[RPG] Is this wolf DMPC overpowered or underpowered


I am new to being a DM and soon will have my first session. Since we are with three players total (me as a DM plus two PC characters) I want to help them out a little. The players are a Dwarf Cleric and a Rogue Halfling (The premade characters of the 5e Starter set)

At first I thought about giving them some more potions/scale the battles but that feels less fun than my other idea. My other idea is creating a wolf companion character.

The party in question is a lvl 1 party. I intent to have this character level with them and have access to barbarian skills like Rage etc. (mostly what would fit a wolf)

I took the basic stats off the default wolf enemy and modified a few things. I increased the intelligence since it is a somewhat more intelligent wolf and it's also a little bit more charismatic.

I will control this wolf for his own actions, but I will allow the players to give commands etc. The end goal is to balance out the party a little bit so they can act more like a party of three (or two and a half)

The sessions will probably be loose regarding the rules (I don't intent to micromanage skills etc) since we just want to have fun of course 😉 I intent to take them through Phandelver Mines first, and if it goes well I want to put them straight into the PoTA campaign.

I gave it the following stats:

Race: Wolf
Class: Basically Barbarian without armor/weapon proficiency
Alignment: Neutral


  • STR: 13 (+1)
  • DEX: 15 (+2)
  • CON: 12 (+1)
  • INT: 7 (−2)
  • WIS: 12 (+1)
  • CHA: 8 (-1)

Saving throw proficiencies: Strength, Dexterity


  • +4 Acrobatics
  • +3 Athletics
  • +1 Intimidation
  • +3 Perception
  • +4 Stealth
  • +3 Survival


  • Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: (2d4 + 2) piercing damage. If the target is a creature, it must succeed on a DC 11 Strength saving throw or be knocked prone


  • Grappler
  • Keen Hearing and Smell. The wolf has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on hearing or smell.

I feel as if this thing is either massively overpowered or weak, I am not 100% sure. Does anyone have some tips/guidelines to improve this character?

Best Answer

The term for your wolf is "DMPC" -- a player character that is controlled by the dungeon master.

The risk of using a DMPC is that you might take a lot of the spotlight away from the player characters. The game is meant to be about the characters battling against the monsters and solving the puzzles, and the risk is that it might turn into your DMPC doing all that while the characters watch.

The way to minimize this risk is to minimize the number of decisions that you as Dungeon Master are making for the creature. For example:

  • Don't give it any unusual attacks like Grappler, or maybe even trip. Make it a very rules-simple creature that can take its turn quickly so you can give attention back to the player characters.
  • Don't make it physically very dangerous, so that the player characters are clearly more powerful.
  • Don't give it abilities that would let it solve problems for the PCs. For example, either don't give it good perception skills, or don't have it use those perception skills to notice things unless the PCs ask for that specifically.
  • Don't control the wolf yourself. Give the player characters the wolf -- maybe give them a wolf each, for balance -- and let them move the wolf on their turn, just before their own action.

Of course you can choose not to do some of these things. Just be aware that you could be taking the spotlight away from the PCs, which might make the game less fun for them.

As to power: this wolf is weaker than a player character, and that's appropriate. The problem is, even if you give your group two of them, they still won't be comparable to a group made of four player characters, which is what the adventure expects.

To compensate, you will need to weaken the monsters somewhat -- by decreasing the monster numbers, hit points, or damage output in each encounter.

It's appropriate to have the wolf gain power as the group levels, to make sure it stays relevant.