Content of the article: "DM Advice: No DMPCs"
Disclaimer here. I don't mean occasionally recurring characters, or characters that fight with the party, or an NPC that is fairly consistently in the area the party is in as a home base. We all have the local blacksmith or tavern owner who the characters know personally and have helped, or the elven ranger who has fought with the party a couple of times to keep her tribe safe.
We're talking about someone you make or gave played in another campaign who is either
A. A huge level above the party B. A literal god or demigod C. Something you yourself automatically favor in the case of the party hating them, thereby making them not able to be killed, and easily beating any party member. D. Someone that you shove into the party fairly consistently or at all times.
For a good example, allow me to introduce who we will call Iggy. Iggy was someone in a campaign I was playing in. He was the DM's previous character in another campaign, and a little Halfling. Iggy is a demonic necromancer who isn't truly dead, and is Level 20. He also has legendary actions and saves, and specific abilities that allow no party member to do much to him. Iggy was first used to hook the party into the plot. When the local murderhobo of the party decided to try to fight him, they promptly got oneshotted then healed to full. Iggy joined the party for no reason, one of 5 DMPCs for our eventual 7 actual people party, thus making the party 12 people by the time we learned that the campaign was pretty much just about Iggy. He saved the party from any fights and was the unofficial leader. The entire campaign went with that dynamic until we all just stopped showing.
Why is a DMPC horrible? Well, whether you're god molding with them or not, it takes away from everyone else's experience of your story to constantly have someone else to worry about. Do check out r/RPGHorrorStories sometime. A lot of the posts there use DMPCs as an early sign of toxic and controlling DMs.
Having DMPCs is a sign of lack of table control or lack of a good enough plot to keep the party hooked. You should never have one. It's a rookie mistake and is extremely common in fresh DMs. I fell victim to it, many of your DMs will too. Best we can do is warn against it.
Tl;dr If you're going to make a DMPC, don't DM.
- DM appreciation
- I’m a hella nervous first time homebrew dm. Do I have all the right elements for a campaign?
- My Experience with a DM
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