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Game Master Tips With Matt Mercer – Creating Non-Playable Characters

NPCs; we all love them (or love watching them suffer), but not all NPCs are created equal. Here are some tips for making compelling NPCs!

  • First thing is first: you need to decided how detailed you want to go. This includes their name, sex, race, class (if any), alignment/morality, political and social affiliations, guilds, allies, and enemies.
  • Figure out the NPC’s ideals, desires, fears, and disposition towards your players.
  • Determine their appearance, equipment, special skills, and mannerisms.
  • If an NPC is intended for combat, make a battle sheet and keep in mind their combat abilities.
  • If your NPC has a voice, keep basic notes on which voice you use.
  • When creating a good villain, get inside their head! A lot of villains don’t see themselves as the bad guy: play with their twisted sense of morality and determine how they got to where they are.
  • Likewise, black and white characters can be boring – play in the shade of grey.
  • The Book of Vile Darkness is a good resource: especially when it comes to villain archetypes. Do you want a scheming liar, tyrant, sophisticate, misguided fool, or a straight up monster? The choice is yours!

Of course, these are just the basic tips written out in a handy list format. If you need more detail, check out the video above with Critical Role’s illustrious DM, Matt Mercer.

We’ll have more Game Master Tips every Friday, so stay tuned!!

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