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Insta-NPCs #3: Scum and Villainy, Inc. PDF

****( ) (based on 1 rating)

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Have you ever created an amazing place for your campaign only to discover that you don't immediately have a collection of NPCs to fill it? Or have your PCs ever stumbled into a place you haven't had time to fully develop as a living, breathing part of the campaign?

Well, why not take out a handful of dice and roll up an instant NPC! Or in this case, an "Insta-NPC"!

The Insta-NPCs product line is designed to offer one or more tables to roll on to figure out a little something about the NPC you're pulling together.

Villains. Without them, what’s a hero supposed to do? Han Solo needs his “wretched hive of scum and villainy” to be discovered in. The Dread Pirate Roberts wears a mask and at best will kill poor Westley in the morning. And who else is going to cut a man’s heart out with a spoon than the Sheriff of Nottingham? Robin Hood is just a homeless guy who likes camping without him.

As GMs and storytellers, we know our villains have to be there. Whether it’s your PCs who are the villains or heroes fighting against villainy in your worlds, that interplay between good and evil – that *conflict* between opposing viewpoints – is very important to crafting compelling stories at and beyond the game table. But what makes them compelling?

Insta-NPCs #3: Scum and Villainy, Inc. hopes to provide one answer to that question by providing a table-based method of discovering the reasons behind a particular villain's behavior. The tables focus on five main areas: origin, goal, methods, role, and emotion.

For example, let's take poor Garag, an orc with a penchant for accidental destruction. His career began as a youngling in the tribe when he tried to help a stranger injured on the road and in the process of "saving" him, caused howling pain and the spillage of a great deal of blood loss (Origin: "Good deed gone bad"). As a result, he gained some status in the tribe as a vicious warrior. He liked the feeling (Goal: "Recognition") and decided he couldn't stop now. He grew over time to fit his reputation, gaining strength, weapons, and brute force methods of damaging his enemies (Method: "Physical might"). But under it all, he's still the scared little youngling who just wanted to help (Core Emotion: "Insecure").

How does he interact with the PCs? As a reason for them to gather a posse to destroy his orcish raiding party (Role: "Catalyst"). The vicious orcs under Garag's leadership have become a huge problem for a local village on the edge of their territory and the PCs have been contracted to take out the threat...

Meanwhile, on the other side of the galaxy, let's look at Ninuby, an alien from the Omega quadrant who somehow stands to get in the PC's way on an upcoming mission on the outer worlds. Ninuby was picked on as a kid. Puny, pale blue, and not at all the standard for physical excellence demanded by the hive mind, he was kicked out of the nest and left for dead (Origin: "Childhood trauma"). He barely survived through his wits and was taken in by one of the minor species on his planet. But Ninuby never forgot (Goal: "Revenge"). He grew and explored his new environment, learning through trial and error of the flora his hive avoided like the plague. Nearly dying a time or two, he decided he would use these naturally-occurring elements to destroy the hive from within (Method: "Corruption"). He seeks nothing less than the complete destruction of the people who exiled him to die (Core Emotion: "Devastation").

How does Ninuby get in the way of the PCs? They're delivering goods to the hive when Ninuby's plan goes into action and must stop the attack somehow or be unable to leave again (Role: "Obstacle"). The refueling crew in the hive were among the first to suffer from the strange poison being introduced from the outside world and hive leaders are wondering if the PCs are at fault...

Like all Moebius Adventures supplements, Insta-NPCs #3: Scum and Villainy, Inc. is designed to be system- and genre-neutral. This 8 page PDF includes five tables with examples, a worksheet, some guidance on creating villainous groups, and a small organization you can use right away.

This is the next in a series of short, system-neutral supplements from Moebius Adventures designed to encourage more creative descriptions in your games. Be sure to check out everything else that's available to stimulate your imagination!

Product Availability

Will be added to your My Downloads Page immediately upon purchase of PDF.

Are there errors or omissions in this product information? Got corrections? Let us know at store@paizo.com.

MAGIN3E


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Product Reviews (1)

Average product rating:

****( ) (based on 1 rating)

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An Endzeitgeist.com review

****( )

This little, system-neutral pdf clocks in at 8 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, leavintg us with 6 pages of content, so what do we get?

It has happened to the best of us - DMing for years and then, suddenly - dry. No idea. We need a villain, but, due to real life issues or simple stress, the creative juices just won't flow. This is where this pdf comes into the picture.

While its introduction explains how to use it and we get some sample, developed stories, this pdf breaks villains down into components, which you role - archetypical components, if you will. These are Origins, Goal, Method, Role and Emotion. Each of the different aforementioned components is assigned a dice from d4 to d20; To create a villain's personality-skeleton, if you will, you simply roll once on all of the tables and write down the result.

Simple, right? And yes, that works surprisingly well. to give you an example of the output; i rolled on them:

As origin, I rolled family tragedy. As a goal "advancement at all costs." For methodology, I got "Law." The Role for the villain to play was "Catalyst." Finally, the associated emotion was "Amusement."

From this framework, these scarce few words, one can easily craft a vast plethora of personas for just about any setting.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no glitches. Layout adheres toa printer-friendly two-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes with nice stock-art and has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Author Brain Fitzpatrick's generator herein is pretty hard to rate - why? Because it does what it's supposed to - admirably well. As a means of getting the creative juices flowing, this pdf is indeed a nice catalyst and is fully functional. That being said, it is also slightly less varied than I would have liked - a generator with character flaws, a despicable general ideological bent, things like that would have easily helped making the creative process even easier for the DM. Just a tad more depth would have made this, at least to me, even more useful. Hence, while not in any way shape or form bad, especially due to the low price, I will settle on a final verdict of 4 stars for a good, useful tool.

Endzeitgeist out.


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