In my last article about NPCs, I wrote that NPCs are memorable when they’re consistently useful or adversarial to the party. Outside of exchanging goods and money with the PCs, or harrying them at every turn, how can you make your party care about an NPC? Here are twenty possibilities.
Let’s kick this off with something uncontroversial: the ability to create and portray NPCs is one of the game master’s greatest tools, and NPCs can easily become the most memorable part of a tabletop roleplaying campaign (heck, BloodLetterPress is named after an NPC from a game that Nagi ran a few years ago). Here’s the problem: NPCs need to be written under a different set of principles from every other part of an adventure. Let’s look at how even the big names stumble, and how we can dodge or alleviate those problems and create some useful and memorable NPCs.