It's my first time DMing and my naive friend was asking to get a dragon as his beast companion. I immediately shut him down and redirected him to the proper place in the PHB to find CR 1/4 beasts.

He found the psuedodragon and asked me if he could get that instead (It is CR 1/4 but is not a beast type). I told him he could if he is a dragonborn.

Will this pose problems in the future?
How will I make the dragon more powerful as he levels?
Finally, a more general question since I'm new to DMing; what do I do if it dies?
I don't care too much about sticking to the rules as they are written so feel free to mention any house rules you have or experiences you have had with this kind of situation.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I do not see any good reasons for the "opinion" close votes. There are mechanical, game balance concerns with selecting a non-beast animal companion. \$\endgroup\$ – T.J.L. Feb 28 '18 at 13:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ Are you asking about mechanical and balance problems? \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Feb 28 '18 at 14:14

Since the Pseudodragon is still CR 1/4 I don't see there being too many problems with this. I don't think the creature's type is going to make any huge difference regarding balance or gameplay.

The main things that jump out at me from its stat block are that it can do extra poison damage on a save, but then so can the Giant Centipede, which is a CR 1/4 beast (and probably other CR 1/4 beasts, but that's the first one I found), so that's fine. The other is the resistance to magic (meaning that it has advantage on saving throws).

In the Monster Manual pg 254, there is mention of a Variant: Pseudodragon Famaliar, which allows the PC to share the Magic Resistance trait. I would not allow this as this particular Pseudodragon isn't strictly a familiar, it's a "beast" companion via the Beastmaster class feature (I assume that's how your player is going to be getting a beast companion?).

So avoiding the Variant should keep this balanced (since having free advantage against magic would most definitely make this an overpowered alternative to standard CR 1/4 beasts).

Regarding what happens if it were to die, the PHB (pg 93) says for the Ranger's Companion:

If the beast dies, you can obtain another one by spending 8 hours magically bonding with another beast that isn't hostile to you

So if you're happy for another Pseudodragon to turn up when they're about to take a long rest, then become friends with the Dragonborn ranger during that long rest, that would seem balanced enough (although technically it wouldn't be able to help with any fights until the long rest had been completed, since they haven't "bonded" yet).

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    \$\begingroup\$ My biggest concern is the fly speed, but plenty of classes can get access to weird familiars, so it should be fine. \$\endgroup\$ – goodguy5 Feb 28 '18 at 14:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ @goodguy5 Since beasts like hawks are RAW options for Beastmaster companions, fly speed shouldn't have a huge impact, although I could mention that in the answer... I'll update it when I have more time... \$\endgroup\$ – NathanS Feb 28 '18 at 14:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ But those aren't generally as smart as a player and capable of complex intellectual tasks. I've generally viewed Beastmaster to be a bit weak, so I still think it's fine. It's just something to consider. \$\endgroup\$ – goodguy5 Feb 28 '18 at 15:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ @goodguy5 That's a good point, flight and intelligence. In that case, I might leave that apsect of the answer to Jesse1018, who goes into the intelligence side of things more... \$\endgroup\$ – NathanS Feb 28 '18 at 15:27

From an RP perspective, keep in mind the pseudodragon has an intelligence of 10, not 1-2 like an animal. Imagine the attitude of an arrogant cat that has human level intelligence. It might have it's own ideas on what you should or shouldn't be doing, especially as it pertains to putting itself in danger. It may come to resent being treated like a pet when it thinks of itself as your equal (or your better).

(Edit) To answer your questions better:

  1. This should not present a problem in the future.

  2. The HP, AC, and DC progression of Ranger Beastmaster companion is listed on PHB p93. The pseudodragon will not be unbalanced using that progression.

  3. This is my personal opinion, but replacing an intelligent life form isn't the same as replacing a pet. I'd recommend resurrection or finding a new type of beast.

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    \$\begingroup\$ That's just called "a roleplaying opportunity". ;-) \$\endgroup\$ – goodguy5 Feb 28 '18 at 14:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'd also suggest some restructuring of your answer to make it more clearly and directly address OP's question. Welcome to rpg.stackexchange. \$\endgroup\$ – goodguy5 Feb 28 '18 at 14:10

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