Monday, December 13, 2010

Properly Fitting the DM's Mouthpiece

My first post on the DM's Mouthpiece is here

Harold's excellent follow-up and response is here

When i posted the first post, I was typing on my iPad, which generally means it is a thought that popped into my head and if I didn't put it down immediately, it would fly away on its cute little wings - bye bye!

Here's more of the same, hopefully more fleshed out ;)

Anyhow, the rest of my definition of the DM's Mouthpiece:

1 - Unmeasurable Power - Gandalf, Elminster, Fizban (Dragonlance) fit the definition
2 - Have no problem telling characters / pcs what to do, but when asked for clarification, speak in riddles
3 - Could easily do whatever mission they have asked / assigned to the pcs with both hands tied behind their backs, gagged and castrated - but still require the PCs to do it.
4 - When PCs are totally off the rails, can always find the PCs and return them to the rails, point in the right direction, and clarify the riddles still befuddling the PCs

These are not mere NPCs. These are not DM PCs (a true horror). These are Demi-Gods masquerading as mere mortals, ensuring that the PCs stay within the bounds of the DM's ongoing story.

Any NPC can speak for the DM. DM Mouthpieces speak as the DM.

Thanks for the great discussion folks!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


  1. Well with great power comes great responsibility. This saying is very true when it comes to being a DM. When you are the DM your players are telling you that they trust you to not rail road them. If you use a DM mouthpiece to get what you want when you want it done then that may be seen as a form of railroading. Granted, DM mouthpieces can be more background type characters as in Gandalf that show up and give information and then disappear when the PCs engage the big bad but on the whole DMs should probably tread very carefully with having uber NPCs that do everything for the players. Great original post, follow up post by Herald and reply post by you.

  2. I can get behind your definition, Tenkar. I still don't think that these characters neccesarily have to be of the devil, though. Granted, if their sole purpose is to whip the players (back) on track, then yes, they are bad.

    Still, in a world where gods meddle in the affairs of mortals, and great and un-named evil waits for the oportunity to pounce, such characters have a role, although small, to play. There will always be things happening behind the scenes, and this is the domain of Gandalf & Co. Some things have to be done by a Hobbit, and setting things up for the Hobbit to succeed is a good job for an epic NPC.

    Anyway, I think I have used up my soapbox-time for now.

    /rant-mode deactivated

  3. I don't believe they are inherently bad, just extremely easy to go bad.

    Still, I think we agree more then we fail to agree ;)


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