forum Ruleplaying - attempt to create a 'game' out of running NPCs in RPGs
Started by daelstrom Premium Supporter

people_alt 48 followers

daelstrom Premium Supporter

I'm not sure if this is the right place for this, as its not about actually roleplaying your own characters, but managing the numerous non player characters Gamesmasters have to manage. If you can suggest a better forum, let me know.

What I'm trying to figure out is an easier way to help new GMs of RPGs (Fallout post apocalypse in my case) to create simple but diverse citizens of fantasy worlds for player characters to interact with.

What I'd like to hear about is how other GMs manage them in their games.
Do they write up great backstories and character sheets?
Do they use personality types like the Myers-Briggs types to characterise stereotypes?
Do they use aids like Tarot cards or story dice to help?

I'm toying with a few ideas myself but would love to hear about how others deal with the issue.
I'm hoping to develop my RPG world with some sort of guide to NPC management because I want to share it


@Im-just-here-idk-what-life-means group

I don’t know if I’m understanding this right, but is this what you are talking about?:

Making a game with set characters, and people have to choose from those set characters, and play that character’s set role in the story.


I feel like the D&D or General Writing forums would be a better home for this thread, but I digress.

On the subject of what you're speaking about, I've often wondered the same thing. I've been thinking of becoming a DM/GM for a while now (especially with this homebrew campaign I'm cooking up). I learn by watching/participating, so I've binge-watched (and played in) campaigns to try to figure out what to do and how to go about doing it.

Depending on who your players are, I wouldn't go too deep into the backstory of most NPCs. Maybe allude to it if that backstory is currently affecting the campaign, but other than that don't think about it too much.

For me, I've just been writing some brief paragraphs explaining the core of the character, what they do, who they are, their values/beliefs, and their relationships with other NPCs (or PCs if that happens before the game truly begins). This process makes it easier on me, so I don't spend a longass time on details that may never be revealed, and makes it more intriguing for the players as they try to figure out what the NPC is hiding (if anything).

daelstrom Premium Supporter

The 'game' I'm suggesting is more a system of game mechanics to assist GMs in crafting tales with non player characters and they don't just feel like standard stereotypes.
As an example, to assist in keeping track of the disposition towards the protagonist, you could develop a system that utilises faction biases, leaders guidance and other factors as relevant.

For instance, if I make a range from 1 to 6 of simple attitudes towards the protagonist, I can express this in numeric terms by placing a commonly available die next to the NPC (if utilising figures) and use it to determine play

1 - Hate
2 - Dislike
3 - apathetic
4 - neutral
5 - Like
6 - Love

Each faction has a predetermined disposition due to the characters, and that is used to influence their 'citizens'

Basically, you note the suggested opinion (e.g. the Orcs hate dwarfs) which would be represented by a '1'
Then for each of them, you roll ID6. You average the number to get the final result.
(eg '1' (hate) plus a die roll of 4, 6, 1 = 1+4/2= 3(apathetic), 1+6/2 = 4 (neutral) and 1+1/2=1(hate))
Due to the probability spread of 2D6 vs 1D6, the probability is that most people have less chance of extreme attitudes (hate/love) and more chance of middle of the road opinions.
This can make conflicts a little more than 'bad guys' mindlessly attacking the good guys, but act like real soldiers and have differing enthusiasm, and the GM can use it to enhance his story telling

You can also use it in other conflicts by simply changing the terms. For instance, it could be used when arguing with people
1 - Oppose
2 - disagree
3 - apathetic
4 - neutral
5 - Agree
6 - Believer

You could roll completely random (1D6) for the starting point (equal probability on each result) or set the cultural norm with specific value (eg The monks dislike violence, a suggestion like attacking the Orcs starts at 2)
As players make arguments, you can judge them or they can do a skill check to modify the result accordingly
(The warrior makes a convincing argument, empowered by the threat of recent attacks, and a successful speech check so the argument shifts by +1 in his favour, another +1 due to his high charisma, bringing their attitude to neutral (4), bordering on action - Just one more convincing argument!)
This would mean in the game I'm designing I could attribute attitudes to groups towards others etc.

I want to keep the mechanics as simple as possible, for quick use but to be a springboard for moving the narrative
While this is a game mechanic, its one used specifically for roleplaying, and not exclusive to D&D. After playing D&D i discovered there were Roleplayers, Ruleplayers and Rollplayers, each with its own playstyle - This is more directed at DMs, GMs, referees or whatever you call the person trying to herd cats into a narrative ;P

Thats just a simple example, and i was inspired by the handling of RPGs by videogames to create tools to utilise their best aspects.
I believe Pen & Paper RPGs with a human moderator still have advantages over videogames, but utilising the best of both worlds creates the best outcome

I'm currently playing with personality types (Myers & Briggs etc) simplified and put onto cards that can be randomly drawn for quick NPC backgrounds, like a simplified version of the Tarot readings I used to embellish my background stories (Too time consuming for everyday characters)