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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52
votes
23answers
3k 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 ...
35
votes
12answers
2k 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 ...
31
votes
6answers
1k 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 ...
29
votes
6answers
950 views

How can I learn how to negotiate as an NPC?

I'm a new GM (the system is DND 4.0 but that's not relevant here). 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 ...
17
votes
8answers
413 views

What's a good method for making cultures differ?

Just read through a great question (on getting players to play in line with their characters' cultures) and it got me thinking: What do you do to make the cultures in your setting differ? Let's say ...
16
votes
4answers
1k views

Please stop giving the town sheriff a noogie!

Related to this question but more closely related to this question. How can I get my PCs to not cause a single or small handful of characters to become the butt of a joke when that humor could easily ...
16
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
15
votes
4answers
578 views

How could I have a sidekick/squire in DnD3.5?

In Mutants and Masterminds you can purchase a side kick as a feat. I'm rolling up a knight, and I want a squire, using a similar game mechanic. Is there anything like this in DnD, other than ...
15
votes
7answers
391 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 ...
14
votes
1answer
312 views

What game is this method of NPC generation using playing cards from?

It uses a standard deck of playing cards. Thirteen cultural influences, laws, or taboos are assigned to the ranks of the cards, and the suit determines whether the character is an exemplar of that ...
13
votes
5answers
470 views

Truly alien 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 ...
13
votes
9answers
578 views

How do you make a new NPC likable?

The players in my campaign will soon rescue a woman who's been trapped in an awful dimension (think Jumanji, if that helps) for ten years, and bring her home. After 2 sessions, they'll realize that ...
12
votes
3answers
283 views

Are there well-stocked repositories of well-built PCs?

I've searched the Internet many times to no avail attempting to find a good source of well-made PCs for D&D 3.5 (or Pathfinder). Is there one out there? As a DM, when I want to throw in an NPC ...
11
votes
7answers
292 views

Cameo Characters?

There are some good books in the Forgotten Realms library. Do you use cameo characters form these books? If so how do you balance them with your campaign? I know there was a campaign that came with ...
11
votes
2answers
412 views

Reducing a monster below CR 1

There are many instances in Pathfinder and other 3.5 based systems when you might need to reduce a monster below 1 or 1/2. For example, if I'm using a CR 1/2 monster from a 3.5 source in Pathfinder, ...
11
votes
2answers
395 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
266 views

How do I make a large organization of villains memorable or likeable?

I'm currently preparing a levels 1–30 D&D 4e campaign based on the .hack// games, where players become trapped inside an online game where a sentient program plans to become God. My main ...
10
votes
10answers
1k views

How to use a GMPC for the good of the campaign?

I find myself prone to creating GMPCs. For the unfamiliar, a GMPC is an NPC that the GM has a special fondness for, much like a "Mary Sue" in fiction. They are often overpowered, have plot armour, a ...
10
votes
2answers
356 views

One-sentence NPCs

A while ago ChattyDM and someone else ran a couple contests where people submitted one-line NPCs. The collection of submissions was free to download, but now that I want to use it my google-fu has ...
10
votes
3answers
303 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
455 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). ...
9
votes
3answers
421 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
195 views

Where are a monster's skills?

If you grab a goblin for example, and the goblin test to escape it says to have it make an acrobatics or athletics check but I can't seem to find where it says there skills? Any help?
9
votes
6answers
601 views

Tools for tracking NPC/PC relationships and attitudes

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 ...
8
votes
6answers
392 views

Can the GM give control over a support NPC to the players?

If there was a group with only 2 characters, and an NPC with a missing skill set was presented, would it be feasible at all for a player/the players to control the NPC in question, or should this only ...
8
votes
1answer
321 views

Mechanically, how do I prepare a village of not-quite-vampire-thrall monk NPCs?

What I need I need to build one or more NPC character sheets, or cards, for the monk/ninjas in a fortified mountain monastery whose order was (and still is) founded by an ancient vampire lord, who is ...
8
votes
1answer
269 views

Does No-Key the Mushroom King appear in any Exalted 2nd Ed Sourcebooks?

No-Key the Mushroom King was originally a canon NPC from 1st edition Exalted in the book Creatures of the Wild; notably, he was the only person to have defeated Octavian the Living Tower (a 2nd Circle ...
7
votes
3answers
627 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
6answers
300 views

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

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 ...
7
votes
3answers
616 views

Who are the movers and shakers in any larger city in Vampire: the Requiem?

I'm making a list of influential vampire NPCs that will exist in any but the smallest of cities. I do this because I wish to start a sandbox campaign in Vampire, and as such, the players will need to ...
6
votes
3answers
697 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
519 views

How much XP do monsters or NPCs have for spending on spells and item creation?

How much experience do monsters, NPCs or other generated creatures have for the use of spells and item creation? When a demon uses wish, how does it spend XP, and from what pool does it draw on? Is ...
5
votes
5answers
2k views

Armour rating inside an iron safe

In one of my games, a character has inadvertantly locked themself in a booby-trapped iron safe. When the safe sprang-shut it triggered an alarm to summon NPCs that try to attack the player. The ...
5
votes
10answers
2k views

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

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 ...
5
votes
2answers
188 views

Do NPCs understand target priority strategy? [closed]

Most everyone agrees that the strategy of attacking "the squishies" first in a combat scenario is generally the best idea, except in some specific exceptions. Often, then, the decision on whether or ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

How much experience should a vampire of a given age have?

I'm creating a setting for a Kindred of the East chronicle and I'm not sure how many discipline points or virtues characters should have. There was an old trick in V:tM that consisted in giving an ...
5
votes
1answer
288 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
201 views

Will using NPCs as allies overshadow my PCs?

As I was working on my D&D 4e campaign, I created a few NPCs to connect with my players, some of them intended as travelling companions of the PCs. Their backstories and knowledge hook into the ...
5
votes
1answer
329 views

How do I handle a PC - NPC?

In my online game, it's often hard for me to handle NPCs with the loads of characters we have so sometimes I ask or a player volunteers to play some of them. The issue is though, that one player ...
5
votes
1answer
85 views

What stats should King Wolf have?

Some PC's in my game may possibly be going to pick a Fight with King Wolf of Ussuran legend (from Nations of Theah #7: Ussura). While not expressly impossible for them to win, I have about 4 ...
4
votes
4answers
539 views

What's a Denver accent sound like? [closed]

For a couple of Shadowrun sessions coming up, I'm going to be playing an NPC from the Mile-High City. She's an inexperienced ork fixer, low-class background, brought up among shadowrunners. I want to ...
4
votes
1answer
130 views

Divinities character sheets for D&D 3.5

I remember finding the character sheets for some major divinities and famous npc on some D&D 3.5 manual, but now that I need them I can't find them anywhere. In which manuals can I find this kind ...
3
votes
1answer
173 views

What is a good guideline for creating challenging NPCs in Edge of the Empire?

So while running an Edge of the Empire campaign, I am running into a problem of creating customized Nemesis and Rivals. I'm assuming that the former are basically player characters built with equal to ...
3
votes
1answer
212 views

What is Sasuke's base class?

I'm trying out the Naruto d20 rpg right now and I intend to have my players interact with Team 7 in a sort of training scuffle. It wouldn't really be a fight, as they would be chunnin while Team 7 ...
3
votes
1answer
306 views

How to plan to avoid combat deaths for NPCs that aren't obvious railroads? [closed]

I am playing a Pathfinder campaign based on the Beginner Box materials. The party were relatively diplomatic in the first adventure and didn't fight and kill the goblin boss King Fatmouth in Black ...
2
votes
9answers
551 views

Survivalist NPC build?

How can I best optimize an NPC so that instead of having perfect power attack or sneak attack, they're just really hard to kill? I can think of thief acrobat and perhaps exemplar or dungeon delver, ...
2
votes
1answer
270 views

How Much XP is an NPC worth?

I'm trying to add an NPC (as explained on pages 186-188 of the DMG) to a DnD 4e encounter, and I'm having trouble finding any information on how much XP to subtract from the XP budget for the ...
2
votes
1answer
356 views

Creating NPCs from Real-Life People

I have some friends that would like to be part of my future D&D campaign as NPCs. What I need help with is creating stats for a NPC based on a person. I am a player in this campaign. Our DM will ...
2
votes
1answer
437 views

NPC Ships for Rogue Trader

Anyone know of a good list of premade ships for Rogue Trader? I'd like to build up a good collection to choose from for some one off sessions I plan to run at a Con this year.
1
vote
0answers
43 views

Do I apportion XP to NPC allies? [duplicate]

I'm running a D&D 4e duet game. Recently, the PC picked up a couple temporary NPC companions. Now they have completed their first encounter together, and I'm not sure what to do about ...