As mentioned in the previous post, this past Saturday I did a presentation for the Dead Gamers Society’s Dead Gamers University workshop on building NPCs for your campaign. I think overall the presentation went well. My only real issues were that I went last, so everyone seemed to be getting a little burned out by the time I went up, and that next time I need to practice my timing more. I went too long, and even then didn’t get to cover everything I wanted to cover.
For those of you who could not attend, and the edification of GMs and potential GMs as a whole, here are some highlights from my presentation:
This is basic heirachy of various types of NPCs you might want for your campaign, including some samples and an outline of how they might relate back to your PCs:
Types of NPCs
Antagonists – The NPCs working against your PCs
Villain (Joker, He Who Shall Not Be Named, Prince Humperdink, etc.)
Mid-Tier Villain (Harley Quinn, Snape, The 6 Fingered Man, etc.)
Rabble (Stormtroopers, Palace Guards, Gangrel Bodyguard #5)
Supporting Cast – The NPCs helping your PCs
Patrons (Obi Wan Kenobi, Dumbledore, Clan Primogen)
Faithful Assistants (Chewbacca, Alfred, Samwise McGee)
Helpful People (Friendly Shopkeeps, Police contacts, Bartender you trust)
Everyone Else – Making your setting seem more alive
I also had handouts (because I love hand outs).
One tool I love busting out for character creation, both of the NPC and PC variety, is a list of questions that help you explore more about who your character is to make them seem more fully fleshed out. I got this tool from a creative writing class we took several years ago, and it’s awesome. You can check a sample list of questions here .
I also suggested making a list of names or traits you can easily refer to during game play when you are having trouble making them up on the fly. I find this bit of prep especially essential if I’m doing anything set in a fantasy setting or with cultures I’m not as familiar with.
In other news – we are cooking up a new article for Topless Robot that is video game oriented, and might possibly be attending a certain local convention that relates to a certain local video game studio. But that’s still in the planning stages, so no promises on the later.
Thing I’m geeking out on this week:
Aisha Tyler’s Girl on Guy podcast – If you are a fan of Archer, or just strong geeky women who love “guy” stuff, this is a great podcast to check out. Aisha is a great interviewer. The “Self Inflicted Wounds” segment is especially awesome. I just stumbled across this a month ago and I actually started over from epsiode one because so far they are all so great. Go download an episode or twelve here.
As you may have noticed I missed last week, but to be fair, it was con prep week. I am going to try to get on the weekly update train from now on. Some day we may even get around to doing weekly podcasts! SHOCKING! In the meantime, the haps:
Post Con Wrap Up
Strategicon seemed more quiet than usual this year. Rumor on the street is that attendence was good, but for me personally, I noticed more than a few con regulars missing. It could be attendence was down for pen and paper RPGs and up for other areas, I suppose.
Nonetheless, all our games went well. We had the privilege of running the GURPS Final this con, which is always fun since the goal is to create a one-shot that challenges players, plus you are running for people that have been voted the best players by all the GURPs GMs, so you get to plan a more “advanced” type of game. We continued our tradition of doing genre mashup by running a spy vs. spy themed Sci Fi game with many many hand outs. We are actually so happy with the setting itself that we are thinking of launching a regular con game around it. So, you’ve got that to look forward to next May.
This is important because for the last 4 years we’ve run GURPS: Gaslamp more or less exclusively at the conventions, and I thnk it’s losing steam. (Pun totally intended.) It’s been requested that we not retire the setting entirely, but I think it’s time for us to mix it up a bit. We tried just adding in an Old West variant at the May 2014 con, but I think a full 180 might not be a bad idea. (See notes above.)
We also ran some Munchkin sessions up in the board game room and those were fun as always, although I still hate losing an RPG slot to run them. So many games, so little time. It’s a good problem to have, I suppose.
We will not be in attendance at Strategicon in February due to scoring Gallifrey 1 tickets, so we have some time to think on all these things.
Dead Gamers University
This week I am doing lecture prep for the 2014 edition of Dead Gamers University, a 1 day workshop for Game Master/Storytellers hosted by our favorite World of Darkness themed RPG club, The Dead Gamers Society. DGU will be this Saturday (9/6) in Fullerton. I’ll be doing a section on NPCs covering everything from planning to management (or at least that’s what’s on my possibly overly ambitious class outline). Other fine DGS storytellers will be covering other aspects of running a good game such as World Building and Player Management. If you are considering running a game or looking to pick up some tips and tricks from other GMs, this might be a good workshop day for you. It’s free and sign ups are here.
That’s all the news for this week. Next week I hit the ground running on finishing my prep for the 2014-2015 season of the Vampire Conclave for DGS, plus Halloween prep.