Creating Non Player Characters (NPCs)
Non Player Characters, also known as NPCs, are all of the characters and creatures in the Atomic RPG System that are not the player characters, also known as PCs.
PCs will interact with many NPCs, whether just talking or battling to the death. The Game Master (GM) will create and control all the NPCs. Therefore, it’s important to have some simple guidelines so the GM can quickly and easily create all of these NPCs for the Atomic RPG System.
NPCs are usually just simplified Atomic RPG System player characters. Most NPCs need to be developed to just the point they will be interesting and fun when used in a Atomic RPG System Game. When creating a merchant, it will be important to create their name and personality. Basic stats can be created so the GM can run a Turn Time encounter should the party want to bargain for their gear. Other than that, little else needs to be done. This type of NPC should probably be a Minion or Grunt.
The next NPCs to consider are the NPCs the party may fight in Battle Time. These NPCs may need a little more detail, but not much. Almost all of the NPCs that players are going to run into in combat are going to be killed. With that in mind, the NPC just needs to be interesting enough to make sense and to be enjoyable during Battle Time. These NPCs generally range from Minions to Specialists. They are often encountered in groups and may have specific tactics they use to utilize their Powers.
Last but certainly not least are the real tough bad guys the player characters should occasionally encounter. These NPCs are tough and more complicated. Thankfully, only one or a few should be used at a time. They also should only be introduced in the game every once in awhile. These are not NPCs that should be used a lot. Champions and Epic Bosses are the NPCs for these situations. This would be the super villain for the campaign. This NPC might be one who will be a recurring enemy the party will meet and possibly battle during the course of the campaign. A GM will want to have this character fully developed.
Specialty Selection for an NPC
NPCs differ from PCs when it comes to Specialties. PCs are required to work their way up through Specialties to the higher level ones. This is meant to show a progression with the PCs as well as the ability to be awesome at a couple things or ok at many things. This is not the case with NPCs. With NPCs, there are no prerequisites for Specialties. This means an NPC that is Tier 3 and has 2 Specialties can choose two Improved Specialties, or Tier 3 Specialties. This makes the selection and application of Specialties simple. The NPC Creation Wizard will suggest a few Specialties for the NPC created. If a Specialty is not on the list initially provided, it can easily be edited once the NPC is created from the NPC’s character sheet.
Signature Powers for NPCs
Signature Powers NPC only and are just like regular Powers, but NPCs can use them more than once. This is meant to make the creation of NPCs easy. Signature Powers are also designed to give NPCs a certain flavor or abilities that define them.
Below are details regarding the different NPC ranks in the Atomic RPG System. Once familiar with the NPC Rank, you can begin building NPCs with the Atomic RPG System NPC Creation Wizard. In the rare case that an NPC might need to be manually built or some of the details need adjusting, some of the details of manual NPC creation have been added below. However, we highly recommend that all NPCs start in the NPC Creation Wizard. Once they are built there, they can be edited in a very similar way as a regular Atomic RPG System PC.
The 5 Tiers of Non Player Characters
Below is a breakout of the mechanics of each kind of NPC. This is to have a look behind the curtain, so to speak. It’s important to know that you do not need to know any of it to create NPCs. The NPC Creation Wizard does all of this for you!
These are the easiest NPCs to throw at the party. These are creatures that may come en mass but will be easily defeated. This can offer a lot of drama and excitement seeing a huge swarm of bats flying toward the party. Minions NPC’s are very weak and one attack can take them out of the battle. However, they can potentially cause a lot of damage while they are alive.
A PC should be able to handle many of these on their own.
- Use the 9 point Character Trait Base (8 Trait Points + Level)
- 1 At-Will Power (Plus Basic Attacks and Combat Maneuvers)
- 1 Hit Point
- No Specialties
- Cannot Critical Hit or Heal. They just do normal damage or healing.
- NPC Level should be within 2 of the average party level. Generally they are lower level than the party.
Most of the NPCs the PCs will usually encounter are the non-combative NPCs that will populate your world. These are the merchants, innkeepers, and other characters in a quest that are not the players or NPCs designed to fight the PCs. These usually do not need to be specifically built. However, if you have some NPCs that the group does work with it might be a good idea to create them.
NPCs that are not designed to fight should be created as Minions. One good hit will knock them out of the fight. Unlike combative NPCs like monsters, non-combative NPCs are usually knocked out or rendered Captive (depending on the situation).
Creating these NPCs can be helpful so the GM has a set of Skill checks they can use. Also the GM can use the NPC sections to store more in depth details on the character.
Please note that this does not mean that the captain of the guard should be created as a Minion. Quite the contrary, it would be much more appropriate to create the captain of the guard as Champion. They are combative, as they fight off enemies of the city and can handle themselves in a fight. So with NPCs that may be able to fight, create them as a normal NPC so they can do their jobs or match their story.