During one of the informal Pelgrane meetings, Robin asked all GMs present about their default NPC-style. The PCs start interacting with an NPC we haven’t planned something for; what style of NPC do we tend to default to? I kept notes!
- Gareth said he tends to introduce upper-class fops. And drunks. Maybe drunk upper-class fops.
- Cat also tends towards drunks. And Valley girls, because: the accent. Not necessarily drunk Valley girls. But not necessarily not drunk Valley girls.
- Noah’s default NPCs aren’t defined by personality, more like by activity. His players tease him because whenever there’s an unexpected NPC interaction, someone is busy loading or unloading a truck, or its era-appropriate equivalent. His default NPCs are stevedores and at any moment they can say, “Well the truck is ready, I gotta go.”
- Robin brings on dumb-guy walk-on characters or disarmingly frank and charming Big Bads. But if the NPCs are just one-scene villains, meant to be defeated, they frequently work very hard to hurt the PCs’ feelings, making their comeuppance that much sweeter.
- Similarly, I tend to introduce NPCs who are positioned to be sarcastically mocking, possibly because of the situation rather than their actual words. And I use funny voices. Which may burble out of control.
- Speaking of out of control speech patterns, when Ken used an extremely funny accent for descendants of the Marsh Family, his players kept arranging visits with the Marshes for no reason other than to force Ken to use the accent. This is probably payback, because when Ken’s players interact with new NPCs, these NPCs are most frequently worryingly helpful.
- Wade says he has two flavors of default NPC that emerge at the spur of the moment. One flavor is gruff and super-intense. The other flavor is absurdly wide-eyed and earnest. Both flavors of NPC tend to react the same to the PCs—with barely suppressed incredulity. “Well, that’s one approach I guess,” an NPC will say after hearing the PCs’ plans. “You certainly do seem to know what you’re doing, I mean, you must do this kind of thing a lot without lots of people getting killed and things catastrophically blowing up, so maybe that would work.”