5E Does the world exist for the NPC's? - Page 3
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  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrDM69 View Post
    Does the world exist for the NPC's?
    Ask the Soulless of Barovia.
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  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Umbran View Post
    With respect, I don't think anyone is confused here, any more than they are confused when they talk about killing players instead of killing PCs.

    You may find the language choice to be inaccurate, or that it conceals some other point that's valuable to make, but please don't equate casual language use to confusion.
    Ok, with respect, since that went zooming by you without pause, let me be more blunt and say I think you are confused and that your rhetorical question indicates you fundamentally did not understand the OP's question.

    Simply put, the rhetorical device "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?" only further confuses the question, "Does the world exist for the NPC's", because the answer to it is irrelevant and unilluminating regarding the underlying issue. The original poster did not ask whether the world exists for the players, so asking a rhetorical question about whether the work done is only done because the game is played doesn't address the topic - and that's leaving aside the fact that different GMs could reasonably answer "Yes" or "No".

    Backing up, the question, "Does the world exist for the PCs?" or "Does the world exist for the NPCs?" doesn't have an obvious meaning, which I think leads to the confusion of people trying to answer the easier question, "Does the world exist for the players?", which is what you are apparently trying to answer. But the original poster in the other thread foresaw this potential for confusion and so defined the question by example, stating, "I am probably not being as clear as I'd like, so I will use an example: when you create a settlement, do you develop it with the PCs in mind (including making sure there's a shop for adventuring equipment, and some NPCs with adventure inspiring plot hooks) or do you develop it independent of the PCs with an eye toward whatever definition of realism or verisimilitude works for your world? This question could easily extend to other locations, to NPCs and to social structures."

    Now, the answer to this question is mostly independent of the question, "Does the world exist for the players?", in that you could answer "Yes" to the question, "Does the world exist for the players?", and yet adopt either approach described by the OP, and as the OP noted you could in fact have some sort of mixed and complex approach. Essentially what the OP is asking about is GMing priorities. In your setting, does realism or simulation as a goal of play trump or usually trump other potential goals of play? For example, in some cRPGs the world is divided into zones according to the level of the PC's expected to explore them and a shop keeper exists that sells equipment appropriate to the zone - even if the shop keeper is in a hovel in the wilderness. Different GM's can approach this problem differently, deciding to forego simplicity of gameplay in favor of what strikes them as greater verisimilitude, or possibly starting with the desired structure and working backwards on how to justify it, or simply ignoring verisimilitude in favor of ease of play or perceived narrative benefit.

    So talking about whether "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" doesn't address the OP's question who asked about "whether the world exists for the PCs" and as best as I can tell, doesn't address this poster's question either.

    Unfortunately, the OP hasn't clarified what the seemingly odd question means in this thread, but he did give us a hint in the prior thread when he asserted: "I think a better question would be "Does the world exist for the NPC's?", considering the NPC's only exist for the benefit of the PC's, and they only exist when the characters are around."

    So the question, "Does the world only exist for the NPCs?" seems to mean something like:

    "Do NPC's only exist when the PC's are around?"

    OR

    "Are NPCs tailored according to the PCs needs (love interest, foil, appropriately level enemy, mentor, shopkeeper, sidekick) or do they start out as independent fully fleshed characters in their own right, living in a world which exists independent of the PC's and having needs and goals that initially do not revolve around the PC's?"

    OR

    "Do NPCs conform to some demographic standard which meets some standard of realism, or do NPC's exist only because the PC's story needs an NPC?"

    Or some sort of question of that sort, none of which is definitively answered by the question, "Do the NPC's exist for the players?", because presumably, however the GM approached world building and the above questions, he could claim reasonably that he's doing the work for the enjoyment of the players.
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  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Celebrim View Post
    Perhaps all novelists are just frustrated GMs.
    I believe George RR Martin would support this perspective
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  4. #24
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    Yes, for several reasons:

    1. Not everything that happens in the setting is dictated or even affected by what the PCs happen to do or not do. The world is bigger than they are. That said, obviously at the table more attention is paid to things the PCs do and-or affect.
    2. An NPC now could become a PC later. By that I mean if John's character dies at 7th level and doesn't come back John needs a new character, so he rolls something up. Well, the character he just rolled up doesn't suddenly pop into existence* - it's been out there in the world all along doing other things in other places as an unknown NPC, in order to gain the levels it comes into the party with. Same is true if Beth's character decides to hire a hench: that hench had to get its levels from somewhere, right?
    2a - because of 2, NPCs and PCs are thus forced into using the same creation (or 'build') mechanics; because you never know when one might become the other.
    3. Without NPCs my options with which to oppose the party become drastically more limited.

    * - rare exception would be if, say, the new character blipped in from another world or campaign.

  5. #25
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    In my game yes. Why? For when the players choose not to take a quest, that quest does not go away or sit in a waiting room. Someone goes out and does what needs to be done, either being successful or failing. In this way the world as a whole advances and is seen as living.

    For me it creates a bit of news that is posted, that the players can read or hear about as they sit socializing within the group or with NPCs. It creates role playing.
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  6. #26
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    No. The world exists. Period. It's not for the PCs. It's not or the NPCs. It just is.
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  7. #27
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    My answer to this question is yes, just like in the other thread and for the same reason. The purpose of the game-world is to provide a time and place for the characters (both PCs and NPCs) to play out their stories.

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrDM69 View Post
    Does the world exist for the NPC's?
    Sure, why not?

  9. #29
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    If a tree falls in the forest and no PCs are around to hear it...

    The answer is no. NPCs only exist when their presence is felt by the PCs in some manner. They don't have to be directly on screen for this.

    3e had a world simulator mini-game that the DM could play. 5e has done away with it as it doesn't effect at the table play and only serves to bloat the rules and confuse the game.

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrDM69 View Post
    Does the world exist for the NPC's?
    No. The world does not exist. Period.

    Seriously, and I hate to break it to you this way, but... I just made it all up! It's not real! All those times I told you, "You don't detect any traps..." it's because there were no traps, there was no chest/door/hallway/whatever... In fact, and you may want to sit down for this next part, but: you don't exist either. You are just a character in an RPG, a figment of someone's imagination. "Misturdium Pisces, sea elf sage mastermind rogue" is just a figment of someone's imagination. "Sea elf" isn't even really a thing, it's just a regular elf painted blue and wearing a seaweed bikini.

    Remember that time you dodged the acidic breath weapon of Scorulax the Murky? Yeah, that only happened because the person "playing" you is a dirty rotten metagamer who used something called "Inspiration" to manipulate probabilities on your behalf. This player, your creator, who spun your whole life story out of the gossamer dream-stuff of pure imagination, is an out-of-shape 31-year-old IT support specialist named Mike Gunderson. He's a good guy; maybe not the best role-player (which is why you are named "Misturdium Pisces") but I really appreciate how enthusiastically he gets into the game.

    I can tell you're a little disturbed by all this, so let me imagine you up some "sea weed" and a posh underwater palace filed with gold, jewels, and attractive sea elf servants. There, doesn't that feel better? I hope so, because this next part is going to really blow your mind. You see, Mike Gunderson doesn't exist either. I made him up too! "You" are actually a person reading an internet forum, called ENWorld. Wait, what's an internet forum? It's this thing where people can waste a lot of time by reading and writing arguments about non-existent places and "why" they exist. It's also used to rank the most popular non-existent things, and rant and rail against the least popular (don't tell the gnome paladin, but some powerful people really have it in for him). Also, once in a while we get to play a fun game where the forum just says "503 Gateway Error" and we have to keep refreshing until it fixes itself.

    Anyway, I hope that clears everything up.
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