Steal my notes, Matthew Mercer on NPCs
We listen to great DMs and writers to find the perfect way to create epic NPCs without epic preparation.
- 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.
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.
Author(s): Gregory Vangilbergen - (Updated:Jan 27, 2022)