Steal my notes, Matthew Mercer on NPCs
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Steal my notes, Matthew Mercer on NPCs

Crafting epic NPCs without epic preparation.

Matt Mercer

Steal my notes:

  • Distinguish between major and minor NPCs.
  • Minor NPCs
    • Basic elements: Name, sex, race, and class.
    • General alignment and morality
    • Affiliations in your world: Membership to guides, allies, or enemies the players have.
    • Keep quick notes in case they come up in conversations.
  • Major NPCs
    • Driving elements: Ideals, motivations, fears. In conversations, this is where a lot of the answers would come from.
    • Disposition towards players: Indifferent, friendly, or hostile. This might evolve through the players' actions.
    • Appearance: Notable equipment, mannerisms, or quirks.
    • Capabilities: What are they capable of? How can they help or harm the players?
    • Combat sheet: What are the abilities/capabilities in combat? How does the NPC engage in combat?
    • Silly voices: Keep notes on vocal texture. Tone, dialects, and accents.

Comparing notes:

If you followed the NPC series a few things immediately jump out;

  • The distinction between minor and major NPCs is in line with the Casual vs Storyline NPC. As discussed in the “Crafting epic NPCs without epic preparation” article.
  • Affiliations are in line with the “relationships” mentioned by Brandon Mull and Brandon Sanderson.

Last but not least...

Author(s): Gregory Vangilbergen - (Updated:Jan 27, 2022)