I want to make myself a homebrew XP system to better deal with how to reward experience points to my players for roleplay, spellcasting, and combat respectively, with a separate XP track for each, rather than just the 1 experience bar that gives limited rewards as you level. I want to create a better system where the results of my player’s actions are better reflected than a basic standard number. This leads to interacting with hostile NPCs as an encounter that can earn XP.

Actual Question

What are the stages between a Hostile NPC and a Friendly NPC. I'm looking for guidelines or rules that assist the DM in determining how the players actions and rolls effect a hostile NPC.

I would prefer references to the PHB, MM or DMG.


2 Answers 2



DMG p. 93 describes a variant/optional rule for Loyalty. This is intended to be used for friendly NPCs and measuring how far away from betraying/leaving the party they are. It can be used the other way around - how far away they are from betraying their current masters/friends and becoming friends with the party. I have been using it recently for many NPCs and monsters.

You will have to adjucate how the rolls affect the loyalty, and that will certainly depend on the NPC's personality.

For example, a greedy, but brave, NPC might be easily influenced by the party offering him gold, but might get even more hostile by the party trying to intimidate them. Cowardly goblins, on the other hand, might get easily influenced by a good roll in "We will kill you if you don't help us."

Anyway, as far as I remember (especially from PHB, MM and DMG - might have missed XGtE things), there is no "easy" answer for that - it will depend on your (DM) own role-playing as the NPC.

Why are you fighting?

The more general answer is: you, as the DM, need to understand why is the NPC fighting? Then, it becomes easier to adjucate how actions that decrease that motivation will affect the NPCs. From my earlier examples, if your NPC is a mercenary fighting because he wants money, the party offering him gold will make him a lot less willing to fight. If the NPC fights only due to loyalty, persuading him that his master is a bad guy might work. If a member of his family is held hostage or being threatened, promising protection for that person should work better than threatening the person themselves, as a father might care more for his daughter than for himself.

Create real motivations for your NPCs and that should lead the way for how to role play them.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Reading this section is very helpful to what I'm looking for. I would personally add in that it can go into negatives where -1 to -10 is distrustful and wont go out of their way to help the party and will actively set themselves against them but not in a violent or sinister manner. -11 to -20 id say they become violent to you and actively plot your death and suffering. Very much like your example, helped to reinforce your answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – KDodge
    Jun 18, 2018 at 19:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KaleDodge I have added a more general advice as well. Usually, I myself don't try to sistemize this kind of things, I simply role-play them, and make some ability checks. If you feel more comfortable putting numbers, go ahead, but my expertise won't enter that field, sadly. \$\endgroup\$
    – HellSaint
    Jun 18, 2018 at 19:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ I already do that in my campaigns however your advice is appreciated. I was looking to add numbers because as I said in my backstory of the question, I want to create a better way to reward my players rather than XP for everything, and the loyalty rule is a better way to assist in Roleplay situations' \$\endgroup\$
    – KDodge
    Jun 18, 2018 at 19:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KaleDodge Have you looked into Milestone XP? \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Jun 18, 2018 at 20:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ Chapter Leveling? Not at all what im looking for. \$\endgroup\$
    – KDodge
    Jun 18, 2018 at 20:21

You can't (always) buy friendship

The hostility of creatures is dealt with mainly on page 185 of the Player's Handbook, under "Social Interaction".

In general terms, an NPC’s attitude toward you is described as friendly, indifferent, or hostile. Friendly NPCs are predisposed to help you, and hostile ones are inclined to get in your way. It’s easier to get what you want from a friendly NPC, of course.

There are certainly times when creatures are required by the rules to act or think in a certain way (such as when they are Charmed, or under the effect of other spells). But these conditions are usually temporary (and often cause a creature to become hostile once they fade). In general, although there are many rules for defeating an enemy, there are very few on recruiting them.

There are a lot of dangerous and powerful creatures in Dungeons and Dragons. If there were rules for exactly what investment of gold or time or Ability checks would make a creature friendly to you, it could seriously imbalance the game (as suddenly, every villain could become a member of your party).

There are no rules given (in the DMG, XGtE, or PHB) on money or time requirements which will infallibly make a hostile creature friendly to you. Certainly social skills (Persuasion, Performance, Insight) could be helpful for intelligent creatures, and Animal Handling could be useful for beasts. But exactly what is required for successfully gaining a friendly attitude is up to the DM.

The closest the game comes is in doing what you're describing is in Xanathar's Guide to Everything (XGtE) on page 126 - 127 under "Carousing".

A character can carouse with the lower class for 10 gp to cover expenses, or 50 gp for the middle class. Carousing with the upper class requires 250 gp for the workweek and access to the local nobility.

... After a workweek of carousing the character stands to make contacts within the selected social class. The character makes a Charisma (Persuasion) check using the Carousing table.

  • 1—5 Character has made a hostile contact.
  • 6—10 Character has made no new contacts.
  • 11—15 Character has made an allied contact.
  • 16—20 Character has made two allied contacts.
  • 21+ Character has made three allied contacts.

These rules aren't intended to target particular NPCs, however. They rather give rules for making contacts of the DM's choosing. You could adapt these rules if you prefer, but keep in mind the dangers of such a system.

Dangers of Rules for Friendship

As an example, if there was a rule for exactly what resources (Ability checks, time, money, etc.) it took to make someone like you, then that rule could be applied to the player characters. The villain could keep trying to buy them dinner every night for six years, and at the end of it (if the villain rolled high enough on Persuasion) they would have to like him and agree to work together.

Creatures are not bound by rules when it comes to how they feel or who they like. If they were, every creature in your game could be forced to be a player resource, and PC decisions could be enforced by the same system.

Essentially, the DM would no longer control NPCs, and players would no longer control PCs.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Jun 18, 2018 at 21:02

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .