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46

He's in a booby trapped iron safe. He's safe. He's also trapped. His situation has a number of upsides: He's in an iron safe. The same walls of iron that kept him out, keep everyone else out. If people can attack him through the safe, it's not particularly safe, is it? His situation has a number of downsides: He's in an iron safe, The enemies don't need to ...


23

The best approach, I think, is to separate the players and the NPCs by Plot! The NPCs get kidnapped, detained, lost, side-tracked, bogged down, diverted, or called away, but in a way that is meaningful to the players. They are not just “put on a bus” in the TV Tropes lingo, but somehow the plot separates them and reuniting becomes a major ...


21

Execution is Key This is a cliche because a lot of stories do it. A lot of stories do it because done well, it can add something to the story. Done poorly, it just becomes silly and makes the players feel like they don't really have any impact on what's going on. So, think carefully about what you intend to use her for before bringing her back. Don't do it ...


17

You can, but you can use other audio quirks too. Quirks define an NPC or a character and if you are sufficiently gifted to be able to impersonate a libertarian communist monkey juggler's voice (or whatever is required) then go for it. The problem is that more than likely unless you're a talented voice actor your array of voices you can do is likely to be ...


15

The Bad As you stated, it's not as creative as doing it yourself. Some may scoff at that. Many are the GMs and Players who have taken a character wholesale from other media without any effort to adapt them. "Anime characters? In MY D&D?" Them's fightin' words, so to speak. The Good So what if it's not as creative as a DIY job? Do you make the pizza ...


14

As described, I don't think your character actually meets the definition of a GMPC. [The GMPC] starts out an important NPC to travel with the party and fill any missing roles no one else wants to play. It's almost like the GM has a Player Character of his own, thus this concept has come to be known as the GMPC. (emphasis mine) The character you have ...


13

Mordenkainen's Magnificent Emporium has a section on Hirelings (starting page 136). Page 138 has a table of cost/day for each given level of hireling (from 15 @ level 1 to 125,000 @ level 30); the same page says a Mercenary is the standard Hireling rate x3 (meaning a level 1 Mercenary costs 45gp/day, and a level 30 Mercenary costs 375,000gp/day). The ...


13

Using other characters is a great way to save time. The key to doing it well is the adapt the character to your setting. You want it to feel like Saul Goodman belongs in the story, even if you are fighting an interstellar war or casting Magic Missile. Give your character a new name. Depending on how cheeky you feel, it can be a name that's a clear ...


12

Neither the player inside nor the NPC outside have any line of sight or line of fire. If they don't have magical or psionic means to target him without seeing him, it seems pretty clear that he can neither be attacked nor attack himself. Edit: As the potential owner of said safe, let me say that if you think someone can poke a sword through the cracks at ...


12

You're trying to railroad the game when the players are telling you very loudly where they want the campaign to go instead. Take them there. If the NPCs are boring you, that's a different problem. Be sure you're making NPCs that engage you and not just your players. You have to enjoy the game too. To run an interesting socially-focused game, you might need ...


11

The most important aspect of an NPC is presenting a persona that the players can interact with realistically and consistently. Stats will not do that - they'll help and give you guideance on what a character can and can't do, and for some GMs (and possibly systems, but that's debatable) that is essential - but it's not required. Believe me, I generated ...


11

Typically, this sort of thing is handled by DM fiat. If you want one of your NPCs to craft a magic item, then they can. The whole reason that XP costs for that kind of thing exist is to make it so players don't have an unlimited supply of powerful magic to mess around with, and that's not a problem with NPCs. In addition, specific XP values are very ...


11

So, let me get this straight - you've created a setting and characters that your players are so immensely invested in that they're helping you build it themselves? What exactly is the problem again? Kidding. Sorta. Anyway, I'm kinda seeing this in the Marvel game I'm running now; the players are assuming anything beyond purse-snatchers are beyond them ...


10

Looking in the compendium, there do not seem to be rules for this. That said, if you're running Eberron, you might take a peek in the campaign book and see if there is something more specific to the setting. However, there are rules for pocket change and how much a major and minor purchase might cost that are pegged to the level of the character. In ...


10

Since this is a Savage Worlds question, it seems best to take into account what the book has to say (from the GM section on Extras): Though it’s rarely written, most games assume that the Game Master controls the nonplayer characters, both when they’re being talked to and when they fight alongside the player characters in combat. Most of the time, ...


9

I don't personally think there's anything inherently wrong with an invincible, super powered NPC, provided that the limelight remains clearly centered on the PCs. The players want to feel like the heroes of the story, and any time you introduce a non-malevolent being who is significantly stronger than they, there's a chance that this feeling gets squashed. ...


8

Contacts can be many things, for players and GM's. The easiest is to have some basic templates of contacts. Some with very little stats and skills that you use to drop clues/hints or make connections for players. Other Contact you can flesh out a bit more so you can make a roll to see if they know something or can they repair some specialist piece of ...


8

I would recommend using the Monster Vault maths, found summarized on Blog of Holding; or, Monster Maker is a handy app that helps create monster cards, and will work out the maths if desired. Set out which roles you wish the monsters to take - from the sounds of things it seems like you'll have a mix of Lurkers and Skirmishers, with Soldiers and Brutes ...


7

Sardathrion and Rob cover most of my NPC generation process, but sometimes (most notably when the party discovers one I haven't planned for) I just consider them a +X NPC. For example, in AFMBE I might make a random Normie citizen a +2 NPC - their rolls are typically just the roll +2 unless I decide it's a skill they should have. So John Doe over there is ...


7

Here is what I try to get across when I speak for an NPC: Tone Can I convey their emotional state or attitude? This is useful. There's a lot more than just the words you say, there's the way you say it, and that says more about a character than anything. This tone doesn't require I change my voice in any way, I just need to communicate the attitude ...


7

I find this question somewhat difficult to answer because you're essentially saying you want to introduce a god-like character as your personal avatar into the game. My personal recommendation is to detach from the character personally. I have been in several games where the GM in question (even myself for small tables) has said up front "this is my ...


7

Since you tagged that as system agnostic, I will go for an answer that might not satisfy those who plays D&D/Pathfinder and closely stick to the rules. Also, I have seen many GMPC and most of the time things went very bad for the PCs, only the GM enjoyed himself and he was unable to understand players frustration. I will try to make you avoid that ...


7

Anything your players like, including NPCs, is more important than your presuppositions of the plot. The reason for this is simple - the goal of the game is to entertain the group. If they like something, they will be more invested in it and thus more entertained. If you set up a dichotomy between "things you want" and "things they want," well, there's a ...


7

I'd say all of Bruenor's major deeds and some of the minor ones, but only up until he left the throne for his final adventure with Drizzt. So I'd say for a guideline the stuff that happened in the crystal shard. The story about Bruenor and the black dragon when he first returns to Mithral hall. The war with the dark elves, and the war with the orcs and the ...


7

In the campaign I'm DMing right now, I have a bunch of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic characters scattered around the area. Except for the librarian at the Arcane College (Twilight Sparkle), the rest of them are all inconsequential background characters that are doing their own thing and aren't really involved in the story. My players find this pretty ...


6

Personification This helps people relate to non-human things. A personified object or creature encourages interaction, and helps people get thinking about what's going on in its "head." Once they're there, though, they may make the mistake of thinking of the personified creature or object as human. This is where the next point comes into effect. Different ...


5

Before I dive in, I just wanted to say that these things are by no mean exclusive or that they are the perfect solutions. They are, still, things that worked for me. Make them resourceful Giving your villain resources is one of the best ways to make her powerful. These resources don't have to be money, as power, intellect or technology can serve this ...


5

You are trying too hard. If you insist too much, they get suspiscious and it will be much more difficult, or outright impossible, to close the deal. Design the story around the NPC motivations: why does the sage want to help them, why can he help them, what are his goals? If you don't know anything about your NPC, you'll roleplay it quite poorly indeed! As ...


5

Like a Potemkin village, all my NPCs are but a few sentences on a card. Note that the card can be digital in the form of a wiki entry, a markdown/LaTeX file, etc... or it could be a paper card. The sentences themselves describe: The general appearance, the general skill set, and one or more interesting background elements. That is it. So, for example: ...


5

There are no rules for how to act or talk for NPC's and there shouldn't be any. This is because you are free to do whatever you want, and as such - you should explore what you like best. If it suits you and your players you could even use sock puppets. As long as it doesn't disrupt the flow of the game, I believe that any method that works is good to go. ...



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