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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Barbarian in the Playground

    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Over the Rainbow

    Default Suggestions for NPC hireling/party member's class(es)

    We barely finished Sesion 0 for our new homebrew campaign. The theme is a Skyrim/LOTR crossover, with a party of "magic users" coming from Magicland (High Magic Country), being stranded in a medium-low magic world. The initial flavor of the campaign is assumed to be a pirate campaign, but since it's supposed to be a sandbox it can derail into virtually anything.

    Party is composed of Aasimar Divination Wizard, Eladrin Storm Sorcerer and Wood Elf Shadow Monk; all lvl 6. Problem being the Monk rolled hit dice very poorly (40 hp) and the Sorcerer became the tankiest (50 hp, high Con). If it weren't for the Monk's high armor class (19), i'd say they have literally no tank. So, even though I usually dislike playing DMPCs, I'm kinda pushed into adding one or two NPCs into the spotlight as party members (not just hirelings or followers) to fill some space and flavor and to give more meat points to the spellcasters.

    I have one candidate so far (that makes sense in-universe), a level 8 Half-orc Scout Rogue, with proper meat points and a cool set of skills (another thing they also are lacking). She's supposed to be their mentor-type follower, who will be watching over them in their journey through this world that is new and unknown to them. Actually, the real mentor is the captain of the ship that rescues them (15 lvl College of Swords Bard*) but he won't follow them in their adventures, just provide counsel and stuff.

    What I need suggestions for is for other NPCs builds with potential for becoming new/replacement party members. I want to build these NPCs specifically as PCs because another function they will provide is to be run by their players in case something happens to their characters (they are all new to DnD so I don't count on them being tactically wise). I would prefer the build not to be full casters or to rely on various abilities at the same time, because I'd rather focus on the RP part of these NPCs rather than having to memorize a full set of skills/abilities. All of them are supposed to have an interesting background bc the players are used to heavy roleplaying campaigns.

    I was thinking Paladin is a nice class for filling the role of the meatshield, maybe even Oathbreaker for some added flavor. I'm kinda unsure about any Barbarian class, because although they all are very good meats, the Half-orc is going to behave like a "refined" barbarian, in the sense that she's basically she-hulk, wearing sneakers. As much as I love toying with making characters, party balance is one of the things I haven't groked too well for this system, so, any suggestion for good/interesting/fun/creative NPC bruisers will be more than welcome.


    *The reason the captain has a class is because he is based on a character build I wanted to play but never had the chance to run.

    My English non très bueno, da? CALL: 0800-BADGRINGO

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Ettin in the Playground

    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Between SEA and PDX.

    Default Re: Suggestions for NPC hireling/party member's class(es)

    I think a good way of doing it is just to make them "Subclassless" characters. Then, have the subclass come in when a player takes over, so that the player can decide their playstyle.

    This also prevents the common issue of NPCs overshadowing the players, which is a big no-no for any NPCs that stick around for longer than a single session. When it comes to DMNPCs (that is, fighting NPCs that the DM controls), you want them to be as bland and boring as possible, and to fulfill things the party cannot fulfill themselves, or be limited to the one thing that NPC is good at.

    Removing the NPC's subclass until a player takes over is a good way of doing all of that. I dunno, just my 2 cents.

    Alternatively, make NPCs that fulfill needs that nobody else in the party can do. That way, when the player takes them over, they'll still feel special, without the NPC stealing the spotlight too often from anyone else. Similarly, support builds (such as Divination Wizard or many Clerics) are also wanted, since they make others stand out instead of themselves.
    Last edited by Man_Over_Game; 2020-02-27 at 05:09 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by KOLE View Post
    MOG, design a darn RPG system. Seriously, the amount of ideas I’ve gleaned from your posts has been valuable. You’re a gem of the community here.
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    5th Edition Homebrewery

    Prestige Options, changing primary attributes to open a world of new multiclassing.
    Adrenaline Surge, fitting Short Rests into combat to fix bosses/Short Rest Classes.
    Pain, using Exhaustion to make tactical martial combatants.
    Fate Sorcery, lucky winner of the 5e D&D Subclass Contest VII!

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