This is my fourth post covering how the players play NPCs and other characters than their own PCs in the Delta Green-campaign. This is very common in my campaigns, and it is done in different ways. Playing Alternate Characters, Playing Relatives and Playing NPCs part I.
In one session I had the players control all NPC except for the monstrous antagonists. All others could be controlled and created by the players.
In episode seven ‘Dirty Jobs’ the agents of cell S and T were send on different missions.
Cell S consists of agent Sherlock and Snyder (as Simon were killed in the aftermath of episode four The Subterraneans and Sharp were lost in the episode six A Small Needlestick). The two agents were send to assist a friendly – a senator – who had a case for DG.
The Cell T-agents were consists of the PC-agents Trevor and Tarek, and the NPC-agent Tully. Tarek replaced (NPC) agent Tremor, when she were killed in a freak accident in episode four – The Subterraneans. DG had lost contact to agent Tully and agent Tarek had just been recruited. DG ordered agent Trevor to put his cell into order.
The dual missions meant that the players would be playing in pairs independently of each other. The action would shift between the two teams, and when not actively playing their own characters the players were sitting by passively. This is not a problem, as it is no different when the agents split up and investigate different parts. However this split was a splendid opportunity to play around with the control the NPCS.
Rule of the Day
I introduced the following rule:
The story shift from one team to another, when either we come to natural stop, or when a scene with an NPC is resolved.
A player from a team, which is inactive, can at any time introduce an NPC into the scene. The NPC must be a civilian unaware of the Cthlhu Mythos. Once the scene is resolved we cut to the other pair of agents.
The purpose of the NPCs are to contrast the knowledgeable PCs against the unknowing civlians, whom they must protect.
As cell T is investigating the apartment of the missing agent, they are first confronted with the landlady of the building, later they meet the nosy neighbors and later again a small kid asking awkward questions.
As cell S was resolving the case for the senator – which to their surprise and dismay had nothing mythos-related. The senator wanted them to get rid of a corpse of hooker, that he apparently had killed, and he had some sort of connection to DG forcing them to clean up after him. This put the agents in quite a dilemma, and the two other players would at times play the senator commenting on their job and otherwise annoying them, or they would play the hotel staff disturbing in their clandestine job or the next hooker, that the senator hired to entertain him.
Often the players would plan the next NPC between them, and keep an eye out for the other pair of players looking for a dramatic right moment to intervene. Technically they could intervene at any time and disrupt the others from solving their mission, but they chose not to. They chose to complicate matters and add details, and the episode went really great.
So Green and Big the Forest is
In episode eight ‘So Green and Big the Forest is’ we employed a variation of this. The scene took place in the hometown of agent Trevor and it involved agent Sherlock. She was on a rogue mission chasing a lead, that brought her to his hometown. One of the players – whose agent was not present – were appointed to play the townspeople.
Playing all the civilians
Since agent Trevor in his civilian identity is a respected member of the community, the player introducing the civilians were instructed to play them in a manner revealing the natural authority and respect agent Trevor as a civilian (but still as a government official) had among the locals. They would defer to him.
The advantage was that this left me to focus on the mystery-part of the episode having one player to handle NPCs. I handled all the NPC, whose purpose was to reveal clues and let the players explore the plot, and the player managed all the NPCs tied to social elements.