Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Preparing the NPCs

I had an interesting time on Sunday. Interesting in that on Friday/Saturday we "finished" a campaign that had been going for a year or so and decided that we'd like to play in the same world just a few generations later. The GM had been prepared for this and so laid out some information for the world and how it had changed, mostly due to the actions of the PCs in the end game of last campaign. Sunday was then spent detailing which NPCs were still alive that the new PCs might know or otherwise be attached to. Today, I want to talk about it a bit.

Why Was It Interesting?
So why was this interesting? Well for me it is a different way of prepping a game or story than I'm used to. I mean, I know about prepping NPCs in advance, but this was more. It was like going through the complete cast of the previous game and detailing who was alive, who was dead, who had how many kids, and where they were in life now.

I felt out of place with this as both a writer and player. Even though I can see the merits to it in world building.

As A Player
As a player, which may be more important for this blog, I felt weird because it was detailing a lot of stuff about the world that ultimately didn't affect me or my character. This is weird for me because those aspects of the world are ones, as a player, I've trained myself to look for in game and to explore and experience through actual play. It seemed almost unfair to have the advantage of knowing how these NPCs had been formed, what major events had shaped their life, and all that other stuff.

As A Writer
As a writer I worry about the amount of the world being locked down ahead of time. Developing the world is all well and fine, but if you define too much it can confine the story. Essentially the more that is set in stone now, the less that can be developed, revealed, or played with later. Maybe in a few months you realize that you really need or want an enemy in a castle to the northwest, only you've already assigned that castle to an ally. Now you can be stuck and it is hard to make things change. As a note though, games are better able to handle this confinement than stories. Though, stories have the liberty of being entirely under one person's control.

Ultimately though in the end it was fun. The GM in particular had a lot of fun and sees it as "us" (the whole group) building a world and story together, so she wants us involve in these parts as well. The confinement will also work well for her GMing style where it doesn't matter as much what the PCs do because, while they can change things, the NPCs will also do their own thing if the PCs don't interfere.

Still, for me it was a very interesting experience. Any of you do things similarly?

1 comment:

  1. I've never done something like that, but I've participated in very few campaigns - though the number is picking up.

    Seems an interesting concept since I think more typically part of the fun is considered the players discovering during gameplay those kinds of things you mentioned.