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Is Gm Pcing a Bad Idea?
Here's a few pros and cons for you to consider.
- Easy guidance for players, allows for a bit of stealth to your railroading (we all do it sometimes, no need to be shy)
- You get to play AND host a game!
- Tremendously easy to steal spotlight from your players, on purpose or not
- Takes a very good game master to handle a smooth, non-obtrusive GMPC
Generally, GMPCs are frowned upon in TTRPGs, and for good reason. Everyone thinks "but I'm gonna make a GOOD one!", almost no one makes a good one in the end. You'll do good avoiding DMPC.
I agree with deepestlore. The line is too thin to walk successfully for very long.
A great alternative is to put more focus on 'major' NPC's. Rather than having a GMPC who is always there to explain a strange plot point or point in the right direction for the party to follow, you could use that time to develop some different NPC's that add much more depth than one character alone, and it won't detract from the party's experience.
Even if the intent of a GMPC was to be part of the party's experience and story, you could instead have different NPC's tag along for a while and help without becoming a solidified member of the group (I'd use this both sparingly and without logging in as that character in the GM slot).
The problem with GMPCs is they have to either be physic or an idiot.
The party come to a ruined temple - the sort of place there might be traps. You're the GM so you KNOW that the top steps trigger a trap door to open, throwing the party into a pit of snakes...
How do you handle that as a player also?
A) It's reasonable to check for traps in an old temple, so you roll, succeed and get around the traps - you've managed to out play your own Gming and saved the party from a whole encounter.
B) You do nothing, say nothing, let the party make all the decisions - but if you do this all the time, the character becomes a dunce with no initiative.
GMPCs are just too hard to get right in my opinion.
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