The Cohort’s Bangle
// or How I Weaponized Friendship
“This silvered bangle most closely resembles a larger and thicker charm bracelet. The ring however is too small for an adults hand and it can only be worn comfortably by a child. Seven silver cubes decorate it like charms, all attached by a small ringed chain-link. To activate its magical properties a companion that truly trusts and respects the holder must break one of the charms off. The charm then turns into a silvered bracelet around that person’s wrist as a new charm replaces the broken one on the bangle. The new charm takes a shape relevant / related to the ally.
As a bonus action the wielder may break off one of the charms to immediately summon the aligned companion to the battlefield. This action consumes the charm permanently and a single cohort cannot be keyed to more than one charm.”
I’ve been running Hoard of the Dragon Queen lately and one of the hardest elements to it has been making the players care about the various towns and NPCs due to the constant travel. We’re in the 4th arc where there’s a lot of travel on a caravan. At the very end of the campaign the final area sets the players against way too many enemies for the party.
As Mike Shea of Sly Flourish says: “This episode’s encounter balance is totally screwed up. As written, your level 7 group will face off against a pair of CR 10 stone golems in one scene, a CR 13 vampire in another, multiple CR 7 stone giants, and a CR 13 white adult dragon in the final battle.”
So my solution was to create this item and enable the players to summon NPCs they’ve truly befriended. Persona 4 style: YOSUKE WILL NOW DIE FOR YOU.
This will hopefully prove useful to any party with extended travel or adventures that feature in a hub that then later becomes a travel based adventure. Pathfinder’s Rise of the Runelords and Curse of the Crimson Throne come to mind. For 5e adventurers, most definitely best for Hoard of the Dragon Queen or Curse of Strahd.
Either way: Good Luck.