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broselovestar

Help players remember NPCs' names

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I'm thinking of how to present NPCs to the players. In any other games, remembering NPCs' names is already challenging enough for some of the less attentive players but in L5R it's doubly so since the names are all Japaense (none of us speaks Japanese.) Of course they can always check back with me but I would like to avoid uncessary double-checking as much as possible.

My current solution is to use the L5R cardgame and select a card that I think looks similar to an NPC and put a post it on it with the NPC's name. Drawback: once you buy some cards you really want to buy more cards :(

What have you GMs out there been trying?

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When running various games where remembering a bunch of odd names was required of the players, I basically print off a dramatis personae. In Word I'll whip up a table of key NPCs. Usually include the name, a bit of relevant info, and either a relevant visual representation (hand drawn sketch of character, image from net, clan symbol, icon, etc.) or color code (if I feel like using color toner). I try to leave room for players to take notes.

At the start of the session I pass out a copy to each player. It has the added benefit of keeping players focused on key NPCs and I'm able to drop subtle hints about the NPCs on the sheet. Sometimes I'll do a few different sheets if there is an NPC who makes a surprise appearance or it is otherwise fitting to not give info right away.

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