Due to the number of personalities that Ghost Stories requires I will be using simplified rules for creating NPCs. The following rules will be used to quickly create and manage my NPCs.
These rules are taken from World of Darkness WikiForge.
Quick NPCs do not have a full set of traits. The power-level of quick NPCs are defined by their Rank.
Rank 1 is weaker than a starting character, and represent “normal” people or brand-new supernaturals. Rank 2 is roughly equivalent to a starting character. Rank 3+ represent more experienced characters. These Ranks applies to humans, vampires, werewolves and mages, but humans of a given Rank will be weaker because they lack supernatural powers.
Experienced supernaturals have more experience points than the “Advanced Characters” described in the rulebooks, about 100/250/500 for Veteran/Expert/Master. This puts them on par with the NPCs presented in the various World of Darkness supplements (or a bit weaker).
Quick NPCs choose one category of Attributes and Skills to specialize in: Mental, Physical or Social. They get a +1 bonus to dice pools inside their area of Specialty.
This value is the NPC’s base dice pool for any activity that he would be skilled at. Outside this area of Competency, the dice pool is only his Rank. If appropriate, the NPC gets a Trait Specialty bonus. With supernatural powers, Quick NPCs gets an additional bonus equal to their rating in that power (see Powers).
Any attribute-only roll (perception, resisting frenzy) falls under the NPC’s Competency. If appropriate, given them their Trait Specialty bonus, doubled if both attributes fall under the specialty.
This value is the NPC’s base Resistance trait when opposing rolls. If appropriate, they get a Trait Specialty bonus. When contesting supernatural powers, supernatural NPCs roll their Competency instead, to include the bonus they get from Blood Potency, Primal Urge and Gnosis.
Values for derived traits are as follows (with bonuses for appropriate Trait Specialties):
- Initiative = Competency (+1 for Physical or SocialSpecialty)
- Defense = Resistance
- Speed = Competency + 5 (+2 for Physical Specialty)
- Health = Resistance + 5 (+1 for Physical Specialty)
Willpower (Optional): You can give Quick NPCs Willpower equal to their Competency, but this can be unfair, since NPCs have no reason not to spend Willpower against the PCs. It is more balanced if all opposing NPCs share a pool of Willpower, equal to half the total Willpower of the PCs. This forces the Storyteller to manage NPC Willpower more carefully. You can either refresh the NPC Willpower pool for each encounter or (preferably) use the same pool for an entire session
Morality (Optional): Morality ratings vary depending on how “good” the NPC is. The upper bound is usually 8, the lower bound is (8 – Rank). Vampires tend to be on the low end of the scale, werewolves on the higher end, and mages in the middle, but the values vary considerably. You may want to give low-morality NPCs a couple of Derangements.
Equipment and Merits
Quick NPCs should note armor and weapon bonuses, plus special items (fetishes, enchanted items). Give the NPCs any Merits they need for the story.
Optional: To be more exact, give Quick NPCs twice as many Merits as their power ratings. For example, a Rank 3 Vampire would get 6 Merits with ratings 3/3/2/2/1/1.
There are two possible attack pools for Quick NPCs, based on whether combat falls within their Competency. Warriors use Competency + Weapon Bonus, and non-warriors use Rank + Weapon Bonus. The NPC gets a +1 bonus if they have the Physical Specialty.
The base power-trait (Blood Potency, Primal Urge, Gnosis) of supernatural NPCs equals their Rank. They also gain a number of supernatural abilities based on their Rank: Disciplines for vampires, Gifts for werewolves and Arcana for mages.
For example, a Rank 4 Vampire would have four Disciplines with ratings 4/3/2/1. Most of NPC powers should be among those with which they have an affinity (based on clan, auspice, tribe and path).
NPC werewolves take sets of Gifts from the same Gift list rather than individual gifts. Write “Dominance Gifts 4” to indicate that a werewolf has the first four Dominance Gifts. Werewolves can choose the Rituals ability in place of one of their Gift lists.
The base dice pool for a supernatural power is Competency + (Discipline/Arcana/Gift rating). If appropriate, the NPC gets a Trait Specialty bonus. For simplicity, NPC werewolves get dice pool bonuses based on their rating in the Gift list instead of Renown.
Optional: If you need to known an NPC werewolf’s Renown, him Renown ratings equal to their power. For example, a Rank 4 werewolf would have four Renown, with 4/3/2/1 ratings.
Quick NPCs always have enough “energy” (Vitae, Essence, Mana) for their powers. They are limited instead by their “Energy per turn” rating. This energy can be used for powers, healing or anything else appropriate.
NPCs mages have a lower Mana-per-turn rate than is defined in the Gnosis rules. Their extra Mana is spent mitigating Paradox. Quick NPCs mages don’t make Paradox rolls; they only suffer Paradox when the Storyteller wants.
NPCs vampires can spend Vitae up to their energy-per-turn limit:
- Healing: 2 bashing or 1 lethal per Vitae.
- Physical Actions: +2 per Vitae.
- Celerity: 1 Vitae per turn.
- Other Disciplines: As appropriate.
NPCs werewolves can spend Essence to heal, immediately shapeshift or use Gifts, up to their energy-per-turn limit. If they don’t use Essence, shapeshifting takes a turn and a Competency + Rank roll. They get the following, simplified bonuses for non-human forms:
- Physical Actions: +1 / +3 / +2 / +0
- Health: +2 / +4 / +3 / +0
- Speed: +1 / +4 / +7 / +5
The maximum time in Gauru form equals the NPC’s Resistance, with a +1 bonus for Physical Specialty. You may assume the werewolf has Renown appropriate for her Gifts, unless you use the optional Renown rules above.
Mages gain slightly more Arcana at each Rank, to balance them against starting mages.
As noted above, NPCs mages get fewer Mana-per-turn than specified in the Gnosis rules. The excess is assumed to be spent mitigating Paradox, so that NPCs mages only suffer Paradox when the Storyteller feels it would be dramatic.
For Improvised Magic, NPC mages get a reduced dice pool of Rank + Arcana. They get full the Competency + Arcana dice pool for Rotes. You can decide which effects they cast as Rotes based on their general area of focus, or explicitly note them (see below).
You can assume any mage will have an active Mage Armor of Rank + 1 (maximum of 5).
Rotes, Rites, and Rituals
In general, you can assume the NPC has any appropriate Mage Rotes, Werewolf Rites and Theban Sorcery/Crúac Rituals.
Optional: Give werewolves and vampires Rites/Rituals equal to their ability rating. For example, a werewolf with Rituals 4 would have four Rites with ratings 4/3/2/1. Give Ithaeur twice as many Rites for their auspice power. Give mages Rotes equal to their Arcana levels. A Rank 4 mage would have 4 Rotes of level 5/3/2/1. If you want to give the NPC more Rotes/Rites/Rituals, spend Merits on these abilities, since the costs are the same.