So I have been grumbling to myself for some time that running npcs is a chore, and often they lacked colour to the players who just looked at them as numbers to be overcome. SO I sort an answer, which came to me due to a lot of reading I have been doing with games that have more narrative elements to them, freeing up the systems for all sides... I gave control to my players. GASP!
So when we have an encounter now I dole out NPC cards to the players with an outline of the creature/npc on one side and some boxes to fill out on the other, very quick fill boxes, and most of the time only one.
The players get to control the NPC almost completely, and I reward them to doing nasty things to players, being inventive and inflicting hurts. The best NPC player gets a coin they can use to cash in later for small benefits.
Turns out it worked really well, my players actually seem to like hurting the other players, and get excited and involved when given a chance to be inventive and surprising. Who would have guessed.
So the game we are currently playing is Runequest 2.5 (the newly reprinted classic). Following is a page I give to all the players and allow them to select ONE option to apply to their NPC. This remains a secret.
Some of them are restricted, like POW stones and magical items, they generally can only have one of these in a group.
So far it seems to be working really well.
Things you can do to the NPCs.
Anything you give them, you must use.
- STR: +1AC, ^Dam dice, Strong/Powerful
- CON: +6hp, +2 cols. Sturdy/Robust
- DEX: +10% Defence+Skills+Ranged -1SR, Quick
- INT: +2 spells, Smart/Clever
- CHA: +10Defence, +3HP, +1col, Handsome
- SIZ: ^Dam bonus +3HPs +1 col -1SR Large
A random RUNESPELL
CHOICE of a battle spell, free use.
Extra 2 battle spells, random
Armour values +2
Chaos feature *2
+20% ATK in MELEE
+20% ATK in Ranged
+20% ATK in Thrown
^dice Damage bonus
HEAL 6 spell ability
Bound spirit in Fetish +6POW
Comes with a trap somewhere
Blade venom 4
Uses POISONS, str3d6-1
SR is 2 less.
+20% to a useable skill, must use it.
Starts with advantageous position, or hidden.
Charger, Move +2 ATK+10% ^Dam dice
Spell matrix *1
Fetish, one use magic
RANSOM, generally CHA/2x100L. Can double this but need to take an extra bonus.
Reinforcements: +1 average guys immediate OR +2 average guys in 3 rds. +3 average guys in 5rds.
Creative inspiration by YOU! AMAZE ME!
Auto hit, once, normal, target.
Team effort, if adjacent +20% for both, melee
Target, +20% attacking a selected target.
POW crystal 1d6+2pts, gains +2 spells or +4 levels. OR With a spirit, gain 3 spells or +6 levels, 2d6+4 POW.
A Magic Item *1
Creatures given to those without tokens first, else random
Fun&Creative use will result in a token reward from the GM. These can be cashed in for ‘stuff’? Minor magical items, rerolls, extra cards etc.
*1: if you take a magic item you must USE IT! If you gain it at the end it deducts from your rewards.
*2: A Chaos feature requires a chaos creature.