1/09/2016

NPC Cards for Dungeon World

NPC Cards are a neat extra, that I added to my Dungeon World games. Thanks to them, non-player characters seem more useful and interesting for players. To use them, you need:

a) A printer
b) Some basic knowledge about GIMP or Photoshop
c) You need to download this font (of course, you can use any other font installed on your machine, but it won't look as good...)

Instructions:

1) Download the NPC card file
2) Open the xcf file
3) Edit it as you wish, put the portraits under the "Illustrations" layer, you can edit the character name, move name and description
4) Save the file as an jpg or png, print it out and cut it
5) Ready! Now you have four NPCs for your next game

Finished NPC cards
How do NPC Cards work:

The NPC cards are easy to use. For starters: ignore all the Hireling rules that are written in the Dungeon World rulebook.

Every NPC is described as follows:

1) He or she has a loyalty score (0-6). Most NPCs start with a loyalty of 2, when they join the players.
2) Every NPC has a need - something he or she want to archive or wants from the player. Sometimes nobody knows what the character truly wants, so write "?" - let the players talk with the character and find out, what he or she wants or how does he or she feel! If the need becomes fulfilled, the GM may change it to something different.

(Example Needs: rebuilding his home, money, new weapon, protection, love)

3) Every NPC has a move, and usually - it's pretty strong. Players may activate this move at any time. If they do it - reduce the loyalty score by one.

When do NPCs gain loyalty?

NPCs gain one point of loyalty, if their need becomes fulfilled, or a bond with them is resolved.

When do NPCs lose loyalty?

NPCs lose one point of loyalty, if their move is used, or they are in danger, and the players ignore it.

What happens, when the loyalty of an NPC drops to 0?

When the loyalty score of an NPC drops to 0, the character dies or leaves the party. The GM should examine the situation and describe what has happened.

How did the NPC cards work in my game:

They worked great and were pretty fun to use. The players interacted more with other characters, talked with them, and tried to find out what they want. Thanks to them, my players saw what benefits does every NPC bring. When things got rough - they called for their help. And while resting, they talked with them, trying to find out more about their past and needs.

NPC card in use
Tips:

1) Do not be afraid to give the NPCs some really strong moves. Remember - they are expensive (loyalty), and they should encourage the players to "use" that character during the game. 
2) Do NOT edit the Loyalty score and Needs of the character in your graphic program. They will constantly change during the game, use a pencil.
3) During a fight, the NPCs act in the backround - they try to block most attacks that come their way, they swing their weapon etc. But after you activate their move - for a brief moment they become the center of attention. Remember - your player characters are the main heroes of the story, but the NPCs from time to time will come to save their butts.

(Also included: an empty template that can be filled out by hand, if you can't use GIMP)

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