DMs how do you keep your NPCs/Creatures organized
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  1. #1
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    DMs how do you keep your NPCs/Creatures organized

    Well, I have been working at organizing my Eberron Campaign with MSOnenote and a few other programs. I have moved away from running pre-made adventures into a more free-form model. I am really enjoying the flexibility it gives and how creative I can get with it. Guess you could say that the relations of my NPCs can resemble a mosiac, ala Sailing to Saratium. To keep everything in order I have created pages for each of the NPCs my players have encoutered, one these pages I would love to have thier stat blocks.

    Here is the question, DMs how do you keep your NPCs? Are they all on uniform stat blocks, written on scrap pieces of paper, all digital, etc? My NPCs have been all over the place and I am looking for some suggestions on how to bring a little less chaos to them I like the new stat block that WotC has come out with, does anybody have a template that I can build off of?

    Cheers,
    E

  2. #2
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    The Great Druid (Lvl 17)

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    I just keep track of names and what they are. That's usually enough for me to know what I need to know about them.

  3. #3
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    Each NPC gets a full entry on an index card - the index card box is organized in groups as such.

    NPCs/Current (those being using the most recent and upcoming adventures/arcs)
    NPCs/Dead
    NPCs/Inactive (those from old campaigns, or from earlier in the campaign that will not be making a re-appearance anytime soon)
    Monsters (generic things w/o names)
    Magical Items (each magical item gets its own card).

    I also have each player keep a similar index card updated w/ their character stats so I can access their stats btwn sessions - and also in case someone cannot make it and the PC needs to be run by someone else for a session.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by el-remmen
    Each NPC gets a full entry on an index card - the index card box is organized in groups as such.
    Are the entries handwritten? I know there are some cards out there by TOGC that I have used occasionally.

    Cheers,
    E

  5. #5
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    I had an Access database to do this. It printed things in the old statblock style and I cut them out and had lots of pieces of paper.

    Now I have been experimenting with the new statblock, but for my current adventure, I just did it all in Word with cut/paste. I have yet to automate it, because the new statblocks are tricky!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Erywin
    Are the entries handwritten? I know there are some cards out there by TOGC that I have used occasionally.

    Cheers,
    E
    I actually JUST switched from handwritten to printing them out on blank cards.

    I should also note, that this is only for NPCs of note. An NPC can make several appearance before gaining a card.

    I also have what I call my "Master List of NPCs" in my campaign binder - which is kind of flowchart of connections between NPCs/Organizations.
    Former moderator and Story Hour author!

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  7. #7
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    I have an Excel spreadsheet for each adventure and keep individual monster and NPC stats as separate worksheets in the file.

  8. #8
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    Hello Erywin,

    I normally just have a name & description and occasionally notes for NPCs. I don't like to pin down NPCs who are not going to see combat into a stat block. This gives me the flexibility to stat them up if necessary and at a more appropriate level than if I lock them in. Once there has been some level of interaction with the party though, I'll normally add a note such as a craft or appraise check or highest level of spell-casting just in case such consistency becomes important.

    Combat NPCs and Monsters are a completely different story though. I write them up in the DMGII format (the one you are talking about) by hand, normally adding in spells and abilities from the rich text file SRD I have that I expect them to use. These become my "study notes" if you will before a game session. It's a bit of work but I enjoy it. The player's normally appreciate the richer flavour of encounter they get too.

    The DMGII has two pages setting out how to construct one of the new statblocks and numerous extra pages of examples. I tried creating a template for it but I found it more trouble than it was worth. After doing several hundred of them, you get the hang of where things go after a while.

    Best Regards
    Herremann the Wise

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Herremann the Wise
    Hello Erywin,

    I normally just have a name & description and occasionally notes for NPCs. I don't like to pin down NPCs who are not going to see combat into a stat block. This gives me the flexibility to stat them up if necessary and at a more appropriate level than if I lock them in. Once there has been some level of interaction with the party though, I'll normally add a note such as a craft or appraise check or highest level of spell-casting just in case such consistency becomes important.

    Combat NPCs and Monsters are a completely different story though. I write them up in the DMGII format (the one you are talking about) by hand, normally adding in spells and abilities from the rich text file SRD I have that I expect them to use. These become my "study notes" if you will before a game session. It's a bit of work but I enjoy it. The player's normally appreciate the richer flavour of encounter they get too.

    The DMGII has two pages setting out how to construct one of the new statblocks and numerous extra pages of examples. I tried creating a template for it but I found it more trouble than it was worth. After doing several hundred of them, you get the hang of where things go after a while.

    Best Regards
    Herremann the Wise
    Sounds very much like what I want Just finished reading up the section about the statblocks, I definately like the layout of them. One minor thing I would add would be the breakdown for AC bonuses. That being said I generally only stat up NPCs that I expect the Players to be encountering in combat, which in this campaign is the majority of them

    Cheers,
    E

  10. #10
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    I usually create generic physical descriptions and personalities, alongside a list of names, and just grab a pair to match up when I need an NPC. Sometimes a site will have an NPCs name built in ("I'll head over to Rothgar's armory" for example), but its not like its difficult to grab a name from a list o' names if you have a dozen or so assembled ahead of time.

    Once they're in play I'll usually spend a bit of time between sessions constructing a hook or two associated with them ("He's the son of the former captain of the guard"), but otherwise, NPCs are usually the easiest thing for me, at least in play.

    As for how I store them, usually just on my computer. The generics I'll store in their own file, and once they have a place, either in their own file, or in the file of their respective city/location, depending on their importance.

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