PC+NPC+PC Triangles

  • 3 Replies
PC+NPC+PC Triangles
« on: July 05, 2012, 01:20:06 PM »
When I MC this time around, I want to improve at establishing, leveraging, evaluating, and re-establishing PC+NPC+PC triangles. I've reviewed the advice and examples on pages 112 and 129 of the book.

Can someone give me advice on developing and maintaining the mindset for doing this well? How can I best remind myself when we're at the table and I'm juggling things? How will I recognize when I'm overdoing it?

Also, I'm interested in any dirty tricks and shortcuts I can use. For example, I can mine the Hardholder's choices about his holding by explaining some or all of them with NPCs, like "your gang is well-disciplined" is true because Spong has a knack for keeping them in line, or both "your population is decadent and perverse" and "add a bustling, widely-known market commons" are true because Dustwich is a manipulative bastard who knows how to shuffle people's wants around. Know of any other handy fixtures to hang NPCs on?

Re: PC+NPC+PC Triangles
« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2012, 05:01:30 PM »
Relationship maps

Monsterhearts thrive on PC-NPC-PC triangles so much that I bought a 17" x 12" (or something similar) artist pad.

On each corner I write the name of the PC (I can only handle up to 4 players anyway in these kinds of games.)

During 1st session/character generation, I'm writing down NPCs that are allies, friends, or associates of each PC, but I then ask another PC what they think of the NPC. The moment there is a hook, I draw a line with the emotion involved (crush, hate, etc). Sometimes I take a different colored pen (like red) to draw my eye to that connection.

For me, it helps immensely to remind me to keep hammering at that connection. And because the original player helped create the friend/ally/associate, they are always up in their business help or hindering the connection.

Re: PC+NPC+PC Triangles
« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2012, 08:17:11 PM »

I'm not the best at doing this, myself, but I think lin_fusan described the key MC maneuver: as soon as we meet one NPC who has a strong connection to a PC - whether through asking questions, an actual scene, or some connection to their moves or resources (Hardholders with gangs, etc.) - the MC should immediately pivot to another PC and ask a question that establishes a second connection of some kind.

That pivot -- literally turning from one PC's player to the other -- ensures that there are very few NPCs who end up in isolation, relating to only a single PC in a straightforward way.

I don't think the question needs to be that complicated, either, or the 'secondary' connection that immediately-meaningful. As long as there is enough there to develop later, you are guaranteed a triangle. And not every triangle has to immediately erupt into conflict -- if you have enough of them, that sort of thing will emerge naturally out of your other MC moves, Fronts, etc.

Re: PC+NPC+PC Triangles
« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2012, 11:26:24 PM »
My brain is crackling like one of those gizmos. It's so easy! I just do what I do for most everything else, making my players come up with most of what's going on. Thanks, guys! I'll keep you posted on how it goes for me once I get the game going.