When a PC talks to NPCs, do you…

When a PC talks to NPCs, do you…

When a PC talks to NPCs, do you…

– prefer direct speech and ACT the conversation, i.e. give away information in small portions, like in a natural conversation? E.g. “Hello, my name is Todd, waht´s up?”

– DESCRIBE the conversation in indirect speech and give all the informations that the player will get from this NPC for free? E.g. “He tells you that his name is Todd, he has seen 3 buglars this morning…”

27 thoughts on “When a PC talks to NPCs, do you…”

  1. Depends on the info and the importance of the situation, as well as whether I have a feel for the NPC and how much time I want to spend. Gathering unimportant information from unimportant characters gets glossed over.

  2. Same as above. Depends on. While we were playing Darkfur campaign Katharina went to get the map from a local merchant. The merchant was a Lemur with an interesting pattern of speech… it was a good time for a laugh and a few embarassing moments for Katharina.

  3. Yeah, that was quite the reason of that post, Tommy. I usually acted every NPC and every sentence, but recently it feels like “hell, just give them the info and move on”. 

  4. It’s sort of the same question as “when the PCs move from place to place, do you describe each room/street/etc. they move through or just summarize the areas they move through?”  Or even “when a fight breaks out, do you describe specific swings of the sword or just summarize the enemy’s attacks?”  And the answers will be equally different and conditional.

    A huge part of the art of GMing is knowing when to zoom in and when to zoom out, based on all sorts of variables.

    The idea of GM moves prods the GM to skip boring details and get to something interesting that the PCs have to react to. And the player-facing moves do a pretty good job of telling us when we have to zoom in (when there’s danger, when a PC closely examines the situation, when a PC attempts to manipulate an NPC, etc). But even then, there’s a huge variance based on the players, the GM, the fiction, the energy level, etc.

  5. When I want to develop an NPC’s character I’m direct (introductions are almost always direct)

    When I just want to get information across I go indirect and summarize.

    No one wants to listen to me make speeches in silly voices so if they’re saying a lot I’m indirect.

  6. I try to do direct speech but if the NPC has to explain technical details I switch to indirect speech to just describe what my players need to know. Sometimes you have to get to the point.

  7. I mix it. Primarily I do direct speech, but sometimes I don’t know exactly what and how the character would say something, so I just explain the gist of what he communicates and maybe some facial expressions or other cues.

  8. Mix. Some basic back and forth in character. But some times I need the intent of the speech, like “I’m going to use a sultry voice and try to seduce the guard”. That might other wise be lost talking in character with players with 0 acting ability/training/talent.

  9. Depends on my players usually. sometimes it’s “Hey man, do you have any information about ___?”

    Other times it’s “I ask the guy if he has any information about __

  10. I tend towards direct speech, but if its something trivial and there’s nothing to be gained by actually roleplaying the conversation, I’ll just tell them the content of what was said.

  11. I think I do direct speech for a bit and then kind of test whether its going a bit long and then go indirect. I like doing funny voices and I like the characters getting a chance to get their voice out but obviously this can go on to long so if I feel the scene is done I will summarise the next few bits.

    It also depends on the players, some players like speaking in character and some players are more indirect with their character, and somw players just give you just a few words. I kind of change my NPCs and the way they speak to keep these players comfortable.

  12. It’s an intuitive thing. If I feel inspired in the moment, I follow the urge and play it out. Otherwise, I’m happy to cut to the chase with a roll or summary. Major NPC interactions are always played out, though.

  13. For me it depands on the situation and the pace of the game. Playing it out is a great way to set the atmosphere and the relationship between PC’s and NPC’s on top of that, it is a great way of changing the pace of a game.  

  14. Totally depends on the situation. To me, indirect works better for more aggressive social moves where the CHARACTER instead of the player uses their social skills. Intimidation/seduction and that kind of thing.

  15. Depends a lot on the player and other factors. As you are playing a person and also constantly creating and recreating them, sometimes finding the exact words is difficult. Direct speech is ideal just not always possible and slowing a story just due to an inability to speak “properly” is just additional stress and less fun over.

  16. I prefer direct, but I mix it. Sometimes if scene is not important to neither climate nor immersion, indirect speech allow to just go over it and provide player with necessary information.

    In other cases I use direct.

  17. Mix it up. Depends on what the group’s into, how much mental energy I have to give to doing direct speech, and how solid of a handle I have on the NPC’s personality and speech mannerisms.

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