Roleplay Clubs - The Game Master’s Guide
This is a section to give advice in regards to NPCs. Game Masters can use NPCs as a tool to help drive a plot forward. They are the means by which to guide the characters to where they need to be, and can range from very simple NPCs such as a shopkeeper, to a more in depth and important NPC, such as the King - who is the father of the Princess that needs to be rescued.
The important NPCs, or Featured NPCs as we sometimes call them, are often considered ‘essential’ and thus unkillable. Try and keep the essential NPCs to a minimum. Featured NPCs tend to be a little more fleshed out than regular NPCs, with their own backstory and personality. They often have more to say as well, whereas with regular NPCs all you really need is a small amount of physical description; sometimes these NPCs will not even speak a single word.
Try not to overwhelm the roleplay with NPCs which will take you a long time to write about, as NPCs usually come and go, only being there for a few scenes. If you have a large number of NPCs, try and only use one or two of them to represent the ‘NPC group’, and to provide a face which the playable characters can interact with. Allow Players to decide who the more interesting NPCs are, and build them up from there. Sometimes, a regular NPC may evolve into a more important NPC later down the line due to the player character's actions.
Whatever you do, never take the spotlight away from the playable characters; they are the main protagonists of the roleplay, not the NPCs. The sole purpose of an NPC is to serve the roleplay. Never forget that.