DMPCs: A Tale of Two Characters

Atirakis (2)
An Artist’s Rendition of Atirakis. Art by Mat Andre.

In my first two official campaigns of Dungeons & Dragons, I was not only the DM, but I had drawn up a character of my own as well, a PC, controlled by the Dungeon Master, also called a DMPC. I drew up the same character both times; an Elf magic-user. Both times I named him the same name. He was my character.

The first incarnation did not last long, and was mainly there so that there was at least one character that my friend would be forced to interact with. My friend quickly turned him into a friendly rival of sorts, and for awhile, I was able to play it off like the characters did not like each other, but were forced to work together in order to accomplish similar goals. They became competing protagonists, after the friendly rivalry  broke down. My friend wanted to expand his territory into lands that my character controlled, and playing my character accurately, I told him that would cost him something that he treasured. I would make him give me a macguffin that I had given him and he had become attached to. It was a simple mirror, that when looked into, would show the viewer the future. Not the near future mind you, the very distant future. He would see airplanes and cars and microwaves when he looked into it, and would never understand what any of it meant; but he was convinced that there was something special about this mirror, so he refused to give it up.  What followed was a bloody civil war in the land that weakened our two pseudo-kingdoms so much that I had no choice but to accept that either my character or his would have to go. I decided that I would send my magic-user away. He secured a temporary treaty, and went off to explore an ancient land, and was never heard from again (at least, not anymore in that campaign!)

” I felt like I was playing a game of battleship against myself. I knew were every ship was, so I would either hit anytime I wanted to, or miss on purpose. “

The second incarnation of the character was a multi-class Elven Cleric/Wizard. He was the primary healer of the group, but also had plenty of arcane power to boost the party’s overall firepower and crowd control. Since multi-class characters often fell behind the curve, I did not think  that it would be a problem to run a character with the party. I was completely unprepared for what happened to prove me wrong. Instead of feeling outshined by my character, or resenting him getting a share of the experience points and treasure, my party decided that since my character was controlled by the Dungeon Master, that it was best if he was the party leader. I tried to take a backseat, and force the other players at the table to take the reigns, but every time we were faced with a decision to make, they would turn to my character. They knew that I would never completely screw them over, and that I always designed my character to be intelligent and wise. It was a fool proof plan, and it made me miserable. I felt like I was playing a game of battleship against myself. I knew were every ship was, so I would either hit anytime I wanted to, or miss on purpose.

The solution was once again to send my character away. I had another player who had drawn up a Monk (in the style of Dragonball Z) and, well let’s just say that it was time for that character to go too. So we embarked on a quest that would be remembered to this day as the mightiest, most epic quest of all time (so far anyways.) We were going to storm The Nine Hells, kill Asmodeus, and end the war between The Seven Heavens and The Nine Hells forever. Along the way, we battled devils, their minions, The Lords of Hell, rebel angels, and The Lord of The Nine himself, Asmodeus. Afterwards, we were allowed to take his formerly angelic spark, and cleanse it, allowing us each to become demigods, and ascend into the heavens, and realms beyond.

That was the last time I ever drew up that character as a DMPC. He is now an NPC who I use as one of the main protagonist/antagonists in all of my campaigns, depending on which side of the coin of good and evil the party decides to land on…

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