NPCs their uses, impact and happiness


Pathfinder Online

Goblin Squad Member

Few questions/ideas for the way farms/settlements are going to use NPCs. I apologise if some of these questions or ideas are elsewhere.

1. NPC generation

Are NPCs automatically created when a settlement is founded are must they be attracted to the settlement. For example we know that when a farm/mine is created most of the hard work is done by NPCs. Are there factors that influence how quickly they appear? Do you need to have a stable food/alcohol supply? Do they need housing or religious buildings? I know some of these questions border more on a Citysim game, but I am interested as it leads to...

2. NPC happiness

Are NPCs automatons or can they be influenced in certain ways. For example does NPC happiness influence production or quality levels from a farm or mine? Does giving them access to better clothing or tools make them produce more? Can NPCs become discontent with the leadership of a settlement if it strays from a particular alignment, or doesnt provide the basic necessities? Can evil aligned settlements push the commonfolk to work harder, providing more produce at a lower quality? Can NPCs be induced to riot making it easier to overthrow government or enable an easy siege?

I may be over exaggerating the impact NPCs that GW intend to have on the game, but nonetheless interested to know :)

Goblin Squad Member

Worker NPCs may not be visible.

Their productivity can be influenced. If the settlement is lawful they will be more productive. The will usually be most producting in lawful good settlements.

Apparently NPC workers can be enslaved by LE settlements so they work for less. Nevertheless it is my understanding they will be unhappy in this condition and less productive therefore.

Goblin Squad Member

Hmmm so they will basically be automatons, kinda hoped they would be able to be more influential, especially for characters who may be investing points in charisma-based abilities.


We don't know much about how they will work really. We have been brainstorming all sorts of ways to influence them and honestly I expect we will be able to do things to make them happier, discontent etc..

Fairly sure that when you build say a farm, you won't have to go find NPCs to work it. One of the Devs did mention that they plan to allow settlements to pay for extra NPC guards, hopefully they will let players pay for NPC guards for their shops and such as well.

Goblin Squad Member

Hey quick question @Valandur, by 'we' do you mean the crowdforgers, alpha testers, the devs or all of the above? I have recently moved countries so I havnt been involved as I would have liked to have been in the development of the game, super psyched for it and want to help make it the best game it can be.

Goblin Squad Member

The Wiseman of the Wilds wrote:
Hey quick question @Valandur, by 'we' do you mean the crowdforgers, alpha testers, the devs or all of the above? I have recently moved countries so I havnt been involved as I would have liked to have been in the development of the game, super psyched for it and want to help make it the best game it can be.

Keep an eye out on these boards and on Goblinworks.com for additional opportunities to get more involved. Not sure when, but it should be soon (pretty soon after the second Kickstarter rewards are distributed as I understand it).

Goblin Squad Member

I'd imagine NPCs to be connected to buildings and or settlement. Meaning that the higher quality building, the better/happier NPCs you have. There might possibly be an option to upgrade them so they perform thier functions better etc. At least I would hope so.

Goblin Squad Member

The Wiseman of the Wilds wrote:


Are NPCs automatically created when a settlement is founded are must they be attracted to the settlement?

Since founding a settlement is an occasion for celebration, there may well be some npc creation taking place. Just don't expect them to contribute meaningfully for the next 10-15 years.

Attracting NPCs would be easier than making your own.


The Wiseman of the Wilds wrote:
Hey quick question @Valandur, by 'we' do you mean the crowdforgers, alpha testers, the devs or all of the above? I have recently moved countries so I havnt been involved as I would have liked to have been in the development of the game, super psyched for it and want to help make it the best game it can be.

The quick answer is "all of the above" to the people you listed. GW is taking the unheard of step of involving the players from the start in making PFO. Most games don't release any info about a game until mid to late alpha and lock testers under an NDA until late in the beta process. GW doesn't even plan to use a NDA and is VERY open with their plans as to what the game will be like. In many games listening to the players can be a double edged sword, just take a look at Wow. They caved in to the squeaky wheels continually and have ended up with a game that some love and some despise.

GW is not only including things in PFO that no other game has been able to implement successfully, but their design process is so revolutionary that when PFO launches it'll garner massive amounts of attention from game sites and developers anxious to see what a MMO created from a collaboration of the developers and the players looks like.

Goblin Squad Member

Back in Ultima Online, you could hire NPCs for certain tasks. The most common was to hire NPC warriors to act as temporary pets that would defend you. I wonder, especially for those who tend to solo more, if such "companions" will be available for hire. Now, you know how community oriented I am, so I don't want to take away from regular player interaction, but especially for newer players, it might be a little extra protection when they first venture out.

Besides NPC bodyguards, what other NPCs do you think would be viable options for hire?

Goblin Squad Member

Farmhands, mine workers, and maybe assistant craftsmen all spring to mind.

Goblin Squad Member

There seems to be two kinds of NPC's - those we see (e.g. starter town and settlement guards) and those we don't (e.g. the invisible workers that do the do the lion's share of the labor at your gathering camp). I know it has been said that both the lawfulness and goodness of settlements can make NPCs more productive or raise morale in some fashion. I'm wondering what else we players could do to enhance the lives of our NPCs and thereby benefit from their level of happiness, feelings of security, etc.?

Certainly NPCs would be interested in the same perks and benefits player enjoy, but for simplicity's sake, not everything we use (with all the various buffs and such) would be easily applied to NPCs, especially a large number of them, like the NPC citizens of your entire settlement who perform so many of the daily tasks behind the scenes. But what if crafting was expanded to include NPC specific craftables - that is, things that are intentionally made only for NPCs.

For instance, if cooking is to be a well rounded skill, the recipes we would use for players would create far too many types of food to try and quantify into meaningful buffs for a whole settlement's NPC population. But what if you had special NPC recipes - say, a simple but filling bulk food order - that kept their bellies full and perhaps raised their morale? What if there were ways to fill a bulk order of higher grade NPC weapons or shields that raised the NPC guards' AC or damage? How about a bulk order of improved NPC tools that reduced the construction time for settlement buildings?

As someone who hopes to see bulk raw materials used as part of the upkeep for a settlement, I envision some kind of repository that settlement members can deposit their raw mats into (I've posted elsewhere that I would like to see donations easily contributed through some citizen depository mechanic). Could the smith who has crafted the required 20 hammers for the NPC bulk tool order then just dump them into the settlement upkeep/upgrade bin and thereby make the NPC workers better equipped for their job?

Besides creating new ways to affect your settlement, this would provide crafters with yet another branch of business.


Hobs the Short wrote:


For instance, if cooking is to be a well rounded skill, the recipes we would use for players would create far too many types of food to try and quantify into meaningful buffs for a whole settlement's NPC population. But what if you had special NPC recipes - say, a simple but filling bulk food order - that kept their bellies full and perhaps raised their morale? What if there were ways to fill a bulk order of higher grade NPC weapons or shields that raised the NPC guards' AC or damage? How about a bulk order of improved NPC tools that reduced the construction time for settlement buildings?

As someone who hopes to see bulk raw materials used as part of the upkeep for a settlement, I envision some kind of repository that settlement members can deposit their raw mats into (I've posted elsewhere that I would like to see donations easily contributed through some citizen depository mechanic). Could the smith who has crafted the required 20 hammers for the NPC bulk tool order then just dump them into the settlement upkeep/upgrade bin and...

In a thread about food we were musing many of the things you mention as ways to increase the general NPCs happiness and morale. Actually we had thought to have levels of bulk food/drink that could be crafted and deposited in a settlements warehouses to be consumed as part of a settlements upkeep system. Crafters would have the option to create level 1, or basic food/drink which would provide no bonus. Or they could craft level 2, and above, food/drink using more or better material and taking a bit longer to create which would provide a small bonus that could scale upwards as the level increases. The same principal could be applied to NPC guards with equipment and alcohol.

I even suggested the possibility of crafting special holiday fare which would allow the settlement to hold a holiday in which the NPCs are given the day to celebrate. This could raise their morale by a good bit for a time after the holiday.

I would love to see multiple ways to raise,and lower, a settlements happiness, morale and productivity levels. It would only add to settlement management.

Scarab Sages Goblinworks Executive Founder

For reference, details on Common Folk on the PFOFan.com Wiki


Dakcenturi wrote:
For reference, details on Common Folk on the PFOFan.com Wiki

Thanks Dak, the Wiki is really taking shape!

Goblin Squad Member

+1 for the wiki, coming together nicely

Goblin Squad Member

Not to draw the discussion elsewhere, but yes - very nice wiki coming along, Dakcenturi.

Goblin Squad Member

A discussion in another thread brought my thoughts back to NPC's, so here I am.

First, I would like GW to explain a bit further where and when NPCs will be visible. As I've said earlier, I know they are going to exist in settlements, but likely out of sight - we'll have to keep them happy but won't actually see them. However, I hope that they will be visible in some places, such as NPCs in starter towns. As much as we the players should be the movers and shakers, a world peopled only by our characters would seem pretty sparsely populated.

Also, I think there are some skill from PF that might not be very easily simulated for player-to-player action, but could be pretty easily coded for player-to-NPC action.

Intimidation - If aimed at NPC mobs, this might cause them to hesitate in attacking, giving you initiative, or if really skilled, send them running.

Bluffing - If aimed at NPC guards, you might be able to seem like you're one step closer to the acceptable alignment for a settlement and sneak your way in.

Diplomacy - If aimed at NPC trainers or vendors, they might charge you a certain percentage less for their services.

Sense Motive - As I read the skill, it says that you can potentially detect imposters, so perhaps this could be used to see through a disguise a character is wearing. With NPC's, perhaps there might be gossip NPCs - NPCs that drop little clues or false clues about the game, current events, location of harvest nodes/dungeon entrances/etc. Some might be false and a sense motive check would reveal if it was or not.

I think these kinds of skills would be very difficult to create game mechanics to simulate their use in an MMO against other player characters, but if we didn't want to see them removed all together, using them on NPC's (which the game could then easily "roll the dice" for effect) might still allow for their use.

Goblin Squad Member

In another thread Zanathos brought up the example of Age of Wushu, where PCs stay online in an NPC function doing menial/regular jobs such as guarding, farming, etc. Conceptually, I think that would be awesome. No idea what it would take it terms of development/server resources, but it would mean that scenarios such as smuggling, espionage and sabotage would be a lot more interesting as the active PCs are now going up against inactive PC rather than 'static' NPCs.

Goblin Squad Member

Oberyn Corvus wrote:
In another thread Zanathos brought up the example of Age of Wushu, where PCs stay online in an NPC function doing menial/regular jobs such as guarding, farming, etc. Conceptually, I think that would be awesome. No idea what it would take it terms of development/server resources, but it would mean that scenarios such as smuggling, espionage and sabotage would be a lot more interesting as the active PCs are now going up against inactive PC rather than 'static' NPCs.

This is an interesting idea. While logging off one would assign one's character to a certain settlement and select a task(patrol, guard, craft, etc) and after logging of one would become an NPC with some stats intact and corresponding name and appearance of a PC. On death one would just respawn after a certain time without losing gear etc. Maybe this could last only like 24 h. Hmm... There could be some exploits though.


It would be cool to get paid for performing these tasks. Sort of an incentive for people to set their characters to doing them. Perhaps coin for guard duty, crafting materials for working in different workshops or facilities depending on which facility you pick to work at.

Goblin Squad Member

Having PCs used in offline roles is one way to explain the shift in alignment that happens while off line.

Perhaps players could even choose what activities to do, while off line, to produce in small measure the alignment shift they desire.

Goblin Squad Member

Also it would provide an incentive to log off at your 'home' settlement. If you log off in the wild or a random settlement, your 'home' settlement will be short guards/inspectors/laborers and may not be at full potential strength if danger comes knocking.


Aeioun Plainsweed wrote:
Oberyn Corvus wrote:
In another thread Zanathos brought up the example of Age of Wushu, where PCs stay online in an NPC function doing menial/regular jobs such as guarding, farming, etc. Conceptually, I think that would be awesome. No idea what it would take it terms of development/server resources, but it would mean that scenarios such as smuggling, espionage and sabotage would be a lot more interesting as the active PCs are now going up against inactive PC rather than 'static' NPCs.
This is an interesting idea. While logging off one would assign one's character to a certain settlement and select a task(patrol, guard, craft, etc) and after logging of one would become an NPC with some stats intact and corresponding name and appearance of a PC. On death one would just respawn after a certain time without losing gear etc. Maybe this could last only like 24 h. Hmm... There could be some exploits though.

AoW's system is pretty limited. What was kind of cool was that sometimes you'd log off in one spot then log back in and be in a completely different place, for a variety of reasons. Sometimes you were a guard, and when you log back in, you are where you were at the spot of your patrol path that you were at when you logged back in. Sometimes, you were doing manual labor and sometimes you were kidnapped! Kidnapping offline PC's was a major way of making money in that game, if you didn't mind the rep hits you took for getting caught at it - and being seen by a 'guard' PC or NPC was all that was needed for this. This also gave access to quick PvP opportunities. It paid fairly well, so people wanted to do it. But, while you had the kidnappee(and you were toting a person sized bag obviously shifting about of it's own accord) your move speed was debuffed AND you were open game to ANYONE. You could be attacked with impunity by any random passing PC.

It was both profitable and dangerous. There were 'spying' missions were you snuck into a different martial arts school and had to 'steal' information from offline PC's labeled a specific way while avoiding online PC's guarding against this and yet other offline PC's who could put a debuff on you if you stole from the other guy's in their LOS. The great part was that none of this ever affected your character when you played him, with the one exception that if you were kidnapped and sold, if you went offline again within 6 real life hours of the time you were sold you couldn't get an offline job. A minor penalty, really. Significant, but minor.

Obviously, PFO could take and expand these systems. All those wannabe pickpockets out there? Instead of pickpocketing Rufus the storekeeper or Karl the Blacksmith NPC's over and over again, go after an offline PC. The trick is, if they haven't been pickpocketed recently they have more money. Also, the PC's level(and perhaps Perception skill, if that's a thing) provides a multiplier to increase this. While NPC's would be simpler marks, offline PC's would be worth more - and the great part is, there's increased risk AND reward! If that offline, level 15 sorcerer catches you picking his pocket you'd better hope you packed your fireproof underwear, because here comes the rain of fireballs!

Best of all, wanna be thieves get the pleasure of stealing from PC's and the PC doesn't have to lose anything. You could do the same thing with thieves breaking into a merchant's home in the dead of night. Have offline PC's guarding his treasure room, instead of random NPC's. There are a million variations of this. If you really wanted to encourage roleplaying, you could even give a 'report' to the PC when they logged back in of things like this. Something like, 'Your pocket got picked.' or, 'Hobbs tried to pick your pocket, you caught him(or he got away or whatever).' or, 'While on guard duty at Merchant Fluffypants home, Cinecure the burglar broke in and took everything while you were on duty!'

Like I said, tons of cool stuff that could be done with this.

Goblin Squad Member

Bluddwolf wrote:

Having PCs used in offline roles is one way to explain the shift in alignment that happens while off line.

Perhaps players could even choose what activities to do, while off line, to produce in small measure the alignment shift they desire.

I really hope they change their minds in relation to that shift in alignment while off line. That is a nonsense. I, and most players as well, would hate to stay out game for about one month due real life issues and come back to play and find my CG ranger changed into a N char. So I would need to do stuff to change him back to the alignment I want him to have. Come on! That will be a pain in the ***!


Daeron, they've stated your alignment will only shift if you want it to. You can toggle the shift off.

Goblin Squad Member

Well... not quite. You can set limits on how far your character will shift toward Good and Lawful, but you can't set limits on how far you might fall toward Chaotic and Evil.


"The shift" I'm referring to is the automatic shift, Being. That seems to be what Daeron is complaining about.

Goblin Squad Member

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The automatic shifts go only in positive directions: Evil towards Good, and Chaotic towards Lawful.

There won't be any automatic shift from Good towards Evil, or from Lawful towards Chaos. And players who want to stay Evil or Chaotic will be able to ensure they don't shift more than they want.

Goblin Squad Member

Nihimon wrote:

The automatic shifts go only in positive directions: Evil towards Good, and Chaotic towards Lawful.

There won't be any automatic shift from Good towards Evil, or from Lawful towards Chaos. And players who want to stay Evil or Chaotic will be able to ensure they don't shift more than they want.

What N said. Incremental shift towards Good over time, plus a manual limiter such that the player can designate the limit of the incremental shift.

Goblin Squad Member

Nihimon wrote:
The automatic shifts go only in positive directions: Evil towards Good, and Chaotic towards Lawful.

I am oversimplifying, but theoretically, I could be an NE murdering thug, and log off for a month and come back as an LG Paladin? Me no like.

Goblin Squad Member

Hardin Steele wrote:
I could be an NE murdering thug, and log off for a month and come back as an LG Paladin? Me no like.

Yeah, that doesn't sound right or good. Maybe there's something we're missing...

*slips away to do some research*


Nihimon wrote:
Hardin Steele wrote:
I could be an NE murdering thug, and log off for a month and come back as an LG Paladin? Me no like.

Yeah, that doesn't sound right or good. Maybe there's something we're missing...

*slips away to do some research*

<g> I think we are missing the Devs finalizing how the system will work. I believe when it was discussed it was an incomplete concept?

Goblin Squad Member

*comes back from his research*

From Goblinworks Blog: I Shot a Man in Reno Just To Watch Him Die:

Stephen Cheney wrote:
The positive drift is in there to provide a way for people to recover over time if they want to be Lawful and/or Good. It'll probably be really slow, but still useful for those who are filled with regret at their choices and want to be LG again. And there will be an option to say "Nope, I'm happy where I am, thanks, you can keep your points" for people that want to stay Chaotic, Evil, or some shade of Neutral.

It seems to me there ought to be some real cost to the character, in addition to the passage of time.

Perhaps the natural drift over time simply represents a potential that must be accompanied by a rising XP Cost in order to realize.


Given how long it's gonna take, I think it's a fair mechanic. And if you start acting evil again, all that time is wasted--meaning the redemption does have to be legitimate.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

Nihimon wrote:

*comes back from his research*

From Goblinworks Blog: I Shot a Man in Reno Just To Watch Him Die:

Stephen Cheney wrote:
The positive drift is in there to provide a way for people to recover over time if they want to be Lawful and/or Good. It'll probably be really slow, but still useful for those who are filled with regret at their choices and want to be LG again. And there will be an option to say "Nope, I'm happy where I am, thanks, you can keep your points" for people that want to stay Chaotic, Evil, or some shade of Neutral.

It seems to me there ought to be some real cost to the character, in addition to the passage of time.

Perhaps the natural drift over time simply represents a potential that must be accompanied by a rising XP Cost in order to realize.

I'd probably implement it as a slow drift towards NN over time. So if you're not actively committing actions that are defined as Lawful or Good or Chaotic or Evil then you slowly come back to balance. Call it mean reversion of the soul.

Could allow players to opt out if they have a concrete concept that they're trying to roleply, but need to be offline for an extended period for whatever reason.

I prefer this to a unidirectional drift, with or without a cost, because it doesn't unnecessarily privilege any part of the alignment spectra.

Goblin Squad Member

I'm not excited for the alignment shift offline, but I do like the potential for "having a standing job" while I am away. OK, so if I get pickpocketed it's not really ME, but my avatar and I won't personally lose anything (possibly). Or standing guard I could log off after leaving instructions (preprogrammed, of course and probably selected from a menu) to stand guard at the entrance of the bank (or some such). I'm okay with having "NPC" characters having jobs. Sounds like a good thing.

Goblin Squad Member

Perhaps the drift will occur only while one's in-game?

Goblin Squad Member

Will Cooper wrote:
...I'd probably implement it as a slow drift towards NN over time. So if you're not actively committing actions that are defined as Lawful or Good or Chaotic or Evil then you slowly come back to balance. Call it mean reversion of the soul...

This system makes better sense to me, as I have argued long and hard in the past, when I was trying to advocate for a third alignment axis from True Neutral -versus- Entropic Nihilism (initially it was -versus- undeath but that idea caught too much flack due to the patently misguided sentiment that anti-Undeath is what good-aligned clerics are for and there was no need nor desire for Druids to even think of stepping on their holier-than-thou turf).

Not that I have any biases at all. Far too purely neutral for such frivolities.

Having pretty well explored the concept GW determined alignment drift would be toward the good.

Yet since Paladins should, I feel, have to constantly earn Lawful Good status it is my hope that GW causes the alignment drift to be toward Neutral Good, or even better, Chaotic Good.

Goblin Squad Member

Personally, I think each direction on the axis - including Neutral - should have its own value.

So, you might be 5,000 Good and 2,000 Evil and 1,200 Neutral. And you would have to explicitly work to build up or reduce any of those.

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