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Character Worldview

NPC Writing Details

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#1 Eric P.

Eric P.

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 08:42 AM

Here's something I got from Usenet newsgroups some years ago that might be useful when writing an NPC's outlook. I don't recall the author's name.





A PC's worldview consists of three parts. The first of these is your character's priorities, a hierarchy of loyalties. Secondly are your character's morals, the attitudes and traits that shape your character's outlook on life. Finally, your character's beliefs are any superstitions, principles, habits, etc. your character holds.


Your priorities classify how you view authority by giving a hierarchy of loyalties. They give a general sense of what things outside of yourself are most important, and which you would put before yourself. There are seven priorities: Deity, Sovereign, Race, Homeland, Family, Comrades, and Self. Rank these in order of importance. If a priority has no importance for your character or you do not recognize the priority, do not list it at all. Example: If even without higher priorities, your character will not listen to his or her family, and might even do just the opposite of what they suggest, then do not list Family among your character's priorities. Comrades must be on the list. Other priorities may be added if necessary, such as Lover or Pets.


Morals quantify your personality in those areas that are easily compared. They are the attitudes and personality traits that most strongly shape your outlook on life. There are six areas, categories roughly, that you must quantify your character in: Courage, Curiosity, Disposition, Honesty, Loyalty, and Violence. At the simplest, each of these can consist of just an adjectival rating: How violent are you, how honest are you, etc. Hopefully, you will go further, adding both color and detail. Rather than “I am honest to a fault and get violent at the slightest provocation,” try “I have an ingrained belief in honesty, which makes it a struggle for me to lie, even to protect others. I've always had a temper, and will react with violence to even the hint of provocation. I'm especially sensitive to being called a hothead or being told that I'm lousy with a sword. However, I'd never kick a man when he's down, and don't like the idea of others helping me in my fights.” You need not commit your character on any besides these morals, but you are encouraged to do so. Following is a list, but it is by no means complete. Feel free to use any other traits you can think of. In many cases qualifiers can and should be used (polite to men, but curt with women). Also, specific fears, hatreds, desires, etc., should be listed here. You can freely add morals during play or between sessions, but you may not remove them without specific permission.



bold brave challenging chicken-hearted courageous cowardly craven fainthearted fearful fearless gallant heroic intrepid lily-livered plucky pusillanimous shy spineless timid timorous unflinching valiant weak-kneed



blasé examining incurious indifferent inquiring inquisitive intrusive nonchalant prying questioning snoopy unconcerned uninterested



aggressive aloof amiable argumentative arrogant arrogant capricious caring cheerful conceited cooperative cruel forgiving formal friendly generous gloomy greedy harsh helpful hospitable hostile impulsive irreverent irritable jealous madcap mischievous moody morose naive opinionated patient peaceable proud proud quiet pessimistic positive realistic sanguine sarcastic suspicious trusting



imaginative impractical level-headed practical pragmatic quixotic realistic sensible sober unrealistic utilitarian



abashed aloof arrogant ashamed conceited egotistical elitist haughty humble immodest jealous meek modest overbearing prideful self-centered self-effacing selfish selfless shy unpretentious vane



antagonistic articulate garrulous hot-tempered overbearing quarrelsome



aggressive antagonistic irritable malign spiteful



Beliefs are those things that do not fall in the realm of either of the two above categories. They are the superstitions, principles, habits (good or bad), and psychological limitations that we all have, and that make us unique. All characters have some principles or superstitions, such as: Resurrection is impossible, black pigs bring good luck, always carry a knife in your boot, never walk through a door behind an Orc, spit in the face of all Dwarves, it is dishonorable to fight a woman, etc. Any more-common superstitions, such as never look at the full moon over your left shoulder and don't walk under a ladder, are also possibilities. Finally, obligations and regular habits also belong here, such as paying an annual tribute to the priesthood that resurrected you, needing a weekend in the most posh inn available once a month, or drying your boots by the fire every night. At least two-thirds of your character's beliefs should be hindrances of some sort. Your character must have at least one more Belief than the sum of the Priorities he or she does not recognize and his or her level. There are seven categories that most beliefs fit into, though your character's beliefs need not necessarily fit into them:

  • actions and responses of gods

  • movements of the land/heavens/seas

  • ingestion of or abstinence from certain foods

  • bodily adornment

  • (dis)association with a particular race/class/sex
  • (un)favored use of a particular weapon/spell/attack form
  • mystical symbols/color/numbers/shapes/plants/minerals/spells

Working and playing on a Mac Pro 3,1 running Mac OS X 10.11.6 El Capitan.

~Buion na 'ell! I serve with joy! Your eyes and ears I shall be. Let us hunt together!~
- Erysseril Gwaethorien: a joinable, romanceable NPC mod for BGII - SoA/ToB, in sporadic development.

A female elf warrior of nature and a Bhaalspawn cross paths during their quests, joining forces to share adventure and companionship. Will they find more?

#2 Anishay

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 10:30 AM

This gave me some ideas and things I have to think over. It's easier to remember about everything which is important with list like that. :D 

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