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Building PC-like NPCs

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#1 RARodger



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Posted 06 December 2012 - 05:24 AM

Esthetically, I don't really like games where the player characters operate under literally seperate rules than non-player charcters. Warhammer hasn't bothered me too much because most of the NPCs my players have been throwing dice at are monsters, but in this past session they were up against a bounty hunter and his crew sent to retreive some craftsmen the PCs had hired away from a rich merchant.

I wanted to make the encounter challenging, and I wanted the players to feel like the PCs were the only "PC" class personalities in the area, so I spent some time and made some characters using the PC rules and advancing them as though they'd adventured to get a few more advances over the players (since some of those advances would be spent inefficiently). The resulting conflict was one of the more interesting one that I've run. It stil ended in five rounds or so, but a lot of dice hit the table. The Ogre Veteran actually took some damage and a potentially permanent critical wound from the slumming Troll Slayer (who had only recently started the Slayer career, having gone through Iron Breaker and Shield Breaker, I think). Our dwarf sergeant had a few touch and go moments as the third rank Bounty Hunter shot at him with his pistols while the first rank Thug kept him busy in melee. The Celestial mage had less to do, but that was okay because it devolved into a fight immediately and the halfling thiefs scattered when it hit the fan.

All of which is a long way of saying, while interesting and a good challenge to the group, it was a hell of a lot of work and I re-appreciate the condensed monster mechanics, so I'll probably go back to just whipping up stats and powers on the fly and assign A/C/E to make up for not have talents and stuff. I'm wondering if anyone has or has found a decent system for making your own NPC/Monsters that mechanically feel close enough to the PCs that players will feel like thier engaging with other people, especially people who are experienced.

I'm imaginging something like choose a rank, give 'em an additional career for third and fourth rank. Take base stats for race, add one to everything and an additional 1 in each primary characteristic (for each career)… stuff like that. In fact, that stuff seems pretty straight forward. It's how to convert skill and talents to A/C/E, action cards and expertise which I can't figure out.

So, has anyone done any work like this, or seen something that has? Or do you have a thought on how to go about doing it in a way that's fairly quick and straight forward?

#2 Yepesnopes



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Posted 06 December 2012 - 05:42 AM

I did something in this direction. You will find it in my signature.

Nonetheless, it was thought to work in combination with a laptop or tablet. I started playing warhammer with a laptop after my first session. The game is just too cumbersome.

I hope it can help you.



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#3 Superchunk



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Posted 06 December 2012 - 05:55 AM

I think you can make your NPC's a little more PC like by just giving them training in a few key skills, and maybe even adding in the career special ability to their existing stats. A/C/E is a decent mechanic for all of the other fiddly bits that a normal PC would require, but that the GM doesn't have time to work out. Plus it usually works best if the PC's don't know about A/C/E so they never really know where the challenge dice or monster dice are coming from.

What I tend to do is use a normal stat block to start out for an NPC from the Creature Guide, sometimes I covert one from 2nd edition to 3rd as a starting point. Then I tack on a career or two, and pull out those career cards to figure out what skills and advances to give them, along with the career special ability.

A few specializations can help out as well.

One more key thing I noticed in most RPG's, not just this one, is when spending your A/C/E budget I have found that it is usually better to spend it on offensive actions or actions that you want to use against the PC's. Most players like to succeed on their checks, so using A/C/E to make their checks harder usually isn't the most fun usage of those dice. Other games that use a similar mechanic like savage worlds (bennies) have shown my players cringe a lot more when I announce that I'm spending a benny to reroll a bad attack roll against them rather than trying to soak a damage roll from them.

#4 k7e9



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Posted 08 December 2012 - 10:11 PM

The "upgrade" sheets from Hero's Call does the trick in my group. It's quick and easy and you can fasten a deck protector on the upgrade sheets so you can slot a creature card in more permanently. Also, I generally give my NPCs at least a few expertise dice on skills which "fit" the NPC character (a thief NPC would have it in stealth and skullduggery for example). Together it makes for much more challenging encounters, while it's not very time consuming to prepare for the GM.

Also in the warhammer fluff/lore heroes have a prominent status and can easily kill "normal" soldiers, this is especially true in the Warhammer Fantasy Battles game where the heroes alone can turn the tide of battle at times. I see my PC's as lesser heroes, so they should be able to kill several normal NPCs. But a large number of opponents  increases the danger in an encounter significantly. Obviously it depends on how you want your game to run.


#5 Emirikol


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Posted 10 December 2012 - 04:19 PM

I wonder if it might be worth it to take the Pregens from Liber Fanatica 7 and do them up as monster cards and then template them to the hero's call sheets.  Hmmm.  ;)



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