'Dungeons & Dragons' Playtesting New Rules For Sidekicks

Dungeons & Dragons is playtesting new rules to let players have a sidekick to bring into battle.

Earlier today, Dungeons & Dragons released its monthly "Unearthed Arcana" packet, a set of new rules published for public playtesting. This month's "Unearthed Arcana" involves sidekicks that can level up and become more powerful as they accompany players during adventures.

This set of rules is designed for any monster or companion that starts off with a CR of 1 or lower in the Monster Manual or other D&D book. Not only does this include most basic monsters that a player might face in the early game, it also includes most animal companions, and even a few human NPCs. The full list of eligible monsters includes everything from awakened shrubs to wolves to animated armor, so there's plenty of room for imagination with these rules.

The core concept of these new rules is that sidekicks will level up whenever a player does, which means increased hit points, attack roll modifiers, and even ability score increases at certain levels. These sidekicks even gain some specialization in the form of sidekick classes, an equivalent to NPC classes from earlier versions of D&D.

Players can choose one of three "sidekick" classes - the warrior, the expert, or the spellcasters. The sidekick gains abilities based on what class it's assigned, most of which are watered down versions of abilities from the Fighter, Rogue, or Wizard classes. For instance, a warrior NPC eventually gains a Fighter's Indomitable ability, while an expert gains a variation of the Bardic Inspiration ability.

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The new set of rules has its strengths and weaknesses. For instance, this new sidekick system could easily fix some of the well-documented issues involving the Beastmaster Ranger subclass, one that levels up a ranger's beast appropriately. However, the rules have the potential to be a bit gamebreaking, especially the spellcaster sidekick subclass. It's a bit OP to have a sidekick with full spell slots and access to a Warlock's spell list.

This seems like a really intriguing ruleset and one that can be used in a ton of campaigns. After all, what D&D campaign hasn't had a sidekick join their party at least temporarily? You can check out the full set of rules here.