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An episode about treating NPCs right.


- Mickey and Bill

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  • R Prime

    NPC retention is predominately based on how they are treated. Common sense yes? Well on paper it’s easy but as a staff member it is easy to forget to be inclusive with new or returning NPCs.

    I have quite two major campaigns (Ashbury & R-Holt) solely due to poor treatment.

    A former NPC’s friendly note to current staffers:

    1. Make an effort to learn your NPCs name. I was a core NPC in Ashbury for two years and drove almost three hours just to be ultimately ignored. Granted, at the time, I was not the most outgoing fella… but the onus is on staff to keep it’s volunteers immersed and engaged… and most importantly feel welcome and a constructive part of the team. 2. Never make the NPCs feel like newbs. Don’t create a rift where there should be a bridge. I NPC’d early RHolt and found the elitism and outward disrespect a reason to never return to the NPC camp (even though I liked the owner at the time). 3. Follow up with NPCs after each event (if no PEL) is submitted. If you note a returning NPC thank him for coming back and consider him or her for more involved roles based on their strengths, weaknesses and desires (RP, fighting, etc).

    I will say the few times I’ve NPC’d over the past few years I have seen an improvement… perhaps my experiences are solely based on old data. Staff membership and core philosophies may change but core courtesies should always remain!

    Sep 4, 2012 at 12:12 pm
  • Rachel

    In the game I currently Staff for, one of the tricks we use is to give every NPC a ‘win condition.’ We had a problem with NPCs either cheesing their stats, or feeling disgruntled because they felt like the PCs were always going to win no matter what they did.

    So we started coming up with win conditions for the NPC side - if they managed to stay alive for ten minutes, they won. If they saved the bad guy, they won. If they dropped X amount of PCs or managed to kidnap a particular PC, they won. So far, it seems like the NPCs are fairly well satisfied with this structure. They still get to feel like they’ve won, without starting a party wipe.

    On your comments about dinnertime NPCs; we also devise specific roles just for dinner. Since our game is generally about heroes fighting the good fight against overwhelming odds, there are usually more than a few starving peasants who wander into town or beg for food. We’re a high RP game, so it’s pretty easy to work in a few NPCs who are there to drop plot info as well (and having an NPC to RP with also keeps our PCs from dropping out of character while they cook and eat dinner - bonus!)

    Sep 7, 2012 at 6:13 pm
  • evi1r0n

    One thing we have done at Alliance Seattle and Oregon is to create a NPC Guild. Guild members commit to a minimum of 1 year of NPCing events. The guildies are psuedo staff members and are well compensated in fake currency. They have their own private section of our forums where they receive plot information and roles, before games. Guildies can run modules and take new NPCs by the hand and guide them. This has allowed us to create a living setting with reoccurring, knowledgeable townies that the PCs care about.

    Sep 24, 2012 at 12:16 pm