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Simplified Antagonists

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  • Simplified Antagonists

    I love systems where NPC's aren't built like PC's (Numenera, God Machine Ephemeral Beings, etc.).

    Is there a way (official or not) for building non-Ephemeral Beings using a similar simplified system. Here's what I know exists:

    - Mirrors has a tri-stat system;
    - Hunter has Dread Powers


  • #2
    I'd say...

    First... Give them six attributes: (Physical, Mental, Social) [Body], (Power, Finesse, Resistance) [Spirit]. Rate these 0 to 3, with 1 being average. Why the difference from the regular scales? Because to determine a sub stat, you add two of these together. If a system calls for Dexterity, you add Physical and Finesse (so the result of two average ratings would be 2, an Average in the core system). This keeps them similar in construction to ghosts but gives them the extra kick of having a physical body. A 5/4 priority between Body and Spirit is good to ensure a character of roughly equal prowess to a starting character, add or subtract from those as needed.

    Next... Give them three skills: Physical, Mental, Social. Again, rate from 0 to 3, with 0 being average. Don't give them unskilled penalties. Finally, give them specialties that match the titles of specific skills on the regular character sheet. For example, you might make a generic hacker by giving the skill Mental a 1 and giving the specialty (Computers x 2)

    Finally... calculate key derived traits (Health and Willpower) using the six attributes. Health would be Size + Physical + Resistance. Willpower would be Mental + Social + Resistance + Resistance. A quick character like this with Mental 2, Social 2, and Resistance 3 will have maxed out Willpower. A quick character with Physical 3 and Resistance 3 will have eleven health slots (One higher than possible to stock characters at creation, but this character would technically have Stamina 6 so that makes sense)

    Most of this is modified from Mirrors 3-Again.

    As for powers, well... I'd just say take powers from the template you are running and re-skin them. For example, if you are running Vampire and you're throwing a really strong Werewolf at the players, give him Vigor and call it a spirit gift.


    • #3
      You are AWESOME CJC.


      • #4
        Oh, I just realized I didn't give an average number of dots to distribute among skills, sorry.

        2 dots to spread between the three skills, plus 7 'specialties'. This gives a total equivalency of 21 skills, similar to the 22-spread option in Mirrors.
        EDIT: Whoops, it was 2 dots, not 4 dots. 4 dots is the equivalent of 28 skill points!

        Glad I could help!
        Last edited by CJC; 07-18-2014, 05:21 PM. Reason: Whoops, misremembered house rule


        • #5
          You could also use the same system as for Retainers. Asign a rating from 1 to 5 to the npc and a short description of their concept (say, "veteran soldier" or "pitiful junkie"). You roll double the rating for things related to their concept and only the rating for anything else. If you need combat stats for them you can give them double their rating for Health and Defense (between 2 and 10).

          I'm So Meta Even This Acronym


          • #6
            I've noticed that a lot of the SAS's will often only assign a few relevant dice pools to some NPCs. So a guy who runs a junkyard might have a roll for fixing up cars and a roll for navigating said junk yard. Depending on the potency of the NPC question it's fairly simple to apply the same template: just a few attack rolls, what you want their defense to be and what you want to health to be and go from there.

            Mind you, this would work better for mooks, goons, and other assorted random beasties, rather than reoccurring characters and major antagonists.


            • #7
              I use an abbreviated 3 Attribute + 3 Skills to make NPCs on the fly:

              Attributes: Power, Finesse, Resistance (Base is 3, 2, 1 in any combination, +1 dot per additional dot of Blood Potency above 1)

              Skills: Mental, Physical, Social (Base is 3, 2, 1 in any combination, +1 dot per additional dot of Blood Potency above 1)

              Then I add Specialties to both Attributes (3) and Skills (5) [the discrete Attributes and Skills of regular character creation, for example: Resistance (Resolve, Composure) or Mental (Science, Academics, Investigation)], and calculate advantages:

              Health= Size+Resistance (+1 with Stamina)

              Willpower= 2xResistance (+1 for each of Resolve or Composure)

              Defense= Finesse+Physical (+1 with either Athletics, Brawl or Melee)

              Speed= Power+Finesse+Size (+1 for each of Strength or Dexterity)

              Humanity= 7 (-1 dot per additional dot of Blood Potency above 1)

              I then add Disciplines (6, +1 dot per additional dot of Blood Potency above 1. Half of them from Clan/Covenant), Blood Potency (as much as needed for the NPC, usually 1-3, rarelly 4-5, 6+ for pivotal NPCs only)

              Finally I decide Flaws. They are the oposite of Specialties, a given Attribute or Skill in wich the NPC sucks. Skill Flaws (3) apply no dots from the relevant Skill (Mental, Physical or Social) and incurr in the untrained penalty (-1 for Physical or Social, -3 from Mental). Attribute Flaws (1) apply a flat -2 to rolls.

              Merits (Influence): This is the greatest change, I just decide how important or influent the NPC is in the city/covenant/etc in a scale from 1-5 and use that to determine the NPCs acces to relevant allies, contacts, resources and such as appropiate.

              An NPC would look like this:

              Originally posted by Example
              Name: Wong Lu (Regent of Chinatown)
              Clan: Nosferatu
              Covenant: Mother's Army

              Power: 2 (Intelligence)
              Finesse: 4
              Resistance: 2 (Composure, Resolve)

              Mental: 4 (Academics, Occult)
              Physical: 1 (Stealth)
              Social: 3 (Intimidation, Empathy)

              Blood Potency: 3
              Disciplines: Cruac: 4, Nightmare: 3, Obfuscate: 1

              Health: 7
              Willpower: 6
              Vitae: 14/3 (I use a different house-ruled progresion)

              Humanity: 5

              Defense: 5
              Speed: 11

              Influence: City: 3, Chinatown: 5, Mother's Army: 2

              Flaws: Weak (Strength), Skills: Computer, Firearms, Animal Ken.

              I'm So Meta Even This Acronym


              • #8
                Consider “Minor Monsters” (Mortal Remains, page 163). For mortal antagonists, just ignore Potency, Dread Powers, and Template.


                • #9
                  Block By Bloody Block has a system of three traits, Mental, Physical, Social, each rated on a 1-10 scale. The numbers represent the maximum sized dice pool the character has in each trait. You're free to use less dice for each should you want.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Thorbes View Post
                    I use an abbreviated 3 Attribute + 3 Skills to make NPCs on the fly
                    Thorbes, what do you use for initiative?

                    Doesn't defense come out abnormally high with this formula?


                    • #11
                      Initiative would be Finesse+Resistance (+1 with each of Dexterity or Composure). Basically you use the same categories as the regular traits to calculate Advantages and add a bonus if you have the specific Attribute as a Specialy.

                      Defense is dificult because it can go from too high to ridiculously low. You can make it just Finesse (+1 with an appropiate Specialty) for not combat savvy NPCs, for example.

                      Note that you can also reduce Defense with a Flaw (Dexterity/Wits or any of the Defense Skills) if you want. Not only Attributes and Skills can be Flaws/Specialties, tough its easier. You can have a Size Specialty (meaning +1 Size) or a Slow Flaw (reducing Speed and/or Initiative). Those are the basics, if you find some advantages too high/low you can adjust them trough Specialties that in this system are a catch all for non-social merits (wich are covered by the Influence trait).

                      I'm So Meta Even This Acronym


                      • #12
                        Thank you. Great