Episode 332 – the other kind of GMPCs
by Dan Repperger

* (0:29) Announcing Sojourn, an anthology of fiction by Fear the Boot hosts, community members, and industry professionals. ¬†You can find all of the places it’s available right here.

* (3:22) Differentiating the two types of GMPCs.

* (8:59) The problems that can accompany playing the second kind of GMPC: a character that’s balanced but a permanent fixture of the party, much like a regular PC.

* (11:50) An example of a GMPC that made the risk worthwhile.

* (13:21) Determining if a GMPC is even necessary at all.

* (16:59) The role of players in keeping a GMPC in the right role and perspective.

* (19:32) The role of the GM in keeping a GMPC in the right role and perspective.

* (36:50) Fear the Con is still ready for you to join the awesome!

Hosts: Beth, Dan, John, Pat

Comments (7)

StringmasterMarch 10th, 2014 at 10:20 pm

Hey, so about a month ago I got linked to the podcast and after listening to a few episodes I decided to go back and listen to the entire backlog. I tore through it really fast and I just wanted you to know that you guys are awesome. It gives me something to do while I’m sitting in my dorm, and since I’ve been listening my DM abilities have gone through the roof. I’ve been handing my players their ass and at this point they pretty much think I have a god given gift or something, It’s pretty cool. Anyways, I just wanted to leave a comment and say thanks. You’ve got a brand new long time listener.

jacobMarch 11th, 2014 at 1:14 pm

Loot-man / Lute-man version of the Hatchetman.. as in the Bard pilots the Luteman variant?

DanMarch 11th, 2014 at 5:31 pm

@Stringmaster – Thank you very much for taking the time to leave the positive comment! I’m glad to have you as a listener, and I’m even more glad to hear we’re helping you up your game. We love this hobby, and the show is our way of giving back to it.

@Jacob – I got stuck on that one at first, too. I was thinking “loot-man”, but then realized he meant “lute-man”. It’s a funny visual, actually. Just picture the Hatchetman with a lute it’s strumming instead of the hatchet.


SandPunkMarch 13th, 2014 at 7:09 pm

This is the fine line I had to walk with Cynthia in Project Damocles (an urban sci-fi game set in the 90’s). Originally meant to be an npc she was more or less kidnapped by the pcs. She was a fully realized character, but due to personal neurosis she never took the forefront, and was even occasionally antagonistic to the players. She was more of a suicidal utility belt.

Despite the players saying they enjoyed her presence and didn’t think she was intrusive, I was often uncomfortable playing her, and would come up with reasons for her to be absent.

Michael KohneMarch 14th, 2014 at 8:45 pm

Question: I just noticed that the Kindle price right now is $7.69, while it’s $9.99 at drive thru. Is there any difference in what you get paid? Or is this just something Amazon is doing and they are eating the difference?

Anthony T.March 15th, 2014 at 2:53 pm

In my gaming experience (almost 25 years) GMPC’s are either great or awful. There is no middle ground and the blame is partially on the players. While the GM does control the game, the players can refuse to play unless the GMPC is removed.

When the GMPC is awful, he tends to control the flow of the game. As FtB may or may not have mentioned (I cannot remember as it has been a while since I listened to the episode) this GMPC is just an extention of the GM, and if he wanted complete control of the world just write a damn book.

When the GMPC is done well, he is a contributing member of the party who is provides some specific skills and knowledge that helps the party continue. I have experienced two instances in which the GMPC was done well, though they were done by the same GM so…

Ean M.March 25th, 2014 at 1:12 pm

I think in my experience the key to a good GMPC is that they be a voluntary inclusion in the party. The players should be offered chances to integrate a variety of characters, and should frequently be presented with clear offers to get rid of the character if they want.

Example: One of the few GMPC’s I’ve included was a guide/ally who was a few levels below the players. They were offered him with the warning that he was inexperienced, and on several occasions the NPC’s higher-ups wanted to reassign him unless the players felt they needed to keep him around. They temporarily teamed up with several characters and allies, but this was the only one they opted to keep around when the chance to separate presented itself.

In the end, they were genuinely upset when the character decided he needed to strike out on his own: he had his own character goals that conflicted with the party, but their mission was important enough to him that he decided to vanish and leave a note rather than try to drag them along. It made sense in-world, but the players felt hurt and betrayed that he would just leave without giving them a chance to help.

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