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D&D 3E
The Memorable NPC 
19th-Nov-2004 04:22 pm
bitch
How do you make your NPCs memorable? How do you pull at player's heart strings to the point where they're upset when an NPC leaves/dies/falls to some sort of woe? I'm more talking about NPCs that are allies, or neutral figures that have helped the players in the past, than villains; although, if you have villain advice you feel like you simply must post, by all means, I would love to read it too. :-)

Cross posted to _roleplayers_.
Comments 
20th-Nov-2004 01:03 am (UTC) - You can't guarantee a reaction
No matter what, you can't guarantee a reaction. The only thing I might suggest would be to have the NPC form strong bonds with some of the characters, such as helping them out, protecting them, doing them special favors, and otherwise roleplaying a friend. Other tactics that have worked for me in the past includes expressing strong positive motives from the NPC, values that the players strongly share themselves. Then they'll feel that the NPC is part of their personal tribe and they'll try to protect them. If the players know where the NPC is coming from morally, they'll feel more comfortable about becoming emotionally invested in him or her.
20th-Nov-2004 03:00 am (UTC) - Re: You can't guarantee a reaction
Along these lines, I like to give NPCs something in common with the PCs, say they've escaped form the same slaver, at a different time period, or they served in the same organization before leaving to roam the globe.
20th-Nov-2004 01:38 am (UTC)
Ensure that your PCs are female.
20th-Nov-2004 08:21 am (UTC)
First you need a group that cares, and a game that isn't just a hack and slash. If an NPC is generally a good person, and helps the party out, at risk, for no reason other than that it is the right thing to do.

I had an NPC named Amos, a paladin who served as a moral ideal for several characters, a good fellow and teammate for others. When he died in a giant battle defending the people of his town from deadly constructs that were attacking, after swinging the mortal blow, the pc's almost cried.

Then again, one almost cried when his talking horse died....
22nd-Nov-2004 09:54 pm (UTC) - Harsh!
Man, you'd kill a talking horse? What kind of DM are you? I would have let the horse get off with a crippling wound or something, but I wouldn't have killed it outright. But then, the only way to die in my game is through sheer stupidity or relentless bad luck. (not that they live charmed lives, but I prefer impovershing them to putting them six feet down)
20th-Nov-2004 02:07 pm (UTC)
They have to be unique enough to make the party interested, not just the typical stereotypes. Examples of mine: Herman, a cleric of Ilmater (god of suffering) had a thing for getting the s**t kicked out of him in fights, and generally liked to suffer. It helped that during the election season, someone named Herman was running for Congress, so there were signs in people's yards everywhere. (He lost) Second example: Valeria, unbelievably hot (but possibly a lesbian) rogue spy that seemed to pop up everywhere. The whole party wanted her, but she wasn't into it, and was mysterious enough that they were afraid to try any funny stuff with her. It also helped that I found a picture online to illustrate who she was.
20th-Nov-2004 05:20 pm (UTC)
To make a memorable NPC it is all about how you play them. In the game I play in or DM had two NPC kobold guides that were helping the party. He played them so well that when one fell in combat and died even after the party cleric tried to heal him many of the party was sad and his name is still remembered fondly by many of the PCs. One even named his pet dog after him.

The best Villin I ever came up with did not last long aginst the party (lvl 1 adventure) But I made him memorable with his death. I had him wisper to the pc who ran him through as he expired "Thank You"..... She was so shook up she never attacked on sight again.

Lord Skull
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