The Three Phrase NPC Formulation

Roleplaying Suggestions Publication #1054

Bear in mind 3 Line NPCs? These are superior. Fast to make, simpler to GM, and nice for improvisation. Marketing campaign Logger even has a 3 Line NPC generator so you may spin up roleplay-ready NPCs in lower than a second.

However as I plan Hobo Princes and different campaigns, I need one thing even lighter.

I don’t want plenty of particulars {that a} new GM would possibly need to assist with roleplay.

I simply want a tough idea so I can carry on writing or GMing.

Enter Three Phrase NPCs.

I acquired this concept whereas studying the Blades within the Darkish RPG.

Three easy phrases to provide you an NPC launch pad.

It really works effectively.

However I’ve discovered not simply any three phrases will do.

Some experimentation reveals that I desire three particular phrases.

Right here’s what I imply.

The Three Phrase NPC Formulation

As a recap, right here’s the three Line NPC system:

  • Look — What do they seem like? What are they doing?
  • Portrayal — What’s their persona? How do I roleplay them?
  • Hook — How can they drive gameplay?

This straightforward strategy covers your most important bases in a concise vogue.

How do I describe them? How do I play them? What story can they provide?

Three Phrase NPCs boil every line right into a single phrase.

I have already got an NPC title and function. These don’t rely because the phrases.

So that offers us:

  • Bodily Trait
  • Persona Trait
  • Hook

I write them in Marketing campaign Logger and paper notes like this:

Identify, Position (Trait, Trait, Hook)

For instance:

Broghan, Guard (Messy, Slothful, Gambler)

This offers me sufficient to introduce Broghan to the sport and play him.

The Hook

Change hooks as much as hold your NPCs shocking.

For instance, use fears and phobias typically on your hook. Right here’s an incredible concept from RPT GM Michael Anderson:

I’ve been listening to the Essential Position Podcast. Principally they simply report their adventures (very enjoyable BTW).

However within the episode I’m listening to now, the GM gave a bit of instructing session on find out how to GM (for freshmen).

One factor he mentioned I assumed complemented your NPC creation methodology.

He too makes use of the “What do the NPCs need” methodology, however he provides merely: “What are they afraid of?”

I attempted it and I discovered I wind up with one thing near what I get from the NPC secret you recommend. However typically my secrets and techniques didn’t generate that.

The great factor about that is it creates NPC Leverage for the gamers to extort.

Nice suggestion.

For the Three Phrase NPC methodology to work effectively, we would like a wide range of hook varieties. This makes your NPCs much less predictable and extra fascinating to find.

So we combine up hook varieties that your NPCs get.

Use a mix of:

  • Fears (and worries)
  • Secrets and techniques (what they know or what they’ve achieved)
  • Needs (short-term wants or long-term ambitions)
  • Hobbies (an effective way to hook under-used PC abilities)

Our guard Broghan enjoys playing. You may use that to problem PCs to a sport. Perhaps it means Broghan’s determined for cash as a result of he owes playing money owed to unhealthy individuals. Maybe playing manifests as a roleplay quirk the place every little thing’s a wager.

That’s the ability of this system. No fences or scripts. Three phrases to improv, angle, and increase upon as gameplay develops.

Attempt it proper now:

  • Write an NPC title and function
  • Write one phrase for his or her Bodily Trait
  • Write one phrase for his or her Persona Trait
  • Write a one-word Hook regarding a worry, secret, want, or passion

If caught for traits, use this checklist for inspiration.

Take one minute to do that now. After which use this Three Phrase NPC subsequent session as-is. Let me know the way it goes.


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