View Full Version : DM Help NPC cards for players? NPC tracking

2016-09-24, 04:33 PM
In the last session the players came to the village council hall to talk with the council. They had met two of the five characters before (there was also three guards but I didn't focus on them besides noting their presence) and I made sure to describe the people with a short first impression. At some point one of the players voiced concern that it was hard to keep track of characters and was wondering if I could put up NPC information on our internet group (we play RL and I use Facebook to remind people of rules and next session etc).

I'm not looking forward to making NPC cards for them. I don't want to write: Name, occupation, home, visual and mannerism for the players. I definetely don't want to find portraits for each npc but I am sure that's not what the player was focusing on.
A quick count tells me there are currently in the campaign and the area:

tier 1: 8 reccuring NPCs and/or important NPCs. This is Patrons (quest giving kind), Leaders of factions (red wizard enclave, local priest, Dwarven captain). All of which they've met several times.
tier 2: 11 once or twice seen NPCs. These can be family, apprentices or allies to tier 1 characters
tier 3: 14+ not yet met or talked to NPCs. The players haven't been given their names. I just have them in my notes.

Why don't I want to make NPC cards for the players? I fear it would become a game of "Guess Who?" if I present it to the players. The Guess Who-part is finding out if some NPC is a hidden enemy (which some are ofcoure). They will not have personal interpretations of the characters based on how I Roleplay them. Instead I fear they will only rely on what information I've written on their NPC cards.

--- So what do You suggest and how do you handle NPC tracking?

Personally I think it's the players job to keep track of NPCs if they want to have a good overlook of who is who. I'm not looking forward to adding "update NPCs on Facebook" to the things I do as GM.

Here's some FAQ I've answered. They're not frequent obviously but more questions I guess some of you might ask me here:

Do you tell them who a person is if they ask? I tell them if I can figure out who they're talking about sure. I try to give them a short version. EX: "who is Hana?" "Well, Haniah Dales is the village elder and the common folk representative. She's also an older lady.
Are the names difficult to pronounce? I try to use fantasy names instead of common Danish names (where I'm from). Fantasy names would be Faghran, Haniah, Tuketu, Himiko, Gromthosthrum, Szaren, Kizzaf, Minarv and Hangrock
Have you tried asking them to make a party journal? I think I did a long time ago. There wasn't much enthusiasm from their side for that. I could try to suggest that to them.

Points to whoever can guess where my campaign is taking place.

2016-09-24, 04:50 PM
Why don't your players make themselves cards or notes to keep track of them?

2016-09-24, 05:08 PM
Why don't your players make themselves cards or notes to keep track of them?

I don't know. I guess I'll ask them :). This is my first campaign so part of the problem is I don't know what is normal to expect from the players. The players keep notes on different quality levels. But if I had to guess I would say the average level might be too low. It makes sense that I should bring that up then.

2016-09-24, 09:36 PM
Most players are lazy, in the sense that they are there to have fun. Some players are better at keeping track of information than others.

What I've done in recent years is to keep a short campaign journal and cast of characters. This means after our biweekly sessions I will post in our journal and update the cast of characters.

Cast of characters doesn't take much of my time because I've already made said NPC's. This makes it easier for the players as in my game there are lot's of names. It also helps me keep track of NPC's by adding in their interaction with the PC's.

For example, this is taken from my own game

The Ducal Family

Duc Octavius il Tipo: The late Duc, died from poison in april 1192. Named the kind because of the lose touch he governs with and for his clemency. After the death of his wife he became deeply religious and often cloistered himself for days in prayer, leaving much of the governance to his advisors. His love of Sol Invictus is only surpassed by his love of good food and wine.

Duchess Aurelia: died of childbirth in 1176.

Brother Martinus : The Duc's brother. Joined the priesthood when he was young. Sits on the Ducal council as a religious advisor. A short, portly and a timid man close to 50 years old with a monks tonsure.

Marchesa Quintina: The Duc's sister. 46 years old, married to Marchese Duncain Ferraro. Loves the social live and holding balls or feasts to the chagrin of her miserly husband.

Lord General Tiberius : The Duc's youngest brother, sat on the councel as a military advisor. Tiberius is a military man through and through. A strict man around 40 years old known for his good grasp of tactics and keen intelligence, he is not one to suffer fools. Powerfully built with a black, close cropped hair and cleanly shaved, it is jested that he had a hole fashioned on the bottom of his plate armour because he seems awfully fond of wearing it. He was arrested after his brother Martinus accused him of being behind the poisoning of his brother Duc Octavius.

Prince Antonius: The Ducīs son who was presumed dead. After being shot with a crossbow while riding across the bridge of dreams that leads to the Ducal Palace, Antonius fell into the canal below. His ceremonial armour made him sink into the water and as his body was never found it was supposed that he had washed away into the sea. He took on the identity of the Masked man bent on avenging himself and took to operate from the shadows. A handsome man, 20 years old, clean shaven with long hair which he wears in a ponytail. Sat on the ducal council. He was killed by Alma Orsini who threw him from the balconies in the throne room after it was revealed that he had been abusing his sister

Princess Livia: The Ducīs daugher is an attractive raven haired girl of 17. Living the life of luxury she enjoys spending time in the palace gardens along with her ladies in waiting, wilting the time away listening to bards or gossiping.

Princess Tecla: the Ducīs hidden daughter. An beautiful girl of 16 with black horns that mark her as a cambion (a half demon). Was locked in a gilded cage until a foolish young man named Johannes let her out.

2016-09-25, 01:16 AM
I'd say to give them a visual description, the information they gathered from the meeting, the information about each which is effortless to find, and information they gather. Record your sessions and add important information that was gathered by the PCs during it.