Thank you very much. While I was asking plenty of provocative questions, most of them focussed around places and things rather than people and relationships. I was able to extract some very nice Threats from the questions, but not many NPC's.
Great! So now you've extracted a place – you put some named, human NPCs who want to live/raid/rule/work there. You've extracted a thing – you put named, human NPCs with an interest in getting/keeping/destroying/using/changing that thing. You have Threats – every Threat has a cast of named, human NPCs.
If you haven't got those already, you missed a direct instruction in the 1st Session rules:
- Leap forward with named, human NPCs.
The key thing I was missing was the aspect of scarcity.
It's good that you're thinking about that now. But I think the key thing you missed is more specific.
The key I think you're missing is: it's your job, always but especially in the 1st Session, to leap forward with named, human NPCs
When the players come up with an NPC, great! But it sounds like that hasn't been happening, and that's probably normal with a lot of gaming groups in the 1st session.
Which is why the rules say it's your job as MC to always fill those gaps with named, human NPCs. Anywhere a person might be? It's your job to immediately have someone there with a name and a human motivation to interact. Anywhere a person probably would not be? Hell, put a named person there anyway and play on to figure out why.
During the 1st Session, keep popping in with new NPCs, every one of them with a name and a direct motivation to interact, and see which ones the PCs respond to.
Those ones the PCs respond to? Build them into PC–NPC–PC triangles
, to ensure that at least two players have different
– sometimes conflicting, but always at least distinct – interests in that NPC.
for a recent discussion of PC–NPC–PC triangles and how to build them directly in play.
Your main tool to get all this material? Ask questions to the PCs about the people around them. Provocative questions, leading questions, questions that assume an interesting answer and demand that the PC give you some detail.
I forgot about the need for NPC's to supply the PC's with stock, guns and gears. That does seem like a rich vein to work from.
Yep. And that's true of just about everything in the setting! Anything the PCs want to do, put named human NPCs there that they need to deal with in some way.
Many NPCs will obviously be susceptible to violence; the PCs are good at that and need to have many opportunities to use it. But perhaps more often, present NPCs that it's obvious
they'll give nothing useful from an arse-kicking, and only a more sociable approach can work.
When the players begin to complain there are too many names to remember, you will know you're doing that job right. Keep putting up more NPCs until the world is full of them; look at them through crosshairs of course, and they'll fall fairly often.
But keep bringing forth new named human NPCs whenever you let others fall, and make sure those PC–NPC–PC triangles are always thick between all PCs, so at least some players care
whether an NPC falls.