When is an NPC not an NPC? When it’s a villain. Because villains are more than mere NPCs. Because villains create plots. And I don’t mean evil schemes. I mean stories.
While not every NPC is a monster, every monster is an NPC. And that’s what this is all about. NPC antagonists. The violent and the non-violent. We’re talking enemies today.
Are you looking to run better games in the New Year? Do you need ten New Years Resolutions to fail at in 2017? Then look no further. I have ten resolutions I guarantee are unlike any others you’ve seen from OTHER crappy gaming blogs.
The hardest thing any GM has to do is come up with stuff on the fly. Especially when that stuff needs mechanical rules behind it. Fortunately, you have this Marvelous Mechanical Miscellany for Ad Hoc Adjudication and Improvisational Invention.
What do you do when your players force you to turn a nameless, faceless nobody into an actual NPC? What do you do when they don’t even start with a nameless, faceless nobody? How do you make NPCs out of nothing?
Everyone knows that the easiest way to start an adventure is to just have some damned NPC show up and tell the PCs what to do and how to do it. After all, that’s what MMORPGS do and it works for them. So why not do the same in D&D? Because Quest Givers can be so much more than expository text. Don’t waste that potential.
Tagalongs: NPCs that join the party. They are often derided, frequently misunderstood, and rarely used well. Because people are dumba$&es. Which is sad because Tagalongs are a GREAT Tool for your GMing Toolbox!
Building compelling NPCs is a tricky, tricky business. And it’s made even trickier by the fact that people don’t even REALLY understand what NPCs are. That’s a shame, because good NPCs are literally the key to emotional investment in games.