Page 205 - Non Pushover Character

10th Nov 2012, 5:00 AM in Bridle Gossip
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Non Pushover Character
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Author Notes:

Newbiespud 10th Nov 2012, 5:00 AM edit delete
In the comments, tell a story about an NPC who, in some way, acted a little bit like a player.

Notice: Guest comic submissions are open! Guidelines here. Deadline: January 27th, 2023.



Raxon 10th Nov 2012, 5:13 AM edit delete reply
It's time!
For the ponies!
For the ponies!
Ia! Ia! Pony Ftagn!
Guest 10th Nov 2012, 5:16 AM DoubleCross edit delete reply
I'm not sure Fuzzbucket meant that.
Raxon 10th Nov 2012, 5:20 AM edit delete reply
Sorry, just super excited. Starting the morning with a new FiD comic, then I'll be attending the gun show today, and when I get home, there will be a new pony episode waiting for me. Best day ever!

Did someone turn bbcode off?

I love this Applebloom.
Guest 10th Nov 2012, 5:25 AM DoubleCross edit delete reply
No, you just severely messed it up.
Raxon 10th Nov 2012, 5:44 AM edit delete reply
I just don't know what went wrong!

Oh. Well, that was a stupid mistake.
DukeGod 10th Nov 2012, 6:23 AM edit delete reply
Do not forget, for all of this you MUST go to the gunshow in a brony T-Shirt
Danmo96 10th Nov 2012, 6:06 AM Danmo96 edit delete reply
Ponies and guns? Dayummm, sounds like a good day, my friend!
Digo 11th Nov 2012, 8:30 AM edit delete reply
Indeed! Pony Arms.
CJT 11th Nov 2012, 10:01 AM edit delete reply
Cue an alternate interpretation of a scene from the wedding episode:
BadHorse 10th Nov 2012, 7:15 AM edit delete reply
Did you just say Nu Ponies?
Zuche 10th Nov 2012, 6:48 AM edit delete reply
BaldDumboRat is best way-to-start-the-day. Friendship is Dragons is a close second.

If this comic a chess game, today's final panel would merit two exclamation marks.
Raxon 12th Nov 2012, 6:10 AM edit delete reply
Gun show was fabulous!

Got too see all kinds of things, and meet friends. Got a couple great deals on knives, and one of them is a fat little thing capable of hacking its way through the wall of a 747. From the inside. With no serious damage to the knife. Finally! A knife that's tough enough for my accident pron self! It's a lil roughneck. Tops knives are awesome. Got a nice, tough, precision flashlight, too.

Brought back lots of gifts for the girls. Very nice delicate silk scarves, and scented soaps. and I even found a unicorn plush for a mlp loving friend.

Yes, I saw bronies there.

It was the best gun show ever.
Zuche 12th Nov 2012, 6:42 AM edit delete reply
Raxon, guy, you are so random!

Seriously, though, good to hear you enjoyed the show.
Raxon 12th Nov 2012, 7:23 AM edit delete reply
Indeed! Wanenmacher is the biggest gun show in the US. I wouldn't be surprised if I saw some of you there without realizing it.
Belexar 13th Nov 2012, 12:45 AM edit delete reply
Where can I find these glorious events?
Jellybean 10th Nov 2012, 5:20 AM edit delete reply
In a campaign of L5R I was playing a blind Lion Shugenja who had what we kept referring to as her Seeing-Eye Peasant, a girl named Tomoe. Turned out that she became part of a whole subplot by virtue of being an illegitimate descendant of one of the great heroes of the Lion clan. This turned into a whole thing where Tamami [me] had to find a way to make her recognized as a legitimate member of the Clan, and along the way we got to see her kick a fair amount of ass.

Well. Everyone else got to see her do it. Tamami heard accounts.
Destrustor 10th Nov 2012, 5:57 AM edit delete reply
Our Characters' children (as there are often many) are usually raised half-assedly and often end up as younger versions of ourselves, complete with most of our characters' interests and personality traits. The biggest difference being that THEY have parents to take the blame for their mistakes.
Ryuutakeshi 10th Nov 2012, 5:59 AM edit delete reply
I swear, all of our NPC's are like this. My GM has a list of about 20 of them and they all float about our castle doing their own adventures when they aren't tagging along with us.
Kiana 10th Nov 2012, 9:21 PM edit delete reply
I've actually had players ASK about what NPCs have been up to, usually when I just drop vague hints that they haven't been standing in the same spot reciting "Welcome to Corneria" for the last week.

Much as I love it, sometimes it catches me by surprise. It doesn't happen too often and sometimes I don't even KNOW what the NPC has been doing outside the vague hints I give the players...
ANW 10th Nov 2012, 6:16 AM edit delete reply
Suevay time
Applebloom still have no cutie mark. What do you think her cutie mark will look like and what is her talent. Ends at usasl time.
Tatsurou 10th Nov 2012, 11:06 AM edit delete reply
Given what she's been seen doing, I'd say her talent will be carpentry - from her fixing the clubhouse so beautifully - and her cutie mark will be a crossed hammer and saw.
Guest 10th Nov 2012, 3:56 PM edit delete reply
With Apples somewhere in there.

Pretty sure if you're part of the Apple Family you're required to have some kinda Apple theme or be kicked out of the family..
ANW 10th Nov 2012, 8:08 PM edit delete reply
My personal opion is similer Tatsurou, but with cross being on an apple. Eather that or dealing with potions.
Ramsus 10th Nov 2012, 11:25 PM edit delete reply
Cutie Mark: An apple version of a jack-o-lantern.
Talent: Appletrocity.
shineyorkboy 11th Nov 2012, 1:06 AM edit delete reply
Most of the fan art I've seen of post-Crusaders Applebloom has gone with a construction theme so I'll stick with that. However, I want to include my own love of spinning blades so I'll go with a circular saw. Wait do they have those in Equestria? Well Jet Setter had planes for his even though we've never seen one on the show so it'll work.
LoganAura 11th Nov 2012, 6:59 AM edit delete reply
I personally think that Applebloom's cutie mark will be a hammer and nails, with a small apple design on the hammer.
DCHorror 12th Nov 2012, 4:47 AM edit delete reply
Honestly, I think it's just as likely that she could end up with an apple shaped potion bottle.
terrycloth 12th Nov 2012, 11:54 AM edit delete reply
Her special talent is having no special talent. The cutie mark for that is a blank flank; all the CMC got it when they formed the CMC.
Guest 12th Nov 2012, 6:50 PM edit delete reply
I would say it will be an apple blossom to represent her artistic ability. Because even though she has decent construction skill, she also has painting, sowing, etc. as shown in showstoppers.
Xander Cruize 10th Nov 2012, 6:45 AM The Tale of Serin the Bard edit delete reply
In one campaign I ran, my players went into a tavern, not to get drunk, but to hire a minstrel to travel with them. They wanted someone who would basically worship the ground they walked on and who would sing praise to them throughout the land.

That's where they met Serin, the Gnomish Bard with a crazy gleam in his eye and a laugh in his voice. He was more than happy to accompany them, and he charged very little for his services. When they insisted on paying him, he said 'Oh, I suppose a copper a day will suffice, but I'm just happy to travel and sing!'

Serin became the team mascot/errand boy. He rode his riding dog in the middle of the group, but when they got to town, it was his job to track down a tavern, an inn, and to get weapons and armor taken care of. Once again, he never complained, he just did the tasks assigned to him.

Serin did many player-like things over the course of this campaign. He participated in bar fights, evaded the local law enforcement, and generally helped the others in whatever activities they wanted. But there were two accounts that stood out.

Several sessions in to the campaign (I believe everyone was around the tenth level mark), the group heard a bit of news about a band of ogres attacking villages nearby. They were, of course, apprehensive to go and fight the giant type creatures. Serin, however, used a song to boost morale, and they were on their way.

When they got to the latest village, they found the ogres camped out there. The players being players, they rushed headlong in without making plans, only telling Serin to wait behind. The group was beaten, tied up, and the ogres were debating on whether they should be eaten raw or cooked.

Serin, the brave little Gnome, sneaked up and started freeing party members behind the ogres' backs. When one of the creatures saw him and attacked, Serin put up a hell of a fight. His small dagger, with some help from animated rope and a +2 bonus in combat against giant kind, managed to tear the one ogre up. The others stepped in to finish the job.

That ogre had been the head of the group, and with him gone, the others scattered. Serin was praised as a hero and given drinks to knock a dwarf unconscious.

Then there was the fight with the dragon, but that will have to wait until I get off work tonight.
Karilyn 10th Nov 2012, 7:38 AM edit delete reply
My NPC, the EEEEEEVIL Necromancer and ex-campaign-villain Errion, has quickly changed into a parody of a generic player. Errion is on his own campaign, with his own questgivers, and the players decided to join him cause he asked them to come along (Like well behaved NPCs). And it doesn't hurt that Errion is genre-savy.

I swear, it feels like my players are roleplaying as NPCs and my NPCs are roleplaying as players.

DAMNIT GUYS. HE WAS SUPPOSED TO BE THE MAIN CAMPAIGN VILLAIN. STOP JOINING UP WITH THE BAD GUYS! When a villain asks if you want to tag along with him, you're supposed to say "NO!"
Philadelphus 10th Nov 2012, 7:49 AM edit delete reply
Just Say “No” to Villains.

Any chance we might see more write-ups coming our way in the future?
banjo2E 10th Nov 2012, 9:39 AM edit delete reply
That actually sounds like it'd be a really fun campaign to play.
Greywander 12th Nov 2012, 11:43 AM edit delete reply
Hey! I'm offensive and I find this villainous. Sometimes villains have a very good reason to join up with the heroes. Can't exactly take over the world if Big Bad destroys it first, now can I? So far, I've had the good sense to stay chill around the super hero in the party, but we'll see how long that lasts.

Bizarrely, we figure my D&D alignment would most likely be Lawful Good. For a super villain. Bent on world conquest.
City Strider 13th Nov 2012, 3:43 PM edit delete reply
City Strider
Funny thing? Soarin's also Lawful Good. The mercenary potential killer-for-hire.
Akouma 10th Nov 2012, 9:14 AM edit delete reply
I have an Nth level Drow Wizard as an NPC in one my games named Ther'Om. He invented the players' primary phlebotinum (a magic Rubik's cube that can teleport you anywhere when properly set to the right faces and were it to fall into the wrong hands would probably collapse all of time and space maybe), and has accompanied them on a mission one time to run interference while the PCs cleaned house. During their off hours, the PCs basically do almost nothing but annoy him, which given that that's what the party members do to EACH OTHER at any given time, pretty much makes him an unofficial party member.

Also, the ghost paladin I've gushed about a million times in the past from the same game. When their plane was invaded by demons, he basically vanished for several months. When they eventually found him, he was standing in a horde of demons basically spinning in place with his sword laughing like mad because he loves killing demons that much. If THAT'S not player behavior, I don't know what is.
TheStratovarian 10th Nov 2012, 9:22 AM edit delete reply
There was one NPC, an anthropormophic gryphon. Sadly, her name escapes me right now, but she was introduced during a twilight of the gods threat approach.

She was a paladin of the local love goddess, again, its one of those things, that in character snarkiness managed to spawn something amazing from that. She had chosen a unique mount in the option for paladins, a gryphon called, "Snuggles" that lived up to its name. Very bright bird, both of them. But well, one of the pcs, sorta gun shy after the nude dragon incident, well, found the paladins favor. And well, was trying to hide from the paladin, and my ranger, a dusk talon lizardwoman, with a penchant for fermented fruit, Annastrazia, started to tease the poor fellow.

Being pretty knowledgeable about the wild, and one heck of an archer. She started telling these wild stories, and the gm, in the spirit of things, and being a pretty nice guy, started using the ideas. This poke back and forth, as the one pc was really none to happy the dm had decided to use my ideas, and being heckled by this avian pair, tried running many a time. Yet this sparked something in the dm, and he actually up and created lands, further exploring and giving the race made up out of the blue for the npc, into a fully fleshed land for her to have originated from.

But the bird, i still cant recall her name, she was a staple npc that was as much a comic relief, a laugh too, and even a hand now and then, just in being about, and a great source for inter party role playing as both a plot device, and npc. She never really stole the spotlight, but aided and added light and shadows to the story at hand. And sorry if I rambled somewhat, but the legend she made in the world still exists in our 3.5 game, and even has spawned a setting where that empire she started, still stands, held at bay through a draconic alliance of metal dragons, yet the interconnected human lands, are still a power too (think tethys for you forgotten realms players) through her actions and legacy of being very pc like.

But in the end, a good npc is someone that makes a lineage for themselves I view. They shape the players in a good or bad way, from that one guy, or even a smile at a heroic act, no matter how big or small. Ah, finally recalled it, Aetha Skywind.
XandZero2 10th Nov 2012, 9:29 AM edit delete reply
This reminds me of a few of my one-off NPCs that ended up evolving into reoccurring characters...

The one that I'll mention here is from my Dragon Age RPG.

Now, all I had planned was for a random merchant to pick up a few of the players on the roadside and agree to take them to the nearest settlement.

That was it.

But being the RPer that I am, on the spur of the moment, I decide to give this guy a Spanish (that's Antivan for the DA-savy) accent and have him introduce himself as Victor Drummins.

On the spot, I created this aloof, care-free, silver tongue, comedy relief, spanish rogue (kind of a mix between Antonio Banderas and Captain Jack)...

And does it surprise you that everyone in the group instantly liked him (including me)?

When it came time to say goodbye to Drummins... technically for good... I decided I had to somehow make him relevant to the overall plot - to give the players reason to stick with him for a while (everyone just loved him that much - they didn't want to see him go)...

So, a week later, and the players are requested by the local Earl (who they work for) to join a certain merchant on his mercantile expedition. The idea is that the players will be traveling from town to town, finding soldiers worthy of enlistment into the king's army, while, likewise, Drummins will have some extra bodyguards on the more dangerous legs of the trading routes. It's a win-win for everybody involved!

Thus Drummins became a party staple, sometimes getting caught up in bar-fights, sieges, and misunderstandings - all the while getting drunk, and doing it... with style.
Kirby 10th Nov 2012, 4:29 PM edit delete reply
Knowing the more famous Antivan Rogue of Dragon Age mythology, I imagine "misunderstandings" is something more akin to "I didn't MEAN to pick your pocket and sleep with your daughter. They both just fell out."
Tatsurou 10th Nov 2012, 11:24 AM edit delete reply
I remember one time - not sure how it worked exactly, or what campaign - where my familiar - controlled by the DM - was actually a warlock under a powerful curse. He'd keep talking about his past exploits, making commentary about how whatever we were trying wouldn't work, even give good advice on how to handle any given situation. My characters overall personal quest was finding away to lift the curse. In the first session, whil I couldn't lift the curse entirely, I did give the guy a way to access some of his abilities, which he used to aid us in combat.
The funny thing was, part of the curse meant he couldn't speak his true name. Only by finding his true name could I break the curse. As such, since he was in the form of an ordinary house cat, I called him Flufferkins.
Outhra 10th Nov 2012, 12:03 PM edit delete reply
My campaign has a few big ones, though practically all of the recurring NPCs have had their moments. Except Milton the gift shop demon. Nobody likes Milton.
The best one was originally intended as a one-shot artifact guardian of the fused-to-his-charge variety, and ended up a monument to our we-never-had-any-rails gameplay style. A few centuries in a dark basement with a powerful magic item attached to his chest had driven him off-the-walls bonkers, and the owner of the basement had put him in a dampener suit so that he couldn’t destroy the building during his occasional maddened flip-outs. The PCs, being PCs, decided to see if they couldn’t get the item off of him somehow. Trying to pierce the suit just caused him to start screeching and using his fused item to swap objects in the room with other increasingly preposterous one, including a toaster and a sword made of carnival balloons. After he was placated with some fresh toast and a few out-of-context Hotel Mario quotes(our campaign is kind of weird, in case you didn’t pick up on it already), the PCs decided that he was too hilarious to kill. Instead, they gave him some anti-curse pellets to defuse the artifact, named him Gargamel, took him back to their base, and let him stay there.
A few sessions later, Gargamel had not only refrained from destroying the base, but had helped defend one of our allies from mecha-driving halflings, regained some of his former psionic ability, and unintentionally helped an ogre who owed the PCs several favors climb up the social ladder, all while stolidly avoiding therapy. As far as I know, there are still some halfling marauders and a psychiatrist immobilized in the allied castle’s courtyard.
DracoS 10th Nov 2012, 12:55 PM edit delete reply
Mecha-pilot halfling or Cyborg Smurfs?
Outhra 10th Nov 2012, 1:11 PM edit delete reply
Well, they WERE only referred to by their position in the group, and they DID report back slavishly to their designated leader...
Of course, since the leader was a ghost possessing one of their battle mechs who screamed more than the Earl of Lemongrab, the Smurf imagery starts to look a little shaky.
That was a fun day, though.
Guest 10th Nov 2012, 12:41 PM edit delete reply
Edited from a log of our on-line Amber game:

Asuka is an NPC in the game.

John says, "Moment of intense brain-death."
Andrew asks, "Huh?"
John says, "One of those moments where my brain is multi-tasking NPC thought processess too well. ^^;;;"
John says, "I tried, just for a moment, to page Asuka to see what she was going to do next, then stopped myself in mid-typing."
Andrew says, "..."
Mike says, "..."
Andrew says, "No more drugs for that man."
John says, "Yeah, I know. I know."
DracoS 10th Nov 2012, 12:54 PM edit delete reply
In the Pathfinder campaign I'm part of (the one with Space Pirate Crabman Cleric) we had an NPC we just met (I don't remember his name off the top of my head) run into a room and set off a trap. I wanted to give him the clamps when it turned out to be a huge chunk of Lodestone that stole everyone else's weapons and armor.

Just like a real member of the team. ='D
Outhra 10th Nov 2012, 1:24 PM edit delete reply
I was going to say that I'd like some context, but the image of a gigantic piece of magnetic rock disarming an adventurer and wearing his armor is hilarious enough without it.
Crimson Doom 10th Nov 2012, 1:05 PM edit delete reply
Crimson Doom
Does using a former player's character as an NPC count as an NPC acting like a character? Because that's pretty much what I've been doing with Dextor the Baby Dragon. (I keep getting the feeling I'm mischaracterizing him somehow...)
Silver 10th Nov 2012, 2:38 PM edit delete reply
Any time a certain friend ran a session where we were in the Prime Material plane, there was a healthy chance of running into one of his various retired characters...who would still act like they did when he was playing them.
Zuche 10th Nov 2012, 8:04 PM edit delete reply
I admit I've never had an NPC achieve the same status some of yours have accomplished. Well done.
Kiana 10th Nov 2012, 9:41 PM edit delete reply
Well, quite a few NPCs in my MLP campaign acted 'a bit like a player', in varying capacities.

Several recurring villains (Flame Scar and Cold Snap in particular) FOUGHT like players. This was intentional from the start: Their powers were lifted from character classes and their tactics were similar to how PCs would fight together. I wanted to hint towards them being the heroes of their own stories.

Lore the Wizard I won't delve too deeply into. Suffice to say she had more personality traits and history than most NPCs because she was based on a PC from a previous game.

And most notably, Stormy Sky, the white pegasus courier. My ponysona, at a friend's suggestion. Originally only included in the campaign to tie the party into the world, after a few players were gone for a few sessions I had her fill in to keep the quest's encounters balanced. I figured it was easier to have a substitute PC than rework every single encounter, and I couldn't bring myself to play one of the player's characters while they were away.

Well, apparently the party really liked having her around (for the most part), so she kept getting drawn in until she essentially became an honorary PC. Why ANY player would want a GMPC around still boggles my mind, though.

Her PC-like exploits include arguing with the bard about why he doesn't lead the party and coordinating tag-team attacks with the party tank.
deaincaelo 10th Nov 2012, 11:17 PM edit delete reply
So, I was running a game where the party is running with some much-higher level NPCS. After a series of misadventures with the NPC's wheeling and dealing quartermaster (leaving both worried that they're going to end up in trouble with a high level wizard for cheating the other) the party gets sent to intercept a cavalry unit. After some looks around the table, comes the realization that the dwarven cleric had been riding the beer wagon everywhere. So, they hangdoggedly head to the quartermaster hoping to get a pony. I roll to see what he got, and it's one mount- special animal. So, I tell them they get a pony, which he immediately names Fluttershy. So now I have to stat her out for 2e. Worse, our Druid got a special mount later on and named her Rainbow Dash.

Well, down the road they manage to get assassins on their tail. One catches up with them, and decides to enter discreetly through the barn. A "spooked horse" later the assassin is foiled. Then the next assassin meets his contact in the barn ... The party is calling them assassinbane now.
Ramsus 10th Nov 2012, 11:47 PM edit delete reply
In a homebrew game I'd made and was running, one of the players made an off-hand joke about the chief's lovely daughters when they sat down to dinner with him, despite those characters not existing at the time. In response I made them. Then I had them get kidnapped along with all the other women of the village. Then when the PCs were rescuing them, they were already in the middle of rescuing themselves.

Later the players strongly wanted to keep these two characters around, so much drama ensued with the eldest daughter cutting ties to her family and the younger becoming the betrothed to one of the players.

They went on to basically have a say and do their own stuff for the rest of the adventure.

The really player-like aspect of them was that the older sister was basically your practical goody goody type of fighter and the little sister was a cunning and manipulative sorceress.

They participated in fights and decision making basically the entire game. Normally I'm not at all in favor of GMPCs but, the players really seemed to love this so I ran with it while trying to keep the PCs as the ones actually making most of the decisions.
Destrustor 11th Nov 2012, 3:01 AM edit delete reply
We once basically forced our DM to turn an NPC into a GMPC.
Ariak was a standard companion NPC who was supposed to help us in the early stages of the game. He helped us out financially at first, helped us in our fights, and was an all-around awesome friend. The fact that the DM always rolls like a god, all the time, ESPECIALLY for our NPC allies (a lv 4 elf one-shotting three lv 30+ dwarf defenders in the span of three rounds comes to mind), also meant that Ariak was literally the most useful member of our party.
The DM had planned to eventually get rid of Ariak(maybe to give US a chance to shine for once) with this big sob story about him being destined to sacrifice his body to become the vessel for his god, But when we learned about it, we all unanimously went "Aw hell no! We don't care that you're Bahamut, dude, there's no way we'll let you take Ariak!" So we immediately paused our "save the world" quest to put all our efforts, time and money into making sure Ariak could avoid dying for his god.(While also not pissing off freakin' BAHAMUT.) After all, we all agreed that he was our only chance to accomplish ANYTHING, so saving the world was impossible without him(despite the DM's insistance on the contrary)
It went so well that this NPC that was supposed to die early on not only survived, but was put on the path to godhood thanks to our efforts. He eventually became the most badass god ever just because (in-game) he was our best friend, and (out-of-game) he was our best bet.
The DM was honestly surprised that we would even TRY to save him at all, yet alone to go through such lengths that he'd become main-quest-essential.
As for him acting like a PC, he wasn't too keen on the whole "gods don't interfere directly in the affairs of mortals" rule and would often jump right in the fight with us whenever we were in trouble. "Screw you guys, my friends are in danger!"
CJT 10th Nov 2012, 11:52 PM edit delete reply
We've had surprisingly few of these, as both DMs I usually game with subscribe to the "NPCs have less initiative than PCs" school of characterization. Their NPCs tend to be well-rounded characters, but they're more likely to work within the world's confines and society's rules, rather than to actively try to disrupt the status quo (for good or for evil). Even the evil villains are trying to overrun the world, rather than reshape it.

The Mekton campaign, though, had quite a few PC-like characters, that were openly acknowledged as GMPCs. This can work well, if it gives the party memorable characters whom they get attached to, and gives the DM ways to steer the plot or introduce new twists. This can also work badly, if you end up in a campaign where the GMPCs are Mary Sue types or where they're driving the plot rather than nudging it. Still, when it's done well (as it was in the campaign I played in), it's a lot of fun.

The biggest GMPC in question was "Ota", a lion who ended up being a friendly-ish rival to the coyote PC in the mecha arena. He also ended up being the long-lost brother of the tiger PC (family had a bit of lion on his mother's side, apparently). He was originally just one of the arena match coordinators ("Go ahead, Ota"), but came out of retirement with his own mecha because he didn't want the PCs to have _all_ the fun.

It was an entertaining campaign (one of the few that I've been in that was explicitly swashbuckling-style rather than realistic-style).
shineyorkboy 11th Nov 2012, 1:21 AM edit delete reply
Okay since some people might not have seen the new episode yet:




Okay now that that's out of the way:

I'd like to say that the search for the Heartstone was very D&D-ish especially the part where you use dark magic to reveal the secret stairs, but using it on the door triggers a trap. I'd hate/love to run into the DM who thought that up.
Newbiespud 11th Nov 2012, 1:28 AM edit delete reply
Magical traps?

Our heroes, stumbling through a plan they only half understand and can only pray to accomplish, succeeding moments before the villain wins with last-minute snap decisions and skill checks?

No, that doesn't sound like a D&D campaign at all.
Oblivious 11th Nov 2012, 11:35 PM edit delete reply
No, that sounds like, well, most everything we did in Pony Tales.
Crimson Doom 12th Nov 2012, 8:06 AM edit delete reply
Crimson Doom
Not to mention the ill-defined villain with no backstory at all. XD

More seriously, who else was a little disappointed with Sombra's lack of backstory? Heck, if he had just had a more defined personality aside from "creepy"...
Zuche 12th Nov 2012, 11:37 AM edit delete reply
I wasn't disappointed with him at all. After my indiscretion after the previous two episodes, I think I'd best leave it at that.

Well, okay, no, I can add one thing, because it is relevant to D&D. He was not portrayed as a standard D&D villain. Few of its adventures involve a villain who must be beaten without ever being fought. The Dark Powers of Ravenloft might come closest to that, though I knew a few people who ran Vecna that way back in 1E. It's surprising how uncommon it is when so many of the game's inspirations utilized it.
Greywander 12th Nov 2012, 12:10 PM edit delete reply
I was a bit disappointed at first, too...

Try comparing him to Slenderman or Sauron, though, and you might start to see him a bit differently.
Digo 11th Nov 2012, 8:38 AM edit delete reply
An NPC that acted like a PC? I had a red dragon that was the early villain in a campaign. Later on she was cursed into an elf form and joined the PCs for a time to help fight a more evil powerful vampire.

She was turning out to be a better PC than half the party. People kept looking to her for ideas and she was a great team player (No longer a dragon, but retained some bard abilities).

After the adventure she parted ways, but half the party felt like ditching the campaign and following her instead. LOL
Necroceine 11th Nov 2012, 8:50 AM edit delete reply
In a Council of Thieves Pathfinder campaign we were going through the 6 Trials of Larazod. One of the trials made us drop into a pool of acid one by one and then climb out one by one once everyone was in.

This was also the act where Calseinica, the NPC actress playing Ilsandra, stood with us. She actually ended up avoiding the acid for longer than any of us, only failing the save and getting sickened on the fifth round, despite the fact that she was just an actress.

I talked to her at a party we were invited to for surviving the trials, and now she thinks she has a natural talent for it, whatever it is.
Necroceine 11th Nov 2012, 9:10 AM edit delete reply
I remembered in a more freeform RP there was an NPC we were introduced to who was going through some gauntlet as a test along with several others. It ended with him having to get past a young (friendly) dragon, and he finally managed to get past it by, well, kicking it in a sensitive area. This, of course, became a running joke.

Anyway, everyone actually ended up liking him more than the character the GM had been using and he became a permanent part of the group, even though he was planned to only be around for that test.
sun tzu 11th Nov 2012, 10:55 AM edit delete reply
Exalted game. Solar campaign.
A squishy mortal martial artist called Audacious Staff.
EVERYTHING he does is PC-worthy. The first time the party met him, he was protecting a village from zombies. Another time, he rode the projectile of a ballista to reach an enemy airship. More recently, he killed a Dragon-Blooded one-on-one to free thousands of slaves. He's also de facto married to one of the PCs by now.
Summercat 11th Nov 2012, 8:58 PM edit delete reply
DnD, homebrew rules/setting, let's call it the Leafblade Campaign.

This had my favorite character of all time, Koreal Shi'tah, a half-Elven anthropomorphic cheetah, who was a Paladin of the Goddess of Chaos.

(It gets funkier, but that's for another time)

Basically, during a fight/battle against Random Bad Guys pressed by the Big Bad, our party with the help of the royal forces *routed* them. However, I wanted info, so I told the DM I wanted to catch on of 'em.

He said, sure, roll - and I got a 20.

The end result is that not only did, in my random run up a tree, then flying tackle CHAOS FROM ABOVE landing capture one of the important leaders, he turns out to be not just a random NPC, but was an Important Antagonist NPC - in training. Our party leader, being the nuturing type of guy, took the kid under his wing, and he actually joined us - and eventually sided with us. We had him during the rest of the campaign, including the Final Boss Battle (where he was instramental in allowing us to defeat the Final Form).

Also of mention as a character-like NPC was my character's girlfriend/wife, but she didn't have as much an impact on the entire course of the campaign.
BuffaloBrony 12th Nov 2012, 5:24 AM edit delete reply
One of my favorite player-esque NPC characters was from a "street level" Shadowrun campaign I was running. (As in - no character was able to *start* with high monetary resources.)

At one point, the party members needed expert advice on disarming a bomb for a run, and were directed toward an retired bomb disposal NPC. He had lost assorted body parts, his job, and his will to live after a bomb went off in his face.

Anyways, the teen aged coyote shaman PC befriended the NPC, and decided she wanted to help him out after the mission. So instead of spending most of her money/loot on buying fancier toys for herself (being a shaman, she didn't need them) - she spent most of the campaign actually acquiring the cyberware necessary to get this down on his luck NPC back on his feet.

Several times during the campaign, the party left the shaman behind as the distraction, much to the NPC's ire. She would inevitably survive and escape, beat up and bruised, and seething at the other player characters. Not to mention, several times they insulted the "cripple" who she was hanging out with. Still, he was an occasionally useful resource who was good with explosives...

I think you can guess what happened...

We get to the climax of the campaign, the run that will make all of them their fortunes. The rigger running his prized getaway limo peels out with the street samurai on board, leaving the shaman and the NPC behind AGAIN. The NPC goes "enough of this drek" - pulls out his pocket secretary and dials the number of the detonator attached to the satchel full of "extra supplies" he left in the limo. *BOOM!*

Everyone was like WTF! when the limo exploded except the shaman - who was laughing her butt off. Once I explained what happened, the rest of the players were "yup - we walked into that!".

NPC and shaman took their spoils and retired to the Caymans...
Sewicked 12th Nov 2012, 7:56 AM Little Old Lady edit delete reply
In our long ago Runequest game, we were posing as a slave caravan to get through enemy territory. We were attacked by something big, scary & nasty. Most of the slaves ran; but not this one, little old lady, the cook.

She said she had better survival odds sticking with the people carrying weapons, so we handed her a spare dagger. Not that she could do much, but hey, reward courage, right?

Cause she had nothing better to do, she threw that dagger at the critter. Runequest is a percentile system, and low is better. GM rolled 01 on her to hit. We all looked at it. He shrugged and said, "Um, her dagger lodged in its eye, driving it off."

We retrieved the dagger, gave it back to her and as soon as we got home we freed her, with money to get started.
ThousandYearSunrise 12th Nov 2012, 2:40 PM edit delete reply
Not super relevant, but you know what I'd like to see? A campaign with nine major villains, each representing one of the nine classic alignments. There's tons of potential there for exploring the nature of morality. I don't want to write an essay on it here, so I'll sum it up with a line from each of these villains.

Lawful Good - The fools and thieves stand against me because they know what will happen when I win their little game.

Neutral Good - I don't want power. I'm trying for power because I can wield it better than the selfish and short-sighted fools who have it now.

Chaotic Good - Where the law fails us, the deeper good will show the way.

Lawful Neutral - I haven't broken the rules. As far as I'm concerned this is merely a wider perspective on self-defense.

True Neutral - I saw how tangled and messy the laws are, I saw how vicious and disgusting the chaos is, and I pledged to wipe the slate clean.

Chaotic Neutral - All I wanted was a simple life, and there was always somebody in authority making things complicated. I wondered how fresh the air must be when you stand on the top of the world.

Lawful Evil - Why hold a knife to a throat when the law is so much sharper?

Neutral Evil - I know what I want, and it just happens to involve a lot of people dying. I honestly don't care.

Chaotic Evil - Laws are for people who can't think properly. I'm the one who matters.
Ramsus 12th Nov 2012, 11:00 PM edit delete reply
That could be really cool if done right. The real issue is tying together a plot with all of those without any of them just taking each other out without waiting on the protagonists to get involved.

Edit: And TN and NE have a major advantage as they're pretty good at just lying and lying in wait while their major opponents finish each other off.
Belexar 13th Nov 2012, 12:55 AM edit delete reply
Well, this isn't exactly about NPCs acting like players, but I remember something I did with an NPC is my very first campaign.

I was running a module in which the players fought, among other enemies, a kobold called M'dok and his band of looters. After a short skirmish, they defeated M'dok, accepted his yield and let him go with his men.

Later on, while on the road, they encountered a pair of kobolds riding dogs, each with uniform, weapons and a crest on their overvests. Turns out M'dok went back to his village, rallied every kobold that was willing to join him and took over a bandit fortress the players had cleared a few days after their first encounted with M'dok. Now the guy was the head of a respectable mercenary company and his kobolds were supporting the guard of several towns against bandits and monsters. Also, there's a little detail the players never got to see due to the campaign reaching a premature end. These kobolds, being light sensitive, all rode to battle wearing sunglasses.
Guest 20th Mar 2013, 1:51 PM edit delete reply
I have a couple of friends who find it immensely funny to try and derail my campaigns. In one campaign, they seemed to become enamored with the idea of having a posse NPCs to follow them around.

At first it was kind of funny when they where dragging around the scardy-cat kid. Then they intimidated this goblin into helping them take down his own encampment by convincing him the sorcerers familiar was a demon. Those two where okay, jut little comic relief guys that sorta had motivation to be there.

But then it got out of hand when they started kidnaping people. Well, they sorta kidnaped the first two, but after that it got worse. They started taking people who had no reason to want to be there. They kidnaped a bandit after chopping her arm off, then kidnaped the psychopath who slaughtered a whole town.


When they took the bandit back to town she got the police involved. Apparently, someone who's got a good character whiteness on standby (the influential merchant acting as her fencer) and your captors have had run ins with the law before, you get jail time.
Homeshine 10th May 2017, 9:40 PM Mad scientist Npc edit delete reply
The player characters encountered a mad scientist Npc who was obsessed with getting ingedients for potions, and so was a bit of a horder. As they went through the dungeon would open every chest "maybe there's potions in here." Finally, the Pcs invited the scientist along as a pc. Perhaps appropriatly, he rolled a very high intelligence score and a very low wizdom score. We thought that was cosmically appropriate.