Archive for June, 2007|Monthly archive page

Thank God for Those Last Four Words

In role-playing games on June 26th, 2007 at 5:52 pm

Otherwise I’d be a dog 🙂

I am a d20

Take the quiz at

Courtesy Dice Make Bonk

Interrogate Your NPCs—Follow Up

In role-playing games, techniques on June 22nd, 2007 at 12:22 am

No matter how intelligent or organized you are, it is impossible to prepare for what your players will do during a game. If you think of, and prepare for, 100 possible responses, the players will find the 101st in five seconds flat. When that happens, you will either have to force them back within the confines of your preparation, or you have to be ready to improvise. This series is aimed at preparing for the latter. What you need is enough preparation that you have a good mental grasp on the NPC without preparing more than you can easily keep track of.

Instead of wasting hours preparing for a hundred alternatives that won’t happen, how does preparing for just two key ones sound?

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Play-by-Forum Werewolf

In appraisals, boardgames on June 18th, 2007 at 12:40 am

My third play of a forum-based game of Werewolf is winding its way toward a conclusion (this is the public domain party game also known by many other names — notably Mafia — not one of the roleplaying games of that name published by White Wolf). I have a few thoughts that I’d like to share about this style of play.

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Interrogate Your NPCs—NPCs Need to be Needy

In role-playing games, techniques on June 11th, 2007 at 1:12 am

[Sorry for the delay between parts in this series. I had a couple of projects spring up unexpectedly that ate into my time and motivation. I’ll try to be faster getting my next post out.]

Your campaign should revolve around the actions of the PCs, even when your campaign’s world does not. Anything that does not engage them is colour — something that adds depth and texture to your game, but has no real impact. In this spirit, any full NPC — as opposed to a character that provides colour — should affect the PCs’ lives.

The simplest way to ensure that an NPC has an effect is to ask, “What does this NPC want from the PCs?” If you make sure that you have a good answer for this and you play the NPC in a manner consistent with your answer, you will almost guarantee that the NPC will affect your PCs lives. The answer will also provide the core of the NPC’s role in the campaign, go a long way toward making the NPC interesting to your players, and provide clear guidance when you need to improvise the NPC’s actions. It can also drive conflict in your game.

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