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Proposal for 3.5/PF: Separation of NPC normals and heroics

Posted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 12:48 pm
by redking
Here is a proposal for extensive use of templating to make NPC characters.

For example, lets say there is a 'captain of the guard'. Normally he might be a 7th level fighter (or whatever) and be built that way. But what if he had a template instead? You would expect a captain of the guard to have skills like Gather Information yet a fighter does not have this skill. Instead just create a 'captain of the guard' template and give him the skills and combat abilities, and hit dice that he needs to do his job.

In this case he is an NPC normal and doesn't have or gain experience points. He might lose his template and gain another, however. Lets say the captain was previously a regular guardsman, with the guardsman template. After many years as a guardsman he gains enough on the job training to be promoted to captain, and he loses the guardsman template and gets the captain of the guard template in its stead.

In this way you could make hundreds of different varieties of NPC without being held do specific builds. For example you might want to build a low level NPC archer with a good archery feat, but that feat is only available at 7th level and you have the NPC pegged at 2nd level. Well its simple - just grant it in the template. No more complicated building for these mook type NPCs. Potentially the generic class Expert could be the base chassis for these NPCs at 1st level. No more 20HD commoners just to get them to have skills as professional farmers.

So you have NPC normals, and then heroic NPCs and PCs. Heroic NPCs and PCs actually gain levels and follow the normal class system. Their followers via the leadership feat will be these templated NPC normals for the most part, rather than heroic types. Bosses and sub-boss enemies will be heroic, rather than normal, NPCs.

Once the templates are created it speeds up mook creation significantly. And as stated above it prevents the leadership feat getting crazy.

Re: Proposal for 3.5/PF: Separation of NPC normals and heroics

Posted: Wed Jul 11, 2018 12:41 pm
by Havard
Generating NPCs is definitely one of the weak points of 3E. Something that could help with that would definitely be helpful. I have generally resorted to ignoring the rules and just added HP skills etc that seemed appropriate.

Re: Proposal for 3.5/PF: Separation of NPC normals and heroics

Posted: Wed Jul 11, 2018 3:31 pm
by willpell
I build every NPC as if it was a PC. Takes time, yes, but it's good practice.

Re: Proposal for 3.5/PF: Separation of NPC normals and heroics

Posted: Wed Jul 11, 2018 6:20 pm
by Angel Tarragon
willpell wrote:
Wed Jul 11, 2018 3:31 pm
I build every NPC as if it was a PC. Takes time, yes, but it's good practice.
I do the same.

Re: Proposal for 3.5/PF: Separation of NPC normals and heroics

Posted: Wed Jul 11, 2018 8:01 pm
by Cthulhudrew
I have been increasingly of the opinion that there should be different "levels" of NPCs. Combat statted NPCs (likely to come into confrontation with the PCs, but who may not necessarily need a full range of Skills), Social statted NPCs (not likely to engage in physical combat, but might need to have some listed Skills and ranks that PCs would need to make opposing checks against, as well as motivations and affiliations- political, etc.). I could also see doing special cases of "hybrids" where they are just as likely to engage in either physical combat or social situations (and possibly both at various stages of an adventure). The latter would be along the lines of the fleshed out NPCs that are in the back matter of an Adventure Path, for instance. The others would appear in appropriate spots within the adventure itself.

Re: Proposal for 3.5/PF: Separation of NPC normals and heroics

Posted: Thu Jul 12, 2018 3:01 pm
by willpell
Angel Tarragon wrote:
Wed Jul 11, 2018 6:20 pm
willpell wrote:
Wed Jul 11, 2018 3:31 pm
I build every NPC as if it was a PC. Takes time, yes, but it's good practice.
I do the same.
in answer to your PM, which I apparently can't respond to, i'd prefer you didn't. The thread in question is a work in progress.

Re: Proposal for 3.5/PF: Separation of NPC normals and heroics

Posted: Sun Sep 09, 2018 6:56 am
by Arrius Nideal
I think that NPCs-built-as-PCs is one of the more distinct rules in 3e/PF that I like the most. However, due to the degree of customization, it's very intimidating to make new NPCs when you have a large list or when you're pressured.
A good tool like Pathfinder's list of 'NPC Feats' could help. In the core rulebook, they have a list of feats NPCs would have by role (Combat have weapon focus, power attack, etc. while Skill has skill focus, athletic, etc.)