My last article I pulled a number of techniques I used together to make suggested methodology in quickly creating more interesting NPC’s. I thought I would try apply the methodology as whole and writing it up as a case study.
Naskia, one of the characters from the Cyriels prostitutes post had mentioned her father who could become an noteworthy NPC in the some of the scenarios hooks. I also had no idea who he was beyond a generic trilian citadel guard. So good place to try out a full methodology.
This process took me about 15 minutes form very bare outline to a comprehensive set of notes and a feel I had defined the Character, the actual write up took a little longer, but unless you’re looking to publish the NPC that is unneeded.
Archetype and Basic Details
Ok I knew the character was Balazaring, currently a citadel guard in Trilus, old enough to have daughter in her mid teens. For his cult I choose Balazar(subcult of Yelmalio) as a standard citadel guard cult, which has a shrine in Trilus.
More his base nature I choose ‘follower’ as I felt his obedience to Kind Yalaring makes a believable reason why he has not acted regarding his missing daughter until now, and makes sense for a citadel guard.
His name Gastori Greyeyes was just chosen quickly from the lists of balazaring names, trying to avoid names id used for other NPC’s.
But still we have a very average citadel guard type character and little to bring him to life.
For runes cults I choose the a combination of the Foundchild runes of the culture and his cult runes so we have death, fire(sky) and truth.
His personality needs to reflect both his role in society and the more passive role I would want him to take in any plots, ( I want the PC’s to the front driving things ) , so I opt to stay within the normal for his archetype and choose traits of Conservative, Honourable, Unimaginative, Generous, and Stubborn.
These further explain his inaction to date but also give him a couple of traits which make him likeable and affable as well as some traits that make him difficult for the PC’s.
But again all very believable but lacking any spark that makes him interesting or individual.
History and Direction
First I decide the Gastori is where he always wanted to be, growing up as hunter and the dream of being a Citadel Guard. He has fulfilled his dream and is ‘as happy as pig in muck’.
He got there with Yalaring on of his early supporters ( probably a clan mate), and supporting his coup of previous clan. This times him closely to Yalaring and makes him incredibly loyal, but also has Yalaring being interested in him as well.
Interests, Quirks & Physical Definition
So far the character has a plausible story but it seems a little flat so I jump to interests and quirks to add some interest and distinction.
The two interests that jump put at me are tattoos and horses. I’m also looking for a visual distinction so decide to combine the two with a arm sleeve tattoo of a horse, and to make actually distinctive and Glorantha I decide to make the tattoo animate, magical and drawn by a powerful shaman.
Looking at something else different I decide to give him a pentian riding and archery style. A nice quirk but needs to be believable, Ok where did he learn it? Well he would have learned his horsemanship after becoming a citadel guard, so if there was a pentian also in the Guards at that point who could have trained him that makes sense, with the odd fellows who would be pulled together by Yalarings coup that is quite plausible.
Attitudes and Relationships
These will come out of the story as defined, high loyalty to Yalaring, some friendship and loyalty with both the shaman who did his tattoo and his pentian friend who taught him riding. His missing daughter is also an obvious relational aspect.
Internal Conflict & Flaws
Ok I don’t want to add anything more to this character, so other things internal conflict and flaws need to come out of what is already there
Reinforcing the theme is internal conflict is loyalty to lord or family, which he has come down on the wrong side of, and his inability to put family before duty is a flaw that has followed him through life. This would explain why other siblings are not close and involved in trying to find and rescue Naskia.
So good follower, poor father.
So at the end of my process I had these bullet point notes, which is enough for any GM to run his NPC off.
Trilus Balazaring, Experienced Citadel Warrior, Initiate of Balazar
Runes; Fire 2 , Death 2, Truth 1
- Mature warrior, Barrel Chested, platted beard
- Happy to be where he is, what he always wanted, a hunter from a clan
- Supported Yalaring in as he became king
- Very grateful to Yalaring, incredibly loyal
- Conservative, honourable, unimaginative, generous, stubborn
- Proud Horseman, Rides in a Pentian style, and is a reasonable horse archer
- and old friend rarely seen in Balazar now is a pentian traveller called, used to be a Citadel warrior in the early days of Yalaring’s reign
- Loves his Tatoos, Has a magical moving Tatoo of a horse on his arm that also works as a mobility 3 matrix, that only works on his mount. This was inked by a shaman he paid and had never met before or since.
- Haunted by the capture of his daughter.
- Has sworn death upon whoever was responsible for the raid, and he suspects the Lunar empire.
- Straight forward slightly formal manner to dealing with people
- Poor father.
However translating this into a (website) publishable NPC description, adding stats took less than 5 minutes.
Trilus Balazaring, Experienced Citadel Warrior, Initiate of Balazar
Gastori is an experienced citadel warrior from Trilus. Approaching 40 years of age he is a barrel-chested man, with platted beard and brown hair which is starting to turn grey. However his tattoos are many and one of note.
In his younger days he was a hunter from the same clan as King Yalaring and was one of the first to pledge his support when Yalaring made his bid for Kingship. Yalaring has rewarded him with a role as citadel warrior a position he always wanted and was never able to obtain under the previous dynasty.
With a straight forward manner Gastori could not be happier than in his current role and is incredibly loyal to Yalaring. His a conservative, stubborn and honourable man, if somewhat unimaginative in his methods. He was reputation for generosity with friends and family in the citadel and is well liked by most.
Gastori is haunted by the his daughter being captured in raids some 3 season ago. He has sworn to kill whoever is responsible for his daughters disappearance but so far has done nothing about it due to the duties of his perceived position. He wishes go search for her, but feels torn in his responsibility to his lord and family. This has been the pattern in his life and he is now estranged from most of his grown children and his wife.
On his left arm he has a sleeve tattoo of a horse, drawn by a noteable shaman which is animated and can be seen running. This tattoo is also a matrix for mobility 3 which can only be cast of horses. He is very proud of this and it is usually on display.
A fine horseman, he rides in the pentian style and carries and can use a pentian bow. He was taught by Orusa’Jin a Pentian who served Yalaring in the early years of his kingship, but now only passes through Balazar occasionally.
|Physical:||Strength 3, Dexterity 3, Stamina 3|
|Mental:||Intelligence 2, Wits 2, Perception 3|
|Social:||Manipulation 2 , Appearance 2, Charisma 2|
|Talents:||Alertness 2, Athletics 2, Brawl 2, Dodge 2, Intimidation 2, Streetwise 1|
|Skills:||Archery 3, Crafts 2,Etiquette 1, Leadership 2, Melee 3, Riding 3, Stealth 2, Survival 2|
|Knowledge’s:||Culture 1, Investigation 1, Languages 1, Myth 2, Politics 1, Divine Lore 1 ,Spirit Lore 1|
|Runes:||Fire 2 , Death 2, Truth 2|
|Spirit Magic:||Bladesharp 3, Speedart 2, Protection 2, Detect 2 – Mobility 3 in tattoo|
|Rune Magic:||Pact with Balazar – 4pts|
|Virtues:||Vigor 3, Trust 3, Generosity 4|
|Backgrounds:||Allies 2, Artefact 2 (tattoo), Contacts 2, Cult Status 2, Family 1, Influence 2, Past Lives 1, Resources 2, Status 2, Witta 2|
|Flaws & Merits||Loyalty Yalaring – 1pt merit|
|Equipment:||Heavy Armour 3pt, Long spear 3pr , Composite Bow 3pt, Horse, Shortsword 2pt|
These ideas have given nice potential for other NPC’s, first a shaman who creates magical animated tattoo’s , and the second an older pentian horseman with some good knowledge and contracts around Balazar. Both NPC’s I may like in my game.
If i’m feeling really ambitious its asks questions on what happened to the other people who helped Yalaring rise to power, and what happened to the remainder of Gandringer dynasty and their followers?