Old Man Vecna

Let’s talk about animal companions.

Animals have been pretty big the last couple editions despite playing a pretty secondary role earlier in the game. In prior editions, pets were a variant of henchmen and followers that all classes attracted at certain levels. The fighter just drew a number of swordsmen willing to follow in his stead while wizards gained apprentices and the like. The wilderness classes gained animals, which were less overt class features and more just animals that followed the PC around.

While followers were fairly disposable, they were not endless nor automatically replaceable, which animal companions have become. In 3e animal companions could be replaced in a few days without penalty no matter how rare and exotic the companion was, and in 4e rangers could resurrect their animal companions after every fight.