In the vein of trying to get players to use the portal more, I think allowing them control over more than just their character would help. In my campaign I let every player give some personality to their mount: https://gaximplague.obsidianportal.com/characters
I wanted to give them full control to add more background on their mount but to my discovery when I gave a player ownership of their mount, they lost ownership of their character. So apparently a player can only own one character? (Please let me know if I am wrong!)
To keep it all tight, I put a . in front of the names of the mounts so they are close to the players. (They have stats too so I don't want to scroll everywhere to find them).
As a player I have wanted this too. I play as a warlock that has a familiar and summons lots of fey:
I put the pictures and backgrounds of my familiars and summoned beings in my char bio, but it makes for a LOOOOOONG bio. I would love to have these as seperate characters that I control as a player.
So my suggestion is to not only let players own more characters, but have some mechanism where they are bunched together or form a family tree so you can see who is related to who. like:
. |__ Bryanjar
This could also help in gaems like Dark Sun where you HAVE to create 3 characters as they die so often and you can switch them around depending on who is needed for the quest. Saves the DM havign to change ownership of a character form player to NPC and back when a switch or death happens.
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