Posts Tagged by Deep as a Puddle


NPCs in Character Driven Play No matter what system you’re playing, NPCs make things come to life. Some of my favorite advice for creating NPCs comes from Dogs in the Vineyard, which encourages you to create passionate NPCs [via some specific prompts and guidelines], then encourages you to have them strive to accomplish their goals. They’re driven people, so what they do–whether good, short sighted, or villainous– is sure to draw the PCs’ involvement. Fundamental concepts for character driven play are developed in The Art […]


Last week I shared a technique that’s been around for a while; much of it was borrowed fro Chris Chinn’s blog and old articles. Building a conflict web is a way to quickly interrelate people, and have them react to each other’s fortunes and misfortunes in life appropriately. It’s another way to juggle lots of NPCs–similar to the matrix method Bryan B discusses in the linked post. Last time I wrote, there was an image of a complex web of names near the top–something […]


Places are cool, but it’s people who make a world. Welcome to the next installment of Deep as a Puddle: streaming NPCs. Or at least creating several interlinked puddles. Whatever the analogy, we’re making groups of NPCs, while still trying to keep them interesting, with individual details and motivations. If you wind up with guard #2, you’ve gone down the wrong path. This trick is for building NPCs in thematic batches. You’ll find that creating a few related NPCs can produce interesting interactions, relationships, and […]

A Celtic Cross spread

It’s Characters All The Way Down From both sides of the screen, characters are key. As a player, your character is how you explore the world: she’s the lens you view the world through, he’s the tool you use to interact with other characters, plots, scenery, and everything else in the world. As a GM, the depth of the characters that you introduce set the course of the game. Shallow stereotypes, quest vendors, and bland shopkeepers encourage the players to move their characters out into […]


Characters and Depth No matter what game you play, a constant is characters. Players have characters that they can lavish attention and development on, while the GM often has numerous characters, great and small, to juggle. Whether you’re new to roleplaying, an experienced GM creating a monster who gets a few lines and expresses personality before the hacking begins, a player looking for tricks to get inside her character’s head, or anyone else looking to add some pizazz to their humble fighter, I have some […]

No, you’re not all gnomes named Myers Briggs… Myers Briggs is a classification system that’s popular in high school sociology classes and business books. Quizzes to determine your personality type were also frequently passed around in email from my friends and relatives; this quiz classifies various Harry Potter characters and tells you who you overlap. (For this set of phrasings, I’m Harry Potter, strangely. To skip the test and read the character assignments, go here.) The personality types can be used in many ways. If […]


One of the things that brings characters to life is a realistic culture that they’re embedded in. There are many ways to create vibrant cultures; if you are playing in a pre-existing setting, many of the cultures will be defined in the rulebook or supplements. Unfortunately, players often don’t know that much about the cultures of the world- some don’t own the book or have the specific references, some concentrate their reading on the crunchy bits, and some read similar source material and come away […]