Animal Sidekicks Review | D&D Supplement (DMs Guild)

In this video you get a look inside
Animal Sidekicks – the sidekicks supplement we’ve all been waiting for in
D&D 5e! Hi 🙂 Bob here, and welcome to Bob World Builder, the D&D channel where we
improve our games together! Subscribe for new videos every Wednesday
under your subscriptions tab! This is not a paid promotion but lead designer Adam
Hancock sent me this review copy, and if you want to support the creators and I,
check out D&D Animal Sidekicks using the DMs Guild affiliate link in the description.
I really like this cover designed by David Barrentine; it’s reminiscent of
Snow White surrounded by playful creatures of the forest, and it calls on
the childlike wonder that makes animal companions a timeless feature of D&D.
Thirty-three authors collaborated to create these 40 D&D animal sidekicks, each with a
stat block, customization table, level 1 to 6 progression, and an art piece.
There’s artwork by Dana Braga, Bronze Halo, Rick Hershey, and Anne Gregersen who
also did the layout of Hellbound Heists. Editing by Ryan Langr who edited Step
Right Up, and Paul Metzger who produced my other favorite D&D sidekick supplement,
Sidekicks Essentials — reviews for those in the playlist linked below!
Like the original Unearthed Arcana sidekicks, the introduction explains that
animals make great companions for characters of any class, and like the
official Essentials Kit sidekicks, they can start at any level and gain levels
with the party. What’s new here is that rather than using the warrior, expert, and
spellcaster classes, each creature is its own sidekick class! So their size and
type of hit dice can change as they level up! Some include tables for quirks
and physical descriptions, and while they all understand common, there’s an
optional rule for animal handling checks when the PCs give commands to these
special animal companions. Now in order of appearance I’m going to show you my 4
favorite sidekicks in depth, with a whole bunch of honorable mentions! Here we go! First honorable mention, the Allosaurus: a large
bipedal reptile with truly deadly features that are also perfect
your dinosaur races in Tomb of Annihilation! And our first favorite, the
awakened plant: while not technically an animal, awakened plants are hearty
medium-sized creatures that can be perfectly camouflaged, use their twigs as
thieves tools once per rest, and restrain enemies with vines! They gain features
similar to the Rogue’s cunning action and expertise as well as increased size and
AC and extra attack by level 6. I love the punny personality traits like
“shady, flowery, and nutty” and you can easily present this sidekick to your
players with a pot of awakening, a common wondrous item from Xanathar’s Guide To
Everything that turns any plant into an awakened shrub! Or the sanguine pot of
awakening: my homebrewed version that makes friendly twig blights — what can I
say, I love plants! Next honorable mention: badgers! Because they get tons of
features, and their stats could easily be used for raccoons, skunks, possums,
groundhogs, hedgehogs, or any similarly cute creatures. Bears! Probably the second most-desired animal companion in D&D for their strength, endurance, and function as
a big fluffy mount. Blink dogs! Want a fairy dog that can teleport? Of course
you do! Look at those ears! Boars, a common encounter for low-level play, and you can
use their stats for pigs, cows, and maybe even a baby bison. Cats!
Another common companion that I guarantee will be of use in my games, and
I love the cats restful purr ability which improves short rests for itself
and its owner. Constrictor snakes can easily detect prey and even swallow
targets hole at 6th level. And the second of my favorites: the dragon wyrmling!
They can fly, they have blindsight, dark vision, and a breath weapon based on
their ancestry! As they level up all of the dragon’s senses, attacks, and movement
speeds improve. Plus they gain the ability to polymorph! Honestly they might
be a little too powerful, but I can’t wait to try them out! Maybe by presenting
my players with a white dragon egg somewhere in the Dragon of Icespire Peak!
More honorable mentions: giant goats, because riding a massive goat
with features like “crazy eyes” and “death bleat” is just too cool. Giant owls: the
deadliest nocturnal predators in this supplement, but don’t worry, there’s
normal-sized owls too. The goose, which is more powerful than you think while also
being hilarious. Hollyphant because it might come in handy if your party
encounters Zariel’s companion Lulu in Descent Into Avernus. And horses! The most
obvious animal companion that your party never developed a relationship with
until now because they get helpful features and more hit points! And my next
favorite, Mastiffs! Another fluffy mount for small characters with simple
features, and three variants: the war dog Mastiff gets armor proficiency, a
stronger shoving bite, advantage to its rider’s attacks against unmounted
creatures, and an extra attack; the guard dog Mastiff gets an initiative bonus, can
virtually never be surprised, and reduces damage dealt to nearby allies; and the
hunting dog Mastiff is an expert tracker, unfazed by illusions and invisible
creatures — plenty of options for humankind’s best friend!
The next honorable mention is Myconids: now your party can officially adopt
Stool — that cute little fungi NPC from Out Of The Abyss. Owl bears! A famous D&D
monstrosity that any player worth their salt has considered trying to tame!
Pseudodragons, rats, and ravens because familiars should be for everyone! And
that raven can be adapted for other bird companions. Tigers if you want your
feline sidekick to be bigger, fluffier, and deadlier, or Tressyms if you want a
small cat that can also fly! And my final animal sidekick spotlight: the wolf,
because wolves are probably the most- commonly desired animal companion by D&D
players. They get advantage on perception checks for hearing and scent
as well as attack rolls when they have an ally within 5 feet of their target,
and like the Mastiff, a bite attack that can knock creatures prone on a failed
strength saving throw! Your wolf gets awesome improvements to
its tracking, bite attacks, size, hit die, AC, strength- and constitution scores! Now
let me know in the comments if you think these animal sidekicks should cap at sixth
level or advance all the way to 20 with their player characters, and check out
these videos for more about D&D sidekicks! Thank you for watching, and
keep building 🙂

3 thoughts on “Animal Sidekicks Review | D&D Supplement (DMs Guild)

  1. The twitter poll showed wolf, owl, bear, and owlbear to be the most-desired companions — what’s your animal companion of choice?

  2. Great video! Now i'm not being greedy….but what would you do if the adventurer's and their animal sidekick went passed 6th level?

  3. I have considered animal companions a great option for small parties. My issue is that animal procession should be keeping complexity down not increasing it. I still enjoyed your thoughts and video.

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