RPG Notes 2

Notes on Creating NPCs

Here are a few of my thoughts on NPCs (non-player characters).

General:

*There is a wide variety of people in the world, your NPCs should reflect this. Have snotty little kids, kind but slightly senile grandmothers, neighborhood bullies, blacksmiths, carpenters, tavern keepers, jesters etc.

*Have a wide range of ages, a village with 25 adults and 3 kids just wouldn’t make sense. A general rule of thumb is that I use is their should be 25% of the population 16 years old or younger and about 15% elderly (however in a sci-fi game their might be more older people due to better medecine). These are just estimates I made I don’t know how accurate they are but they work well in game if you want to be more precise go look up population statistics.

*Please, DO NOT have someone who welcomes you at the village gate. It’s rather silly. Players should be met at the town gate should be by someone who was waiting for them for a reason (like to arrest them) or by a guard who checks everyone entering the town.

Dialog:

*Give your NPCs some emotion. They should be angry is they’ve been stolen from, happy if they are getting married, etc.

*Not everone in a village is going to have useful information. Have a few NPCs just talk about general things like how the crops are fairing, how they need to have their horse shoed, etc.

*If possible have your NPCs say more the same thing over and over, and please don’t use the infamous … have the person say ummm, hmmm, Go away, I’m busy, etc.

Graphics:

*Please don’t just recolor the same sprite 3 or 4 times to make a new npc. A much better solution is to cut and paste sprites so the same head is on a new body etc. and also recolor. It only takes slightly longer than a simple recolor and the result is less boring.

*Different areas of a world and different classes/occupations should have different dress. A farmer doesn’t wear the same clothes as a nobleman or a sailor. Someone who lives in the artic doesn’t dress the same as someone in the tropics or temperate areas. Reflect those differences in your NPC’s clothes.

Here are a few links that could help you out.

Realistic NPCs (Active vs Reactive)

Smart’ NPC’s in Interactive Fiction (What we can and can’t do, and why)

NPC Conversation Techniques

The Future of RPGs

About

I'm a sculptor and jewelry designer from Maine, I sell my work at Noadi.etsy.com. I work primarily in polymer clay and mixed media. My work is inspired by science, nature, and my beloved cephalopods.

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