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Artwork: In the Snow, Toeholds, OpenGameArt.org, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported licence.
An article by At the Table Games, <http://atthetablegames.com>
Along your quests there will be those who decide to follow you of their own volition. These Companions are not a huge help because, let’s face it, they are not hero material—but they do have their uses. They are the GM’s to control and are the PCs’ to abuse at their peril. The GM is welcome to put them in danger as a hard move and potentially even kill them if that move is ignored, but they are not cannon fodder. If you are a GM add, “Make the Companions seem like real people” to your principals and add “Have a Companion speak up in opposition”, “Have a Companion strike out on a quest of their own”, and “Put a Companion in a tough position” to your list of hard moves.
Companions are typically a reward for dealing with fronts. They may be NPCs with a stake in the outcome or a hireling that the party treated extremely well. In either case it it up to the GM if the group receives a Companion. Players may request a Companion but it is ultimately up to the GM.
A party can have a number of Companions equal to the number of players.
Each companion adds a bonus to the group: a spell, a move, a damage die, hit points, or armor. What the bonus is and how big a bonus it is is up to the GM.
Companion spells can be cast by any character that can cast.
Companion moves can be used by anyone in the group.
One Companion damage die can be added to any one attack per encounter.
All of the Companion’s hit points are added together and players can choose if damage is dealt to them or the Companions. If the Companion’s HP pool empties a Companion dies. Companions heal like characters only as a group.
Companion armor is combined and added to each character’s armor, including the Companions themselves if they are dealt damage.