Generating Culturally Rich NPCs

This is just brilliant!

Generating Culturally Rich NPCs (Story Games)


Make a list of 12 cultural rules numbered from 2 to 13. When you need an NPC, pull a playing card. The number indicates a rule. The suit indicates the character’s relation to the rule: heart embodies the rule; diamond twists, alters, or avoids the rule; spade has their life altered by the rule; clubs break the rule. If you draw an ace, make up a new rule.

…this idea is just so full of goodness I can’t believe it.

Protip: When trying to come up with cultural rules, googling for “customs” and “etiquette” is going to give some grist for the mill.

Even if you don’t plan on using this in anger, making up a list of cultural rules is fun and easy — and a good way to gain new insights into the culture. I know it did for me.

Here’s one I’m especially fond of: “Offering wine is offering peace for as long the bottle is not empty.”

Bat in the Attic Puts It Well

“To me the Old School Renaissance is not about playing a particular set of rules in a particular way, the dungeon crawl. It is about going back to the roots of our hobby and seeing what we could do differently. What avenues were not explored because of the commercial and personal interests of the game designers of the time.”

Bat in The Attic

I’m not sure that perfectly captures my own interest in old-school play, but it’s in the right ballpark.