From publisher blurb:
How to Create NPCs Packed With Fun, Flavor & Story Fast
NPCs drive great games. They hand out quests, provide roleplaying, help the PCs and hinder them at the most infuriating moments.
But how can you come up with fresh new NPCs all the time?
It's hard making them interesting so your players don't call you out on boring gameplay.
And it's tough coming up with inspiration to populate your villages, cities and dungeons with great NPCs. Those places need dozens of non-player characters from shop-keepers to guards to flunkies.
Plus, it always takes time. I don't know about you, but I love NPCs and I just never have enough time to make all the ones I need because I have adventures to work on, maps to make, items to create....
And here's the worst part. When I do spend the time and energy to create a full NPC, the players just haul up and kill him! Or even worse, they ignore him completely. Why is getting ignored worse than getting killed? Hey, at least I got to play the dead NPC for a round. :)
Regardless, I learned a long time ago not to waste time detailing NPCs until they've proven worthy by surviving contact with the players.
Roleplaying Tips Presents....
So today I present you the perfect solution: 3 Line NPCs.
These suckers are not only fast to build – testers reported making a complete 3 Line NPC in 15 seconds, some in 10! – but they give you the essential ingredients you need to pull off awesome NPC encounters.
Even though these NPCs are just 3 lines long, they pack a huge roleplaying and story punch because of how they're constructed. One tester wrote:
"The template was much easier to work with than I expected. It was great and useful, and it helped me return the focus to my stories, So yeah, I really liked it."
You see, we get stuck on the mechanics of GMing and forget one of the most important things about GMing: the story. We spend a long time detailing NPCs who may or may not survive minutes in the game, and we get a kind of tunnel vision. We lose our way fiddling with the game bits instead of making sure our game bits all help tell epic stories.
3 Line NPCs ensures you stay focused on what's most important to your game.
This book has three sections.
450 NPCs Ready to Go
One section gives you 450 instant 3 Line NPCs you can drop into your game right now. Use these for inspiration when creating your own NPCs, or just drop them into the game next time you need someone interesting for the "suspicious looking guy" you just made up on the spot.
Tutorials on How to Roll Your Own
Another section shows you step by step how to create your own 3 Line NPCs. It reveals the secret sauce that goes into each line that makes this method so simple yet so powerful for GMing great NPCs.
Several dozen Roleplaying Tips Readers tested out the formula and wrote back with tips and suggestions. I've added these into the book as well, to help you get even more mileage out of this flexible formula.
Killer NPC Generation Tables
Some readers let me know that thinking up secrets, motives, professions and other aspects of the NPCs was tough. They said once they had the seed generated, the rest flowed easily.
So I've added 7 killer charts to help inspire your NPC generation:
- d100 NPC Secrets
- d135 NPC Side Plots
- d50 NPC Goals, Motives & Dreams
- d1,000 NPC Traits
- d40 Slightly More Verbose Traits
- d50 NPC Fears
- d65 Occupations
These will give you instant help when stuck making any kind of NPC.
Playtested & Proven Awesome
In the making of this book, 109 game masters tested out the 3 Line NPC method. All of them said they loved the formula and found it easy to use. This technique has now been thoroughly tested. And it's been proven to work for everyone who tried it. This method will definitely work for you.
Any Game, And Genre
The 450 NPCs in this book are fantasy. The 3 Line NPC method itself, however, is universal. Use it for any game system and any genre.
If you need 450 instant NPCs to drop into a sci-fi game, then this book isn't for you. You'd need to switch out the fantasy elements for sci-fi, such as "stormtrooper" to replace "guard". So, not so instant. But the inspiration tables and the tutorials are still valid, system neutral, and 100% cross-genre compatible. Because love, hate, jealousy, murder and surprises are universal.