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Notable NPCs

by | Sep 5, 2018 | Uncategorized

Our world is filled with different and memorable individuals; the multiverse of dungeons and dragons is no different. There are many worlds, continents, cities, towns, and villages. Living in and on each of these are the people who make up the world and make the world different by their very existence.

Where to begin?

The NPCs we create as dungeon masters can range from a simple street urchin to a well-known nobleman or high profile politician. Creating NPCs can have varying results, which are generally unforeseen. We spend a lot of time creating and hoping our players will enjoy the NPCs we have studiously detailed, then once we introduce them to our players, they breeze past them and spend hours talking to the guard we just created on the spot, who did not even have a name five minutes ago (Hello Bob the guardsman). This situation is something you as the dungeon master can truly never avoid; but you can take steps to limit these encounters (hopefully)! You do not have to create every single NPC in the whole town, city, or village your player’s interaction with, I mean, if you really want to, go for it!

However, to make your life a little fun, and your campaign a little more manageable, you can make a list of male and female names, you can assign races, to each of them, or have a chart to roll on if you want have a random result for a more spontaneous encounter. Once you have that established, you could create small details with generic personality traits based on the area they live in, the region of the world, religion, profession, and hopefully even a quirk or two! If the characters have a more in depth conversation with your newly created NPC, start taking notes of during their conversations, write down any important questions they ask, along with details you provide to the characters as the encounter unfolds.

Remember, you do not need all the information prior to dropping the NPC in front of the characters, just a few basics so that you can roleplay that NPC enough to have a meaningful roleplay encounter. You could spend an endless amount of time writing up backstories for your NPCs and never see them introduced to your players, so think big, and work small. Make sure to prepare just enough so your NPC feels alive!

World View

The personality of your NPCs are shaped by their surroundings, just as ours are, use the things that shape who you are to guide how you create your NPCs. Their world view is shaped by the city or town they live in, the culture surrounding their town, and country, all tied together with any religious and/or political beliefs they hold will help define who your NPC is. As I stated above, you do not need ALL of these details fleshed out right away, you can just write a couple key notes about each topic to help you guide your NPCs interaction with the characters, if that happens!

There are other factors could shape your NPCs world view. They could be a retired adventurer, which may cause them to be extremely friendly and helpful toward the characters when they meet, OR, because of the danger the characters bring, the NPC could not wish that upon their home. They could be a veteran from a past regional war, who has a negative view of the world in general, forcing the characters to earn their trust before actually helping them in any significant way, or your NPC could be a gullible baker who knows nothing beyond the boundaries of where they live and will help the characters from their first encounter. Your dashingly handsome NPC could also be a high profile nobleman, who operates as a skilled thief at night, which the characters could discover later when he tries to steal some of their goods he sends them to recover from an opposing faction. Maybe you NPC is secretly the villain your characters are working toward stopping, and he is using his political position to gain the favor of the characters and guide them in the wrong direction with misinformation, hoping to thwart their plans! If that is the case, check my last article on villains or this great supplement.

Personal attachments

Giving your NPC a job or a family where they live gives them a personality, a driving factor, or a stake in where they live. When the characters finally arrive on the scene or encounter the NPC, it could be under a situation of duress, or they could be stopping at their shop to spend some of their “hard earned” gold, which could lead to a fruitful relationship. However, your characters meet the NPC, giving them some sort of attachment to the area they live in will help make them more believable to your players. Additionally, if your NPC is a person with a family, maybe they hire the characters to find a lost family member, or a stolen family heirloom that has been in the family for generations. However you decided to introduce your NPC to the characters, giving your NPC a stake in the world will help bring them to life and deepen their immersion for your players when they finally do meet.

NPC Interactions

The world in which your NPC lives is filled with so many options, some of which we have already covered, and by no means covers everything. The world you created will play a major role in how they view the world and will also determine their attitude toward the characters when they finally meet, either in a positive or negative manner, which is also dependent on how the characters treat your NPC. Their first will set the tone for that relationship, and will help you build off the work you have already invested into that NPC.

Daniel Colby

Dungeon Master by day, mad illusionist by night!

Daniel Colby has just recently entered into the realm of freelance writing.  He has a couple of article series’ on the Kobold Press website along with some self published adventures on the DMs Guild.

Daniel Colby has been an adventurer for over 20 years.  His experience ranges from a long deceased human fighter, to a wise old human wizard, and a wonderful, energetic illusionist gnome whose trickery is beyond compare!  As a Dungeon Master, he hopes to bring some of his crazy machinations to the world of heroes and villains so they too can share his reality!

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Notable NPCs

by | Sep 5, 2018 | Uncategorized

Our world is filled with different and memorable individuals; the multiverse of dungeons and dragons is no different. There are many worlds, continents, cities, towns, and villages. Living in and on each of these are the people who make up the world and make the world different by their very existence.

Where to begin?

The NPCs we create as dungeon masters can range from a simple street urchin to a well-known nobleman or high profile politician. Creating NPCs can have varying results, which are generally unforeseen. We spend a lot of time creating and hoping our players will enjoy the NPCs we have studiously detailed, then once we introduce them to our players, they breeze past them and spend hours talking to the guard we just created on the spot, who did not even have a name five minutes ago (Hello Bob the guardsman). This situation is something you as the dungeon master can truly never avoid; but you can take steps to limit these encounters (hopefully)! You do not have to create every single NPC in the whole town, city, or village your player’s interaction with, I mean, if you really want to, go for it!

However, to make your life a little fun, and your campaign a little more manageable, you can make a list of male and female names, you can assign races, to each of them, or have a chart to roll on if you want have a random result for a more spontaneous encounter. Once you have that established, you could create small details with generic personality traits based on the area they live in, the region of the world, religion, profession, and hopefully even a quirk or two! If the characters have a more in depth conversation with your newly created NPC, start taking notes of during their conversations, write down any important questions they ask, along with details you provide to the characters as the encounter unfolds.

Remember, you do not need all the information prior to dropping the NPC in front of the characters, just a few basics so that you can roleplay that NPC enough to have a meaningful roleplay encounter. You could spend an endless amount of time writing up backstories for your NPCs and never see them introduced to your players, so think big, and work small. Make sure to prepare just enough so your NPC feels alive!

World View

The personality of your NPCs are shaped by their surroundings, just as ours are, use the things that shape who you are to guide how you create your NPCs. Their world view is shaped by the city or town they live in, the culture surrounding their town, and country, all tied together with any religious and/or political beliefs they hold will help define who your NPC is. As I stated above, you do not need ALL of these details fleshed out right away, you can just write a couple key notes about each topic to help you guide your NPCs interaction with the characters, if that happens!

There are other factors could shape your NPCs world view. They could be a retired adventurer, which may cause them to be extremely friendly and helpful toward the characters when they meet, OR, because of the danger the characters bring, the NPC could not wish that upon their home. They could be a veteran from a past regional war, who has a negative view of the world in general, forcing the characters to earn their trust before actually helping them in any significant way, or your NPC could be a gullible baker who knows nothing beyond the boundaries of where they live and will help the characters from their first encounter. Your dashingly handsome NPC could also be a high profile nobleman, who operates as a skilled thief at night, which the characters could discover later when he tries to steal some of their goods he sends them to recover from an opposing faction. Maybe you NPC is secretly the villain your characters are working toward stopping, and he is using his political position to gain the favor of the characters and guide them in the wrong direction with misinformation, hoping to thwart their plans! If that is the case, check my last article on villains or this great supplement.

Personal attachments

Giving your NPC a job or a family where they live gives them a personality, a driving factor, or a stake in where they live. When the characters finally arrive on the scene or encounter the NPC, it could be under a situation of duress, or they could be stopping at their shop to spend some of their “hard earned” gold, which could lead to a fruitful relationship. However, your characters meet the NPC, giving them some sort of attachment to the area they live in will help make them more believable to your players. Additionally, if your NPC is a person with a family, maybe they hire the characters to find a lost family member, or a stolen family heirloom that has been in the family for generations. However you decided to introduce your NPC to the characters, giving your NPC a stake in the world will help bring them to life and deepen their immersion for your players when they finally do meet.

NPC Interactions

The world in which your NPC lives is filled with so many options, some of which we have already covered, and by no means covers everything. The world you created will play a major role in how they view the world and will also determine their attitude toward the characters when they finally meet, either in a positive or negative manner, which is also dependent on how the characters treat your NPC. Their first will set the tone for that relationship, and will help you build off the work you have already invested into that NPC.

Daniel Colby

Dungeon Master by day, mad illusionist by night

Daniel Colby has just recently entered into the realm of freelance writing. He has a couple of article series’ on the Kobold Press website along with some self published adventures on the DMs Guild.

Daniel Colby has been an adventurer for over 20 years. His experience ranges from a long deceased human fighter, to a wise old human wizard, and a wonderful, energetic illusionist gnome whose trickery is beyond compare! As a Dungeon Master, he hopes to bring some of his crazy machinations to the world of heroes and villains so they too can share his reality!

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