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I'm adapting the FrozenSick campaign from the Explorer's Guide to Wildermount to version 3.5. It's going to be the first campaign I play as a DM. The party consists of only 2 players, a warlock and a dragon shaman; the warlock's player is pretty experienced while the other one is totally new to the game (and to roleplaying in general).

While I don't want to steal the players' spotlight, I'm worried that fights could get rough without any other character, so I'm considering adding an NPC who could support them in battle, but I'm having trouble choosing the class.

My addition would primarly be a supporter and/or a utility character (buffer, debuffer, healer...).

As far as manuals are concerned, I'm using PH, PH2 and the Complete Series (all four).

Which class choice could best fit my situation, considering that the characters' level goes from level 1 to level 3-4 through the campaign?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Hi StarCrossed and welcome to the RPGSE! Is there a reason you settled on adding a henchment as opposed to just granting a level or two above the recommended level or reducing the difficulty of the combats? If you're porting the whole campaign back to 3.5, it seems to me that you're going to be having to a lot of fiddling in the first place. If you haven't already, I encourage you to read more about this site's format by taking the tour or reading the help center Again, welcome! :) \$\endgroup\$ – Rykara Sep 18 '20 at 20:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ There's no particular reason actually, if I can't manage to find a good supporting character I'll consider maybe granting them 1 or 2 levels... I just wanted them to feel the whole 'leveling up experience'. Thanks for the suggestion though! \$\endgroup\$ – StarCrossed Sep 19 '20 at 16:36
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Bard is the obvious choice, and it’s a good one. Inspire courage is good at 1st. Inspirational boost (swift action to add +1 to inspire courage, 1st-level bard spell, Spell Compendium) is available from 2nd level, as is cure light wounds, which is good enough for healing. Even at 1st, a bard can also zap wand of cure light wounds, which is really the best way to handle healing in the game anyway. At 3rd, you could go with the Song of the Heart (permanent +1 to inspire courage, feat, Eberron Campaign Setting), though honestly that might be too much.

Other obvious options would be some kind of spellcaster—cleric, obviously, though wizard or druid could be just as good. Certainly very good, but more work to run as an NPC, and the biggest advantages aren’t until higher levels anyway.

To go a different route, you could consider some kind of mundane lockdown build, a barbarian or fighter or knight with Combat Reflexes, Improved Trip and a guisarme. No healing that way—maybe dip cleric so you can zap a wand—but can offer some solid zone defense. Still, might be a little spotlight-intensive for a DMPC.

Anyway, my vote goes to the bard, the inspire courage is a great bonus that is a nice background feature, and spells and wands provide a nice way to offer some utility to the party.

Closing thought: dragon shaman is a really poor class. Perhaps recommend that player consider the dragonfire adept from Dragon Magic—extremely similar concept, much better design. It can even get the dragon shaman’s draconic auras if desired, though its own invocations are generally better.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, supporting a dragon shaman without overshadowing it is going to be pretty difficult, not least because dragon shaman is itself a support class (inasmuch as it's anything). \$\endgroup\$ – Miniman Sep 19 '20 at 0:37

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