Thursday, May 06, 2010

Madlands Campaign: Considering Stock NPCs...

Good Morning, All:

Today I've been thinking about stock NPCs for my Madlands Campaign. I was first introduced to the concept of stock NPCs by E.N. Publishing's Everyone Else: A Book of Innkeepers, Farmers & More, but I honestly didn't start using them until my last campaign, using the stat blocks from Pinnacle's Savage Worlds Fantasy Bestiary toolkit. Now that I'm used to using stock NPCs, though, I find them invaluable for running a freeform sandbox-style campaign.

Although the actual system for play hasn't been settled for the Madlands Campaign, I can still build a list of desired NPC types for development once that choice has been made. Looking through Everyone Else and the Savage Worlds Fantasy Bestiary, I think I've come up with the following list:

  • Aristocrat
  • Assassin
  • Bandit/Brigand
  • Beggar/Common Slave
  • Bureaucrat/Clerk
  • Commoner/Craftsman
  • Courtesan/Pleasure Slave
  • Cultist
  • Guard/Soldier
  • Healer/Midwife
  • Hunter/Tracker/Guide
  • Knight
  • Laborer/Labor Slave
  • Mage
  • Merchant/Trader
  • Priest
  • Rogue/Thief
  • Sage/Scholar
  • Spy

I imagine I could probably blend some of these further together, but for the moment, that appears to be a nice list of basic NPC concepts that are different enough in gear and skills to warrant distinction. I would definitely seek to prepare three different power levels of NPCs for each of these concepts: a novice, an experienced and an elite.

Of course, should I proceed with Savage Worlds for the next campaign, most of this work has already been completed. If we move forward with MyD20 Lite, then I'll need to create them, but once these are done, I'll put them into the Referee's Guide and I'll be able to share them with others. Since we're a few months from beginning the game, I'll have to wait and see what other rules systems are suggested, and then proceed from there.

Doing this kind of work in advance is great for allowing you to improvise as the need arises. When the party comes around the corner and bumps into some town guards, it only takes me a second to pull up the stats for the experienced Guard/Soldier and there we go. Most of the time, though, I can simply roleplay the encounter and never have to worry about the stats themselves. Still, I can move forward with confidence, knowing that I'm ready should the players decide to take the game in the direction of combat.

Hope This Helps,

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