How to design a GMPC that will not push the story ahead?

Has been closed as beeing off topic, given the reason that actually I recived many answers on something I wasn't looking for, so beeing unclear.

This has been clarryfied by Erik with his comment on one of my comments on one of the answers where I was complaining of he just tells me aspects but not how to achieve them. He commented:

"right, I understand. I think the question is misunderstood then. You're getting answers for GMPCs who WILL NOT drive the story forward, but it seems you are looking for a GMPC who CANNOT drive the story forward, even when directly asked to do so? – Erik Feb 17 at 11:17"

Which was pretty much on the point.

But I actually have no clue how to make it more clear, since from my point of view it is totally clear.

Since first of all in the title I'm asking for a character design that is supposed to not do. My intention here was metaplaying not beeing supposed, I was assuming this is clear, since I'm asking about a design and not how to play it that way. Is the title the problem and not clear enough?

The introducing backgroundstory why I'm asking this I told to avoid 2 things:

1st to make sure why I decided to handle it fits best this way for my given situation. So desputing answers that would recommend me avoid my problem by another gaming styl to avoid the GMPC.

2nd to make clear again its me who will have trouble in rollplaying it competent not having informations I as player actually have, while the character is trying to get the informations. So that every one understands I'm not looking for a design that makes the character independent from getting the information when rollplayed well, but I'm looking for a design that just makes an character willing to not share the informations even IF he would know about it, so it is working around my lack of rollplaying experience, and makes me stay in character by just saying "I won't tell you" without even exposing this is relevant information.

And finally the TL&DR part was set, so everyone who might have missunderstood my intention of the introduction(You know, I'm used to be missunderstood, so I'm planing allready what one might missunderstand and how I could avoid it eventually), just sees as standalone the question.

"How to design a character in a way, that his trait, behavior or background when roleplayed correctly lets him not participate in decision-making(footnote:Should the character be forced by another PC into making a decision, it is acceptable, since it is an exceptional case not caused by the GMPC's player himself.), while it still is obvious that his motivations are a success of the "party"?"

Here I'm finally off. I don't even have a clue why this was missunderstood.

I said the thing I'm asking for lets the character not participate1 and was even noting that the exceptional case of a situation where the character at least for given circumstances is able to participate, is aceptable. (AFAIK this would expresses that my given post by itself should express that this exception isn't even acceptable without the note).

So what exactly is in my OP flawed that I was by a handfull of people missunderstood? And how to fix it, so the post becomes on-topic?

1actually my impression is this was instead understood as only lets the character passively participate but again, no clue what makes the sentence sound like that?

  • \$\begingroup\$ I have provided an edit to your question. Please let me know if it's OK, or edit it if you find that I have made an error. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 22, 2016 at 15:19

1 Answer 1


There are a number of reasons that your question was too broad -- these were addressed in the comments. Another point is that any answer could be mostly opinion, based on the question as originally written.

On the bright side, you did provide your up front statement that you were using a GMPC and referred to a question about options for your situation. That should have ruled out any answer of "don't use a GMPC" since you specifically stated that you had this as your plan, and that it was the core of your problem. I tried to re emphasize that in the edit to your question.

On the less clear side, it did not to me look as though you folded in Erik's comment. After your edits and revisions, that point Erik made still wasn't clear in the text of your question, nor in the title. I tried to address that in the edit as well.

"right, I understand. I think the question is misunderstood then. You're getting answers for GMPCs who WILL NOT drive the story forward, but it seems you are looking for a GMPC who CANNOT drive the story forward, even when directly asked to do so? – Erik Feb 17 at 11:17"

Part of what makes your question difficult is writing style: you use a lot of words to get to a point. Don't feel bad, I have the same tendency. :-)

The other problems were organizational. Some of your ideas needed to be rearranged to flow better from point to point. I tried to assist you with that in the edit.

You didn't identify the class of the PC, nor the GMPC. Given the variety of combinations between the chosen PC class and your chosen GMPC class, getting a concise and good reply that meets your needs (and isn't mostly opinion) is hard to do without that detail -- nobody knows what class is supporting the PC's class, and thus is less likely to come up with a background and motivation to help answer your specific problem.

As you saw, the answers were varied and some were not all that useful to you(albeit they attracted votes).

A few things that might have helped clear up where your difficulty was coming from:

  • You have the Starter Set, but do you have the Players Handbook(PHB), and are you familiar with the variety of backgrounds? If not, that would be a good point to explain.

  • Do you have the Dungeon Masters Guide(DMG), which has the section on how to customize a background for a character?

  • You did mention that you do have the Monster Manual.
  • \$\begingroup\$ The edit is (still :P) expressing what I was motivated to ask. So if now others will udnerstand it too, its great. thanks for your efforts. You switched from saying "..., ... or ..." to using "..., ... and ..." is there any reason here this isn't changing the meaning? because I used "or" to express, it is enough if one of the list is invoking the design while now it reads to me like all have to be true while each of them allone would be enough. If I'm right and this changed the meaning, would you want to edit it in? I would like to let the last comment credit keep being yours. \$\endgroup\$
    – Zaibis
    Commented Feb 23, 2016 at 8:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ To your questions: WHen I made the post I wasn't sure about it what classes we will take. But it was my intention to ask this in generell anyway, since this situation may come up mroe often eventually. I wasn't aware this tends to be off topic. So Now I can say the PC is going to be the precreated rouge of the starterset story and the GMPC is going to be the Mage with his book of lifestory as named bond. (Not the best setup at all to make a sociophob wizzard beeing the 'servant' of someone xD) \$\endgroup\$
    – Zaibis
    Commented Feb 23, 2016 at 8:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ About what I have in material: Actually I jsut own the Monster Manual, since I had jsut money for 1 of the books and it seemed for me beeing the most important one to change the difficulty of an story. With my upcomming paycheck I was planing to buy the DMG since it if I got it right contains hints and advices in creating/changing adventures and about way to rule a campaign. While the PHB contains Items skills character descriptions and all you need to create, customize and controll a character. But as the restricted rules of the starter set are allready a lot, thats probably enough.... \$\endgroup\$
    – Zaibis
    Commented Feb 23, 2016 at 8:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ .... and items + created character sheets are with the set, which can be used for at least 2 adventuresas we just "consume" 2 sheets together. even longer if we decide to stay with our loved character for another adventure. So I was seeing more benefit in the DMG as next purchase. But.... what would you advise me? \$\endgroup\$
    – Zaibis
    Commented Feb 23, 2016 at 8:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Zaibis I used "and" because in the PHB, all three of those come together in the creation of a character background. If you would prefer it to be "or" go ahead an edit that term back to "or" if it feels more correct to you. There is enough in formation in the Basic Rules that are available for free on line that your plan to get the DMG next makes as much sense as any. You can download the basic rules from the Wizards of the Coast web site. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 23, 2016 at 11:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm tempted to go ask on ELL about "as much sense as any" .... But... does it mean DMG would be the best next choice? Or does it mean it doesn't matter since all choices are equal worthy? \$\endgroup\$
    – Zaibis
    Commented Feb 23, 2016 at 11:20
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Go with your own instinct. If you are being careful with money, DMG is fine since you can get the Basic Rules for free at WoTC web sit, and they provide enough info to run the game while you are in the starter set, and more. It means all choices are equally worthy, I think, based on our discussion. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 23, 2016 at 11:25

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