One of the more polarizing debates under D&D was the notion of the DMPC and whether or not they have a place in the…

One of the more polarizing debates under D&D was the notion of the DMPC and whether or not they have a place in the…

One of the more polarizing debates under D&D was the notion of the DMPC and whether or not they have a place in the game.

At our table, there was always a DMPC since day one and my players genuinely dug it.

Right now, we have been experimenting with a DMPC under Dungeon World and I have to say, So far so good. Interestly, it seems more transparent since when he makes a class based move, I roll for him out in the open.

At any rate, its been fun up to this point.

My question is has anyone else out there tried running a DMPC under Dungeon World and if so, what has the experience been like for you?

22 thoughts on “One of the more polarizing debates under D&D was the notion of the DMPC and whether or not they have a place in the…”

  1. I haven’t done a full-on, playbook-owning DMPC, but I had an NPC become sort of my character within the group totally on accident. The party was tracking some orc slave traders and let one live. That one happened to be disillusioned with his fellows actions and was more than happy to help take them down. For the first couple of sessions I just ran him in the background; he would be fighting one or two folks on his own, and I would just occasionally narrate what was going on with him.

    Eventually I made him into a Hireling, basically. Gave him a custom move to represent him more uniquely, and kept playing him that way. Basically during combat, the players would control him (one in particular was close friends with him, so that character’s player generally controlled him), and out of combat I would play him.

    It was a blast, for sure, and the players ended up really liking him. I’m probably going to play him in an upcoming game (our DW world has multiple GMs and we just keep building on it as we go).

  2. Tim Franzke, Not sure if it does either one of those.

    But I can tell you that running a DMPC has been a ton of fun and I know my players would miss it.

  3. If it doesn’t do that you shouldn’t be doing it to put it bluntly. 

    If your group prefers it that way though I wouldn’t treat the character like a PC though. Treat them as an NPC, as a Hireling. Their job is to make the characters live more interesting. Put them in danger. Make them make mistakes. Use them to get the characters into trouble. 

    When your character comes in to solve problems the other characters can’t then you aren ot a fan of these characters.

  4. I was hoping to avoid the whole should or shouldn’t debate.

    I’m more interested in the experiences of those who have used a DMPC and what worked and what didn’t.


  5. Point #1 on the GM agenda is Do Things That Cause Fun. Even if it is not written in the rules it is part of the implicit contract players enter into when they sit down to play. So if people are having fun you’re doing it right.

  6. It’s not something I do, but in the interest of avoiding the should/shouldn’t thing, what sort of benefit or enjoyment do you get from it AJ?

    I can see an opportunity for more interaction with the PCs, particularly in remote places with few NPCs. Also, it gives you a voice to get the characters discussing out loud, so you can understand the character’s thoughts.

  7. The character sheets, just by themselves, are fun. They are straightforward and the moves are well set up to inspire the imagination. It’s one of the 2 things that first sold me on DW. I Am The Law is awesome. 

    I can understand a GM wanting to have that same level of mechanical interaction with the game. it works fine from his description in the OP; so there is some sort of benefit that he finds to it. 

  8. I enjoy the DMPC for a ton of reasons.

    He’s a sidekick to the stars of the show.

    He’s a catalyst for action and discussion.

    He’s someone the heroes care about.

    He’s a tool for helping the fiction unfold.

    He adds commentary and opinion.

    Best of all, he is a conduit for me to help describe my world by keeping a sketchbook/memoir of what the PCs do and experience.

  9. I’ve had fun “playing” a Hireling (warrior) in an adventure I ran. It wasn’t about stealing the spotlight from the characters or anything, but it’s cool to have a voice in the party that is “of” the fictional world, and not just “in” it.

    I found it pretty natural, and not a big distraction from GM-ing either. The hireling was, by definition, not a PC, but funnily enough, I had a Fighter playbook with the hireling’s name on it, ready to “promote” & assign to the first player whose original character bit the dust.

  10. Absolutely, the NPC can.

    Again, I don’t want to debate whether it’s right or wrong to use a DMPC, I’m just curious if other GMs out there do, and what their experiences were like.

  11. Running a full fledge “DMPC” sounds like way too much work for the benefits.

    Namely, you have to handle a PC as well doing your DM stuff for, essentially, zero benefits above a normal NPC or hireling.

    Too much work.


  12. I ran an NPC using the full DW play set to learn more about how the PC moves worked, but I never considered him a PC. I guess I don’t know what a DMPC is. I mean, it’s just an NPC in every way. You are not a player in a game you are running.

  13. Tim Callahan, it’s starting to appear to me that I may be in the same boat.

    Based on some of the feedback here, I’m starting to think that maybe I don’t really know what a DMPC is either.

    Maybe all this time I have been running just a very well developed NPC with stats and moves.

    Something to ponder.

  14. Goodness gracious. If you’re having fun with it, who cares if you’re doing it “right”? Please drop the “you shouldn’t be playing a DMPC” argument. Your opinion is just as valid as anyone else’s, but AJ is just looking for other DM’s to share their experiences, not open a debate as to whether or not he SHOULD be doing it. You are free to start a threat about that subject if you would like.

    Sorry, I’m not attempting to stoke the fires, but I’m really upset to see so few people responding to the question asked and so much negativity over how you and your friends choose to enjoy your game.

  15. Mike Pureka That’s my contention too, it is too much work and nowadays I’m too lazy to do it. But I can promise you it works and is fun.

  16. I almost feel as though its harder to run a classically problematic DMPC as a playbook’d character, since the

    Perennial complaints against the DMPC (hogging spotlight, too powerful, immunity to danger) are so heavily mitigated by the way you make moves as a PC.

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