Friday, March 29, 2013

More Mutant NPCs Courtesy Of Webster's Dictionary

Back in November, I posted a method for generating NPCs using nothing more than Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (11th edition). Had an opportunity to break out the dictionary this morning for an unrelated project, so I thought I'd take this word-based NPC creator out for another spin:

Page 513: "gall midge - game fish"
For "Who," my eyes immediately fall on one word that I find perfect: "galoot." Although defined as someone "strange or foolish," I instead have the mental image of someone hulking and ponderous with minimal intelligence. So our NPC is a huge mountain of a man lacking social skills. For "Drive," I'm torn between two words, so I decided to use them both: "gambler" and "gallows." Our hulking thug runs a gambling hall in one of the border towns. Mutants can play cards or throw dice at his casino (most of the games are rigged anyhow), however, the real "action" is in the basement where true gamblers (or the very desperate) can play a very special game of "Hangman." Six mutants who feel lucky are prepped in a makeshift gallows. Each has their head in a noose and they balance precariously on a stool. Bets are taken from the audience as to who the loser will be. Once the bets are collected, a simple 6-sided die is tossed. Each face corresponds to one of the "players." If their number comes up, they are freed and asked to step to the side. At the end, when only one remains, the stool is kicked out from under him. The winning bettors double their money, and each survivor is given a sizable payout for playing. (And the House rakes in a sizable cut.) It's said that, if there are not enough volunteer players, the casino owner will go "recruit" some new players off the street. And what's his "Mutation?" I found "galvanic skin response" interesting. So, SKIN + ELECTRIC suggests energy-retaining cell structure. Anyone he touches takes 3d6 points of electrical damage, so he uses this and his thugs to keep the order in his establishment. The PCs may be tasked with shutting down his immoral -- and deadly -- gambling den.

NPC 2 and 3
Page 1393: "vibrantly - vicious"
For "Who" and "Drive," I have two very interesting word combinations leaping off the page at me. The first is "vicious vicar," which brings to mind a tyrannical Priest of the Bygones. Those who do not follow the teachings of his church are branded as heretics. His faith is unwavering, and he expects all others to blindly obey church doctrine. His followers are unquestioningly loyal, as they feel he has a direct correction with the Will of the Bygones. He may even rule the area as the ultimate voice of a theocracy. Just entering his region places the PCs in great danger (unless they are willing to convert and "spread the Word of the Bygones!") The other combination is "vicarious viceroy." The leader of the region was unwillingly thrust into his role. Let's say the governor of the area died suddenly, so his young unprepared son has ascended to the position. But he doesn't WANT to rule, so he's making plans to run away, abandoning his responsibilities. Perhaps when he realizes his mistake a year later, he'll need to PC's assistance to help put him back in power. (Although the folks who filled the vacuum in his absence will not be happy to see him return!) Since I want this NPC to be a Pure Human, the "Mutation" word will now become an "Equipment" word: "vibration." So both our evil priest or prince on the run are equipped with either a vibro-dagger or vibro-sword, depending on the needs of the Mutant Lord. So there you go -- TWO NPCs on this page!

1 comment:

  1. Fun method for generator interesting NPC's.
    What about using some of the new Cleric Spells from the recent Space Age Sorcery PDF for unique mutations for the vicar?