View Full Version : D&D 5e/Next Party Non Combat Roles With Powers and Responsibilities

2015-04-10, 03:13 PM
I'm currently DMing a 5e game, and I've been brainstorming an idea I had recently in an attempt to organize the parties various information, money, holdings, relics, allies, enemies, etc.

Instead of taking on the responsibilities solely myself, I thought of giving each player an option of a "role" or title, from an approved list of roles. Each one should have some tangible benefit to the party as a whole, and will have responsibilities at the table. An example is "Leader" who gains the Inspiring Leadership feat, may give Inspiration once per session, and is responsible for managing the parties reputation sheet.

Below is a quick list of various roles I came up with on my own. I'm mostly just looking for sounding boards to bounce ideas off of, especially when it comes to balancing all the roles so they are all equally appealing without stepping on other player's toes, while still having adequate responsibilities.

My inspiration for this is to get the party more engaged in world building, since this is a homebrew game, and I as a DM love it when my players "play ball" so to speak with me as a DM when it comes to creating the world and it's denizens. Ideally I want to have a long list for the party to choose from, so that I can focus the lens of the game, so to speak, on what roles they have chosen.

Also, any ideas for other roles along with mechanics for each would be greatly appreciated, as well as any critiques and criticisms of the list I have. Hell, do you even think this is a good idea?

Gain Inspiring Leader feat, may give inspiration once per session
Responsibilities: Major and Minor Reputations sheet management

May trade rumors for reputation gains; gain Actor feat with no charisma bonus
Responsibilities: Rumor sheet, contact sheet management

Relic Keeper
May trade magic items with willing parties for gold, magic items, or rumours
Responsibilities: Manage parties magical inventory, as well a list of all slain and encountered monsters.

Spiritual Leader
Gain Healer feat
Responsibilities: Keep track of all religious organizations that the party has come across, Religious Reputation sheet management

Hirelings add Quartermaster's proficiency bonus to damage and proficency bonus times CR to HP.
Responsibilities: Manage mundane party gear and hirelings.

-50% for all mundane weapons and armor purchased, -25% for all other purchases made, gain 5% increase to party funds every session.
Responsibilities: Manage party funds and all real estate holdings.

Once per day may cast Augury or Clairvoyance
Once per session may cast Divination or Scrying
Advantage on all checks made as part of these spells
Responsibilities: Manage information about prophecy or foreseen events.

Once per day gain advantage on an Intelligence check, gain Linguist feat with no intelligence bonus
Responsibilities: Right down all information gained from intelligence checks made to gather information on subjects.

Gain advantage on all Intimidate checks, once per week may cast Zone of Truth targeting one helpless target with no save.
Responsibilities: Manage parties prisoners and any information gained from interrogation.

Once per session may give entire party advantage on initiative checks; Guide may never be surprised in familiar places; gain +5 to passive perception to notice inanimate objects
Responsibilities: Map dungeons for party to the best of their ability

Starts each session with one plot point and inspiration. Gain Lucky feat
Responsibilities: Log a synopsis of every session in a journal

(Some of the mechanics are vague, and are meant to be treated more like a Background feature than an actual structured "class-like" power, and that's to leave it open to DM Fiat when needed.)

Thanks a bunch guys!

2015-04-11, 01:55 PM
Don't take this the wrong way, but it kind of sounds like you're bribing your players with feats and special abilities in order to get them to do the book-keeping that they should be doing anyway. That being said, I do like the idea of "party roles" being a mechanical feature. I've heard of many DMs giving all of their characters a feat at first level, and this sounds to be something of similar power. The issue is that a character and a player could be very different, so tying the in-game benefits to out-of-game responsibilities might not be the best idea (e.g. a mathematically-minded player might be playing a dumb character, so it doesn't make sense for their character to be doing inventory management). I think a better solution would be to a) talk to your players about what responsibilities they'll have, and let them divvy them up however they want, and b) give each character a party role, like you have here, that grants bonuses equivalent to a feat, but doesn't necessarily match that player's responsibility.

TL;DR: Separate player roles and character roles, and make your players pull their own weight because they should, not because you'll give them something for it.