every 3 levels thereafter, the aristocrat adds more capable lackeys of CR 1/8 or higher, limited by the total CR and individual CR shown on the Aristocrat table. If a lackey below CR 1/2 can cast spells, it is considered CR 1/2 for the purpose of Total CR. These lackeys are usually humanoids from the same nation as the aristocrat. If the aristocrat is proficient in Animal Handling, they can also select local domesticated Beasts as lackeys.
The aristocrat can replace lackeys with different ones meeting the same criteria by recruiting in a non-hostile community for a reasonable number of days, based on availability and loyalty. Lackeys and their belongings cannot be sold.

Wealth
The aristocrat begins with a Wealthy lifestyle (including lodging and meals while traveling), and their lackeys receive Modest lifestyles, all paid by family accounts. Better treatment can be had by paying the difference in price.
The aristocrat cannot use this feature to accrue money or equipment for themselves or others.
Starting at 7th level, the aristocrat gains Aristocratic lifestyle & travel without personal expenditure. Their lackeys receive Comfortable treatment, and the aristocrat can extend that benefit to a number of close associates equal to their Charisma bonus (minimum 1).
Beginning at 17th level, the aristocrat's account covers a further 50gp each day for non-magical expenses. In addition, the aristocrat has an appropriate stronghold in their homeland, with up to 100gp per day worth of upkeep and non-combatant household staff.

Bonus Feat
At 2nd level, the aristocrat gains one of the following feats: Actor, Inspiring Leader, Keen Mind, Mounted Combatant, Observant, or Ritual Caster.
At 11th level, the aristocrat gains the Inspiring Leader feat, or any other feat if they already have that one.

Ability Score Improvement
At 4th level, and again at 8th, 13th, 16th, and 19th level, the aristocrat increases one ability score by 2, or increases two ability scores by 1. The aristocrat canít increase an ability score above 20 using this feature.

Extra Attack
Starting at 5th level, the aristocrat can attack twice, instead of once, whenever it takes the Attack action on its turn.

Expertise
At 10th level, choose two of the aristocrat's skill or tool proficiencies. Its proficiency bonus is doubled for any ability check it makes that uses either of the chosen proficiencies

Soul of Deceit
At 14th level, the aristocrat gains the Soul of Deceit feature from the Mastermind Roguish Archetype.

Followers
At 20th level, the aristocrat gains an entourage of 20 NPCs with CR 1/4 or lower, similar to lackeys, but they cannot be spellcasters. If any are lost, they are replaced at a rate of one per day.