Home The Two Truths and a Lie approach to NPC design

The Two Truths and a Lie approach to NPC design

Two Truths and a Lie approach to NPC design

All you have to do is imagine a character and say three things that are true.

  • He’s the king’s advisor
  • He’s the most loyal servant of the realm
  • He’s in terrible debt

Now, make one of them false.

He’s not the king’s advisor. Is he pretending to be? Wanting to be? What is he willing to do to get there? This is a desperate man with ambition.

He’s not the most loyal. Is he a traitor to the realm? Does he want to be the most loyal? Is he willing to remove those more loyal than him in order to become the most loyal?

He has terrible debt. If this is true, we have an interesting position. A loyal man in a position of power who has to balance his morals against the position he’s found himself in.

If it’s false, is he a skinflint, afraid to spend anything? Is he lavishly wealthy? Is he prodigal, but with vast resources behind him? Does he hold the coffers of the realm, perhaps stealing from them to support his largesse?

Right away we have a compelling character that’s easy to remember. Three tenants, one of them false. For added play, have them all be true at the start of a scene and change them slowly, so that by the end of a campaign they have all become false.

Here’s a bonus: it works for player characters too! Talk to your GM about the arcs you want to follow and watch the magic unfold.

This post is licensed under CC BY 4.0 by the author.

May Roundup

June Roundup