Friday, April 9, 2010

The Devil is in 160 Details...Planet Algol Style NPC Traits

I've been busy lately with family, band practice, videogames (Metro 2033!) and other nonsense, with the end result being unconscionable neglect of both working on the Planet Algol booklet and this blog. As an act of contrition please enjoy the below NPC Trait generation system, a rough draft of the material I'm working on for the NPC Generation section of the Planet Algol booklet.

As a related aside, I've been hearing muttering that a certain deranged savant is planning on releasing a generic free(?) Science Fantasy supplement for Swords & Wizardry, and that some of the planned content may render some of the inchoate Planet Algol material redundant...which has me pretty jazzed as it may mean less work on my end.! Hopefully this project materializes soon and dovetails nicely with the Planet Algol project!

Anyways, I'm getting pumped for doing some more "Dungeon Jamming" with D&D bros Lester & Cameron tonight, who know what madness will emerge from our demented imaginations...

This NPC Trait Generation system was developed as a component of my Planet Algol NPC Generation system. It's a rough first draft, expect something wider, deeper, weirder and meaner in the future...

d6 - # of Traits
1 One
2-4 Two
5 Three
6 Four

d6 Trait Table to Roll On
1-5 General NPC Traits Table
6 Class-specific Trait Table

d%

General NPC Traits

01

Wears strings of pierced coins.

02

Wears a knife on an arm sheath.

03

Always has bare arms.

04

Wears old hoop earrings.

05

Wears red leather headband.

06

Wears a high-collared cloak or coat which conceals lower portion of face.

07

Clad in striking black and white garments and gear.

08

Wears a bubble-like helmet.

09

Wears a metal helmet which completely covers head and face.

10

Wears a stylized metal mask in the form of an animal's face.

11

Wears a simple domino style mask.

12

Wears a crested helmet.

13

Wears bracers of precious metal.

14

Wears a foil jumpsuit.

15

Wears a tight-fitting bodysuit.

16

Garments are constructed of small, light metal scales.

17

Wears a hooded, poncho-like garment.

18

Wears a monocle.

19

Wears a metal skullcap.

20

Wears an Earth Man flying helmet.

21

Wears sleek, elbow-length gloves.

22

Very elderly.

23

Wears a skull-face mask.

24

Wears bone jewelry.

25

Wears an amulet composed of a fragment of an ancient technology.

26

Wears an amulet of a tiny stone idol.

27

Wears a metal amulet of an abstract symbol.

28

Has a harsh, grating voice.

29

Mute.

30

Sings instead of talking.

31

Speaks in Haiku-like statements.

32

Has small, suspicious eyes.

33

Wears a wide-brimmed hat.

34

Wears a very tall hat.

35

Wears gauzy, flowing robes.

36

Wears thin circlet of bronze.

37

Short and small, often mistaken for child if young.

38

Is very, very tall.

39

Wears a metal gorget.

40

Nose was once broken.

41

Wears dinosaur hide bracers.

42

Wears a turban.

43

Wears a simple undyed robe.

44

Terrible facial scars, one eye.

45

One limb is mechanical.

46

Bears the scars of a whipping or torture.

47

Shaves head aside for a single braided lock.

48

Constantly wears a cowl and veil.

49

Wears metallic cloth tunic.

50

Wears high-strapped metallic sandals.

51

Is always shirtless.

52

Carries a whip, very skilled with it.

53

Scout for a band of robbers.

54

Indebted to slavers.

55

Pursued by an vengeful former lover.

56

Obsessed with maintaining protections from evil spirits.

57

Obsessively hates mutants.

58

Secretly a mutant.

59

Servitor of a powerful supernatural being.

60

Will never lie.

61

Expert, habitual liar.

62

Secretly a descendant of Royalty with inherited birthmark, may be hunted.

63

Secretly a lawful vigilante.

64

Really into shopping for gear and supplies.

65

Can calm down agitated animals.

66

Can predict dangerous weather conditions.

67

Is convinced supernatural forces interfere in their affairs.

68

Knows the location of a hidden treasure.

69

Can run very fast.

70

Keeps a journal with sketches and maps.

71

Asks a lot of questions which quickly becomes tiresome.

72

Will conceal tears when a companion dies.

73

Can convincingly pretend to know strangers.

74

Is a recent parent, found it to be a life-changing experience.

75

Has a perfect singing voice.

76

Often loses important objects.

77

Plays with campfires way too much.

78

Throws up when a friend dies.

79

Laughs at very inappropriate moments.

80

Cannot lie without giggling.

81

Mercilessly ogles those they find attractive.

82

Is convinced they will die soon.

83

Is obsessive in checking campsites, bedding, books and the like for poisonous vermin.

84

Will always try shooting inoffensive wildlife.

85

Collects interesting rocks.

86

Always wants to gamble.

87

Is a really good cook but is insufferably smug about it.

88

Is really lazy but always has an excuse.

89

Sometimes get too excited and acts like a child.

90

Will not travel at night due to fear of nightgaunts.

91

Secretly has a crush on a PC.

92

Will never betray or abandon an ally.

93

Claims to be a great swimmer but isn't.

94

Claims that vegetation gives them a rash.

95

Illiterate but tries to pretend otherwise.

96

Very cheap, has lots of copper pieces.

97

Always sharpening blades.

98

Cannot eat without complaining about food.

99

Dislikes bright light in the morning.

100

Afraid of dinosaurs and large reptiles.


d20

Fighting-Man Traits

01

Hero of a famous or infamous battle.

02

Current or former gladiatorial slave.

03

Missing several teeth.

04

Facial scar from sword wound.

05

Always telling dirty stories and jokes.

06

Meticulous about maintaining and repairing equipment.

07

Exercises a lot, prefers to do so naked.

08

Practices an unusual, digusting diet in order to "maintain conditioning."

09

Collects medals and odd bits of armor.

10

Wants to die in single combat against a worthy opponent.

11

Unafraid to knifefight or wrestle beats or monsters, actually quite effective at it.

12

Never complains, always pitches in if there's work to do.

13

Can make a deadly weapon out of almost anything, also a ruthless brawler.

14

Was raised by ferocious, savage nonhumans.

15

Doesn't trusts sorcerers, mind wizards and their ilk.

16

Has burn-scars from energy weapons.

17

Frequently checks that weapons are secured in sheaths and holsters, reminds others to do the same.

18

Knowledgeable in artillery and explosives.

19

Has a secret cache of military equipment.

20

Has strong connections with a mercenary band.


d20

Sorcerer Traits

01

Was an apprentice to a master of considerable repute.

02

Meditates at every available opportunity.

03

Abstains from all physical labor, claims that it weakens internal concentration.

04

Supplements diet with disgusting invertebrates.

05

Only drinks water and certain bitter teas.

06

Is drunk all of the time, does not impair spellcasting.

07

Claims that others cannot comprehend their mystical secrets.

08

Insanely jealous of other sorcerers.

09

Will stop at nothing to attain greater sorcerous power.

10

Frequently sniffs a dusty grey power, the remains of corpses reduced to certain essential salts.

11

Carried an unwieldy, baroque staff with several secret compartments.

12

Wears a ring with a retractable poison needle.

13

Has an incorporeal servitor, requires regular rituals and sacrifices to placate.

14

Is from another plane and has an especially unusual appearance.

15

Gaunt, skeletal appearance.

16

Waxy, unhealthy complexion with cancerous dark eyes.

17

Has dark, protuberant veins.

18

Has no eyes but sees via unnatural means.

19

Head was severed at one time and crudely stitched back on.

20

Unwholesome odor either of sickly sweet incense and decay, or of pungent chemicals.


d20

Thief Traits

01

Bears the facial brand of a criminal.

02

Carries a lot of daggers and throwing knives.

03

Carries a small pistol in a concealed holster.

04

Expert con artist.

05

Skilled forger.

06

Can accurately estimate the value of items.

07

Does a lot of intoxicants.

08

Always conceals identity via mask, cowl or the like and uses a title in lie of name.

09

Has a huge bounty on their head.

10

Has several lovers in high places.

11

Can always spot the best escape route, knows a million tricks to evade pursuit.

12

Will slink away from companions if the situation appears especially dire.

13

Knows how to conceal the signs of violence and effectively dispose of bodies.

14

Was subjected to a botched execution in the past and feigned death to escape.

15

Hates all authority figures.

16

Wears gaudy, cheap jewelry. Will try to claim flashy jewels.

17

Once was part of a legendary heist but only played a small role.

18

Always getting in trouble for the way they "look at people."

19

Acts in an obvious suspicious manner all the time.

20

Resents the mildest slights and will mutter about violent retribution afterwards.

5 comments:

  1. I love this. For some reason I particularly like "plays with campfires too much" (which is something I myself do) and Thief #18 "What are you looking at?!". Fantastic potential for hijinx.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This wonderful! Great job.

    Addendum for those running slightly more traditional fantasy games:

    d20 Cleric Traits

    1 Only survivor of an obscure cult that committed mass suicide.
    2 Pathologically sexually prudish.
    3 Will never heal or magically aid “Infidels”.
    4 Rebel priest always in trouble with church hierarchy.
    5 Excommunicated. Wandering heretic with no legal / religious authority.
    6 Political schemer within church.
    7 Theocratic. Wants to undermine or usurp secular authority.
    8 Open-minded. Takes pride in ministering to those the church usually condemns.
    9 Practices old doctrines long-ago abandoned by mainstream church.
    10 Liberal reformer.
    11 Self-flagellant.
    12 Obsessed with punishment.
    13 Castrated.
    14 Raised in a monastery. Very limited knowledge of real world.
    15 Former P.O.W. who converted to the enemy's religion.
    16 Has a monastic skill like baking or brewing. Very good at it.
    17 Abuses priestly powers to fulfill twisted sexual desires.
    18 Losing faith.
    19 Materialistic. Thinks wealth shows approval of the gods, shows it off.
    20 Aesthetic. Very spartan lifestyle and dress.


    d20 Psion Traits

    1 “Former” lunatic. Unlocked powers in an asylum.
    2 Alien abductee. Powers unlocked while a prisoner of outsiders.
    3 Powers unlocked by a drug experience. Will try any weird substance in attempt to repeat it.
    4 Clean living. No drugs or alcohol, not even tea.
    5 Drilled a hole in own forehead to “Enhance” perceptions.
    6 Keeps head shaved.
    7 Practices extremely painful, wince-inducing, “Mind over body” exercises.
    8 Not fully human. Some odd feature of alien ancestry is visible.
    9 Prefers telepathy to speech.
    10 Practices tantric sex.
    11 Celibate.
    12 Powers unlocked by secret military order. Dresses and acts like a soldier.
    13 Eats animal brains. Possibly other brains, depending on alignment.
    14 Loudly mocks traditional spellcasters as quaint and old-fashioned.
    15 Talks like Yoda.
    16 Creepy, Charlie-Manson-like stare.
    17 Forehead bulges out.
    18 Believes the material world is a prison/ illusion/ game.
    19 Wears alien, “Futuristic” dress (Skintight silver 60's sci-fi jumpsuit or the like).
    20 Wears as little clothing as possible, so it won't “Block my energy flow”.

    -Kid Monster

    ReplyDelete
  3. Kid Monster: Haha, thanks! The Psion one is perfect for the Mind Wizard class, and is eerily similar in some entries to the one I made for such types but haven't posted yet.

    ReplyDelete
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