Corruption Points
Tonight’s Game: Ball Pins!

Tonight’s Game: Ball Pins!

We are playing Pathfinder and I have no idea how to set up NPCs or anything. I am seriously lost here

Here’s a crash course on NPCs.

There are two kinds of NPCs at a tabletop: story-relevant and character-relevant. If they don’t fit into one of these aspects, they’re either selling the PCs something or irrelevant.

Story-relevant NPCs are as they sound: there to deliver the story. These are your quest-givers and plot-deliverers. These are mainly people-of-interest that interact with the world and deliver pertinent information, but have little interaction with the PCs on a personal level.

Character-relevant NPCs come in all shapes and sizes. The largest distinction between story-centric NPCs and character-relevant NPCs is that while the latter will obviously bepushing the story, their main focus is to interact with the characters and promote character growth.

Not all NPCs need to be in every scene, nor do they need to be babysitters. Gauge your player’s interests in NPCs by viewing their reactions and listening to their responses to anyone they meet in the game. Then, based on those reactions, decide whether or not the NPC stays, and how often they should make future appearances.

Pathfinder specific, an NPC should usually represent a class/competency that the PCs do not already have within their party. If you’re a Fighter, and someone shows up to Fighter better than you, it’s often more disheartening than endearing. 

Alternatively, if your PCs are looking for a mentor, this might be the kind of experience they’re looking for, which all comes down to a matter of finding out what they’re looking for exactly. 

This comes back to the first point. Ask them questions! 

Being nervous is completely normal, and absolutely part of the job. However, gaining an understanding of what the party is looking for and finding ways to deliver upon that will ease your nerves to wonderful degrees.

You can do it! Don’t feel lost, just go for it!

EDIT: thoughtsfromyhead replied to your post:
Also, if you’re having trouble with the mechanics, Pathfinder has sever books that can help with that, including several bestiaries, the NPC Codex, and plenty of information in the core book and the game mastery guide for building your own.
Do you have any advice for a first time GM? My players are as new to the game as I am to GMing, and I have no idea what to do with this.

First things first, congratulations making the plunge! The only step between “being a player” and “being a GM” is running a game, and it is by far the hardest step.

What game are you playing? If relevant, what edition? What kinds of characters are the players playing? Do you have any experience with the game you’re playing previous to this moment?

Despite the questions (which you can answer at your leisure, and I would be more than happy to give more specific advice) there are really two things to keep in mind when GMing for the first time.

1. Talk to your players.

You’re creating a world for both yourself and your players. Talk to them about the kind of game they’re looking to play, and the types of experiences/adventures/moments that they’re looking to adventure within as the game progresses.

Treat tabletop games like a collaborative, interactive story, where everyone has a voice in how the story progresses. After collecting everyone’s perspectives and interests, try to tailor a game to most represent that setting.

It doesn’t have to be as specific as a moment-to-moment game, but if the game is centered around combat and dodging bullets, or digging through caves and finding treasures, make sure the players are interested in such!

2. Just do it!

Your first experience with GMing will be amazing and terrible. Go for it! 

The first step to creating a better game is to make a game. There is no way to do it perfectly, but there is no way to get better unless you continue at it. I’ve been enjoying this hobby for almost two decades, and I am still learning things about my players and deliveries and adventures. 

If you’re afraid you’re going to fail, play anyway! The only failure comes in deciding not to do it at all. Play and play and play, and learn and evolve and continue. GMing is a tag-team sport, if you ever feel like you need advice or come to a situation where you don’t quite know the answer, feel free to ask! 

The best thing to do is go for it and have some fun. Everything else is secondary.

As a player, is there anyway to get my fellow party members engaged in the game? I, as the most experienced player, have had to take point to be team leader. Although I don't mind doing so, I feel like the other players aren't having much fun aside from the combat that we actively search for. I play two characters, an elven wizard and a human inquisitor. They are a half-Orc cleric, human rogue, and aasimar paladin.

At the risk of sounding preachy, if you’re both the leader of the group and playing 2/5ths of the group’s characters, it might be difficult for the party to find a foothold of interest.

Depending on how you choose to lead may sway this one way or another, allowing others to find importance in their actions which would in turn engender them towards the setting/game rather than the points where they have more distinct autonomy (like combat).

Although, I don’t know anything about your game or how it is played, nor how you play as your characters, so that may be a non-answer.

The answer thereafter would be not really, unfortunately. As you’re a player, you don’t have the power to affect the game in such a way to make it more interesting to other players other than what you’re doing right now.

On the one hand, some players simply prefer to be in the back, fight stuff, and get new items. There is a distinct experience of fun that can be found in that kind of play.

On the other hand, if the players are uninterested in the game, or what they’re doing, encourage them to talk to the GM about what they’d like to see more in the game. Unfortunately, it is a little out of your hands after that point, but that would be the best option. 



Oh dear. Prepare yourself for the inevitable bitch-fest when chemistry clashes with dungeon design. I will not go gentle into that good acid!

It’s magic acid.

The rocks are also “Super fast dissolving only to acid” magic rocks, with a catalyst of adventurer feet.

Whodathunk they’d be in the same place at the same time. Boggles the mind, really.

Everything is magic? So then magic immunity would make me functionally immune to reality?

Well obviously, if you want to exist in a subplane outside of reality. You wouldn’t be able to interact with any of the things in reality, including your pants. 

Then you’ll be naked. There are no pants in sub-reality. The other nonmagical entities in sub-reality would shame you to death. Then you’ll have to exist outside of reality and also dead. Then you’ll be busted, ‘cause I ain’t afraid of no ghost.

Oh dear. Prepare yourself for the inevitable bitch-fest when chemistry clashes with dungeon design. I will not go gentle into that good acid!

It’s magic acid.

The rocks are also “Super fast dissolving only to acid” magic rocks, with a catalyst of adventurer feet.

Whodathunk they’d be in the same place at the same time. Boggles the mind, really.

Encounter Experiments - Dungeon (Acid)

My players are equal parts intelligent and fearful of death. As stated before, the party consists of a Fighter, Ranger, Sorcerer, and Bard. The recently deceased Rogue has now become a secondary frontliner with grapple-focused Barbarian.

As fights go, the players usually have the squish hang in back and the beef stand in front, which is an incredibly smart and legitimate battle tactic.

However, I worry that it makes fights a bit boring. If the party sets in the same formation every time, they’ll quickly get over the inherent danger of enemies breaking through their front lines.

So our upcoming dungeon will be an acid-based dungeon. The PCs are now level 7, which places them right in line for various acid-based monsters. (Looking at you, Black Pudding)

The final fight of the upcoming dungeon looks something like this:


All of the green lines being acid, and the blue Tetris-blocks being standable area.


However, a closer look reveals that the Tetris-blocks have numbers on them. At the start of every round, I’ll roll a D20. The corresponding piece of terrain with the number I roll will sink into the acid, removing it from the arena.

Furthermore, should the PCs bunch onto one area, that area will crumble under the weight and sink into the acid. 

Within time, the entire room will be dissolved by the acid, and there will be no standing area, so the players will have to move from the north-most point to the southern exit, through the enemies they’re facing.

As the point of design for this room was to keep the PCs from slinging spells and arrows while standing still for the duration of the fight, I believe that this would be an effective step in getting those feet moving, especially considering there may be a point of which they will be stranded in the arena without an immediately usable path.

But that’s all based on the rolls I make. After all, I wouldn’t be so mean as to also include a large enemy with the ability to spray acid at will, now would I?

A very happy Easter to all who celebrate, and a wonderful Sunday to those that do not!

Hey, can you inform me about World of Darkness? I looked it up, but the wiki I found wasn't very comprehensive. It seems really interesting and full of possibilities.



Absolutely! I’ll start with some flavor, separated by a paragraph break, then we’ll talk details. 

World of Darkness is a game where every horror story you’ve ever heard was actually real. Vampires? Real. Werewolves? Real. Creature from the Black Lagoon? Real. 

As it turns out, you are starting to notice that these things are harder and harder to ignore. Stories are popping up all over the place about strange events, people going missing, and more horror stories coming closer and closer. 

You’re just a normal person, though. What are you supposed to do about any of this? 

Well, if everything you’ve ever heard about is real, then maybe the answers are real too. Vampires are probably weak to sunlight. You might have some old silverware for those pesky Werewolves. The Creature from the Black Lagoon was kind of lame, when you think about it.

And if you’ve noticed this stuff, there has to be other people that have noticed it too, right? 

As the world grows darker, you might be the only sane person left, or you might not. It’s up to you whether or not you continue to search into the darkness, attempting to drive it away, or simply bury your head in the sand. Then again, there’s a hero to every story you’ve ever heard. Maybe it could be you…

Still with me? Awesome!

World of Darkness is now separated into three separate entities. Old World of Darkness (oWoD or cWoD) started with the release of Vampire: The Masquerade in 1991, which was a game-setting that detailed Vampire cultures and history, as well as allowing you to play a Vampire as a PC. The line then went on to have a bunch of other releases for various supernatural types found in the universe.

New World of Darkness (nWoD) was published in 2004 by White Wolf, and continued to create a series of other books to establish supernatural types, such as Vampire: The Requiem and Werewolf: The Forsaken. The core World of Darkness book is entirely based around being a human in a world that is filled with darkness.

That line ended, and White Wolf has merged with CCP Games (Eve Online). Onyx Path Publishing isin the process of creating a new World of Darkness line now known as God Machine Chronicle Anthology, which I have no experience with whatsoever. However, you can ask them about GMC yourself, they’re on Tumblr!

If you wanted to get into World of Darkness, I would suggest checking out the God Machine Chronicle to see if it tickles your fancy, or grabbing a World of Darkness core book and checking out the rules system. 

Clearing up a couple of misconceptions: unless you’re referring obliquely to Monte Cook’s World of Darkness, there are only two settings: The Classic World of Darkness and the new World of Darkness. The new WoD didn’t end as you suggested: the God-Machine Chronicle and its associated books are essentially the second edition for the new WoD. So, for example, last year’s Mummy: The Curse still uses the original nWoD rules, while the Demon: The Descent rulebook incorporates the GMC changes.



not all character development exists to make someone a better person

people turn into assholes, too. They become more  manipulative, arrogant, clingy, irritated… complex.

and that’s okay, that’s important.

explore that.

✧・゚:*✧・゚:* \(◕‿◕✿)/ *:・゚✧*:・゚✧


I’ll respectfully disagree with you on this, LG!

As you stated in tags, “I don’t want to be around jerks in real life, why would I want to hang out with them in my fantasy worlds?” which is a fair an valid point to make. However, I think it is disingenuous of a story to exist in a world where everyone becomes a better person. 

I’m right on board with you on how I also want to see heroes win, and not feel silly about wanting heroes to win. I love Superman stories, i don’t think they’re boring. I get tired of the constant gritty filter that tends to wash over  heroes to engender a greater sense of realism.

However, and this is where i disagree, it would be an alternate form of filter to say that all people only get better in the same manner that “gritty filter” makes people only get worse.

I think that drawing into either direction too heavily isn’t a great option. Some people turn into jerks through their reactions and involvements and perspectives on events around their lives, both fictional or real. Some other people decide that being around jerks is lame, because it is lame, and decide to move on without them. 

That is where I would find complexity. If a group of characters came up from the same starting point, and went through the same interactions, but character A takes it one way (developed into a jerk) and character B takes it another (developed into a non-jerk), it would make for a fully-rounded and complex story. Some folks are Magnetos, and some folks are Xaviers.