Friday, February 1, 2013

Social Status (NPCs) (An Exorcism of Ideas, Part 3)

Here we go, my attempt on NPCs and social interaction. Well, the final piece, that is.

Social status and social structure (NPCs)

To flesh this out as needed, I'd suggest to use some sort of chaotic advancement table (my take on it for Goblins may be found here and for Zombies here), using bell curve of results for propability (it might be used as a Random Encounter Table, too). The result is the Social Status Table at the end of this post.

But there is more. I'll reproduce all the tables I've made for this exercise below for easier access. Part 1 is here, part 2 is here.

It's not easy to build a working social structure for the game. The level of detail is crucial. The following tables should produce NPCs and their relation to the PCs en passant if needed or help preparing the game to the level of detail desired. Using all of this tables just once (and the last table twice or more, if desired), gives a DM race, gender, alignment, hd/level, main ability score, reaction to a PC, social status, occupation, education, residence and physical appearence/attitude in round about 3 minutes of rolling dice and writing stuff down. All of that should work just fine with any D&D variant up to 3.x.

Origin (1d20 (+1d6); even = male, uneven= female):
1-4   Human, local
5-8   Human, local (1d6: 1-3 young*, 4-6 old)
9-10  Human, visiting
11-12 Human, visiting (1d6: 1-3 young, 4-6 old)
13-14 Elve (1 in 6 chance of being local)
15-16 Dwarf (1 in 6 chance of bein local)
17-18 Halfling (1 in 6 chance of being local)
19-20 Exotic (1d6**: 1 Goblin Merchant 2 Orc Trader 3 Troglodyte
      Quacksalver 4-6 Outlander)
*in connection with the Social Status Table, it's "son/daughter of a ..." 
**for 1-3 a roll on the Social Status Table is not necessary... 
Initial Reaction Table (2d6):

2D6      NPC
Roll     Reaction*

2        Hate (opposing alignment**)  (A)
3-5      Dislike (opposing alignment**)  (B)
6-8      Indifferent (NPC of neutral alignment)  (C)
9-11     Friendly (same alignment)  (D)
12       Engaging/Love (same alignment)  (E)
* If a Monster Reaction roll turns friendly, skip NPC Reaction Table and go from there.
**With neutral characters, roll 1d6 for random alignment: 1-2 lawful, 3-4 neutral, 5-6 chaotic.

Main ability scores (NPCs)

Now the NPCs main ability score needs to be determined. It tells a DM a lot about the NPC. For one it shows the relation a NPC might have towards a character (does he/she hate the character for his strength because he his weak, or does he/she admire it, maybe even for the same reason, etc,). As a close second, the DM gets a hint what the NPC is about (a wise NPC might be into local politics, a dextrous one into related crafts, etc.).

A strong reaction shows a strong connection of sorts, a less strong reaction gives just a suggestion :

Love/hate (1d10): 1-5 characters main ability score; 6-10 indicates any other ability score than the characters main ability score, just go down the list and skip the ability score in question.

Any other reaction (1d6): 1 STR  2 DEX  3 CON  4 INT  5 WIS 6 CHA


Character Aspects (1d20)

1-2    Thin (-1 to Strength)
3-4    Choleric (-1 to Wisdom, +1 to Constitution)
5-6    Melancholic (+1 to Intelligence)
7-8    Nimble (+1 to Dexterity)
9-12   Normal
13-14  Serene (+1 to Wisdom)
15-16  Vivid (+1 to Luck/Charisma)
17-18  Brawny (+1 to Strength)
19-20  Fat (+1 Constitution, -1 Dexterity)


Social Status (1d8+1d12):
First roll indicates social status, subsequent rolls add to that. The IRM is for the relationship system proposed in part 1. Take the IRM of the last roll on this table, it's basically needed to determine modifications if a character attempts to engage in an relationship (like, if you roll for the fathers/mothers opinion about it or some such thing) or to see what influence a rival, for instance, might have.

Initial Reaction Modifiers (IRM): (A) Hate (B) Dislike (C) Indifferent (D) Friendly (C) Engaging
2  High level adventurer: Level is 16+1d20, main ability score suggests class. 
Subsequent rolls: Add +3 to level (or hd) 
IRM: (A) -50 (B) -30 (C) -10 (D) +/-0 (C) +10
3  Mid level adventurer: Level is 8+1d10, main ability score suggests class. 
Subsequent rolls: Add +2 to level (or hd) 
IRM: (A) -30 (B) -10 (C) +/-0 (D) +10 (C) +30
4  Low level adventurer: Level is 1d8, main ability score suggests class. 
Subsequent rolls: Add +1 to level (or hd) 
IRM: (A) -20 (B) -5 (C) +/-0 (D) +5 (C) +20
5   NPC related to an adventurer: (1d12 for entry, even results = male, uneven = female) 1-2 high level, not from around 3-4 high level, local 5-6 mid level, not from around 7-8 mid level, local 9-10 low level, not from around, 11-12 low level, local) Main ability score indicates profession (STR: protection, DEX: scribe, bookmaking, CON: ceremonies, INT: scholary, WIS: public, CHA: leading).
Subsequent rolls: Formal education in addition to occupation (better standing). After that: higher INT-score (+1 every time), profession that needs formal education (scribe, librarian, etc). 
IRM: (A) -20 (B) -5 (C) +/-0 (D) +5 (C) +20
6  Owned: Main ability score indicates field of work (STR: hard labour, DEX: manual labour, CON: strenuous labour, INT: education, bookkeeping, WIS: social, CHA: seduction). 
Subsequent rolls: Streak of bad luck recently (use result of d8 also for: 1 enmity 2 illness 3 stolen from 4 addiction 5 got betrayed). 
IRM: (A) -5 (B) +/-0 (C) +5 (D) +10 (C) +20
7  Law enforcement: Main ability score indicates field of expertise (STR: protection, fighting, DEX: interrogation, CON: patrol, INT: bookkeeping, street knowledge, WIS: public relations, investigation, CHA: leading). 
Subsequent rolls: Military trainig (+1 to attack rolls with one weapon). Every roll thereafter marks him a veteran with experience (+1 hd/level every time). 
IRM: (A) -50 (B) -30 (C) -10 (D) +/-0 (C) +10
8  Poor: Roll again on this table, to see, what status the NPC came from. Main ability score indicates how the NPC handles being poor (STR: aggressive, DEX: exuberant, CON: persistent, INT: scheming, WIS: empathetic, CHA: engaging).
Subsequent rolls: Streak of bad luck recently (use result of d8 also for: 1 enmity 2 illness 3 stolen from 4 hurt 5 lost something 6 got betrayed 7 addiction). 
IRM: (A) -5 (B) +/-0 (C) +5 (D) +10 (C) +20
9  Craftsmen: Main ability score indicates occupation (STR: hard labour, like masonry, DEX: fine manual labour, like gold schmith CON: work that needs endurance, like smithery, INT: a craft, that assures an constant income and has a technical aspect, like carpenter, WIS: a craft with a strong social connection, like brewing or baking, CHA: produces something with public appeal, like clothes).  
Subsequent rolls: Wealthy (first time: good clothes and living, then: expensive clothes and jewelry, luxury living, after that: small magic item, etc.).. 
IRM: (A) -10 (B) -5 (C) +/-0 (D) +5 (C) +10
10 Commoner: Main ability score indicates personality (STR: confident, DEX: practical, CON: motivated, INT: attentive, WIS: empathetic, CHA: engaging).
Subsequent rolls: Military trainig (+1 to attack rolls with one weapon). After that: has seen combat. Every roll thereafter marks him a veteran with experience (+1 hd/level every time). 
IRM: (A) -10 (B) -5 (C) +/-0 (D) +5 (C) +10
11 Peasant: Main ability score indicates personality (STR: confident, DEX: practical, CON: motivated, INT: attentive, WIS: empathetic, CHA: engaging). 
Subsequent rolls: Military trainig (+1 to attack rolls with one weapon). After that: has seen combat. Every roll thereafter marks him a veteran with experience (+1 hd/level every time). 
IRM: (A) -10 (B) -5 (C) +/-0 (D) +5 (C) +10
12 HirelingMain ability score indicates personality (STR: confident, DEX: practical, CON: motivated, INT: attentive, WIS: empathetic, CHA: engaging). 
Subsequent rolls: Military trainig (+1 to attack rolls with one weapon). After that: has seen combat. Every roll thereafter marks him a veteran with experience (+1 hd/level every time). 
IRM: (A) -5 (B) +/-0 (C) +5 (D) +10 (C) +20
13 Criminal: Main ability score indicates expertise (STR: intimidation, DEX: forgery, CON: motivated, INT: deceit, WIS: conning, CHA: seduction). 
Subsequent rolls: Wealthy (first time: good clothes, then: expensive clothes and jewelry, after that: small magic item, etc.).  
IRM: (A) -5 (B) +/-0 (C) +5 (D) +10 (C) +20
14 Merchant: An automatic +1 to CHA. Main ability score indicates style of selling (STR: aggressive, DEX: exuberant, CON: persistent, INT: scheming, WIS: empathetic, CHA: engaging)
Subsequent rolls: Wealthy (first time: good clothes and living, then: expensive clothes and jewelry, luxury living, after that: small magic item, etc.). 
IRM: (A) -20 (B) -5 (C) +/-0 (D) +5 (C) +20
15 Clergy: Main ability score indicates position (STR: protection, DEX: scribe, bookmaking, CON: ceremonies, INT: scholary, WIS: public, CHA: leading). 
Subsequent rolls: Formal education in addition to occupation (better standing). After that: higher WIS-score (+1 every time), better social status, because cherished for his oppinion (may be in politics). 
IRM: (A) -30 (B) -10 (C) +/-0 (D) +10 (C) +30
16 Entertainer: Main ability score indicates expertise (STR: power display, DEX: acrobatics, CON: motivated, INT: wordplay, WIS: fortunetelling, CHA: seduction).  
Subsequent rolls: Formal education in addition to occupation (better standing). After that: higher WIS-score (+1 every time), better social status, because cherished for his oppinion (may be in politics). 
IRM: (A) -5 (B) +/-0 (C) +5 (D) +10 (C) +20
17 NPC related to person of upper class: (1d12 for entry, even results = male, uneven = female) 1-2 higher upper class, not from around 3-4 higher upper class, local 5-6 middle upper class, not from around 7-8 middle upper class, local 9-10 lower upper class, not from around, 11-12 lower upper class, local) Main ability score indicates profession (STR: protection, DEX: scribe, bookmaking, CON: ceremonies, INT: scholary, WIS: public, CHA: leading).  
Subsequent rolls: Formal education in addition to occupation (better standing). After that: higher INT-score (+1 every time), profession that needs formal education (scribe, librarian, etc).  
IRM: (A) -20 (B) -5 (C) +/-0 (D) +5 (C) +20
18 NPC of lower upper class: (result of the d8 shows main income: 1 land 2 beverages 3 politics 4 animals 5 exotic 6 food 7 crafts 8 transport) Main ability score indicates use of power (STR: aggressive, DEX: exuberant, CON: persistent, INT: scheming, WIS: empathetic, CHA: engaging).  
Subsequent rolls: Result of the d8 indicates extraordinary possessions: 1 land 2 manufacture 3 magical 4 live stock 5 money 6 residence 7 crafts 8 transport).   
IRM: (A) -20 (B) -5 (C) +/-0 (D) +5 (C) +20
19 NPC of middle upper class: (result of the d8 shows main income: 1 land 2 beverages 3 politics 4 animals 5 exotic 6 food 7 crafts 8 transport) Main ability score indicates use of power (STR: aggressive, DEX: exuberant, CON: persistent, INT: scheming, WIS: empathetic, CHA: engaging).   
Subsequent rolls: Result of the d8 indicates extraordinary possessions: 1 land 2 manufacture 3 magical 4 live stock 5 money 6 residence 7 workshop 8 transport).
IRM: (A) -30 (B) -10 (C) +/-0 (D) +10 (C) +30
20 NPC of higher upper class: (result of the d8 shows main income: 1 land 2 beverages 3 politics 4 animals 5 exotic 6 food 7 crafts 8 transport) Main ability score indicates use of power (STR: aggressive, DEX: exuberant, CON: persistent, INT: scheming, WIS: empathetic, CHA: engaging).   
Subsequent rolls: Result of the d8 indicates extraordinary possessions: 1 land 2 manufacture 3 magical 4 live stock 5 money 6 residence 7 workshop 8 transport).
IRM: (A) -50 (B) -30 (C) -10 (D) +/-0 (C) +10
How to use it

What you need is what's not already established during play. This means, you might want to build a random encounter from scratch, just use all of those tables to get a picture of what is encountered and how the reaction to a specific player might be. Or you know what is encountered and you want to beef it up or need some inspiration.

All this needs to go into playtesting now (tomorrow we play), to see if it all works as intended. But so far the results have been intriguing and I hope there is some useability for some of you. I will write a follow up post with examples and maybe I'll also throw a pdf together in the near future.

Comments, critique and suggestions are, of course, appreciated.

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