Roleplaying In A

NPC Reaction Rating

In NPCs, Rules on April 6, 2010 at 8:17 am
San Diego Comic-Con 2009 - NON PLAYER CHARACTER

Image by Howie Muzika via Flickr

This is an easy to use, easy to track system to determine how the players and their allies, or enemies, interact over time.

The real reason to determine NPC reactions to a character is to see how likely that NPC is to help or hinder them. A common method is to just roll some dice, modify is by a skill or statistic the character has, and determine the NPC’s reaction for that game.

Terrific idea for a one-shot appearance but if you have recurring allies and enemies that aren’t central to your plot you need something more.

To track NPC reactions over time, rate them +100% to -100%. When an ally first enters the game, give them a rating of +50%; a new enemy, -50%.

This rating is how likely the non-player character is to act for or against the player. In this case, that ally has a 50% chance of acting in the character’s favor or doing nothing at all. Then each interaction can affect that score.

For example, Wokold hires the party to retrieve an item. The 2 most obvious outcomes are that the party succeeds or the party fails. I determine how important this item is to Wokold then when they’ve finished the adventure, modify his rating accordingly. In this case, I’ve decided he doesn’t really care about the item so the outcome will affect Wokold by +/- 1d6 percent.

If they get the item for Wokold, I roll 1d6 and add that to his original 50% chance to act in their favor. In this example, I roll a 4, so the next time the character allied to Wokold deals with him, there’s a 54% chance the NPC will help out.

Of course, over-ride this in a minute if you need the NPC for a plot.

I like this system because I just add a new entry to the NPC stat block and don’t have alot of paperwork or hassle keeping track of how recurring NPCs will react to party members.

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  1. This is a very lite and quick system. It also allows for an easy assist metric. I think I may include this type of rating for groups / guilds.

    I think using this rating system on a venn/flow chart of character/group connections would be a a killer way to keep the complex dynamics of groups/kingdoms/individuals aligned easily.

    PC1 —- +74% —> NPC2
    \ \___ -25% ___> NPC4
    \___ etc ___>

    Great idea.

  2. If you make such a flowchart, I’d love to hear details and see a graphic.

  3. Done. I have a PDF. Drop me an email.

  4. I did my first chart. Good Concept, Will Definitely be Helpful! If you’d like to see the PDF, drop me an email or tweet @sponng

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