Arcane Game Lore

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My Favorite NPC, That Never Got Very Far

Little while back I was running a Star Frontiers game with a table top group. We were running the classic Volturnus Campaign with some changes and new plot twists.

I decided to introduce “Jimmy” named after Jimmy Olson of Superman fame. He was a lowly and relatively unskilled crewman from the ship that crashed on Volturnus but had made it to an escape pod. The player characters found him dehydrated and out of his mind in the desert. He was intended to be a tag along that would not really contribute much.

The reality was that he was crafted after a character from the GASLIGHT RPG. In GASLIGHT there is an alternate experience point system where the 19th century adventurers bring along a reporter. If the reporter witnesses their exploits and writes about them in the paper when they get back then they gain EXP. The trick is that the reporter must be close enough to the action to witness it but this could put him in jeopardy. If he dies they wont get any EXP. [Note GASLIGHT is very much a miniatures game so there is an objective standard of whether the reporter is close enough to witness what happened.]

Jimmy in my game had pretensions of being the next great novelist of the Frontier sector. So all the while they were solving the riddle of Volturnus and saving the world he would be taking notes [and running away from combat because he was a little cowardly]. Once the Volturnus campaign was finished and the PCs went on to other thing I was going to have Jimmy write his master piece which was going to be made into a bad holo drama of the adventure on Voltunrus but recasting himself as the hero and merging two of the yazirian characters into one character in his story. He was going to make millions on it.

The problem being that yazirians are all about honor and Jimmy will have effectively stolen the honor and glory from the yazirian PC. Which if the player decided to not make a big deal about it I was going to have every yazirian NPC he encountered make pointed comments perhaps even calling him a liar when he claimed to be on Volturnus – after all everyone’s seen the holo drama and knows there was only one yazirian on the team that saved that world not two. Basically I was setting the stage for some conflict with an NPC but in such a way that the player would set the tone for the conflict.

Sadly that campaign petered out and Jimmy never got his day in the Sun, he never wrote his great Frontier novel nor made millions of credits on the holo drama rights. This makes me a little sad because on some level I identify with Jimmy since I too have pretensions of being a writer.

 


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