Tag: D&D

Silly vs Serious D&D

Silly vs Serious D&D

The forest quakes as the heavy footsteps of the dragon shakes the trees. The critters are running away from the flames of the dragons breath. The village, not too far away is raising the alarm with a clanging bell, but that seems to be drawing…

You, Me, and NPC – Weasel Bob

You, Me, and NPC – Weasel Bob

Final part of creating our NPC, Weasel Bob. We’ve gone over his motivations and we’ve gone over what he looks like. Really, I think that’s all you need to do to get an NPC with some depth into your game. The players are going to…

You, Me, and NPC – Weasel Bob

You, Me, and NPC – Weasel Bob

We’re back with the next round of how to build an NPC with Weasel Bob. Last time we figured out his motivations. The next thing is going to be more of the look and feel of Weasel Bob. How squishy is he?

Or maybe by that, I mean, what race is Weasel Bob, how tall, what body type, does he have any distinctive physical features? Does he have any unique mannerisms. Now, these are things that I said in my first article about NPC’s that can be come up with on the fly for role playing the NPC in the moment if the players want it. But it’s also something that you can plan for if you know you have an NPC that you want to be important, like Weasel Bob.

Weasel Bob is going to be a fairly unique character, we’ve already gotten that he’s motivated with money and likes to have unique items. But he himself tries not to stand out. He spends his money on food, but that’s about it, and as a gnome, he’s a smaller person with a pot belly. So that also helps me know that he’s going to move slowly. He also has grey hair, so Weasel Bob has been around for a while.

His clothes are generally brown or grey, probably because that’s the color they were originally, not because they are dirty, but it’s hard to tell, because whenever you come in, he’s always dusting or sweeping. His store might be spotless, but he is not. That also means that he’s fairly particular about the people in his shop, and while he won’t openly say anything about anyone who is too dirty, he’ll pay more attention to them than if the person looks like they are neatly dressed.

But what most people notice as unique about him, is that his beard is long and braided in a Dwarven fashion, and that he speaks with a bit of a Dwarven accent. Though, you speak to everyone in the town, and he’s been around there for a long time, at some point in time before he must have been around Dwarves more then a mixture of races. But no one really knows, because he won’t talk about it, or talk about his life or anything all that much, but he loves to listen to stories about the items that he’s getting in. Those stories he’ll remember well and then pass along as he tries to sell an item, but ask him how his day is going, and you’ll just get a grunt in response.

So we’ll wrap up Weasel Bob next week, talking about family or relationships. This might not be information that the players get about Weasel Bob at first, but it is something that you can leverage later on if you plan it out now.

Share questions, ideas for articles, or comments with us!

Email us at nerdologists@gmail.com
Message me directly on Twitter at @TheScando
Visit us on Facebook here.

Malts And Meeples: Drinking in D&D – Character Sheet

Malts And Meeples: Drinking in D&D – Character Sheet

I’m back with some more Drinking in D&D. Tonight I brought up two Deschutes Fresh Squeezed IPA, but I only drank one of them. It’s one of my favorite beers, a good IPA. The topic for Drinking in D&D was looking at the Character Sheet…

You, Me, and NPC – Weasel Bob

You, Me, and NPC – Weasel Bob

So, in the previous article (found here) we talked about using NPCs (Non-Player Character) in D&D and how you can use them to flesh out your world. Sometimes you have to create them on the fly and sometimes you want to plan out more for…

You, Me, and NPC – Building Interesting NPC’s in D&D

You, Me, and NPC – Building Interesting NPC’s in D&D

I’ve been busy with my top 100 list and Halloween for the past couple of weeks, so I haven’t written much about Dungeons and Dragons. Today I’m getting back to it and look at creating an NPC for Dungeons and Dragons.

This is a topic that I believe that I’ve touched on before, but I wanted to revisit it, because it’s been a while, and I think I wrote about it a bit more generally. Like I did with Greenfang and building out a town in Dungeons and Dragons, I want to go through the process of building out an NPC when I do it on my best days.

Image Source: D&D Beyond

So let’s start out with, what is an NPC? An NPC is a non-player character. The players at the table are playing the PCs (player characters), and the DM is controlling the rest of the characters whom they interact with, whether it’s a shop keep, a quest giver, a priestess, or the BBEG (big bad evil guy/gal) of the campaign. Anyone whom the players are going to interact with and hear what they have to say is an NPC.

What do you have NPCs in your game? I touched on this some already, but the big reason is that it helps flesh out your world. If you have interesting NPCs in your game, you are going to have a world that feels more real and it’ll make the stakes of the story seem like they have more meaningful consequences. If the BBEG kidnaps the daughter of the shop keeper who the players always shop with and have gotten to know his family, that has weight for the PC’s.

Do you need to flesh out all of your NPCs? Yes, and no. You never know who the players are going to decide to follow and make important, so it’s smart to have some idea, but it takes work to make a fully fleshed out NPC. So, no, not everyone needs to have a full backstory, only the ones who are important. And that might mean that you have to come up with some of it on the fly, but when you see who the players are interested and interacting with, you can flesh out that NPC between sessions. And if there is an NPC that is going to be important to the story, you can flesh them out ahead of time as well. It would be too much work to flesh out an NPC every time.

What do you need to plan for a fleshed out NPC in the moment? Alright, so your players decided that the shop keeper Weasel Bob was going to be important and their main spot to do business, because he seemed like he was cool. They start asking you what Weasel Bob looks like and if there’s anything interesting about him. The important things to get started in developing your fleshed out NPC in the moment are going to be something about their look and something that they do or is unique about them. And you don’t even have to do all of this.

You don’t? No, you can ask the players to help flesh out an NPC in the moment. If they make the decisions for that NPC, it’s going to create more of a connection to that NPC as well. If you even have a generic shop keep who runs a generic shop and the players ask what the NPC is named, you can ask them to give you a name and what they look like and probably end up with a pretty good Weasel Bob. That also helps you know when fleshing out the character, based off of what the players said in the session, how to create a Weasel Bob that they are going to enjoy.

This technique works well in the moment when you want to have a bar with a number of people in it or to create a few important people in the bar. Have every player at the table go around and tell you about one person or one table full in the bar. Soon you’ll have a lot of characters that you can bring back into the game later and use again to create that richer and more vibrant world. And it means that you don’t have to generate as much content on the fly, because the players are helping to populate your world with NPCs.

So, now we’ve created a bit of a character on the fly in Weasel Bob, he, like I did with Greenfang is going to be the character that I spend some time fleshing out in future articles so demonstrate how you can spend some time and build out interesting and more fulfilling NPC’s in your game. Hopefully there’s been some useful information to grab from the article thus far on why we use NPC’s in D&D and how you can start to generate more meaningful NPC’s on the fly.

Share questions, ideas for articles, or comments with us!

Email us at nerdologists@gmail.com
Message me directly on Twitter at @TheScando
Visit us on Facebook here.

Malts and Meeples – Drinking in D&D

Malts and Meeples – Drinking in D&D

Last night I started in on some D&D Content on my Twitch Channel that is now up on Youtube as well. I meant for it to be a video about what D&D is, but I was a bit all over the place. I think that…

My Top 100 Board Games – 100-91

My Top 100 Board Games – 100-91

Welcome to my favorite 100 Board Games. I say top 100, but whenever someone says “top” they mean “favorite”. This is going to be a fun list to do and there are so many crazy games out there. When I created this list, I determined…

We Built this City in D&D – Greenfang – Getting Criminal

We Built this City in D&D – Greenfang – Getting Criminal

We’ve already talked what Greenfang is known for and why it was built where it was. We’ve talked about how the merchant guilds run the show around Greenfang and how they have mercenaries to keep the peace, but how well do they really keep the peace?

I think that the criminal underworld is one of those things that is tricky to get right in a city. I find that it tends to go to one of two extremes. Either, there is little to none criminal activity in the city because you’re just supposed to shop there and not look for trouble or look beyond the surface of where you’re at, or everyone is involved in a conspiracy. Now, both have some issues, the main one being that it isn’t all that realistic. We know that organized crime and gangs exist in the real world, and they have throughout history, so why is a D&D town different? It shouldn’t be.

Let’s get back to Greenfang though, what sort of criminals are going to be there?

Outside of the town you’re definitely going to have a larger number of bandits than you would normally watching the roads because they are going to be trying to hit up caravans, or, more likely, they are going to try and deal with adventuring parties that come into town for the auctions on goods because they are going to be loaded with money and not yet have the gear that they want. Most likely there is going to be more organized group that is pretty specific on whom they hit. Then there will be a few who have split off from that group or who try and go it on their own from the start who end up having shorter careers as bandits.

Image Source: D&D Beyond

The organized group of bandits, The Green Falcons, are going to know to avoid the merchant guild caravans because those are going to have better guards, and even if they don’t, the merchant guilds are going to hit back hard with their mercenaries if they lose a caravan. So, the Green Falcons are likely going to try and keep the random bandits down as well, like the merchant guilds would want, because the merchant guilds would crack down on all bandits if they lost a caravan. The Green Falcons would also have people in the city who are sending information back out to the bandit camp wherever that is located. It probably wouldn’t be someone in every guild, but there would probably be a couple around who are gathering information when a guild is going to send out mercenaries to crack down on the bandits.

Beyond that, I think Greenfang is going to be more focused on the white collar crimes. That’s what the guilds are going to crack down on but also what the cons that people are going to try and pull. You likely always have dirty money changers who are keeping some extra for themselves. The merchant guilds are probably going to consider that the cost of doing business and as long as it’s not too much, they won’t make a stink about it.

I think, also with so much money being in town you are going to find that there is gambling. I would suspect that there is some guild in town that all they do is run different fights, tournaments and stuff like that to keep people entertained, especially since it’s in the middle of no where. But that’s probably fairly tame and while someone might die, it probably doesn’t happen too often. So, most likely there is going to be something going on under the table, a secret gambling den either for fights, games or chance or possibly both. This is going to be ignored by the merchant guilds because it doesn’t take any money from their pockets, just the pockets of their employees.

So Greenfang is definitely going to have a criminal side to the town. There’s probably even a good amount of money to be made if you are careful about it, and at all points in time there is probably someone trying to get rich by scamming one of the guilds. In your game, that’s useful for your story because you can either have your adventuring party brought in to help stop it sometime. Your adventuring party, though, might be blamed for it if they have been in the town too long and because they are the “new” people. Also, a battle or two with bandits seems very likely since they aren’t probably going to be coming in with a caravan. Or it’s possible that the players are brought in to deal with some bandits as part of a larger crackdown and some extra bodies are needed. The thing with all of these story hooks is that they aren’t going to be your whole game, but a good bit of combat if you want something simpler and also a good way to get your players involved with the guilds if you need it for your story line.

Next, we’re going to talk about religion in the city as well as how the city might physically be laid out.

We Built This City in D&D – Greenfang – Take Me to Church

We Built This City in D&D – Greenfang – Take Me to Church

Alright, time to wrap up the city build, there is so much more that I could talk about, there is actually building out shops and places like that, but I wanted to keep this at a slightly higher level since you don’t need to see…