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Since the race is the same as the player character's and they have control of this character, I am inclined to let the player decide background and ability score distribution.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I've removed the second question from this post, since we have a one-post, one-question site design. If you have a second question about how subrace is determined separately from who gets to determine it, please ask it as a separate question. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 8, 2017 at 15:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ Asking as a DM, not a player, although it would be useful for both. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 8, 2017 at 19:47

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Do what's fun and enjoyable

Since there are not specific rules, there is considerable latitude to choose an option that the player and you enjoy. For example, the Fighter's archetype and the characters sub race are not specified so there's room to work.

Knight(DMG)

You gain the service of a 4th-level fighter who appears in a space you choose within 30 feet of you. The fighter is of the same race as you and serves you loyally until death, believing the fates have drawn him or her to you. You control this character.

DMG p. 5

The rules don't account for every possible situation that might arise during a typical D&D session. {snip} Part 3 of this book offers a wealth of information to help you adjudicate the rules in a wide variety of situations.

Simple Approach

Offer the player the standard array, and have the player create the character with the simple template/example the PHB offers. Offer the standard equipment, etc. Have the 4th Level ASI be the default. Pick a fighting style: as there is no restriction, there is no reason that this fighter can't be a Battle Master, or Eldritch Knight, etc.

You can pick one, or let the player pick one. It doesn't matter.

From the DM perspective, the more of this you can delegate to the player, the less work for you and the more the player takes an interest in this Character rather than "this piece of cannon fodder."

But why stop there?

  1. Maybe this fighter took a feat at 4th level. (If you allow feats in your game, why not?)
  2. What is this fighter's name?
  3. Does this fighter even come from this world, or was this fighter transported into your campaign world from a different one? (Some Lin Carter(Green Star), Edgar Rice Burroughs(Barsoom), Robert E Howard(Almuric), and John Norman(Gor) novels use that as a trope: someone from earth transported to a different world).

The permutations and variations are nearly boundless. How much detail are you and your player interested in?

The player can come up with a back story that fits with a background, etc, or you can offer a tie-in to some other area of your world/setting that connects this 4th level fighter to someone, somewhere, something, some organization, or from off-world as suggested above. This offers the chance for some rich role play in the future of the campaign, but remember that the player controls this Fighter, which suggests that you can heal this fighter, roll death saving throws, etcetera. Treating the Fighter as an NPC seems to dilute the card and just adds work for you.

Don't stop play for the other players

The character creation on the spot (impromptu) simply provides a fighter, but you have other players. Keep the play moving for them unless you judge that this is a good time for a break. (Then take a break and have the player do a quick build).

Make a ruling and then play on!


There are some pregen characters, levels 1-10, at the WoTC web site, but it may not fit the character's race. While there are only two Fighter's listed, you could choose to stretch it to "any martial" and choose; Human Fighter, Barbarian, Paladin; Wood Elf Ranger; High Elf Fighter; Half Orc Paladin; Halfling Rogue or Monk;

While that saves you a roll up, it doesn't allow for the kind of customization I recommend in the body of the answer. Since the player is playing this character, why not let the Player get the joy of creation? I'd recommend that.

Depending upon time, you could instead have the player roll up stats rather than standard array, or use point buy. Just make sure the game does not come to all stop when this new character arrives.

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RAW text:

Knight: You gain the service of a 4th-level fighter who appears in a space you choose within 30 feet of you. The fighter is of the same race as you and serves you loyally until death, believing the fates have drawn him or her to you. You control this character.

There is not a lot to go on here, except the loyalty part and the race part.

Therefore, this is left up to the GM by RAW.

As a GM (and therefore purely subjectively, YMMV)... I would set the race and subrace to the same as yours, though I would rule that the NPC was not a character you knew, was related to, or had any way of "background-checking" so to speak. They aren't from your home town or related to anyone you have immediate knowledge of. There's not even any RAW guarantee they're from the same world, though they'd be from the same (material) plane, obviously. (I would at least entertain the idea of an off-worlder, but would make sure they spoke Common or whatever the party's primary language was. I'm not an evil GM. No really.)

As for stats, I'd have the GM create the character, using the same rules the PCs used (same dice method, etc.) It wouldn't be a purely random character, so you wouldn't wind up with a fighter who has a high Wis and a low Str for example. And I'd probably work to make sure the PC at least sort of helped fill a niche in the group -- if the group has no ranged combat fighters, then this NPC would probably be focused more on archery than swords, for example.

The rules do not say and you didn't ask. But I would also, as GM, equip the NPC suitably. It would have minimal equipment, but wouldn't show up without arms and armor at least. But he or she probably wouldn't be as well equipped as the party, since she didn't have time to go to the market before being pulled forcibly "by the fates" to help you out.

But this is all subjective ruling and your GM/you may want to do this differently. There are many ways to make this either comedic and/or less helpful for the party (pure random 3d6, no re-arranging stats dice method for example, or showing up wet and naked with a bath sponge in hand and a look of shock. Or...) but as a GM I wouldn't do that, since doing so violates what I see as the spirit/intent of the card's text -- to provide a purely loyal, trustworthy fighter to aid the group.

...though that raises the question: would the PC know how loyal the NPC really was? I suspect not...

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    \$\begingroup\$ Well, in this specific case, the PC is a wizard with a military rank and essentially an elven war hero. So the card, when it came up, gave him a fanboy history buff fighter, with details to hash out later. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 8, 2017 at 19:52

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