In the group that I GM, I ran an adventure a few months back that was generally considered very good by everyone involved (Including myself, which does not happen often). It included a little girl that I added specifically to trigger the (real life-)emotions of a certain player, which went so far that said player adopted an almost mother-like behavior towards the child (The player is a female of 22).
I know that using a child to appeal to the emotions is a pretty obvious (some would say "cheap") technique to create emotional ties from the players to the NPCs, so I was wondering what other ways there could be.
I came up with the following:
- The aforementioned child
- Heroism / selflessness by NPCs might inspire some emotions, depending on the group
...but I can't think of anything else off the top of my head (There are certainly many more tricks to it). I also see a big difference between players role-playing emotions and feeling emotions, where the ideal is obviously always the second thing.
Somewhat related: Inspiring dislike or hatred for an NPC, without the obvious things like "having them execute a friend of the group", "slaughtering villages for no reason" or having the Villain repeatedly taunt or betray the Players. I'd like to have an emotional base on which the players base everything the person says, if only to make the odd final revelation that the perceived villain is in fact a good guy that much more surprising.
What are your techniques for these things?