Posts Tagged by npc


Today’s guest article is by Robert A. Neri Jr. of Ranger Games Publishing, and it’s not actually about bleeding onions — it’s about NPCs. Specifically, believable and engaging NPCs, a topic near and dear to every GM. Thanks, Robert! — Martin Non-player characters (NPCs) populate the game master’s fictional game worlds. NPCs provide a life source beside the vitality injected into the game by the player characters (PCs). Unlike PCs, however NPCs don’t need to be complete characters. Their level of completeness is directly related […]

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I have in the past (here and here) talked about my love for the Story Forge Cards. This is going to be another one of those moments. If you have not gone out and gotten this great inspirational tool, I beg you to read this article to see another example of how cool these cards are, and then go order a pack. If you are already a card carrying member of the Story Forge, then let me take a few minutes to show you a […]


If you’re the GM, you accept the fact that you are the monster guy. It’s your pleasure and privilege to bring to life the bad guys in your world. Invariably, though, the pace of the game can rob you of that fun — portraying evildoers, that is. You are the devious designer of hundreds of snares and pit traps placed throughout the underground warren by the mad kobold king … which the PCs just sidestepped, outright avoided, and foiled on lucky rolls, not triggering a […]


Of late I have extolled the virtues of earlier editions of Dungeons and Dragons. This has delighted our gnome-in-chief, especially, who like many other gamers, is rediscovering what Old School gaming is about. And it served as a touchstone for those like me, who have more gray hairs than experience points (my current photo on this site indicating the contrary). But it also vindicated those folks who never stopped using the Chainmail, Basic, Expert or AD&D rules sets and find now that the creators and […]


Inspiration often comes when you least expect it. For the last few weeks, I’ve been struggling with getting the third edition of Victoriana to press as well as getting Cubicle 7’s slate of events ready for Gen Con. I haven’t had a lot of time to think about unrelated GMing, as my weekend games are currently playtest sessions. During a conversation with my editor, we began reminiscing about our RPG experiences and I casually mentioned that we often translated our characters to multiple systems. Reflecting […]

“Is professor Yell doing this now, or wait, when did I plan to have him introduce that plot point. Oh crap, I was supposed to have the spider queen attack the group after they got the idol, not beforehand. Shoot! Who was it that sent the quicklings after the grey ladies!” My latest game is NPC heavy, and almost all of the NPCs are politically motivated in some way or another. This puts an extra bit of importance on NPC actions and when they occur. […]


The most common descriptions used to build a memorable NPC focus on their visual appearance, unusual quirks and mannerisms, or perhaps a voice or accent. In a few rare cases other senses, such as smell (seriously, I’ve used this) or…taste. One area that’s seldom used is the color pallet to describe an NPC. On the surface this sounds strange I’ll grant you, but it works! I stumbled across this several years ago while reading Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey. At some point during the enthralling […]