#RPGaDay2018 5. Favourite recurring NPC?


This is kinda, sorta the same question as yesterday and has much the same answers. So rather than answering it directly I’ll take this extra time to talk about HOW to make an NPC memorable and to make it engaging for the players.

  1. Motivation: A memorable NPC, like a good character, operates according to their own motivations (moderated by what’s best for the game). To play an NPC well you need to understand their motivations and goals – simple as they might be.
  2. A ‘Hook’: If an NPC is anything more than axe-fodder for your band of wandering murder-hobos it’ll need a hook. This can be a physical trait (one leg) a scent (jasmine) or a catchphrase (I see… Checks!). Whatever it is, it enables you to make the NPC instantly recognisible and someone that stands apart from the usual Bombadil, Robin or Dresden they might otherwise encounter.
  3. Useful: A memorable NPC should be someone they will want to engage with regularly, or have to. Shopkeepers, barmen, captains of the guard and arch-nemesi all meet this, for different values of useful.
  4. Enjoyable: You, as the Games Master, should enjoy portraying the NPC.
  5. Ignore All the Above: You can never actually know what NPCs people will take delight in and which ones they won’t care about. The best you can hope for is to adapt, quickly, when the players get attached to a particular NPC and to fill out their backstory then.

Hey, thanks for stopping by. I’m an independent RPG (and other games) designer and author. You can check out my stuff via the links at the side of postmortemstudios.wordpress.com. If you feel so inclined, after a look around, you can support me at patreon.com/grimachu, Minds.com/grimachu or steemit.com/@grimjim. Questions and queries are welcome, remember, ‘Nullius in verba’!