A quote from my solo campaign that really got me thinking about how players perceive Npcs.
Does your players treat your precious Npcs like nothing but obstacles, exploits and cannon fodder, whether they are gelatinous cubes or humans?
And if so, what can we do to change it?
Seven things I've learned about NPCs
Players want their characters to be special, and a secret is one way to do it. It is also a way to better connect the character with the game world.
Treasure is both the bane and boon of gaming campaigns. The purpose of all this was to bring up some more obvious, but often overlooked, types of treasure. The focus too often is on gold, gems, and magic items when the fun could be enriched by recognizing some awkward, but just as valuable, alternate items. Don’t pass up that ornately carved throne gathering dust in the lair of ogres. Don’t pass up that odd colored flower that your character has never seen. Take it all with you. You never know what you might get for it.
In a city where the justice system features judicial dueling, plaintiffs and defendants are permitted to request a champion to take their place in the duel: Someone chosen by lot from among the foreigners in the city. When anyone first arrives, they are given an enchanted ceramic pendant that marks them as a candidate for "court duty".
Wealthy folk entering the city are often escorted by burly guards, paid to carry pendants on their behalf: They elude court duty in that way.
Adventurers may seek work as a rich man's proxy or may find themselves magically summoned to serve as a champion.