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The J Pizzel
2014-05-08, 08:45 AM
I just have kind of an opinion question. When you have important or recurring NPC's, do you stat them out and actually keep track of all their stats, or just have things happen to them based on the flow of the story and the rule of cool? I know it's circumstantial, so here's an example:

Players are hired to escort a young dwarven prince and what's left of his retainers through dangerous territories. It a multi-session mini arc with lots of combat, captivities, negotiations, and even maybe an assassination attempt. Now let's say a classic wooded road goblin ambush happens and the prince hides under the carriage. Several goblins are firing crossbows at him while the party is held up fighting the worgs they came with. Would you have stated the prince, and actually rolled attack and damage against prince (and his retainers for that matter) or would just say "and the goblins are firing at the prince" and after the fight, say the prince has an arrow in his shoulder?

nedz
2014-05-08, 09:09 AM
I always stat them out; the only time I don't are if it's a very large battle in which case it's just scenery.

In the example given there are, at least, two possible outcomes to the ambush: one in which the Prince dies, and one in which he doesn't and it's down to the player's to determine that outcome. To do otherwise is to rail-road since you have pre-determined this outcome in which case it may as well have been a cut-scene.

Recurring enemies occur by luck, or because they have some ability to escape/regenerate etc.

Rhynn
2014-05-08, 09:34 AM
NPCs are treated just like anyone else when in combat, etc. I'd roll attacks on them, roll saves vs. poison normally, and so on. If the PCs' job is to protect the NPC, they need to protect the NPC, not trust to some kind of script shield.

Of course, I don't write scripted adventures where such-and-such NPC has to get to this place for the story to work, etc. :smallyuk: The story is what happens during play.

Anything that occurs completely off-screen (not just "in the next room where no PCs are" but like "the PCs have never met this person" or "the PCs are five weeks from this place") usually occurs however I think things will be most reasonable & most interesting, although if it's simple enough, I might roll some dice and spin the story from those results. Not gonna run full combats the PCs aren't present for.

And just like nedz says, enemies/villains only return if they actually legitimately got away. I'm not going to cheat my players (that'd just be sad). If a villain is exposed to them, that's "license" to kill the villain - if they can. The author can take the "how to cheat death by cheating" advice in DL5 - Dragons of Mystery and stick it. :smallcool:

Tengu_temp
2014-05-08, 09:48 AM
I stat out NPCs generally only if I expect them to fight against the PCs, or together with the PCs. Otherwise it's wasted effort. If I need any specific part of their sheet for whatever reason, I usually come up with it on the fly (I tend to play games where it's easier to do than in DND).

To go with OP's idea: whether you roll the results of the goblins firing at the prince or just decide what they are doesn't matter, because in the end, it's still something the PCs cannot influence. Rolling lots of dice and calculating that the prince received 8 damage, and just deciding that the prince suffered 8 damage, looks exactly the same to the players. Instead of thinking about the prince's stats, think about giving the PCs opportunities to influence the scenario - make its results dependant on PC actions, not random rolls of NPCs attacking other NPCs.

Airk
2014-05-08, 09:50 AM
There's no hard and fast answer to this, but rather, a case-by-case decision made based on a number of factors:

#1: Game system. Let's face it. If "statting out an NPC" involves assigning 3 numbers, there's very seldom a reason NOT to "stat out" an NPC that you know is going to be in play. (As opposed to, like, the barmaid at the tavern you didn't even know the PCs were going to go to.) On the flipside, if we're talking about recent D&D games or other crunch heavy games (Shadowrun?), where an NPC stat block is a pretty significant affair, I'd be more hesitant to waste time statting NPCs that don't meet some of the criteria below.

#2: How likely it seems for the NPC to be in a situation in which stats matter. If I know that the PCs are escorting the Dwarven Prince through dangerous territory, he's much more likely to get a stat block than he is if he's inviting them to dinner to give them a quest.

#3: How important the results of said stat-mattering-events are. This is tied to how important the NPC is - no one really cares about the Prince's footman, most likely, so if he gets shot at, it's probably okay to just go with what sounds interesting at the time (if it would add to the chaos to see him go down, he gets hit, if the fight is already under control and it would just result in the cleric walking over and smacking him with a cure light wounds, it's a miss, or roll and give a 50% chance of hitting or whatever, it's not worth wasting time on.). On the other hand, since the whole MISSION is about the Dwarven Prince, we probably want stats for him.

supermonkeyjoe
2014-05-08, 11:12 AM
I normally only stat them out to the extent that they will be used, If the prince is going to hide from attacks under the carriage I would ballpark his HP, AC, hide skill perhaps and that's it, if he needs any more stats I will guesstimate them and if he ever has a more involved role I will stat him out fully. I never predetermine an NPCs fate, I will go as far as saying the goblins will focus on the prince, or mostly ignore him but his fate depends on what happens in the battle.

brainface
2014-05-08, 11:51 AM
I personally greatly dislike running npc vs. npc--I sometimes get annoyed even when another dm does this, which is perhaps a bit of an extreme opinion. ^_^

I'll stat out any npc that's supposed to essentially be a monster to fight--anyone else is skills at most, or going to fight suspiciously like a default entry in the monster book, with perhaps a bit of ad libbing. I might occasionally do similar to what supermonkeyjoe said, and scribble down an AC or something if I expect them to be a target. There's no way full-on 3.5 character sheets get made for npcs, though, with skill ranks in profession and knowledge and junk, though I did enjoy that sort of thing when I had gobs more free time.

Seto
2014-05-08, 12:43 PM
.#2: How likely it seems for the NPC to be in a situation in which stats matter. If I know that the PCs are escorting the Dwarven Prince through dangerous territory, he's much more likely to get a stat block than he is if he's inviting them to dinner to give them a quest.

On the other hand, you never know when PCs might decide to randomly attack the important guy who invited them to dinner :smalltongue:

Airk
2014-05-08, 12:57 PM
On the other hand, you never know when PCs might decide to randomly attack the important guy who invited them to dinner :smalltongue:

Actually, with my players, I usually do. I bet you have a pretty good guess with your players too.

Knaight
2014-05-08, 01:32 PM
I generally don't stat NPCs ahead of time, at least outside of really distinctive things (The greatest sage in the world has a Legendary Lore skill? You don't say). However, if anything comes up where they would be rolling or someone would be rolling against them, the statting commences. I also generally favor systems which are very piece-meal, and as such can have parts of a character statted up quickly without other parts ever being determined. A class and level system would necessitate making stats ahead of times, but if the system is skill based just assigning skills often works, particularly if there are no derived attributes or whatever.

Garimeth
2014-05-08, 01:36 PM
I'll stat out any npc that's supposed to essentially be a monster to fight--anyone else is skills at most, or going to fight suspiciously like a default entry in the monster book, with perhaps a bit of ad libbing.

This.

On a side note I run 13th Age, and there is a handy chart for quick genning an enemy based off of level. So quick I don't even need to do it pre-session or pause the game. ALSO, regarding scripted events... personally I write my adventures (on the rare occasions I DO write them) with a "if X, then Y, if A, then B" format. I just try to plan how people will react to the PCs' actions and guess what the three most likely outcomes are. Sometimes my players do catch me off guard, though.

veti
2014-05-08, 06:18 PM
On the other hand, you never know when PCs might decide to randomly attack the important guy who invited them to dinner :smalltongue:

Yeah, this. The real railroading in the OP's scenario isn't "deciding what happens to the prince during the fight", it's "assuming that the PCs will actually want to protect him and take him where he wants to go". Even a Good party may come up with dozens of other things they'd rather be doing...

Any NPC who's expected to make more than a token appearance should be statted to some degree.

But, in the scenario given again, I wouldn't roll dozens of individual Spot checks and Attacks against the prince. That would just take stupid amounts of time. Instead, I'd decide arbitrarily that for every round the combat continues, there's a (say) 1 in 10 chance that he'll take a hit from a stray arrow. Then count the rounds of combat, and when the time comes for him to crawl out from under the wagon, roll that many d10s, roll damage, and describe what condition he's in.

(Of course, I reserve the right to fudge the damage rolls if I really don't want him to be dead. But that would not be my default setting.)

Knaight
2014-05-08, 06:45 PM
Yeah, this. The real railroading in the OP's scenario isn't "deciding what happens to the prince during the fight", it's "assuming that the PCs will actually want to protect him and take him where he wants to go". Even a Good party may come up with dozens of other things they'd rather be doing...
That's not railroading. If the PCs are forced to take the option it becomes railroading, but just making an assumption is hardly railroading, particularly if the players are predictable (some are, some really aren't).

NichG
2014-05-08, 09:39 PM
I don't explicitly stat anything out until Initiative is rolled unless its something I want to have very strange mechanics for some reason. In general I keep an awareness of roughly what sorts of saves, skills, abilities, etc would be reasonable for things of various levels, and that plus a few feats or other touches is enough to stat out someone on the fly if it turns out I need their stats.

In the more abstract sense, I will decide things like 'this guy is a Lv13ish Wizard' ahead of time if that's likely going to be relevant to the way the PCs encounter/interact with him. But specific spells prepped, feats taken, etc I won't bother with unless the PCs decide to throw down.

BWR
2014-05-09, 12:57 AM
NPCs are given stats if they need stats. If all the interaction between PCs and NPC will be roleplayed, there is no need for stats. Stating takes a bit too long in the systems I run to bother doing it unnecessarily (PF, L5R R&K). I know the systems well enough to make approximations on the fly if need be, and worst come to worst there are bunches of pregens lying around for just this sort of situation (NPC Codex for PF).
Some times I will just leave a little note in the margins about class and level/School and Insight Rank, if that's interesting, but more interesting are notes about personality and motivations.

Coidzor
2014-05-09, 01:25 AM
Largely depends upon what kind of role they're going to take. If they're actually going to get into combat with the PCs with a chance of them getting taken out? Yes, I need to have combat stats for them if nothing else. If they're going to be in actual conflict with the PCs even if it's not something life-or-death, probably yes as well in order to model that fairly.

If they're just nothing but plot then, no, probably not, but I'd generally have the skeleton of ideas on which to build the fleshing out of stats.

Rhynn
2014-05-09, 01:49 AM
I find that in the games I like that don't have simple stats (literally "Trondor: F6, S18, +2 sword" is sufficient in ACKS), NPCs who may never see combat still need stats, because they matter in interactions; for instance, in Artesia: Adventures in the Known World, I'll want to know NPCs' abilities, skills, and most especially Bindings (Hates, Loves, traits like Despair, Ennui, Greed...). The game's (simple) social system depends pretty heavily on Bindings, and many (largely social) abilities that PCs can obtain deal explicitly with Bindings (discerning them and triggering them).

So, I almost always spend some time creating generic NPC templates that I can grab and maybe make a few modifications to. This is a bit of front-loaded work, but it lets me be very flexible later on, and over a years-long campaign I'm probably going to use the templates often enough that I save that time back anyway. For instance, if my players decide to visit a random Daradjan Citadel, I can just pull up the stats for a Daradjan Warlord and use those for the petty-king, maybe with some Bindings added. After the session, I might modify them a bit by rolling for his heritages and applying the changes to the stats, maybe tweak some skills, add some Bindings, customize his possessions, etc.

Airk
2014-05-09, 10:17 AM
I find that in the games I like that don't have simple stats (literally "Trondor: F6, S18, +2 sword" is sufficient in ACKS), NPCs who may never see combat still need stats, because they matter in interactions;

Well, obviously this depends on the game. If you're playing D&D 3.5, the only stat that may matter during "interactions" is maybe the character's wisdom or something.


for instance, in Artesia: Adventures in the Known World, I'll want to know NPCs' abilities, skills, and most especially Bindings (Hates, Loves, traits like Despair, Ennui, Greed...). The game's (simple) social system depends pretty heavily on Bindings, and many (largely social) abilities that PCs can obtain deal explicitly with Bindings (discerning them and triggering them).

Tell me more about this game.

Brookshw
2014-05-09, 11:03 AM
Depends I suppose. If I suspect they'll just be a background NPC, nope, wasted time. If I expect they might get into combat then maybe. It's a question of time investment and if fudging it might be more practical. Never can tell how the party will treat various things so I try not to over invest prep time where I doubt there will be much payoff. Then of course there's shmuck NPC merchant quest giver where if the party decides to off them its a no contest slaughter so why bother at all.

Rhynn
2014-05-09, 11:35 AM
Tell me more about this game.

Gladly!

Artesia: Adventures in the Known World is a RPG by Mark Smylie (sometime D&D illustrator during 3E; see Complete Warrior, Faiths & Pantheons), based on his comic, Artesia. The whole game is written by him, and the book was laid out and illustrated by him - an enormous and impressive work. Too bad he can't get more of the comic out... or that supposed second edition.

The setting is awesome and I can't do it justice here, although since there's only a core book, you have to fill in some blanks (especially to play outside of the Middle Kingdoms, the focus of the core book). It's basically a consistent, well-thought-out Renaissance fantasy setting (well, entering Renaissance) where magic is everywhere (any farmer will usually have a charm to protect himself from ghosts, etc.) but is more low-key than in many other games (no balls of fire here).

The majors conflicts are the tension between two great empires who are poised to come into indirect and eventually direct conflict soon; and between the patriarchal monotheistic sun cult (in two flavors) and the Goddess-worship of the Old Faith. There's a ton of other threads, though: the High King of the Middle Kingdoms is old and weak, and the any petty kings of the Daradjan Highlands are always stuggling for supremacy. Finally, the necromantic Isliklids (who claim to be the immortal descendants of the sun god) have settled west of the Middle Kingdoms.

The world description spends as much time on mythology as on "real" history, but the truth of it is left very vague; the influence of Glorantha is clear (and acknowledged in the comics).

The setting is obviously ripe for epic adventure, mythic quests, and otherworldly journeys, but also dirty politics, gritty street life, and the like (there's a vast gulf in feel within the world between Heroes and regular people). There's also some obvious nods to old-school gaming: under the capital of the Middle Kingdoms lie the Dungeons of the Mad King Myrad (where he kept his captives and eventually imprisoned many of his hundred sons), and the ruined realm of Lost Uthedmael is ripe for wilderness adventure and ruin-delving. I very much get the sense that Smylie is a fan both of epic storytelling (like in his comic!) and intricate plots, and of old-school adventure.

For ideas on the style and feel, think A Song of Ice and Fire, Pillars of the Earth/World Without End, but also Joseph Campbell (the Hero's Journey, etc.) and classical myths. To a degree, the world is "mundane fantasy," but there are also Heroes who slay enormous dragons and giants.

The rules are based on Fuzion (Bubblegum Crisis, Sengoku), but expand on them very well. Characters are, in part, defined by Bindings that tie them to the world: they can be active (always in effect, basically personality traits; like Despair, Doubt, Ennui, Greed, Grief) or passive (triggered by a specific trigger, like Awe, Dread, Fear, Fury, Hate, Love, etc.).

Characters also have Gifts, with the major types being Auras (which affect everyone nearby), Masks (which affect everyone who sees their face), and Voices (which affect everyone who hears them). There's a bunch of others, too, like Bonds of Love and True Love. Many Gifts cause or activete Bindings.

There's also a rules framework for social relationships, with many types and degrees, from Stranger down to Enemy, and through Compatriot, Ally and Lover to Follower and Worshipper.

Combat is nice, simple, and relatively realistic; there's one big problem, though, and that's that the rules on Aimed attacks basically let good fighters ignore armor if there's any part of your body that's not protected (like your face). That's easy enough to fix (at the simplest you can just not allow them).

If you're into medieval armor and weapons, the armor lists are a nice little treat, with correct terminology and awesome-looking realistic armor.

The magic rules are cool and very deep - they're not complicated, but there's so much you can do with them. Here, again, there's a caveat: you should never let PCs get True Forms of spells, especially of the Enchantment Ritual. The Enchantment Ritual basically lets you add your magic skill to your attacks twice and your defense three times, if you perform all the right enchantments, and that's way too much. However, the shaped forms are great: each spell is based on a general True Form, but is specified; for instance, make man stand still is a form of the Binding spell, and so is cause terror in man. I learned this the hard way.

Character creation is pretty awesome; it involves a lot of tables (but every last table says "roll or choose," though I really encourage making everyone roll for everything). Your ability scores aren't rolled, but determined by your heritages (for mother and father), your star sign, and the omens of your birth. There's a Lifepath system (cf. Cyberpunk 2020, Sengoku, Bubblegum Crisis). This character creation got my usually very casual and hack-and-slashy players unusually involved in their characters, and it produces tons of hooks for play.

Character development is based on the Book of Dooms (the Tarot with some cards renamed): each card of the Major Arcana has a list of related attributes, skills, gifts, and bindings that its points can be spent on, and a list of actions that get you points in that Arcana. Characters can also just train their skills, alone or with a teacher, but that takes a long time.

Because so many different actions can get you Arcana Points, I end every session in a "debriefing" where we go through the Arcana one at a time and everyone calls out actions from play (so I don't have to keep track during play or remember everything alone). It takes 10-15 minutes, usually, and is a great way to end a session. It also refreshes my memory so I have an easier time writing the "chronicle" for the session.

The Arcana system needs to be carefully applied, because it can produce great variation between PCs' advancement; I haven't found the perfect balance yet, but so far I try to use a combination of strictly applying the "the action must be significant to the story" rule and trying to balance each PCs' points against each other.

This is getting a bit rambling.

TL;DR: Artesia: Adventures in the Known World is an awesome game worth purchasing if you like fantasy, and Artesia would be the best fantasy comic ever if Smylie could keep churning out the books.

TriForce
2014-05-09, 02:00 PM
normally, i only give my npc's a really general stat. much more detailed then "lvl 5 warrior" or "lvl 2 commoner" are 99% of the time all the stats a (non antagonist) NPC will ever need, and it will give me a general idea of how good he is at something and will allow me to make the rest up on the fly if i need to.

NPC vs NPC battles is something i NEVER roll for. in the case of the prince being under attack i would assign myself a number of rounds that it will take before he would realistically recieve enough damage and dies, and the closer it gets to that final number, the more wounds he will end up with if and when the players manage to save him

say i made the prince a lvl 5 aristocrat, and 4 goblins are fireing on him, the prince has cover, so he will manage a little while, but probably has no to little armor. i say he dies after 4 rounds of fireing

HolyCouncilMagi
2014-05-09, 06:45 PM
Depends on the game.

If it's Ars Magica, a noncombatant is getting a defense score at most, though I'll make a mental note if one has a Might score. General assumption being that sans botches and natural 0s on penetration rolls, anything resembling an attack in their general direction causes major wounds or death.

I never arbitrarily decide how much an NPC can or can't take outside of that though. For the most part, especially since I have several Generic Member of Race templates, I can give everything full stats as needed.

In D&D and Exalted, it's a little different, because way-too-powerful-to-make-sense-of effects and unexpected resultant consequences are so danged commonplace. If something looks like it should die, and it saves me thirteen minutes of checking tables and rolling dice, I'll probably just say "okay it's dead."

jedipotter
2014-05-09, 07:09 PM
I just have kind of an opinion question. When you have important or recurring NPC's, do you stat them out and actually keep track of all their stats, or just have things happen to them based on the flow of the story and the rule of cool? I know it's circumstantial, so here's an example:


I do both.

About half of the NPC's have stat papers. I have lots of generic ones that I can use and switch a thing or two to make them not all the same. And if the NPC might be in or around combat, they will most always be stated. Otherwise they are kept vague, unless needed.

Often I'll keep NPC's as ''some wizard type'' if they are not in combat. Then if it comes up, give them a feat, spell, or such as needed. Often after a couple times, I'll just stat them out.

Yora
2014-05-10, 04:32 AM
In AD&D, it's pretty simple. Pick a class, level, and equipment, and that's pretty much all you really need to know. Assume all stats are 10 and the NPC does not get any modifiers to anything. To Hit bonus and hit points depend entirely on class and level, AC depends on armor and shield.
If you want to, you can add weapon mastery bonuses to warrior NPCs, but that's usually a flat +1 to Hit and damage. And you don't exactly need to calculate AC, you can just assign a number that makes sense.
So if you find yourself needing stats for an NPC that you don't have prepared, roll hit points and you're done.

Prince Raven
2014-05-10, 07:28 AM
With my players I stat out nearly everyone just in case they decide to randomly murder them, but I mostly just use basic stat block for that NPC type with some minor modifications to individualise them.

A recent exception was when a NPC was so powerful I didn't even bother giving them stats because not even my players would be stupid enough to provoke him (though I was nearly proven wrong in that regard).

Melville's Book
2014-05-10, 11:49 AM
With my players I stat out nearly everyone just in case they decide to randomly murder them, but I mostly just use basic stat block for that NPC type with some minor modifications to individualise them.

A recent exception was when a NPC was so powerful I didn't even bother giving them stats because not even my players would be stupid enough to provoke him (though I was nearly proven wrong in that regard).

Assuming that players are smart enough to not attack something based on its strength and thus not giving it stats sounds like a terrible idea.

My DM generally believes nothing deserves to appear on-screen unless it has stats. With the exception to that rule being if the players are intentionally really douchy and just Scry-Teleport to the least relevant place they can manage in the entire world and try to attack the NPCs most likely to have an individual statblock rather than a generic one (high priests, kings' personal bodyguards, resident specialists of any kind, and so on). In which case, well, quite being a jerk, players.

Me, personally? I don't GM/DM/ST/SG often, but when I do, I almost never have important NPCs on the screen unless the PCs are pretty heavily neutralized in some way or another. Stay unstatted, my friends.

Prince Raven
2014-05-10, 12:44 PM
In my defence it was a Daemonhost and they were only rank 2 acolytes with absolutely no anti-Daemon capabilities, no one needed stats to know it was an unwinnable fight.
Plus if they had got the memo about time being of the essence they would have easily prevented the summoning.
Basically, I was banking on my players being slightly more competent than a group of chimps with d100s.

ReaderAt2046
2014-05-10, 03:02 PM
The Dresden Files has an interesting take on this. Some characters are considered "plot device-level" and don't get stats, they explicitly work by GM fiat.

This works for two groups of characters:

1: Absurdly powerful characters such as God, Satan, Mab, etc. These characters can be assumed to automatically beat the PCs in any kind of contest, so rolling dice is a waste of time.

2: Absurdly weak characters. The quintessential example of this is Elidee, a tiny pixie whose sole function is to act as a guide and flashlight in one scene. She doesn't need any stats because she'll never do anything more than flutter around and glow.

Soarel
2014-05-11, 08:13 PM
I stat out everyone that I see as important. I'm loose with my campaigns, allowing players to derail them and kill off NPCs. I find it fun.

I once introduced a dhampir who the players were supposed to help cure his disease (quest was supposed to be a lead-off to introducing a vampire BBEG). One of our two paladins decided he was evil by nature and killed him. It turned the story into a local hero type story in which the townsfolk see the PCs as liberating them from a vampire spy and eventually I kinda "tricked" them into going up against the vampire BBEG on the orders of a paladin order. Had I not statted him, the campaign wouldn't have been nearly as fun.

Tengu_temp
2014-05-11, 08:38 PM
Just because an NPC is not statted out doesn't mean it's unkillable. Just stat it out after the PCs decide to kill it.

Jay R
2014-05-12, 08:35 AM
Some NPCs are statted out well in advance, carefully and tactically, like I'm playing a chess game.

Others are introduced with a name and a basic character, and when a stat is needed, I invent it on the spot, like I'm surfing.

HighWater
2014-05-12, 10:23 AM
I generally stat out whoever I expect to see combat, or other intensive player-interaction (in which case the social skills (sense motive, and bluff) are the most important). I try to account for "realistic choices" when I stat out NPC skills, so that they don't necessarely see play with the most optimal selection for that one appropriate scene in which they feature (a con-artist will have bluff maxed, someone who never found a particular need to lie does not have bluff maxed, regardless of whether they will need to lie to the PCs).
I admit I enjoy building charactersheets too much though, so YMMV. Rolling things on the spot can tell players that it's irrelevant (and that they are therefore barking up the wrong tree), so I try to avoid those situations. Alternatively, I'd roll/construct -everything- on the spot, which tends to reaaaallly bog down play in dnd3.5. :smallwink:

ElenionAncalima
2014-05-12, 02:53 PM
Depending on the system, you may be able to find a fair amount of pre-statted NPCs.

That is usually what I do. If I think there is a chance the NPC will end up in combat I find some pregen of roughly the right level and class and make adjustments as needed.

I rarely stat out NPCs from scratch. Usually only in the following scenarios:
-They are extremely important (ie. the Big Bad)
-They are too specific to find a good starting point.
-They are of great importance to the players (ie. They all had characters from their backstories that they clearly wanted to be awesome, so I wanted those NPC built with a little extra TLC)

veti
2014-05-12, 10:47 PM
Alternatively, I'd roll/construct -everything- on the spot, which tends to reaaaallly bog down play in dnd3.5. :smallwink:

Heh. You want to see "bogged down", you should try that with Rolemaster, or Hero System.

Rhynn
2014-05-12, 11:43 PM
Heh. You want to see "bogged down", you should try that with Rolemaster, or Hero System.

You know, I've never done NPCs beyond the basic combat stat block in Rolemaster. Fortunately, all editions (and MERP) come with a table of "standard NPC abilities" for all classes.

But yeah, creating them on the spot isn't really a possibility in many games. That's one reason I prepare generic stat blocks.

Knaight
2014-05-12, 11:59 PM
Heh. You want to see "bogged down", you should try that with Rolemaster, or Hero System.

Hero System isn't that much worse than D&D 3.5, and is arguably better once you've got some system mastery. Rolemaster's a different case entirely, but there's a case to be made that the rules operate so slowly anyways that the extra time isn't all that noticeable. Granted, that's also a pretty good case for not playing Rolemaster.