Okay, so tonight i’m going to be putting down on paper as many details as I can for the main NPCs of my game; inspired by a number of youtube videos/channels that I have seen on the subject (including woodwwad‘s channel and others) and the free-flowing explorative nature of the Rogue Trader game I have decided to detail out as many of the core systems (the basics of which were already generated as described in my post on system design using the Disapora rules) in the sector of space where our game takes place as possible.
Some of the planets in the system have already been detailed (see my Hiveworld Scelus Prime and Catan II posts earlier in the blog) but this still leaves vast swathes of the gaming area either very loosely defined or not at all; recently reading Fantasy Flight Games Stars of Inequity book for the Rogue Trader system has spurred me into wanting to define these areas in more detail since it provides detailed systems for using this that will allow me to create worlds and detail the star systems more closely (although i’m sure that I will tweak them to fit the tone and established “facts” of the campaign). The charts in the book are largely system independent or can be used quite easily with a few little alterations, so that it won’t take a great deal of struggle to port these details over to the FATEcore rules system that we are currently using in the game.
One thing that I have also gained from watching woodwwad‘s youtube channel is an appreciation of the fact that, paradoxically, in order for the game to give the players a sense of freedom and the ability to explore as their whims dictate, it is very much necessary for a gamesmaster to have put a lot of work in detailing the sort of people and societies that they are likely to meet, in order to convincingly and consistently portray these non-player characters in the game. Whilst I have been enjoying the game tremendously and the players seem to be doing likewise, most of the action has, at the moment focussed around a couple of key areas, not really capturing the exploring, go anyway, feel of default Rogue Trader; my plan to help deal with this is to detail as many of the key-NPCs that the players are going to meet as possible, providing them with character sheets, backgrounds and goals (a lot of this work has already been done on key npcs already but i’m planning to standardise my NPC information).
Having located at home a large box folder my plan is to generate (or note down) the following:
- Character sheets & backgrounds for the named NPCs encountered so far
- These will also contain details of the NPC goals plus any fleets or forces that they command along with their strengths and weaknesses.
- A one page write-up for each system containing details on the planets and any other astronomical anomalies in the star system.
- Currently I am also considering adding some areas of unexplored or wild space to the map where there are no established warp routes but that players can explore if they wish, there would be a small chance of the players encountering a habitable system (that would then be randomly generated).
- This does pose the issue of how to prepare for these random systems, however, no more than one is likely to be explored per session so it would be easy to prepare a number of NPCs that could be bought in when an appropriate star system was discovered.
- A one page write-up for each planet of interest containing details of the prevalent societies or main dangers and encounters likely on those planets.