36 – Crafting Effective NPCs

The Mythcreant Podcast

Oren, Chris, and Mike discuss making NPCs that are helpful to the game. They share tips on how to save time making them, how to use them to better develop the PCs, and what not to do if you want players to like them.

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Opening and closing theme: The Princess Who Saved Herself by Jonathan Coulton. Used with permission.

Shows Notes:

Table Titans Comic

The Three Traits of Annoying Characters

How Much Power Should the GM Have?

Advice for Running Your First Campaign

Making Interesting NPCs on the Fly

Your Plot Is a Fractal

The Best Characters Eat Their Spinach — and Their Candy

The Six Traits of Strong Characters

Why Breaking Stereotypes Makes Stronger Characters

Five Broken Abilities From The World Of Darkness

Creating a Party Leader

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  1. Fay Onyx

    Update on the Table Titans comic: That annoying too-powerful drow actually was the bad guy. I will say though that many story elements in Table Titans wouldn’t be ideal for a real role-playing game and that much of the gaming realism in that comic seems to be sacrificed to needs of comic storytelling.

    • Oren Ashkenazi

      Oh wow I completely forget about that. Yeah, he did turn out to be a villain, but IIRC it was meant to be a mystery and/or surprise, and if I used an NPC like that my players would have strangled him before the session was out.

  2. Fay Onyx

    It was a surprise that he was a villain and the way that reveal was handled would have been very rough on real world players. I will say that in my play experiences it depends on the game context as to how the players react, but it is definitely not a pleasant to deal with condescending characters. It can work to have a limited number of condescending characters to deal with, especially if they are antagonists the players overcome, but condescension isn’t fun to deal with and the point of the game is to have fun.

    I think the worst part of that particular game was that there was so much opposition to a female hero that when the villain was revealed as behind her being involved it took away her main form of support. It only worked because it wasn’t a real world role-playing game, but a scripted story where the writer could make the main character get full of herself before the rug came out from under her.

    Either way it was a poor choice in how it interacted with sexism and it certainly isn’t a story about an awesome RPG game that would be fun in real life.

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