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PCs, NPCs and PNPCs... Oh my!

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  • PCs, NPCs and PNPCs... Oh my!

    One of the items that has come up in our discussions was the 6-character or 6-sim limitation placed upon all players. This has been discussed in a couple different workgroups already, but it is worth its own discussion. Before we get down into the nitty-gritty of the sim/character cap, let us first discuss the merits of NPCs vs. PNPCs.
    1. Do you use NPCs?
    2. Do you use PNPCs?
    3. What have you experienced?
    4. What has worked best for you?
    Former CRO, LO, BFCC, and TF72CO.

  • #2
    One advantage to having a PNPC is for staying in the action of a SIM. For example, If someone's PC is a Doctor and all the action is currently taking place on the bridge or in Engineering, then having a lower rank NPC in that area can keep a writer active writing. Writing in an active situation is always easier and sometimes more enjoyable than just more character development for someone's PC.
    Dimitri Koslev / SS Boreas
    Lt. Vincent Kramer / USS Trafalgar
    Ens. Katherine Welch / USS Perenolde

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by greenfelt22 View Post
      One of the items that has come up in our discussions was the 6-character or 6-sim limitation placed upon all players. This has been discussed in a couple different workgroups already, but it is worth its own discussion. Before we get down into the nitty-gritty of the sim/character cap, let us first discuss the merits of NPCs vs. PNPCs.
      1. Do you use NPCs?
      2. Do you use PNPCs?
      3. What have you experienced?
      4. What has worked best for you?
      I don't use NPCs in the traditional sense, in that on Excalibur if players want to just write a general "extra hand" in their post, they can but we don't have the manifest used for them. We use the NPC manifest for the PNPCs (or Linked NPCs as I call them). This method works the best for Nova since all the NPCs show up on the author drop-down menu and I don't really see the need for having a character profile that is blank for a character that is used once and then never seen again. For me, this is the method that works for me.

      I have seen many other ways done including just letting DH and players go crazy with NPCs and what-not, and for me, that just makes things very confusing and complicated as I am sure that someone would get all up if I accidentally used their NPC if it wasn't linked to them and what-not. I just don't like that idea. I very much agree with Dennis on his thoughts in that if someone who is not feeling like they are getting as much involved as they want to, they can have a PNPC in a department where the action would be, so it would be helpful.

      On a sidetrack to the topic, I don't think the fleet should fully regulate how NPCs/PNPCs are managed, however, on that, I do think that we should look at ensuring that we do give our players the best chance to be as involved as they want to be in the simulation(s) they are part of.
      Captain Anthony Richardson - Commanding Officer, USS Excalibur

      Comment


      • #4
        Personally, I see it breaking down like this: who can write for the character? If the character is written by a single person, then I consider it a Player Character, and I allow my players to write multiple Player Characters (but each must be developed out with a real bio), while if the character can be written by anyone, then I consider it a Non-Player Character (and it doesn't have to have a substantive bio).

        In the older style of simming, when the Fleet used to be more strict about everyone only gets one character, a PNPC was just a way to get around the rule of "you only get on character per simm" - and that was the exact logic for why SMS/Nova supported linked NPCs ("PNPCs").

        As far as NPCs from a story perspective, I see their use in several ways:
        • They fill out departments so your ship doesn't feel empty
        • They show up from time-to-time to give orders or as a reoccurring villain
        • They allow you to build more depth into your missions
        Bravo Fleet Academy Officer


        Formerly...
        BFCC / BFXO / BFIO / TF38CO / TF72CO / TF93CO

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by JonM View Post
          Personally, I see it breaking down like this: who can write for the character? If the character is written by a single person, then I consider it a Player Character, and I allow my players to write multiple Player Characters (but each must be developed out with a real bio), while if the character can be written by anyone, then I consider it a Non-Player Character (and it doesn't have to have a substantive bio).

          In the older style of simming, when the Fleet used to be more strict about everyone only gets one character, a PNPC was just a way to get around the rule of "you only get on character per simm" - and that was the exact logic for why SMS/Nova supported linked NPCs ("PNPCs").

          As far as NPCs from a story perspective, I see their use in several ways:
          • They fill out departments so your ship doesn't feel empty
          • They show up from time-to-time to give orders or as a reoccurring villain
          • They allow you to build more depth into your missions
          I agree with this post of the most out of within posted so far. There are also situations where like in my story which has turned into a Sim where there are story based characters which exist from previous stories or previous games which sit in a permanent status of nonplayer character... in some cases this can even be memorial characters or something like that because you had a player character who the player controlling so character passed away or left and gave permission to allow that character to continue to exist for plot purposes. In this case there is a definite purpose to PNPC however as it was the person who initially proposed it in the rules work group I really do believe that there is a little point to forcing people to only be able to use one character. As I do on my Sim people have one character for administrative purposes as far as they as a player go but they can control as many characters as they see fit as long as it's approved by one of our game masters (usually me being CO/LGM)... i've always had good experience in doing it this way and I've always felt that people should be allowed to have multiple player characters if they feel they can do that. There are some people who do not feel they can properly write multiple characters in for that that's fine but for those that want to write multiple people believe that option should be available. The other problem with this is that in the event of character death removal or otherwise rules cover player characters but they state that it's OK to kill or whatever to NPC characters and some people get pretty attached to their NPC's so just having him be player characters if one person is controlling them then that would be most appropriate and allowed for the protections of being a player character as opposed to a non-player character.
          ~ IO Staff ~
          ~ Former TFXO, HoH Admin and Academy XO ~

          Comment


          • #6
            I entirely agree with JonM in that PNPC's are a simple way of circumnavigating and bypassing the requirement of only one player controlled character per sim.

            It is pretty clear that NPC's can play a very crucial role in sims, whether they are integral to the mission as a whole or just part of it in a particular department or post.

            I think what we need to be asking here is what limits are we imposing on our players? If they want two player characters on one sim, why can we not let them if the CO is happy and they are happy? That's what a lot of people are doing with PNPC's anyway, so why hide it? If this fleet is entering a new era of freedom, cooperation and trust, then we should trust players to know their limits, trust CO's to make decisions for their sims, and enable people to play where they want, where they want.

            In short: I suggest scrapping character limits across the board (not CO characters, that is a separate discussion that needs to be had) and scrapping rules about WHERE a player can play their characters. Let's trust people to make sensible decisions.


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            • #7
              I really like what I am reading here by these differing viewpoints. The bottom line should be that the CO has the final say as to how many characters a writer can play. A player should not be required to have a secondary character nor Non-player character.

              I do think we should lay out guidelines, to help players understand that they have options, and encourage them to be creative. All this, but still be under the individual CO's approval.

              So maybe we need to better define the types of characters we use? Maybe something like :
              Primary Character - the main character a writer is focused. Character has complete bio and history.
              Secondary Character - very similar to Primary character with complete bio and history.
              Non-player Character - a reoccurring character with partial bio that any player may use with discretion.
              ????? Character - a fill in character that works in a department. Someone to talk to or order about.
              ????? Character - this character is temporary. Could be for just the mission?
              ????? Character - Other ideas ?
              Last edited by Dennis; 03-18-2017, 03:04 PM.
              Dimitri Koslev / SS Boreas
              Lt. Vincent Kramer / USS Trafalgar
              Ens. Katherine Welch / USS Perenolde

              Comment


              • #8
                Personally, I don't think guidelines as to what options there should be on a sim. That should be up to a CO. Who are we to dictate those kind of things to the CO?

                The real concern here is that per Bravo Fleet rules, a player is limited to 6 sims. From what I understand, that rule was put in place to maintain a level of quality throughout the fleet. I think the rule had merit at one point, but its time has come and gone. There are many players who can stretch for dozens of sims, and players who can only handle one or two. To each his own, really. If we can repeal the rule, then I think that's the best way we can go.

                As far as how a sim uses PC, NPC, PNPC, etc, I feel that's up to the sim. There are GMs who don't mind a character having three PCs. And there are GMs who would rather have players have a single PC and a number of PNPCs so that they can stay involved/write more stories. Let's not touch or limit how a CO should handle that. I believe that would be seen more as interference from the fleet than a "help."
                Former CRO, LO, BFCC, and TF72CO.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by greenfelt22 View Post
                  Personally, I don't think guidelines as to what options there should be on a sim. That should be up to a CO. Who are we to dictate those kind of things to the CO?

                  The real concern here is that per Bravo Fleet rules, a player is limited to 6 sims. From what I understand, that rule was put in place to maintain a level of quality throughout the fleet. I think the rule had merit at one point, but its time has come and gone. There are many players who can stretch for dozens of sims, and players who can only handle one or two. To each his own, really. If we can repeal the rule, then I think that's the best way we can go.

                  As far as how a sim uses PC, NPC, PNPC, etc, I feel that's up to the sim. There are GMs who don't mind a character having three PCs. And there are GMs who would rather have players have a single PC and a number of PNPCs so that they can stay involved/write more stories. Let's not touch or limit how a CO should handle that. I believe that would be seen more as interference from the fleet than a "help."
                  +1 couldn't agree more with all of this.
                  Captain Anthony Richardson - Commanding Officer, USS Excalibur

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Richardson View Post
                    +1 couldn't agree more with all of this.
                    +2
                    Bravo Fleet Academy Officer


                    Formerly...
                    BFCC / BFXO / BFIO / TF38CO / TF72CO / TF93CO

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                    • #11
                      I agree with this. Rules about that should be up to COs.
                      ~ IO Staff ~
                      ~ Former TFXO, HoH Admin and Academy XO ~

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