Npc’s

This will probably be a short post about Npc’s and how I handle them.

Regardless of the system you use most npc’s dont need to be full fleshed out going into a game. Just the basic idea of them and the important part is that they do not steal the show.

I always bring a notebook to write down anything that comes up with npc’s such as brief background or motivation and if something comes up during the session I jot it down so that their story is consistent.

It never fails that you spend hours developing npc’s to only have them never used to the potential you planned for and on the other hand a random npc’s get more attention than you expected. Just go along with it. Some of the best and most memorable npc’s come from these events.

For stat blocks I tend to just make them up as I go. If for some random reason the group decides that its important to battle a random npc’s or if that npc’s is brought in to combat for whatever reason you can alway use the monster manual and pull some generic stat blocks or you can have fun with it and just make it up on the fly.

There is no right or wrong way to do this but for continuity take notes. This will create a more believable world for you and your players.

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Hooks and getting the quest together

Hooks

An important part of starting any adventure or quest is giving a reason to even go. The motivation behind the adventure. Something to get the party hooked.

This greatly depends upon the people you are trying to motivate. Are they seeking treasures to increase their wealth, glory and renown or maybe it’s something personal.

Knowing the characters and what motivates them will help hook them in without railroading them towards a goal you want them to.

Let’s look at the background stories I have developed for a future adventure. Cole has become lost after attempting to steal an artifact. Now I could easily just state that the group knew him and has personal intrest in bringing him home to his now orphaned children. Perhaps a member of the group was orphaned as well and doesn’t want this to happen to anyone else. Maybe the children or a family member pooled together a reward for finding their father/family member.

Let’s say the group are complete strangers and they each need motivation and a reason to come together. With this and not knowing my future members I will develop a blanket hook and then cater it to the group as I find out what they would motivate them to search for Cole.

Our current blanket hook

We will start with the idea that the group is all in Arkala, our fictional city. Cole is now missing and Bhomin, our villain, is devising another plan to get the artifact.

Bhomin will create some chaos to ensure the town is not ready for his next attempt. The dream I gave Hartwell about the oncoming dust storm will be just that. A dust storm comes in bringing all the outlying areas of farmers and smaller villages to seek refuge in the Arkala. This will create a need to pool resources for the refugees.

This gives a few options for where our group comes from. Are they a refugee? A guard in the city? Maybe a student at the University?

When the city’s resources are spread thin Bhomin will stage an attack on the town, this can bring a group together by making them survive together.

Where to go from here

Now that we brought the party together with an event its about how to get them to want to pursue our villain and continue the story. This gives us options based on the events of the attack. Did the group succeed in preventing the attack and thwart Bhomin in his attempt to get the artifact. Then maybe now Bhomin plans for another attack or if money is a motivation maybe Bhomin’s identity is hidden and he offers the group riches to acquire the artifact. Maybe the group, through investigations finds out what is happening and works to prevent it from happening again.

Now on the other hand say they fail, and Bhomin is able to retrieve the artifact. Motivation could be saving the world or retrieving it for the groups own nefarious reasons. The options are endless and when it comes to this its about being flexible and working with the group you have.

Let’s say they still don’t care enough to stop him and go off doing something else. What would happen if Bhomin succeeded in awakening Y’thcal is it really that bad?

Having an idea of all the possible outcomes or even just coming up with them on the fly is a way to making an excellent story and a fun experience for the players as well as the DM. Trying to force a specific path generally means a blah story.

Happy questing!

Grimm Pathfinder: The new tale of snow white

Here is a first of many posts based off my new campaign. The next few posts will be going more into depth on the plots in the campaign I am currently running.

This is possibly the main plot and antagonist of the campaign. Snow White, or as my players have named her, White Snow, has been locked away. The party is unaware of the Evil that has been locked away with her. I have made the dwarves from the tale, evil minions that are set out to get the princess free.

Their main objective is to convince a group of adventurers to free the princess. While yes the dwarves might beable to free her themselves, what fun would that be? So they play as if they are but only miners and they need the help of stong warriors and that stuff. I wanted to intruduce the party to the dwarves without just saying 7 stout dwarves approach you. So what better way to intruduce the party to both eachother and to a group of dwarves than a drunken bar fight? Nothing, exactly.

The dwarves plant some object on the trail and watch to see if anyone picks it up. They then use this as a way to “strike up” a conversation. While this could have gone multiple ways depending on how the group or player wanted to handle being accused of theft. It went the way I had figured it would. A fight broke out between a few of the dwarves and a few of the PC’s. Then it turned into an all out brawl until the authorities finally came to break up the fight. Nothing like setting part of the tavern on fire brings the town guard.

The eldest of the dwarves appologizes for the brawl and says that the dwarves have been alittle hot headed after finding out that a certain princess had been wrongfully imprisoned by her “evil” step mother. He was rather convincing as the party, despite being somewhat disbelieving, decided well lets help out. There is coin, glory and a beautiful damsel! That’s what quests are all about.

The dwarves and the players sat down and discussed a plan of action. They way I had somewhat wanted it to go happened. The party would wait two weeks to strike the prison when a majority of the guards would be an the Kings funeral. This gave the party two weeks of down time to do some minor adventuring to build up some fame with the locals and get some treasures that should help out with rescuing the princess.

They party also came up with some other interesting ideas on how they would rescue the princess. Some said lets not wait, lets walk our undergeared level one behinds straight to a heavely guarded prison bust out into then out of the prison, leaving chaos in our wake. That went against a few of the other party members alignments so that was out of the question. There was a question about hiring a rogue to help sneak them in and do this very stealthfully, but unfortunatly a majority of the group was not the stealthy type. The final option before they decided on just waiting until the guards numbers where lower, was to get arrested and while in the prison try and break everyone out including the princess. This last idea was probably the most enticing. I contemplated letting them do this just to do an amazing prison break in a good based campaign. I could think of plenty of ways to roleplay this out. Guards that are on the side of the princess could help out. Maybe the dwarves could deliver a cake with a pickaxe in it. Who knows? But it would have been amazing and this might even still happen.

So once the Princess has been rescued, this is where a lot of improv will come in. She may disapear and comeback later to be a menace or if the party realizes their mistake right away she may just then do something to escape and then become an enemy. I’m still working on this part. I do know I want her to be an witch or a sorcerees.

Anyway, only the first part has really been completed in the campaign. Right now the group is trying to get prepared by following up on some rumors and making a bit of gold and gathering treasure in order to have a successful prison break.

Any feedback or suggestions would be tremendous.