Stats for (important) high-level NPCs

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Do you always create full stats for high-level NPCs?

Yes, always
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Stats for (important) high-level NPCs

Postby Eisho » Fri Nov 24, 2006 7:51 am

I've been playing and DMing now for over 20 years and during that time my taste as to what makes a good game has changed. When I was younger I was the typical power-gamer. Interested in killing as many monsters as possible and accumulating as much experience and treasure as possible. In later years however I'm much more interested in the story and character development.

As a DM I have found myself, over the last several years, less inclined to specify the stats (and equipment etc.) of important NPCs. Although the NPCs must remain credible, I have found that without the limits imposed by heavy statting, the NPCs can be much more responsive and characterful, able to grow in a campaign as the PCs do. It does require players who are similarly concerned with story telling above other aspects.

What are your thoughts / opinions on this approach?


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Postby Halfbat » Fri Nov 24, 2006 8:55 am

I tend to build the really important ones with a good shape based on standard development concentrating on what they are, where they are and their impact to start with. The BBEG (if there is one) isn't normally built until later unless I have a very clear idea of what he/she/it looks like and the characters are likely to contact him in the campaign.*

The reason for the build? To work out how best the NPC can fit with the concept, and to prove the concept, but also to see what else might jump out as the build progresses. :) Sometimes you can get an extra twist, sometimes you have to rethink the concept slightly or approach it from a different direction. I don't like jumping out of the expected rules.

The slightly less important wait till they're likely to be needed.

* Perhaps masquerading as something else, for example. :twisted:
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Postby Silvereye » Fri Nov 24, 2006 9:40 am

Its a bit of a difficult one, some games it can take a while to build a suitable villain. Others can be done in minutes.

Normally I just note down any appropriate skill rolls and approximate health (player characters I have noticed have an unhealthy desire to kill villains). Trusted Lieutenants also get this treatment, but mooks and minions get a little more detailed as these are the ones that the PCs 'interact' with (probably with something sharp and pointy) more often. The 'notes' forms mean that you can be flexible when your players come up with that 'instant kill' plan.

If a villain manages to escape the PCs I tend to stat it out further, as it's personality develops and abilites become known. An escaped villain is likely to re-occur in a different way, looking for vengence.
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