In a previous post, I discussed the “Rule of Three.” That’s all well and good for descriptions, but how can that be used to build better plots and stories?
Simple, give each major NPC three plot ideas. These can be secrets, things the NPC wants to accomplish or things the NPC wants to stop. Everyone has goals and secrets, right? And you never know when you’re going to be strapped for ideas for an adventure, or when the PCs are going to go off the rails and shatter your carefully constructed plans…why not have a backup, a bit of insurance against these things. Plus it never hurts to give your NPCs a bit more depth.
The three ideas need not be complicated, a simple sentence will suffice and you can always flesh it out later if need be. It’s particularly important to be simple and quick if you are planning on the PCs offing the NPC in the game; there’s no need to write an entire novella for a character that’s just going to be around for one encounter.
The best part of this method is that it might give you additional ideas for future NPCs. Say you have an NPC that secretly is studying to be a wizard, wants to retire in peace and has a rivalry with a local farmer. Right there, you have three possibilities for future plots. When you’re having a problem coming up with a good plot, you can go back and revisit the plots you have written down for the NPCs. Suddenly, it might pop into your head that one of the NPC’s studies might accidentally summon a horde of minor demons. BLAMMO! Instant plot hook!
If nothing else, you have a better idea of how the NPC operates in his own head, right? Give it a shot!
[tags]Rule of Three,Game Mastering,GMing,Role Playing Games[/tags]