Organizing NPCs

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Organizing NPCs
« on: August 27, 2010, 02:39:46 AM »
Goldie's got her chopper gang of Diamond, Lars, Stinky, Donny, Wires, Spade, Fleece, Penny, and about 5-6 others.

JC has his crew of Tum-Tum, Amy, Patch, and Rice.  He also has gathered followers, about 20 of them, all named. 

Lemieux has his security detail of Hobbs, Maple, Sable, Pang, and about 10 others.

Then there's the Roverville people, who consist of Swing, Monk, and about 40 others. 

The number of NPCs is getting rather crowded.  So I wanted to get some ideas on how to effectively organize NPCs, so that I can remember who is who.  How do you organize your NPCs in Apocalypse World?  What methods do you do to keep them straight in your head, or on paper, or on a laptop, or wherever?

Any advice would be appreciated.

Re: Organizing NPCs
« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2010, 02:57:29 AM »
Make a Relationship Map! Take a big piece of paper (well, I did it on a tiny one but it's quickly becoming too small) and write the names of your PCs in opposite corners, with arrows between them showing what they think of each other (i.e., their answers to the Hx questions).

then, start adding NPCs. With arrows going to & from each player, as needed, saying what they want/need from the PC, or how they feel about the PC. This will also make it mega-easy to create PC-NPC-PC triangles in play, as long as you can follow your map.

Re: Organizing NPCs
« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2010, 03:29:45 AM »
I use a relationship map, too. Plus my Fronts notebook. Each spread of pages is a Front, and I record all its stuff there, including the cast of NPCs. But the big relationship map gets referenced the most.

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Bret

  • 285
Re: Organizing NPCs
« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2010, 07:46:06 AM »
I keep one master sheet of NPCs listing the threat type and then the names of the cast of that threat. I also keep a notebook with any details I might forget later. Also the Front Sheet.

Do you guys who use R-maps find yourself having to change it constantly? With the whole "no status quos" thing I am constantly changing relationships between people. Lots of betrayal and sudden alliances and things.
Tupacalypse World

Re: Organizing NPCs
« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2010, 09:52:57 AM »
Glendower, I feel your pain. As someone who's organizationally challenged, I've already come across some names I wrote down and can't remember who they are.

Do you guys who use R-maps find yourself having to change it constantly?

Yeah, and we've only had like three sessions so far. If those pesky players would just kill more of the NPCs it would be so much easier to manage. I mean come on, look at those crosshairs. I've got a spiderweb here, people.


"I don't care what Wilson says." -- some slanderous bastard on the internet

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Bret

  • 285
Re: Organizing NPCs
« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2010, 10:01:02 AM »
Yeah I don't think I could manage an R-map.
Tupacalypse World

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DannyK

  • 157
Re: Organizing NPCs
« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2010, 01:36:15 PM »
I've got a list and one of my awesome players made an R-map that's been linked to in a separate thread.  I've got a great memory for relationships but the tickler list helps a lot, I find that it's best to look over it and reuse names whenever possible instead of adding more NPC's, it really brings the world to life and keeps the number of names lower.

Also, we tacitly agreed to name and describe about half of everybody's gang and add as necessary, so we've got the core of the Maestro D's people, the Chopper's favorites, the Hardholder's lieutenant, the guys people are sleeping with, and a mixed multitude that will get names and descriptions as they get their spotlight time.  Is that doing it right?  Should I have them named already, at least?

Re: Organizing NPCs
« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2010, 01:42:05 PM »
Similar to others, I keep a relationships map. The PCs are in the middle, with their crews and closest companions in a cirlce, then minor characters on the fringes. A few NPCs have notes on them, like Sly, who works in the meastro's bar, is also part of the angel's crew.

During play, if something is added or changed, I make a note of it on that sheet - often just one word. I don't try to keep the map perfect during play, I update it between sessions.

I also keep my front sheets and change them between sessions, but I try not to write anything on them during play, just to keep the notes in one place. It adds to between-session prep, but makes it a bit simpler to manage things during play.

Also, it is 100% legitemate to say "hey players, wait a minute while I find (or write down) something I need." Breaks are good.

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Bret

  • 285
Re: Organizing NPCs
« Reply #8 on: August 27, 2010, 01:50:40 PM »
You guys are crazy.
Tupacalypse World

Re: Organizing NPCs
« Reply #9 on: August 27, 2010, 06:40:51 PM »
I've found the easiest way to keep NPC creep from driving me nuts is to kill them off as fast as possible.

(I'm only partly joking.)

Re: Organizing NPCs
« Reply #10 on: August 27, 2010, 06:48:55 PM »
I've found the easiest way to keep NPC creep from driving me nuts is to kill them off as fast as possible.

(I'm only partly joking.)

This doesn't actually solve the problem in my game.  The Savvyhead Lemieux altered a CB radio to allow him to speak to the dead. The consequences of this were so disturbing (the dead now speak on all the CB radios, mostly screaming for help, crying, and curses) that Lemieux changed playbooks to a Battlebabe. So keeping track of the body count is also part of my concern.

Re: Organizing NPCs
« Reply #11 on: August 27, 2010, 07:06:53 PM »
Is there a tool, online or off, that I can use to general R-maps?

Re: Organizing NPCs
« Reply #12 on: August 27, 2010, 07:27:15 PM »
I give them all a picture, along with a name. That's it. Works like a charm.

Re: Organizing NPCs
« Reply #13 on: August 27, 2010, 07:52:38 PM »
This doesn't actually solve the problem in my game.  The Savvyhead Lemieux altered a CB radio to allow him to speak to the dead. The consequences of this were so disturbing (the dead now speak on all the CB radios, mostly screaming for help, crying, and curses) that Lemieux changed playbooks to a Battlebabe. So keeping track of the body count is also part of my concern.

Yea, you're boned.

(Johnstone's suggestion is good though)

Re: Organizing NPCs
« Reply #14 on: August 27, 2010, 07:53:54 PM »
I found this tool to be particularly useful ...

http://www.gliffy.com/

I made a pretty decent relationship map in about a half hour or so.