In my low-fantasy world, monster drops are created when a magical creature is slain; its lifeforce is released and interacts with ambient magic to either recreate body parts or alter objects in or around the monster. This explains why weapons become enchanted upon killing a monster, as well as why drops are a thing.

However, how magic works is that if a creature has a spiritual connection to an element, magical energy of that element will connect to it; sort of like how an empty space sealed inside an object sucks in air once the seal is broken. The connected magic inside the body mingles and fuses with the creature's life force (its spirit) and by extension its body.

Why does this matter? When a monster is killed, its magic is connected to its spirit, which is not of this world. Magic, however is of this world, and thus the two separate, albeit imperfectly. What's left of the creature's spirit is anchored by magic to the body, but the body was destroyed by the powerful release of magic upon its death! Therefore, this magical Remnant attaches to the nearest magical living thing; the person who killed its former host.

The monster's wild magic latches on to the 'tame' magic of the monster slayer, and as their magic grows and evolves (magic grows with you, you see) the magic of the monster is organized and takes on another form, eventually becoming a companion.

TL;DR: Anyone who kills a monster, or multiple monsters, will eventually gain a Companion; a magical creature born of the lingering essence (Remnant) that attaches to whoever slew it. However, any serious adventurer or monster slayer will then be able to gain an army of little friends, and I really want to avoid this; what's the fun in reading about someone sitting back while their animal 'companions' take care of their enemies for them? Therefore, my question is How Can I Limit Monster Slayers to a Reasonable Number of Companions So They Can't Form Animal Armies?

In more specific terms, How Can I Limit Monster Slayers From Gaining Too Many Animal Companions When They're Obtained By Slaying Monsters?

Additional Information:

  1. Monster slayer and adventurer mean the same thing for the purposes of this question, since adventurers are known for slaying monsters.
  2. By animal companion, I mean the standard RPG variety; a creature that accompanies someone and obeys their commands. These can be ordinary (like a wolf), somewhat fantastical (like a hornet the size of a poodle), or flat-out extraordinary (a giant red dragon).
  3. As already stated, Companions are created between the interactions between a slayer's magic (this magic is manifested as an RPG-style Class) and a monster's Remnant (AKA lingering magical essence) as the slayer gains Levels. Levels are an expression of one's personal growth, gained by experience and monster slaying (since slaying monsters enhances one's magic). In other words, it takes time (and Levels) to gain a Companion after slaying a monster.

Finally, I appreciate your input and feedback, thank you all so much! If you decide to VTC or down-vote, please give me an explanation so I can improve this post and others.

  • $\begingroup$ If you see a problem with the question, please let me know. $\endgroup$ – Alendyias Feb 16 at 21:31
  • $\begingroup$ This reads like a question of game mechanics rather than worldbuilding. $\endgroup$ – sphennings Feb 16 at 22:28
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    $\begingroup$ If you're looking for an in world justification for a game mechanic you'll want to describe that mechanic in detail. As written you're asking about game balance which isn't related to the world itself. $\endgroup$ – sphennings Feb 16 at 22:39
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    $\begingroup$ Perhaps when a magical number is reached, the companions merge? Or, perhaps, a monster slayer's alignment / attributes only allow her so many companions in total or so many in a particular category. Maybe some people really find it difficult to obtain even one companion? $\endgroup$ – elemtilas Feb 16 at 23:04
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    $\begingroup$ @elemtilas: Very insightful! Your idea of merging companions reminds me of Merge Dragons, a game I had on my cell phone. Limiting the number and type of potential companions is also a really good idea. Thanks for your suggestions, I really appreciate them! $\endgroup$ – Alendyias Feb 16 at 23:43

New remnants from a warrior's recent slays may not get along with the warriors current companions leading to an often lethal fight among those companions. And since as the warrior grows in power, he tends to fight and defeat stronger monsters, the new companions are often stronger than those who already serve. It is hard to build an army when each new recruit kills off all of the existing soldiers.

  • $\begingroup$ Ah, I didn't consider the social aspect! Additionally, having new Companions be stronger than those one already has would be a nice constraint. Good answer, thank you! $\endgroup$ – Alendyias Feb 16 at 21:38
  • $\begingroup$ However, while this will certainly make life difficult for someone trying to build a Companion army, they still can. Yes, they may have to supervise certain Companions so they don't kill each other, but they can also command their Companions to not kill each other or stay away from those they don't like. $\endgroup$ – Alendyias Feb 16 at 21:50
  • $\begingroup$ Additionally, while stronger companions will be used more often for monster fighting, who's to say the old companions won't be kept on for sheer numbers, or for old time' sake, or for reliability in a pinch? Power isn't everything, and sheer numbers is awfully attractive.... $\endgroup$ – Alendyias Feb 16 at 21:52
  • $\begingroup$ How do you build up sheer numbers when each companion after the first is a new companion who won't tolerate its predecessor. As each new one arrives and combat leads to only one remaining, you can never get past having one $\endgroup$ – Henry Taylor Feb 16 at 21:58
  • $\begingroup$ Oh, now that makes sense! Sorry I misunderstood, I see your point now. I'd like people to be able to have more than one Companion, but I suppose as long as they don't infringe on each other's "territory"-their role in the "team", so to speak-they will likely leave each other alone. Hmm....when social rules are so important, sidekicks are going to be a lot more relevant, aren't they? $\endgroup$ – Alendyias Feb 16 at 22:01

Ghosts of Victims Past:

The simplest answer is that companions are weak, and are simply killed as they follow around the adventurer doing what they do - killing monsters. But I don't think that's what you want.

From your description, I would say that perhaps a reasonable percentage of these generated entities are biased by the death of their former host. They attach themselves to the new host, but in a negative way. So instead of an embodied little friend, your adventurer is haunted by a vengeful spirit.

This can take many forms. Perhaps the spirit takes the form of someone the adventurer knew, or the monster the adventurer killed. It feeds off the fears and anxieties of the adventurer, keeping them up at night, breaking things, alerting enemies, etc.

The "fix" for haunting is an exorcism. But an exorcism frees ALL bound spirits. Those freed and not staying repopulate the adventurer's world with fantastical creatures. Very special spirits/companions (like friends) stay with the adventurer out of loyalty, not obligation. These best friends may even be able to absorb some of the additional energy released by the deaths of all the monsters the adventurer kills (thus growing in power over time) - or perhaps the energy of the driven-off immaterial ghosts. This solves the problem of companions gradually becoming outclassed as the adventurer grows in power.

An adventurer seeking to build an army of companions must deal with an angry crowd of vengeful spirits that keep piling up. If they can win over their companion's loyalties, they keep them. But if you let them go and they don't come back, it was never meant to be.

  • $\begingroup$ Insightful and creative, +1! If you have a hard time recruiting help, sooner or later you'll give up and stick with what you have, and I didn't think of Companions being able to level up! $\endgroup$ – Alendyias Feb 16 at 23:01

Companions keep their own kills energy, causing them to grow stronger and more independent. If a warrior was to use his companions to kill everything, they would eventually grow stronger than their master and break free... thereby returning that wild energy to the ecosystem to be slain by someone else.

This also works with the @henry-taylor's suggestion that they fight amongst themselves... as they grow more powerful they jockey for position... sometimes to the death.

  • $\begingroup$ Ah, this is an intriguing idea! Treat your Companions well, and they'll stick with you after they grow strong enough to go out on their own. Treat them badly and they'll eventually leave you, if not betray you. $\endgroup$ – Alendyias Feb 16 at 23:42

The energy is also used for healing summoned companions.

Me and my two summoned dogs are fighting a dragon with 100hp. My bow hits it for 10 damage. Dog one goes for the jugular for 40hp and throws the dragon off balance. Dog 2 goes for the exposed underbelly and drains hp to 0.

I get 10% of the energy if I'd killed the thing myself, my two dogs get the remaining 40 and 50, which they use to heal themselves.

This makes total sense as their existence is powered by that magic, so when damaged, they use it for healing. (They can keep a surplus in reserve and use it to heal later should they get over 100% health)

I can totally build a massive army if they never fight. As soon as they fight, the army stops growing in size. If I have one companion and use them wisely theyll accumulate massive reserve energy and fight valiantly in a big battle. If I focus on army building my companions will die like flies in the same battle because they lack healing energy.

  • $\begingroup$ Ah, so fighting monsters with Companions would take energy away from Companion creation! Good idea, this would be quite good in a story (and also allow someone to heal a Companion in a bind if they're willing to lose some HP....). $\endgroup$ – Alendyias Feb 17 at 17:53

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