Part Leaders

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I am a noob DM, have a few sessions under my belt, it is my home campaign with my gf and a few of her friends. 

I have reached a dilemma with my players. None of them have the "confidence" if being the party leader or it just does not fit the characters. In the party we have a Psion (Dragonborn), Druid (Hengeyokai), Artificer (Warforged), Rogue (Drow), Cleric:Templar (Deva). I play the drow rogue.

So my question is. Has DM been able to DM, play a character in said session and lead the party?

As our session progresses I feel like it will be harder to keep on w/o a leader, perhaps out of ignorance? But for story telling purposes I feel like there should be one.  I wanted to know if there is a DM out there who has tried this and how did it work out for you?

Just seems as though I am cheating in leading the players in paths they "should" be taking. Or making crucial decision for them. 
DMPCs are usually a bad idea period,but they should NEVER lead the party.  As you say, you should not be leading them around or making decisions for them.
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DMPCs are a horrible horrible horrible idea.

There is a local DM I love to play with, but they always have a token DMPC that travels with us.  That PC is always smarter, prettier, NPCS respond to her better and first and she often has the spotlight if there is ever a break in the RP of the other players at the table.

As a DM its distracting and limits the amount of player feedback you can get.  It hurts your immersion and if the players get lead around they have no sense of investment in your world and won't care when someone happens that you want them to react to.

As a player it is frustrating and its narrative masterbation that is awkward and annoying to watch.  DMPCS, if they exist at all, should be shortlived as far as the plot is concerned.  If you really need an NPC to go with the party make sure they take a back seat to everything (when I have them I completely ignore them in combat.  They didn't do nothing, but their help is numerically 0 as I dont want to roll against myself). 
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As already been said, DMPCs are generally a bad idea.  They are hard to run properly, take screen time away from the players, complicate matters for the DM, and are almost never necessary.  They can work, and they can work well.  But there are so many potential pitfalls that it's usually not worth the effort unless you know exactly what you're doing.

As our session progresses I feel like it will be harder to keep on w/o a leader, perhaps out of ignorance? But for story telling purposes I feel like there should be one. 



A party usually does not need a dedicated leader calling the shots and deciding what the party will do.  More often, parties will decide as a group what actions the party will take.  Which is apt since  D&D is a group based activity.

So why do you feel like you need a leader?  Because that seems to be the underlying issue here.  And knowing more about this core issue will better help us help you.
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I beg to differ. As long as the DMPC is not a key character to take away from the PC's spotlight unless it is necessary for some type of story telling mechanic. I see no problem with it. I do DMPC all the time and for the most part my PC is just in the back completely indifferent to every thing.

Although the DMPC being a party leader, is treading water I think. But I to want to see if there are any other DMs who have even tried such a thing.   
I beg to differ. As long as the DMPC is not a key character to take away from the PC's spotlight unless it is necessary for some type of story telling mechanic. I see no problem with it. I do DMPC all the time and for the most part my PC is just in the back completely indifferent to every thing.

Although the DMPC being a party leader, is treading water I think. But I to want to see if there are any other DMs who have even tried such a thing.   



Ive honestly never seen a game with a DMPC in it that would function better without one.

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I would rather say a DMPC is... tricky. I've seen very, very bad use of DMPCs. But I've also seen DMs who knew how to use them.

I don't agree with Matyr either. Sometimes, a DMPC can be exaclty what a party needs to round up some potential weaknesses in party constitution. They can even be essential, if you're playing with exceptional groups of one or two players.

However, that being said, in the particular case of the OP, I can say that having the DMPC be the party "leader" is a bad idea. Overall, DMPCs can provide hints (not leadership), and should stay as far away from the spotlight as they can. They are supporting characters - not the cast of the show. That's why I have a preference for using DMPCs merely as "party boosters", rather than actual characters in the group. If a group is too small and need a boost, a "construct" or an "animal companion" may be able to shore up party weaknesses without needing the actual care of developing a true character. You'll find that if you want your "drow rogue" to be an interesting supporting character, you'll eventually need to develop his story without obsfucating the PCs own story... As I said... tricky.

You've stated you're a new DM, I presume your players must be new to the game as well. You can trust that both of you will eventually find more confidence in yourselfs - the players will find confidence to make decisions on their own, and you will find more confidence in letting them making their decisions . I know its lame advice, but it will happen, one way or another.

For now, if your players seem "stuck", not knowing what to do, perhaps some "mystical visions" can help guide them through the narrative. Make sure these "visions" do not become a crutch for the group, but a mysterious vision with no apparent immediate source will often spur enough curiosity from your players. If they fail to go to the action, bring the action to them! That will help you keep the ball rolling when your PCs seem at a loss on where to go next .
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You've stated you're a new DM, I presume your players must be new to the game as well. You can trust that both of you will eventually find more confidence in yourselfs - the players will find confidence to make decisions on their own, and you will find more confidence in letting them making their decisions . I know its lame advice, but it will happen, one way or another.



Not lame advice at all, I rather much like this. It's very optimistic and open ended, they way a I feel the game is.
I actually have very bad experiences with DM playing NPC on the party...because she made them into mary sue character with hax stats, super high level...and that they also must be the ones that have the killing blow against the big antagonist of the arc...argh! 
I actually have very bad experiences with DM playing NPC on the party...because she made them into mary sue character with hax stats, super high level...and that they also must be the ones that have the killing blow against the big antagonist of the arc...argh! 



Wow are you kidding??? Frown Does she not get that that is not fun for you guys? Rather sub-par of her I'm afraid. I sympathize with you. In my experience the DM to our games does not treat the game has his rather, the groups. He just provides the setting. After playing with him I find it very uncanny that there are other DMs who do not play like this. 
I actually have very bad experiences with DM playing NPC on the party...because she made them into mary sue character with hax stats, super high level...and that they also must be the ones that have the killing blow against the big antagonist of the arc...argh! 



I have experienced this type of DMPC as well.  Typically, the PCs observe this once or twice, comment about how the PCs aren't needed and would just slow the uber-DMPC down, and ditch him/her.
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DMPC - almost universally a bad idea.

Companion character - better. But the character must be seen as disposable, and must be a sidekick to the PCs rather than vice versa. Use one to cover a missing role in the party - usually the leader role.

But NOT to be the party leader; instead to heal and buff the PCs. "Lazy" builds are great.

And your party has an Artificer. So you don't need a leader-role.

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He means a "Face", a leader in the more traditional sense who guides the party through the Plot, talks to the Prince to get the Quest, Negotiates passage with the Master Mariner's guild, decides "hey, lets check out that tower over there, it doesn't look that far out of our way"
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DMPCs are not inherently bad, but they do require the DM to be exceptionally careful to avoid stepping on toes. But I wholy agree that a DMPC that leads the party, making all the important decisions, is inherently bad.

As an example: A lot of my campaigns tend to have a DMPC around, usually at the insistance of player or two who want them there for background reasons. In my latest campaign, the player who played the party's leader (but not Leader) wanted me to play her character's best friend. So I do... But I make said friend an intentionally un-optimized Druid (party already had a Controller, I didn't want the DMPC stealing anyone's thunder) and the Druid never makes decisions. She occasionally chimes in with ideas, but leaves it up to the players to choose what to do. It helps that the Druid occasionally heads off on her own, also for background reasons.

But I have to ask: Is the problem that no one in the party has good social skills (Diplomacy/Bluff/Intimidate/Insight) or that no one wants to make decisions?

Because the lack of trained social skills just means the campaign needs to be adjusted to not require social skills. If the problem is that no one wants to make difficult decisions, point out that they can vote on what to do, and go with the majority. (And in the event no one wants to vote, let them know that not chiming in means they're agreeing to go along with what everyone else decides.)

In either case, you should talk to the players. Maybe suggest that one of the PCs sees the lack of leadership in the group and may take the opportunity to grow into the leadership role? Character personalities shouldn't be static. (But don't tell them to change: Just offer it as a potential approach.)
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