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Old 06-05-2005, 01:06 AM   #1
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I talked about this on the forums of where I play, but I'm interested in what some other people think as well.

Do all that many people have NPCs that are closely associated with their characters (like family, friends and such)?

If you do, do you ever bring them 'on stage' so to speak and do they get any playing time?

I like using them myself to enhance storylines, and provide atmosphere to a place. For example, if a character of mine runs a tavern, I'll emit a couple regulars and a couple servers/waitresses that are often there. If my character's NPC friends need some time on stage I'll find ways to do it, especially if it makes the life for PCs more interesting.

Anyone else do this?
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Old 06-05-2005, 09:30 AM   #2
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It depends upon the situation. Some games won't allow you to do this. Certainly as a game master, I like to involve numerous characters with meaningful relationships as often as possible. As a player ... I lean more toward trying to form interesting relationships with other players.

Don't get me wrong - having players control NPCs can help to push along or create many good stories. The problem that often arises from such situations is that a player will become too self-contained, crafting stories that revolve entirely around his player and his NPCs. Many eventually hit a point where they are simply writing stories that others can read, rather than participating in interactive roleplaying. Unless it is done just right, these stories become immensely interesting to the player writing them and immensely pointless to everyone else.

The most enjoyable roleplay that I've ever been involved in always involved other characters who my player has built up a complex history with. At one point, another player and I decided to make our long-standing characters half-siblings, which really opened up a lot of interesting scenes. There's just something more interesting about the give and take between two players that tends to lead me away from controlling more than one character at a time.
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Old 06-05-2005, 12:37 PM   #3
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Don't get me wrong - having players control NPCs can help to push along or create many good stories. The problem that often arises from such situations is that a player will become too self-contained, crafting stories that revolve entirely around his player and his NPCs.
I see what you're saying about a potential problem. Personally, I figure it'll all balance out. If someone makes it all about them and their NPCs and it's too static, people won't RP with them at all and it's the self-centered player's loss.

As for what I do? One of my characters runs a tavern, for example, so I'll bring it to life a bit with a recurring NPC waitress that some players have gotten to know. I like to think that I'm just adding environment to be interacted with rather than making a static story play before everyone's eyes.

Another example of my NPC usage was I ran a couple events that involved breaking into somewhere, but no one in the PC group had much in the way of computer expertise, so I gave them the NPC that had been prodding them along with the plot so far and had computer experience. - Of course, this requires more of a GM friendly environment than a lot of places, I think.

As for relatives? I said in another post I've tried looking around for a couple roles to be filled, but it's just never panned out, so I bring them on as NPCs. - I try to avoid playing NPCs for the sake of having them, but rather because they allow me to open up stories that otherwise would be much harder to tell.
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Old 07-01-2005, 11:28 AM   #4
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Old 07-02-2005, 02:19 AM   #5
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In the game I've developing, I'm hoping to make family relationships far more common than seen on most MUDs. I simply got tired of seeing orphan characters all the time. So, I decided that encouraging PCs to create more detailed character backgrounds, including family members, would be a goal of mine. To do this, one has to offer incentives and NPC family members would be one such incentive.

I've got several ideas for doing this, but there are pitfalls. First, one has to be certaint that the PCs won't abuse NPC relatives (ie, order them to attack others or act out of character as bodyguards or something). Additionally, one has to be sure that the background for the NPCs is just as complete as that for the PCs (and that is sometimes hard enough). Furthermore, PCs can't create disposable characters or disposable NPCs (ie, parents on their deathbed or relatives who are in extremely risky occupations). Additionally, one has to give these NPCs a setting that allows them to function within the society (ie, if they've got NPC family members, they need homes too).

All this creates a lot more work and management to oversee. It'll also involve careful planning and instruction to be sure that the concept is understood and not abused (and if abused, what the penalties will be). Fortunately (or unfortunately depending upon perspective), I'm still early in the process.

Take care,

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Old 07-02-2005, 12:49 PM   #6
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I roleplayed an NPC bodyguard for my character on one MUD. Although I'm not sure I'd call it an NPC character, because the character was played by me and created by me. It was done through emotes, and mentioned in my description. Most people seemed to think it was good, and although I was by no means the first person to do this on that MUD my use of a supporting character promted a lot of other players to do a similar thing and I'm often creditted as having begun the practice (although amongst many of my roleplaying friends there it was quite common practice). I don't know why my experience was a success, perhaps the MUD I was playing was right for it or perhaps because it worked well with the character I was roleplaying.

I think it would be a good idea to establish a main character before introducing an emoted character, and also being certain of the accepted codes of behaviour on the particular MUD you are playing. However I think that emoted characters can add to roleplay when done apropriately. I'd like to see more MUDs where you could control secondary characters (Is NPC really the right term if there is a player controlling them?) as part of gameplay, which seems to be what prof1515 has mentioned. Personally I'd like to see systems to hire henchmen/companions, so knights could have squires, mercenaries have hired muscle, wizards have familiars etc. This is the most common use of emoted characters I have seen, and it should be easy to implement (I believe there are a number of MUDs which do implement this in different ways).
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