Relics: Creating the Campaign, Part 7

Non-player characters, NPC’s, are one of the most important tools a GM has for conveying the setting and creating interactivity for the players. In the first session of Relics, the dynamic duo and their new bodyguard met just a few of the large array of NPC’s I’ve written-up for the campaign. Thankfully, Dresden Files Accelerated made this process a whole lot easier with its quick and easy rules for creating NPC’s.

Let me show you what I mean.To start, make a note of  the two relevant sections in DFA covering NPC’s: Creating Non-Player Characters on page 212, and Monstrous Adversaries on page 215. As GM, you’ll likely be referring to these pages frequently as you create your own rogues gallery. Pro tip: once you’ve made a minor or supporting NPC, make sure to keep the format for their stat blocks handy – it speeds things up to be able to just copy, paste, and fill in with new info!

On page 212, you’ll notice right away that NPC’s are broken down into three categories like in other Fate Core/Accelerated games. They are minor (nameless), supporting, and major NPC’s. Each category has its own guidelines with some cool twists for DFA:

Minor NPC’s are your mooks. You give them two or three kinds of actions they’re good at, granting them +2. You give them two or three kinds of activities they suck at, giving them a -2. Everything else, they roll at Mediocre (+0). Give them one or two aspects. They get six stress boxes, but no Conditions – they’re mooks, so they’re taken out when they run out of stress.

Minor NPC’s can also be formed into mobs, groups of minor NPC’s working together. In Dresden Files Acceleratedmobs roll to attack all PC’s on their turn and get a +1 on any roll, representing them working together. Once a mob has lost all of its stress, it’s Taken Out.

An example minor NPC from Relics is the Bravta Soldier, which look like this:

Aspects: Bravta Soldier, Unflinching Loyalty

Approaches:
Skilled (+2) at: Shooting, CQC, driving

Bad (-2) at: Obeying the law, surrender

Stress and Conditions:

Stress: [1] [1] [1] [1] [1] [1] [1]

Supporting NPC’s have all the features of minor NPC’s, but gain a few additional ones to toughen them up. They get to pick two approaches they’re skilled at opposing for an additional +2. They may have a stunt, if you so desire. Finally, they get the In Peril condition

An example of a supporting NPC, and as a little teaser for next session, a monstrous one are Blood Court Soldiers, which might look like this:

High Concept: Coterie of Blood Court Soldiers

Aspects: Taste for Bloodshed

Approaches:
Skilled (+2) at: Hunting prey, grappling, biting

Bad (-2) at: Self-control around blood, acting independently

Skilled at Opposing: Force, Haste

Stress and Conditions:

Stress: [1] [1] [1] [1] [1] [1] [1]

Sunburned (sticky): [ ] page 164 Instead of marking In Peril or Doomed, the coterie marks a box of Dwindling Numbers instead.

Hungry: [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] page 164

Saliva Addict (sticky): [ ] page 164

Dwindling Numbers (sticky): [2] [2] [2] [2] [2] Blood Court soldiers almost always hunt and fight in packs. As long as this condition has unmarked boxes, this “creature” represents a group of Blood Court vampires working in concert and operates at Supernatural scale. The Blood Court coterie may mark a box to absorb 2 shifts in damage, representing an individual vampire being taken out or driven away. This condition is recovered between sessions, as vampires rejoin the coterie or are replaced by fresh converts.

Stunts:

Pack Feeding: The coterie shares the spoils of the hunt together. For every unmarked box of Dwindling Numbers, add +1 to any advantage attempt and attack related to feeding.

Flesh Mask: page 165

The Kiss: page 165

Vampiric Physique: page 165

Vampiric Toughness: page 165

This version of the Blood Court Soldier runs in a pack, making them extremely dangerous. Dwindling Numbers is just one of the many interesting sample conditions for monstrous NPC’s presented on page 217, amplifying the threat from even the least of supernatural threats.

Major NPC’s are generally built the same as PC’s but may eschew standard approaches for the method used with minor or supporting NPC’s. I have to leave some surprises, so no example major NPC. But if you’ve ever experienced character creation with DFA, then you’re good-to-go for creating a major NPC.

Finally, there’s the subject of NPC’s and mantles. Only supernatural minor NPC’s have mantles, and then only the core stunts and unique conditions. Same goes for the supporting NPC’s. Major NPC’s are the only ones that benefit fully from their mantles.  If a mantle calls for a specific approach, but the NPC isn’t using approaches, the GM has final say as always.

Now you know how to make your helpful old sages and nasty creepy crawlies for your own Dresden Files Accelerated campaign. Go forth and populate your game world!

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