Day 4: #RPGaDay 2018 – “Memorable”

Weekend: NPC Questions Prompt: Most Memorable

In 35 years of gaming I am pretty sure that I have forgotten a lot of NPCs. I have certainly met, made, mulched, and manipulated my fair share of them. One thing that has happened over the years is that patterns (how we humans love or patterns) or types of character and characterization have shown up more and more as repetition and practice make their insights known on my process for creating, handling, and interacting with NPCs.

As this is one of this year’s returning or “fan favorite” questions, to answer it I will stick close to the current day instead of drawing on memories of the past.

Be careful when responding today! Tomorrow focuses on Favorite Recurring NPC, today is on a memorable one…

I had some discussions with players in regard to this prompt to help clarify how I wanted to make my selection. I am going with ‘memorable to me’ for today, and using a poll response for tomorrow.

As I mentioned in the video response made for today, this is not a specifically GM-related question. Although I am choosing to respond to it from a GM’s perspective, it need not be so. Any NPC encounters in play, read in an RPG supplement, or handed over to play temporarily will do!

From the recent NPCs that came to mind as a fitting answer to this prompt, I ended up with one from our ongoing, broadcast, All for One campaign – Lights in Darkness. There are a lot of challenging and interesting NPCs in that campaign, and in the end I was forced to accept that the one that I felt was most memorable was also one that was the ugliest to portray and caused the strongest reactions, for good and ill.

Putting out the Moon

Near the end of one cycle of troupe and rotating GM play that we employ for our All for One campaign, one of the GMs announced that he wanted to focus on other projects. While he enjoyed the campaign and the game if not the collaborative genre we were realizing was taking shape around our play (Genre is Rule 0) , he was looking to use his time for other projects that were clawing at his brain.

It fell to me to send him and his character off with a memorable session. Even though to this day I am not sure that I accomplished it the way that he wanted, I do know it is a session that most of us will remember for a long time.

His character, a bereaved father and a hunter of the supernatural monster which had caused that bereavement, was a poor fit for the Musketeers, but a great fit for our band of characters. It made sense, and it felt good to have a sense of the character being pulled out of our grasp (the center cannot hold!) by the deeper desires in his broken heart than his loyalty to King and country could command. He needed, and we could almost taste it, to slay the beast that slew his son.

That beast is the NPC of whom I speak today – the most memorable, at least for me, (non-recurring) NPC in the campaign so far. Me being me, I could not just let this be a battle royale with blood and blade, and the story being the story, the moon would not allow it either.

The NPC in question was a werewolf, but in this game that means a victim of possession, and in this particular campaign is also meant a horribly abused child in a family of black magicians and fiends. In his brief moment ‘on screen‘ the character radiated cruel and calculated evil, disdain for life – including his own. He was begging for mercy, but needing to be killed. He was a combination of malice and fear that I found challenging to share, but satisfying to attempt with my good friends in this game. Of course, the scene ends with his death, but what sort of death was it? Mercy, or butchery?

As will be discussed tomorrow, I employed a certain ‘negative space’ around this killing which allowed those present to fill in the bloody blanks for themselves and that made much of the difference.

In years to come, I may revisit this memory and wonder afresh if I could, should, or would handle such a thing differently in a similar circumstance, but for now at least, this is a memory that stands out as strong and clear, and with just a hint of wonder – and that is the sort of thing that I enjoy.

TOMORROW

The #RPGaDay prompt for August 5th concerns a favorite recurring NPC. Like today, this could be one you have created and portrayed as a GM, one you have been assigned for a scene as a player, or one you have encountered in play. As I mentioned, I did a survey of my face to face Star Wars and Star Trek group and was very surprised by their selection…

#RPGADAY 2018

This ends the first week of the fifth iteration of the monthly roleplaying gaming celebration launched by Autocratik for all forms of social media. Share your responses however you prefer to share. If you want to get involved, grab and share the infographic with the prompts and jump right in!

RPG-a-Day 2018 High Contrast@willbrooks1989

Comments
2 Responses to “Day 4: #RPGaDay 2018 – “Memorable””
  1. Truly one of the most memorable and moving events of my gaming career.

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