LupNi
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[GM Guide] "Let major NPCs live" : is it bad advice?

Tue 22 May 2018, 17:08

I enjoy very much the GM Guide beta, especially all the random tables (I love me some random tables!).

However, I was surprised by the advice given on p9 about not letting PCs kill major NPCs easily. Especially "Even if they suffer a mortal wound there's probably someone to heal them nearby". That's contrary to most GM advice I've seen in modern games and surprising for a gritty sandbox game like Forbidden Lands. I've seen and heard my fair share of tales of players complaining that their GM gave the villain "invulnerable plot armor" because they had a cool plan for them. To me, that goes against both immersion and player agency, and I'm afraid that this kind of advice will encourage railroady GMs.

I tend to play by "Game of Thrones rules": anyone can die, regardless of how important they are to the story. The plot adapts, GMing is more fun when you're surprised, and it makes player actions more meaningful. Or, as Vincent Baker puts it in Apocalypse World: "Look at all your NPCs through crosshairs".

But maybe that's just me though. What's your opinion on that? Should the GM arbitrarily "save" major NPCs?
 
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Fenhorn
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Location: The Pearl of Lake Vänern.

Re: [GM Guide] "Let major NPCs live" : is it bad advice?

Tue 22 May 2018, 17:48

I usually go with anyone can die and if someone dies then me, the GM (and the players), have to deal with the consequences, and the story will go on from there. But. There are other ways for evil major NPCs to survive, not using super items (super items have a tendency to get into the players hands sooner or later). The evil witchdoctor always have his x number of body guards with him and if a battle goes bad, he can let his bodyguards fight while he runaway* or the evil lord never leaves his throne room with the castle guards. Smart players can overcome this of course and kill these evil NPCs anyway, but smart players should be rewarded so if it happens it happens.

* If you runaway today, you live, and can runaway another day.
                                            - a saying often heard in the Zone.
“I’d say thistles, but nobody listens to me, anyway.” - Eeyore
 
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Eldhierta
Posts: 370
Joined: Thu 19 Feb 2015, 10:39

Re: [GM Guide] "Let major NPCs live" : is it bad advice?

Tue 22 May 2018, 18:49

I enjoy very much the GM Guide beta, especially all the random tables (I love me some random tables!).

However, I was surprised by the advice given on p9 about not letting PCs kill major NPCs easily. Especially "Even if they suffer a mortal wound there's probably someone to heal them nearby". That's contrary to most GM advice I've seen in modern games and surprising for a gritty sandbox game like Forbidden Lands. I've seen and heard my fair share of tales of players complaining that their GM gave the villain "invulnerable plot armor" because they had a cool plan for them. To me, that goes against both immersion and player agency, and I'm afraid that this kind of advice will encourage railroady GMs.

I tend to play by "Game of Thrones rules": anyone can die, regardless of how important they are to the story. The plot adapts, GMing is more fun when you're surprised, and it makes player actions more meaningful. Or, as Vincent Baker puts it in Apocalypse World: "Look at all your NPCs through crosshairs".

But maybe that's just me though. What's your opinion on that? Should the GM arbitrarily "save" major NPCs?
If it benefits the narrative, yes. In my, not so humble, opinion :D
 
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Eldhierta
Posts: 370
Joined: Thu 19 Feb 2015, 10:39

Re: [GM Guide] "Let major NPCs live" : is it bad advice?

Tue 22 May 2018, 18:53

Also, you might let the NPCs die and return as undead horrors :) Then you didn't, technically, protect them. You just raised them from the dead :D
 
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Klas
Posts: 322
Joined: Sun 04 Nov 2012, 19:17

Re: [GM Guide] "Let major NPCs live" : is it bad advice?

Thu 24 May 2018, 00:06

Just throw in a backdrop healer NPC that can throw the RESURRECTION spell and you'll be fine :D
I did just that to allow for two cannon fodder NPCs I want the players to get really frustrated with in the long run.
 
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Tomas
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Re: [GM Guide] "Let major NPCs live" : is it bad advice?

Thu 24 May 2018, 08:05

The idea is not to arbitrarily save NPCs - the ideas is to not routinely kill them. :)
Fria Ligan
 
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Buio
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Re: [GM Guide] "Let major NPCs live" : is it bad advice?

Sun 27 May 2018, 10:58

Having an npc becoming an arch enemy from several encounters is fun. Not only letting players improve, but letting their opponents do it too.

I just saw something about this on Chaosium for their new Runequest - said in 1978 by Stafford "Don't forget, in RuneQuest when adventurers are slaughtered or run screaming, the Monsters get experience rolls too"
https://www.chaosium.com/blogdont-forge ... rolls-too/
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