A character in an RPG whose decisions and actions are handled by the game-master or a designated assistant. An initialism that stands for "non-player character."

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40
votes
12answers
3k views

How do I create a great fantasy villain that inspires the party to rally against them?

In my early years of GMing it was simple enough to say that the badguys were evil and that was all the justification we needed. They are attacking the village because they are evil, they are stealing ...
38
votes
6answers
2k views

How do you handle verbal exchanges between NPCs without taking the PCs out of the spotlight?

One of the assumptions I make as GM is that the players should always be in the spotlight. Sometimes the players find themselves in a situation where they watch NPCs speak to each other. I don't ...
68
votes
23answers
8k views

How can a GM quickly create interesting, engaging NPCs?

What techniques do people have for coming up with interesting personalities and histories for non-player characters? I'm mostly interested in the GM side of things. I don't want to do a ton of prep. I ...
16
votes
6answers
2k views

Tools for tracking NPC/PC relationships and attitudes [closed]

I have always had difficulty keeping track of NPCs, their attitudes and their relationships with each other and the PCs. I find relationship webs/diagrams are helpful, but find them difficult to keep ...
6
votes
1answer
1k views

How can I create more compelling villains? [closed]

A consistent issue with the games that I've run comes through with villain characters. Not just at the end of an adventure, but overarching villains; movers and shakers of the world. I notice that I ...
9
votes
4answers
861 views

How to create meaningful relationships with NPCs

How do I help the PCs to create meaningful relationships with NPCs? Maybe it is a result of my group playing too many one-dimensional adventures trying to find whatever MacGuffin they are after each ...
14
votes
3answers
2k views

How do I handle large conversations with multiple NPCs?

To begin I've read How do you handle verbal exchanges between NPCs without taking the PCs out of the spotlight? but I don't believe that it answer my question, because it focuses more on dialog simply ...
12
votes
2answers
674 views

How do you level an atypical Follower?

In my last game (and also my first game as a DM), one of my players earned the loyalty of a Giant Goat (MM pg 326) by freeing it from its cell, avenging the death of its brothers by slaying a bridge ...
7
votes
3answers
256 views

Should Savage World Allies be made as Wild Cards?

I've been reading the basic manual on Allies and Extras, and it seems it's intended for such characters to work as non-wild card characters. I'm playing a Super Powers game with friends, and they ...
21
votes
11answers
3k views

How do I learn enough about military tactics to run credible military-type NPCs in combat?

I'm the GM of a Shadowrun Campaign and have difficulties letting the NPCs move in a battle like they would in real-life. Two of my players are pretty informed about how military or police would act ...
33
votes
6answers
2k views

How can I learn how to negotiate as an NPC?

I'm a new GM in D&D 4e. I've quickly found that I perform very poorly when I'm portraying a negotiation between the PCs and one or more NPCs. Even when they have common ground and could easily ...
17
votes
7answers
3k views

How to voice an NPC?

As a GM should I put a different voice if, for instance, the NPC is an old sick man, or if it's a kid or even a member of the opposite sex? What advices can you give me to enrich NPC acting?
16
votes
6answers
899 views

Creating truly alien, intelligent NPC races

How can I make intelligent NPC races that are truly alien? They need to be: Culturally non-human. They need to be stranger than any sort of human culture that already exists. Rational. Behaving ...
15
votes
7answers
558 views

How to I create material (on the fly) to support plot changes?

In both pre-plotted adventures and more story-telling ones, a lot of situations occur where monsters/npcs/magical items/geography appear, which wasn't thought of beforehand. I.e. I do not have the ...
26
votes
5answers
1k views

How do I use God as an NPC while being sensitive to players' real-life religious beliefs?

I'm currently running a 3-year long campaign that is coming to an ending in which God is likely to appear as an NPC. Since this is the end of the campaign I won't need to manage it for very long, but ...
11
votes
5answers
2k views

How do I portray a xenophobic, manipulative, evil noble?

My players, after having travelled through a big Kobold empire to find a temple, finally encountered the temple, only to find it inhabited by a Dragon. They bump into the Kobold who had been tracking ...
9
votes
3answers
672 views

Should I give skills and full stats to NPCs?

Some friends have asked me to master a game for the first time. We are going to play All Flesh Must Be Eaten (It's fun, easy and rules are not as important as actual roleplaying). I have created the ...
11
votes
2answers
769 views

Tips for keeping track of NPC stats and conditions

Is there a good paper based solution to keep track of NPC stats so they are avaliable when you need them in-game but don't take hours to keep up to date? I have a bunch of NPC notes and lists of ...
11
votes
4answers
3k views

How can I bring an evil NPC back to life after the PCs think they've killed him?

As the DM of a campaign, I have an army that is about to overrun the town my players have been living in. I want to create an encounter in which the players meet a small part of the army lead by an ...
10
votes
1answer
697 views

Are there any guidelines or samples for creating Henchmen or Villains?

Going over the Game Master's Guide for 7th Sea, I can't find any information on creating henchmen and villain NPCs (other than the villain-specific arcana, and the special damage rules for henchmen). ...
7
votes
6answers
367 views

How do you come up with attribute values and skills for your NPCs [closed]

I have been playing PnP for some years now and also had one session GMing (my first) and I discovered that my biggest problem wasn't creating a world, inventing scenes or reacting fast if my players ...
5
votes
3answers
529 views

How to reveal plot hooks & other information when NPCs' survival depends on secrecy?

I think that these two problems have a common element that's not being addressed in their answers. The things that the PCs are pursuing basically exist as part of secret societies, in which divulging ...
13
votes
3answers
719 views

Contacts, and how to use them?

I'm starting a 5e shadowrun campaign for the first time and running into some issue with what I've read on how contacts function. Basically, I'm trying to find out how to leverage the contacts of ...
3
votes
2answers
422 views

Can a permanently anthropomorphic animal companion take levels in an NPC or PC class?

I used my Druid power to turn my animal into an anthropomorphic one, and a spell of permanency to make it permanent. Is it possible for my animal take levels in an NPC or PC class?
19
votes
4answers
4k views

Why shouldn't I use fully statted PC characters as NPC antagonists in D&D 4E?

According to the DMG (187), NPCs in 4e seem to be run as a weird sort of template halfway between a monster and a PC - you don't generate an actual character with a full array of powers and feats. Is ...
8
votes
3answers
897 views

Should I give my players the stats of the NPCs they control?

I'm running a game of Savage Worlds in which my players, as seems to be the norm in the system, end up in command of a group of human and kobold soldiers. As with most things in Savage Worlds I want ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

How much would it cost to hire mercenaries for a couple days?

My team has been tasked with defending a high value target on a lightning rail train. They're fairly certain that the train will be hit hard and are considering hiring mercenaries to flesh out the ...
7
votes
10answers
2k views

Is bringing a major villain back from the dead a bad idea? [closed]

I have a major villain that the players killed a long time ago* in a previous campaign. Is it too clichéd to bringing her back? Is there anything I should avoid if I do so? Is it just lazy? I am ...
6
votes
3answers
165 views

How to convert the ECL of NPC's to CR?

My campaigns are RP heavy, and the players fight NPC's as often as monsters. Hence, how could I calculate the CR of something with class levels?
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Does “Speak with Dead” work with (well preserved) skeletons?

The spell Speak with Dead says that we can talk with a dead corpse. Does that mean it only works with bodies of people who were recently killed? A body that was not yet completely rotten? I was ...