Playing the Sidekick


Advice


While combing through archetypes I noticed the Squire Herald (cavalier) and Groom (ranger) archetypes. Has anyone ever applied one of these to their primary PC? I was thinking Squire Herald (cav)3/Dawnflower dervish (bard)2 / battle herald could be a pretty fun support character that can still kick but when he needs to get it done himself (battle dance).

As a bonus question, does anyone have any experience with playing then cohort/sidekick to another PC? How did it work out? Any tips you can recommend?

Grand Lodge

An evangelist cleric with travel domain could be cool giving you 50ft movement before buffs.


Back in AD&D I joined a running game with a Dwarven Fighter. My reason for joining was that I had heard a lot about the party Paladin and wanted to fight alongside him. It was fun. But my pc had full fighter abilities, which was something back then. At least until high levels.
The party was 3rd level at the time I joined. But I had better starting gear than a normal 1st level pc and had rolled very well for stats.


Yea I was thinking that it would be a really cool way to join a group with a paladin, fighter, or cavalier already in it. Do you like the evangelist or bard route better? With a evangelist, I don't see why you would ever go more than 1 level dip. With a bard I think there is a lot of merit in gaining versatile performance so sticking around for at least 2 levels is probably a good idea.


Years ago I ran a campaign with a Fighter as the central figure. The rest of the party, a bard, a cleric and a fighter/rogue came along because the fighter was famous and needed the help. The plot revolved around the fighter chasing down her errant husband (he had been charmed and 'taken' :) ). It was fun and everyone liked the strong theme to the game.

Sidekickin' aint bad. Sidelining *is* bad. "No, it's the hero's turn, shut up and be the background!"


Anyone like the idea of running this kind of support/martial character?


Obsidian wrote:
Anyone like the idea of running this kind of support/martial character?

Yes, it has good and direct role-playing benefits.

Knights/Cavaliers/Paladins historically had a retinue right from the beginning of their career (wealth has its privileges). In 3.PF I believe that type of situation needs to wait till the PC is 6th level or higher and having also taken the requisite feat.

Now, a knight's retinue wasn't just his squire <cough>fighter</cough>, but could also be a friar <cough>cleric</cough>, a purchasing agent <cough>rogue</cough>, a sage or counselor <cough>mage</cough>, minstrel <cough>bard</cough>, as well as more mundane retainers like weapon smith, cook, etc.

It also handily solves the RP problem of; "Why are we all here together focused on this particular adventure?"

Liberty's Edge

Yeah, it works. The only game we ever did something like the 'knight's retinue thing, though, was an Evil game where the other PCs were a Drow nobleman's retinue...I played the Drow in question, while everyone else played his retinue (his half-drow cousin and personal retainer, his bodyguard, his fiancee, etc.).

So, I haven't actually done the sidekick thing personally...but everyone else involved in that game still talks of it fondly, so it seems to have worked out pretty well.

The thing to watch out for here is the 'leader' being too much of a spotlight hog, or alternately too much of a dick. Neither is fun. When I played that role, I worked very hard to make sure neither was the case.

Firstly, I played a support Bard mechanically, so I very much helped others out in combat more than I took the lead there, and took the lead in social situations to some degree...but, well, that's expected as a Bard.

Secondly, I conceived the character as 'Evil Overlord done right', and an important part of that was making sure his followers were well taken care of. So...he was basically the best boss ever, in order to ensure their loyalty.

So...yeah, this works, though I feel like choosing your 'protagonist' carefully, both in terms of layer and character type, is very important.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I'll have to see if I can bring my friend Bret into this conversation. He played a wizard valet to a young lordling played by another PC in a seafaring campaign, and he could talk not only about the build that he used, but also about the character dynamics between him and the other PC.

Hmm


Pathfinder Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Obsidian wrote:
As a bonus question, does anyone have any experience with playing then cohort/sidekick to another PC? How did it work out? Any tips you can recommend?

Yes, in D&D 3.0 we created a PrC for my wizard. It would need a fair amount of adjustment to bring it in line with Pathfinder, but should give you an idea of the flavor I was going for.

When creating the PrC I got told multiple times it was only appropriate for an NPC.

It was an interesting change in the roleplaying dynamic. Instead of working as part of a group, I was working to promote the station of my employer. By doing so, my own station would rise. It also helped keep the focus off my character since they were just the valet. Everyone tends to ignore the hired help.

None of the other characters in the group were servants or otherwise bound to another character.

Based on that experience, I have to say how well something like this will work is strongly influenced by who the main character is. In game, I was employed by another character, and my money situation was controlled by them. I went through two different employers, and both were provided with enough money to support it.

The focus of the two characters I served were different, I did much better in terms of getting equipment and spells with the employer that was looking at it as a way of making money. The first character tended to get me into more 'political' situations, where we were mixing with the upper crust. Closest analog would be working for first someone in Taldor faction and then Sczarni faction.

It wasn't originally planned that I would have two different employers. It is because of campaign events that I found myself suddenly without an employer and had to find a new one.

It was an interesting experience and one I would be willing to repeat.

The money was the biggest problem, since the other player sees it as their money that they are giving up to support you. How well this works depends on how clearly the other person sees the return on money spent. This could really screw you over in Pathfinder where there are expectations on wealth by level. It wouldn't work at all if the other player tends to hoard or be greedy.

The way that I had been doing it could have caused problems in some groups as well, since you basically had two characters working as one. It could have created an imbalance in the group.

Tips:
* Make sure you trust the person you are pairing up with.
* Need some way to either have a reason that you've got separate funds or have some way to balance the monetary control the other character has over you.
* Watch out for creating a political situation because you've got two characters so closely aligned in purpose.
* Have a backup plan for if something should go wrong.
* Make sure that the two characters are different enough that the 'sidekick' brings something in that the main character can't do. You are likely to be a buff and/or skill monkey character and the class skills need to have a different focus.


Seems like a bard is a pretty appropriate squire-type character. Just look at Sir Robin.

Seriously, though, I just can't play second-fiddle to someone else being the hero. I play PF to BE a hero. Partners I can handle. Lackey...not so much.


Pathfinder Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
thegreenteagamer wrote:

Seems like a bard is a pretty appropriate squire-type character. Just look at Sir Robin.

Seriously, though, I just can't play second-fiddle to someone else being the hero. I play PF to BE a hero. Partners I can handle. Lackey...not so much.

Yes, Bard or Investigator would often work for this sort of character.

Well, I suppose that is one way to view it.

Another way to view it would be the ultra-competant assistant. Hopefully not quite as lop-sided as Green Hornet and Kato. Closer to John Steed and Emma Peel. There are other examples in literature.


I actually have a support investigator in a campaign right now. She has the lowest strength modifier in the group as well. It just started at level one so I haven't seen much of her, but she's helped with her +3 aid another twice (one of them helped confirm a critical hit) and helped free up the bloodrager to fight more easily since we were carrying a man that had broken legs out of a prison (ant haul is a wonderful thing.)

So far I enjoy playing as her, but I'm someone that loves playing a support character so note that there's a bias. You also need to enjoy roleplaying the character.


BretI wrote:
thegreenteagamer wrote:

Seems like a bard is a pretty appropriate squire-type character. Just look at Sir Robin.

Seriously, though, I just can't play second-fiddle to someone else being the hero. I play PF to BE a hero. Partners I can handle. Lackey...not so much.

Yes, Bard or Investigator would often work for this sort of character.

Well, I suppose that is one way to view it.

Another way to view it would be the ultra-competant assistant. Hopefully not quite as lop-sided as Green Hornet and Kato. Closer to John Steed and Emma Peel. There are other examples in literature.

My best example is the modern movie versions of Sherlock and Watson. Watson is highly effective, and Sherlock doesn't look down on him (at least not as much as he does most people), but let's face it...the movies aren't called "Sherlock and Watson". Jude Law got second billing, period.

Grand Lodge

I'd be OK with Watson, I mean he gets the girl.


In one campaign I played, the GM had us roll on some charts to determine some our backgrounds. I rolled pretty well and was noble born. Another guy was an aristocrat, but we were both from a desert area. He decided that his wizard was my rogue's advisor, sent by my father to keep an eye on me. We had a lot of fun RPing it.

In another game where there was a noble in the group, the party fighter decided he was the guy's personal chef and wielded a skillet in battle.


Ciaran Barnes wrote:
<snip>In another game where there was a noble in the group, the party fighter decided he was the guy's personal chef and wielded a skillet in battle.

Reminds me of Frodo and Sam in LotR. :D

For that matter there was the end of the Council of Elrond where all the remaining Nine Walkers pledged support-unto-death for Frodo and his cause.

It seems then that not only "side-kick" but "party of vassals" is a viable option with the right group.

Then there's military situations where typically someone is in charge and everyone else reports to 'the captain' as a matter of course.

Grand Lodge

I am thinking a "helpful" halfing cavalier focused on aid another could make an awesome sidekick. There is a great 3rd party archetype called inspiring commander that would not only increase the aid another bonus but would allow 2 aid another checks a round since it changes aid another to a move action.

Grand Lodge

I'm not sure if order of the dragon or order of the staff works better for this kind of character though.

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