My players convinced me to make a DMPC to help them, advice on balance?
Hello everyone! So I'm dm'ing for a party of 2 new people (paladin and sorceress) who had never played before and so far they're having tons of fun! But they kept asking who I was going to play to help them and mentioning that I was playing everyone didn't seem to make them feel better.
So at level 2 after helping the priest save a little girl I introduced them to Emily. A young half elven girl who wanted to get out of her racist podunk town.
Emily was a level 1 Commoner https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B9fwgwF-ROH-STM0czd6Sml1TjA/view She asked awkward questions, can't lie, and they seemed to love her. So they stuck her with a short bow and told her to hang back and hide during a fight and just take pot shots.
So after ten hours of the two level 2 party members keeping poor Emily alive (5 encounters, and one ended up with all of them having 1-4 hit points) , I decided that Emily had finished her time as a commoner and they had earned her a level as a rogue. So now I just want feedback on what rules you guys were thinking I should follow since I don't want her to steal the show.
So that they don't rely on her in encounters too much she doesn't get to be proficient in: Persuasion, insight, deception, intimidation, investigation, or perception.
Also I'm thinking she'll become an arcane trickster and pick up hideous laughter, color spray, and silent image since she'll function as a support character who will help line stuff up for the other two. She never gets a Familiar because she'll steal the spot light.
So basically I'm trying to make her helpful but never steal the spotlight. She'll soften people up but never really get the killing blow and her spells will give advantages to the other two players.
I really don't want her to be in the spotlight unless it's for a specific story reason. So any other rules you guys can suggest I follow to make sure she is helpful/worthwhile to my players but doesn't take the spot light?
Also any suggestions on her level? They are level 3 right now and I can't decide what level to put my rouge at. I worry at the same level my desire to keep her optimized might make her overpowering, 2 levels behind and she'd be too squishy and might feel useless, doing 2d6 while the paladin hits for 5D8 on undead might be odd. One level behind just feels weird since she'd be hitting milestones when they weren't.
Oh and she's just SOO happy to be along and she's used to the simple life of a farmer so won't take much in loot. It's up to them to give her any magical items or gold they think will help her grow stronger.
Sorry for long post, but any suggestions on people who made a DMPC that the players actually liked and enjoyed having?
There are two general rules I follow with DMPCs - in this context referring to a character who sticks with the party for one or more sessions and is built like a player character rather than with an NPC stat block.
Make them a supportive character. You've hit the nail on the head with this, giving her a line of spells that help support the party without overshadowing them. The two times I've had to use a DMPC, they had either a healer role or been acting as general backup.
Don't have them interrupt the party's train of thought. This is an out-of-combat thing that can be relatively easy to handle: basically, don't metagame yourself. Don't have Emily come up with the solutions to puzzles, or come up with the wildly improbable but correct guesses about another NPC's secrets. You may convey to the players that anything she suggests are just in-character secrets and shouldn't be taken as word of god.
Now, I would say keep her level equal to that of the party. If you're making her a rogue, she will be squishy and a stealthy fighter by design. Focus on making her become better at hiding instead of taking hits.
A personal anecdote about this: Having run The Sunless Citadel in 5e, the player party ended up with one (later two) Kobolds fighting alongside them, who basically did two things - attack and move on their turn, and do what they were told to do (within reason).
Don't worry about her being underpowered: remember, that 5d8 a paladin does is a daily resource he has to spend, whereas doing a consistent 2d6 is decent damage for a martial character.
If you're worried about her (or the rest of the party) dying to injuries, you could have her multiclass a level or two into cleric with the same deity as the paladin, with the explanation that she's seen firsthand the power of his faith and wants to protect the others :)
I'm liking these!
Personally I always also make them symbolically weaker on abilities than the players. Not so weak that they become useless but to show that they are not the hero.
Like they may have starter stats like: 15, 13, 10, 10, 10, 8 if a normal PC is a standard array.
I think this helps to put clear in the players minds that THEY are the ones with the power and the main responsibility.
I've never done it but have seen is to allow npc's in battle. Maybe switch who controls her in fights per session? That way it's less you have to do and if she gets a killing blow it won't feel as much as if she's stealing the spot light. Also proficiencies don't matter as you'll just use her to point out something if the miss it or jimmy the occasional lock. I think it's a great idea and wish you luck!
Oh I see!
Well in this case why not keep mukticlassing her into different support classes?
A level here in rogue, another in bard, another in druid, another in cleric... and then you cicle back again.
This way she Will always be behind the other players in terms of power, even If they are on the same level, and at the same time giving you, the DM, plenty of abilities to help your party in every situation.
My party learned of an assassin who was targeting an NPC that they had just recently befriended, so our druid managed to track the would-be killer down by using Locate Object on a specific type of weapon they knew he would be using. They managed to catch the assassin while he was ninja-running across rooftops, so our wizard used Hold Person to make him freeze up mid-jump, causing him to smack his face into a roof and fall to the ground. What followed was a brutal ass-whooping as the assassin repeatedly failed his wisdom throws, which eventually led to him losing consciousness.
Our session left off with him waking up buried neck-deep in the NPC's basement, and I'm intrigued to see what our party goes from here.
"Hey guys, are we beating this dude up?"
"Yeah, get over here!"
Lol, that's true friendship right there.
One point our wonderful DM failed to mention was that the assassin turned out to be an NPC we had just escorted to this town, so we felt partially betrayed by this previously incompetent knight and immediately validated by beating him unconscious.
One time my GM made us interact with the obvious evil guy as a mock employer, so we just dragged the first guy who tried to kill us back to him and immediately triggered the boss battle:
Thug: Hey, that's the guy that hired me to do all those awful things!
Class comparison: Wizard v sorcerer
What are some pros and cons of being a wizard or sorc. And which one would you choose if starting a long term campaign?
It depends on Werther you want a wide verity of spells and utility which is wizard. Or a lesser selection of spell but better control of those spells which is sorcerer
As a DM, I always recommend wizard over sorcerer as that one can learn new spells from scrolls or books, allowing me to feed in fuller list of spells to the player. Sorc player usually concentrates only on combat spells, making the class one-sided and relatively unsuitable to my games.
Personality I’d go sorcery just for meta magic because it lets you just screw around with spell effects
Wizard is for having a lot of spells and being able to specialize in a certain school. Sorcerer is for only having a couple of spells, but you can make them extra effective. Basically, if you want to have the right spell for every occasion, go wizard. If you want to use the same spells every combat and squeeze the most damage out of them, go Sorcerer.
DM: "Okay. Well, I play with assumed competence. The good news is that your dick? Totally average. Six incher, not too thin, gets the job done." turns to everyone else "All of you? Just abso-fucking-lutely enormous."
Female Player A: "Wot, even me?" DM: "ESPECIALLY you."
Male Player B: "We're not even rolling?" DM: "For the sake of expediency, I'm assuming you're all taking 10."
My friends and I were dicking around in our discord group with the text to speech option (/tts if you didn't know) when I remembered we had gotten a DND5e bot a while back.
So I thought I'd be a bit immature and decide to roll to see what I got.
the bot straight up roasts me and i thought it would be funny to share my misfortune here.
Baby Pimp is myself and Paladin Terry is my friend.
Baby Pimp and Paladin Terry sounds like a buddy-cop show I would absolutely watch.
Lady player B: I'll definitely be taking 10. So that means I actually take 6 tho, right?
New player, was really excited to play, but the first campaign was just... really boring?
So, let me preface this by saying: I've been wanting to try DnD for a handful of years now, originally an ex of mine was going to teach me and introduce me to his friends, but that never happened in the end(that was a couple of years ago, not too hung up on that or anything). I listen to a couple of podcasts that include DnD (Harmontown, The Adventure Zone namely), so when I was invited after not playing for so long I was pretty excited.
About 2 weeks in advance the DM and I sat down to go over the rules and to flesh out my character, skills and class and whatnot, and to go a little in depth about the universe we were playing in so that I would be reasonably prepared when I started; then went out and grabbed a set of dice for myself. I even tried drawing my character and asked a few questions to generally comply within the world (i didn't want to look stupid for messing anything up.
Anyhow, I went for the first campaign just tonight, and I didn't really get to do anything other than repeatedly attack npcs for a whopping 3 turns in 5 hours. For the first 3 hours I wasn't allowed to play. I kept asking occasionally when I could join, but the DM kept saying "you'll join soon, I have a plan". Even other players kept trying to suggest how my character could join into the group, some of which sounded pretty fun (eg. one of the kidnapped victims they found, or through criminal connections) but he kept shutting them down.
By the time 3 hours passed (with nothing but combat spamming, no story to listen to, and obviously couldn't just browse reddit or anything because it'd be rude), I'm finally placed into the game, naked and weaponless and apparently fighting on the side of there enemy (i had suggested that I could've been fighting with the enemy a couple of hours earlier, but again it was shut down for this).
I still tried to give the benefit of the doubt, because hey people get carried away. After all of my previous companions are defeated, we start to talk about how and why my character would even join the group, seeing as they were suppose to be enemies. I find the role playing and story telling aspects to be my favorite part, so i was initially happy that we could semi-realistically integrate an enemy rouge into a new member. Instead,we were cut off by one person casting a friendship spell (?) and rolling to decide that i was automatically friends with everyone now. I can get that the story does need to continue, but is the 2 minutes we were talking really warrant that kind of frustration and skipping over the relationships entirely?
Anyhow I don't even get another turn until about an hour later (table of 6 playing). At that point I pretty much zoned out, and had to ask what was even going on at that point. The DM texted me privately to tell me to ask for a weapon from another player, which didn't feel in character for me (the only ~loner type~ distrusting stranger in the group (loner was definitely not the correct word I was going for). When I didn't, apparently he told someone else to give me the sword that they just earned (and I have a strength of 8, so not particularly my style so far). For the next 2 turns I had, I was basically told what to do ( I asks if I could retreat, or use firebreath instead of using the sword, but I was told that it was my only option.) (edit, for clarification I was eventually allowed to use firebreath and retreat for my 2 turns after getting some support from other players)
I feel like I have no agency over my story and how my character act, like they just needed a stock character to fight for them, rather than an individual with character traits and a back story. Should i true being more assertive? Or should I just ditch entirely and look around for a better group (after 5 hours I'm not remotely invested in this half baked story). I'm also probably going to talk with the dm again beforehand if I do vo again.
Tl;dr New player who's excited about role-play and story,; now just feels like a naked jackass rolling a d20 repeatedly. Stay and persevere or ditch? (or any other advice)
Edit: Will definitely try to talk it out and go for one more session, but if its more of the same I'll simply find a better group (also edited fo grammar, am on mobile)
That sounds like a shitty DM,a very boring and haphazardly put together story, and a bad handle on game mechanics. Id leave that group.
It sounds like the other players werent that bad, but that DM doesnt know what hes doing. The game can be so much more fun than this, i promise.
I think you know the answer to your question. You sat around a table for hours with little to nothing to do, were allowed no agency or control over your character, and were bored and frustrated the whole time. Find another game. This doesn't sound like the group for you.
I'd first talk to the DM and bring up your concerns. Give him a chance to hear them out and make it up to you. If he doesn't or isn't willing to try and work with you, look for another group.
Seems like a bad group to join as a new player. I will comment on the first part to begin with. Generally there are two types of DMs for introducing new players, or actually three. One is that you magically appear in the group and just continue playing as if you were always there. Second is that they introduce you as quickly as possible and then third they introduce you at a set point that they already decided beforehand. You seem to have happened upon the last one. I am actually in three different groups where they have one of each of these. I can see the advantages of each, however the last one needs to be improved otherwise you sit there doing nothing for so long.
Next I will comment on Friendship spell. There is no such thing, unless they mean the Friend spell. If they do, that does not mean you become friendly with the group all of the sudden. So that introduction was way off base. I have no clue what the DM was thinking in this situation to introduce you as the enemy. Especially since you had no clue about it before it even happened I am guessing.
And lastly, you should be able to decide how your character should act. Sure they might give you a sword because you were unarmed. However you should be allowed to use your other skills if you have any if you wanted to. I mean if they had given a sword to a Wizard doesn't mean the Wizard can't use his spells if he wanted to (assuming he met the spell requirements). In this situation since you might know your character better than them you should just have told them that you use your Firebreath (guessing you are a Dragonborn?).
With all of this said, do you think it will be better next time? If not, then leave and get a new group.
"Be sure to drink your Ovaltine?"
My players are starting to find letters written in a mysterious script and encoded with a Caesar cypher.
To help make translating and deciphering these easier, I modelled and 3D printed a cypher disk, finishing it with rub n buff to give it a much more metallic copper look with matte areas to create a weathered effect. I used a Sharpie to highlight the letters and symbols and personally I'm really pleased with the final result.
Edit: Just noticed the typo in the title, my bad!
Edit 2: There was a pretty big demand for a link to the STL files so here you go: https://drive.google.com/open?id=18P2cmMb-l5Xfs-XnB5kEK0prOiILRJJc I found printing at 300% to be a good size for me (going too much smaller than this meant the characters did not all make it onto the gcode file) and 0.2mm layer height worked perfectly too - no supports needed but I did print with a brim and did a generous amount of sanding before painting. My initial design was based heavily off the decoder ring by sat481 but I ended up essentially recreating it from scratch for the final design you see here.
Virtual Cypher: https://imgur.com/a/jIBaT I created a "virtual" version of the cypher so that as a DM I didn't have to print my own (although you know I inevitably will!) to write the texts. You can create one easily by copying both these images into a desktop publishing software (even Powerpoint) and simply rotating the inner disk.
A crummy commercial
This is Mathias Ramazi, Tiefling Paladin of Zariel, the Archdevil of the first layer of Hell. He grew up in a city that worshipped Loviatar whom Mathias renounced and now follows Zariel completely.
Easiest way to describe his personality is two-faced. He's currently traveling and is in a party of "do-gooders," and has to blend to get what he wants and needs done. They believe he worships a "Burning Angel" and have no true idea that he in reality serves an Archdevil. So with a smile on his face, he does his work in the background.
A few things to note: he uses the Thaumaturgy cantrip to set his eyes ablaze. He carries with him a Bronze Horn of Valhalla, as having a small army of Beserkers at your beck and call is always useful, and has been used to some good effectiveness. The holy symbol around his neck depicts an angel. And lastly, that is a greatsword.
If you like my art you can see more of it on my Tumblr.
I can get behind a tiefling paladin that tricks people into thinking he's good. I don't like most of the newer versions of tieflings and feel like they created a race of drizzts that look like draenei from WoW. Your paladin is pretty freaking sweet! Kudos.
All that and no mention of the sweet looking shield he's using? It looks like the remnants of a larger circular object. Like a giant holy symbol he uses literally to shield himself from harm.
True. But its definitely not a typical paladin.
As DM we rarely get a chance to embody and fall 100% into a SINGLE character like our PCs do. I wanted to illustrate a piece that fit into the set im illustrating that represented the DM.
I added a number of masks along the side of his oversized pack to switch in and out of NPCs. He’s carrying weapons and armor, magical items and potions of all sorts. His tome brings to life the world and the dangers in it. The gem in his belt priceless; it is fait. His cloak a blank slate. A canvas to be made into anything. At least his boots are comfortable and broken in.
It seems like you’ve met a terrible fate....
Kinda reminds me of the happy mask salesman from majoras mask
Those were masks? I thought those were the heads of former party members that pissed him off.
Needs a dice backpack bag. And a pseudodragon familiar (no, seriously. Do you realize how obnoxious those little bastards are?)
10 year old female DM killin' it! [OC]
Now, listen, OP. The 10 year old girl DM is very cute and all, but let's all be honest - she's not the star of this show.
He is sooo friggin relatable.
That is the face of pure emotion. In its purest, most purified form. The feeling of total distraught.
That's the face you make when the DM tells you to make a save you're not proficient in and have a -1.
That's the face you make, when the DM asks an empty caster how he's planning to avoid this huge boulder rolling towards them.
That's the face the player playing the Life Cleric makes, when he has no more spellslots left, but the Fighter charges at 10 enemies again.
That's the face the player makes, when the quest item costs 1000gp more than they got.
That's the face you make, when you can't persuade the party that charging at an adult dragon isn't the best idea.
It's fucking amazing.
Big thumbs up and kudos for this kid.
The rest are pretty dope, too.
Last night my daughter unleashed her one-shot on friends and family. With a flip of her hair, fire roaring behind her, she threaded magic and intrigue into a tapestry of fantastic delight. Her story of the Candy Queen's stolen crown was part investigation and part swashbuckling adventure. The group discovered that the evil Jawbreaker Gang had taken the enchanted item to their hideout in the mountainous cavern known as the "Man Cave" in order to harness its magical power for their own evil plans. After a pitched battle with a giant Sour Patch Kid, stinging from the citric acid spray attack... they rooted out the Gang and defeated its leader to return the crown to its rightful owner!
I saw him as the "What modifier do I add again" guy.
Looool... You nailed this. I was thinking the same thing. The purest look of "What the actual fuuu...." on that face.
Poor Tonka. :(
How to read dungeons and doggos: first, read the words. Then, go through again looking at the face of the dragon on the DM screen.
It's a tragedy. :( But these doggos have been faced with bad situations before! I bet they will get through it. :)
Joke's on the cat. He'll be begging Tonka to take the kazoo back once the kittens get a hold of it.