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When you obtain a Cohort through the Leadership feat do you roll its stats and generate it like an extra character? Or is it as per the appropriate entry in the Monster Manual?

For example, if I have a blue dragon as my Cohort do I use its Monster Manual entry or do I stat it up as a character using the appropriate modifiers. What about with a human?

I cannot find any material other than the feat text so I have no way to proceed with my current character creation process.

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I had a Wyrmling blue dragon. the situation that prompted the question was when player asked me if I had to use the monster manual entry or Stated up the dragon as a Dragon Character. i didnt see anything in D'nomicon about it so i asked here. – Novian Jul 22 '14 at 3:43
up vote 7 down vote accepted

Cohorts are built as characters, but they aren't built by the player.

The DM determines the details of the cohort. - DMG p106

All of the text that talks about how cohorts are made, and how their level is determined, and how they advance uses the term "level" to talk about cohort power. This strongly indicates to me that cohorts are supposed to be built just like characters are, and advance like characters do.

This means that if you build a character using a monster race, then it likely will have an LA, and thus have less character levels than it otherwise would. Also, the rules say that while you can "try" to get a cohort of a particular race and class, it's ultimately up to the DM what you actually get.

For a blue dragon specifically, there is a table on page 139 of the Draconomicon that says what ECL each dragon is for the purposes of Leadership. You can get a Young Blue Dragon as an ECL 17 cohort, which should tell you just how screwed up the ECL system is. Realistically, you can't get an effective dragon cohort outside of very early levels. Once you get a dragon cohort, it will advance as a character, until it's old enough to advance an age category, and then have its HD and ECL increase, likely to a point beyond what you can have as a cohort.

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Yeah, really a cohort's CR should be the number two less than the player's level. ECL and HD are both totally messed up and will just give you bad results most of the time. – Lokathor Jul 22 '14 at 5:28
That would be an absolutely reasonable houserule. :) – DuckTapeAl Jul 23 '14 at 0:31
Dragon Cohort feat reduces the ECL for the cohort by three (IIRC). Also, asking the DM to possibly allow LA buy off for the Dragon Cohort should help out a little as well. – Ruut Jul 28 '14 at 4:37

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