[L5R 4e: Hearts and Souls] Off-Camera Actions by NPCs

Posted: March 6, 2013 by pointyman2000 in Articles, Legend of the Five Rings, Roleplaying Games
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One of the interesting parts about running a political action is the acknowledgment that once I’ve allowed players to take secret actions off-camera, I suddenly have license to do so more blatantly with NPCS.

Part of the challenge of running a political game is the need to have a massive stable of NPCs. People of various ranks and occupations who have varying (often opposing) agendas. These NPCs also exhibit differing levels of competency with regards to the pursuit of their goals, from the inept, to the frighteningly capable.

Of course, the scariest part of this setup is that it is very prone to being perceived by players as “cheating” on my part. As a GM, I’m in a position where I know what all the players are doing at any given time, while they don’t have the insight that I have on what the NPCs are doing. This is where GM trust plays an incredibly large part. I’m grateful that my players still trust me so far, as the last game I ran had a very strong twist that could easily have led to player mutiny.

I put in a large amount of effort in telegraphing as much of the enemy’s intent as possible during moments when a player was directly able to hear it or sniff it out, but when the event occured, a lot of people were caught off guard. Thankfully I see a lot of ways by which the players can rally and fix the situation and come out stronger for it.

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Comments
  1. chindividual says:

    Well, from experience I can tell that at least my players didn’t feel cheated when I used some OOC knowledge to make NPC’s more dangerous, as long as the NPC had a realistic way to gain the information. It also gives you a nice chance for having the NPC monologue about how he got the intel, and how he is far superior to the PC’s yaddayaddayadda… 😉

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