Creating Believable and Memorable NWN NPCs

While adventures in Neverwinter Nights (NWN) often feature combat and exploration, many times what makes them special are the personalities – friends, enemies, and others – we meet and interact with: the non-player characters (NPCs).

This PDF guide addresses both builder (NWN toolset) and Dungeon Master (DM client) methods of creating believable and memorable NPCs. The techniques described are ones designed to offer the best value for a relatively limited investment in time and effort. For those who are looking to go deeper into NPC-related subjects, there is an additional resource list included at the end of the guide.

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Content list:

NWN Toolset Methods

• Match an NPC’s name to their personality
• Vary NPC models, clothing, and portraits
• Use NPC descriptions to set them apart
• Scripted conversations
• Populating areas with commoners

DMing Methods

Technical Skills for Playing NPCs
• Multiple NPCs participating in conversations
• NPC conversation emotes
• NPC graphical emotes
• Group NPC control
• NPCs going “off screen”
• Transforming generic NPCs into special ones

Creative Skills for Making NPCs Seem Alive
• NPCs are people too
• NPCs have diverse personalities and histories
• NPCs have different speech patterns
• NPCs (and PCs) care about what happens to them
• NPCs behave consistently
• NPCs as Friends and Enemies
• The Special Case of Godlike NPCs

Conclusion: Bringing Your World to Life