Companions in my opinion can truly make a good game great or long and tedious. Having fun and different companions in your party who interact with the PC and the other NPCs can add a whole new depth to a game. Each companion needs to have their own personality and reason for being in the party. Interjections are also a must. The companions need to let you know their opinions and feelings throughout the game. These are some of the ideas that I have tried to keep in mind while designing and writing the dialog for the Risen Hero companions.
Currently there are five companions available to the PC. Some will come forward and offer their assistance while others will only join under certain circumstances It is likely that when playing this game not all the companions will be willing to join the PC's party. This will be determined through choices in conversations as well as alignment and class, one companion even has a random 50/50 chance in a conversation to join you. Each companion will have thier own back story some will be more elaborate and other will only be revealed in bits and pieces throughout the game. From the start of the story you will be warned about your companions, some will help you and others will betray and try to use or destroy you.
The majority of the companions (currently all but one) have their own class packages with feat and skills. They were chosen based on the companions personalities and history as well as to allow some to multiclass later in the game.
The MOTB influence system has be used and their influence amount will show up on their character sheets. Currently there are no influence feats and I don't even think that I will be using a system similar to the MOTB influence feats. Current plans are to grant some companions special powers/feats based on influence through conversation.
All companions will be added and removed from the party through conversation. They will remain at the location when you dump them unless you have some base of operations and then you have the choice to leave them or send them back.
A lot of time has been spent on companion conversations. There is a common conversation skeleton that is the same with all companions -History/background, -skills and abilities, -Area information/recommendations and -Opinions of party members. These four groups each have dynamic replies from your companions that continue to evolve throughout the game.
A relationship/friendship system is also being established between the different companions. Currently the main backbone script for this has been written. During conversation the companions will interact with you and each other and this will have a positive or negative effect relationship. Most of these changes you the PC are the catalyst that can either improve or destroy these relationships. Other characters will slowly built a mutual hatred of each other despite your best efforts to make them get along. There are only a limited number of relationships between companions for the simple reason that managing too many would be a nightmare for the player and me writing the stupid conversations. This system still has a lot of work to be done but I feel the companions and the game play will greatly benefit from it.
So this is the end of my rambling post on companions.