This is an interesting question. I don’t mean the players at your table. I mean their characters. Do they have family? I know it’s common in RPGs to have a mostly deceased family. Afterall, we need someone to avenge, or someone to redeem, etc. Backstories are great and using them to create campaigns is what great D&D is made of. But what of friends? What about that annoying cousin who always needs to borrow money? Do your players have these……..in game?
Over on Happy…..LikeADragon, this very subject is brought up. ebolazaire broaches this topic as a means to get members of the group to participate in a campaign wiki on Epic Words. The idea is that perhaps if the players can get in on worldbuilding specific to their characters, they’ll be more interested. Nevermind the fact that I think this is a fantastic idea to get players involved, I think it’s a fantastic idea PERIOD.
In my weekly face to face game, my players have met LOTS of NPCs. Most of them have been of my creation or perhaps exist inside a published module. A few of them have been culled from the backstories I had them present at the start of the campaign. In one case, it was a former adversary who had begun helping the bad guys. In another case, it was a former captain whom the PC has served under in a previous war. However, in all cases, it was either a formal relationship or an antagonist. It had pretty much slipped past me that my NPCs had no friends! Sure, they know the local bartenders and trade barbs with them, or the captain of the city guards whose trust they have garnered. But all those relationships lack the humanizing flavor of an embarrassing but favorite uncle, drinking buddy, or old school chum.
So this is my goal. Flesh out the friends of my PCs. I’ll follow ebolazaire’s advice and double this as an exercise in promoting activity on the campaign wiki by instituting a rule that you only get to create one NPC at a time until its fully loaded up onto Epic Words. I’ll then make sure to start adding interactions with the NPCs in the next session. I can honestly not wait to give this a try.
If you’ve got other interesting ideas on world building, fleshing out a party or otherwise adding flavor to the game via NPCs or campaign wikis, please add them to the comments page.