Open-Ended Campaigns: Sandbox Trouble
In the various campaigns that I've run over the years, I have always tried to…
Ok, now that we’ve taken a look at Didius in the last post, let’s see what we can do with those details.
Let’s take your typical NPC…
What’s their role? Protagonist (plays a major role, potentially helping the characters)? Antagonist (presenting a challenge or obstacle to the characters)? Foil (offers a contrast or other point of view from the protagonist)? Walk-on (a character with a small part to play but who may not appear again in the story). Simple d4 roll there.
Now, are they going to change? Are they static (never-changing) or dynamic (growing over time)? Are they flat (one or two traits that don’t change), rounded (complex traits that may change over time), or stock (stereotypical characters that fit a particular mold)? Seems like a d10 (or d5) roll here.
Lastly, what do they need? We can use Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs here. Perhaps it’s a physical need (food, water, sleep) or one of safety (in danger, may lose job, lost something important, worried for family’s safety, their health is endangered, or they may lose their property)? Are they looking for love (friendship, family, intimacy)? Perhaps they are seeking some esteem (self-esteem, respect of others, a sense of achievement) or some form of self-actualization (morality, creativity, spontaneity, a solution to a problem, avoidance of prejudice, etc.)? This could be a fun table.
4. Personal safety
5. Job security
6. Item security
7. Family safety
8. Health in danger
9. Property safety
14. Respect of others
19. Problem solution
20. Acceptance of others
I suspect this approach still needs some work, but I like where it’s heading. It might be simplified or expanded upon in a few ways, so keep an eye out for a new Insta-NPCs product before long.
What’s YOUR favorite method of creating unique NPCs? Please share!