Monday, February 23, 2015

List: 'One Unique Thing' for your NPCs

We've all got them. The random NPC we just threw in for players to get some information from, who has absolutely nothing to do with the plot, yet the players automatically latch on to. Often, I feel a sense of panicked bewilderment when this happens. A feeling of of, what did I do? Did I raise my eyebrow one too many times? Was it my fault for giving this guy a name... but I give everyone names!

I will accept this no longer! +Red Dice Diaries made a really great Youtube video about creating one unique thing for your player character. The basic idea being, add something to your character that sets them apart from everyone else, but does not help you mechanically.

I have created a list of 'One Unique Things' for my supernatural/fantasy campaign NPCs. So when my PCs, sinking into my convoluted master plot, of which I have only planned the bare bones of, decide that some random poor schmuck has depth of character - he can have depth of character!

I've made plenty of them so, if you like surprises like I do, roll 2d6 and use the one unique thing that relates to the number. For example a (2) & (6) would be 26.

(11) They were buried alive and survived
(12) They aren't in their own body and need to get back
(13) They were kept in a closet for half their life (I like to call this one the Potter)
(14) As a child they had an invisible friend and they still see them sometimes
(15) They survived a near death experience and now they can see ghosts
(16) Half of their body is horribly burnt
(17) They've kicked an addiction and struggle with it daily
(18) They've escape a cult (thanks John)
(19) They have gambling debts they've never paid
(20) Someone accidentally died because of them
(21) They have a stalker
(22) They have lost exactly one week of their life, waking up in a bathtub with no memory of what happened
(23) Their parents died when they were a child, they were raised by a cruel aunt/uncle
(24) Their lover is caught in a death-like sleep till they can free them
(25) People appear to them like skeletons and zombies, the world is terrifying
(26) They somehow survived a mass murder of their family, waking up covered in blood with bodies around them
(27) The character is a demon forced to live in mortal form for the rest of their years, never able to do anything close to what they could do before.
(28) The person is possessed by a ghost who is trying to take full control of their body
(29) They person used to be a member of a cult, but they escaped
(30) This person's skin reacts to water, burning them (the wicked witch)
(31) They are an empty shell of a person, only mimicking human emotion and not truly feeling it.
(32) They have a second eye growing out of their neck, at night they swear it is open
(33) They are plagued by tiny goblins who play wicked tricks on them at night
(34) They are addicted to a deadly drug
(35) They have horrible nightmares of how they will die
(36) They are being hunted by a supernatural creature for stealing their young
(37) The know someone from (insert name of PC here)'s past, but do not want to reveal it
(38) They are from another time (Medieval, the future, Victorian era)
(39) They've formed a creepy fan club for (insert name of PC here) and will show up randomly trying to insert themselves into the PC's life
(40) They were kidnapped as a child and still live with their captors
(41) They are slightly magnetic, this isn't enough to do anything useful, but things like paperclips stick to them
(42) Dogs hate them, cats love them
(43) In any reflective surface they look like a skeleton
(44) Old women are unusually attracted to them
(45) The character has a tendency to break anything given to them, by mistake
(46) They are technically a prince/princess
(47) If someone says 'eggsalad' they go insane and cannot be calmed till they are knocked out
(48) They have a very large doll collection that whispers to them at night. One morning they woke up and they had been bathed & dressed in fine clothing.
(49) They are a member of a gang
(50) They are an identical twin, sometimes they find it hard to distinguish between their thoughts and their siblings, as if they were the same person.
(51)The room they are in is always precisely 1 degree colder than it's surroundings
(52) They tried a strange dish while dining out one night and now they hunger for human flesh
(53) They are a selkie who has lost their skin
(54) They cast no shadow
(55) They are a result of a genetic experiment and because of gene splicing are half wolf (instincts, emotions, etc.)
(56) Though an adult, they can regress quickly into being a child
(57) They own a ring that they can never take off, at night it whispers, "killlllllll"
(58) There is a tattoo of an angry fish on their body that moves to a new place when touched, they received it after getting an all time high score on a Pachinko
(59) Instead of burping they say things in a demonic language, they don't know what it means
(60) They were granted three wishes by a genie, they could only make one wish before they lost the genie, and that was to always have perfect hair.
(61) They were a child prodigy who fell short in adult life
(62) When clipped their fingernails will slowly grow a new version of themselves with no memory (the s4ep2)
(63) Their most prized possession is a ball collection and they will go to any lengths to gain a new object for their collection
(64) Their finger acts like a mini Tesla coil when flicked
(65) As a child they were cursed by an evil fairy to be unlucky in love
(66) The character owns two pet ravens named Hugh and Monty

Check out John's original video here: