Posts Tagged by npcs


NPC organizations are a must have for many campaigns, and even when nonessential they add to a game in many ways. They create a pool of quick allies, enemies, or support. They come with all kinds of plot hooks. They’re fertile ground for flavor. The reasons to add a few to your game are endless. But it’s also easy to accidentally bog yourself down with unnecessary work and to waste time with too much detail that will never see play. Thus, like my other Quick […]


Having just started up a low-prep Star Wars: Edge of the Empire game as my group’s “backup campaign,” I got a chance to put John Fiore’s guest post about creating NPC backstories using Rory’s Story Cubes into practice with my own set of cubes. John’s method uses all nine dice and creates a deeper character than I often need, though, so I took a different route. The times I find myself reaching for the cubes are generally instances when the PCs pay more attention to […]


Jesse Butler of Calico Games offered me an advance copy of Short Order Heroes, his combination light RPG, character creation supplement, and spontaneous NPC creation aid, and liking how it sounded I accepted his offer. It’s on Kickstarter for $20, with more cards possible if stretch goals are met. It’s that last use — NPC creation — that interests me, and that I think is most likely to interest Gnome Stew readers. I’m a sucker for anything that lets me quickly develop characters, like our […]


John Fiore is a “low-prep” GM and a connoisseur of stuff that makes his life easier. His guest article sold me a set of these little cubes on the spot. Thanks, John! I wouldn’t have spent a single minute with Caitlin — let alone date her for almost six months — had I known in advance that she was a militant vegan with severe dependency issues and a fondness for Coldplay. Our relationship was, at best, terribly inconvenient for me, and I could have done […]

Gnome Rodeo! It’s time to don tall boots and prepare to ride the range on our battle sheep. What have our keen eyed scouts found? Skills: I’m a big fan of thinking about skills, but we’ve got a patrol to keep on keepin’ on. Fortunately, there are some mighty thoughtful cowpokes (sheep-pokes?) who’ve begun talkin’. Kate Elliot leads off with a discussion of skills from a writer’s point of view. She points out how unusual (or less expected) skills can set a character apart, create […]


Ever play poker? You might be dealt three of a kind, but you are never dealt three of the same. One eyed jacks, suicide kings, and the Black Mariah all stand out from amongst their peers. “Three of a Kind” is a series that is all about providing you with three distinct versions of an NPC archetype for you to use in your game, as well as some tips on how to use the archetype itself. So ante up, because you have nothing to lose […]

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 […]