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 Post subject: Campaign PC-NPC's?
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 8:34 pm
  

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Wanderer

Joined: Sun Oct 23, 2016 4:14 am
Posts: 66
I'm a newish GM running a HU campaign, and trying to read through the Megaverse forums to catch up. I occasionally see comments about parties being made up of PCs and NPCs. How much or how little to you include NPC's in your adventures?

We have one character, who is based off of Paul Judge the Rock N Roller in TMNT Adventures who occasionally tags along with the Players. But mostly he (and the rest of the band) are just narrative tools for me to keep stories going (for example the PCs were helping Judge pick out a new costume for an upcoming performance at the beginning of "Loose in the City" ) The PC's seem to be content with sending him home once **** happens.

Is it a normal occurrence for the GM to have a "PC" in the game as an actual participant? How do you manage Meta- Knowledge?
How do you keep a character like that in the game while keeping the focus on the actual PCs?


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 Post subject: Re: Campaign PC-NPC's?
Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2017 2:22 am
  

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D-Bee

Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2016 11:29 pm
Posts: 41
GMPC's should be relegated to support to the PC party group either as an additional gun, medic, or operator of sorts. Basically the GMPC should not have any focus storywise in order to not steal the thunder of the PCs. You can have them a level or two lower, or just have them as vanilla as possible. You seem to be handling it well with a tag along.

GMPCs don't talk to other main narrative NPCs, for obvious reasons, and shouldn't really be leading the group unless the it's a military style game. That keeps meta gaming down. They know just as much or less than the PCs, unless there is a valid reason that they know something specifically.


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 Post subject: Re: Campaign PC-NPC's?
Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2017 7:38 am
  

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D-Bee

Joined: Fri Dec 02, 2016 4:21 pm
Posts: 25
Location: Portsmouth, Ohio
Comment: Courage is not the absence of fear. It is being scared sh**less but saddling up anyway.
I often add in NPCs to the party to fill a roll that the part isn't covering or if I know they're out gunned, or just comic relief. But that also doesn't mean the GM has to be in control of all NPCs at all times. I recently introduced a robot companion to the party who can kill just about anything (within reason) but are lacking in some technical skills. However I don't control this character the party does as they see fit. Rt-Dt is a pilot and computer hacker but has no weapons or combat skills.


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 Post subject: Re: Campaign PC-NPC's?
Unread postPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2017 4:45 pm
  

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Champion

Joined: Tue Jun 01, 2004 7:51 pm
Posts: 2085
Location: Ontario, Canada
Comment: HTTP 404 [witty comment not found]
I GM along the same lines as Shamrock 'Slinger.

I will sometimes have multiple GMPCs involved in the game, sometimes we run a small group of only like 2 or 3 players, or will only have 1.
I allow the players to boss that character around, within reason, he has a personality and isn't a doormat but he also isn't some charismatic shining hero.

If it's an operator I wait until they ask for modifications or repairs, I don't approach them. If he's toting the heavy fire power then I let them direct him towards targets that they need taken care of. They will say things like "Take out that vehicle/door/machine gun nest/ spell caster/etc.".

Obviously a medic will spring into action without being asked if he is in the field with them but sometimes I leave him behind in the vehicle, once or twice I've used the group operator or medic as the dedicated Wheel-man and would swoop in for the rescue with the group vehicle should they request it.

I try and keep my GMPCs to the background as possible and most interaction with them has to be player driven. If they can think of something specific for the character to research or look up in a database while they are out in the field and he/she remains in the group vehicle to take care of that task then everything is fine, or they could radio to them from the field.
If they don't ask them to do anything specific then they are literally waiting on standby and guarding the vehicle.

Now having said all that I treat NPCs a little bit different. They are allowed to take centre stage for a moment or two because they are providing the group with key information, person who hired them for the job, is the high ranking officer (in a military game) that gives them the assignment but stays at HQ.
They can have their moment to shine because that's all it is, a moment. After that it's all up to the players and depending on the NPC they see them when the mission is done or never again.

For example, say they ask a local for info then turn around and spring something on me like, "We hire him to be our guide" after it's been provided, I roll the dice to see if he agrees or not.
If he agrees then his status changes from NPC to GMPC and he will be a little more interactive but he wouldn't just go "Ok follow me to the secret cave I know exactly where to go". I have them question him as their own character and also come up with his questions to ask any other NPC we run in to along the way.

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 Post subject: Re: Campaign PC-NPC's?
Unread postPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2017 4:03 pm
  

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Wanderer

Joined: Sun Oct 23, 2016 4:14 am
Posts: 66
Thank you! This is all helpful. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Campaign PC-NPC's?
Unread postPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2017 4:23 pm
  

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Hero

Joined: Thu Nov 16, 2000 2:01 am
Posts: 988
Location: Vienna,Austria
Depending, normally the GM-(N)PC is a supporting character like a medic or technican, so they come along or stay behind. They could be the heavy firepower directed at a target or the leader who gives the orders. Sometimes I have a GM-(N)PC as a reserve character, who could pail the players out of a situation. In a Robotech game a had a Veritech Fighter Pilot doing his own arial combat, sometime during the main battle one player charcter in a fully loaded veritech was abanding the party in a critical situation (the bad guy had fired 20 long range multi reflex missiles, the party has spend all of their missile and their armor was failing, one other character as armed the drum bombs of his disabled M.A.C. III, and 5 character in Cyclones and ground vehicle could leave the blast area in time to survive - in that situation, the GM-(N)PC saved the group by swinging by, firing all his remaing missiles at the incoming long range missiles and picking up the characters. We had a new story arc - find the deserter and bring him to justice.

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 Post subject: Re: Campaign PC-NPC's?
Unread postPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2017 6:21 pm
  

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Palladin

Joined: Sat Jul 14, 2007 9:40 pm
Posts: 9479
Comment: Palladium Books Canon is set solely by Kevin Siembieda, either in person, or by his approval of published material.
I use a lot of NPCs in my games.
Many of whom can be pretty central to the game.
HOWEVER they don't go on the adventure with the party, unless the party takes the NPC with them by choice.
Let me give some examples.

I ran a game called Tellus (after the game world) in this game the party was based in a nation, their main interface with the national politics was Lady Violet. She was a rich, high born noble with major connections and a potent mage in her own right...
...she could have been a Mary Sue that did most anything. But instead she mostly made sure that if the groups plan called for them to need to borrow a navy task force then she could contact her Uncle, or if they needed an 'in' to the Orcish Court that she could write a letter of introduction to an old friend of hers.

In another game I called C.A.P.E.S. the players were super heroes on a reality TV show.
I had NPCs like the camera crew, and the producer, and the street contact... but the people that got the 'screen time' were always the PCs. The NPCs existed to either advance the plot, or to allow the PC to show off on camera.

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The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."


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 Post subject: Re: Campaign PC-NPC's?
Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2017 9:55 am
  

Explorer

Joined: Sun May 29, 2016 3:45 am
Posts: 106
Hmmm.... I perhaps tend to use my GMPCs a little more actively than the others who have commented here. Partly, that's because I love making up characters to use in RPGs, but the vast majority of the time everyone turns to me to GM - so I'm kinda stuck in situations where I'd like to play more, but if I do no-one would GM. Plus, I tend to be pretty imaginative with my characters, and don't ever use "vanilla" characters. Generally, I create my characters so that if any of the other players ever chooses to take up the mantle and GMs for a stretch, I can use that character very happily as a PC for that period.

That being said, my general attitude for GMPCs is to give them a role similar to the Dungeons and Dragons bard-type characters - ie a jack of all trades, with a fairly eclectic range of skills, but doesn't really outshine the rest of the PCs in any area. I also tend to design them so that if there's a specific clue the group needs to uncover for a certain part of the adventure, then that characters *could* discover it *if he/she absolutely had to*. An example of this, I wanted to get the group to a little rave type event in the campaign world. My GMPC at the moment is a people person, so it was possible that he could have been told about it if none of the other characters did anything to reveal that. However, at the last minute, one of the players started having a random conversation with some random citizen type, which led to them finding out about it. My character was there as a possible option, but the other PCs should always have the "first go", so to speak.

Alternatively, they can be designed to fulfil positions that the group has neglected. So, if there's no healer, then make the GMPC a healer, etc. In the case of the group I GM, none of the characters have a high MA or PB (I think the highest anyone has in either is about a 9). My character, though, has a high MA. This doesn't mean that he takes the spotlight, though. Instead, what I say is that he spends a lot of time away from the group, chatting with random people behind the scenes. The PCs are the ones who we focus on when interacting with others, however if there's a bit of information that the group needs but missed, my character may have overheard something while he was off socialising behind the scenes.

Regards,
RD


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 Post subject: Re: Campaign PC-NPC's?
Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2017 2:45 pm
  

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Champion

Joined: Tue Jun 01, 2004 7:51 pm
Posts: 2085
Location: Ontario, Canada
Comment: HTTP 404 [witty comment not found]
RainbowDevil wrote:
Hmmm.... I perhaps tend to use my GMPCs a little more actively than the others who have commented here. Partly, that's because I love making up characters to use in RPGs, but the vast majority of the time everyone turns to me to GM - so I'm kinda stuck in situations where I'd like to play more, but if I do no-one would GM. Plus, I tend to be pretty imaginative with my characters, and don't ever use "vanilla" characters. Generally, I create my characters so that if any of the other players ever chooses to take up the mantle and GMs for a stretch, I can use that character very happily as a PC for that period.


Oh my GMPCs are active, and like yourself I love making characters (I have a ton of them rolled up), and they are never boring (I give them all their own quirks, talk in accents, etc.), I just don't use them to control the flow of the game unless the players request them to do so. For example, my GMPC doesn't jump up and start hacking the electronic door lock simply because he has the skill, I allow the players with the skill to attempt to do so first. I also don't inform the players what skills the character possess, I find if you do that they start ordering them around like a robot slave and never do anything for themselves.
RainbowDevil wrote:

That being said, my general attitude for GMPCs is to give them a role similar to the Dungeons and Dragons bard-type characters - ie a jack of all trades, with a fairly eclectic range of skills, but doesn't really outshine the rest of the PCs in any area. I also tend to design them so that if there's a specific clue the group needs to uncover for a certain part of the adventure, then that characters *could* discover it *if he/she absolutely had to*. An example of this, I wanted to get the group to a little rave type event in the campaign world. My GMPC at the moment is a people person, so it was possible that he could have been told about it if none of the other characters did anything to reveal that. However, at the last minute, one of the players started having a random conversation with some random citizen type, which led to them finding out about it. My character was there as a possible option, but the other PCs should always have the "first go", so to speak.

Alternatively, they can be designed to fulfil positions that the group has neglected. So, if there's no healer, then make the GMPC a healer, etc. In the case of the group I GM, none of the characters have a high MA or PB (I think the highest anyone has in either is about a 9). My character, though, has a high MA. This doesn't mean that he takes the spotlight, though. Instead, what I say is that he spends a lot of time away from the group, chatting with random people behind the scenes. The PCs are the ones who we focus on when interacting with others, however if there's a bit of information that the group needs but missed, my character may have overheard something while he was off socialising behind the scenes.

Regards,
RD


I approach mine in a similar fashion, trying to fill gaps in the player party, but I don't custom tailor them too much. I roll each of my GMPCs the same way I would as if I was a player, no fudging dice rolls for better results, I do not start with any extra skills (roll them 100% book legal according to RCC/OCC), and I don't give them gear that doesn't make sense (like say rune weapons from Atlantis to a Gunslinger from New West).

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