Making up NPCs.

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shouit
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Making up NPCs.

Postby shouit » Wed Sep 26, 2007 12:54 am

Is it just me or is making NPCs a pain in the ass?

All my players love to make characters... I find it tedious at best. I love coming up with the adventure and the story, I just hate make stats.

Does anyone have any hints? Is there a website with a bunch of NPC stat blocks around? Anyone have a bunch of NPCs they could send me?

Thanks for the help and suggestions.
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Vortigern
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Postby Vortigern » Wed Sep 26, 2007 2:45 am

Honestly I don't stat most things out beyond what is necessary for the story and/or interaction with the PCs. Going beyond that just seems needless. i.e. Relevant stats only, with generic reusable&modifiable templates more often than not. Major NPCs even would only have vague information about things that weren't directly relevant to their plot role. The most important information for any NPC should simply be their personality and how they fit into the story etc. With that you know almost everything you really need to. Beyond that and the minimal necessary crunch is relevant history. Of course... different GMs have different preferences. A lot of GMs 'do' seem to invest a lot of time and effort into crunching numbers for every npc... and seem to think it is worthwhile to do so. I just don't happen to agree.
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thulsa
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Re: Making up NPCs.

Postby thulsa » Wed Sep 26, 2007 8:28 am

shouit wrote:Is there a website with a bunch of NPC stat blocks around? Anyone have a bunch of NPCs they could send me?
There are a lot of generic NPCs in the Shadizar boxed set, in Pirate Isles, etc. Also lots of named NPCs from the Conan stories which you can use just by changing the name (or not...).

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kintire
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Postby kintire » Wed Sep 26, 2007 9:08 am

I use my NPC line for npcs expected to engage in combat. It looks like this:

Att Def Dmge DR HPs Ref Fort Will

In advanced cases they may also get feats, but usually I just assume they have taken Weapon Focus (thing they're hitting the PCs with), Parry or Dodge depending on what defense they are using and probably power attack. I assume other feats are non combat. That way, I can just roll the feat effects straight into the numbers on the line. Significant NPCs may actually get a feat selection, and occasionally I go really wild and give them some skills.

I mean, my basic rule is "don't spend longer creating the character than you will playing them". Given that most combat NPCs will last maybe twelve to eighteen seconds of game time, I don't see why you put much effort in. NPCs that have a presence outside combat need much more work on background and personality, but not really any more stats (except that if they have taken "Skill Focus: Bluff" you might actually have to note that.
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Stubacca
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Postby Stubacca » Wed Sep 26, 2007 10:31 am

I really love making up NPCs, but mostly only their personality and origin. Making character sheets is usually very tedious, though.
I only write down stats for NPCs that are reoccuring and important to the overall campaign. The main ally of the group or the main enemy for example. For other NPCs I just use a very useful player-made tables that I have downloaded a while ago that shows the stats of archetypes for classes of every race and every level (those are very useful as well if you just want to create generic enemy NPCs like say a level 6 pictish barbarian). I just make up what is missing there up as I go while I think what would be fitting of the character. The only bad thing is that I have no clue where I have those tables from anymore.
slaughterj
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Postby slaughterj » Wed Sep 26, 2007 6:23 pm

There is an early version of stats, levels 1-20, for all non-scholar classes, on this site. I mostly completed an update of it, but got bogged down with work (I should probably go back and finish it up, though it would be for 1e/AE...).
Benedict
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Re: Making up NPCs.

Postby Benedict » Thu Sep 27, 2007 4:04 am

shouit wrote:Is it just me or is making NPCs a pain in the ass?

All my players love to make characters... I find it tedious at best. I love coming up with the adventure and the story, I just hate make stats.

Does anyone have any hints? Is there a website with a bunch of NPC stat blocks around? Anyone have a bunch of NPCs they could send me?
NPCs are a headache aren't they. It would be great if there was a resource listing NPC stats.

Would anyone be interested to contributing NPCs to a wiki?
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Hervé
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Postby Hervé » Thu Sep 27, 2007 9:11 am

Making NPCs is a major flaw of the D20 system. Too many details and options make the task really long and boring. If you're not a number cruncher, it's gonna take you a while to make your own 10th level Scholar Archvillain if you want to follow the rules.
Thulsa and kintire propose good side solutions, like using NPCs from other books or shortened form NPCs.

Here are the NPCs templates made a while ago by Vincent. I think they were made for the 1st Edition (pre Atlantean), but it's not like there has been too many changes since then:

http://www.mongoosepublishing.com/pdf/npcsheets.zip

This link might also help:
http://www.mongoosepublishing.com/phpBB ... hlight=npc
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Stubacca
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Postby Stubacca » Thu Sep 27, 2007 9:49 am

I'm using the tables from Hervé's first link.
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Postby Harlock » Fri Sep 28, 2007 3:46 am

Waaaay back in the early 80's some gamers (myself included) would build up a few rpg utilties on our then new 8bit computers, usually in basic. I dont see it being out of reach for some of us with some C programming knowledge could come up with a similar utility for conan? say something to generate npc's and a few other bits to reduce our gaming drudgery?

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