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General The "DM's PC"

I've seen it done -- done best in two player games, IMX -- but I still prefer support-oriented NPCs or henchmen rather than fully classed PCs. If possible, the NPCs should be run by the PCs, too. The DM has a lot to do and DMPCs can take up a lot of time if they're as fully kitted out as a PC. It's too easy for the game to feel like it's slipped into Mary Sue territory when the DM is describing something and then his own PC accomplishes the goal.
 

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Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I've seen it done -- done best in two player games, IMX -- but I still prefer support-oriented NPCs or henchmen rather than fully classed PCs. If possible, the NPCs should be run by the PCs, too. The DM has a lot to do and DMPCs can take up a lot of time if they're as fully kitted out as a PC.
They can, but that's what between-session time is for. :)

It's too easy for the game to feel like it's slipped into Mary Sue territory when the DM is describing something and then his own PC accomplishes the goal.
Agreed, with a few exceptions:

--- if the NPC is there specifically for that reason within the story (e.g. only Gront can open the chamber of terrors; your job as a party is to a) get him there and b) help him deal with whatever's inside) - not my favourite type of story but they work fine now and then; cf. Frodo in Lord of the Rings. And I'd far rather have Gront in this scenario be an NPC than a PC, so that the entire adventure doesn't revolve around one player's character.
--- if the NPC is for whatever reason the only member of the party able to achieve the goal (or is the only party member left standing!), for example if the party had to recruit an NPC Wizard as they otherwise didn't have one and the goal requires a Wizard to achieve.

But yes, it's on the GM to have the adventuring NPCs mostly do what they're told (depending on character, and within reason) and to occasionally offer bad ideas along with good ones.
 

FXR

Explorer
You ask this as if those are the only two reasons an NPC would ever be in a party. There's a third, and it's IME more common than those two combined: the NPC is in the party because the PCs put and-or kept it there by their own choice.

It's not necessary a different reason.

First, the PCs don't create NPCs. The DM does. The PC decide, however, how they react to the NPC.

If they keep him because they some sort of bond or relationship with the NPC, then it's a tool to further the story, even if the DMPC plays a rather minor role. Please note that I'm using the word ¨story¨ in a very general way and not only referring to the specific adventure the DM is running. I'm talking about the story of the characters at large.

If they keep the NPC because they require a free source of healing, but otherwise do not care about the NPC, why not give them a magical staff that heal 3d6 hit points by spending a charge. At that point, the NPC is not really character (or not treated like one), but more like an in-game commodity.
 

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