Posts Tagged by npc

2013-01-13 10.35.30

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 […]


Of the many ways to give the big villains in your campaign depth and make them fun for the PCs to go up against, one of my favorites is having a developed set of motivations and other cues for the villain. If you know what the villain wants, what they’re like, and how they approach the world, you can switch into “PC mode” when you’re planning or when your players surprise you. In other words, you can play your most important villains just like your […]