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184 votes

My players are thinking of abandoning my NPC. What should I do?

Your NPC is boring and annoying to your players Sorry to tell you straight out what your players are too polite to tell you. However, their actions are crystal clear - they don't like what you are ...
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130 votes
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A player always wants to recruit NPCs into the party. How do I handle this?

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)...
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119 votes
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How do I indicate to my players that an NPC is no longer useful and that they should move on?

Remember that NPCs are people, not info dumps. Your players are following what I'd call the video game model of NPC interaction. In a lot of RPG video games, the NPCs are infinitely patient and let ...
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84 votes
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Risk of a TPK vs realistic NPCs

There's no "right" answer, there are major playstyles that hit the two extremes and then there's compromises in the middle. The ENWorld post Combat as Sport vs Combat As War illustrates two different ...
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  • 172k
76 votes
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How can I use powerful NPCs without overshadowing the player characters?

It’s all about Agency As long as the party is independent to choose their path, and their actions remain relevant, having mighty NPC’s involved won’t detract from the game. NPC’s that are already in ...
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75 votes

How do I respond to players who keep asking powerful NPCs to help them in ToA?

The world is always about to end From the players' point of view, sure, this adventure is the end-all and be-all of saving the world. Folks like Laeral Silverhand, though, have a lot more on their ...
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71 votes

How can my PCs discover an NPC's class if they are trying to hide it?

Class is a game mechanic, not an identification 1 As explained very well in this answer, there is no such thing within the game as a "class". It is just a tool to help players design their character, ...
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  • 27.2k
71 votes
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Why do we assume that PHB rules apply to monsters?

If monsters don't follow the "you" rules in the PHB, then many things become undefined. You can make an opportunity attack when a hostile creature that you can see moves out of your reach. ...
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69 votes
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How can I handle players killing my NPC outside of combat?

Adapt and move on Players do have a tendency to ruin the best-laid plans of the DM! In your scenario, I wonder if maybe there was a mistake somewhere that allowed such a powerful NPC to be captured ...
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  • 26.6k
68 votes

A player always wants to recruit NPCs into the party. How do I handle this?

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 ...
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66 votes
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Players constantly capture enemies and question them, how to deal with it?

There are other benefits to capturing an enemy besides just information Rather than every NPC either having secrets or nothing, consider other things for your NPCs to offer the party. As an example, ...
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63 votes
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How can I tell how powerful an NPC is without being explicitly told?

There is no absolute way to tell, no spell that says "he's level 10/10 HD." You have to go with context clues and observation instead. That leads us to a two-part answer. DM Description and ...
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61 votes
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How much should NPCs charge for spells cast as services to PCs?

The answer to this is two-fold. So, to give the TL;DR first... The Equation you cited is most likely accurate, but it only applies to Adventurer's League play. It is not part of the core rules. Where ...
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  • 60.5k
58 votes
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How can I protect an NPC's death scene from interfering PCs with cure magic?

Exhaustion kills The game has a mechanism for modeling exhaustion. It's the exhaustion condition, and it's 6th level has the rather simple effect: "Death". Not reduction to 0 hit points, ...
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55 votes
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How to make a Nightcrawler-esque NPC villain for my players?

Ok, there's two ways to go about it. Limited use, or limited reliability. Limited Use This is simple: as a reaction, teleport up to your move. Reaction rules limits this to 1/round. Limited ...
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52 votes

Risk of a TPK vs realistic NPCs

The Wizard doesn't know how dangerous those adventurers are. There is no implicit "I will only face people who I am able to defeat, yet find challenging" agreement the wizard can rely upon. In a ...
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  • 12.7k
51 votes
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How can an NPC replace some pages of a book with different pages, without leaving a trace of manipulation?

Re-bind the book If your NPC cuts the page from the book and joins it this might be quite obvious. However, if they pull the book apart, remove the entire signature (which will usually be several ...
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  • 187k
49 votes

A player always wants to recruit NPCs into the party. How do I handle this?

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 ...
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  • 60.5k
47 votes

What's the difference between an NPC and a GMPC?

This is a very good question that ties in to both the mechanics of different types of characters and their narrative role, and in addition to those, their role in the group. There is no clear boundary ...
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  • 53.2k
46 votes
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NPC-only interactions by player request

NPCs can talk to each other without talking to each other. You cool your heels in the administrative annex for a bit and listen to the conversation drifting in from the break room about the new food ...
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  • 32.8k
46 votes
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How can I make conversations with NPCs more succinct?

Handwave and summarise the boring stuff I have struggled with a similar problem. I like to make my world immersive and give distinct characteristics to every NPC my group encounters. However it can ...
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  • 27.6k
45 votes

What is the best way to deal with NPC-NPC combat?

Ask the players when they want to intervene, and narrate until that point. Don't get bogged down in mechanics. The normal flow of the game is for the DM to describe the scene/scenario, the players to ...
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44 votes
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Helping players remember NPCs with uncommon names

Give the NPCs a title or nickname. Your example already has one built in, rather than referring to him by his full name, Introduce him as Captain Rastafi ibn Halum, but have other NPCs refer to him ...
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44 votes
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How to deal with a DM who controls us with powerful NPCs?

The only real thing you can do is talk to your DM. Explain to him why you dislike his way of playing. The only way to get him to change this behavior is to talk to him AND show him a better way. I ...
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44 votes
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How to set up love interests for player characters

Do not cheapen relationships Do not have a "romantic interest" NPCs, instead have real characters who may develop strong feelings for a PC. Significant others are not quest items or things to be ...
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44 votes

How do I indicate to my players that an NPC is no longer useful and that they should move on?

This partly depends on how your PCs are extracting this information, which in turn depends on how you decided to DM it. i.e. pure role-playing or a skill check such as Intimidate. Either way is fine ...
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  • 26.6k
43 votes

How to create a villain for level 1 players

That depends on what you mean by villain If you meant the BBEG (Big Bad Evil Guy - the main Villain of the Campaign), I will start with some frame challenging: You don't. A BBEG that is going to be ...
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  • 35.7k
43 votes
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How can I tell how many damage dice to roll for an NPC's cantrip?

Spellcasting For the Spellcasting trait, you use the listed spellcaster level as read on page 10 of the Monster Manual: The spellcaster level is also used for any cantrips included in the feature. ...
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42 votes

How can I protect an NPC's death scene from interfering PCs with cure magic?

D&D is best played without scripts There are as many ways to play D&D as there are DMs. But I think your line of thinking doesn't lead anywhere good. As DMs it's enticing to get ahead of ...
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  • 5,516
41 votes

My players are thinking of abandoning my NPC. What should I do?

Let your world breathe a little more Instead of thinking, "the party has derailed my questline", roll with it a bit. He's a tough guy, so he's probably going to survive but is likely to bear ...
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