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1

I had something similar happen to me when I was playing, my char had already taken the Leadership feat and had a dog trained for battle. I critically succeeded the Handle Animal check on a hyena after slaughtering its goblin owner. My DM handled it by treating the hyena like an NPC. His level matched my own. But he would not follow us and engage in battle, ...


2

TL;DR: Usually, the same as the average level of the other PCs. But, a new player with no D&D experience should learn the ropes with a level 1 character first. They'd most likely need to gain some levels with that character before joining your 9th-level party. The Dungeon Master's Guide actually has something to say on this very topic. On page 134, ...



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