NPC exposition and endless flavor text

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bighara
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NPC exposition and endless flavor text

Post by bighara » Mon Apr 17, 2017 10:50 am

Working on a funnel and part of the premise is the local lord is a former adventure who wants the 0-levels to go into the scary place and find his abducted child. What I want is to explain a little of the relevant background information that the NPC would know. What I don't want is to have paragraphs of text to read to the players. (YAWN!)

Since this is something that I might one day try to put out there as a 3rd party project, I'd like to figure out a way to present this for other judges who may want to run the adventure. Any thoughts?
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soulcatcher78
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Re: NPC exposition and endless flavor text

Post by soulcatcher78 » Mon Apr 17, 2017 2:26 pm

You could always just post here and ask for a critique or ask for volunteers you can email to text to.

Another option to build player investment in the story is to give each of them a bullet point and ask them to explain what it means. Let them build the backstory and possibly tie their (soon to be cannon fodder) zero level characters to it in an attempt to save their own skins.

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bighara
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Re: NPC exposition and endless flavor text

Post by bighara » Tue Apr 18, 2017 4:35 am

The backstory (yeesh! I hate that word) is for the adventure itself. The past events that led to the current situation. I want the PCs to at least have the opportunity to know these things going in, because they might learn more about what's actually happening that way.

Ahh. Maybe I'm just overcomplicating things.
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Re: NPC exposition and endless flavor text

Post by ThickSkullAdv » Tue Apr 18, 2017 12:02 pm

As it relates to backstory, my guidance (and guidance I've always received) is to try to keep it to less than one page (ideally about 500 words max). In addition, try to keep it relevant to pieces than that the PCs may encounter somewhere in the adventure. Example: If you're explaining how the The Giant Penguin kidnapped the boy in order to perform the Ritual of Transcendence, then either the Giant Penguin, the Ritual, or preferably both should appear as things that can be encountered, or at least learned about by the PCs.

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Re: NPC exposition and endless flavor text

Post by trevorbramble » Tue Apr 18, 2017 12:44 pm

bighara wrote:The backstory (yeesh! I hate that word) is for the adventure itself. The past events that led to the current situation. I want the PCs to at least have the opportunity to know these things going in, because they might learn more about what's actually happening that way.

Ahh. Maybe I'm just overcomplicating things.
Maybe. =^)

Is it important for them to know all of it up front or could you just dribble out the relevant bits as they go?

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Re: NPC exposition and endless flavor text

Post by tovokas » Tue Apr 18, 2017 10:05 pm

I agree with Stephen that keeping it brief is best. (If the player's basic motivations can't be summed up in a couple of paragraphs, things likely need reworking).

But you can certainly provide more background to the judge, and then have this info revealed to the players piecemeal throughout the text of the adventure.
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Re: NPC exposition and endless flavor text

Post by GnomeBoy » Wed Apr 19, 2017 7:15 pm

So, right away, I'm wondering why this former adventurer isn't going in to save their own child...

Have him recruit the PCs to support him in an important quest. As they ask "what exactly are we doing?" and "why?" and all that, the GM can pay out the line on what lead to this mission in an organic way, instead of a wall of text to read, all en route, as it were.

Then have him prove to be unable to proceed. "I'll double what I was paying you!" etc. "but please rescue my child for me...!"

The details on all this would come down to other specifics in your adventure design, but this is how I'd approach it. Somewhat more natural...
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Re: NPC exposition and endless flavor text

Post by bighara » Thu Apr 20, 2017 4:50 am

GnomeBoy wrote:So, right away, I'm wondering why this former adventurer isn't going in to save their own child...
He's gone to seed a bit. It ties in with what happened years before. He also doesn't quite live up to his press. :wink:
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Re: NPC exposition and endless flavor text

Post by GnomeBoy » Thu Apr 20, 2017 1:21 pm

bighara wrote:...He also doesn't quite live up to his press. :wink:
All the more reason to have the intro feature him attempting the journey himself... He's got appearances to keep up. :wink:
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Kuruz, Mendicant, N • AC 8, 4 hp • R-1, F0, W0 • S9 A8 S9 P11 I16 L8
Zend, Grave Digger, L • AC 9, 3 hp • R-1, F0, W1 • S14 A6 S9 P13 I13 L6
Mercer, Outlaw, N • AC 12, 2 hp • R0, F-1, W1 • S7 A9 S6 P13 I8 L13
Dejah, Ropemaker, C • AC 10, 2 hp • R0, F1, W-1 • S8 A12 S15 P7 I11 L7

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Re: NPC exposition and endless flavor text

Post by soulcatcher78 » Thu Apr 20, 2017 3:41 pm

bighara wrote:
GnomeBoy wrote:So, right away, I'm wondering why this former adventurer isn't going in to save their own child...
He's gone to seed a bit. It ties in with what happened years before. He also doesn't quite live up to his press. :wink:
I hear "Brave, brave Sir Robin" being sung somewhere...

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