DM wants to be a player in his own campaign

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erdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">This sub-forum seems to be the most appropriate to raise the question about the situation we run into. 

erdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">We recently started a new campaign and there are four of us in total. There is virtually no DnD community in the city and we run into trouble recruiting others to join in as barrier of entry seems to them rather high in terms of amount of books/rules they need to read. So four is a maximum of people we can have to run the campaign. 
erdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">
So on the second session we run into problem that every battle is very challenging and at the end of the second session one of the characters was unconscious  one was dead and the last one was hiding for his life. I need to add that we temporarily are in the plane with no magic and all arcane and divine magic is non existent. So even though monsters are selected to be tough for a normal party of three it is extremely tough for us as two out of three players have no encounter or daily powers. 

erdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">
When we raised our concerns to our DM he said that we should stop being a bunch of whiny kids, and tough challenges are what makes the game interesting and every battle should have a risk of dying. After more discussions we found out the he also wants to play and he sees that monsters are extension of himself so every battle he sees as challenging battle vs. players otherwise it would be to easy and not interesting for him. 


So the question is what would you guys propose as an option how to reach a compromise as we cannot switch DM or add more players to level out the stakes. So far the best idea we came up with is that he can create his avatar as NPC to join our party. Second best idea was to rotate DM role between players every session, however that would through long-term plot into the window. 
Find a play-by-email or play-by-post game, and play in that instead. Some people even have success playing over Skype. Having a small local D&D community is no longer an excuse for subjecting oneself to a horrific player or DM. Also, check out Meetup.com because there might be local D&D players you just don't know about.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

Centauri, we play once a week for about 6-8 hours so I do not see how we can play via mail/skype. Thanks for the suggestion anyway, will definetely check out the website you recomended. 
Centauri, we play once a week for about 6-8 hours so I do not see how we can play via mail/skype.

I'm saying play with a different group. Since you feel you can't do this locally, your recourse is by email and skype. I play D&D a little every day, via the play-by-post game I'm in.

The DM you're playing with is a problem. There's no advice I can give you, because the DM has to change. So, get away from that DM.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

Centauri, we play once a week for about 6-8 hours so I do not see how we can play via mail/skype.

 I play D&D a little every day, via the play-by-post game I'm in.



How do you do that and can you please point me in the right direction where I can join such a group?

Centauri, we play once a week for about 6-8 hours so I do not see how we can play via mail/skype.

 I play D&D a little every day, via the play-by-post game I'm in.

How do you do that and can you please point me in the right direction where I can join such a group?

Explore this group (community.wizards.com/play-by-post_haven) and do web searches for "play-by-post" and "play-by-email." If you're younger, talk to your parents or guardians about interacting online and about giving out your email.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

I agree, he's not worth playing a game with.  No magic or healing, overpowering encounters, bad attitude.  Definitely ditch him.

I don't agree that lack of local support is no excuse though.  Some people have data limits on internet plans, and already get close to their max.
There's more than play by post.  Maptools is a good program to use, and it's got an active user base.  You basically have a make, you move tokens.  There's text chat, and support for html and java programming.

I don't agree that lack of local support is no excuse though.  Some people have data limits on internet plans, and already get close to their max.

Play by email, then. But I bet Meetup either reveals other players in the area, or can help create them.

There's more than play by post.  Maptools is a good program to use, and it's got an active user base.  You basically have a make, you move tokens.  There's text chat, and support for html and java programming.

Isn't that going to take up a ton of data too?

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

+1 on ditching that DM.  D&D should never be a game of DM vs. the Players.  If he's doing that then it's time to bail.

PBP or other options are very good and can help you get your D&D fix in.  Meetup.com is also great.  It's actually how I got involved with the group I'm currently in.  Also, since I travel a lot for work I play with them via Skype while I'm gone.  As long as you have a decent internet connection it actually works out great.
Honestly?  Never forget: no gaming > bad gaming.
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That DM sounds awful. Consider asking to let someone else DM and have this DM be a player. Try taking it up yourself. Then if you need or want more players, ask some of your friends if they are interested in learning. 


As for players, meetup is a great source. I spent forever in a literal two stoplight town, and they would regulalrly email me about new groups starting up or seeking players in my area. (within half hour drive)

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"Your advice is the worst"

Isn't that going to take up a ton of data too?


My suggestion of maptools is in not related to data limits.  Which is why it is on a separate line.  I see you deleted the part with you saying not having a local group is no excuse for games, but editing the post does not change the fact that it was said.  Nor does quoting something out of context.
Isn't that going to take up a ton of data too?

My suggestion of maptools is in not related to data limits.  Which is why it is on a separate line.

Uh huh. Alrighty.

I see you deleted the part with you saying not having a local group is no excuse for games, but editing the post does not change the fact that it was said.  Nor does quoting something out of context.

The part where I say "Having a small local D&D community is no longer an excuse for subjecting oneself to a horrific player or DM"? No, that's still there in post #2, and I stand by it. If someone's got the data to waste to come to this board to see that line, they've got the data to participate in a play-by-post game.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

Thanks for they replies so far. Are there any other advices apart from ditching current DM? I mean some of you might have run in the cases when DM wants to be player too, which is not actually a bad thing. How do you as DM keep the game interesting for you not being a player? Maybe you have some tips advices that can help our DM switch from challenging battle to lets say some other aspects of DMing that can keep up his interest without killing us every now and then. 
So far he communicated that if the battles being tough are the only problem then we have to get used to that, and that we are bout to die at least 3-4 times more, which seems totally fine to him.  
Centauri I found one of your posts saying this
 
But the fact that you're confessing implies that it's not fun for you, or you wish you didn't have to do it. I'm the same way, at least for the first two. My approach now is to make both success and failure interesting, and then throw very tough encounters at the players. Usually they succeed anyway, and do so in an interesting way because I'm in a better position to allow their cool ideas rather than block them. And the monsters tend to be more of a match for the players, but generally aren't aiming to kill the characters, so if the monsters win the game is still interesting. 

Can you please elaborate on how not to block ideas and what happens as characters get defeated and monsters win? 
Just an FYI, ZV, but if you choose to play via Skype/Maptools, (and you'll most likely need Hamachi as well) - there's a possibility of a group forming in the near future for such a campaign, if you/your group are interested.
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erdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">When we raised our concerns to our DM he said that we should stop being a bunch of whiny kids, and tough challenges are what makes the game interesting and every battle should have a risk of dying.


Every battle should have risks, yes. But not necessarily the risk of dying. Surprised you didn't catch onto this Centauri! But the OP seems to have found one of your other posts about this subject himself  

Anyway, OP, next time you get into a fight you're likely to lose, try to look for other ways to end it. Try and talk to the enemies, find out why they're fighting you and if you can't come to some agreement with them. Or try and get past them to the doorway they were guarding, and try to shake them off. Or try and disrupt the ritual they were performing. Anything but trying to reduce the other side to zero hp. 

Now, it's possible that the DM will try to block you by telling you the enemies have orders to just kill all intruders, the doorway is locked and that the ritual caster is protected by an invisible, impenetrable barrier. In that case, point him to the "Yes, and" rule in the Dungeon Master's Guide. Alternatively, point him towards this thread, which contains great explanations of the principle. It's fun, educational and will lead to much better sessions for your group. 

After more discussions we found out the he also wants to play and he sees that monsters are extension of himself so every battle he sees as challenging battle vs. players otherwise it would be to easy and not interesting for him. 


I think a lot of DMs feel that way in the heat of battle (I know I do). After all, they have to play out the interests of the monsters, which not rarely is to thwart the players in some way. So I don't blame him for that. The best piece of advice for him is to make his monsters less one-dimensional. Give them goals, desires and purpose. Then he will find they rarely want to just kill the PCs and be done with it, but instead want to accomplish something of their own.
Thanks for they replies so far. Are there any other advices apart from ditching current DM? I mean some of you might have run in the cases when DM wants to be player too, which is not actually a bad thing. How do you as DM keep the game interesting for you not being a player? Maybe you have some tips advices that can help our DM switch from challenging battle to lets say some other aspects of DMing that can keep up his interest without killing us every now and then. 
So far he communicated that if the battles being tough are the only problem then we have to get used to that, and that we are bout to die at least 3-4 times more, which seems totally fine to him.  



Running one game and playing in another keeps my creative juices flowing.  If all you do is DM, eventually you will burn out. 

For me, DMing is an exercise in creativity.  I enjoy it because it gives me the opportunity to think: who, what, where, when, why, and how.

I also always keep an open mind; players are a source of inspiration.

All that being said, changing a DM's style is not an easy task.  My best friend in college DMed like your DM.  My friend's issue was his overly competitive nature, maybe your DM has the same issue.  If this is the case, it may prove very difficult to change his attitude.  In the end, you or another player may have to assume the role of DM and make your DM a player again.

 

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Are you really "entitled to your opinion"?
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The cool thing is, you don't even NEED a reason to say yes.  Just stop looking for a reason to say no.
Centauri I found one of your posts saying this

Saying what?
 
But the fact that you're confessing implies that it's not fun for you, or you wish you didn't have to do it.

I posted in the DM confession thread, but I wasn't "confessing" anything. People here will tell you that I'm all too proud of the way I run games.

I'm the same way, at least for the first two. My approach now is to make both success and failure interesting, and then throw very tough encounters at the players. Usually they succeed anyway, and do so in an interesting way because I'm in a better position to allow their cool ideas rather than block them. And the monsters tend to be more of a match for the players, but generally aren't aiming to kill the characters, so if the monsters win the game is still interesting.

That's what I usually find too. I'm glad it's working for you.

Can you please elaborate on how not to block ideas and what happens as characters get defeated and monsters win?

Not blocking ideas is easy: just don't do it. If someone gives an idea that they are interested in trying, do what you can to accommodate it. While you're at it, add on to it. Anyone at the table can and should feel free to both offer ideas and add on to them.

Making defeat interesting and impactful is still something I'm working on. I think immediate consequences are best, when they can be used, because I find myself having trouble keeping track of long term ramifications. They can be as simple as a guard raising the alarm so that the next group is on guard, or they can cause massive changes to the world. The important thing is for the DM to be prepared for it, and it helps to have player buy in. I ask my players what sort of failure would be interesting to them, so even if the failure is not immediate I have several other brains keeping track of it with me.

Every battle should have risks, yes. But not necessarily the risk of dying. Surprised you didn't catch onto this Centauri! But the OP seems to have found one of your other posts about this subject himself

I did catch it, but I didn't bring up the issue, because there's not really anything a player can do about it, and I catch enough grief for my suggestions as it is.

Anyway, OP, next time you get into a fight you're likely to lose, try to look for other ways to end it. Try and talk to the enemies, find out why they're fighting you and if you can't come to some agreement with them. Or try and get past them to the doorway they were guarding, and try to shake them off. Or try and disrupt the ritual they were performing. Anything but trying to reduce the other side to zero hp.

I highly recommend this, but if the DM's not receptive, he'll just use their lack of focus on killing the enemies to do more damage to the PCs.

I played a game of 13th Age the "spiritual successor to 4th Edition." The party was travelling along an underground road, and the DM told us that we saw some creatures trying to collapse the tunnel ahead of us. We got into an entirely bog-standard combat encounter with them, but I kept saying that all we needed to do was get past them so they couldn't stop us. In this case, the DM and the other players were finally keen to this idea, but probably mostly because it was a convention game with time at a premium.

Now, it's possible that the DM will try to block you by telling you the enemies have orders to just kill all intruders, the doorway is locked and that the ritual caster is protected by an invisible, impenetrable barrier. In that case, point him to the "Yes, and" rule in the Dungeon Master's Guide. Alternatively, point him towards this thread, which contains great explanations of the principle. It's fun, educational and will lead to much better sessions for your group.

Yes, it would be good if the DM could come here, but he really doesn't seem to see an issue with the game he's running. And we all know how people can react when they think people are telling them they're running their game wrong.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

erdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">every battle he sees as challenging battle vs. players otherwise it would be to easy and not interesting for him. 

That is not ideal, but it is understandable. Explain to him that the intended balance for 4e is that players win all battles. The DM is never supposed to win. A 4e DM should instead feel a 'moral victory' if he manages to knock a PC unconscious.

erdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">That said: maybe as players you could try viewing his style as an interesting challenge. It sounds like your characters still won. And even if they didn't: is that really a big deal?
erdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">every battle he sees as challenging battle vs. players otherwise it would be to easy and not interesting for him. 

That is not ideal, but it is understandable. Explain to him that the intended balance for 4e is that players win all battles. The DM is never supposed to win. A 4e DM should instead feel a 'moral victory' if he manages to knock a PC unconscious.

That is something the rules definitely need to make more clear, along with providing ideas for how PCs can lose in non-lethal ways.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

Are there any other advices apart from ditching current DM? I mean some of you might have run in the cases when DM wants to be player too, which is not actually a bad thing.



There was a period of DMing for me a long time ago when I was the only one willing to run.  After about 4 years straight I decided to add an NPC as my character.  The bonus is that you can interact with the players as a team member.  The downside is that you need to see you character as an NPC and not as your PC.

I hadn't run an NPC like that for about eight years until recently when I didn't have enough players for my current D&D game due to work issues with some of the players.  Nobody wanted to run two characters and the party was missing a striker.  Even dropping the hps of the monster didn't seem to help.  They kept crying for a Stiker but none of them wanted to play one.

So I had them find a Thri-keen NPC whom they couldn't communicate with but he could understand them.  They decided to name him "Joe" and he was an NPC for about ten sessions until I finally got another player to add to the game.

If you cannot get someone else to run for you guys (such as one of your fellow players or yourself) you could do this option.  If the DM has party member to call his own and can keep himself from playing favorites you might have a more enjoyable game.  Then again it could completely backfire depening on how your DM plays that NPC.

I had a DM see monsters as an extention of himself as well.  The problem is that is turned into a DM vs Players game which is not what the game should be.

Those are the only options I can think of your problem at this time.  Good luck.

I managed to keep that from happening by making my character(I'm also the DM) several levels higher than the party and working as a guide or instructor/mentor, keeping an eye on all of the PCs
I managed to keep that from happening by making my character(I'm also the DM) several levels higher than the party and working as a guide or instructor/mentor, keeping an eye on all of the PCs



I am currently in an Exalted game where the DM is doing something similar so I have a question for you:

Do you ever have an issue with the player characters constantly coming to your character for aid in some regard instead of dealing with the problem themselves?  How do you deal with that problem?
there are tons of avenues out there for you to find another game. As bad as it sounds even something like craigslist (some a similar site) for your area to look for other dnd'ers. And then there are the options already suggested previously. I'd leave that group if I were you, all of the things you said about him is pretty much every violation a DM can make.

To the off chute of comments about DM rolling a character. It's something I disagree with. the DM already plays NPC's and monsters, playing a player charcter ontop of that muddles the game and brings you closer to 'playing with yourself.' I have on the other hand played NPC's as allies to the party. My players currently have an NPC with them (he was from an enemy merc group. they killed them but left him alive, forcing him to join them) and so I control him as a party member, but I'd never make up a character sheet. I just use the monster stat card he originally had. as I do with any ally combat npc's.
Strictly my opinion:

it's always a bad idea for the DM to also have a PC.   

Always.   No exceptions.

NPC's are fine.
Er...I disagree with SwampDog.

I'm in a d20 modern game as a player right now. Our DM has a PC that he is using to act as both an NPC for us and I think a helper in some battles for the future. Everything is going pretty smoothly.

If you need help in battles, definitely let the DM aid you. I can't see why you'd want to keep him from doing that.

Though, my best suggestion is that the DM should only throw his PC in ocassionally. Not for every encounter. 
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Challenges aren't a bad thing. That said, there is one thing that leads to more frustration than anything in the game... IMPOSSIBILITY.

Corrollary 1 - If it is impossible to lose, it is boring, because the outcome is predictable.

Corrollary 2 - If it is impossible to win = boring, because the outcome is predictable.


If the DM sees the monsters as extensions of himself, then you're facing an IMPOSSIBLE situation. Every time he is supposed to make a judgment call this is going to cloud his judgment.  A DM, as judge of the game needs to be impartial. This DM doesn't sound impartial.

---

That said, I have seen the DM/PC used to good and bad effect. On the bad side, there was one DM who fell in love with his character and consequently made it nearly unstoppable. Although we were able to defeat him, the DM raised an undead ghost-rider version of the character at us as 'punishment for killing' his character. We did well and he punished us for it. That's a bad sign right there that something ain't right.

But I've seen it used to good effect also. The DM can use it as an NPC, so he can occasionally throw in some descriptive narrative or drop a clue in-game when the party seems unsure of the next course of action or is stuck in a logjam. The DM can look at the party's overall skills and fill in the blanks so he can make a helpful addition without stepping on the other player's fun. The DM can actually feel like he is a participant in the game. He has to be impartial enough to let the dice decide and occasionally leave the decision up to the player(s) as to what happens to the character... in order to prevent the boredom associated with Corollary 1, above. Otherwise, it's just another NPC.
A rogue with a bowl of slop can be a controller. WIZARD PC: Can I substitute Celestial Roc Guano for my fireball spells? DM: Awesome. Yes. When in doubt, take action.... that's generally the best course. Even Sun Tsu knew that, and he didn't have internets.
Challenges aren't a bad thing. That said, there is one thing that leads to more frustration than anything in the game... IMPOSSIBILITY.

Corrollary 1 - If it is impossible to lose, it is boring, because the outcome is predictable.

Corrollary 2 - If it is impossible to win = boring, because the outcome is predictable.


If the DM sees the monsters as extensions of himself, then you're facing an IMPOSSIBLE situation. Every time he is supposed to make a judgment call this is going to cloud his judgment.  A DM, as judge of the game needs to be impartial. This DM doesn't sound impartial.

---

That said, I have seen the DM/PC used to good and bad effect. On the bad side, there was one DM who fell in love with his character and consequently made it nearly unstoppable. Although we were able to defeat him, the DM raised an undead ghost-rider version of the character at us as 'punishment for killing' his character. We did well and he punished us for it. That's a bad sign right there that something ain't right.

But I've seen it used to good effect also. The DM can use it as an NPC, so he can occasionally throw in some descriptive narrative or drop a clue in-game when the party seems unsure of the next course of action or is stuck in a logjam. The DM can look at the party's overall skills and fill in the blanks so he can make a helpful addition without stepping on the other player's fun. The DM can actually feel like he is a participant in the game. He has to be impartial enough to let the dice decide and occasionally leave the decision up to the player(s) as to what happens to the character... in order to prevent the boredom associated with Corollary 1, above. Otherwise, it's just another NPC.



This +1

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erdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">every battle he sees as challenging battle vs. players otherwise it would be to easy and not interesting for him. 

That is not ideal, but it is understandable. Explain to him that the intended balance for 4e is that players win all battles. The DM is never supposed to win. A 4e DM should instead feel a 'moral victory' if he manages to knock a PC unconscious.

erdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">That said: maybe as players you could try viewing his style as an interesting challenge. It sounds like your characters still won. And even if they didn't: is that really a big deal?

When I DM, I generally root for the protagonists to win; 19 times out of 20, that's the players.

As far as the intended balance of 4e...If the DM isn't supposed to win, but somehow still does... can I cheer for him? I like cheering for the underdog.
A rogue with a bowl of slop can be a controller. WIZARD PC: Can I substitute Celestial Roc Guano for my fireball spells? DM: Awesome. Yes. When in doubt, take action.... that's generally the best course. Even Sun Tsu knew that, and he didn't have internets.
Guys thanks for feedback it is actually helpful! )

So far the advices are (not mentioning switching DM or party) 
- Be carefull about DM making PC, better opt for NPC. Idea is ok, execution is the key
- Challange in itself is ok, however it should tilt towards players
- In case **** hits the fan and battle is overwhelming, opt for any other solution than continue fighting
Guys thanks for feedback it is actually helpful! )

So far the advices are (not mentioning switching DM or party)
- Be carefull about DM making PC, better opt for NPC. Idea is ok, execution is the key
- Challange in itself is ok, however it should tilt towards players

That's only if death is the only way to fail. Skill challenges don't need to favor the players, because even if they lose the game is interesting.

- In case **** hits the fan and battle is overwhelming, opt for any other solution than continue fighting

Or look for those solutions up front. And be aware that the DM might just block them, and force you to fight.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

I'd suggest offering to DM your own campaign.  That way the DM gets to run a player for a bit and maybe he'll learn a thing or two from you.  You will of course be awesome, because you come here for advice. 
Strictly my opinion:
it's always a bad idea for the DM to also have a PC.   
Always.   No exceptions.
NPC's are fine.

That seems to be the forum concensus (indicating that there are so many players that are deeply opposed to DMPC's that it is inherently a bad idea even if it one's situation allowed it to work).

Luckily, the OP's post doesn't seem to actually be about DMPC's, despite the thread title.
Or maybe the DMC (is that a common acronym?) could be used, as suggested, to fill in roles that the PC's aren't, but be several levels lower than the PC's so that s/he depends on them, rather than the other way around, and tries to stay out of the way in combat whenever possible? That way, even if he joins combat as "the cavalry" when things get really bad, he's still probably not going to make as much of a difference and the players dont feel Deus ex Machina-ed? (and could that be abbreviated to DexMed?)

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Odds are, if 4-6 people can't figure out an answer you thought was obvious, you screwed up, not them. - JeffGroves
Which is why a DM should present problems to solve, not solutions to find. -FlatFoot
Why there should be the option to use alignment systems:
Show
If some people are heavily benefiting from the inclusion of alignment, then it would behoove those that AREN'T to listen up and pay attention to how those benefits are being created and enjoyed, no? -YagamiFire
But equally important would be for those who do enjoy those benefits to entertain the possibility that other people do not value those benefits equally or, possibly, do not see them as benefits in the first place. -wrecan (RIP)
That makes sense. However, it is not fair to continually attack those that benefit for being, somehow, deviant for deriving enjoyment from something that you cannot. Instead, alignment is continually attacked...it is demonized...and those that use it are lumped in with it.

 

I think there is more merit in a situation where someone says "This doesn't work! It's broken!" and the reply is "Actually it works fine for me. Have you considered your approach might be causing it?"

 

than a situation where someone says "I use this system and the way I use it works really well!" and the back and forth is "No! It is a broken bad system!" -YagamiFire

The important thing to keep in mind is that a DMPC and an NPC with the party are not necessarily the same thing. In my current campaign I have had as many as 3 NPCs heading around with the PCs at any given time...but, of note, is that none of them are A) stronger than the PCs (except one sorta instance) and B) they're typically loyal henchman/minions who the players can make decisions for...I just provide the rolls and personality for them in many instance.

The one exception was the evil dwarf assassin who the PCs basically forced into helping them find his evil boss. He only reluctantly helped them in battle (when he himself was in danger) and did so with the handicap of having received a Bestow Curse that TANKED his strength (his most important stat)...so yeah.

Generally, the difference between a DMPC and a partyNPC is fairly obvious socially rather than mechanically...the DMPC is super-awesome, can do no wrong and is ALWAYS around. PartyNPCs can also be great for making the players themselves feel awesome because if they are competent in their own right but outperformed by the PCs it makes the PCs look that much better because they are working in comparison rather than in a vacuum.

I'm on a journey of enlightenment, learning and self-improvement. A journey towards mastery. A journey that will never end. If you challenge me, prepare to be challenged. If you have something to offer as a fellow student, I will accept it. If you call yourself a master, prepare to be humbled. If you seek me, look to the path. I will be traveling it.

 

Proudly playing in many wrong ways. I'm not afraid of playing wrong according to the rules. Why are you?

 

100 Crack Reply of the Yagamifire. You are already wrong.



Generally, the difference between a DMPC and a partyNPC is fairly obvious socially rather than mechanically...the DMPC is super-awesome, can do no wrong and is ALWAYS around. PartyNPCs can also be great for making the players themselves feel awesome because if they are competent in their own right but outperformed by the PCs it makes the PCs look that much better because they are working in comparison rather than in a vacuum.




To expand on this slightly further:
Generally speaking, The best use i've seen of a permanent party member that was run by a DM fit the following criteria:
1) The party was a small size (3 players), and wanted to have all of the basic roles covered.
2) The DM made a leader that only buffed/granted actions, but otherwise didn't take an active role in combat (lazylord or pacifist cleric or similar)
FWIW [4e designer] baseline assumption was that roughly 70% of your feats would be put towards combat effectiveness, parties would coordinate, and strikers would do 20/40/60 at-will damage+novas. If your party isn't doing that... well, you are below baseline, so yes, you need to optimize slightly to meet baseline. -Alcestis


Generally, the difference between a DMPC and a partyNPC is fairly obvious socially rather than mechanically...the DMPC is super-awesome, can do no wrong and is ALWAYS around. PartyNPCs can also be great for making the players themselves feel awesome because if they are competent in their own right but outperformed by the PCs it makes the PCs look that much better because they are working in comparison rather than in a vacuum.




To expand on this slightly further:
Generally speaking, The best use i've seen of a permanent party member that was run by a DM fit the following criteria:
1) The party was a small size (3 players), and wanted to have all of the basic roles covered.
2) The DM made a leader that only buffed/granted actions, but otherwise didn't take an active role in combat (lazylord or pacifist cleric or similar)



It can also be useful for the NPC to be non-permanent. If an NPC is likely to leave (and actually does) then the players will usually appreciate when NPCs stop by to help out and tag-along. NPC allies, friends and cohorts can cycle in and out of the group in that way depending on where the PCs are or what they're doing or even if they need a specific kind of assistance.

I'm on a journey of enlightenment, learning and self-improvement. A journey towards mastery. A journey that will never end. If you challenge me, prepare to be challenged. If you have something to offer as a fellow student, I will accept it. If you call yourself a master, prepare to be humbled. If you seek me, look to the path. I will be traveling it.

 

Proudly playing in many wrong ways. I'm not afraid of playing wrong according to the rules. Why are you?

 

100 Crack Reply of the Yagamifire. You are already wrong.

Or maybe the DMC (is that a common acronym?) could be used, as suggested, to fill in roles that the PC's aren't, but be several levels lower than the PC's so that s/he depends on them, rather than the other way around, and tries to stay out of the way in combat whenever possible?

That sounds like an NPC.
Non-Player Characters are fine. DMPC's (i.e. handled as a Player Character) are not. In 4e, they use separate mechanics.

Guys thanks for feedback it is actually helpful! )

So far the advices are (not mentioning switching DM or party)



Just to be clear, the reason why this advice is given so often in this situation is because the problem seems to be one of DM attitude. In order for any of these solutions below to work, the DM will need an attitude adjustment. The difficulty in doing so may not be worth the effort.

- Be carefull about DM making PC, better opt for NPC. Idea is ok, execution is the key



True. It is fine to have recurring NPCs, even ones that travel with the party. When they become extensions of the DM and main characters in their own right, instead of being supporting cast, is where we run into problems. It sounds like the DM in this case is not content with controlling most of their world, they also want a equal (or greater than equal) say in the party decisions.
 
- Challange in itself is ok, however it should tilt towards players



And this is another place where your DM will need an attitude adjustment. He thinks it is his job to kill you, and that is how he "wins." D&D is not about "winning", it is about beating up monsters and taking their stuff, and maybe telling a few stories in between.
 
- In case **** hits the fan and battle is overwhelming, opt for any other solution than continue fighting



And this part ties in with the DM feeling he needs to "win" each fight with you guys. Any solution that circumvents the battle may be considered "cheating," and, if I read the attitude correctly, will be blocked.

I'd suggest offering to DM your own campaign.  That way the DM gets to run a player for a bit and maybe he'll learn a thing or two from you.  You will of course be awesome, because you come here for advice. 

That's probably the best advice he's going to get here.
A rogue with a bowl of slop can be a controller. WIZARD PC: Can I substitute Celestial Roc Guano for my fireball spells? DM: Awesome. Yes. When in doubt, take action.... that's generally the best course. Even Sun Tsu knew that, and he didn't have internets.