Saturday, September 8, 2018

One-Liners: Character Motivations

Over in my biweekly Olde School Wizardry RPG, the cadre of young wizards is exploring the antechambers of a megadungeon which, owing its metal panneling in places, they've dubbed "The Cannery."

For a quarrel of neophyte wizards to undertake such an exploration unaided would mean quick and messy death, so they've brought along mooks to help them out and spread the risk around a bit.

Folks who've gamed with me know that I think index cards and RPGs go together like a bulette and a holiday in The Shire (messy, amusing, an ultimately more satisfying then you would have guessed) and I use them for cities, maps, tables, character sheets, spells, books, and whatever else I can think of, so of course I knocked together a quick NPC card for each of the mercenaries tasked to accompany the spellcasters.

But how to keep them from being generic?

Image result for the monkeysFirst, pick some faces that come with a bit of recognition ("Oh, that's the quiet guy ... and he's the goofy one.").  Photos of music bands fit that bill.

Then a quick one-line motivation on the back of each card was just the trick!

  • To become the one in charge
  • To finally forget her
  • To feel like that again
  • To see if the dream was true
  • To die a rich man
  • To prove them all wrong
  • To kill the man who killed her
  • To show them I was right all along
  • To earn a hero's welcome
  • To seek my fortune
  • To find a way back
  • To earn her admiration
Boom! Quick-build memorable and distinctive NPC mooks.

Image result for red shirts

What tricks have you used to create those rank-and-file NPCs without them just being flat and generic?

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