TL;DR: I have a player who wants to recruit lots of NPCs to avoid putting his own character in danger and to grab more spotlight for himself. I'm concerned about how this will affect challenge balance and the amount of fun the other players have. He doesn't want me to run the NPCs either.

I recently started running Lost Mine of Phandelver as a new DM with a group new to tabletop RPGs. One of the players is a long time friend of mine but he decided he wanted to try to recruit a goblin into the party temporarily. It was the last one of a group that they killed and I responded that they could try to persuade the goblin into fighting for them. He rolled real well and now the goblin follows them. Naturally it will most likely die or something else will happen that will make it no longer part of the party but, when I was talking to the player after the game, he went on that he would just try to recruit another creature or NPC they encounter and if he failed he would just keep trying with other creatures/NPCs.

Now for background I know that he enjoys playing games with a sort of overpowered sense. He likes to play god a little as well as have others get their hands dirty for him. (Example: In Skyrim he uses mods to have tons of followers that fight for him) He doesn't care for a challenge that has real consequence. He prefers simulated challenge (he also uses mods to keep followers from dying so he can still have a challenge of a difficult encounter but it will never end in complete failure.) He has told me that he prefers this style of play and it doesn't take away at all from the "fun" or enjoyment of the story and gameplay. He likes to take the spotlight and appear as a cool or respected or even idolized by others that may look up to his "greatness".

So my question is how should I handle him wanting to constantly recruit non PCs into the party. I don't mind the occasional NPC tagging along if the NPC's goals can be met by doing so... but I don't really like the idea of constantly having him persuading non PCs into the party to fight for him, especially if he does it to give him a sense of control over the party and take the spotlight as a leader all the time. I'm also worried a little bit about balancing and if the other two players will get annoyed with this. They seemed fine with this one instance but what if later down the line they grow tired of the concept and it steals from them trying to enjoy the game.

When I confronted him one on one about it and he told me his future plans I tried to gently let him know that I really wouldn't be comfortable with this being a regular thing and stating that as a new DM I'm not 100% sure how to balance and make sure the other players don't feel left out or over shadowed by his play style. Let's just say he grew rather upset of me ruining his fun.

We never came to a conclusion and I'm not sure if I should just let him do what he wants and just keep losing and gaining followers in the party or should I be firm about this and say it can't continue to happen more than the occasional NPC doing it for the NPCs own reasons or if I should create a permanent NPC follower. One of the problems is it can't even be a NPC I control as a DM, he wants to control it.

I'm new to DMing and this is the first problem I've run into where I'm not really sure how to rule on it (and I've been very liberal with the "Yes you can try to do that" attitude) I would really appreciate any advice.

  • 20
    \$\begingroup\$ Is your player aware of the various minion-generating spells, like animate objects or animate dead? \$\endgroup\$
    – Icyfire
    Commented Apr 17, 2017 at 20:03
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Reminder: comments are for helping clarify the question, not posting small or incomplete answers. Please use answer posts to submit answers instead, if anything. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 18, 2017 at 0:17
  • 28
    \$\begingroup\$ Could you clarify "it can't even be a NPC I control as a DM, he wants to control it"? If a players controls a character this character is a PC by definition. \$\endgroup\$
    – enkryptor
    Commented Apr 18, 2017 at 12:15
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ Please answer this question from experience - the SE Good Subjective, Good Subjective guidelines. Random opinions aren't helpful. Have you handled this in your game? Answers with opinions with no backing should be downvoted by readers. \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Commented Apr 21, 2017 at 1:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ Note that just because a PC can be persuasive/intimidating doesn't mean that the NPC has to do what the PC wants. NPCs have their own motivations, and often no matter how convincing the PC is, the NPC will refuse. "There's nothing you can do to convince me to risk my own life." "I would rather DIE than betray my master!" etc. If you don't want a player to succeed at the convincing, don't even bother having them roll. They can roleplay it, but just have the NPC flat out reject the idea. \$\endgroup\$
    – Doc
    Commented Apr 8, 2020 at 4:58

15 Answers 15


Your first instinct-- gently talking to the player-- is a very good one. You can easily follow that up with a less gentle discussion laying out the basic idea that tabletop RPGs (unlike computer RPGs) are collaborative efforts where everyone needs to have fun. This includes not only the other players, but also you as the GM.

Your second instinct-- restricting this recruitment activity to when it "makes sense" in the game context-- is also a very good one. This, too, can be amplified beyond what you've already discussed: The idea that NPCs are just standing around waiting to be recruited is a trope in CRPGs and is sometimes a trope in tabletop RPGs but there's no overwhelming reason for it to be a trope in your game. NPCs who follow PCs around and risk their lives for them (especially when the PC is just hanging back and managing things!) are going to expect something for their troubles. It might be money, it might be respect, it might be help with their own agendas, but whatever it is, it should be something costly that the PC should have difficulty supplying.

Finally, building off that idea, there are many creative ways for a GM to make a follower at least as much trouble as he's worth, if not more. A non-exhaustive sampling includes:

  • The incompetent NPC, who falls asleep on watch incurring a surprise attack at night
  • The belligerent NPC, who always knows better than the boss and goes his own way
  • The unpopular NPC, who manages to antagonize all the other NPCs
  • The thief NPC, who robs the group
  • The NPC with his own agenda, constantly steering the group into various trouble that advances his own purposes
  • The wanted NPC, who has one or more groups after him for past transgressions
  • The spy NPC, sent by someone else to take advantage of your PC's ardent love of followers.
  • 71
    \$\begingroup\$ DECADES OLD SPOILERS: From 1st edition, if it was a Gygax module, you learned pretty quickly to never allow just freed prisoner NPCs join the party. One of them would always mess with the party somehow. Most of the time it was turning on them in the middle of a nasty battle. \$\endgroup\$
    – JWT
    Commented Apr 17, 2017 at 16:54
  • 65
    \$\begingroup\$ So you're saying that that a player is free to try as much as he likes to recruit NPCs but the catch is that NPCs need to be their own characters with needs and flaws and that, just like real people, not all NPCs would even want to follow the player. and as the DM of this game I can use those tools to control the balance of worth that the NPC provides. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 17, 2017 at 17:38
  • 14
    \$\begingroup\$ @Foxy_Japacan Some good reading for you on NPCs. TheAngryGM does a good job breaking down what they are as well as how they "should" be run. theangrygm.com/what-even-is-an-npc \$\endgroup\$
    – Slagmoth
    Commented Apr 17, 2017 at 18:17
  • 79
    \$\begingroup\$ Your chances of convincing an NPC that join you on your adventure should be about as good as going up to random folks on the street and asking them to rob a bank with you. Being an adventurer is dangerous and most people will have none of it. \$\endgroup\$
    – Erik
    Commented Apr 17, 2017 at 19:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation about making NPCs be troublesome has been moved to chat. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 19, 2017 at 20:50

He doesn't want me to run the NPCs either.

There's no basis in the rules to allow this. NPC's cannot be run by the player; that's actually the definition of an NPC. As DM you need to assert control of the NPC's actions; only if the PC dies might you consider letting him run the NPC in lieu of generating a new character.

You should absolutely allow the player to attempt to recruit NPC's, and I would allow him to succeed if he can (a) provide sufficient in-game incentives (e.g. share of treasure, opportunity to accomplish NPC goals) and (b) convincingly role-play the recruitment. He's probably not going to succeed in making a higher-level NPC be his underling.

In the old-school style of play, it's implied that the only way to beat difficult encounters is to have NPC henchmen. This doesn't lead to game imbalance, provided you run the henchmen to act in their own self-interest. Employ a morale mechanic such as described here http://cyclopeatron.blogspot.com/2011/01/henchman-morale-in-od.html

  • henchmen will desert if they fail their morale check
  • henchmen make morale checks when put in danger, when other party members desert or die, etc.
  • morale check modifiers may apply depending on how the player treats his henchmen

Getting your throat cut in your sleep by a disgruntled henchman is not unheard of.

  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ Related reading on 5e morale is the DMG Optional Rule: "NPC Loyalty" in page 93 \$\endgroup\$
    – daze413
    Commented Apr 19, 2017 at 4:46
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I mean, even the concept of hiring henchmen is kind of strange, to me. Adventuring is a FAMOUSLY deadly profession, and all the more so for a commoner with a mere handful of hitpoints. By the time you're playing a 4th level party, henchmen will die if a monster looks at them funny. Nodwick aside (and he's more of a PC than anything else, honestly), henchmen should be way, WAY in the background, if they show up at all. They certainly shouldn't be able to stand in for the PC or allow him to avoid putting himself in danger. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 25, 2017 at 14:40

You have a few options here...

Before I go into these...as always 'talk to your player and let him know what your concerns are' is always the best first step.

First, bear in mind that you can deny a Persuade attempt if it is impossible. Dice only hit the table for non-trivial, but possible attempts at using a skill. For example, if a player says they wish to roll Athletics to pick up the castle, you can simply bypass the dice roll and tell said player it doesn't work. So, if he is trying to convince an NPC to ally with him, and that NPC wouldn't do it in a million years, just tell him his attempts fail, without setting a DC. This doesn't just apply to an enemy...if you are trying to convince a town guard to quit his steady job and go adventuring with you (where he'll probably die), he might be impossible to persuade.

Second, NPCs have a cost associated with using them. They absorb a full share of the XP (DMG p93). They may either demand a share of any and all treasure the party acquires, or you will need to pay for their living expenses, plus some sort of salary.

Third, NPCs may not be reliable. They aren't robots with dependable behaviors and boundless loyalty (like they would be in Skyrim). They are people with personalities and a sense of self preservation...and they may very well not be as brave as an Adventurer. He might tell the NPC goblin to go charge a dragon, and the goblin tells him to go lick a Sea Hag. Or he might lead the goblin into an attack against enemies...and the goblin capitalizes on an opportunity to get back at the Adventurer for killing his entire clan and stab him in the back. In the face of something scary...start making morale checks for the NPC to see if they break and run. Adventurers are really weird. Normal people don't face down a dragon without flinching.

The above can be handled using the optional rules for Morale and Loyalty (pages 273 and 93 in the DMG respectively).

Fourth, NPCs may not be competent. Adventurers are extraordinary individuals by nature. NPCs may fall asleep on watch, they may not cooperate with the party's combat tactics, and so on.

In short...treat the NPCs like actual fully fledged characters who are not the uber-competent specialists that Adventurers are. They have lives, wants, and needs. They aren't like Skyrim Followers who exist to be a tool of your will.

You might be able to talk a goblin into fighting for you....but he might still hate your guts and decide to poison your waterskin when you aren't looking. Or turn on you the moment it looks like he might be able to ally with the others.

Or you might talk a town guard into coming and helping...but the moment you ask him to go attack a castle full of monsters...he's just like "Look, I like you and all...and you're paying me well...but I've got a wife and kids at home. You can't pay me enough to risk widowing my wife. I'm going back to my guard post."

Also of note: The DM Runs All NPCs unless they explicitly give permission to a player to run one. He can't tell you otherwise, that's your call. Not his. He can give orders to the NPCs...but it's up to you whether or not they obey those orders. A Player controls their character, and their character alone unless the DM specifically grants them control over someone or something else.

  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ +1 "They absorb a full share of the XP" I completely forgot about this. \$\endgroup\$
    – Myles
    Commented Apr 21, 2017 at 13:59

There is opportunity cost to having NPCs around.

If an NPC provides meaningful assistance in a fight, they take a portion of the XP that fight awards. This generally stops most people from having tag-a-longs "help" in a fight. Rarely are other party members willing to give up loot and experience because you have a specific concept in mind for your character.

DMG page 92:

Any NPC that accompanies the adventurers acts as a party member and earns a full share of experience points. When determining the difficulty of a combat encounter (see chapter 3), make sure to include all NPC party members.

NPCs with any reasonable intelligence (and a life) will also incur lifestyle expenses that they will expect to be handled in some way by their "employer".

Since you are running LMoP, there is a really good sidebar about this on page 11 in the Starter Set rule book titled "NPC Party Members".

  • \$\begingroup\$ Don't they also only take from that specific player's XP? Meaning only that player is penalized. \$\endgroup\$
    – Aaron
    Commented Apr 17, 2017 at 16:51
  • 12
    \$\begingroup\$ No, they sap from the entire party, per the DMG. (Page 92) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 17, 2017 at 16:52

It seems like any person who hires people and lets his employees regularly get killed off would develop a reputation pretty quickly. All of this is easily handled by slowly increasing negative reaction modifiers each time one of his henchmen bites it. Throw some increasing loot requirements in there as well and I think the free market will handle this problem naturally.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ The leadership feat in 3.5 actually has a mechanic written into it for this--the more folks you let die in your service the less you are able to recruit. It effects who you can attract. This is 5, but adopting those rules for players would do good for these situations. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 12, 2017 at 23:18
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I think sometimes players forget what they look like to NPCs. Think about how big and scary a bear is, and what it takes to stop an angry bear. That's a CR 1 or 2 creature! Your basic city guard has 11 hit points, which is like an average hit from even a CR 3 monster. Even a veteran mercenary with a lifetime of service only has nine hit dice... Would you take a job where you're expected to fight animals that can literally kill you with one swipe? Why would an NPC? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 25, 2017 at 14:52

As stated by others, explain to him that this game will be a different experience from Skyrim - you think he will enjoy it, but that is for him to decide.

In particular, he needs to understand that NPCs do not exist for his benefit - they have their own agendas.

"He likes to have others get their hands dirty for him." "He likes to take the spotlight and appear as a cool or respected or even idolized by others that may look up to his "greatness""

Explain to him that he is welcome to have ONE of these two things, but it is unrealistic to expect to have BOTH. He can certainly HIRE lots of NPC's and use them instead of endangering himself, but they will not respect him - they are working for pay. OR he can attempt to recruit followers who actually revere him - but they are unlikely to do so if he hangs back and does not risk himself on their behalf the way they are doing for him.

Tell him that you want him to enjoy the game, but he needs to think about which ONE of these two things he derives the most enjoyment from - within this genre, he doesn't get to have both.


The summoner is a fairly classic archetype, there is a large appeal to have hordes of disposable minions doing your will. Raising them from graveyards, summoning them from other planes, or simply charming every witless farmer you come across, the effect is pretty much the same. Having a player have a fleet of minions isn't necessarily a bad thing. It will at times require a bit more effort on your part but that may or may not be a deal breaker. (As GM, you are entirely within your right to say, "Sorry, that's to much work for me.") I see challenges in the following areas.

  1. Role play interactions

Probably the least worrisome, when in town expect most of the followers to become faceless individuals. Your biggest concern is having him use his followers as suicide bombers, some times in the literal sense, sometimes taking orders the will get them incarcerated or worse. Make sure the player understands he needs to treat the minions as living people who will make mostly rational decisions. And be willing to strip him of control should he start using them as emotionless, selfless, robots. Feedback early and often if you start noticing issues should keep everyone on the same playing field.

  1. Recruiting interactions

You will need to keep a general idea of who would be a equal and who would be a minion. Minions can be recruited by the one character, Equals would be joining as a full member of the party, including loot and exp. You should rarely if ever give control of Equals to the player but minions can be his. That said, he needs to be the one to pay for minions NOT the group. Also, you may want to track the characters reputation, if he gets a lot of minions killed, feel free to start applying penalties either via RP or dice rolls when trying to recruit more. If he pays well, equips his minions with good gear and lets them keep the gear when they retire, give him bonuses on recruiting new minions.

  1. Combat

The irony is, if done properly, you will need to be more worried about accidentally killing your player rather then less. Remember, he needs to be losing effectiveness, via gold/gear and possibly exp in trade for his minions. This means he will be individually weaker and his minions can get overwhelmed quickly by strong monsters. You will probably need to start using a few more creatures that are weaker to balance out the heroes consisting of more weaker critters. Also, you will almost HAVE to enforce some sort of play timer to keep the other players from getting crowded out during combat. Make sure he is aware of this ahead of time, but absolutely be blunt in he gets no more time to play his 3(4, or whatever) characters then the other players get for their 1 character.

  1. Last thoughts

You said you like to answer with at "Yes, you can but..." and so I answered with the issues you will want to keep in mind if you OK this. That said, you are under no obligation to allow him to recruit new party mates and absolutely under no obligation to allow him to control your NPCs. Allowing him to control NPCs will be more work for you. BUT. it can be done, and it can allow for fun game play, for both him and the rest of the party. Keep up the communication with both him and the other players, and if you go with it, let them know if it doesn't work, you will back out of it.

  1. Don't let the Player control the NPC. (By definition, it's a NON-Player Character)

  2. Let the PC experience Management and Team Dynamics.

    A good team works well together, puts the team ahead of themselves, and understands each others limitations and abilities. (E.g., you know Gandalf is always late for things, so you better plan accordingly, you can trust Frodo to do the right thing)

  3. Give the NPCs human flaws.

    This is a way to enrich #2 above. The PC is now in a management role. It's a whole different kind of task, an potentially a fun one. Maybe the NPCs are greedy, or don't want to fess up to mistakes, or exaggerate their abilities ("sure I can cover our retreat, I've got the best spells"), but then they run away when it's time to act).


You should say no.

All NPC's should be controlled by the DM, otherwise they'd be a PC. In game this can be handled by: "You don't find any/they cost too much."


"Try as you might, most of the local hired hands feel inadequate given the power you possess."

By it's definition, a Non-Player Character (NPC) is a character that is not controlled by a Player. The term you could use may be henchmen, hirelings, or retainers, but I'm not aware of the rules surrounding retianers.

The definition of NPC can be found in the Wikipedia Article which includes a reference to the source document, but any player manual for any game will have a definition of an NPC. An online dictionary definition of non-player character states the same for video games but it would generally apply to all games: NPC definition at Oxford Learners Dictionary.

This discussion of hirelings, retainers, and henchmen illustrate how the term is used inconsistently between some editions of (A)D&D and possible solutions on how to handle their use: Hirelings-and-Henchmen-how-it-goes.

Finally, this Gaming Stack Exchange Article also discusses NPC's from a video game point of view with references to it's origin and use in table-top gaming.


Say Yes

Although at first, I thought "There is no way you should let him run the NPC." I took a step back and thought when there would be a time to do so. As mentioned by others, larger combat may require additional time and having a player run the NPC be used in combat by a player can save you a lot of time.

Some of my early GMs had another player run the NPC. This has the added bonus that it engages other players in the interaction, instead of just hearing "Bob" talk to himself... He gave the other player a quick rundown of his goals and let him play.


I have been guilty of doing things like that myself. A lot. NPCs will work for you for pay. The more the player abuses them (sends them first in the dungeon) the more they need to pay. Upfront. With payment contracts signed before local authorities. Under penalty of perjury. With additional fines.

And does he really want the goblin to join the party? REALLY? Have the goblin run with some of their stuff while they are in a fight. Soon the rest of the party will dissuade him from having everyone be friends and joining.

Yep I learned quickly that you need to get rid of kobolds and goblins without mercy, or they bite you in the rear later. They do not make friends. They do not hold their words.

If he invest nothing, he gets no control

Others already mentioned the Leadership feat from 3.x, and the ability to create/summon minions/critters. Those things require a character investment to obtain these abilities. If a player invests and spends advances/ feats/ levels, then he should be able to control such a character.

You are still the GM

The NPC is always under your control, even if you can delegate this authority from time to time. You are always free to veto or refuse an action from the NPC. In the end, you must decide what is most fun for ALL involved (remember that you the GM are also a player and that if you do not enjoy running, you will not spend your valuable time putting together a Skyrim lookalike for one person).


You've gotten lots of great answers here and plenty of options to work with, so I just have a couple of things to throw into the mix.

NPCs are ultimately under the DM's control - even if you cede that control in combat or for a little while during an adventure.

If you pay someone very little for their work, they must be inexperienced, right? So cheap hirelings will be ineffective and have high casualty rates. The village/town where they got recruited will know who went out and didn't come back. This will affect who else will hire on.

If you do a job and become experienced, you expect to get compensated better, right? So wage inflation just got real!

These hirelings know the whole story of how the bandit camp got cleared out, and they will be telling their version of the story down at the tavern too. Maybe their version is not as impressive as the hero's and people think less of the PCs. Maybe their version is more impressive than the hero's and the party attracts attention that's over their head.

Lastly, some successful hirelings might decide that adventuring is awesome, once you cut out the middleman! They leave the group and start taking jobs that the PCs might have wanted. Talk about lost XP! The party doesn't get any XP or treasure from a job they didn't go on at all.

And just for fun, here's a supercut of the ultimate hireling: Bronn from Game of Thrones. If only one or two of your NPCs are like this, your game will be uproarious fun! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTLYV4aMX4M


Instead of suggesting that NPC recruitment is not a good idea, why don't you let the other PC's convince your friend? Let them do the work.

For example, as Novak mentioned,

The incompetent NPC, who falls asleep on watch incurring a surprise attack at night

The NPC would never do their job well, but also never dies. He seems to have a lot of "bad luck" that negatively impacts the other PC's. He just annoys the other PC's to the point that they kill him or convince your friend that the NPC has to go.

In combat, the NPC would accidentally (and with surprising consistency) hit the PC's. When the party is stealthily approaching a sleeping guard, the NPC would trip and make noise and wake the guard. When given something to carry, he would accidentally drop it in the river or break it. He also has the habit of annoying the PC's that are least tolerant of hit behavior.

In addition, as Fritz mentioned, NPC's are by definition controlled by the GM. However, your friend could be the "manager" of the NPC. He could instruct the NPC to follow his directions to the letter, and become a proxy for the NPC.

This could enhance the group dynamic because in the eyes of the other PC's your friend would become responsible for the NPC's actions. When the NPC creates problems, the PC's will exert pressure on your friend. The NPC becomes your friend's problem, and not your problem.


Take control of the NPC from him. Make sure he's aware of the rule. You as the DM reserve that right. Tell him that he can take in as many NPC's as he wants but he must let you control them.

Why do this?

In the midst of heated battles when your friend is very vulnerable, suddenly go, "NPC X has been colluding with NPC Y about how they hate player X, they decide to use this moment to turn on player X and run away with his gold and [important object belonging to whole party]".

Watch him lose his shit. Tell him that's just how it is. Not only that but if it works, now the everyone hates him and will stop him from recruiting NPC's whenever he feels like it.

It will not stop the habit, but will curb it, just as you want. Which means he'll be more cautious recruiting and try to more by himself *and * wont stop having fun either. Win-Win


There's actually a Leadership Feat in 3.5 D&D that has specific rules concerning this. And there are rules because you do want to prevent it from being abused. 5 might not have these rules, but I would seriously think about converting them.

Lots of the answers here have been good ones. Like the fact that NPC stands for Non Player Character. He doesn't get to play other characters.

NPC's have their own agenda. He doesn't get to play them because it is up to you, as the GM to determine that agenda. This is not just about his fun, this is about balancing gameplay, fairness, and making sure everyone, not just him has a good time.

The XP leach AND Treasure division will, in fact, lead to other players policing this FOR you. He does NOT get to dictate what percentage of treasure they will be happy with. They WILL notice if they are taking most of the risk and getting very little benefit for it. These are people, not straight minions. Leadership, as a feat, does allow for this, but it also limits what you can do.

You might also want to keep track of what he does in an encounter. If he doesn't fight at all, congratulations to him, he's now a BYSTANDER. Somebody watching a fight doesn't get XP for it. Sorry. Even if they are shouting directions to their minions.

I know that you want to make sure everyone is happy in the game, but this person is going to do that at the expense of the story, game play flow, other players, and you. Show no weakness. Simply decide, lay out what the rules are, and then stick to them, cheerfully. If he's upset, well, that's going to happen. You actually will never have a good game if you make rulings that make this particular person happy all the time.

He might argue that other people are free to do as he has done. You can say that you have no desire to run a game where each player can potentially sprout 3 other characters in their control, and that by setting the precedent, every turn will take FOREVER if anyone else opts to do that, and you simply don't want to open that door without restrictions!


  • NPCs must COST the party something.
  • NPCs must have their own agenda.
  • NPC stands for NON PLAYER CHARACTER. He doesn't get to play 2 or 3 or half a dozen.
  • The player doesn't care about other people or the game, so you have to.
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie Sorry, wasn't aware tags denoted the specific game, I am new to the board. Edited. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 23, 2017 at 18:53

Depends on the content you have available and whether this is fun / manageable. If you are using a module that won't scale well to large groups, you'd have to retool a lot of things.

Reading through my 1st edition reprints, a lot of the rules (that are fairly vague) seem to point to huge vs huge group combat. If you are really up for the challenge / interested, you could take a look at some of those, but I really think 5e dropped a lot of those vague mechanics because they are fairly unwieldy (weapon reach etc) and bog down the roleplaying with large combats that the players are a small percentage of.

Also, I advise against letting a single player effectively "multi-box" by having direct control over this large group of NPCs, this would probably make things boring for the rest of the players, unless you give each player a "cohort" etc (also mentioned a lot in 1e but not in 5e).


You must log in to answer this question.

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