The purpose of an NPC is to serve the game. This means acknowledging that the Game is much bigger and more important than your NPC.

You may not understand your GM’s decisions, but you need to accept them. Your GM has a very different point-of-view from yours.

The best way to enjoy your NPC is to:

Appreciate the players

Remember, your purpose is to serve the game, but your Task is to make the lives of the PCs lively. When they do something you do not expect, you should applaud their ingenuity!

Not act as a protagonist

You are not here to play your story. You are here to make the PC’s stories more interesting.

If an Action is required in the game, almost always your best Move is to find a PC to make that Action.

If an NPC Move may not be affected by the PCs, then that move removes Agency from the Players and hence is unacceptable. If a GM gives you an order that sets up this situation, question them.

Not kill a Mortally Injured PC

Unless a GM gives you such an order, in which case - act without hesitation.

Make Osterheim believable.

Blackpowder & Bloodlines has an abstracted and theatrical nature and that “realism” is outside the scope of the game, so you should strive for “believable”. This is particularly important as you will represent the fabric of Osterheim that the PCs will act against.

Address the Character, not the Player

To a reasonable degree, you should suspend your disbelief in order to aid others in the construction of a believable environment and game.

Embrace your name and be interesting

You are not playing a 1-D caricature, but a real person. Even if it is a 1-encounter monster.

Your NPC has a Motivation and a Purpose in the Game. You should work towards the Motivation that your GM has given you. Your task as a NPC is to serve the Purpose in the Game that your GM has given to that character.

At the same time, only make moves which further the NPC’s purpose in the Game. To do otherwise is to work against the Game.

If you don’t understand or disagree with these things, you should approach a GM at an appropriate time.

Be bad at keeping secrets

If your character knows something no one else does this is pointless information.

Don't become attached to your NPC

If a GM or the game demands the death of your NPC, then you should send that character joyfully to the grave, knowing that in that act you serve the game.

You should know that your GMs will gleefully cast aside your NPC without a second thought if this act benefits the game as a whole. Do not begrudge your GM this attitude - trust their judgment and know they are working for the betterment of the game as a whole. Instead, you should eagerly play your part in your NPC’s demise – make every death Interesting.

Act like an adult

Blackpowder & Bloodlines creates a sandbox designed to examine some very sensitive topics (prejudice, colonialism, etc.). This is also an 18+ game and we all need to recognise the need to act like an Adult for this safe sandbox to exist.

Try to separate the emotions you may have for a particular Participant (Player, Crew or GM) and that Participant’s Character (including your own!). If you find this hard and experience Bleed between the two, you should find an appropriate time to discuss this with the Participant or take your concerns to a GM.

Principles for Running Blackpowder & Bloodlines

There are a lot of thoughts running through your GMs head at any point during the game. To get into the mindset of GM, you need to start asking questions and thinking about their motivations. It takes a lot to run one of these games after all.

  • My primary motivation for running this game is to see what will happen.
  • I am not here to tell my story, win, or to challenge and defeat the Players.
  • I will provide interesting situations and see what happens. This means that often I will defer decision making to the players.
  • If a GM or NPC move may not be affected by the PCs, then that move removes Agency from the Players and serves no purpose to the game.
  • I accept that this game has an abstracted and theatrical nature and that “realism” is outside the scope of the game, so I will strive for “believable”.
  • I will make clear and consistent division between player and character. When addressing concerns of a character I will address the character, not the player.
  • I will name everyone and everything I create. I do not create 1-D caricatures, but People with Motivations.
  • All NPCs require a name, a motivation, an interesting note and a purpose in the Game. I will always tell my crewmember all of these things.
  • I will think off-screen.
  • Before I make any decision, I will consider the implications on the broader world.
  • I will remember to plot off-screen movements for future threats and other world building.
  • I will view everything in the game through cross-hairs.
  • Every time I consider anything in my game, be it a character, prop, storyline, location or rule, I will first ask myself how much the game would benefit if I kill, burn or destroy it.
  • A strong and justifiable reason must exist before I am willing to kill a PC. If a strong and justifiable reason to kill a PC exists, I will not hesitate.
  • I will always say and do exactly what the Rules demand. To do anything less than this is not fair.
  • To do anything more than this is beneath me.
  • I do not know anything about Larp or about this Game.
  • Every participant has something to teach me.
  • I will always treat my Adult Participants as Adults.
  • Adults are responsible, reasonable members of a community and show other Adults the respect they are due. However, if they do not act like Adults, perhaps they should not be Participants. The health of the game is more important than the inclusion of any single individual.
  • The interaction between the natives of the New World and the colonists from the Old is central.

This is a rich world

The world, the people and the cultures represented in it should have a very believable presence. The actions of every participant will enhance the environment for each other.