NPC stat progression

If I take them along with me, will they gain stats (unarmed, dodge etc) through experience?

no. they are static.

I’ve seen an NPC have more levels to offer in training some skills after fighting some zombies. I think I might have also seen them increase their cooking skill over time, but I may be remembering wrong.

I was thinking of rallying up a bit of a posse but if their skills are static then they’ll just progressively become more and more of a burden… for now at least, let’s see what the dev’s have up their sleeves.

IIRC I think they do, I remember using the debug menu to check an NPC and then checking again after they’d engaged in some combat and I think the relevant stat had increased a bit. I could be wrong, through.