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Simplified Antagonists


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In The One Ring NPCs:

  • have simplified stat blocks (e.g., everything they can do physically is represented by a single stat);
  • have an attribute level (which describes their overall competence level;
  • have keywords and underlined things that indicate situations where their attribute level gets added to their overall competence gets their attribute level added to their competence

I think Cypher System and Chronicle of Darkness (Hunter the Vigil) NPC's work similarly.

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The rules are so easy that I'm not even sure it is necessary to have any method: we can use the easy, moderate, difficult or very difficult oppositions.


For more detailed opponents, or as guideline, a few ideas:

3 levels of competencies: beginner 51%(*), veteran 81%(*) and champion 111%(*) = best skill + trait

3 levels of resistance = RP : the best at 16, the second at 14, the rest at 10.

One skill at maximum level + 16 RP,  one at one level less + 14 RP + one at same level but 10RP, the rest at 51% + 10 RP.

Apprentices shall be at 51% everywhere with about 12 traits max..

ex: veteran hoplite, Close combat (Spear, Shield, Short Sword) 81%, 16 RP / Athletics (Run, Brawl, Jump) 51%, 14RP / Communication (Oratory, Thessalian) 51%, 10RP / all other traits at 51%, 10RP

Warlock apprentice, Concentration (1x manipulation, 2x spells) 51%, 16 RP, Knowledge (legends, medicine, 1 free Trait) 51%, 14RP, Perception (insight, 2 free Traits) 51%

Warlock Hero Concentration (Willpower, 5x spells, 3x manipulation) 111%, 16 RP, Channeling 9, Communication (Persuade, demonic tongue, Languages, up to 3 more free) 81%, 14 RP, Knowledge (Book of Doom, demonic plane , 4 more free) 81%, 10 RP,

If dedicated to one skill, increase the number of traits but decrease one of the 2nd skills of one level.

Ex.. for the warlock hero, Concentration 111% (Willpower, 12x spells, 4x manipulation), 16 RP, Communication (Persuade, demonic tongue, Languages, up to 3 more free) 81% 14RP, Knowledge (Book of Doom, demonic plane , 2 more free) 51%, 10RP


(*) 51 % because it allows 3 Traits, while 50% would allow only 2

But actually, you can build the NPC while using it. ex.: you want the Warlock to be strong, you give him 16RP for his spells, which gives you directly his INT. And you fill up the Traits on the fly.

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22 hours ago, Archivist said:

It seems like NPC's are built exactly like PC's - skills, stats, hit locations, etc. Is there some approach for building simplified antagonists?

I use a spreadsheet that allows me to quickly stat up NPCs. Basically, I choose Background, Profession, each of the Traits, weapons and Magic from drop-downs and it spits out a character sheet. Very useful when statting up NPCs for supplements.

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Easy/Hard/Very Hard challenge ratings are guidelines, not something set in stone, so it is possible to have more granular interval.

Assuming that the base skill level is 21% for most skills as Olivier has suggested, a basic opponent with the appropriate Trait will be 51%. Trained militia / rogues / tribesmen etc. will be 61%, thanes / soldiers 71%, tough fighters 81%, leaders 91% and so on. Add the appropriate Traits to make the opponent fit for the role (weapons, weapon stunts, Hearing/Vision, Hide/Sneak, Balance, etc.).

Non-core skills for the opponent role will be 51%, assuming the foe has the appropriate Trait. Very important leaders may have 60%+ in non-core skills, due to training or to characteristics above 10.

It is usually necessary to assign a score, even on the fly, to important characteristicsa. Relevant characteristics for the role (STR for melee fighters, DEX for archers/hunters/thieves, INT/WIL for magicians and so on) will usually be in the 13-18 range depending on how tough the opposition is supposed to be, the rest is usually 10, 12 for important bosses.

Using the above guidelines, you can create a usable opponent in two to five minutes, depending on how confident you are with the rules.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I really appreciate all of the above. Thanks! A formal version of the above should definitely go in the companion.

I still think it would be terrific to at least think about providing a mechanic for creating abstract antagonists. I don't think BRP has had antagonists (NPC's, Monsters) built like PCs as a design decision, but because *every* RPG game did it that way. However, it's possible, with clever mechanics, to do it differently, with examples (in some cases it's just an option) including the Cypher System, Basic D&D, Dungeon Crawl Classics, and Chronicles of Darkness (Ephemeral Beings). You already allow the option of removing hit locations, it would be terrific to take this additional step and really provide the GM with tools that further simplify their job.  

I'd do it but I'm not a game designer and have no idea how to actually implement it.

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  • 4 months later...

Okay, before going on with the task of quick generation of NPCs, let us review the basic information needed for a "goon" in a game. Below are two sample opponents I will post on the Rise of the Yokai Koku campaign - something very basic, to use in case you need generic guards for a castle or temple and you have not prepared them before.

Is this stat block format adequate? Can you spot anything missing? Anything that should not be there? [the Basic Combat score is only useful in BC, and will probably be removed in RotYK, which is more Advanced Combat oriented]. Is it clear and usable?




Note: the final version will include also the note field for weapons (impale, slash, etc) and hit location stats superimposed on the picture.

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