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

    Join Date
    Oct 2018

    Default Advice re npc group team up request

    Iml have an nice group of contemporaries to the party. Both groups are clearing an area independently but players characters have been discussing asking to join up. Any suggestions how to handle this. I have plans to have their leader in a position to be part of an encounter later in the game but I can't have him conveniently unavailable again.

    The community's help will be much appreciated.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Planetar

    Join Date
    May 2018

    Default Re: Advice re npc group team up request

    What's preventing the PCs from getting more peoples in their teams, like literally recruiting a group of 10+ guards?

    (0) "The PCs never thought about that". Well, they might eventually, so you need to have an answer ready.
    (1) "They didn't have the option to, or the ones available would have been of negligible help." Really? Unless it's only been a few session since the campaign started, I'm doubtful. I'm pretty sure there is another reason.
    (2) "Too many allies on the map is annoying to handle, it slows down everything while taking away some spotlight from the PCs. Everyone on the table agrees so conveniently avoid situations that would lead to it." => An OOC discussion on the fact that you don't want to have the team join up for practical reasons.
    (3) "Peoples that could be of any relevant help were busy with other important problems." Then keep generating other important problems. If the players want to join up forces with the NPCs, just give more problems to the PCs and say "Well, you have this huge mess of problems, and you don't have the time to do all of them, you will need to split up, which problems do you handle with your PCs and which ones do you send the NPCs handle?"

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Nov 2011

    Default Re: Advice re npc group team up request

    Do you have those NPCs thoroughly statted up?

    What is the reason you don't want the teamup to occur?

    My first inclination is to simply the party, OOC, reasons why you don't want the teamup to occur.

    A hypothetical example:
    "I know it makes sense to teamup from a verisimilitude perspective; but DM'ing is a lot of work, a teamup requires me to alter encounter balance significantly, it also means I have to run those NPCs all the time in addition to everything else I'm doing. So let's just not do it except for very special occasions, ok?"
    A neat custom class for 3.5 system
    http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=94616

    A good set of benchmarks for PF/3.5
    https://rpgwillikers.wordpress.com/2...y-the-numbers/

    An alternate craft point system I made for 3.5
    http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showt...t-Point-system

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    MonkGuy

    Join Date
    Jun 2015

    Default Re: Advice re npc group team up request

    Quote Originally Posted by zlefin View Post
    Do you have those NPCs thoroughly statted up?

    What is the reason you don't want the teamup to occur?

    My first inclination is to simply the party, OOC, reasons why you don't want the teamup to occur.

    A hypothetical example:
    "I know it makes sense to teamup from a verisimilitude perspective; but DM'ing is a lot of work, a teamup requires me to alter encounter balance significantly, it also means I have to run those NPCs all the time in addition to everything else I'm doing. So let's just not do it except for very special occasions, ok?"
    I think this is the best option, assuming you donít actively want to try to make it work. The players in a D&D game can sort of do anything that makes sense from an in universe perspective, but not really. The game does have some basic assumptions and it will fight you if you stray too far from them.

    If you do want to give it a try, Iíd suggest relegating the NPC group to roles where they wonít need to actually be run as if they were PCs. Run a normal encounter where the NPCs are fighting other enemies in the background. You can even come up with a simplified combat mechanic to see how they do, and maybe some of them will die or get wounded, or switch sides or something. Itís not impossible and thereís potential for fun there, but I personally would steer clear of actually adding them to the party or treating them as DMPCs. Even one DMPC is one too many imo.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    RedWizardGuy

    Join Date
    Apr 2017

    Default Re: Advice re npc group team up request

    I would allow it. Sure, it'll make a lot of the encounters easier, but the "rivals" is a great thing to have in a campaign for increasing flavour and player involvement.

    Obviously, it will make encounters easier, and the obvious solution is to partially offset that. Not by too much, as you want the party to benefit from their idea, but maybe go for 50% increase in difficulty to offset the parties 100% increase in strength, so its not a steamroller.

    If you are worried about giving you too much to do, give each player a "rival" to control in combat. You can either give them their opposite number (so they don't have too much new stuff to remember) or a completely different class, depending on what your players would prefer. Tell them you'll take them back if they start mis-using them (using them to trigger obvious traps or take hits for the main characters), and obviously keep control of them in roleplay interactions.

    And don't let it all go the players way. The rivals are going to see themselves as equals to the party, and demand a fair split of treasure, which could create an issue when a magical item falls in front of both groups. The alliance may not last past that moment.

    You can use this section to seed future plot ideas; create friendships, relationships and rivalries with the party and the rivals. And do both at once, by lining up some of the rival party as friends for one PC, but enemies to another. As examples: have the rival Wizard seek out the player Wizard to compare research and spell ideas, but treat the player Fighter like some dumb brute to only address in small words. Have the rival Fighter be massively competative with the party, but be a devout follower of the party Cleric's god, and frequently come to them for instruction. Or have the Rogue make snide comments about the party rogues skill whilst genuinely complementing the Fighters ability. My personal favourite was the look of dumbfounded shock on my high-charisma characters face when the rival Bard seduced him, them immediately dumped him to hit on the party Fighter next :P

    Ideally, if you can leave the players kinda liking the rivals, whilst having a few small grudges they will remember for next time they meet, you'll have gained a positive piece of background flavour to your campaign that your players will likely remember for years.
    Last edited by Glorthindel; 2021-11-24 at 09:14 AM.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Titan in the Playground
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Dallas, TX
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Advice re npc group team up request

    Lots of options:

    1. DM: "Do you want me running half of your team, as well as all of the potential foes? That's me doing 3/4 of all the combat."

    2. Figure out who the leader of the npc party is, and why he is clearing the area, and whether he is willing to do it in combination with the party. [If he is looking for a lost artifact, for instance, he won't want another party there when it's found.] Then decide on his reaction to the PCs' request based on that.

    3. Whatever plans you have (including having the leader as part of a later encounter), they are subject to what the party does between now and then. Don't railroad through the discussion of a proposed alliance just because of later plans.

    4. You can have them join together for a short while, see how it works, and then, if necessary, have the NPCs decide to go off on their own, or get separated during a fight, or some such. If one NPC gets a broken leg, or needs to be taken back to town, then they will stop working with the party, as soon as you decide it's not working well.

    5. One way to convince the players they don't want this might be finding a treasure, of which they only get half.

    So my overall recommendation is to try it, if these NPCs think it's to their advantage. You can then break it up later if you need to. Even if you break it up after a while, the PCs got to use their idea.

    The party has a cool role-playing idea that isn't about maximizing loot. Count your blessings and run it.
    Last edited by Jay R; 2021-11-24 at 10:13 AM.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    mucat's Avatar

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    Mar 2010
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    Male

    Default Re: Advice re npc group team up request

    Quote Originally Posted by HidesHisEyes View Post
    If you do want to give it a try, Iíd suggest relegating the NPC group to roles where they wonít need to actually be run as if they were PCs. Run a normal encounter where the NPCs are fighting other enemies in the background. You can even come up with a simplified combat mechanic to see how they do, and maybe some of them will die or get wounded, or switch sides or something.
    This is what I do. My group of players like making lots of colorful friends, any of whom may or may not be on-screen at a given moment. If they've got lots of allies present for a fight scene, the allies pull their weight...but they do so "over there". Maybe they're covering the flank, holding off enemy reinforcements, or securing some strategic point...but I don't roll for all of them; just an occasional 2d6 to see how things are going over there, on a scale from "way worse than expected" to "way better than expected". Their fight overlaps with the PCs' just often enough to make the scene feel like a larger battle -- someone over there might try to snipe someone "over here", or an AoE or buff spell catches large parts of the combined battlefield, or a specific situation arises that's best dealt with by coordination with the NPCs.

    Done right, this can add memorable tactical variety to fights. Sometimes the NPCs are overmatched, and the PCs need to finish their jobs quickly to join forces and swing the tide. Other times, it's the NPC crew who will rush to the rescue, if the PCs can hold the line for long enough. Some sessions are heist scenes, where assigning the right job to the right ally is a vital part of the planning. And occasionally, the whole damned crew, PCs and NPCs, just join forces to curb stomp what might otherwise have been a difficult fight; the players should get a payoff for their effort of building alliances.

    It helps that this group sees these relationships as a key part of the game. They celebrate their friends' triumphs, support their crew and expect support in return, and when an ally dies, they mourn and seek revenge. So the time investment in narrating a multi-front fight pays off in great memories for the players.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    ElfWarriorGuy

    Join Date
    Oct 2018

    Default Re: Advice re npc group team up request

    Thanks for the good thoughts. I think i will let them do it if they so choose but ill tell the PLAYERS that they will need to run the crew in combat i think.

    So that brings me to the next question: Stat blocks/character sheets. Anyone know of a stat block generator for a rival team?
    Or should i just make them all full character sheets?

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Titan in the Playground
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Dallas, TX
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Advice re npc group team up request

    Quote Originally Posted by KyleG View Post
    Thanks for the good thoughts. I think i will let them do it if they so choose but ill tell the PLAYERS that they will need to run the crew in combat i think.

    So that brings me to the next question: Stat blocks/character sheets. Anyone know of a stat block generator for a rival team?
    Or should i just make them all full character sheets?
    Do you have a player who likes designing characters? If so, ask that player to make the character sheets. You have less work; that player has more fun.

    [Then change the leader's sheet just enough to support the actual goal of the rival group.]

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