NPC Stats

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Agamemnon
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NPC Stats

Post by Agamemnon » 23 Sep 2017, 15:36

This is a subject on which I am torn, and because it's a ways off still I thought I'd throw it out to the forums for discussion.

We're obviously going to need some version of an example NPC list in the book that gives you example stats. The obvious approach is to take 10+ pages and give stats for each possible entry:
> Academic
> Assassin
> Bandit
> Beggar
> Burglar
> Clerk
> Courtesan
> Courtier
> Cutpurse
> Entertainer
> Farmer
> Guard
> Hunter
> Knight
> Laborer
> Lord/Lady
> Merchant
> Militia
> Peasant
> Physician
> Priest
> Sailor
> Scout
> Servant
> Soldier
> Spy
> Squire
> Steward
> Thug
> Tradesman

And on and on as we come up with nonsense. This works, but is it the best way to go about it? I'm not sure. On the other hand, I'm not sure how else you can go about it in such a way that the stats can be used as-is from the book, rather than the GM having to build every NPC before they can be used.

As an alternate approach, if you're in favor of the above, feel free to suggest other categories of NPC. We're concentrating on humans in different roles. Monsters and animals are a whole different topic.
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Re: NPC Stats

Post by KillerRed » 23 Sep 2017, 18:06

I was just thinking about NPCs the other day. There is a fan created supplement for GURPS called Historical Folks that has a bunch of basic low level NPCs (20-40 point characters as opposed to a PC built on 100+ points). I'm sitting at work right now at 5PM cst watching contractor burn thru my labor budget and they probably have another 3 or 4 hours work. Think I'll try to backward engineer one of those characters to SaS.
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Re: NPC Stats

Post by KillerRed » 23 Sep 2017, 22:32

ACADEMIC

Agility 3
Brawn 3
Cunning 4
Perception 4
Will 4
Grit 3
Keen 4
Reflex 3
Speed 3

Skills
Education 5
Medicine 3
Oration 3
Lore-Latin 4
Lore-Greek 4
Theology 3
10 points available for other knowledge skills as needed

TRAITS
6 points to use as needed. Perhaps a tenured instructor at a university would be a member of a faction (the university). Near sighted, pale and pasty, excellent memory, speed reader also come to mind

PROFICIENCY
None in this build

Notes: I think this is an average beginning scholar, having just received his degree or what ever. There are enough skill points left to make him or her pretty expert in some field. I used 10 priority points so he would be equal to a 5 pt retainer. I figure that would be a normal unexceptional adult. I choose T3 social class-High Freeman, T3 attributes-if it were an older professor maybe drop attributes to T2 and raise skills or traits to T4 for more skills or maybe buy a status within the university. T3 for traits and T1 proficiency. I gave him the skills I did because my reading has shown that Medicince, Latin, Greek, Theology were basic to Renaissance education. The rest of the humanities are covered by education.

Don't know if he should get the free background and charactor traits. I don't remember seeing them under retainers.

Feel free to rip it apart.
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Re: NPC Stats

Post by Benedict » 24 Sep 2017, 05:12

Agamemnon wrote:We're obviously going to need some version of an example NPC list in the book that gives you example stats. The obvious approach is to take 10+ pages and give stats for each possible entry:
(...)
And on and on as we come up with nonsense. This works, but is it the best way to go about it? I'm not sure. On the other hand, I'm not sure how else you can go about it in such a way that the stats can be used as-is from the book, rather than the GM having to build every NPC before they can be used.
Heh, I agree that this approach will need too much space. To be frank, I skip similar sections on rulebooks when I encounter them, especially if they are lengthy.

I think that a 10+ pg long section like this is a big step backwards regarding 'Scoundrels modular approach.

Instead I'd have a small master list in a shaded box (similar to Personal Traits) with appropriate -- to setting consistency -- NPC titles/trades/functions, such as:
Academic, Alchemist, Apothecary, Architect, Artist, Assassin, Architect, Baker, Bandit, Banker/Moneylender, Barber, Beggar, Blacksmith, Bottler, Bowyer, Burglar, Butler, Candlemaker, Carpenter, Chamberlain, Chancellor, Chaplain, Clerk, Clothier (creates clothes), Cobbler/Cordwainer/Shoemaker, Courtesan, Courtier, Cutpurse, Draper (sells clothes), Entertainer, Farmer, Fletcher, Gong Farmer (gong=dung), Guard, Hunter, Jenny, Jester, Knight, Laborer, Lord/Lady, Mercer (sells cloth), Merchant, Mercenary, Militia, Monk, Peasant, Physician, Pilgrim, Pirate, Playwright, Priest, Sailor, Scribe, Scout, Scullion, Servant, Shipwright, Smuggler, Soldier, Spy, Squire, Stationer (sells books), Steward, Thug, Tradesman, Urchin
Did away with Tradesman and provided specific tradesmen instead. Additions in red. Ofc the above can be intermixed. One can be a Monk and a Scribe or a Pilgrim and a Knight at the same time. ;)

As for stats, unless we are speaking about antagonist examples for quick reference, I feel that providing whole stat blocks for every NPC is counter-productive. Let the GM work and toil a bit I say.

Example:
Low Threat wrote:Brigand, City Guard, Militia, Ruffian, Thug
Attributes: A4 B4 C4 P4 W4; G4 K4 R4 S4
Skills: 2-3 Skills relevant to function @4. For example City Guards could have City Lore and Coercion; Brigands appropriate terrain Survival and Stealth.
Proficiencies: Priority Tier 2 - One Melee and Ranged OR two Melee appropriate to function, each @ 4. City Guard has Mass Weapon or Polearm: Spear and Crossbow both @ 4; Brigand has Brawl/Mass Weapon/Sword and Bow each @ 4.
CP: Primary 8, Default 5
Medium Threat wrote:Assassin, Bounty Hunter, Pirate, Soldier
Attributes: A5 B5 C4 P4 W4; G4 K4 R4 S5
Skills: As above, plus at least one specialized Skill @ 5-6 according to function. Assassin would get Disguise and/or and Stealth; Pirate would have Seamanship and/or Sea Navigation; Soldier would get Warfare, etc.
Proficiencies: Priority Tier 3 -Two Melee and one Ranged OR three Melee. One primary at 6, the others at 4. Assassin could have Brawl: Dagger 6; Pirate Sword: Sabre 6; Soldier one of Mass, Polearm, Longsword, Sword, Bow, Crossbow, Firearm @ 6 according to function. Each would get 2 more @ 4.
CP: Primary 10, Secondary 8, Default 5
High Threat wrote:Hardened Troop, Royal Knight, Veteran Mercenary
Now we need an adjective to describe them. Chances are these guys ain't fodder NPCs, instead they are named individuals.
Attributes: A5 B5 C5 P4 W4; G4 K4 R5 S5
Skills: As above, plus two specialized Skills @ 6-7, according to function.
Proficiencies: Priority Tier 4 - At least one (if not two) @ 9, according to function. Mercenary/Troop as Soldier above @ 9; Knight would probably have Longsword/Sword @ 9 plus any other.
CP: Primary 14, Default 7
Going beyond that you'll have to create the NPC in question as we are talking about Tier(s) 5 material.


As for professionals (ie you hire someone to create something for you or ask a scholar about obscure facts) better consult the Ability Rank table (pg18) and be done with it:
'Scoundrels pg 18 wrote:1 Skill or proficiency of a curious dabbler
2 Skill of a novice
3 Skill of an apprentice
4 Skill of a journeyman, a professional assistant
5-6 Skill of a master of their trade
7-8 Skill of a grandmaster
9-10 Skills of genius savants, beyond the reach of normal people
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Re: NPC Stats

Post by higgins » 24 Sep 2017, 06:05

OK, here's a wild thought. What if we had a deck of playing cards to form NPCs? Some cards determine the skills, other cards determine the attributes and the third set of cards determine the fighting skills.

So we could have a character like "agile" "urchin" "longsword fighter" and that would really be all that detail that the GM would need to write down as far as game mechanics are concerned, because the specifics are already printed on the cards. Then the name, relationships, etc, and he's done. Whenever the GM needs the full sheet of that character, he can simply take the NPC deck and recompile that character using those card headers.

Another deck could be there with different sets of armor.

Also, this system could be used to generate NPCs randomly.
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Re: NPC Stats

Post by Benedict » 24 Sep 2017, 06:19

higgins wrote:OK, here's a wild thought. What if we had a deck of playing cards to form NPCs?
(...)
Another deck could be there with different sets of armor.
(...)
Also, this system could be used to generate NPCs randomly.
While intriguing, I don't think it will mesh well. Not everyone is into random generation tables, let alone ones accessed through cards.

Speaking of cards, isn't it kinda a resource tax -- as far as design is concerned -- to incorporate card decks for randomly generating NPCs and their gear, when you have things more deserving of a card deck like Maneuvers or even Magic (when it comes), and some core random elements like Initiative and Wounds determined by die rolls?

Not shooting down the idea, just expressing some concerns. :)
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Re: NPC Stats

Post by higgins » 24 Sep 2017, 06:37

Benedict wrote:While intriguing, I don't think it will mesh well. Not everyone is into random generation tables, let alone ones accessed through cards.
I think you misread that. Randomness is something that could be done with it, but would by far not be the main feature. My point was -- we have a TON of different NPC types listed, but there's a lot of commonalities between them. Some of them are prone to having brute physique, some of them agile, some of them cunning, etc. Same thing with fighting ability, which is going to be 0 for a lot of people, but then for the combatants, we'd be printing very similar numbers over and over and over again. Might as well print them once with the ability to mix an match.

An extra deck would surely be a barrier as far as printing the thing, but I thought the mixing and matching idea would have some merit. If you have better ideas than cards, I'm all ears :)
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Re: NPC Stats

Post by Benedict » 24 Sep 2017, 07:21

higgins wrote:I think you misread that. Randomness is something that could be done with it, but would by far not be the main feature. My point was -- we have a TON of different NPC types listed, but there's a lot of commonalities between them. Some of them are prone to having brute physique, some of them agile, some of them cunning, etc.
Yes, plus certain skills associated to function. Imo there's no need to assign specific stats to a character unless it is required by the story.

Consider which is more desirable.

Your average innkeeper having a Keen4 by default (nothing prevents you to have extraordinary individuals with lower or higher stats) OR fluctuating between 3 and 8 by a subsystem (which needs design, hence time) -- and in the case of cards, printing costs of said decks, which in the end will add to the price of the product.

Not to mention the aggravation at the table when a GM stops play to introduce a NPC through the deck, or if you chose tables, dice rolls. Are all NPCs worthy of this kind of attention? I think not.

The more I think of it the more I fear it will bog down things during play, among other complications, design- and resource-wise.
higgins wrote:Same thing with fighting ability, which is going to be 0 for a lot of people, but then for the combatants, we'd be printing very similar numbers over and over and over again. Might as well print them once with the ability to mix an match.
As above.

It's more easy to GM a skirmish with 4 PCs versus 6 goons and their gang leader where all of the goons are CP8 and the boss is CP12 instead of having different stats per individual.

Hence the generic stat blocks I presented above.

Something to consider is that a game needs Rulings more than it needs Rules. At least from my point of view.

This doesn't only relates to the whole topic of whether there's a need of specific lists (tables) of NPC stats and a way (system) to assign stats to one's NPCs, it applies in games in almost every aspect.

Caught this article a few months back and it was an eye opener for me, I believe its worth the read.

How I helped to pull the rope that tolled the bell for OD&D

Ok, Kaskoid talks about D&D, still I believe the point is clear. Any tables/charts/lists/whatever will simply be cumbersome to any game and detrimental when trying to tell a story.

'Bastards walked a fine line, by having a highly simulationist yet quick-paced and fun combat system which was based on its Core Mechanic. 'By all accounts 'Scoundrels is in the same direction. The only cumbersome bit imho is the wound tables, even if I've started to memorize 'em by heart the more I play.

Take BW for example. It's a good game with some amazing concepts -- save the hours you need to a create a character going through countless pages of lists containing Life Paths, Skills, and Traits -- which is rather bad if you ask me.

That's why I believe that a full blown NPC system is not needed. But that's only me. :D
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Re: NPC Stats

Post by Agamemnon » 24 Sep 2017, 13:38

Benedict wrote:As for stats, unless we are speaking about antagonist examples for quick reference, I feel that providing whole stat blocks for every NPC is counter-productive. Let the GM work and toil a bit I say.
The rub here is that the GM is already doing quite a bit of work and toil. If we assume that we're all adults who lead lives and relationships and jobs outside of playing this game, then time is a finite resource. The creative energy I put into filling out NPC stats is creative energy that could have instead been put into developing hooks and threads and quirks and blah blah blah.

So on the one hand, having more or less complete blocks for any NPC means I don't have to actually write NPC stats unless they are important enough to develop as characters. I don't even have to make notes. I just flip open the section and I've got the relevant stats in the book. On the other hand, it's also going to hog a ton of space and .. this is going to sound horribly snobby, but.. as much as cool shit as we've done with everything else, I kinda feel like we can do better here. I'm just not sure what better looks like. We're juggling the balance between "Amount of work the GM has to do" and "Needless amount of detail/space."
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Re: NPC Stats

Post by taelor » 24 Sep 2017, 16:05

I apparently have a much higher tolerance for charts and tables than most (probably unsurprising, as I am a statistician by training); BW char gen is actually my favorite character generations system (Burning Wheel is a game about making hard choices, and that starts before you even have your character started up). Nevertheless, I normally just make up NPC stats on the spot, as whatever I feel is appropriate. I only fully stat out in advance at most one or two NPCs per campaign.
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Re: NPC Stats

Post by thirtythr33 » 25 Sep 2017, 05:37

I'm liking the idea of having mix and match components instead of an explicit list of every person.

Perhaps there could be some kind of way to use premade "arrays" of statistics and lump it all together in something like a "Humanoid Codex", including a few premade examples of the most common kinds of people you can make.

One thing that I think MUST be included is a way to quickly swap out Traits for NPCs.
Three bandits become a lot more characterful when they are a Frail bandit, a Noble Outlaw bandit and a Handsome bandit.
Giving a Pirate Lord a Reputation, which he can tap into applicable situations, also feels very natural for the system.
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Re: NPC Stats

Post by Agamemnon » 26 Sep 2017, 16:46

So my turn to oops.

Benedict had a post that I thought I'd hit "quote." I apparently hit "Edit." RIP.

Amusingly, I'd actually screenshot it prior as I was discussing it with Higgins. Thus, I present it here for posterity along with my apologies:
Image

Now I may rebut in good conscience:
Benedict wrote:Still I kinda miss the need for a section with possible arrays for creating NPCs, apart from specific stat blocks to serve as examples, and these better kept short.
So that I, as a GM, would not have to waste my time between sessions working out what stats a pickpocket I want you to encounter might have, or having to further expend creative energy in play bullshitting the stats of the bartender you decided to try to con.
Benedict wrote:Take Traits for example, imo the most interesting story-wise part when interacting with NPCs outside of combat. Do we need a second list of Personal Traits than the one presented in pg46? Also Backgrounds and Reputation. Do these need a separate list of their own with examples like Personal Traits have? If yes, why not present them in Traits Chapter?

Took the time and fooled around with some dictionaries. I stopped at B -- yet I found at least 200 words that could be Trait-defining for NPCs (and PCs). :shock:

Is it really worth the effort to have a master list? And if yes, how big should the beast be?
The sort of stock NPCs we're discussing generally wouldn't even have traits.. So no? I never suggested anything of the sort.
Benedict wrote:Time is always a finite resource and one can't get refunds at that. Player and GM alike, roleplayer or non-roleplayer, adult or not.

The GMs' job is to create the world along with the cast, set hooks and strings, keep it coherent, act as the five senses for the players, control anything non-player controlled, and most of all, be fair.

Creating NPCs is part of the job he chose.
You quoted me, pontificated on my premise, and then ignored my actual point. In the point you quoted, I argued explicitly: The GM only has so much time and energy. Would you rather them be putting that time and energy into developing hooks and plots and ideas.. Or would you rather them be stopping to work out NPC stat spreads for every minor NPC the players might interact with?

We have a game that is explicitly about conflict and provides mechanics to facilitate that conflict. Eventually, the players are going to have to engage with the game's mechanics and the NPCs involved need numbers. These numbers can only come from one of three places:
> The GM can look them up on the fly
> The GM has to sit down and write them up between sessions and then look them up in play
> The GM has to pull them out of their ass in the middle of play

The latter is arguably the worst not just because I have enough stuff to juggle when running the game without having to decide what skills the town guard might have the moment you decided to engage in a social conflict with them, but because this greatly increases the temptation and tendency of GMs to start giving those NPCs stats based not on what the fiction would call for but instead on the level of challenge they want to present to their players.

Further, saying "Well they chose it!" not only ignores the actual issue being discussed, it's kind of a ridiculous line to draw.

By that argument, we shouldn't have given you character creation worksheets. After all, the players CHOSE to make characters. We should also not bother developing any play-aids. No cheat-sheets, no references, no weapon, armor, or maneuver cards. You chose to play, after all. If we're going to be fair about this, the burden is on you.

Taken to its logical extreme, we should also not put out any of the demos, not create any play-packs, and not offer any pregen characters.

Of course, the reality is the easier you make it for people to play a game the more likely they are to play it. A Bestiary and some generic NPCs are one of those things that people expect a game to have (weren't you the one talking about the need for stats for horses and dogs?). This is doubly true if you're trying to push the idea that NPCs should represent the fictional universe, not a gamist concern about providing a power-level appropriate challenge. The question here then is in what way can we best facilitate this?
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Re: NPC Stats

Post by Stempest » 27 Sep 2017, 09:24

Been lurking for a long time since my last post, but this one's something I feel strongly enough about for me to chime in on.

And in fact, my view changed as I wrote this. I will try to explain.

First, I agree with Agamemnon in terms of lightening the load on the GM. I've got 2 kids and only squeeze in one minimally-prepped session a fortnight, despite considering RPGing to be one of my principal hobbies. If I'm doing prep, I would rather spend time on adding interesting flair to encounters, or fleshing out the history and personality of a significant NPC, rather than fully statting up the guardsmen the PCs will meet.

That said, I don't know that we need 10 pages of archetypes. Or at least, I don't. As long as I know that 3 is poor, 5 is average and 7 is pretty good (or whatever numbers it may be), I am totally comfortable pulling character stats out of my behind, and feel little need to fully stat out an NPC (unless, perhaps, he is accompanying the PCs, or recurs very regularly). In my years of GMing, I've learned that players don't tend to know (and thus don't tend to care) whether your NPC is fully statted, or consists of only the two relevant stats to the scene. They're much more likely to notice his fine clothes or bad attitude.

It's also worth remembering that NPCs need not be constructed to the rules used for PCs. They need not have the same limits, same build points, same anything. Players are not going to question it (or at least they shouldn't).

So while I would love anything that let's me grab something and run with it, for me, it's not archetypes I want. I would much prefer something like some plot hook suggestions. Fifty one-liners that fit the intended style of S&S, for instance. (I struggle for inspiration, but given a seed, can run a long way with it). If you were going to include archetypes, perhaps it could be something along the lines of the list of different kinds of people, and then a small number of generic templates, e.g. novice, average and experienced combatants, novice/average/experienced skill specialists, etc. Each would tell you to take 7 points in their key skill, 6 points in two secondary skills and 4 points in other skills to flesh them out (or something to that effect). That could be a more efficient use of space, doable in a couple of pages.
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Re: NPC Stats

Post by Benedict » 27 Sep 2017, 09:37

Agamemnon wrote:Benedict had a post that I thought I'd hit "quote." I apparently hit "Edit." RIP.
No hard feelings, after all I've done worse in the past -- no screenshot to ressurect the butchered post. :mrgreen:
Agamenon wrote:
Benedict wrote:Take Traits for example, imo the most interesting story-wise part when interacting with NPCs outside of combat. Do we need a second list of Personal Traits than the one presented in pg46?
The sort of stock NPCs we're discussing generally wouldn't even have traits.. So no? I never suggested anything of the sort.
Clarification. I never claimed you did. That part was a reply and food for thought towards thirtythr33's suggestion.
thirtythr33 wrote:One thing that I think MUST be included is a way to quickly swap out Traits for NPCs.
Three bandits become a lot more characterful when they are a Frail bandit, a Noble Outlaw bandit and a Handsome bandit.
Giving a Pirate Lord a Reputation, which he can tap into applicable situations, also feels very natural for the system.
Agamemnon wrote:You quoted me, pontificated on my premise, and then ignored my actual point.
Now I feel I got under your skin. I apologize, since by no means was irritating anyone my intention. :(

I think I got the points right from the start. Correct me if wrong.
  • Agamemnon wrote:We're obviously going to need some version of an example NPC list in the book that gives you example stats.
  • Agamemnon wrote:This works, but is it the best way to go about it? I'm not sure.
  • Agamemnon wrote:how else you can go about it in such a way that the stats can be used as-is from the book, rather than the GM having to build every NPC before they can be used
With all these in mind I presented three suggestions:
  • A small master list of NPC functions which expanded on your own: Alchemist, Apothecary, Architect, Artist, Assassin, Baker, Bandit, etc.
  • Three (low/med/hi threat) stat blocks for combatants. These are not examples of what a GM could create; these are examples of how to present specific NPCs in the GM section, to be used in a pinch when one needs some street thugs/pirates/royal guards to fight with because of an unforseen twist.
  • For noncombatants I pruposed that the GM can fudge NPCs using rank scale: dabbler, novice, apprentice, journeyman, master, grandmaster, savant.
I'll give you that the 3rd suggestion was vague at best. :)

I stated numerous times that this NPC section should be kept as short as possible; not that it should not exist at all. What I do find counter-productive is that section being lengthy OR designing a sub-system for assigning stats to NPCs.

As you correctly pointed out:
Agamemnon wrote:would you rather them be stopping to work out NPC stat spreads for every minor NPC the players might interact with?
Because I fear that a sub-system, like what higgins proposed, would accomplish exactly this: stopping to work out NPC stat spreads when said NPCs become relevant during play.
Agamemnon wrote:Further, saying "Well they chose it!" not only ignores the actual issue being discussed, it's kind of a ridiculous line to draw.
The rub here is that when I say that "the GM chose it", I don't say that he should be punished for opting GM position. I say that part of the fun of being GM are all these points I illustrated above, creation of NPCs included. By providing specific rules on NPC creation there's a danger to diminish part of that fun associated with being GM.

My suggestions were also made with this point in mind: provide ways to make everyone's life easier, GM and players, without stealing anyone's thunder away.
Agamemnon wrote:The GM has to pull them out of their ass in the middle of play

The latter is arguably the worst not just because I have enough stuff to juggle when running the game without having to decide what skills the town guard might have the moment you decided to engage in a social conflict with them, but because this greatly increases the temptation and tendency of GMs to start giving those NPCs stats based not on what the fiction would call for but instead on the level of challenge they want to present to their players
Apart from the improvising part which can be hard, especially on new GMs, imho the most important point lies here:
...because this greatly increases the temptation and tendency of GMs to start giving those NPCs stats based not on what the fiction would call for but instead on the level of challenge they want to present to their players.

As I said earlier, the GM should keep things coherent and be fair. My ideal layout of that NPC section would be a two page list of Templates (for a total of 30ish NPC examples) at most, plus some paragraphs explaining how the GM should act to keep it true to fiction, consistent to world demographics, and fair to players at the same time.



A note.
Agamemnon wrote:A Bestiary and some generic NPCs are one of those things that people expect a game to have (weren't you the one talking about the need for stats for horses and dogs?).
When I create something and establish it as a definite entity withing the rule-set I have to show how it works. Otherwise I should leave it out.

When the rules establish that 3 out of the 5 Classes get horses, and that there are different kinds of horses, one expects to see horses stats.
Greater Noble: Access to horses, even if they aren’t necessarily yours; Choice of a destrier, among other stuff.
Lower Nobles: Several horses; Choice of a courser, among other stuff.
High Freeman: A horse (rouncy or dray).
So, am I the only one who wonders what are the differences between destriers, coursers, rouncies, and drays rules-wise?

In this light to line that request on horse stats with NPC stats its kinda unfair. As for the rest, I think I really annoyed you, hence your reply about extremes. I said it above. I don't support any of it. I just act as a Devil's advocate. A most uncomfortable role. :mrgreen:

Anyway, I think we misunderstood each other on that. :)
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Re: NPC Stats

Post by Agamemnon » 27 Sep 2017, 14:47

Replying with a quote this time.
Benedict wrote:So, am I the only one who wonders what are the differences between destriers, coursers, rouncies, and drays rules-wise?

In this light to line that request on horse stats with NPC stats its kinda unfair. As for the rest, I think I really annoyed you, hence your reply about extremes. I said it above. I don't support any of it. I just act as a Devil's advocate. A most uncomfortable role. :mrgreen:

Anyway, I think we misunderstood each other on that. :)
Nah, you're fine man. Despite the tone, I wasn't aggravated or the like. More like falling into old habits. I'm used to arguing with Barbarossa, by which I mean that we've done Friday Night Debate Club as a thing for years, picking topics and doing long informal debates over the course of an evening. We actually got to present a debate in front of students to teach them about debate, back when he worked at a school. It lead to said school forming legitimate debate clubs. It was neat.

But. Ahem. The relevant bit is that Barb and I are close enough and have done enough of this with each other long enough that we are pretty rough on each other (in the name of good fun). It has a tendency to make one more direct and significantly less diplomatic than social convention would demand.

TL;DR - We're good. I can just sound like an asshole sometimes. :D
Sorry if I came off as otherwise.
Sword and Scoundrel: On Role-Playing and Fantasy Obscura

Arrakis teaches the attitude of the knife — chopping off what’s incomplete and saying: "Now it’s complete because it’s ended here."
Collected Sayings of Muad’Dib, the Princess Irulan
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