5E Does the world exist for the NPC's?
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  1. #1
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    Does the world exist for the NPC's?

    Does the world exist for the NPC's?

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    No.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrDM69 View Post
    Does the world exist for the NPC's?
    Yes

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    Quote Originally Posted by MrDM69 View Post
    Does the world exist for the NPC's?
    Yes, or at least, they can.

    The proof of this is that things can happen and events can progress "off stage". And in particular, many GM's feel some obligation to have the events that transpire off stage be believable, so that if the PC's were there, they would observe something that could happen within their frame of reference. Thus the events that occur on and off stage are operating by the same set of rules.

    Now, a much tougher to answer question is, "Ought the world exist for the NPCs?"

    There are certainly times even in a world where events occur offstage, where in the best interests of the story the GM freezes events until the PC's arrive. That is, you can have events which are triggered in the metagame by the PC's arrival which couldn't be plausibly triggered in world by the PC's arrival. In other words, you can have coincidences in your game world that the PC's are a part of, and most of the time the players will wave suspension of disbelief regarding those sort of events because they are a common element of all sorts of narrative fiction.

    Yet events like that suggest the world doesn't exist until the PC's arrive.

    For my part, I mix and match. There are times I run a game as if the world of the NPCs is fully alive and advancing without the PCs as if the world of the NPCs was being simulated, and I also have coincidences where events happen when the PC's arrive at a location.

    One thing that is true of any table top RPG, is that the world of the NPCs is never as fully simulated as the world of the PC's. A human moderator has many advantages over a computer, but the ability to simulate everything is not one of them.
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    The NPCs are there to support the PCs. They may do things, but this is only in context to move the PCs to action, or to make them believe in your world. Without them you can play a giant dungeon crawl and still have fun, but with them you can add flavor to the story. They story still revolves around the PCs though.

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    Well, ask yourself this - would you write the world, and the associated stories of how it progresses around and with the NPCs, if you didn't have PCs playing in the world?
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    The extent to which things happen offstage in a given campaign is very much a DMs discretion sprt of thing. So the answer is maybe. My personal taste is to have lots of stuff happening off stage, mostly as a tool to reinforce the passing of time a spur to action qhen needed.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Umbran View Post
    Well, ask yourself this - would you write the world, and the associated stories of how it progresses around and with the NPCs, if you didn't have PCs playing in the world?
    I haven't thought about it this way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Umbran View Post
    Well, ask yourself this - would you write the world, and the associated stories of how it progresses around and with the NPCs, if you didn't have PCs playing in the world?
    I don't think that is uncommon actually. I think many DMs have written worlds without having players -- either as thought experiments, tinkering, world building for fun or the basis of writing stories. Probably most of what DMs create is never interacted with by PCs. From my observation few players care about the details of world building. These are the same players when they get to long dialogs in CRPGs just skip write through them.

    IMHO, the world has to be written for the NPCs to add verisimilitude to it, but the PCs have to be able to impact that world.

    Otherwise, every D&D story becomes just another adventure in Westworld.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Umbran View Post
    Well, ask yourself this - would you write the world, and the associated stories of how it progresses around and with the NPCs, if you didn't have PCs playing in the world?
    More DMs than you might think are frustrated novelists.
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