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“The Party Support System” – A way to balance NPCS in combat (Specifically for Oota) Looking for advice/critique

Content of the article: "“The Party Support System” – A way to balance NPCS in combat (Specifically for Oota) Looking for advice/critique"

Hey all,

So i'm getting ready to run a Session 0 for Out of the Abyss, and i think the sheer number of NPCs is overwhelming to both a DM and a player (that's a lot of key words…)

In the past, I've run for Parties of 8 and I've always felt the combat has been a drag. Players have 8 minis, enemies will probably need to match that (at least), sooner or later there are 20 minis on a table and it's an hour to do a turn…

I'm running Oota for 3 PCs (who have all been in those large parties) and i want to keep this snappy, without just brushing off the NPCs as baggage or a side plot.

I've read a lot of people saying "Give all the NPCs to the players" or "have the NPCs look after stuff/fighting more badguys off screen"…this either seems too chaotic or too handwavey for my liking.

I really want to promote the idea of everyone is useful and has their place. The idea of the party bleeding, fighting and surviving together is a tone i'd like to to nail without being overwhelming (if day 1 you have a Character sheet & 3 – 4 NPCs sheets…i probably would walk away)

So i've come up with the most "gamey" mechanics i've ever written in my life. (I'm usually a RP first DM)

Introducing…The "Party Support System"

It's not finished, but i'm looking for preliminary feedback, people may see how this is broken not balanced so i want people to point out the glaring mistakes i've missed .

I should also mention I've taken out a few of the NPCs from the start (Ront & Eledeth have been moved them to the Under dark for story reasons and I've rolled all the Deep gnomes together, Jim Jar is looking for his Sister…10 NPCs is nuts guys!)

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Ok…so

Party Support/NPC Rules:

– NPCs gain no XP and do not advance bar their equipment.

– NPCs get 1 death saving throw. (So the party has a CHANCE to save them) When it dies, it dies. But normal Resurrection mechanics apply.

– The Support Party has a full turn (movement, Action BA) regardless of how this is split amongst the NPCs. (If a NPC has moved or used an action and then switches, the new NPC is unable to do the used action until next turn. )

-Every NPC has an in Combat Passive Effect that takes place immediately after they appear on the map

How it Works:

  • Every Time the Party enters Combat/Players roll Initiative, have the Players roll again (no mods) for the Party Support turn. This is a single NPC that joins the fight.
  • Players can also choose which NPC is initially supporting/fighting with them (story providing it makes sense)
  • When that initiative turn happens the chosen NPC (controlled by the Players) will have a full turn (Action, Movement, BA & Reaction) With the following Bonus Action:

Switch Out: Using a bonus action, the current NPC party member can switch with any Available NPC of the Players Choosing. The NPC must be within 60 ft of the edge of the map (where the NPCs are currently)

The new NPC will appear on the same side of the map the previous left, and can move it's full movement.

The idea here is that an NPC will dash off the map, and the new NPC will attempt to move in to an advantages place.

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Due to the Balance of Oota (expecting to fight larger parties), and the idea of both NPCS and Players working cohesively together, some additional "passive" abilities are granted to the party based on the NPC that is chosen/active at the time.

BuppidoKnowledge of Stone –

Whenever a party member takes cover behind stone or rock, you gain the next level of cover.

Due to Buppido heritage, he has in depth knowledge of rocks & stone, if any player takes cover behind rock, or stone. Buppido will advise where the sturdiest or strongest point is, granting more cover.

Prince DerendilPact Tactics –

Any Player gains advantage on a Melee attack (or Melee spell attack) if they are attacking the same target as Prince Derendil.

Prince Derendil's mind maybe that of a High Elf, but currently it exists in the body of a Quaggoth. With the brains of a Prince and the brawn's of a Beast, Prince Derendil will assist anyway he can in taking down foes.

JimJar – Getting in places

Whenever a party member uses a stealth roll, they gain +2 to the roll.

JimJar the roguish deep gnome has penchant for getting in places without being seen, either by leading by example or with some good old-fashioned advice, JimJar is able to help players get around without being seen.

Sarith – Drow Magic

If Sarith has not used an action, he may his action at the end of a player turn to cast a spell

Sarith's Innate spell casting is enough of an Advantage. However, if Sarith did not use an action on his turn (or if he hasn't gone, must forego his action) he cast any of his spells (if possible) at the end of any Players Turn.

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Shuushar &Sprout…

I have no idea.

Shuushar being a pacifist won't attack, but i wasn't sure about assisting with grapples/escapes? Still work shopping this one… any ideas are helpful…

Wow…that sure is a wall of text right? So essentially i took a Pokemon and put it in to Oota…

Any help will be appreciated

Thanks all 🙂

Source: reddit.com

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