Thursday, December 24, 2020

Operating the NPCs - My work experience applies to both the PCs and the NPCs

One of the takeaways from work experience is my understanding on logistics and support operations. the Family business is Construction and Manufacturing. This is a very logistics heavy type of work, especially now in the pandemic when you have to work and live on-site to control contact and access. 

So basically these notes are the GM or the Writer looking at constraints and listing them down. If you are like me and applying work techniques in your GMing - this is a collect requirements process mixed with stakeholder analysis

This is when - as a GM - you perform your World Building and Build up the NPC Groups/factions (Antagonist Groups). This only works if your PCs have to work with the same constraints - that the PCs have a limited Time/Action resource as well. This only appeals to some players who are used to games where there are Constraints in Time and Action. 

For this just use a simple 5 level rating system: from 1 abysmal, 3 within the average and expected in most organizations, 4 is Above expectations and average. Save 5 for exceptional, as the GM or World Builder who has PERFECT knowledge of the setting 5 is saved for the top tier. 

  1. Determine What and How: Identify the Basic Operations and note the Direct and Indirect/Supporting Activities. What is the basic operation of the NPC group? Are they cultists? Do they process Drug raw-materials? Do they traffic humans? Do they sacrifice humans for summonings and power? 
  2. Determine When and Where: Sketch/take notes of when operations are performed and where.  Is it a Villa, is it a Castle, is it a Biz operating in a Commercial building? etc... Do they work 24/7? As you operate in longer shifts you have to x2 (12 hour shifts), x 3 (8-10 hr overlapping shifts), x5 (6-8 hr overlapping shifts), x7 (4-6 overlapping shifts). How much work hours the Organizations Stretches - from 16 hours to 6 hours per day. 
  3. What are the Systems in place and What isn't? What are the Portfolios, Programs, and Projects of the NPC group? Starting with Communications - from the medium of comms, to how thorough (checklists), secure, and well-thought-out (procedures). Next is Handling* Data and Material (are they sloppy, are they precise, are they overbuilt, are they underfunded?). 
    As you determine the Systems in Place you realize flaws and trade-offs and you list down what the organization is AWARE off that they are working on. Typically DUMB bad guy is serious systematic problems, but thats too cliche but best for easy opponents of the PCs. 
    Examples of systems: Assault/Sales/Market Capture, Security/Defenses/Market Retention, Information Networks (from People and Informants, Subscriptions to News and Special Industry Experts, Physical Assets for Information Gathering, as well as Intelligence Departments). 
  4. Average Salaries and Operations Costs. In the Philippines, I use 400usd as average salaries bumping it up by 20-100% depending on the TOP HEAVINESS of the management. Then I add 20-100% depending on the Company OVerhread to cover Office/Workspace and Equipment.  For China or Malaysia I double these values, in India, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam I use the same roughly, and in Developed countries, I use x3 to x10. For Africa or New Guinea maybe -20 to -30%
    In earlier eras I abstract it depending on the types of employment (like Rations for pay and the 1 silver per day; or the throw in a Household and slaves ) it really depends. Typically I have Households and then Tier the Households to Lords/Land Owners vs Tenants. Then calculate the surplus to support Other households. households that generate Incomes (Tenants, Traders, and Specialists) vs Overhead households (like Guards and Fighting troops).
  5. Organizational Footprint. After getting OPS cost I apply multipliers for Reserves and Assets, then I guess Revenues based off of this and apply Shortfalls or surpluses. reserves can be in the form of Credit (how much creditors are willing to extend to the organization). This is the Org Footprint as you now slowly sketch out External Parties like Creditors and Suppliers/Vassals? Retainers etc...

*Handling is transferring, moving and storing materials (physical objects) and data. You can tell a lot about the ANTIPATTERS of an organization by their Handling of Data and materials. If it's Improvised and everyone has different levels of sophistication then the organization operates at the pace of the most unreliable handling system. 

But thats me and its not for everyone. Its great for writing a novel, its great if your Players like to apply their problem solving competencies and role-playing in this kind of problem. 

There is no wrong answer, you can try this all on the "back of a napkin" if you want and just run with it. After doing this a couple of times you should be able to do this under 5 minutes. 

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