Feat: Bonded Companion


Animal Companions, or Bonded Companions, or a key element of life in Kin. The Kin are the people of friendship, loyalty of loving those around them. This extends towards their non-humanoid companions as well. Where an elf might group in a land where spells are used to do mundane things, in Kin when a goliath needs a bit of string to finish sewing they send their swallow off to do it, or their heron to fish. Halflings have dogs that pull, push, fetch, hunt, fish, carry, and many other tasks. Human bonds with goats, rams, dogs, birds and horses are quite common. Bonds of Kin are a very essence of life. Almost everyone has one.

This ruleset needs to do a few things.

  • Scale like cantrips, attacks and proficiency. The companion is expected to live alongside their friend for some time.
  • Build in a reason that having a Bond die is bad for the PC
  • Not destroy the action economy
  • As a bonus, can it be simplified for usage in gaming outside the World of Everflow?

Feat: Bonded Companion

Prerequisite: Wisdom of 13 or higher. Kin and Rangers ignore this prerequisite.
This feat can be taken more than once.

Two dogs on gravel

You have an intense bond with a beast. These beasts cannot have a higher Intelligence than the character. In certain worlds the bonded companion can be a monstrosity. At this point I considered just granting access to the Bonded Companion system in a similar manner as to how Magic Initiate works, but instead built it within the Feat. The rule could be built by making Bonded Companion a Class Feature and Feat, but I digress. Taking the feat gives you Companion Points. You also gain companion points in the following manners;

  • Rangers at 1st, 3rd, 5th, 11th, and 17th levels
  • Druids at 1st and 5th level.
  • Clerics with the Nature domain at 1st level.
  • Your Wisdom modifier

Those points can be spent on a single companion or multiple companions. A character can bond with a number of Companions equal to their Wisdom modifier +1 (minimum 1). Each new companion takes a number of weeks to establish a bond as their cost in companion points. This can be done as downtime, or could be a solo adventure. A character may only spend new points when they take the feat or if they are a Ranger or Druid at their higher levels that earn Companion Points.

The following chart lists various Companions and their Companion Point cost.

Herd dogSled DogWarhound *Giant Eagle *&Rhino &Mammoth *&
RetrieverMastiff *Axebeak *&BisonElephant *Wyvern *&
TerrierBloodoundOstrich &Bear *&Dire Wolf *&Roc *&
Sentry DogGuard dog *Elk &Lion *&Owlbear *& 
SprinterRavenPanther *&Worg *&Griffon *& 
HeronEagle *&Bear Cub *&Hippogriff *&Pegasus *& 
PigeonFalcon *Wolf *&Peryton *&  
SparrowParrotTiger *&Awakened Tree &  
Pony/MuleDraft HorseWarhorse *   
FoxRiding HorseApe &   
Awakened Shrub &Cow    

Legend: The ‘&’ is used to indicate an animal companion that can only be paired with a Ranger, Druid or Nature Cleric. They are normally wild. The ‘*’ is used to indicate animals that can enter combat on command.

"Postduif". Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Postduif.jpg#/media/File:Postduif.jpg
Postduif” – Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

As a Bonus Action the Bonder can command their animal. These commands are Attack, Dash, Disengage, Dodge, or Help. An animal without a * can only attack if the Bonder passes a Wisdom (Animal Handling) DC: 20 check. The Companion will continue that action until the combat is complete or another Bonus Action is used (ie they will Attack the directed target until that target is no longer participating in the combat). Some Companions have other actions that can be taken (A Retriever can Fetch as an action). Check with your DM for these other actions.

When separated a Bonder and Companion that are on the same plane know the direction and rough travel time between them.

If someone tries to control a Companion it is an opposed Animal Handling check for the Bonder and whatever skill or spell is appropriate for the attempt to control the Companion. The duration of the control is per the appropriate spell or skill.

If a Companion dies the Bonder takes half their Companion’s hit points in psychic damage. If they make a Wisdom save (DC: 15) they then take one quarter of their Companion’s hit points in psychic damage.

Variant Rule in Kin: At first level and below halflings usually bond with canines and goliaths usually bond with avians. All Kin start with an additional Companion Point.

12 thoughts on “Feat: Bonded Companion

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  8. So, you mention “other ways to get Companion Points”, but don’t explicitly state “The Feat gives you X Companion Points, plus [other ways to get companion points]”. So if I’m not a ranger, not a druid, not a Nature cleric, and have a WIS of 10… how many Companion Points do I get from taking the feat?

    Liked by 1 person

      • Very few 5e feats have stat prereqs (although a key few, like Ritual Caster, do). If you are going to put a min on it, maybe at least provide a couple options? Like “MIn 13 WIS or CHA”. Also, you note that you can only pick your companion once, when you take the feat, unless you’re one of the special classes. I humbly suggest you can change/upgrade if your WIS score changes, too?

        Liked by 1 person

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