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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    SolithKnightGuy

    Join Date
    Nov 2015

    Default I'm helping my DM make some NPCs... What do you guys think?

    I've only been playing for a few months, but I've had a bunch of ideas, and he wants some help with possible plot hooks, overall narrative. I thought I could help by adding some characters... I intentionally left out any possible role they might play, instead focusing on personality and description, so the DM can figure out what he wants them to do.

    One other thing, this is 5e, set in the present day (using the Modern Magic UA) if that's important.

    Anyway, can you guys give me some feedback? Like I said, have only been playing D&D for a few months and I've obviously never DM'd or created background like this. Thanks!

    Spoiler: Cann, the Butcher
    Show
    Cann the Butcher
    A stocky individual, bald on the crown of his head, with stubble for a beard. The leather vest he wears looks like it’s about to tear against the strain of his oversized muscles, which are covered in tattoos of various scenes of violence and medieval style torture.

    A greataxe nearly as tall as him is his weapon of choice, and he often carries it slung over his shoulder, one hand lazily hanging on the end knob as a counterweight to the blade. Letho normally carries it out in the open with impunity, indifferent to who may have a problem with it – though he doesn’t often find himself out in the open while in the town proper. In battle, he will let his henchmen keep the enemy occupied while he jumps back and forth between opponents.

    Without him even saying a word, folk might feel uneasy around him. This is because his “relaxed” stance still looks like he is ready for a fight, as though he might throw a haymaker out of nowhere, for no reason. In conversation, Letho speaks warmly, be it to friend or foe. He motivates his allies, and dares his opponents to rise to the challenge rather than intimidate them or put them down. However, he will also easily raise his voice and curse at anyone who crosses him, so his underlings are simultaneously inspired and terrified of him.


    Spoiler: Gilbert Bates
    Show
    Gilbert Bates
    Short for a human, Gilbert could easily be mistaken for an exceptionally tall Halfling. With his frail physique, he appears to be sinking into his crisp, 3 piece suits. No amount of expert tailoring seems to help. Although he is only 45 years old, he looks much closer to 80.

    Bates Mansion and his factory are within 1 mile of each other, outside of town. He earned his fortune by making strides in the field of robotics, but others have improved his technology and he has fallen behind. These days he puts his mechanized workforce to use in a tile factory. Currently, protesters are picketing his factory, outraged at the prospect of automatons replacing human workers.

    The mansion itself is heavily guarded; high walls, at least a dozen patrolling guards, dogs, the works. Bates’ reputation is that he highly values his privacy and is reclusive, but in truth he is utterly paranoid. Few people know that he wasn’t actually responsible for his own advances in technology, and that it was actually stolen by adapting modern dwarven technology for his own purposes. The dwarves who served as his patron have made it clear that his days are numbered for sharing their secrets with the world. As a result, Gilbert has lived in fear for decades. He is constantly looking over his shoulder and gets startled by something as innocent his own servants entering a room. Gaining an audience with him is nearly impossible.


    I'm gonna make more, too. If you guys like it, I'll post those as well. Maybe I should reserve another post while I have a chance?
    Last edited by Douche; 2015-12-16 at 11:03 AM.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    SolithKnightGuy

    Join Date
    Nov 2015

    Default Re: I'm helping my DM make some NPCs... What do you guys think?

    Bump, I guess... Now that I think about it, you don't really see many literary critiques on this board. Mostly mechanical stuff or coming up with creative scenarios, but not really rating peoples writing. Perhaps I should post this on a different board? Any suggestions?

    Despite all that, here's another one :P
    Spoiler: Janus Malnon
    Show
    Janus Malnon – Tiefling (Disguise Self as human), Salesman/Bard
    By all appearances, Janus is a human. Bright green eyes and a neat haircut make him appear like a wholesome 30 year old man, and people are initially drawn to his polite and welcoming demeanor. After spending more time with him, though, it becomes clear that while his mouth is smiling, his eyes are not. (Google Image Tom Cruise for reference. Look in his dead eyes).

    Janus, who goes by “Jack” while disguised as a human, is the owner of “UniteAmerica”, a multi-level marketing company (essentially door-to-door salespeople, somewhat pyramid schemes) whose clients include phone/cable companies, charities, and energy drinks. He employs a team of 85 salespeople who work all around the county, hocking their products, desperate for commission.

    The office of UniteAmerica has Jack and his top salespeople giving rousing speeches, creating the illusion that they are rock stars like the Wolf of Wall Street, when really they’re working for scraps while Jack makes the real money. His favorite line is that “All your wildest fantasies can come true with hard work and dedication to my system.” Even though what he’s doing is clearly exploitation, his system of motivational speech, repetition, and ridicule of failure/celebration of success has created an almost cult-like atmosphere in the office. While there is a high turnover rate for those who see through the bull****, those who do remain are quite brainwashed. Similar to a cult, they tune out and even alienate anyone who tries to get them out of Jacks “system”, whether they are strangers or family.

    Behind the scenes, Janus - the Tiefling – owns a large collection of cursed items. Presented as gifts to those he finds most open to suggestion, these items bestow cruel and ironic fates to whoever accepts and uses them - for instance; a perfume that makes a man irresistible to women, but causes him to be impotent; a skin crème that restores youth, but only one dose will Benjamin Button the into nothingness; basketball sneakers that let the player jump to extraordinary heights, but never be able to come down.

    The artifact that Janus used himself – granted by another fiend in disguise, just like him - is a box that, when opened, made everyone he met be enamored by him, but took away any ability to empathize with anyone, and turned him into the sociopath he is today.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Titan in the Playground
     
    PirateCaptain

    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    On Paper
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: I'm helping my DM make some NPCs... What do you guys think?

    If you're just writing up NPC descriptions, experience with the rules does not matter.


    A good NPC should have a few things.

    1) A reasonable place within the campaign world as it has been established.
    Gilbert Bates has a clear place in the world. He's a wealthy industrialist and inventor
    The Butcher has no such place. You mention he carries a big axe (In a modern setting?) and it seems like he fights frequently, but we have no idea what he actually DOES with his life. Is he a criminal? a mercenary? A guard?

    2)At least one role to play in the story.
    Bates could serve as a powerful ally or Enemy to the NPCs. He could ask them to help resolve the disputes with the protesters, or protesters could ask the PC's to investigate him/sabotage his factory. Or the Dwarves could be involved. Lots of plot hooks there.
    The Butcher could also be an ally or enemy, but since we don't know his motivations, allegiances, or role, we can't really see a place for him to be, unless the DM just needs a fill-in "Character who is good at fighting".

    3) Something that makes them distinctive/more interesting/more fun than a boilerplate generic NPC. A personality quirk, or an interesting feature, something.

    Butcher has some hints of an interesting personality, with the whole "Cheerful yet Terrifying" thing going on. I don't get much sense of Bate's personality, except that he's scared and reclusive.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dsurion View Post
    I don't know if you've noticed, but pretty much everything BRC posts is full of awesome.
    Quote Originally Posted by chiasaur11 View Post
    So, Astronaut, War Hero, or hideous Mantis Man, hop to it! The future of humanity is in your capable hands and or terrifying organic scythes.
    My Homebrew:Synchronized Swordsmen,Dual Daggers,The Doctor,The Preacher,The Brawler
    [/Center]

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    SolithKnightGuy

    Join Date
    Nov 2015

    Default Re: I'm helping my DM make some NPCs... What do you guys think?

    Quote Originally Posted by BRC View Post
    If you're just writing up NPC descriptions, experience with the rules does not matter.


    A good NPC should have a few things.

    1) A reasonable place within the campaign world as it has been established.
    Gilbert Bates has a clear place in the world. He's a wealthy industrialist and inventor
    The Butcher has no such place. You mention he carries a big axe (In a modern setting?) and it seems like he fights frequently, but we have no idea what he actually DOES with his life. Is he a criminal? a mercenary? A guard?

    2)At least one role to play in the story.
    Bates could serve as a powerful ally or Enemy to the NPCs. He could ask them to help resolve the disputes with the protesters, or protesters could ask the PC's to investigate him/sabotage his factory. Or the Dwarves could be involved. Lots of plot hooks there.
    The Butcher could also be an ally or enemy, but since we don't know his motivations, allegiances, or role, we can't really see a place for him to be, unless the DM just needs a fill-in "Character who is good at fighting".

    3) Something that makes them distinctive/more interesting/more fun than a boilerplate generic NPC. A personality quirk, or an interesting feature, something.

    Butcher has some hints of an interesting personality, with the whole "Cheerful yet Terrifying" thing going on. I don't get much sense of Bate's personality, except that he's scared and reclusive.
    Good points, I will definitely take that into consideration if I write more... I do think writing should speak for itself, and I've failed if I have to explain myself, buuut... remember, I'm just creating these for the DM's use. I want to give him the flexibility to use them as he pleases without feeling like he has to shoehorn them exactly as I've described them. The Butcher, I just wrote him for the DM to be able to use him wherever he wants. It was intentionally nondescript so that he has a clear personality, but he can be an enforcer-type character when the DM feels like he would need one.

    I'll try to flesh out my characters personality more. I've read other instances where people suggest "quirks" but I don't really understand that very well... Is that, like, verbal tics? Owning a lot of cats? Actually I think it would be funny if Bates' mansion was overrun by cats, hahaha
    Last edited by Douche; 2015-12-18 at 09:30 AM.

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