July 18, 2024
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Underground Oracle’s Creature Companions for 5e – A New Option for Any Class

Underground Oracle’s Creature Companions: A New Option For Any Class supplement is a welcome sight for DMs and players alike. It allows anyone (yes, any class) to get a real, creature companion as part of their D&D 5e character build.

Companion Anyone?

Every DM has had “that player” that craves nothing more in a game of D&D than to have a critter to play with. And fight with. And scout with. Face it, creatures are both handy and fun. But with the current official WOTC rules, not all classes can have such a companion.

Underground Oracle's Creature Companions
Who wouldn’t want a Wyrm Toad to go on adventures with?
Image courtesy Underground Oracle Publishing

Familiars vs. Real Creatures

In fifth edition D&D, some spellcasters can have a familiar under certain circumstances. They just need to cast the find familiar spell. But familiars are not real, breathing creatures. They are “spirits that take an animal form.” Only rangers have a mechanic that lets you pal around with a live, breathing animal. This is through the beast master archetype (subclass) as outlined in the player’s handbook.

But what about all the non-ranger players that want a real critter as a companion? Well, they usually get them, because DMs want to make their players happy. But every DM faces the struggle of exactly how to make these pets work as an active participant in the adventure – including in combat.

Enter Underground Oracle‘s Creature Companions. This third-party supplement offers an optional set of rules that would allow anyone to link themselves to a creature companion.

Creature Companions does more than just give players a pet. It gives them a true companion that will grow in power alongside them. It also offers some truly unique creatures, ones you won’t find in the Monster Manual.

– Nick, Community Manager for Shard Tabletop

It’s a Feat – Underground Oracle’s Creature Companions

Mechanically speaking, when it comes to rules for character advancement, Underground Oracle’s Creature Companions comes by way of a feat.

Mystic Link

You are able to extend your spark to forge a mystic link with a willing creature companion. In order to successfully forge a link, you must spend one uninterrupted hour concentrating on and interacting with the creature. The creature companion must be a non-humanoid creature of challenge rating ½ or lower, size Large or smaller, and not hostile toward you. You cannot be linked to more than one creature at a time and a creature cannot be the subject of more than one link. Etc…

– Underground Oracle’s Creature Companions: A New Option For Any Class, page 4

Underground Oracle’s Creature Companions goes on to provide clear, reasonable mechanics for establishing the link and having the companion “grow” along with their character. The mystic link feat can be taken anytime the RAW rules allow for a feat.

Since its release, Underground Oracle’s Creature Companions: A New Option For Any Class has met with rave reviews from both players and DMs.

I really love the mechanics. The theme of connection is strong, and I enjoy that both the upsides and possible implications were taken into consideration.

– Kyle (@kyleexpress), DM

Domidan 1
This “Domidan” is one of several original creatures included in Underground Oracle’s Creature Companions supplement for D&D 5e. Domidan’s are lawful neutral and have a “watchful guardian” trait.
Image courtesy Underground Oracle Publishing.

Underground Oracle’s Creature Companions supplement is a fantastic resource, as it allows for any character/ race/ class to have the ability to have a companion. No more silly restrictions in a game meant to be creative and open, at least in my opinion.

– Blake Francis, player

Original Creatures

Underground Oracle’s Creature Companions: A New Option For Any Class‘ mechanics for creating your link and moving your creature up stat-wise are clear and logical. You can create your mystic link with any creature with a beast stat block in 5e, as long as they meet the criteria laid out in Creature Companions. While it includes a healthy list of possible companions as described in official rulebooks, it also includes some original Underground Oracle creatures – including the Wyrm Toad, Domidan and Holderkin.

Underground Oracle Publishing

Jess and her partner Keith Pendley are the humans behind Underground Oracle Publishing (UO). The company was officially formed in 2019. Jess and Keith describe their small company as a publisher of “5th edition resources for both sides of the screen.” Jess and Keith share writing and design duties, Keith focuses on art direction, and Jess does all the editing (and much more). The couple met playing D&D and have been together for over 10 years.

[Keith] was running a game shop at the time and I joined one of his games. I thought to myself ‘this is amazing, and you are an amazing storyteller.’

– Jess Pendley

Jess and Keith have never stopped playing D&D together. Their home-brewed world, Quaseloth, is where all their inspiration comes from. Their supplements come directly from Quaseloth but are easily adapted to virtually any 5e setting or campaign.

Amazing Art – Underground Oracle’s Creature Companions

One of the most obviously enticing aspects of all of UO’s offerings is the artwork. Keith serves as UO’s art director and works very closely with their artists to ensure all the original art fits the team’s vision. He’s the one that picks out the stock art to make sure that it hits it too.

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Personally, I love the Holderkin (left). It’s actually the first thing I ever created with Keith, so it’s been around for a long time. It’s cute, in a strange kind of way.

– Jess Pendley

Close Community of Creators

To say Underground Oracle keeps Jess and Keith busy is a critical understatement. Jess maintains a full-time job while still working many hours on UO each week. Keith works for UO full time. The work load means they have no free time at all outside of work.

But Jess said it is the warmth and support of the third-party content creator community that keeps her going when things get extra stressful.

I love this community. It’s one of the things that keeps me going when things get rough. You do a lot of work as a small publisher and there are days when the benefits don’t feel like they outweigh the stress, and then I remember how much support and kindness we get from the community and it will turn me around.

– Jess Pendley

UO has a healthy Patreon, ko-fi support and an active Discord server. According to members of that sub-community, Jess and Keith deserve all the support they get.

Jess and Keith have not only crafted some wonderful supplements for D&D but are just great human beings in general. You can tell just by the way they interact with the D&D community and their own that they have built with UO – which has been such a supportive and positive community.

– Blake Francis

In fact, it was a member of this community that inspired the Pendleys to create Creature Companions: A New Option For Any Class. Jess said one of their regular players (and Keith’s best friend), Lisa Bray, was always asking “what kind of creatures can I have?” As Lisa’s DM, Keith would create different creatures and the benefits that they provided on the fly for each game. Eventually, rather than try to wing it each time, Jess decided it was time to actually create a mechanic that will allow any class to get a real, live creature companion and use it in game per a standard set of rules.  

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It’s a Pygmy Owlbear

and yes it is wicked cute

Next Up After Underground Oracle’s Creature Companions

Underground Oracle Publishing currently has well over 70 resources and supplements available for purchase. There are also a number of free supplements. Jess said they try to put something out for their many fans about three times a month. UO does have a Patreon and an active Discord server.

Underground Oracle resources and supplements for D&D 5e are available on multiple platforms, including:

Their most recent supplement is The Book of High Seas Treasures. A nautical sourcebook, it is filled with tons of options for PCs who are looking for something different for their seafaring campaigns. As with their other supplements, this newest treasure is expected to be greeted with enthusiasm by all fans of UO’s work.

Creature Companions is a perfect showcase of the care and effort that Underground Oracle puts into every single piece they create. Keith and Jess [UO publishers] are so skilled at adding additional elements to their supplements that give them an additional boost to their usability; in Creature Companions, additional feats and putting tiers to the links themselves are the sorts of elements that lend themselves both game play and roleplay opportunities.

Patch (@Patchster0730), player and UO fan

Underground Oracle’s Creature Companions is available by clicking right here. Free previews of Creature Companions and other UO goodies can be found on their website, right here.

Related reading: Underground Oracle Publishing is exactly the type of third-party creator that Hal Howard of Shard Tabletop is referring to in a recent Dungeon Cooperative interview about the purchase of D&D Beyond by Wizards of the Coast.

Avatar Of Carla Bumstead

Carla Bumstead

Carla Bumstead serves as Managing Editor/Publisher of Dungeon Cooperative. She has been an editor and community journalist for over 20 years.

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