Out of Character – The Seven Sentence Method


(Follow the link above for the OP. The contents after the jump are not owned by me.)

I found this page through a post on reddit (shoutouts to r/RPG ) and was surprised by the simplicity of this method for generating NPC’s. While it is a bit more time consuming than rolling on the random NPC tables in 5th Edition’s DMG its also more thorough. My first attempt at using this method was about a week ago in my pursuit of more fun-for-the-DM NPC’s. By that I mean a tavern owner that says more than “Cheers! Also, there’s an evil hag in the woods!” or a bandit that doesn’t just want the party’s loot because that’s what a bandit does. I like my bandit lords to at least have fun voices or quirks that not only make the game more like a game for my players, but that also keep myself interested so I don’t give them a rust monster to fight out of sheer boredom. I set out to prevent the weary DM driven disintegration of my party’s favorite killing tools and read through the Character Creation page in the link above. The sentences are pretty self explanatory in terms of content and the OP does a great job of expounding on what exactly is needed i each sentence. For example, here’s an NPC’s blurb using this method

Myridda, Sister of the Church of Praecar; She does laundry and cleaning duties for the Knights of the Scale and the church grounds; at one time she was a practiced hunter. Myridda is an adolescent Human plain in looks and dresses down even by the Sisters’ standards wearing her frizzy corn-yellow hair down sometimes covering her piercing green eyes. She has high DEX and WIS for a commoner and is proficient with shortbows, but she is physically very weak. Myridda lives to serve her god, Praecar, and would do anything for the church (taking after her mother, a former Sister of the church). Myridda talks quietly in a sweet but almost inaudible mumble. Myridda is well-versed in Praecar’s religion and knows intimate details about most residents of the church in Mosa. She may look like every other Sister in ceremonial garb, but she always smells intensely of sweet wildflowers and sometimes leaves them in unexpected places.

As a DM, having something like the paragraph above written on an index card or a Google Doc makes it easy for me to give the players a point of contact for the Church of Praecar in Mosa that isn’t just a quest-giver or information in a meat suit; Myrrida is an NPC that the players might think about while they are adventuring and wonder hmm, maybe I should bring back some of this wildflower I haven’t seen before and see of she likes it. Also, if some catastrophic event happens, like for example a raging Storm Giant stomping around the city, the players might want to reduce collateral damage because there are probably more kind and unique people just like Myrrida in every building. This can make encounters in that area into something more than just killing the monster and adds some tension to the game where otherwise the players might just see walking experience points.

I’m thinking I may try and hone this method a bit to get more concise blurbs or put them in a list or table format so I can reference them more easily (I love me some bulleted lists). I think my ultimate goal would be to have a list of generic sentences for each of the seven that I could randomly roll for less important NPC’s. If that turns out to be anything I’ll be sure to do another post on the topic! As always, thanks for reading.