2021-06-06, 09:07 PM (ISO 8601)
Re: How well does 4e handle minions/ followers?
I do this all the time. Generally what you are looking for is to make the supporting NPCs simple to run. This more or less gives you three main options: standard monsters, companion characters, or martial classes from the Essentials line (knight, slayer, thief, scout, hunter), plus arguably the elementalist. And supporting characters should have no out of turn actions that aren't part of their class features. Note many of these classes underperform beyond Heroic tier, which you and the players will have to take into account.
Originally Posted by TyGuy
My rule of thumb is that each player can have one PC that can be as complicated as they want, and as many henchmen/hirelings/followers as they think they can handle, as long as the supporting NPCs are standard monsters, companion characters or martial e-classes. It doesn't get out of hand because (a) standard monsters run out of healing surges fast and don't last long, (b) PCs have to share experience with companion characters, and players are stingy with experience, and (c) PCs have to share experience and treasure with martial e-class characters (at least, if they want them to survive and to hit anything), and players can be really stingy with treasure.
I should note that all those characters need a lot of space to maneuver. If you are running a published adventure that doesn't include a lot of groups of large or larger monsters, then the PC party will tend to bottleneck itself if there are more than, say, six characters in the party, and the balance will end up getting stuck out in the hallway unable to do anything. So you do need to adapt the combat space at least some of the time (although leaving the odd bottleneck can be an interesting tactical challenge).
Also the rules for missile fire into combat start to strain credulity when you are firing through four ranks of your own allies in order to target the enemy.