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:icongeneral-ebonrose: More from General-EbonRose

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Written and Typography by NikitaDarkstar


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July 28, 2011
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My DMPC will not be the party leader.
My DMPC will not be as important as the PCs.
My DMPC will be whatever the party needs them to be.

My DMPC's moods will not reflect my own.
My DMPC will be as much a slave to the Dice as the PCs are.
My DMPC can die.

My DMPC will not have all the solutions.
My DMPC will be underpowered.
My DMPC is not perfect.

My DMPC is a support character.
I say DMPC, because D&D is what I play, but really, it could be GMPC as well. I tread fragile ground.

Anyway, I noticed I was getting pretty bad with the Inevitable (my DMPC in Black Earth), so I made myself up some rules to follow. A visual thing so I don't forget you know? Originally they were going to be geared more specifically to that character, but then I realized it would be better if they weren't, and maybe other people could take some wisdom from this.

I was hesitant to have a DMPC at all (i've never done it before), but my PCs party constantly argues and can take upwards of two hours to decide a course of action. Seriously, they once spent an hour buying breakfast... from a bread shop.
Edit Thank you, everyone, for your wonderful advice - really, great suggestions for me to try and adapt to my style of DMing.

I had hoped the resulting discussion would have been more about GMPCs in general than about how to handle slow PCs. I love my players, I really do. I'm a very lucky DM to have a group of people that work so well together (even if that work is slow).

I also feel inclined to give a bit more description as to why I included a DMPC in my game, since it seems like some people are under the impression it was just to moderate the PC party.

He's a tool to introduce more adventures - a time-traveler (this was the original concept). I'll admit I pretty much stole the idea from Doctor Who - but I wanted to be able to jump my players around settings and get them to the action.

I really want to play. I... never get to be a player. I've never been a player in a game that lasted more than 2-3 sessions. Having this character lets me have a way to interact with the game from the other side as well. I've got NPCs, sure, but they're not really... the same... They don't stick around long, they don't follow the same rules... /Edit
I'll write up rules for him specifically later (being a time-traveler he really needs them, lest I get confused and contradict myself every other session). Also, his personality has gotten a bit wonky - which is really saying something since he's completely mad. (He's a generally cheerful fellow, but the PCs are just.... so obnoxious.)
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shelly4fun Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2012
Having never played any of these types of games and knowing very little to nothing about them, I've come across these rules with a different perspective. After reading that a DMPC is a support character; I feel that I have something to add. In real life, I believe that this describes all 'support' characters: family/friends, teachers/mentors, soldiers/police officers and most importantly - each other. We can all share in the wisdom that has been gained from games like this and others, just remember not to let the game outshine your reality. Play on players!! :-)
General-EbonRose Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2012  Student Digital Artist
hiahia2323 Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2012
I dm and play a char in the party. yeah i follow the rules because it's only fair to the other players. I myself am the pure support char anyways (the school of magic my guy specializes in is healing) and of course that makes him the cleric.
General-EbonRose Featured By Owner Mar 20, 2012  Student Digital Artist
It can be hard sometimes, esp. if you really love the character.
hiahia2323 Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2012
it's SO hard especially when I just wanna say, "And my character instantly kills Orcus with an arrow to the knee. Game over. I win." My god i just realized that my friends are max level and everything and haven't even fought orcus yet. they have the gear and items, so why not use the scenario I have set up already to have them eventually fight him? also, any tips with the encounter and rulings with major artifacts would be amazing, as one of my friends has the gold dragon sphere or whatever it's called and the ranger of the team has the wailing diamond. normally i dont have these things in my campaigns but they played a legendary kind of campaign (custom one that i didnt make, think as difficult as the original Tomb of Horrors. dear god, the orb of annihilation in the statue's mouth brings back nightmares.) and ended up with the things on two of the loot table rolls for the major encounters.
General-EbonRose Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2012  Student Digital Artist

I'm not sure I can offer any advice. The the items get make it hard for you to run the game, consider trying to come up with some clever way to limit them? Like, maybe they once belonged to some epic wizard, and their use somehow awakens him or corrupts the player or something? Something interesting atleast.

I hardly ever use artifacts like that. I usually make up my own (which gives me greater control over how they are used, and helps keep players from busting up my game with them). Granted, I am blessed with a really great group (especially for roleplaying).

I've always wanted to run the Tomb of Horrors, but I think I'd have to do the conversion myself from the orgiginal, I've heard mixed things about the newer versions.
hiahia2323 Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2012
well I added -2 to saves, -4 to will saves from possessing the gold dragon orb, and only a remove curse can undo that. the wailing diamond thing grants 2 negative levels that can only be removed when the diamond is transfered to another owner.
NikitaDarkstar Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
I'm one of those people who actually like it when my DM runs a PC too. Why? Because it honestly feels more like it's a cooperative game then instead of getting to a "us vs him" sort of deal. But I've always been lucky and had responsible DM's that have been able to handle a DMPC without overpowering it, under powering it (that can be just as bad!) or anything else, it's just been one more character, nothing more, nothing less. But it sounds like you're the responsible type too if you're noticing the issue (especially if noone has pointed it out yet) and set about to do something about it.
General-EbonRose Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2011  Student Digital Artist
I've done the PC vs DM thing before, and it doesn't always work badly - as long as it's all mutual and no one's an ass about it. Same could be said of pretty much anything though. I wasn't a big fan of that though (however, I still design my combat encounters with this attitude - my goal being to bring them as close to dead as I can without killing them, for tough fights like bosses and such anyway)

About the underpowered thing: Yea. I deliberately gave him a shitty build (he's level 11 and my PCs are level 5, and they're pretty even atm), but when he joined up with the party, I started worrying that he'd be a burden because he was TOO terrible. Easy fix, I switched his con(8) and his str(12), boosted his HP by 22, and decreased his damage at the same time. Makes him and his feats much more effective - his role is combat is pretty much to be a meat-shield (with a feat that lets him jump in front of attacks and raise his allies AC). It's good for the party since they only had one tank - who was constantly getting KOed in every single fight.

Thanks, and no one did mention it =) I realized it happened when I was laying down for bed that night - and was reflecting about the events of the game. The ones I offended the most were "My DMPC's moods will not reflect my own." and "My DMPC will not have all the solutions." So those are the ones I'm going to work on.
NikitaDarkstar Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Well there needs to be a challenge to be fun, but it shouldn't be an impossible challenge. But I get issues with DM's that actively try their best to kill my character. Sure IC a fight should feel like it's serious, but when the DM starts pulling CR 15's on lvl 5 characters and he understands the rules, then yes I have an issue. If I want to focus more on fighting for my life and less on plot and character development I'll join a horror/survival game. (Granted if you have a group with mostly spell casters pull whatever you want out of your rear... as someone who's played in a group with a sorceror and a druid while playing a wizard I see the issue. :p)

And I do think emotional detachment is the biggest issue for any player, and as a DM it's even more important. I mean I can get away with some of my mood showing through for my notoriously emotionally unstable, snappy, snarky rogue, but a DM really can't. And I suppose the easiest way to avoid the DMPC having all the answers would be to give him a somewhat passive ability. You know he just kinda follows everyone elses lead until someone asks for his opinion or something seems incredibly stupid. Heck for stuff like educated guesses that you as a DM do know the answer to, and your PC might be able to guess you could just roll %dice, the higher the number the more accurate the answer... say anything between 90-100 and it's spot on, anything between 89-60 is more or less but missing/off on something 59-30 is "umm no idea" 29-1 means it sounds very logical and plausible and he seems pretty sure, it's just completely wrong.. or you know whatever numbers sounds good to you, just some sort of personal chart to avoid giving them vital information every time they ask for it unless the plot demands it at that point.
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