Shield Guardian Sidekicks | New Player Option for Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition (Unearthed Arcana)

This article expands on the new Sidekicks rules found in a recent Unearthed Arcana article put out by Wizards of the Coast. Like the Unearthed Arcana article, this is purely playtesting content. Be sure to share your thoughts on it down in the comments.

Basically, this allows a player to take a shield guardian as their sidekick. Here are a few considerations first:

What qualifies as a sidekick?

  • In these rules, a sidekick is a creature who is your friend and who accompanies you on adventures.
  • The sidekick can be any type of creature with a stat block in the Monster Manual or another D&D book, but it must meet these prerequisites:
    • Its challenge rating must be 1 or lower.
    • The two of you must be friends.
  • When your sidekick joins you, it gains a sidekick class. Choose which class it will have for the rest of its career: warrior, expert, or spellcaster. To gain a level in the expert or spellcaster class it must have at least one spoken language.
  • Whenever you gain a level, your sidekick also gains a level.
  • Whenever the sidekick gains a level, it gains one Hit Die, and its hit point maximum increases

Now that we understand the basic rules for sidekicks, we need to do a little reverse engineering of the shield guardian stat block to get it down to CR 1. I took a few notes from the “mini shield guardian” (aka animated suit of armor) and tweaked accordingly. I left in its spell storing feature but nerfed its regeneration (way too powerful for a playable class/race). Plus, it still has its shield feature.

Here is what I came up with:

Shield Guardian, Simple

Large construct, unaligned


Armor Class 16 (natural armor)

Hit Points 32 (5d10 + 5)

Speed 30 ft.


Abilities Str 16 (+3), Dex 8 (-1), Con 12 (+1), Int 7 (-2), Wis 10 (+0), Cha 3 (-4)


Damage Immunities poison

Condition Immunities charmed, exhaustion, frightened, paralyzed, poisoned

Senses blindsight 10 ft., darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 10

Languages understands commands given in any language but can’t speak

Challenge 1 (200 XP)


Bound. The shield guardian is magically bound to an amulet. As long as the guardian and its amulet are on the same plane of existence, the amulet’s wearer can telepathically call the guardian to travel to it, and the guardian knows the distance and direction to the amulet. If the guardian is within 60 feet of the amulet’s wearer, half of any damage the wearer takes (rounded up) is transferred to the guardian.

Spell Storing. A spellcaster who wears the shield guardian’s amulet can cause the guardian to store one spell of 4th level or lower. To do so, the wearer must cast the spell on the guardian. The spell has no effect but is stored within the guardian. When commanded to do so by the wearer or when the situation arises that was predefined by the spellcaster, the guardian casts the stored spell with any parameters set by the original caster, requiring no components. The stored spell remains for 24 hours or until it is cast or a new spell is stored.


Actions

Fist. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 10 (2d6 + 3) bludgeoning damage.


Reactions

Shield. When a creature makes an attack against the wearer of the guardian’s amulet, the guardian grants a +2 bonus to the wearer’s AC if the guardian is within 5 feet of the wearer.


Also shield guardians have a constructed nature, meaning that they do not require air, food, drink, or sleep.

Class Choice

Because the shield guardian can’t speak, it can only take the warrior class option. In addition, I recommend you add in the following class feature at 1st level:

Integrated Armor

At 1st level, the sidekick has built-in protective layers which determine its Armor
Class. It gains no benefit from wearing armor, but if it is using a shield, it applies its bonus as normal. While wearing no armor, its Armor Class equals 16.

 

Like it? Share it!

I created this for my wizard player who’s been pining for a shield guardian for a while. Hopefully, he likes it! If not, I’m going to toss him down a well. Because I’m an evil Dungeon Master.

If you like this concept, be sure to share it!

See you soon!

Art by Wizards of the Coast.

4 thoughts on “Shield Guardian Sidekicks | New Player Option for Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition (Unearthed Arcana)

  1. Any idea how the UA Sidekick Spellcaster Feature “Empowered Spells” functions for spells with multiple damage rolls?

    1. I assume it means to add the bonus each time a total damage roll is made. So, for example, if you fire three scorching rays at three different targets, each one gets your modifier. Meanwhile, if you use it with a magic missile, you add the modifier once to the roll. However, magic missiel is unique in that you roll one die to account for all the missles. Therefore, your magic missile roll is (1d4 + 1 + modifier) x 3 which is pretty potent stuff.

    2. That makes sense. This could add up to a whole lot of damage for spells like Hex with ongoing damage rolls.

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