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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.

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)
 
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