Impractical Applications (Conversation Ready)

So this week, I found myself in a situation where my players were investigating two of the eight or so suspects for a long-arcing mystery I’m working on. In order to not scare their marks too much, they were splitting into one group of two and one of three, and going to talk to two at once—moreover, this was a pair of characters I had never actually played before.

Eeeep.

With a week’s warning, though, I at least managed to start figuring out what I’d need to get them conversation-ready—okay, first I figured out something to stall with so I had a little more time to get my thoughts together, though that backfired in that running two arguments between NPCs at the same time was a LOT more thought-intensive than running two new NPCs. (The fact that I had to change one of my arclets because one of my players figured out the general gist of it ahead of time, meaning it wouldn’t work too well as a mystery, didn’t help at all.)

Since they were both people that another character had introduced as suspects in the long-running mystery, I had a little information on them already; Midori was a diplomat’s attache’s daughter with a gift for being in a string of improbable and potentially suspicious right places at right times, while Ruri was slightly obsessive sorceress looking for new magic. (Amusingly, the week before they’d made the decision to talk to the latter, I’d had a plan involving introducing her as watching them from a distance, but I had to sneak that in as an “Oh, THAT’S who that was!” moment for one of the characters upon seeing her for the first time.) Both were female, older and more powerful than the PCs by a long shot, and neither particularly trusted them.

Their biases made for interesting results, since one of the things I had made a point of knowing was their politics. Ruri had a very definite idea what it took to be a sorcerer, and when one of the PCs asked her to teach him but showed an impulsiveness that didn’t fit with her model, she took a bit of a dislike to him (and, for that matter, she was more willing to listen to the person who had initiated on the subject than the PC who hadn’t); Midori was somewhat more affable than she might have been from the fact that one of the people talking to her was a coworker rather than one of those troublemaking outsiders.

The rest was making it all up as I went along, including one physical appearance—embarrassingly enough, I forgot to describe the other—two offices, one philosophy, one event involving a character who’d only been referred to by name a couple times that was meant to back up a point, you get the idea. Whatever it was, it worked.

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