Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Goal, Plans, and Itches

Everyone has a Goal, and a Plan. Their big mission in life is to fulfil their Goal and they will do this through their Plan. This gives you the core of how an NPC is going to act most of the time.

They also have an Itch. This shows you something they're secretly longing for on the side. They might even be more equipped to achieve this than their other goals, but there's some reason it just isn't a viable thing for them to focus their lives around. It's something you could probably leverage to get them to do something you want, or to temporarily abandon their other goals. It might even subtly underlie every action they do.

For context,take one of the Cosmic Angels I posted earlier this week. Important part is underlined.

Metal Skull - Infinity-Slug-Gun (d10, blasts through any material), mechanically armoured body (1), exposed metal skull with long silver hair. Wants to dissect powerful beings to help perfect her form.



This gives us our Goal and Plan, and it's easy to see how these fit together.

Goal - Achieve the perfect physical form.
Plan - Dissect powerful beings.

We don't know her Itch, so we'll make one up. Remembering this should sit at an angle, let's make it completely separate to her drive for physical power. Let's say she wants to Understand Emotions. It fits with her being mechanical and analytic, but gives scope to convince her against cutting you open. Maybe one day she'll know why you cry.

Goal - Achieve the perfect physical form.
Plan - Dissect powerful beings.
Itch - Understand Emotions.

Now, turn it into a sentence of plain talk, because we don't want to turn this into some horrible statblock thing. This is typically "Wants to [goal] by [plan], and [itch].

Metal Skull - Infinity-Slug-Gun (d10, blasts through any material), mechanically armoured body (1), exposed metal skull with long silver hair. Wants to achieve the perfect physical form by dissecting powerful individuals, and to understand emotions.

In this case it's a subtle change, but gives the character more hooks for interaction.

If you're low on ideas, Roll d20 three times, duplicates move up the table.
  1. Fulfil base urges.  
  2. Protect loved ones.  
  3. Dominate others. 
  4. Discover a greater truth.  
  5. Serve a worthy power.  
  6. Make contact with cosmic beings.  
  7. Find peace.  
  8. Enact a petty revenge.  
  9. Serve justice.  
  10. Build a legacy.  
  11. Destroy rivals. 
  12. Recover powerful Oddities. 
  13. Gain wealth.  
  14. Win the approval of the masses. 
  15. Become the best in a field.   
  16. Help the weak.  
  17. Seek entertainment. 
  18. Survive at any cost. 
  19. Write off a debt or shame.  
  20. Win the approval of a superior.
So a random roll might give you.

Goal: Protect loved ones. 
Plan: Build a Legacy. 
Itch: Win the approval of a superior. 

Protecting loved ones by building a legacy isn't a great fit, so we'll have to get creative. Maybe it's not physical or financial protection, but protecting them from the shame of him being a nobody. So he's obsessed with building up a good reputation. The Itch could be built into this, but should sit at an angle. Let's say he idolises a hero that already has a legacy of their own. 

Finally we can apply this sentence to an otherwise blank slate character rolled as a new PC, and they have almost-instant motivation. 

Junas Fox
STR 10, DEX 12, WIL 8, 4hp. Pistol (d6), Toxin-Immune, Rocket. 
Wants to make his son proud by becoming a renowned explorer, and meet the legendary Captain Sham Barridge. 

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