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BootStrapTommy
2012-08-01, 06:01 PM
I can be a very lazy GM sometimes. Especially when it's thrust upon me to GM when I wanted to play. I'm pretty good at fudging my way through a campaign off the top of my head, but even when I've intricately planned one out I find that I frequently include reoccurring characters, places, and sometimes ideas.

The first reason, I think, is the afore stated laziness. Another is often for the lulz (inside jokes). But most often, since I usually roll with the same group of people, and they all seem to have GM trust issues, I include characters or places they could relate to, my own personal tropes which subtly tell them what this character or place is going to be like.

So does anyone else, for any reason, also included personal reoccurring themes, people, places, or ideas in some of their campaigns to comedic, serious, or otherwise effect? If so what are they? What was their origin? How did they develope?

Exediron
2012-08-01, 06:51 PM
Sort of.

I do it on purpose, re-using characters, places and plot elements to tie all of my sequential campaigns together, forming a sort of consistent mythology. All of my (D&D) campaigns happen in the same multiverse, and the events of the previous ones are generally assumed to have actually happened... Somewhere, at least.

A few specific examples:

* One of my most consistent elements to make appearances is an artifact known only as The Ruby. It started life as a ludicrously overpowered artifact possessed by a High Magister in a short-lived campaign world.

When we abandoned that world, it showed up in the next, possessed by (or perhaps possessing) an extremely powerful lich known as the Grand Lich who used it to control a cabal of liches he had gathered. When that world was destroyed by an ancient sorcerer who inhabited the mind of a PC, The Ruby was broken and split into several fragments.

These fragments have found their ways into the hands of various forces in my current campaign, although none have showed their hands as such yet. The Ruby is currently slated to have been an artifact of the Elder Gods, the gods from the first world (there have been three multiverses - Elder Gods, leShay, current) who are to become the main antagonists of an upcoming section. It may feature in the endgame of the whole super-arc, although I haven't decided yet.

* One of my former PCs from 1st edition, an extremely chaotic dragon who eventually ascended, shows up from time to time as a god of chaos. He's a fairly petty deity as they go, and as such the current arc has outgrown him. He may yet show up at some point for the sake of tying everything together.

* As a sort of strange side-plot, my first character from Baldur's Gate exists in our campaign world and runs a super-planar outfit which he uses to manipulate events to his own extremely odd ends. He tends to stay out of the actual plot, however, although he often acts as my avatar to extend any needed 'Acts of the DM' to the characters.

I do occasionally throw in random in-jokes and the like, such as when the character recently visited a famous dungeon one of the items they discovered was the stone armor and short sword a version 1 magic user of mine fashioned to doge the ban on metal equipment. In general however, except for the ones which are actually the same in-game, I don't reuse any elements. I borrow and take inspiration, but I try to keep new content actually new.

Of course, I'm rather the opposite of a lazy DM - I'm extremely obsessive about my D&D campaign(s), and they take a great deal of my time to plan, run and maintain. My average campaign plan (campaign here refers to a sort of chapter in the whole story) runs around 100,000 words with accessory documents, and takes about three months to fully plan. My latest is by far my largest, and exceeds even that by a large margin.

TheCountAlucard
2012-08-01, 06:59 PM
I can be a very lazy GM sometimes. Especially when it's thrust upon me to GM when I wanted to play.Aaaaaamen! :smalltongue:


The first reason, I think, is the afore stated laziness.Is it really laziness to not want to throw something out after you've spent time making it?


So does anyone else, for any reason, also included personal reoccurring themes, people, places, or ideas in some of their campaigns to comedic, serious, or otherwise effect?In a short-lived Terrestrial game, I had a scavenger-lord NPC for which I filed off the serial numbers when we moved onto a Solar game. :smallamused:

In a Shadowrun game I played, my character was a trideo star; he would do B-movie versions of actual shadowruns, often ones in which other members of our gaming group had participated. :smallbiggrin: Naturally, the plots of said movies would be nonsensical and get half the details wrong, but one such movie ended up becoming a cult classic in-game. :smalltongue:

Water_Bear
2012-08-01, 07:09 PM
I tend to have recurring themes and nations which I re-purpose and use in my games;


The number 6, as well as Hexagons/Cubes, tends to turn up a lot.
The Four Classical Elements/Humours/Temperaments (+ Aether and Void) seem to have some kind of significance to me.
I usually incorporate Prometheus and Pandora from Greek Mythology, plus Ahriman from Zoroastrianism, and plop them in a Gnostic cosmology. The Tzitzimimeh and Cipactli from Aztec mythology tend to show up as Lovecraftian alien gods.
This one pseudo-High Medieval setting for an abortive fantasy novel I was writing keeps showing up.

In said setting, the Elves (Alfar) are basically Vikings and are neither particularly enlightened advanced or in touch with nature. The Dark Elves and Light Elves are pretty chill with each other and both live above-ground.

There's also a sort of Dutch Holy Roman Empire country of Gnostic zealots, and a sort of Persian/Indian empire based on the conquests of Alexander the Great and Plato's idea of the Aristocracy as a caste system.
Bishie Sorcerer/Wizard BBEGs with a badass female bodyguard and/or a laconic adviser. I blame Code Geass, but it might just be a personal hang-up.


I think a lot of these are just ideas which have gotten entrenched in my mind, but they help me build settings which feel 'real' and have some depth to them.

-Edited for clarity-

valadil
2012-08-01, 08:01 PM
I'm obsessed with keeping my plots and puzzles unique. People are another matter.

IMO my biggest weakness as GM is acting out NPCs. When I play an NPC, it sounds just like the last NPC the players talked to. I want to be so expressive that the players can figure out what NPC is talking without me saying "so-and-so says..." It's not that I can't act at all, it's that it takes me a while to find myself in a character. A shopkeeper with a 10 minute cameo just isn't enough time for me to get into the shopkeeper's head.

Anyway, the exception to this is for characters I've played before. I've played my beloved gnome wizard Grimble for so many hours that I can hop into that guy's head at the drop of a hat. This goes for any of my favorite characters. I can deploy them as needed with very little mental prep. If NPCs are my weakness, why not use former PCs instead?

For what it's worth I try to only recycle NPCs for players who didn't see the original PC. It feels less wankish this way and is less likely to break a player's immersion if he's seen the PC before.

Yukitsu
2012-08-01, 08:07 PM
I have a DM who will sometimes pull in the civilization I formed in one of his games. :/ They're pretty well detailed from the standardized guild pattern, to their city template to their laws, so they're pretty much complete.

Craft (Cheese)
2012-08-01, 08:46 PM
I tend to reuse the scenario of the PC's being tossed into a horrific political climate they have no power to change.

"Okay, so the local area is fighting three simultaneous wars, there's mass famines, and the local government is responding to the famines with mass executions to scare the citizens back into line. Oh, and you all happen to be members of a group currently the target of a genocide. Have fun!"

Averis Vol
2012-08-01, 09:38 PM
I have re appearing npc's only because all my games take place in the same world, so they occasionally run into old characters. like Orion Nuoli, the ranger with two pet brass dragons, or warchief Aren Carrewein of the Korrae wild elves, even jebeddo tumblebrusk, a boccobic thurge who lives comfortably in is extradimensional tower. it all really depends on what setting you run really; whether it be the red wizards of thay or the (Insert important ebberon organization here).

EDIT: My DM bane though is that I cannot do different voices, so the dwarf sounds like the elf sounds like the barwench sounds like the little girl. My voice range is monotone-monotone.

BootStrapTommy
2012-08-01, 10:25 PM
Personally I have a number of them.

Mosaham Abramose - The half elf dragonsong lyricist and dragon rider from my very first 3.5 campaign. He is the Lord of a fiefdom named Rhune. He has become a standard quest-giver, because the party knows not to mess with him.

Gabriel - my nephew's pale master from the same campaign. Him and his army of undead werewolves have made many appearances as a convenient frenemy.

Orkacourt - an old DM used to use this as a generic town a lot. I always noted that Orkacourt never fared well, so when I began to GM it always seemed to suffer much the same fate. It has been a sort of inside joke that Orkacourt always gets burnt to the ground.

Steve, Dave, Tom - Steve was introduced as a ranger NPC who was taken hostage by the party only to join them. He's become the standard NPC the players can trust. Dave is another ranger, his younger brother. Tom is the youngest brother and a rogue who became a PC on occasion.

Sir/Count/Baron Louis de Fluer - Originally introduced as a Norman overlord in a Celtic/Britonic campaign, he was eventually revealed to be Lucifer. He makes appearances as a shady quest giver a lot, though he has yet to actual bring harm to a party.

Fire Guy - A gay Balor Lord who came pretty close to conquering the world with a horde of goblins in a high level military campaign. After that defeat he has appears frequently as a helpful hermit who collects decorative plates.

The Stone/Entropy - a small stone (actually a chaotic demigod), usually found near water, who demands those present skip it. Doing so transport them to a Chaos Plane. Nothing makes sense there, so the party must think outside the box. And more often than not run rather than fight.

The hand of meta-gaming - deals a specified amount damage to players who meta-game. Kinda like those swatters on the Vogon homeworld. Because metagaming annoys me.

Slipperychicken
2012-08-02, 08:40 PM
Well, my current GM uses the same voice for all NPCs (sometimes he tries with females, but reverts to his normal voice in under a minute. It's quite disorienting when a drunk teenage prostitute sounds like the Emperor), and all reoccurring villains have the same personality (crazy, don't care about anything), fighting style, and are all ~17th level arcane casters. He often uses multiple reoccurring villains in the same session (we usually have ~3 going at the same time), and they're all so similar that I have to be reminded which one we're talking to. Half of these villains are characters from previous games, and having mercy on them is always bad for us. This tends to make NPCs really boring and forgettable.


Every time we see anyone: "Now you see...a man!" No further description. If we're lucky, the guy's wearing a cloak, or a vest, or holding a scythe. Yeah, thanks buddy, that narrows it down a lot. How the f*** am I supposed to guess which save to target?

Everything "cackles with [black or red] energy". All teleportation involves psychedelic visions of past campaigns, as does most sleep. We always saunter or march, even while we're flying.

All re-occurring villains teleport away from attacks a few times, then teleport back unbuffed to be eviscerated, usually to never return. If they survive, they usually teleport in randomly to taunt us, then leave. I swear, I'm going to hit one of those ****heads with a Dimension Lock, then keep him KO'd with torture nonlethal damage for the rest of my character's life (because they might come back to life otherwise).

Logic
2012-08-02, 09:22 PM
I have this little town that reappears in almost all of my games. I call it Clothraven. It has a wicked little mayor, his adult seductress daughter (always out to seduce the party members for some end or another) a blacksmith that is captain of the town militia (a separate organization from the town watch) and a mysterious shopkeeper that lives in a lighthouse (this town is always nowhere near the coast.)

Oracle_Hunter
2012-08-03, 03:08 PM
So does anyone else, for any reason, also included personal reoccurring themes, people, places, or ideas in some of their campaigns to comedic, serious, or otherwise effect? If so what are they? What was their origin? How did they develope?
Inside jokes are the main origin for any reuse on my part.

The Green River Trading Company
I homebrew a lot, mostly settings for campaigns. Several years ago I included a major merchant group named "The Green River Trading Company" ("GRTC") as a major part of a campaign I ran. Their role in-world was controlling the West-to-East trade with the PCs being based in the main trading center of the continent. Their role in-game was to be a Red Herring: the PCs were supposed to suspect them of being up to no good when, in fact, they were the target of the BBEG.

As is traditional, my Players not only took up the Red Herring but even convinced themselves that the GRTC was the keystone of the campaign and no amount of evidence could convince them otherwise. Well, in each new world I created I always named one major merchant group the GRTC and, in reference to the Players' suspicions, I always gave them a major antagonistic role in each world they were in.

The GRTC is always well-funded, impersonal, and up to no good -- and my Players invariably end up having to strike deals with them. In my 4e games, the GRTC is also usually run by Tieflings :smallamused:

Fat Bartenders Polishing Glasses
Bartenders. PCs spend a lot of time in taverns and every tavern needs one but, in the end, bartenders are usually not that important. As a bit of verbal shorthand, I have described every bartender as some synonym of "fat" and their default action is "polishing a glass/tankard."

This is awkward in Elven Lands, so I switch over to "less than svelte" bartenders :smallbiggrin:

Frenth Alunril
2012-08-03, 11:42 PM
Every time we see anyone: "Now you see...a man!" No further description. If we're lucky, the guy's wearing a cloak, or a vest, or holding a scythe. Yeah, thanks buddy, that narrows it down a lot. How the f*** am I supposed to guess which save to target?

I was actually told to stop giving descriptive explanations after I made my NPC maker. My players don't like detail.

BootStrapTommy
2012-08-03, 11:53 PM
Every time we see anyone: "Now you see...a man!" No further description. If we're lucky, the guy's wearing a cloak, or a vest, or holding a scythe. Yeah, thanks buddy, that narrows it down a lot. How the f*** am I supposed to guess which save to target?

I do this. but not because I don't want to describe them, just that if I do, the guys will usually immediately identify what they are and start meta-gaming.

You ****-heads! How the hell would your sickle wielding farmer know what an Inevitable is?!?

Slipperychicken
2012-08-04, 12:44 AM
I was actually told to stop giving descriptive explanations after I made my NPC maker. My players don't like detail.

I recall one of my DMs would deliver page-long flowery descriptions of everything, and it can get a bit overwhelming after a while (even if they're really good descriptions). It's the law of conservation of detail; you give something more details to indicate how important it is.


Whenever my DM gives really skimpy descriptions, I always want him to list race, body-type, apparent age, and notable equipment. Because I can work with that. Like "a young thin Elf male. He's wearing tanned leather with a bow on his back and a component pouch hanging from his neck". That gives you useful information, especially if you're supposed to talk with this guy. "You see an Elven hunter, he has a bow" gives you the bare basics, and is fine if the NPC doesn't matter, or is just a mook. "You encounter an Elf" is not helpful at all.

Morithias
2012-08-04, 12:58 AM
This is going to be LONG since my setting actually has continuity.

North East continent: The Red and Blue warlords trying to rebuild the continent after the nutjob healer princess olivia trashed it with a plague. They don't get along.

South East continent: The Kenshin kingdom, former home of the goddess of combat.

North West continent: The Oda kingdom, haven't really gone their yet in a game, but it's there.

South West continent: Eternea, a giant city that takes up 7.5% of the world. Also neighbours a farming community called "Mineral Town" due to the former mines (now empty).

Middle of world: Avalon, the island of the Amazons and the only known link to the underdark where the "alchemy crystals" used commonly in crafting magical items grow.

Infinity Spire: Giant "Living Dungeon" that is said to hold great treasures for anyone brave (or stupid) enough to attempt to climb it.

~Characters~

Lupin the 5th: Young (12), prince of Eternea, is way in over his head and needs the help of the Orange Emoticons to keep things running.

Recette: Young (10!) shopkeeper, and cousin of the prince. Runs the biggest shop in the city and regularly sells Epic items. Attempt to rob her if you want to be executed, because every single adventurer in the city will hunt you down if you hurt her.

Lord Kane: Mysterious man/woman/changling/whatever who runs the shop next to Recette's. Deals in unholy and dangerous items like poisons. Is second only to Recette due to the rare and powerful items you can find.

Hiroshi: 16 year old genius who runs the "Gem Casino" where you can gamble gems and works of art for great prizes. (Does not accept coin because his is a Disciple of Mammon and can makes gems more valuable, which he cannot do with coin).

Arma: Champion of the Eternea Arena. Level 30 warforged juggernaut who hopes one day to be defeated so she can retire and go climb the infinity spire.

The Blurs: Fastest runners in the world. Act as message delivery system. Able to cross the planet in around 30 seconds.

Fusion Mistress: Born with the power to fuse items to make new items, this spellcaster can make you powerful items. She has no control over what actually comes out when you fuse things sadly.

elizasteave
2012-08-04, 01:10 AM
I never felt that sort of lazy for this particular thing. In fact during the plays its quite necessary to get into the character, just have the feeling of that particular character which you are playing, even if it is for 5-10 minutes. What here matters is the role and not the duration that was taken to play it.

Totally Guy
2012-08-04, 04:21 AM
I reuse certain elements in my games. Primarily through changing the context of the thing.

I ran one game in which a character had "the compass of destiny", which was destroyed at some point. Later I had to introduce an antagonist to track down the player and he presented a massive bargain if he could have the compass. It made the destruction of that thing relevant again.

Another time a player was competing with a mighty blacksmith to forge the mightier weapon. Later I needed to introduce a clan usurper and so I brought in the same guy again as we'd previously demonstrated his mightiness.

BootStrapTommy
2012-08-04, 01:35 PM
Lupin the 5th: Young (12), prince of Eternea, is way in over his head and needs the help of the Orange Emoticons to keep things running.

Recette: Young (10!) shopkeeper, and cousin of the prince. Runs the biggest shop in the city and regularly sells Epic items. Attempt to rob her if you want to be executed, because every single adventurer in the city will hunt you down if you hurt her.

Lord Kane: Mysterious man/woman/changling/whatever who runs the shop next to Recette's. Deals in unholy and dangerous items like poisons. Is second only to Recette due to the rare and powerful items you can find.

The Orange Emoticons? :smallannoyed:

Also, remind me if I'm ever part of a campaign you GM that I plan to become best friends with both Recette and Lord Kane.

Anxe
2012-08-04, 02:33 PM
In the first adventure of my long-running campaign world the players met at a nice restaurant to discuss forming an adventuring party. I played the waiter while the got to know each others' character. They forgot to tip the waiter when they left. He subsequently was unable to pay off his gambling debts and got killed by a loan shark's hitmen. The waiter then haunted the players, "If only you'd tipped me I'd still be alive!"

The waiter was also the DM voice telling them a plan was stupid or not going to work when I didn't have an NPC around to shoot down ridiculous plans involving duct-tape or trained monkeys.

I do use other recurring characters, but I think those make sense within the context of my campaign. The waiter was the only one who just shows up randomly. He really haunts the players not the characters. He still haunts their newest adventuring party occasionally, even though it has no connections to the previous one.

EDIT: I do have a recurring character archetype of effeminate kings. It was funny the first time and I think it'll keep being funny.

Morithias
2012-08-04, 05:15 PM
The Orange Emoticons? :smallannoyed:

Also, remind me if I'm ever part of a campaign you GM that I plan to become best friends with both Recette and Lord Kane.

Basically I made a series of outsiders based on emotions. The Orange "emoticons" are the embodiments of desire, blue hope, green willpower, red rage, yellow fear, purple compassion.

The Red, yellow, and blue, represent the "primary" alignment. Aka Feral and primal in nature, even a dog has fear, anger, and hope.

The "secondary" alignment, is the emotions that are more vulcan and logical in nature, willpower, compassion, and desire for something more.

There are also the "white" and "Black" emoticons, who work in the positive and negative energy planes, filling the libraries of good and bad deeds respectively, and whose job it is to basically keep track on which way the world as a whole is moving morally and ethically. They do not represent anything in particular.

Geostationary
2012-08-06, 10:49 PM
Recette: Young (10!) shopkeeper, and cousin of the prince. Runs the biggest shop in the city and regularly sells Epic items. Attempt to rob her if you want to be executed, because every single adventurer in the city will hunt you down if you hurt her.


Recette, you say?
https://s3.amazonaws.com/data.tumblr.com/tumblr_m70q6cWG8i1qk4o4zo1_500.png
Excellent source material for an adventurer.

Morithias
2012-08-06, 11:12 PM
Recette, you say?
*Snip*
Excellent source material for an adventurer.

Bingo. A lot of my characters and so on, are stolen or 'inspired' by videogames and other media.

Lupin the 5th
http://images.theage.com.au/ftage/ffximage/2008/06/18/king_narrowweb__300x408,0.jpg

Lord Kane
http://wiki.n1nj4.com/images/6/61/Kane.jpg

The Current Goddess of Combat - Kenshin
http://static.zerochan.net/Uesugi.Kenshin.(Sengoku.Rance).full.232525.jpg

Hiroshi
http://itburns.net/shira-oka/shira-oka_00088.jpg

Do I really need to post a picture of who the "blurs" where inspired by? Just imagine twins who are a male and female Flash.

Geostationary
2012-08-07, 12:54 AM
Bingo. A lot of my characters and so on, are stolen or 'inspired' by videogames and other media.


Stealing characters/plot devices/situations wholesale is also both an excellent resource and a common pastime of the Lazy GM. I fully support such endeavors, though I generally try to file some of the serial numbers off before using them. Bam. Relevant post!

Silus
2012-08-07, 01:02 AM
I've only run one game thus far, but should I run any more, I fully intend to reuse the entity I call "The House". Stat-wise, it's an advanced Genius Loci in the form of a two-story New England style house. And since it (possibly) escaped the first time, I'm just gonna have it pop up places. That house you don't remember being there yesterday? Yeah, better not go in. Mysterious mansion in the woods? Better stay out, your sanity will thank you.

Morithias
2012-08-07, 02:42 AM
Stealing characters/plot devices/situations wholesale is also both an excellent resource and a common pastime of the Lazy GM. I fully support such endeavors, though I generally try to file some of the serial numbers off before using them. Bam. Relevant post!

I tend not to file off the numbers because all my players talk to me regularly so they know what inspired 90% of the stuff anyways. It just makes it easier to remember names, than having me accidently call the shopkeeper recette instead of Claire.

Plus it prevents players from using their videogame counterparts as shorthand for the character, they know who the character is cause they've already played and memorized the name.

DigoDragon
2012-08-07, 08:30 AM
I always cameo myself in my games as some random background character, usually a blacksmith's assistant or mechanic journeyman of a sort. Never has any significance to the game, but it tends to be a signature a couple players notice.

The other GM in our group always has a turncoat NPC named "Reggie" in every game. This always becomes the comical throwaway villain at the beginning, usually as a warm up in the first session for us to test our builds and get into character.
Pretty much a joke that keeps on joking.

cardboardbox!
2012-08-07, 12:25 PM
The only recurring elements I have in my campaigns are 2 npc's name Tony and Chico. Twin brothers that sell useless trinkets and try to sell them off as powerful magical items. After the party discovered what had transpired they insisted that both of them show up in the campaign and be even more ingrained in the plot...queue next high fantasy campaign with trinkets salesman..With an airship...who are also badass Ninja Seals. And the party rejoiced.

Greyfeld85
2012-08-07, 05:53 PM
* As a sort of strange side-plot, my first character from Baldur's Gate exists in our campaign world and runs a super-planar outfit which he uses to manipulate events to his own extremely odd ends. He tends to stay out of the actual plot, however, although he often acts as my avatar to extend any needed 'Acts of the DM' to the characters.

After so many campaigns with him pulling background strings, it would be amazing if he comes out and declares his goal finally fulfilled.

And that goal?

To create the universe's most amazing sandwich.

Silus
2012-08-07, 08:33 PM
After so many campaigns with him pulling background strings, it would be amazing if he comes out and declares his goal finally fulfilled.

And that goal?

To create the universe's most amazing sandwich.

Too late D= (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_dnwlT5aUw)

Roguenewb
2012-08-08, 01:44 PM
I have some stock characters I like to reincarnate in various games, usually different in exact classes and builds, but generally the same personaility wise. Some of my players love that moment of realization when they ask the NPC who've they've been dealing with for a while's name, and he answers with one they know....

Some of my favorites:

Catsa Menhani: A iron-willed practical young woman (almost always human). Always lacks casting ability or anything super special. Usually open to other ideas, but not a fetish for newness. She was born to be the bad-ass normal right hand woman of the leader of the Dragonslayers in my rip-off Dark Sun setting. In my most recent campaign she was the contact for the Guild of the Free with the party (more on them later!), she was left basically in charge when they shredded the guild and moved on.

Tam Fondee: A quiet old, male village priest. Usually a very wise man who hasn't been far from home, usually a cleric, though in one notable campaign he was an adept (and got a huge amount of distance out of the adept's awesome spell-list). Usually, the players have had more dramatic experiences and seen more, but when they start to get off the *good* track, Tam has been known to remind them of some truth they'd forgotten. He was born as a player's Uncle, who just needed someone to sell health potions, my how he's grown.

Chatleran: A scheming, good-for-nothing betrayal prone elven rogue (he's occasionally a psychic rogue these days). Chatleran was actually born as the player character from a guy I'm not lucky enough to be able to play with anymore, so I remember those days with Chatleran. (warm fuzzy aside: Chatleran was the guy I learned from that you can take non-optimal combat actions for flavor, thanks Pat!). I often make him a leader of the Guild of the Free, from outside their main town, so he can lie and cheat and steal beyond even their limits. My players always hate chatleran.

Zal Dret: Aaah, Zal. Zal's life motto can best be summarized with "You don't [email protected]#$ with Zal Dret". A contingency-upon-contingency-upon-contingency style of evil jerk, Zal cares about nothing else. He often has power in a group, and is often playing some sort of Xanatos roulette. He was originally just a Rogue 5/Assassin X, but lately, he's been a Factotum 5/Assassin 3/Teflammar Shadowlord X, which is a great build for scaring players, especially above level 14. In my last campaign, he ran the Guild of the Free, and managed to one-shot Death Attack the cleric! A cleric, those guys with the good forts and high cons! Best thing ever.

One Armed Halfling Smith: This is the guy who sells the players crappy new gear when they are so broke they can't even afford the 100 gp listed price of a new chain shirt, but just insist on having one. His gear is sub-par, but he's very nice, and trying to make a buisness despite being small sized and bad at forging due to the penalties of one arm. The players usually laugh, but in one of my favorite moments ever, a player approached him and cast regenerate giving him back his arm. Once he had his arm back, I made him THE BEST SMITH EVER EVER. He forged +3 enchanted items by skill and force of will, because HELL YES.

The God-Slaying Elven Smith: This guy is a crazy arrogant weaponsmith of presposterously high level (last game he was an artificier 15/Wizard 7/Archivist 7/Mystic Theurge 10) who makes items that the players want custom but aren't in the rules. He is super excitable, and declares that every item will be able to "SLAY THE VERY GODS!!!!" unless it's a helmet, in which case it will "SHIELD YOU FROM THE VERY GODS!!!!". He also demands hilarious material component's like a golem's blood, a kraken's tooth and depowdered-powdered silver.

Finally, The Guild of the Free is the only organization I rutinely reuse. THey are a theives guild variant that believes that the powers that be have too much authority. They vary from Chaotic Good to Chaotic Evil, but usually are more like Chaotic Selfish. They often have extreme wealth and power, and choose to flaunt it by hiding directly under the eyes of those in charge. If they are your ally or enemy they are strong in that endeavor, but can be changed fairly easily. I've had them and their headpieces, rapidly come to dominate campaigns because people enjoy them so much.

BootStrapTommy
2012-08-09, 09:37 PM
The players usually laugh, but in one of my favorite moments ever, a player approached him and cast regenerate giving him back his arm. Once he had his arm back, I made him THE BEST SMITH EVER EVER. He forged +3 enchanted items by skill and force of will, because HELL YES.

Don't you just love when players do something absolutely awesome?

I tend to run with those moments. Like when a party of mine killed THEMSELVES in order to defeat a boss (the afore mentioned Entropy character) in a Chaotic plane where nothing made sense. Not what I planned, but bloody brilliant. Always fun.

BootStrapTommy
2012-08-19, 02:11 AM
Recently, I realized another very common trope I reuse is almost universally forcing my parties hand into a quest by making the quest giver there liege lord (That's where Mosaham and Sir Louis come in). Makes them duty bound and then much less little to accuse me of trying to get them killed.

Masaioh
2012-08-19, 01:11 PM
If I don't know how to advance the plot, the PCs wake up in an inn and it was all just a dream. Then the inn falls apart and reveals that they are in another plane.