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Also on Game and Story Design
Friday, May 31, 2013
Discussion: An Old Friend Is In Town
For today's discussion I figured I'd do more of a mini-challenge than an actual discussion. The prompt for today, and using a game you are currently running: an old friend has just informed you that they'll be in town and they'd like to sit in on your game. They are a good gamer, you've known them a while, but haven't been able to play with them in a while. You'd like to have them involved in the session as more than just an observer, but you don't have a lot of time to prepare things to go forward. What do you do?
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It depends a lot on the type of role player the person is, I'll give two examples.ReplyDelete
Person 1: Awesome role player who thrives on in depth characters, and can work reasonably with any set of motivations.
Person 2: Awesome role player who can catch and run with anything thrown at them with no preparation time.
With person 1 I write up a one paragraph backstory, a 1 paragraph reason for being there, and a one sentence motivation. I then throw them into the situation the players are in as an "outside investigator" or what have you.
Person 2, I simply tell them you'll be involved. At any point in the session I need an NPC who has no clue what is going on, I say "2! You're a cop, first day on the job. You see a bunch of wolves attacking some people, one of whom just hurled a lightning bolt. Oh, and a wolf just got hit by a car, and turned into a dead human. What do you do?"
Given that you know him well & know he has gaming chops, my first choice would be to have them run a key NPC that's already part of your scenario. He would not have the latitude to play the character however he wanted, like he would a PC, so this isn't something I'd consider with a last minute stranger.ReplyDelete
If no key NPC fits the bill for that, my second choice would be to create one for him. Perhaps, given some thought, there is a possible NPC that might naturally spring out of their current situation. With this suggestion you might find yourself thinking that if there was a natural NPC then they'd already be part of the story. However, I find that now that you have a real reason for one, if you turn your creative mind loose with the assignment you might get inspired with something that really works.
As long as the NPC is reasonable and you don't just completely slop him in here, which I know you would never do, I think the excitement/variety added by a guest-player is worth it.
Another outside consideration would be to have your friend run antagonist forces, if by chance you had a sizable combat coming up. It might be cool to have a little PvP-esque combat with an intelligent thinking mind behind enemy choices, rather than a harried GM trying to keep track of everything.