NPC Gallery

NPC Gallery #3: The Informant

Given that most games are inherently investigative in nature, it’s not at all far fetched to peg the Informant as one of the most important NPCs that a party of player characters can run into.  Informants come from a wide range of backgrounds, and most campaigns rely on more than a singular informant in the setting.  Even campaigns built as straightforward dungeon hacks have the ubiquitous Barkeep serving this role, even if just to tell the party where the next dungeon is.

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NPC Gallery #2: The Apprentice

Let’s face it.  Due to mankind’s inherent lifespan, nobody lives forever, and there’s been countless stories of people who have managed to achieve immortality and have, er… lived to regret it.  So, given that we’ve only got one life to live, it’s understandable that people would want to leave something behind.  A legacy of greatness that will continue even past their death and affect future generations.

For some people, it’s having and raising children.  For others it’s in teaching the next generation in the form of the Apprentice.

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NPC Gallery #1: The Mentor

After reading up on Ravyn’s excellent series on Engaging Secondary Characters over at Exchange of Realities, I figure I could take a parallel approach to things, and start talking about specific archetypes for memorable NPCs.

NPCs occupy an important place in any GM’s arsenal, as they become the vehicle upon which he is able to interact with the characters without necessarily having to break out the battlemats as with the case of villains.  Appropriate use of memorable, well defined and emotionally engaging NPCs is the hallmark of a good game, as players are drawn further into the narrative, further suspending their disbelief.

In this series, we’ll start looking at the basic NPC archetypes, characters that manifest in most games and are valid across multiple genres.  Furthermore, we’ll look into the role they can serve in a game, and how they can be used as a part of a GM’s storytelling arsensal, including hooks and twists common to each.

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