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October 27, 2005, 4:23 pm

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Simplification: Performing Minor NPCs


This short article describes one of my methods forportraying minor NPCs. This article is a scroll, which means you all can explain YOUR methods too. Let us share our knowledge!

During my years as a game master I have used different techniques when performing different characters. I\‘ll describe one of my techniques here and perhaps you will describe one of yours?

minor npcs: (The duke\‘s chef, the village smith, etc…)

Clothing: I use the same tones of colour on the character\‘s clothes -I began doing so after I discovered many players have a hard time remembering a person, especially if the npc is too complicated.
In addition I try to convey a certain feeling; \“poor\”, \“obnoxious, \“foppish\”, \“flirty\”, etc. through the clothing (and of course through their personality).

Face and body: I use the same technique here. i.e. Beggars got long, crooked noses and rotten teeth, while wealthy merchants are fat, with make-up and oiled hair. For minor characters, stereotypes are good.

Personality: It is important to have just one, or at least very few, flavours to the personality. If minor characters are portrayed in a complex way, most players won\‘t remember. The personality should be exaggerated slightly to make an impression with the players.

Area of effect: This is the influence the personality has. A sadistic innkeepers area of effect would be the barmaids and the unpaying customers. Most minor npcs won\‘t have a large area of effect. A beat up barmaid, crying in the gutters will be a good hint at the innkeepers true self.

Voice acting: As I am a 6\‘8 tall man with some 260 lbs of weight, I have a deep voice. I realize that frail, elderly ladies are beyond me, but still I try to voice act as much as possible. Voice acting is a great way to further emphasize the personality of the npc!

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Comments ( 1 )
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Michael Jotne Slayer
August 14, 2008, 3:44
Do finish this someday.


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With a huge number of sacrificial victims, another realm long ago secretly bound a Prince of the land spirits, Iorstonn by name, thus ensuring the fertility, and improving the magical defences, of their realm. But binding that Prince to one spot has disrupted the weather and magical patterns (ley lines?) over half the continent. Things have become bad enough that a coalition has been formed to rectify the situation, once divinations have established the cause.

Your party is one of the teams assembled to do the rectification: find the binding object and steal it ("so that we can destroy it here in our realm, of course"...*) or destroy it over there. Presumably the Prince will be grateful to his rescuers and angry at the binders, but with a greater spirit like Iorstonn one can never be sure: such beings are "tricksy".

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Ideas  ( Plots ) | February 26, 2014 | View | UpVote 3xp

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