Stories Within Stories

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #0810

Roleplaying Tips GM Michael Downey has this great tip for us about finding story opportunities in NPC reactions.

Hey Johnn,

Just thought I would share a new trick I found for adding some variety and depth to NPC reactions.

When I create an NPC, I roll a d10 to determine their initial reaction to the party using this range:

  • 1 Hostile
  • 5 Neutral
  • 10 Infatuated

Then, I ask, “Why does the NPC have this reaction? What’s the story?”

Picture a party sneaking into a brigand camp and they run into a guard, who has an 8 reaction. Maybe the boss maintains loyalty by using blackmail or holding families hostage. So, the guard sees the intruders as a possible means of escape.

Or the group meets a pleasant-looking old lady selling apples at the market, who leaps at them with her paring knife (because her reaction was a 1. Why? Maybe one of them looks like the bandit who murdered her only son last week. Stories within stories. 🙂