DMing advice | simony
GMing for Deities
Part 2 - Doing it the Easy Way
Ok, so I lied - I have a different column than the one promised. You'll get the one with more tales of Thrin (and how to keep him and other deities happy) next time. But this one is really really useful, so listen up…
Super-Quick NPC Creation Rules for All Levels
Based off an original post by Henry on ENWorld. I have a system I use that works well for me, so far regardless of play level. It was written for classed creatures and NPCs, but works also for "unlevelled" monsters - at least for me. DISCLAIMER: This method will not work so well for Major NPCs, and Major Villains. If you want to give certain villains their utmost prowess, you may need to stat them fully. However, this will work for 80%+ of all the “shock troops” combat NPCs, and almost all the essentially noncombatant NPCs - shop keepers, bellhops, stable boys and scullery maids at low level, senators, mayors, princesses and allied deities at high level - your PCs will ever likely meet.
1. Start with Name, Alignment, Class, Level, and details. Write these down. That’s it. No need to be specific if this is an NPC they won’t be fighting.
2. If you need a specific skill - this is a skill that you envisage is actually coming into play; NPC is bargaining with PCs, NPC is repairing armour, etc, then figure if the NPC is just decent, or GOOD at that skill. If decent, assign 1 skill rank per level. If GOOD, assign skill ranks = level +3. Factor in a magic item bonus if desired & the NPC is high-level, eg +5 or more.
3. Don’t worry about attributes unless needed. If needed, figure which how many scores the NPC is GOOD at, and assign a bonus of +2 (ie reflecting a stat score of 14 or 15) for those stats. Everything else, assume average. You can assign bonuses above +2 if desired, but be careful - mooks with STR & CON +4 (ie 18-19) before level mods are a very different prospect from STR & CON +2.
'Typical' 16 point buy NPC
: 1 GOOD, 5 average.
High level NPCs especially
may if desired be better than +2 bonus in their single best stat. Note
though that a character could advance from 1st to 20th without ever increasing
a stat bonus, by raising odd scores to even, so only do this if you want
the NPC to stand out as remarkable or to present a larger combat threat.
Level 1-7: +2
The GM can assign stat-enhancing magic items to higher level NPCs if desired.
Epic & Deity Level NPCs
are usually best created from a points pool - a pool of stat bonuses that
is, not the standard point-buy method, that's far too time-consuming.
You take a bunch of bonuses and assign them to all the NPC's stats; for
a typical deity-level NPC I recommend something like 25%, 20% 15% 15%
15% 10%, which adds up to 100% of the pool, but you can do it however
you wish - I'd just recommend not placing more than 1/3 the bonus points
in any one stat, 4 w 25% each & 2 no-bonus would be ok for some, maybe
Baghtru the orc god of strength has really low INT & WIS…
Sample Epic NPC Default Arrays
(with Level/2 bonuses):
That 50th level character's stat bonuses (which is all you ever need in play) translate back into 'actual' stat array of 28 22 20 18 18 14 before magic, which seems ok to me. Adjust the points totals by level as desired to fit the tone of your game - for a typical campaign only major villains should have stat totals that exceed PCs of similar level.
3. Don’t worry about FEATS until needed in play, combat or otherwise. Feats hide a multitude of sins. Eg if the NPC is a melee brute he probably has Power Attack. High-level Fighters have Weapon Specialisation. Archers may have Rapid Shot. Don't sweat the small stuff.
4. Hit Points.
For D&D PCs:
BAB is = level, 3/4ths level, or ½ level, based on class. Armour class is = armour.
5. Saving throws.
6. If NPC is a monster, and
you EXPECT to get into combat with them, write down AC, touch AC, speed,
Melee and Ranged attack, damage, and hit points. That’s it. Figure
out feats and skills JUST like you do for other NPCs.
Typical 'Good' (+2 or better) stats (D&D), & Good saves:
Class / Good Stats/ Good
D&D Quick NPC
Next: GMing for Deities
Part 3 - What do you give the PC who has everything?
Unless stated otherwise, all content © 2001-2004 Craig Cochrane. All rights reserved.