Jump to content
Vygoratus

NPC Creation

Recommended Posts

Greetings Community,

 

I am a fairly new tabletop player (<2 years) and an even newer GM. I am about to go into my second system with my players and I hoped to get some feedback from some folks.

 

What is the process that you (as other GMs) go through when creating NPCs? I have a fairly substantial narrative backbone for the characters that my players will interact with but I struggle with where to start and how to create the minions/rivals/nemesis characters. I have been using OggDudes character generator and am I am investigating a link between the Power Level of NPCS to the amount of XP a PC has. I would greatly appreciate any thoughts!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Reskining can help to make add hoc NPCs

If you create NPCs for special encounters you may think about the following points:

 

Minions = everyone that is not of any importance and come in hordes. Stats between 1 and 2 and for Very dangerous groups a 3 in the main attink stat. Group skills if needed what ever they need (e.g. some rough biker gang should have Meele and Piloting(Ground) and maybe Ranged(Light), a crowd of civilians at a bar fight will have at maximum brawl)

 

Rivals= some one that can interact with the PC and has minor importance = The Group chief of the bikergang, the Imperial Seargent that interogates the Players, The space Monk that leads the way up the mountain, the smuggler that wants to screw the players up. Stats should be like or a little lower than your average PC, the skills should be also around the same as the players.
At Max use 1-2 special Talents (best something that works with minions like giving them an extra maneuver, or using them for a bonus)

 

Nemesis= the real bastards, the true threats to your PC, those that actually can beat the s**t out of them. All stats should be 1-2 higher than the average (or an explizit) PC. Skills same level than the highst PC (that can be compared to the Nemesis of course - noone would belive that the whimpy Master brain villian has a Brawn of 6 and Meele 5)
Talents= what ever this special guy needs to stand more than one round against the players. Parry/ Reflect, Strainrecovery, Force Talents, Precise Aim, Deadly accuray - (leathel blows only if you really want a PC to kick the bucket...), Enduring, Durable and Armor Master Supreme (against crit monster PCs...), Gunz Blazing,

 

Armor and weapons: depends on the style of the encounter. A Smuggler will have an Heavy Blaster or some slugthrower, and some light armor, mostlikly to be tricked out.
a Good Bountyhunter will have a much more deadly Arsenal of Weapons and some very heavy armor (may be with cortosis)
ganger will have clubs and light blasters and just light clothes for armor (and of course theire bikes ^^)
a Dread Spacepirate captain, will have a tricked out Vibrosword or Vibriorapier and some blaster.

 

For your Nemesises don't let them act alone against the PC group use, minions and rivals to help him.
Use the adversary Talent according to the PC group number.
 

And as always all stats are just softwriten ones: You can change everything on the fly (without letting the players know of course) Your Pcs are dealing to much damage? ramp up the soak, bring in cortosis or just increase the HP. your Players do to less damage than you thought? reduce the WT or the soak!

You are hitting the pc to often? or to hard? don't use extra maneuvers for aim! don't use the damage adding talents you though of.

 

Also always remember= defeat is not dead!  It can be a good reminder for your players to lose a fight once in a while.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Nightone said:

Armor and weapons: depends on the style of the encounter. A Smuggler will have an Heavy Blaster or some slugthrower, and some light armor, mostlikly to be tricked out.
a Good Bountyhunter will have a much more deadly Arsenal of Weapons and some very heavy armor (may be with cortosis)
ganger will have clubs and light blasters and just light clothes for armor (and of course theire bikes ^^)
a Dread Spacepirate captain, will have a tricked out Vibrosword or Vibriorapier and some blaster.

Always keep in mind: Whatever equipment you give your NPC, it is most likely that the PCs will have it after the encounter ;)

So if you don't want your PCs to have the badass equip after they killed the boss, make sure they don't have access to it (gets destroyed, npc flees, pcs have to flee, and so on..)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, MasterZelgadis said:

Always keep in mind: Whatever equipment you give your NPC, it is most likely that the PCs will have it after the encounter ;)

So if you don't want your PCs to have the badass equip after they killed the boss, make sure they don't have access to it (gets destroyed, npc flees, pcs have to flee, and so on..)

Oh yes totally forgot to mention this ^^

Always make it belivable how and why the items are not useable afterward (keep on DP in reserv for the emergency blowup)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For Minions, I give them one upgrade to their species baseline stats (usually Brawn or Agility), then find a convenient specialization that fits their role and give them those four skills as group skills. 

For Rivals, I give them between 50-150% of the species baseline xp for upgrading their stats (are they a low-level threat, or a repeating NPC - this helps determine it), defaulting to the Species starting xp. They get skills from a specialization and career. Starting for disposable NPCs, half of what a PC has for a challenge, or equal to a PC for someone that will potentially challenge them.

Nemeses get double Species XP for characteristics, plus 50-100% of the xp all of my PCs have earned combined

Once that's done, I simplify their stats. Dodge becomes Adversary. Talents that require a Destiny Point get erased. Ranks in talents that won't come up go away (or get converted into skills).

For example - a Rival is unlikely to use Rapid Reaction 2, so I would remove those from the stat line and convert them to ranks in Vigilance. If the character had no ranks, now she has two. If she had two, I might only upgrade her to 3, depending on her role in the story.

Equipment is generally 500-3000 credits for a Minion, 3000-10,000 for a Rival, 10,000 per 150xp for a Nemesis. If that's not enough or it makes sense to add things, I don't worry about it too much. What this does do is limit the truly game-breaking gadgets they have access to, or remind me that they should have better than a starting PC's suite of equipment. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If the NPC is important, I spend a little time on it.  I have all the NPC cards and if the NPC isn't that important, I grab the closest one and re-skin it.  It's wise advice to never give NPCs something you don't want your PCs to have, but it's also wise to remember that the GM giveth and the GM taketh away.  

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I really appreciate the thoughts. After I posted, i took a peek at the Adversary section of the EotE Rulebook and I definitely can see the merits of what everyone is saying. This group disbanded once before due to lack of interest, and I hope that psuedo-knight level play would encourage a bit more pride; that along with a story that I am really invested in (for some strange reason).

 

I'll give these a shot. Hopefully it will give me enough insight to provide my own feedback to other newbies.

 

Note: Also, after posting, as an experiment, I took a PC and copied him characteristic/skill/talent/equipment etc. and created him as a nemesis in Oggdudes Generator and it provided a power level of roughly 30 higher than the PCs total XP. So I am going to keep an eye on those numbers as well while I am digitizing all of my resources for anyone interested (other than me).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Did  anyone come with some homerules about running epic NPCs without stats? Like the set of rules for Vader from the published FFG module. However, these only deal with combat, and I am looking for something more general.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just don't do any stats for npcs like Vader. Just handle this narratively. No matter how high values are, if you allow rolls it needs just one really lucky roll to do something really bad. Better say "you just can't intimidate Vader" than having to say "Ok, you rolled good, but you can't because of reasons" or even worse "Ok, little Ewok, the great Sith Lord Vader bows before your dangerous, intimidating appearance"

Edited by MasterZelgadis

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well in this case I think of less epic NPCs than Vader, like Saw Gerrera, who for sure has like 9999 XPs, and I really do not want to bother with detailed stats. Also I am not afraid they do something bad, they can kill him if they dare, but still I would like to have difficulty to roll against, like Vader is always 6 red, Saw Gerrera always 4 red, Cad Bane 5 red? And always 1-3 blacks just like that. They want to make a deal that will suit NPC, no need to roll, but if they want Jabba to them a favor, they really have to beat those 6 red with a string of triumphs, than Jabba maybe will show his better side and will help them but of course only if they do some job for him, this way. Or if they beat 6 red against Vader piloting that mean they have managed to survive and maybe they shot once at his TIE (with no damage whatsoever but still they can brag about it in the rebel cantina), but not beat him or anything like this. I do want to give them a feeling that they can touch those epic NPCs, just will be honest that it will be super freaky difficulty and if they roll, they accept ton of despairs that can come from those rolls against epic NPC.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For nemesis NPC it is recommended the XP of the best PC plus 5xp per session. It's is always going up the best player plus 5xp. In that way it will bring an edge to this nemesis vs a PC.  for a very important nemesis I make a background like a PC. There is no point in min maxing a nemesis just to challenge the Group. Also don't have to give everything to a single nemesis. My group is facing a cunning and brawler nemesis a black sun Vigo, the sharpshooter is another nemesis and the master mind brainiac is a nemesis too. So this black sun Vigo and is group represents the real complete villain. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't analyze power levels to the point where I'd ever actually count and compare XP, but I do tailor my NPCs to be interesting encounters for the PCs. This often means that, in areas where the PCs are clearly very strong, the NPCs often have to be, too, whereas in areas where the PCs aren't that great, I try not to make the NPCs too superior.

For example, one PC in my group has very high soak. I quickly discovered that in many fights, this made him nearly impervious to damage. This became especially apparent during a prison stint, where all his opponents had were makeshift weapons fashioned from toothbrushes and the like. So if I want a particular combat encounter for this PC to be challenging, I need to make sure that the enemies can damage him. For this purpose, I've constructed 'elite' minions with very high Brawn scores, good weapons and/or talents like Feral Strength, and rivals with good weapons like heavy blaster rifles, piercing close combat weapons or upgraded pistols.

On the other hand, none of the PCs have good Presence. So when they recently had to try and talk their way out of being drowned in a chocolate fountain by a hedonistic Hutt, I elected not to use the extremely overpowered Hutt profile from the Edge of the Empire Core Book, but rather used the more balanced stats for the Hutt from Jewel of Yavin, which was still a formidable challenge for my PCs.

For characters allied to the PCs, I try to make sure that they don't commonly overshadow the PCs in any of the areas that it's apparent that the players wanted their character to be the best at. So for example, I introduced an NPC with all-round stats that can help the mechanic PC out a bit, but is nowhere near her level when it comes to Mechanics - on the other hand, the same NPC is the best in the gang at Charm and Computers, but that's fine for none of the PCs ever bought a single rank in those skills. This rule is not absolute - there's an old Duros con artist that's by far superior to the PC con artist in that particular area, but she's a minor character that doesn't stick around. And the PC con artist has a very diverse build.

The allied NPCs often have Talents and Abilities that the players appreciate as they help them too. For example, the shady Twi'lek Porimer is much more socially savvy than the PCs, so he got a custom ability that reflects that, yet allows the players to make the roll, should they so desire: " Wingman 1: When Porimer assists on a Charm or Negotiation check, add 1 extra boost die. "

I occasionally run big combats with the PCs and several allied NPCs against a large group of foes. Therefore, I make sure to streamline the NPCs so that their rules aren't too complicated. They do get talents, but mainly easy-to-remember ones that doesn't demand a lot of micromanagement. Things that just removes setback dice are rare, for example, whereas direct boosts to damage or soak are much more easily handled. However, I might give an NPC a more complicated talent if it really feels important to their concept.

I never ever give NPCs reroll abilities, like all the 'Natural <something>' talents. They are time-consuming, rather unnecessary and occasionally frustrating for the players, and would be rather overpowered as well as their common limit is once per session, and extremely few NPCs ever roll a particular skill check (outside of combat) more than once per session, thus making that limitation meaningless.

I like to give enemies abilities that cost destiny points to use, because the players always feel better about something bad happening to their characters if I flip a destiny point at the same time. The Executioner's talent Deathblow is a great example of this, as it adds damage at the cost of a destiny point. I once had a horde of enemy droids that could self-destruct and hurt anyone engaged with them, but each time they chose to self-destruct, it flipped a destiny point from dark to light.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...