Our first preview for Assassin’s Amulet gives you 5 steps for roleplaying assassin NPCs.
This is great info for game masters stuck on how to make assassins interesting and impressive at the game table.
Assassins should be compelling NPCs in every encounter in which they appear. This article, an excerpt from the forthcoming Assassin’s Amulet, describes how to run Assassins as compelling characters to roleplay and deadly adversaries to fight. And don’t forget to vote for the cover!
Step 1: Pick an Archetype or Example
Creating an assassin NPC personality becomes a lot easier if you have a character concept already in mind. This provides a framework to which you can just add flesh. To mask your inspiration so players will not recognize it, layer on a couple of differences or twists. You are welcome to build a complex NPC from scratch, but if in a hurry, pick a character from a book or movie to model.
Quick archetypes to mimic: James Bond, Drizzt, Chuck (from the TV show), Rorshack (from the Watchmen), Batman.
Even people you know might make excellent candidates. Consider your neighbors, relatives, co-workers and other people you frequently see.
Step 2: Add Personality
What makes the character interesting and different? Make a list of about five notable traits and behaviors. How do they act and talk? What seems to motivate them? What do they own? Who are their friends and why?
There are two kinds of NPC traits: normal and extreme. Extreme traits include strange quirks, bizarre attributes and rare personality disorders. You do not want to give every NPC an extreme trait, else your campaign becomes comical or bizarre. You need normal—but interesting—NPCs around so the extreme ones stand out.
If you run a single assassin in your campaign, go ahead and give the NPC an extreme trait plus a few normal ones. If you run several, such as the Hands of Cyrene guild, give a quarter of the group unique extreme traits plus normal ones, and the other half just a variety of normal traits.