Insta-NPCs #5: Prisoners and Escapees
Obviously not every character your PCs meet in your world are likely to be hardened criminals who have served time for dubious deeds (unless you’re roleplaying IN a prison, which could be an interesting story technique in and of itself, like with Orange is the New Black or Oz). But depending on what you want to do, a group of escaped prisoners along the lines of O Brother, Where Art Thou? could add some fun color to an otherwise boring road trip!
Have you ever created an amazing place for your campaign only to discover that you don’t immediately have a collection of NPCs to fill it? Or have your PCs ever stumbled into a place you haven’t had time to fully develop as a living, breathing part of the campaign?
Well, why not take out a handful of dice and roll up an instant NPC! Or in this case, an “Insta-NPC”!
The Insta-NPCs product line is designed to offer one or more tables to roll on to figure out a little something about the NPC you’re pulling together.
Though the last couple of products have dealt with villains and their minions, this time we deal with a group of individuals who you might encounter just about anywhere. Any society that has a system of laws has law-breakers. And law-breakers must serve time for crimes committed. Those NPCs are the type that your party may meet simply traveling or visiting a crowded marketplace or may even have to go rescue or talk to for information pertaining to a quest or mission.
The story aspects of prisoner NPCs is huge, whether they have escaped, are serving their time peacefully, or have served their time and been released. Any aspect of a particular plot, regardless of system or genre, could be given a new spark with a bit of a past brush with the law.
Obviously not every character your PCs meet in your world are likely to be hardened criminals who have served time for dubious deeds (unless you’re roleplaying *IN* a prison, which could be an interesting story technique in and of itself, like with Orange is the New Black or Oz). But depending on what you want to do, a group of escaped prisoners along the lines of O Brother, Where Art Thou? could add some fun color to an otherwise boring road trip!
In this supplement, we break the process into five main steps – who are they, what was the crime, what was the sentence, what’s their intent as a prisoner, and what was the cell like.
For example, you might have an Alien who committed a Real crime – Disturbing the Peace – and was sentenced to Weeks in a walled cell and is seeking to simply serve his time so he can leave this godforsaken rock.
“Garm came to the Office of the Mining Controller on Anat III, a small rock that served as offices now that it had been mined out in the Belt. He wanted to voice a grievance about conditions on one of the outer asteroids where he worked – Elinor V. His brother, Barm, had died as a result of poor equipment maintenance due to crappy management. Garm tried talking to the site manager on E-V but was shut down before he ever got in the door. He knew he would lose his job if he went over their heads, but he had to have his voice heard or he could never live with himself. It was a dangerous job but the union was there to keep conditions from getting too bad.
Well, as you might imagine, he couldn’t get into the Controller’s office to see her. She wasn’t taking unannounced visitors at this time. He’d have to go on the waiting list for an appointment and she was backed up far enough that it would be another couple of months at least. So Garm waited until she left her office for the day and tried to talk with her. That didn’t go so well either. He ended up in a scuffle with her security people and was put in the local jail to cool off.
He’d be out in another two days and approach it in another way. The news vids were always looking for dirt. He’d give them some…”
Like all Moebius Adventures supplements, Insta-NPCs #5: Prisoners and Escapees is designed to be system- and genre-neutral. This 8 page PDF includes ten (with a bonus) tables with examples, a worksheet, some examples, and four unique NPCs (with portraits) from different genres you can use right away.
This is the next in a series of short, system-neutral supplements from Moebius Adventures designed to encourage more creative descriptions in your games. Be sure to check out everything else that’s available to stimulate your imagination!