D&D 5E If the DM plays his own PC is it ok for the party to kill him and take his stuff?

I have played in a campaign where an npc was gradually becoming a DMPC. A character that would always force themselves into every quest, have access to very powerful abilities and equipment, and force our party to do things we didn't want to do. Like if we neglected to investigate something in the room, the npc would investigate it before we left.

It quickly became very annoying. But we never considered murdering the npc. We're all adults, so we addressed our grievances outside the game. And the DM also took this as an adult, listened to our feedback, and made changes to accomodate our group's wishes...

...I'm just kidding. He threw a tantrum, blamed most of us for the problems, and refused to take any of our criticism to heart. Then he just stopped the campaign.
 

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Oofta

Legend
I have played in a campaign where an npc was gradually becoming a DMPC. A character that would always force themselves into every quest, have access to very powerful abilities and equipment, and force our party to do things we didn't want to do. Like if we neglected to investigate something in the room, the npc would investigate it before we left.

It quickly became very annoying. But we never considered murdering the npc. We're all adults, so we addressed our grievances outside the game. And the DM also took this as an adult, listened to our feedback, and made changes to accomodate our group's wishes...

...I'm just kidding. He threw a tantrum, blamed most of us for the problems, and refused to take any of our criticism to heart. Then he just stopped the campaign.
Well, at least the good outcome had a chance of being reality. I can't imagine that ganking the NPC and taking there stuff would have led to a positive result either.

I know that as a DM I've made mistakes in the past that we discussed as a group. Same with players doing things that the rest of the group found annoying. Sometimes treating issues like an adult and having a conversation about it actually works. Shocking, I know.
 

Well, at least the good outcome had a chance of being reality. I can't imagine that ganking the NPC and taking there stuff would have led to a positive result either.
I agree with this as well. One of the difficult lessons that I’m trying to instill in my youngest son is that even if the other guy is being unfair, responding immaturely in kind generally doesn’t fix anything, it just makes things worse for everyone.
 

This was me for my first decade or so of gaming. I just didn't have enough players at first, and then it became a habit. I always tried to make sure that they were support characters, Moonglums to the parties' Elrics, so to speak. But as you said, that was still time and effort that could've been better spent bringing the game world to life. What broke me of the habit was actually 4e, when there was so much to keep track of that I just couldn't add a DMPC onto all that and I've never looked back since.

This. At my table, I have to run a DMPC, because we don't always have enough players. However, I have made it known that if anybody wants to run multiple PCs, I would LOVE to just DM so I could focus on the NPCs a lot more. However, my table consists of teens and a reluctant husband, so we get what we get.

Back to the OP, as others have said, just talk to the DM. They might be able to keep the game running and centered on the actual PCs just fine, but we've all been in games where the PCs are just there to be the audience to how awesome the DMPC is.
 

I'm probably weird in the way I view DMPCs. I see them as those who have already done "their" fair share of stuff in the world, whether they shared a drink with Drizzt at the King's latest party, smoked one of Elminsters pipes, saved New York from Loki and his forces, etc etc etc. Or at least have had a number of years or experience under their belt within their chosen role/field/class. Usually/Always start off at Level 10 in class build/stats or whatever.

Here's the thing though: I feel like the DMPCs are characters who are meant to be surpassed by the PCs in general and not the other way around that gives the DMPCs their bad stereotype. They were the big kids who had their time in the limelight and now its the PCs turn for said limelight where they will eventually get surpassed by any other new kids on the block eventually.(another future group of pcs or stuff.) And the cycle repeats over and over as long as nobody gets the bad luck of the draw by being eaten by a dragon or the usual crazy bad ends that can befall adventurers.

The first time I DM'd, I introduced to the PCs the veteran mercenary Kirk Azgard: a Level 10 UA Warrior Sidekick. He is considered their Group Patron for the task hired at hand, helping with the restoration of Neverwinter, and is the one who assigned the group to Phandalin where the events of Dragon of Icepeak will happen. Now due to his various contacts and interactions throughout his years of being mercenary, most will defer to his advice and actions for the most part in the social aspects. However, as the adventure continued and the PCs began to earn their reputation, they pretty much ended up being the ones that most looked up to. So not only would the PCs reach that point, but they ended up surpassing Kirk as well.

And pretty much the only time I'd be controlling Kirk is during battle sequences.


Or do a set up where, yes you have the PCs meet the campaign's version of the Avengers or Force Grey. Have them play second fiddle to them, being more the sidekicks or seen as the possible red shirts while the "real" heroes get the glory and fame. *Then flip the entire script by having the BBEG murder all the Avengers in front of everybody at the end of the "first half" of the campaign: Now the PCs are revealed to be the ultimate heroes all along and have to save the day by becoming the new Avengers or uniting the broken world against the BBEG. The PCs once again rise up and become the ones that save the day and the ones to look up too.

Like I said: DMPCs should be made to be surpassed by the pcs.
 

aco175

Legend
Or do a set up where, yes you have the PCs meet the campaign's version of the Avengers or Force Grey. Have them play second fiddle to them, being more the sidekicks or seen as the possible red shirts while the "real" heroes get the glory and fame. *Then flip the entire script by having the BBEG murder all the Avengers in front of everybody at the end of the "first half" of the campaign: Now the PCs are revealed to be the ultimate heroes all along and have to save the day by becoming the new Avengers or uniting the broken world against the BBEG. The PCs once again rise up and become the ones that save the day and the ones to look up too.
I do like killing off the Avengers in front of the PCs and they become the Revengers (TM) who step up. Unless the DM had the PCs traveling with them or working for them while questing with them for a level or two, I would call them just regular NPCs and not quite DMPCs.

My idea of a DMPC is more the DM-PC mentioned upthread where it is a party member controlled by the DM. He should be on par as the other party members and not have any abilities, items, or ideas that are over the others. Some DMs like to use a PC statblock or a NPC/monster statblock to make him. When I use one, I try to make sure that he is a bit less than the others and is ok to die.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
My idea of a DMPC is more the DM-PC mentioned upthread where it is a party member controlled by the DM. He should be on par as the other party members and not have any abilities, items, or ideas that are over the others. Some DMs like to use a PC statblock or a NPC/monster statblock to make him. When I use one, I try to make sure that he is a bit less than the others and is ok to die.
I'm fine with my adventuring NPCs dying and have no real compunction about killing them off if that's what the dice tell me - in other words, I treat them much the same as PCs. :)

As for power level, if I see that a party NPC is getting too powerful within the party I'll try to* find a reasonable in-character reason for it to bail out, either temporarily or permanently. For example if the party want to establish a home base and there's a party NPC who's getting too powerful, that'll be the character who volunteers to stay home and run (or guard) the place.

* - I say try to because I can recall a few occasions where I tried to pull an NPC out of a party but the PCs, in character, liked the NPC so much they wouldn't let it leave.
 

Jaeger

That someone better
I rather suspect that if I were to flat-out tell you you'd been playing the game wrong ever since you started I'd get in trouble right quick.

We'd disagree. (I've had people say I RPG wrong before; I'll get over it just about the same time you're done telling me.)
 



guachi

Adventurer
Were I running 5e (or any other edition) NPC adventurers would use the same build rules as PCs. I'd houserule this in without a second's thought.

I'd absolutely do this, too. If for no other reason than my own sanity and the players' sanity. It's so much easier to use rules that already exist. E.g., random encounter gave the PCs a dog that the random encounter NPC gave to them. When the PCs decided to keep the dog it immediately was given PC stats. In this case, it was a lvl 1 Barbarian (Totem Barbarian at lvl 3. Wolf, obviously). 1/2 XP like a traditional henchman. Nothing new or strange for me or the PCs to learn. I already know how Barbarians work.
 

guachi

Adventurer
Thinking about this, it occurred to me that there was one time I was flattered there was a DMPC and the other players enjoyed it, too. My favorite campaign way back in college during 2e I played a Bard who worked for the King. We became moderately powerful and then I moved. The DM kept my PC around as a DMPC and when I moved back over a year later I had fun listening to all the great things my PC had done in the meantime.
 

If the NPC's a pre-gen from a module, sure. If it's something I'm rolling up myself e.g. the party decide they want an extra Fighter and go and recruit one then I'll roll it up as if a PC.
I would probably do the same thing, but my party has never thought of that. Lol! As I said before, though, I do create a DMPC so we have a large enough party. There are a lot of fun builds I never make, though, because I would feel like I should use my powers, but that using them would be cheating, since I know where all the traps are. cough detecting magic cough
 

If one feels they must use a DMPC to "fill out" a party, rather than use standard PC rules, I would argue that it is easier to employ the Sidekicks from Tasha's (simpler than a full-on PC) or the Followers from MCDM's Strongholds and Followers (simpler than Sidekicks) or NPCs from the MM and Volo's (simplest of all).

When using the NPCs, assuming they stick around for the long(ish) haul, you can level them up as you see fit by slotting them as a higher CR NPC. For example:

Guard --> Veteran --> Champion
Apprentice Wizard --> Mage --> Evoker
Bandit --> Spy --> Master Thief
Acolyte --> Priest --> War Priest
Commoner --> Cult Fanatic --> Warlock of the Fiend


I'm really unclear how a DM running one (or more?!) full on PCs is in any way easier on their workload than the alternatives. Perhaps I'm just a lazy DM who aims for minimal prep. :)
 


Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I would probably do the same thing, but my party has never thought of that. Lol!
Lol indeed! :)
As I said before, though, I do create a DMPC so we have a large enough party. There are a lot of fun builds I never make, though, because I would feel like I should use my powers, but that using them would be cheating, since I know where all the traps are. cough detecting magic cough
I'll see what the players create (or, once things get going and everyone has several to choose from, decide to play for this adventure) and then be ready to fill holes either with existing NPCs or with something new, should they do any recruiting.

It's also a bit random whether they can find exactly what they're after; in one instance I can recall a party wanted to beef up its front line and went recruiting through the towns and villages for a couple of competent Fighters. Problem was, there was a war coming so most of the able-bodied sorts had already been conscripted into some army or other, meaning all the party could find were a couple of convicted murderers languishing in jail (one of whom immediately stole from the party and fled!) and a too-drunk-to-function Cleric to Dionysus (god of wine).

Not their proudest piece of recruiting... :)
 


Vaalingrade

Legend
When I DM and don't play a PC in the party, I still end up doing so because the party hires, recruits, or kidnaps whatever characters they get on with.

It wouldn't do my games any favors if I get all these new friends killed by nerfing them.
 

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