When starting up opponents in RQ, most of the stats generally don’t matter that much except the following:
- Hit Points
- What Armor they have
- Weapon Skills, SR, Weapon Damage + Damage Bonus
- Useful Spells – what they already have cast and how many magic points or Rune Points you want them to have to cast anything else.
- Useful Notes!
So example -Borgo the Dark Troll
- Hit Points 16
- Wears 3 point armor plus 1 point skin
- Uses a Mace at 65% at SR 5
- Does 1D8+1+1D6 damage
- Has Bludgeon 3, Extinguish, Protection 2, and Heal 2.
- Bludgeon will raise Mace to 80% and 1d8+4+1d6, and Protection will raise armor to 6 points.
- Hasn’t cast them yet.
- Only useful Rune Spell is Heal Wound.
- Has 2 Rune Points.
- Borgo will try to cast Extinguish immediately on any source of light and then cast his spells before attacking in the Darkness.
Bam! That took about 30 seconds to jot down.
What I find really useful is to just have a few stock NPC templates around (like those in the GM Adventure Book) that I can use.
Note I don’t work out his STR, CON, SIZ, whatever. If for some weird reason they are pertinent, I can pick a number for them out afterwards.
For example, when it is a handful of trollkin ambushing the players in the Rubble, I don’t need much at all. If they run away, I don’t need any more information. I really only need more if they surrender AND then interact with the players in a substantive manner.
Ordinary combat, dangerous and lethal, is actually one of the least interesting ways of interacting with NPCs (and I emphasise “ordinary combat” – duels, ceremonial combats, contests of heroes, etc – those are different and usually do require significantly more information).
What about Strike Ranks? You are figuring out whether you want Borgo to had a strike rank advantage because of size and reach or a disadvantage because he is slow and clumsy.
The point is that most of the time you really can create NPCs on the fly and still get the full experience.
Passions should only appear in play when they create something interesting for the players. Never ever ever resort to rolling dice between NPCs to see what happens. Just decide something and do it.
I don’t find combat needs to be speeded up. If you are doing lots of skirmishes with large numbers of NPCs, the questions are 1. why? and 2. why hasn’t some more powerful NPC taken notice of them? Argrath takes an interest in these trollkin destruction teams and tells them to bring a message to Cragspider. Momma Grod, the KL shaman-priestess of the clan, makes a deal with Mr. Mook, the feared ZZ Death Lord, and his zombie army. And so on.
If the players are regularly wiping the mat with lots of opponents, then it is time to let them play with bigger pieces.
So let’s say The players interact a lot with Borgo. I add some Runes, some Passion, some skills, and pretty soon he is a living breathing 3D character. He started as a nook but thanks to player interaction he’s fully fleshed out. That’s the magic of BRP.
If you need an NPC for other purpose, handle it similarly. Decide whatever characteristic is important for the interaction (“Thorval the Thorough has an INT of 18”), give the NPC a few pertinent skills (“Thorvald has Library Use 50%, RW obscure language at 60%, and Bargain at 50%) and decide any pertinent magic (Thorvald has Reconstruction). You can work build it out from there.
As a gamemaster, I avoid making ANY rolls for NPCs against the environment.
If I want to know whether Eitris the Lhankor Mhy scholar NPC to succeed at finding a necessary scroll within the Knowledge Temple, I don’t even bother to determine his Library Use skill, much less roll for it. He either finds it or he doesn’t, based on how I want the story to proceed.
If an adventurer can’t find it, then he finds it for them.
If the plot needs that scroll to move forward, he finds it.If the scroll will complicate or obfuscate the plot in some way, then he can’t find it.
If for some reason he is working against an adventurer to find the scroll first, then I make up a skill rating on the spot based on what seems appropriate and I roll.
Oh I imagined with Library Use, this is the case where I suspect the players might try to hire a scholar to find a specific book. Then I very well might let them roll to see if it succeeds.
I don’t give passions and runes to Lesser NPCs. There’s no joy in Anonymous Opponent 5 rolling for something based on a deep background that never surfaces for the players.