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Thread: Concept: NPCs played by external players

  1. #1

    Default Concept: NPCs played by external players

    Today I complained to my best friends how DMing is so much work, especially when you have to control spellcasters. Looking up all their spells and what they do and then decide out of sheer unlimited possibilities the best and most enjoyable action to take can easily take me 2 hours of my free time in play-by-post every single day.

    My friend then voices the idea "Why not let such NPCs be controlled by external players?" and I thought this idea is actually pretty great. I'm sure there are people out there who don't really have the time or motivation to dedicate years of their life to a single Pen&Paper adventure, but would be willing to join in for a quick PVP battle. You would just need to build a community around that so there's always supply of such players when you need them. But I think it would make battles more interesting and take off work from the DM. Now I actually want to do that right away.

  2. #2


    Sounds pretty neat.

    Upside: NPC's taking surprising actions. No getting used to the GM's playstyle and being able to predict what a given NPC might do.

    Downside: Potentially extra waiting.

    I'd certainly be game to try.

  3. #3


    Maybe I could create a subforum in the Recruiting Office just for people who want GMs to know they're willing to do something like this.

  4. #4


    We could try, but not sure how much demand there is.

  5. #5


    True. The conversation here didn't really take off. Maybe there just isn't as much of a market for this kind of thing as I'd hoped. For what it's worth, I thought it was a wonderful idea.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Montana, USA

    Default Concept: NPCs played by external players


    I’ve actually used this for my home games. When I played the first adventure to the Wrath of the Righteous Pathfinder Adventure Path. There were three NPC that were there during nearly the entire adventure and I was like NO WAY am I going to be able to run all three of them the entire time. So one of my friends who couldn’t commit to play the entire time volunteered to play for the first few sessions while we completed our that Adventure and sent the NPCs off to their own thing.

    Though it would have been better for me to give them their character sheets and bios much earlier so they could read up on their parts.

    I have even found a few individuals who are interested in taking over long term NPCs and transitioning them into full players. There might be for a short term NPC role, yet you’ll have to leave your hook in the water longer.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  7. #7


    I've used this before too. In my RotRL game, I've had some old friends reach out who don't have the time to play the full story but still want to be a part of it. So, for example, one of them played a guard captain in Magnimar in chapter two who helps the PCs out. He stayed and played with us for about two months or so and that was that.

    I don't know how many players would like this sort of thing, but I seem to have run into a few over the years, it seems.

  8. #8


    I love playing NPCs, frankly. It's #4 of my favorite aspects of being a DM, right behind 1) enabling/watching the players do cool stuff 2) worldbuilding, and 3) exploring different systems.

    Feel free to ring me up at any time for this, though I may initially be slow to reply.

    Investigator 3- Athelos Rising


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