The Wisdom of Luke Sullivan- THE SOLUTION

Hello All-
Every once and a while I come to these boards to read about NERO when my girl is sick of me talking about it. I usually don't post because I am afraid of getting involved in insanity.
So here I am posting, and yes I think my post will serve to be helpful. Please don't yell at me too much about what I am about to say.
Because I believe it is important, and because alot of you may not know me, here are my credentials. My name is Ray Nagle. I have been playing NERO for 18 years. I have run one LARP (using a scavenged NERO system) and I have served on two plot committees. I know that I am old school because I get rules mixed up and am sometimes an idiot. You also have me to thank for only being able to change a character only once ever after your first event (c'mon Mike V.- what was wrong with a new character every weekend for one year? [sarcasm]).
Now my biases up front. I prefer a low level, low magic game. I think goblin stamps are great and feel that roleplaying is an awesome break from stick jocking and vice versa. I also still play NERO to tell jokes, entertain people, and have the only reasonable and consistent multigender sleep over parties that can exist in my strangely conservative lifestyle (and you must bathe to stay in my cabin).

Now to the point of all this-
There is a thread started by Mike Hynes (one of my NERO buddies) about level creep. It's going pretty well. I want people who are new to the game to be even more out spoken- new opinions matter, and fresh perspectives are key!
It seems that people are most concerned, no matter where they fall on the specifics of the issue, on player fun and longevity of the game. I will now steal/borrow/co opt what I believe is the SOLUTION to this (and almost all) issue(s).

More NPC's.

The more NPC's we have the more we can entertain everyone. Split wave battles require more NPC's. More modules (which are often scaled for APL) require more NPC's. Less powerful monsters as "Crunchies" require more NPC's to decrease the PC/NPC ratio disparities that force an increase in their scaling to provide adequate challenge for players. More NPC's equals more excitement, adventure, interaction, and roleplay which equals more fun.

So how to get them (this suggestion is focused towards players)?
Everyone agree to NPC at least once for your home chapter every season. Make a plan with your plot committee so they do not run your specific plot on that weekend. Get your whole team to do it at once. No matter what just NPC (at least) your home chapter once a year.

So the wisdom of Luke Sullivan still holds true today. We need to increase NPC numbers. So lets start doing it as players of this great game.

As a side note I am not sure this is the correct place for this, but as a member of NERO Caldaria Plot I would be happy to share with others some of the interesting/strange/sometimes controversial things we are doing to doing to get the most bang for our NPC buck. The grand experiment continues...

Thanks for reading. Please keep comments focused on encouraging active, paying customers to NPC more often. I plan on starting a thread soon on how to encourage other sources of NPC's.

Raymond Nagle
IG- changes too often to say (but probably has Waylay and Weaponmaster)
OOG- Nero Caldaria Plot (primary role motivator/energizer bunny/seat of the pants/no longer napkin write-up guy)


Rofl, napkin write-up guy.

But yeah. IAWTAC. I realize most people think I'm partial because I'm one of those awful, crazy NERO people who loves NPCing more than PCing, who chapter hops to NPC, not PC -- but honestly, I can't place enough emphasis on the necessity and the usefulness of NPCs. NPCs help make the chapter; when you don't have enough of them, it sucks, and you can never have to many. The last Caldaria event had more NPCs than I had ever seen in one place, and it was awesome. The amount of stuff going on and the variety of that stuff was great, and even better, the amount of NPCs to support the activity.

So seriously, go NPC an event. Get some gobbies, swing some pipe or throw some seed. It can be insanely nice not having to think about your PC, about the weight of whatever plot is going on for that PC, and to be on the other side of the fence. I promise it'll be worth it. Hell, it's addictive.


Alliance Logistics
I agree, and i think your first CT event this year proved it. With an NPC:pC ratio of nearly 1:1 there was so much that could be done. On Saturday you guys were able to fill each level region with npcs, send out npcs to roleplay and still have some left back in npc camp.

my second event was at ohio where we had 12 pc's and 17 npc's and it was amazing!
I had a super time and event though I was the lowest level PC by far felt usefull and needed!



I started out NPCing, my last event (third ever) I tried PCing in a different chapter. I enjoyed them both, and will probably stay doing just that: NPCing in my home chapter and PCing in the other. I enjoy both in different ways. From both sides of the fence, though, I agree: more NPCs are always needed. It's definitely difficult for me to find people who want to join in the game, though! So I think your proposal makes the most sense: use people who are already playing, and who know the rules.


Sell characters.

Sounds apocryphal, don't it?

But seriously. Some people whine about pay-no-play, claiming it's tantamount to buying characters. I say, sell characters straight out. A tenth-level character takes 20 events to reach (106 build), so at an average price of $55 per event, it's $1100 to buy a tenth-level character. (40 events to reach 15th, so $2200 for that, and 66 events for 20th... $3630) If you sell a couple of characters, you can afford to pay your NPCs. Take out an ad in your local paper and hire actors at 50-100 bucks a head for the weekend. Take a week and teach them the game, then set them loose on the PC populace.

A - you're broadening your potential player base. People that would never give Alliance a second look will be interested simply to be a paid actor, and in turn become interested in the game.
B - you're increasing regular player interest. Players are more likely to come interact with a large dynamic world than doing the same old, same old with their friends.
C - you're improving NPC attitudes. Actors are paid to act, not stress whether or not they "win".
D - you're improving the game. More NPCs, more players, less stress... sounds like a win to me.

Mind you, it's all a theory, and frowned-upon-as-all-get-out, so I haven't had a chance to test it yet.
Yeah, and send out those "ebay 20's" full boated with phat lewt so I can roll em with my 7th level char who played up and knows his skills ten minutes after game gets called while they try to remember the incant for Prison. :twisted:

J/K, really. I wouldn't do that. Nope. But I'd suuuuure think it.


I can see the spams now. Buy Alliance gold! $20/100! All campaigns!

Seriously, though.

One thing I would really like to see is more people coming to NPC camp and helping out. We have recently instituted a 4 hour shift policy where a player can come NPC for four hours, get either 30 gobbies or 15 gobbies and a teacher card. I am hoping it will lure some people to come NPC for a while.

Honestly, I think most people prefer to PC. They are paying for the privelege and don't want to NPC.


If we need to get more NPCs, here in lies the question?

Why -don't- People NPC more often?
Answers in no particular offer:

1. They want to be involved with Character Storylines/Plot.
2. They want to have the option of playing one character all weekend, and play with their friends.
3. They want to play the game wherein they can go and make money/rewards for their own made up character.

How can you as a plot team give people reason to want to NPC? This can sometimes be a double edged sword due to if you make cool characters, people are going to want to interact with them as their PC.

Reasons to NPC:
1. You're helping out your own chapter. Its great and lots of fun to be able to play your PC all the time. No doubting that, but if you gave up one event per season, your plot team will thank you by having one more person to use in NPC camp to send out to the PCs.
2. You can still earn things for your PC by helping out.
3. You can play crazy nifty roles and have a lot of fun in NPC camp with people.

One thing I've learned by being on HQ staff, if you let us know you will be PCing ahead of time, we can look for roles that you might fit into in the weekend. Also, come play as your entire team! You still get to play together (even for most of the weekend) and on top of that, you'll still have a great time entertaining other people and you yourself can be entertained as well.

4. ITS FREE! At least in most places I know of.

I think Ray's right. If we could find a way to have more NPCs, the game would level itself out a bit, and would definitely help your local plot team immensely (Nothing to me is sadder than statting a wave battle going "Okay! 10 npcs with 5 lives each! We CAN do this..." compared to having 30 npcs which makes it
-feel- like a wave battle)


I love NPCing. Not only do I get to play mulitple roles and keep the other paying players entertained, I am helping the chapters I play in and they in turn let me come up with some wacky things to send out on occassion. Sure, I like PCing too, but my last few years I was NPCing more than PCing - mostly because I promised NJ and they gave me some great recurring roles to portray - and they were happy to let me PC a couple events a season... but that was before Wildescent got officially Noblized... hehe. I might have to PC more now to make up for the absence... *looks to Erica* do I?


But Susan, that's good :)

I think the main thing I would say to anyone, if you've never NPC'ed, try it once. Get a feel for what it might be like. Some of the benefits will surprise you. I know at least for me, it made me a better stick jock, know the game better, and also allowed me to try out the different classes. Classes that I now want to play badly :)



NPCing also will often allow for the use of skills and spells which one's character might never otherwise use.

Necromancy, anyone? ;)



The reason I prefer to PC over NPCing is that I can take things at my pace. I don't HAVE to do anything I don't want to do AND I can do whatever I want (consequences not withstanding). As an NPC, I will need to be at plot's beck and call to go out and do whatever I am told to.

Now, with that being said, I have NPC'd from time to time when Plot has asked me to for specific things "Hey, we need some more rogues for this trap competition we're having" or "Only you will be willing to put a handful of live meal worms in your mouth." How can I turn down such flattery? :)

But paying the NPC's? That would be lovely. I almost reached that point with my own game...
While logicaly jpariury I am TOTALLY on your side, I am worried what this comecialization might do for the aditude of the game.

I have to say though if I could be payed to NPC... and get xp for my character, heck I would be doing that ALOT. ^_^


markusdark said:
The reason I prefer to PC over NPCing is that I can take things at my pace. I don't HAVE to do anything I don't want to do AND I can do whatever I want (consequences not withstanding). As an NPC, I will need to be at plot's beck and call to go out and do whatever I am told to.
That's interesting, because I like NPCing because I can do what I want. I'm not stuck in one character the whole weekend; as long as something specific isn't going on, I can pretty much say "I want to be crunchy!" or "I want to go play in the tavern!" and voila, I get to. From what I've seen, NPCs are so needed that if you have particular restrictions you want - such as only crunchies and no RP - they'll gladly say okay, just to have one more crunchy to send out.
hers a flame worth idea..

How about at certan levels you have a NPC cost
Say at level 10 and every other level after that ie 10,12,14,16,18,20 ect.. you need X NPC points
you earn NPC points by... NPCing
the higher levels could require more NPC points while level 10 would require the least



HQ Staff
I think I understand your intent, Frank but that would really end up being counterproductive.

You'd have high level players thinking it wasn't worth it to NPC when they'd get more out of PCing, and NPC camp would then become almost entirely new players who are still learning the game - which will make it not fun for the NPCs when they are volunteering for a weekend to get beat up on by lots of big PCs with effects and stats they can't remember and rules they're still trying to figure out....

see where I"m going with this?


Frank Wiccan said:
hers a flame worth idea..

How about at certan levels you have a NPC cost
Say at level 10 and every other level after that ie 10,12,14,16,18,20 ect.. you need X NPC points
you earn NPC points by... NPCing
the higher levels could require more NPC points while level 10 would require the least

Here's something else along these lines. Whatever level your characters are at the beginning of the year, that's how many hours you have to volunteer to NPC. So someone with a level 20 scholar and a level 8 secondary will need to volunteer for a total of 28 hours of NPCing. :)

Yeah, it's stupid but meh...
I dont think I explained my idea well...

lets say at level 10 you would need 5 NPC points
so when your level 9 (not a newbie) you start playing a NPC to earn points for the requirment
lets say every NPC day is 2 points so you NPC 3 times to get 6pts and when you get to level ten you use 5 npc points and you haev one left
then lets say you play more and your almost level 12 and that level 12 needs 6 NPC points you only have 1 so you NPC a few events and earn more
the Higher your level the more NPC points you need to earn so you have to NPC to be able to get the higher levels
just as an example chart
NPCing one day = 2 NPC points earned

level 10 requires 5 NPC points
level 12 Requires 7 NPC points
level 14 requires 9 NPC points
level 16 requires 12 NPC points
level 18 requires 15 NPC points
level 20 requires 18 NPC points

So actualy higher level players would be Needeing NPC points to advance and you would get more high level players NPCing not more low level
and whith high level players needeing to NPC a lot to get more NPC points you would haev less of them playing as PC's at the event and a lower APL

new players wouldnt haev to NPC at all untill level 9 then they would haev to NPC 3 times to "unlock" level 10

the only down side is when you force people to NPC there might be less then happy NPCing



As a PC, I just don't see why after spending a good amount of money per event I would now be forced to NPC to "unlock" my next level. Too much restriction for my taste. I think I've posted how I've felt in other threads about level creeping and what not, I'll leave these threads to the rest of you and will bow out to my corner writing plot and going over rules. :geek: :D

More NPC VOLUNTEERS for better game balance!
Justin H-