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Thursday, November 21, 2013

The NPC progession & character creation

As I've mentioned before, I enjoy bringing old characters (mine or others) back to life in the form of NPC's in my games. This way the back story that I or a friend originally created can live on or evolve into something new.

The Pathfinder game that I'm working on will be no exception... but it will take some serious work on my part to bring back some of my favorite characters into a fantasy setting.

Since about 1997, I've primarily focused of playing or storytelling White Wolf's World of Darkness games. Most of these games have been in a modern setting. While many of the character concepts can be easily translated to a fantasy realm, there are those that will just not do like the hacker character that I've re-envisioned from a ghoul in a Vampire: The Masquerade LARP to a house-bound Glass Walker for Werewolf: The Apocalypse. Although it could be done with some serious tweaking of the concept, I'm just going to let it go as there are a plethora of other characters I can use.

I'm planning on spreading these NPC's out across the land, but I'm sure that there will possibly be 1 of them that will travel with the players depending on if there's a major gap in the parties needs.

So that got me thinking about character creation. I'm actually considering the first session of the game to bring everyone together to create their characters at one time. This way, we could try and strategically craft each character to fill the roles for the party. I've done this a couple of times before with the mortal campaign, and it seemed to work well.

For those ST/DM/GM's that allow players to have technology at the game table, how do you regulate players from being distracted by going online? I'm torn on technology at game for a number of reasons:

  1. It's a distraction to players and they frequently lose track of their place in the game.

  2. Not all players have the necessary books for the game, and I would like to be able to share my digital copies as well as other specific online resources.

  3. Sending players an IM for secret communication is easier than slipping them a written note.

  4. Allowing players to use computers or similar tech for character creation will allow me a chance to gather copies of everyone's character sheets easier.

Depending on the location of the game sessions, the solution to the online issue could be as easy as not allowing players access to the wifi. If the sessions are held at a public place, like our LGS, then I don't really have control over that.

For the books I have digitally, it's easy enough for me to have them available to download from a thumb drive. Certain online resources, such as, are invaluable to have access to. If only I could find an offline program that had the same functionality of that site, with all the information included. (You'll have to take a look for yourself to know its usefulness.)


  1. Hi John - John again. Last time I ran Pathfinder, I didn't have any policies on technology, one way or the other. In fact, I used d20PFSRD regularly to check rules. The only thing I can think of that might have been a negative is that going online *seems* like it should be a lot faster than looking something up in a book. You get impatient waiting for web pages to load, for a search to return the results you want, etc, and it feels like it slows the game down, even though it takes the same amount of time (or less) than using a book. As a GM, the rule of thumb I used is that if I sense the players getting restless because I'm taking too long, I forget about finding the actual rule and make a judgment on the spot. After the game there is time to look up specifics, and if using the actual rule would have caused the game to play out significantly different from your ruling, then in the next session, discuss with the players how they'd like to handle it: what happened happened, just use the "real" rule next time; the "real" rule sucks compared to your GM call, so just use the GM call in the future; replay the scenario; etc.

    As far as players using the technology, I can't think of any instances where it really affected game play too much. I mean, there were times where people were checking texts, FB, whatever, but they kept it quiet, and were able to keep track of what was going on well enough that it didn't affect the overall game flow.

    1. Thanx for the input, and I'm happy you're reading my stuff. I remember our days of roleplaying. Good times.

      Without trying to sound like a total ass, a couple of games I've played in, or ran, where 1 or more of the players have had their laptops or smartphones at the gaming table have had some issues of people not paying attention to combat or totally zoning out while playing online games or working on other projects.

      I'll admit that I have been guilty of this myself. I've brought my laptop to game so I could complete an assignment for a class that was due the next day... but I always made sure I was aware of the developments in game.

      As far as looking up the rules or specifics online vs. the book, using the online system works better when you're not certain which book the rule is in. Also, better source material for generating treasure hauls, IMHO, as opposed to using the books. Don't get me wrong. I'm not advocating digital over printed material. I just see the real benefit if I don't know which specific book to use. And I'm never opposed to using the GM call.

  2. Unfortunately, my android phone takes the short bus to school. I'll stick to what I can use on my trusty and faster laptop.


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