Dungeons & Dragons: What Are Group Patrons?

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  • What Is A Group Patron?
  • What Types Of Patrons Can A Party Have?
  • What Is The Mechanical Benefit Of A Group Patron?

In Dungeons & Dragons, Dungeon Masters have access to a wide range of tools they can use when creating and running a campaign. One of the most underrated options a Dungeon Master can utilize in their campaigns is the inclusion of a group patron.

Introduced to D&D's fifth edition in Tasha's Cauldron of Everything, group patrons are a great storytelling device that can offer mechanical benefits to characters whilst also providing an easy explanation of why various adventurers may be working together. So for DMs looking for new options to spice up their next campaign, we're going to examine everything you need to know about group patrons.

What Is A Group Patron?

Not to be confused with a Warlock's patron, a group patron is either a powerful individual or organization which helps bring a party together, serving as the likes of employers, benefactors, or quest-givers. As a strong allied force to a party, a group patron is capable of providing a party resources that they may need whilst simultaneously providing an explanation of why a group may quest alongside each other.

For example, a party composed of characters who frequently engage in criminal activity may be part of the same Criminal Syndicate while a group of mercenaries, soldiers, and veterans may belong to the same allied military force. Alternatively, a single key NPC may serve as a party's patron, such as a noble willing to pay adventurers to fulfill quests. In addition to providing benefits, group patrons will often provide a party with assignments and quests in return.

When including a group patron in a campaign, this immediately provides players with a common ground that they can include within their characters' backstories, inherently unifying a party. As incorporating a shared group patron into character backstories is most easily accomplishable prior to a campaign beginning, if a DM is interested in the inclusion of a group patron, they should discuss this with their players prior to the campaign.

While Group Patrons are far from required for a campaign, they can provide a fun change of pace or be used to help shape the tone of a given campaign.

What Types Of Patrons Can A Party Have?

Group patrons can come in all shapes and sizes and can provide a wide range of tones for a campaign as well as perks for players. The following are various types of group patrons and the types of benefits a party could gain from them:

AcademyAcademies of arcane research or other fitting types of study. In addition to being compensated by an academy for a party's efforts, an academy can provide a party with notable on-campus resources, training from faculty, and assistance in researching key topics.
Ancient BeingPowerful and magical beings ranging from the likes of Elder Dragons to celestials. Ancient beings can provide a party access to their ancient knowledge, items, and even magical gifts.
AristocratThe likes of local nobles and affluent merchants. Aristocrats can provide a party with financial backing, salaries, and access to luxurious comforts.
Criminal SyndicateIllegal organizations from thieves' guilds to pirates. In addition to gaining access to a Syndicate's contraband and illegal wares like poisons, they can offer steady leads for criminal work and access to the organization's safe-houses.
GuildVarious types of guilds ranging from merchants to craftsmen. A Guild-based patron can provide easy access to materials used in crafting as well as training relevant to the guild at hand.
Military Force:A larger-scale combative force ranging from an order of knights to a group of mercenaries. In addition to access to a salary, a Military force can provide a party with access to an armory.
Religious OrderRanging from missionaries to archaeologists and slayers of the profane. A Religious Order group patron can provide each party member with access to proficiency in Religion as well as access to healing magics from an NPC Cleric or Druid of the Order.
SovereignLeaders ranging from the elders of a local town to the queen or sultan of a nation. The benefits of a sovereign patron include the likes of a salary, compensation for various expenses, and even a degree of immunity from some laws under the patron's jurisdiction.

What Is The Mechanical Benefit Of A Group Patron?

Apart from the various patron-specific perks and sizable role-playing value of a group patron, these patrons provide additional mechanical value in an additional way: Group Assistance.

Group assistance is a perk available to all characters who share a group patron, allowing them to utilize this unity to support each other in various ways. Once per long rest, a character can assist and inspire another character with the same group patron, providing them with advantage on any ability check, attack roll, or saving throw, as long as that ally can be seen or heard.

While each character can only use this benefit once per long rest, it's an impressive asset that can truly make a party feel like a united force.

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