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.”

Competent Personnel?

Proficient Townies

Level 0 characters have four or more general proficiencies in ACKS. Here’s a table I put together for quickly determining the proficiencies of a henchman. …of course, should the characters explicitly be looking for someone with a specific skillset, that’s a completely different thing. This is my idea of what a random man of the street answering a call for “Shieldbearers Wanted: Moderate Risk, EXTREME REWARDS! GOLD UP FRONT!” might know.

RAW doesn’t give henchies Adventuring at all, but I think it’s fun to give it a fair chance. It also seems obvious to me that 20% of henchies are inveterate gamblers. :)

It turns out that Adventuring should count as three proficiencies: so if you want stay true to the designer’s intent, henchies with Adventuring should get only one other proficiency.

d100   Proficiency
1-15   Adventuring
16     Alchemy
17     Animal Husbandry
18     Animal Training
19     Art
20-21  Bargaining
22     Caving
23     Collegiate Wizardry
24-25  Craft
26     Diplomacy
27     Disguise
28-29  Endurance
30     Engineering
31-50  Gambling
51     Healing
52-53  Intimidation
54     Knowledge
55-60  Labor
61-63  Language
64     Leadership
65     Lip Reading
66-67  Manual of Arms
68     Mapping
69     Military Strategy
70-71  Mimicry
72-73  Naturalism
74-75  Navigation
76     Performance
77-79  Profession
80     Riding
81-82  Seafaring
83-86  Seduction
87     Siege Engineering
88     Signaling
89-90  Survival
91     Theology
92-93  Tracking
94-95  Trapping
96+    Extra rank in another proficiency

You’re a What?

EDIT: Eh, I’m blind. Page 248 has rules for NPC parties, which does the same job — only better. I’ll leave this here as a metaphorical egg on my face.

When the characters try to hire someone with levels in a class, who do they find if they’re willing to take on anyone? Based on p. 237, with some pulled-out-of-my-butt extrapolation.

d100    RACE
1-70    Human
71-85   Elf
86-100  Dwarf

For demi-humans, pick a class, any class. For humans, roll below.

d100   CLASS
1-38   Fighter
39-42  Explorer*
43-44  Barbarian*
45-61  Thief
62-66  Bard*
67-82  Cleric
83-87  Bladedancer
88     Priestess*
89-98  Mage
99     Mystic*
100    Shaman*

[* If you’re not using the Companion, replace with the class above.]