PC-to-NPC relations!

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PC-to-NPC relations!

Postby Rias » Sun Aug 09, 2015 5:41 pm

Hello again CLOKians,

I'm super excited to be here helping out and, specifically, being limited in my scope and responsibilities to only doing the fun stuff - that is, events and PC-to-NPC interactions. My primary plan is to make the towns I'm in charge of really feel alive. These are the places most PCs spend the most time in overall, and where larger groups of people gather. Several characters own homes and live in these towns. I want to try and make the time spent in these towns compete with the time spent out in the wilds and on adventures, as far as being fun and interesting. Will I succeed? That's to be seen, but I'm going to give it my darndest!

Below are a mess of general thoughts on the subject of PC-to-NPC relationships, some of which are suggestion that I think will help said relationships work out optimally.

- If you have communications to relay to an NPC and you plan to send them mail (NPCmail), please just put the communications in the actual letter rather than sending the NPC a letter asking to meet in person. Due to IRL scheduling, GMs and players alike being busy with other things, the logistics of arranging meeting times with players when the GM doesn't know the player's regular schedule and the player doesn't know the GM's regular schedule, etc. etc., it's much harder on the GM to arrange an in-person meeting. NPCmail was designed to alleviate that problem and give players a way to communicate with NPCs (and send items) with no hassles, but it seems like a large majority of NPCmail is simply "I have information/a question/concerns/an item for you, let's meet in person" which defeats the purpose entirely. If you're worried about NPCmailed info being intercepted or read by third parties or stuff like that, consider coming up with codewords, a cool secret cipher to use for encrypted communications, whatever - be creative! Being secretive and mysterious is fun! Ultimately - if you can, but refuse to, communicate actual information to an NPC by mail and will only do so in person, chances are the information is going to get to that NPC late, or even not all.

- Related to the above: Please don't treat NPCmail as an NPC summoning spell.

- Please accept that fact that you won't always get a response to your NPCmail. It's fantastic that you sent that informative letter to the sheriff, and he's likely quite thankful. He's not going to send out thank-you notes in response to every piece of mail he receives, though.

- Don't assume you're "in" with an NPC or on their fast-track list. Yes, some NPCs form close relationships with PCs, and I love that! Just don't let it get to a point where you start to feel entitled, like that NPC should always be around for whatever you might need, or that they should take care of things for you, and stuff like that.

- A complaint I've occasionally gotten is something along the lines of: "This is ridiculous! NPC Joe would never say that/act that way!" Please don't do this. They're our NPCs, and we know how they will and won't act - we made them up in the first place! Sometimes they won't do what you expect. Sometimes there are extraordinary situations and circumstances that cause them to do things they normally wouldn't do. Sometimes they'll do things you don't like. Sometimes they change their minds and stances. Sometimes they forget things. Characters (and players) are free to be unhappy about something not going their way or the way they would expect, but people telling us that we aren't playing our own NPCs correctly is extremely frustrating and discouraging.

- I realize that a lot of people have complained that there's been a lot of emphasis on negative consequences. While I don't plan to let up on negative consequences to actions that warrant them - this isn't a tabletop session where the DM is a personal friend whom lets you handwave bad decisions away and fix the dice in your favor so that you end up being the king of the entire country through ridiculous schemes - I do plan to keep in mind that good things should happen to/for people who deserve them through their efforts. Focusing specifically on events and PC-to-NPC relationships (Man, I really need an acronym or something for that - PTNR?), this should be easier for me to keep track of and put into effect.

So! With that all said, what are some things you, the players at home, think would help the PC-to-NPC relationships in CLOK? Feel free to suggest things I and other GMs can do as well as advice to your fellow players.
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Re: PC-to-NPC relations!

Postby Fayne » Sun Aug 09, 2015 7:26 pm

I know personally I always enjoy it when NPCs unexpectedly come to life. Since we're supposed to assume that NPCs have their own lives and don't just stand in one spot all the time, and they usually do just that and don't butt in on conversations, sometimes people, myself included, can talk about some rather persknal and private things in a place where there may be one or two NPCs, or at least flavor text saying a few people are milling around. I always find it fun when suddenly one of those background characters chimes in on the conversation, and reminds me of situations when you might be at work or school and start talking the same way, without realizing someone is quietly listening in. It's one of those moments that make you think "Crap, how much did they hear?"
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Re: PC-to-NPC relations!

Postby sona » Mon Aug 10, 2015 12:14 pm

I love most NPC to PC interactions. Some have been a bit dry, and I've totally chalked up that to varied personalities. And it makes sense. Not every NPC should be a happy, bubbly font of comraderie and back patting for a job well done. Some NPCs have been a simple nod of the head and short "This is acceptable." I do totally love my bubbly friendly NPC friends as well (Amelie, you my homegirl.) and the various sorts of chats and banter and fun I can get into with various NPCs, even some of the "Sona, you're being odd" looks, from other NPCs. I'll definitely be sending out npcmail to various NPCs shortly and soon. I'd been leaving meetups a bit to chance and request, but if I'd like to see some actual progression, I should probably send some mail. I am thrilled to hear about bringing NPCs into the mix a bit more.

My first suggestion might be that various NPCs have personal aides, or drop boxes for people going directly to their offices or places of business where applies. Sure, this applies to me, but that's probably why I've thought of the idea. Similar to donation boxes, aides or drop off locations could be useful. Maybe it's the NPC mother who wished to drop off a basket of home made baked goods to the local justice office, in thanks for the job they do, or maybe they saved a family member in the past. Maybe the office might be expecting a delivery of arms or armor or other supplies, and the supplier doesn't want to be fussed sending 32 things through the post office instead of delivering it directly and then NPC mailing to inform of a special delivery, or such like that.

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Re: PC-to-NPC relations!

Postby Kunren » Mon Aug 10, 2015 6:47 pm

I -really- enjoy NPC to PC relations. Some of my thoughts on it:

Replies to every mail-As you said, I get that this is pretty impossoble\unrealistic ICly, but every unanswered mail really itches at me til I forgt I ever sent it lol. I dunno what can really be done here tho. Maybe stock "thank you" letters after pretty much any letter sent to someone high up.

I also love randomly seeing NPCs chime in on conversations, super cool.

Would it maybe help if more people used request to see if an NPC could be animated at that point in time? I get the feeling few people use that feature.
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Re: PC-to-NPC relations!

Postby jilliana » Mon Aug 10, 2015 10:42 pm

I think it helps to ease things a bit when I keep in mind that it's ok to treat an NPC like a real person that has a job. I think a lot of us had to get used to this when starting CLOK.

I think it'd be kind of nice to have sort of an Inbox of sorts in places where the more popular NPCs stand or should exist or pass through. An example would be Sheriff Cotton. Sometimes I want to drop a gift for the office and don't want to bother them through mail. Not only him, but guild NPCs. It could be similar to the donation box in the orphanage, but not just for riln, but for letters and packages specifically for the guild.
The GMs might still prefer mail.

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Re: PC-to-NPC relations!

Postby Fayne » Thu Aug 13, 2015 11:10 am

Kunren wrote:Would it maybe help if more people used request to see if an NPC could be animated at that point in time? I get the feeling few people use that feature.


I think the reason this goes unused is because every time you use the request command, it specifically says not to use it to ask if a GM is available or similar. I'm not sure if it's actually taboo to ask for a specific NPC to be animated, but I've always gotten the feeling that it is. Thus, anytime I want an NPC to be animated for any reason, I always have to send a lame THINK wondering if they're available, and I feel like that's not only lame but sorta vague as well depending on the wording. Would be nice to know what the most appropriate way to request NPC interaction is.
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Re: PC-to-NPC relations!

Postby Rias » Thu Aug 13, 2015 11:56 am

I'm not sure whether I prefer THINK or REQUEST, honestly. Probably THINK. REQUEST is more for OOC things. The thing I will request of players is that you provide some context. If someone just says, "Can someone animate the deputy please?" I have no idea what they might be after. Maybe they just want to gripe at the deputy, maybe they want to plead a prisoner's case, maybe they want to ask him on a date, maybe they want to kidneypunch him and run away laughing. If you give a little context, it can help me better prepare and be more willing to respond at all. I'll admit that sometimes I see someone send a think or request that simply states they want to talk to an NPC, and I just assume the worst (because I'm a bad person) and put it off until I can try to glean a little more info on why they're making the request in the first place.

Giving credit where it's due, there are a number of people who do very informative thinks/requests, stating who they want to talk to and why, and occasionally other relevant details like how they're feeling about the situation and so on. So, kudos to you if you're one of those!
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Re: PC-to-NPC relations!

Postby preiman » Thu Aug 13, 2015 12:55 pm

sorry, i tended to use request for that. I'll do think in the future.
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Re: PC-to-NPC relations!

Postby Selene » Thu Aug 13, 2015 4:10 pm

Personally, I prefer when people use the request tool (if they do so descriptively) instead of the think command. I feel thinks shouldn't be used as a way to try to get GM attention, but instead as a way to show a character's inner thoughts on a situation or as an RP tool to keep people in character.

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Re: PC-to-NPC relations!

Postby Fayne » Thu Aug 13, 2015 4:48 pm

To be perfectly honest, I'm a horrible thinker. The only time I use it is when I hope to speak to an NPC, and I've been guilty of not being too descriptive in those cases. Mahbe this is something I should work on.
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