4 Ways to Stop Players from Stealing your NPCs in D&D

Meeting new characters, making new in-game friends and growing your party into an effective adventuring force is an essential part of any D&D campaign. Like I mention in Building a Balanced D&D Party, sometimes a group of players can make characters who's classes don't give them everything they need to overcome your challenges. So NPCs can easily fill this roll, and become beloved by the party in their own right.

However, after learning that they can invite people to join their group, some players may take this too far, inviting everyone they meet; which can lead to a bloated party with well more muscle than you had intended. As a Dungeon Master you need to be prepared for this eventuality. So here are four things that you can do.

1. Give NPCs a Reason to Stay

Would you just up and leave your life because some random was like "hey come on an adventure with us!?" Probably not... I mean, I guess some of you might. But for most of us the idea of leaving friends, family, and home behind is a little more than we are prepared to undertake.

So the same would be true of most NPCs. Sure the Blacksmith might be the coolest dude around, but odds are he is more interested in tending his forge, family and friends than he is joining the party that just arrived in town and started heckling him to join them.

2. Keep Your Player's Money on Your Mind

If your players have amassed a large amount of gold you need to keep this in mind when preparing your "in-village time." Just like in the real world, having lot's of money means that you can hire a lot of people. If your players are at a level where they can offer peasants and other villagers more money than they would see in a life time -even given tip 1 above- it will be difficult for them to turn that down.

Account for this by making plenty of useful hirelings and NPCs available. Taverns are a great way to introduce such groups and individuals. Just make sure your players know there are more skilled people they can hire than the random villagers on the street.

If your players have this much money, you are probably at a point in a campaign where they are fighting very powerful monsters. Remember once they have spent their money of a veritable army these "powerful monsters" may not be so powerful after all. Be ready.

3. Give Your a Player's a Reason Not To Hire Them

Perhaps one of the best ways to discourage your players from attempting to recruit someone is to give them a very good reason not to. There are two ways you can handle this: the first is in-game, the second is out-of-game.

For an in-game solution look to your NPC's backstory. Physical ailments, conflicting beliefs and opinions, general unpleasantness -  These are all excellent qualities to ensure your players will have no interest in recruiting them to their ever growing band.

For an out-of-game solution one trick I like to impose revolves around character levels. If one of my players dies, they may roll up a new character to join the party, however that character will enter the group sharing the same level with the party member who has the lowest level. A small set back for having died, but it also means that players will avoid trying to recruit level 1 or even level 0 NPCs out of this fear. It is admittedly a little cheeky, but it does work quite well.

4. Don't Worry Too Much About It

A piece of advice I often give in this sort of matter: just let it happen. Use some of the tips above, but in the end everyone is here to have a good time. If your players want to go around trying to enlist every single NPC they meet, then let them try, and adjust any encounter that you have to accommodate.

If things get out of hand, a quick failed morale save will cause even the the most stouthearted NPC to flee for their lives... Possibly to never be seen again. So don't stress to much about it and let your players learn for themselves what NPCs are worth hiring, but just remember that too much of a good thing can exist.

Does your D&D group attempt to recruit inappropriate NPCs into their party? How do you handle it? Let us know in the comments bellow!

Written by: Andrew Gregory

*All pictures are from the D&D 5e Player's Handbook.
4 Ways to Stop Players from Stealing your NPCs in D&D 4 Ways to Stop Players from Stealing your NPCs in D&D Reviewed by JADE Gaming on 9/05/2019 02:05:00 pm Rating: 5

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