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NPC friendships
Because NPCs need friends, too.

So, this is something that I've been wondering about for a while:

In pretty much all my interactions with NPCs, I've more or less always been treated as a stranger. Now, in some cases, this makes sense, as I don't see the NPC often or do anything with them. But other times, it's been with NPCs that I've done work with.

But because of the slow nature of puppets, it feels as if it's very difficult to really befriend or get to know NPCs, especially since in my experience, puppets tend to be on the quicker side of things. Business-like, for lack of a better term.

So my question is this, how do other players find their relationships with NPCs? Is it really just a matter over a long, long period of time, putting in puppet requests and talking to them about stuff in order to develop any form of real familiarity with them? Because that seems very difficult and feels... Unnatural. I'm sure GMs want us to focus on other players, but there's an issue in that NPCs have a lot of capabilities that players don't, and even more, there's some really cool NPCs that could provide some very interesting roleplay, but the only real way to learn about these NPCs seems to be by talking to other players.

I just feel like I'm missing something. Are we just not meant to really interact with NPCs unless we have a very specific thing we need? I wanna hear other people's thoughts and approaches when dealing with NPCs, since this is one aspect of the game that feels pretty unclear to me.

Staff has to puppet for everyone, they don't have time to make NPCs be buddy buddy with people, especially as there are often different GMs puppeting at different times.
I imagine they already have their friends and associates. But this is something that could use clarification.

I know GM time is at a premium. Additionally, the IC theme is that most characters are overworked beyond belief. Most may not be capable of additional friendships.

Just my guess.

I get that, and I'm not downplaying the GM's efforts by any means. But it does limit how creative you can get regarding NPCs, and I feel if that's the general consensus that NPCs are not meant to develop alliances and whatnot with players, then it should probably be made a little clearer somewhere, like ynk said.

And this raises the even more troubling question of when is it appropriate to request a puppet in the first place? I imagine a big number of the requests are over stuff that can be done or learned from other players.

Puppets are for when you have business with someone. If you want to make friends go talk to PCs.

If you join a gang or something, those guys have ways of telling how much their character probably likes you but they're not going to like hang out and go on dates with you and stuff. They're NPCs.

I wouldn't call it a friendship, but I once had a character that had the same name as an NPC. After a broadcast event where my character's name was mentioned, the NPC called my character out on it, and decided to rename my character something demeaning. In every future interaction the NPC referred to my character by that name. It's something that I'll never forget and still laugh at to this day.

While friendships might be hard, the GMs have notes for each NPC and try hard to follow them. So if you make an impression there might be a note and the GMs do a great job following them.

Ephemeralis just basically said exactly what I wanted to say, except much better put than I could. I'm also beginning to lean towards thought process that puppets seem like they're just meant to be used when you need to do something that only that NPC can do.

Which is a little disappointing, but hey. I've also had some great NPC interactions before, but it seems like a lot of pieces have to click for those magical moments to happen. Aside from my perhaps selfish interest in learning more about NPCs, I find that a lot of situations are just... Awkward because of how the system works. You tell your mano that NPC x can help him with y, so you offer to go with your mano to see him and talk. Then you go there, talk to a real person as if you're talking to an answer machine because you gotta drop your details, and then leave and wait until they get back to you because they were 'busy'. It's just... Awkward. Your mano might not be around when the NPC does get back to you, and the whole interaction was just strange. And when they do get back to you, the NPC will most likely just get it done and show you the door.

To reiterate, I love Sindome's GM's and have zero issues with them, and they've got a ton on their plate. But it seems to me that aside from very utilitarian things, one is better off simply hoping/waiting for a spontaneous encounter. It feels very counter-intuitive as we're told to treat NPCs as real people, but our actual interactions with them are extremely limited.

this time I will be the one out of the ordinary

but when it came to my puppet requests, NPCs have always considered our IC past/interactions and have always mixed it into my RP -- I obviously rarely have puppets where the NPC and I just chit chat (however even this has happened) but whenever I talk with an NPC that I haven't met before, there is always something in there, good or bad, that points to my relationship with said NPC

though this stems from the fact that a lot of my character's positions had me directly having an NPC boss and not a PC boss in the hierarchy -- which led to me having to receive puppets a lot more, thus leading to more NPC interactions with my PC and a lot more opportunity for relationships building up

My NPC boss loves me

I was actually really wondering about this. Seducing the boss isnt a thing then? I guess theres not time enough really anyway.

Break out your fade to blacks admins. Let's do this thing. *rolls for success or failure*

nobody needs that level of awkward in their life.
Some things to consider:

PCs should generally be preferred over NPCs. There are exceptions but this is a good approach in general. Uuse the PC doc over the NPC one. The PC tender over the NPC one. The PC car thief over the NPC one. Players have one character to worry about and can afford to invest a lot more time and energy at one go. It's good for the player economy too.

You might have talked to an NPC ten times and feel that this means a lot but so have hundreds (or even thousands) of other people. You are just another face to them until you do something meaningful. Your perspective probably doesn't align with theirs.

NPCs are not there to solve PC problems. I'm personally not interested in a game where whoever schmoozes best with NPCs wins. They can provide an edge but, in general, I think it's better that we leave things in PC hands as much as possible.

One big aspect of Sindome's theme is that most people are business focused, out for them selves, have their own agenda and use each other. This applies to NPCs too. I actually find PCs that are all super friendly and open and who insta-bond with people far less themely than brief, business like interactions with NPCs.

It can be done. I have developed positive relationships with NPCs (even outside of gangs and factions) but it took a significant amount of time and work before I mattered to them at all. And even then they were still a bit on periphery. Which was fine for me.

I have been told that GMs specifically do not have NPCs engage in romantic or erotic RP as such RP should be optional and one GM doing it means all the others now have to deal with it. It stops being optional.

Some players (like me) actually work a little like NPCs. I prefer a series of shorter interactions that builds a relationship over time over a couple of monster sized chat session. Temperaments vary of course and that's fine.

Seducing the boss isnt a thing then?

You should treat NPCs the same way you'd treat PCs, but with the knowledge that they're NPCs and that comes with a few caveats. They may rush you through conversations just to get things done, they may give you valuable advice, they may RP as convincingly as any PC. You can definitely flirt with them and attempt seduction, but we're probably talking about in the context of a plot (eg, how do I get the secret microfilm from Agent Justice? I'll seduce him to gain access to his apartment).

I wouldn't assume something won't work just because they're an NPC, it's all about context.

Crooknose - thanks. I know I was being a little silly before but that really is encouraging. I know thats weird to say, but it was a bit of a bummer thinking the NPCs couldnt be screwed with that way. Im sure its harder to seduce someone than to beat them up or bribe them, which is fine. That sorta thing seems like it should be hard, and not done often.

Theyve seemed pretty real to me so far, and when they dont, Ive been able to fill in the gaps for myself (theyre busy with such and such, totally cant even hear you right now kind of thing).

I found this neat line in HELP CHARISMA:

"Charm is checked by puppeted characters in social situations."


High charisma will typically get your nicer treatment from NPCs, depending on context. To be more explicit, I can think of one plot off the top of my head from about 6-9 months ago where a PC sleeping with an NPC was an important element of what happened, and I've also been involved in plots where seduction was definitely a plausible option for forward progress.

Not everything needs to be solved with combat/theft, there are definitely ways of playing charismatic and outside-the-box thinkers and still get things done, although violence will always be a huge element of the game. Sometimes being a string-puller or sweet-talker is more about getting someone else to do the dirty work than avoiding it entirely, and when it comes to NPCs in general, always expect them to want something for their assistance or time.