Started by Ron Edwards, August 17, 2011, 11:28:09 AM
QuoteNPCs do stuff. They aren't living in terror of the PCs, trying to brush them off. They respond deeply to the PCs towards their own priorities; they are grabby. They aren't helpless. They aren't dumbly locked into their single-blurb descriptions. And you don't protect them from themselves.You see, the phrase, "Just play the NPCs!" turns out to be a subcultural problem. I have learned that no one knows what I mean by it. It seems to me as if I'm giving the most straightforward advice possible. But after fifteen years, I now know that the communication rate is under 10%. Instead, it can go "doink" right off someone's defenses, because they don't get it, and what they don't get, they blink away. Or it can be heard, but mis-interpreted, as in, "Play the NPCs to elicit the desired player behavior," or "Play the NPCs according to a set track or flowchart." Or worse, thespian: "Act out the NPCs in full, with gestures and accents."Whereas what I actually mean by it is that when playing NPC 1's actions and dialogue, put aside any priorities except for those of NPC 1. Never mind what NPC 2 wants, or what the head or the ideology of the organization NPC 1 belongs to wants. Never mind what NPC 1's actions will do to anyone else's plans. Never mind what NPC 1's actions might do to the immediate outcome of this scene. Basically, NPC 1 can always and only do one of three things: hold steady which whatever goals and actions and tactics he was already doing; go solidly hard-core toward getting those goals using new and extreme tactics; or abandon those goals and adopting new ones, to whatever extreme seems (to him) warranted. And in each case, do it as effectively as possible. So when playing NPC 1, you play him. Then, switching to another NPC, do the same with him, and never the fuck mind what that would mean to NPC 1 - save that for when you come 'round to NPC 1 again.So it's not about an overview. It's not about a story. It's not about a plot. It's not about a tapestry. You're not playing "the world." You're playing characters one at a time at a very local, moment to moment level, and as far as the NPC behaviors are concerned, that is literally all.
QuoteAfter all, via his failed lie, Dennis had indeed "sent" her there, from a demon's point of view.
Quote from: Ron EdwardsThere should be absolutely no discussion between the two, whether "why we're together" (because that does not matter) or further processing of setting material (which should emerge from PC creation, not established here)
Quote from: David Berg on August 24, 2011, 02:59:44 AMJames, here's a thought on "just" playing NPCs:If you have designed them absolutely perfectly in prep to bang into the PCs in the right ways, then you can just play them.
QuoteHere's my question: how do you reconcile "just play the NPC's!" with "driving with bangs"? I think there's an implied bit of scene-framing in there, and I think it could stand to be made explicit.
QuoteWhen I'm GM'ing Sorcerer, I'm not just playing the NPC's. I'm filtering for NPC's whose natural inclinations will provoke interesting responses from the PC. If your mom doesn't really care that your demon made you shoot the bank CEO, well, your mom isn't going to be in the next scene no matter what irrelevant tidbit of information she may have about the neighbors.