When Da’ Vane (Christina Freeman) dropped me a note about the first D-Jumpers product from DVOID Systems, I was definitely intrigued. Da’ Vane is another of the folks going through Yax & Johnn Four’s Gamer Lifestyle Project. She started in April 2010 and in six months has released a book with help from Ouroboros I (Sebastian . . . → Read More: Book Review: D-Jumpers Volume #1: A Gate to Adventure by Da’ Vane of DVOID Systems
During the creation of the Big Book of Little Spaces: Haunts (available soon!), I added a couple of ideas as appendices for NPC creation that turned out not to fit very well in the scope of that book. However, I’m not one to waste a good idea. So I spun those two ideas into a new product line…
Now what exactly is an Insta-NPC? Well, let’s say you need an NPC for an encounter or location and don’t have a clear idea of what would make them unique. A good example for me is a group of tavern-goers or who you might bump into at a busy inn or eatery. Those are always places that need some local color and I need a tad of inspiration to get things flowing.
That’s when one of these products comes in handy. Even with the freebie (Insta-NPCs #0: A Simple Plan) you get a quick method of kicking your creativity into gear. Grab some dice, determine how many descriptors you get to play with, roll to figure out what those are, and do a bit of brainstorming…
For instance, let’s say you need a tavern patron to spice things up. You roll a d8 to figure out how many descriptors you need and get a 5, which means you roll twice on the descriptor table. A couple of d100 rolls later you end up with “Overdressed” and “Flexible.” Hmmm. Perhaps this guy is an acrobat in a traveling troupe who just stopped into this tavern and needed an ale so badly he forgot to take off his costume.
Or maybe you find yourself with a “Dismissive,” “Reserved,” and “Starving” lady who simply sits down and demands to be served a meal like she owned the place. What’s HER story?
In the freebie, you get 100 different descriptors to play with, along with four sample characters you can use right away.
Just yesterday I put out the second one (Insta-NPCs #1: Motivation, Attitude, and Appearance). This one isn’t free, but offers a trio of tables to get your creative juices flowing for only a buck!
In this issue, you get three tables – Motivation (20 items), Attitude (20 items), and Appearance (100 items), plus more four sample characters you can use right away.
Let’s say I need an innkeeper for the place the PCs will be staying and want some idea of how that individual behaves. I can flip a coin (heads = male, tails = female), roll a few dice and end up with Male, Fear (Motivation), Derisive (Attitude), and Exhausted (Appearance)… That might lead to a description such as…
“The innkeeper greets you at the door with a warm, disingenuous smile. He’s exhausted from the previous night’s revelry and more than willing to rent you some rooms, but his contempt for you is barely concealed.”