As gamemasters and writers of all kinds, our worlds are full of an infinite cast of characters well beyond what our players bring to the table. Who plays these myriad roles? Where do they come from? Where are they bound?
“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances…”
— William Shakespeare
With all those comings and goings, sometimes we need a little help coming up with more than a shadow, a stereotype, or a pretty face with a throw-away line.
I recently realized that with my growing collection of Insta-NPCs products and other creativity boosters, that I should probably show how they can be used at the table a bit more readily. Thus, we have the “Infini-Troupe” concept – a constantly changing cast of characters that you can use, adapt, expand, and throw away for whatever niche they may be able to fit.
But how do we do that exactly? It took a bit of thought, but I think I hit upon a way…
Each of these will start with a recipe… Which product(s) were used to create them? What were the ingredients? And how did I mix them in the the bowl to create whatever came out in the end?
We’ll start at the beginning. That’s the best place to start, isn’t it? And for now I’ll stick to the fantasy genre, but eventually I hope to expand into other worlds of adventure as well – such as science fiction, westerns, and horror.
- Today’s Recipe: Mix and match from both Insta-NPCs #0: A Simple Plan and Little Spaces: Ghostly Effects
- Today’s Ingredients: Adventurous & Underdressed (IN0) and “See bloody footprints” (LS:GE)
- Today’s Setting: Since we’re sticking with some tried and true methods initially, I’ll kick things off in a traditional fantasy location – the tavern. Strange things happen in taverns all the time! (We could even set it in One Spot #1: The Painted Man if you’re in need of a tavern for your world.)
- Today’s Mix-in: LPC Fantasy Names I (The name was generated by reversing the name “Leer” and making it “Reel.”)
What did I end up with? Try this…
“As your drinks arrive, the noise level in the bar drops to nothing and everyone looks to the entrance. There stands Brandon Reel, a tavern regular and known adventurer in the area. Though you may not always see eye to eye with the man, you know enough of his exploits to respect his skills. Unfortunately this is not a side of him you ever expected to see.
He looks dazed and confused, swaying side to side and wearing only his underclothes. Of course that’s not too unusual – people have had too much to drink and stripped down to less in this place – but the fact that he’s smeared in blood and leaving a trail of bloody footprints behind him is definitely out of the ordinary…”
With this recipe, I ended up not just with a character, but a situation I could spin in any number of ways. I’m left with all sorts of questions to answer:
- Whose blood is Reel covered in?
- Where did he come from?
- Is he wounded?
- Or more generally – What happened?
Stay tuned for more character and encounter recipes in the coming days and weeks. And once I have enough, I may start collecting them and expanding on them in a new series of products!