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Tuesday Tips – Connecting factions & NPCs

Written by Expy - Published on February 12, 2008

D&D Tuesday Tips for DMs (DNDTTFDM) 02-12-08

There’s a lot going on behind the DM screen and a game session can easily come to a grinding halt because of misplaced or lost notes. If you run a game with a lot of different factions and NPCs the your party can interact with it can be useful to keep a faction quick sheet that keeps track of the general motivations or relationships of all groups and characters.

More information in less space

It all comes down to having as much information as possible in as little space as possible – I already suggested writing directly on your maps for the same reason.

Anyhow, here’s an simple example of a fake campaign that pits a thieves guild against the PCs, on a political intrigue background:


Have fun with your next convoluted plot building!

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9 Responses to “Tuesday Tips – Connecting factions & NPCs”

Zombie Murder Mystery
  1. Alexander Says:

    What is also very useful for showing a lot of information and dependencies in a small space are mindmaps. I use them fairly frequently for all kinds of purposes.



  2. Tommi Says:

    Relationship maps are cool. I have not seen one where the PCs are one entry, though. Your example map looks like all the action happens and the PCs just happen to stumble upon it, as opposed to being the focus of it all.

  3. Yax Says:

    once the PCs choose sides, then the action can be focused around them a little more but I don’t like the world to revolve around the PCs.

  4. HolyYakker Says:

    I like to from Macro to Micro. I start with various kingdoms/power centers and how they interact. Then what roles do the certain towns/cities within the kingdom play, how do they interact? How do they interact with each other?

    I think I might try a mind map to show the town relationships over my world map using layers in Paint Shop Pro.

    Another organizational idea that I like, rather than writing directly on the map, is I buy a small sized notebook (typically about 200 index card sized pages for under a buck) and I’ll make a map with numbers and write up a page for each room number. I’ll include descriptions, dimensions, treasure, monsters, all on that tiny little page. Best part is that after an adventure I can paperclip/staple those pages together if I want to save the info/notes for later or just tear them out and start my next adventure. It also means I always have small pieces of paper on hand for player notes.

  5. niggle Says:

    Heh Quartermaster Bob, sounds like one of my more retarded pcs that moved away.

    I use bubble maps like that one for everything from scratch adventure ideas, to initial room and trap layout. Organization is a dms best friend.

  6. loneGM Says:

    This is the same process I use to work out my games’ plotting. I start with whatever the plot revolves around – an event, an object, an npc – which I draw in the middle of a sheet of paper. Around that I write the primary factions involved, connecting them to the focus with lines. Along the side of each line, I write thier intentions – do they want to destroy it? Acquire it? Hide it? Reveal it?

    After this, I draw the lines between factions showing their attitudes towards one another.

  7. Tommi Says:

    I always have the world revolve around the PCs. They are who the story is about, everyone else is there to make their life interesting.

  8. Dara Says:

    This is a nice design but I might add arrows to indicate the relationship direction at a glance. i.e. Thieves Guild wants to kill the PCs ….The text tells you but an arrow would tell you at a glance what the relationship is. Also, you could have multiple relationships….with differing entities within the boxes. So you could say

    Thieves Guild (box) ———-wants to kill——-> PCs (box)

    just a thought. I think I will try to set one up. Nice Tip!

  9. save Your Relationship Says:

    save Your Relationship

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