In my last part I discussed the need to utilize a number of people in important positions in order for an event to run smoothly. However, what can an Eventholder do to get a fair number of personnel for their event? Also, since the Realms is a combat intensive system, having someone for the players to combat, especially in a quest event, is important, so how does an Eventholder get enough “crunchy” NPCs?
Through the years I have seen various methods for gathering NPCs, some of which work better than others. Here are a few…
Advertise: Make mention in your event write-up that you are looking for NPCs. Send out another announcement by email over the OOC List. Sometimes it is a good idea to give the number of how many NPCs you are looking for. Just keep in mind that of all the methods this is the one with the least chance for success.
Ask Individuals: Go up to people and ask them directly to NPC your upcoming event. This will require more leg-work but it has a better chance of success than simply Advertising. You want to do this in two stages. You need to ask them with enough time for them to not have already committed to something that weekend, so you will do this stage early on (at least a month in advance). The second stage is for those who have said they will NPC for you already, you will need to remind them that they said they would NPC for you as the event date is much closer (about two weeks before).
Bear in mind that if someone if non-committal (“I’ll try and make it.”) there is a very good chance they will not appear. You will not want to assign major NPC roles to those people. If they show up that is great, but do not build major scenes around a non-committed player.
Start Early: As a follow-up to the previous point (and to harp on the point), ask early. Waiting until a week before your event will not garner you a lot of NPCs. People make plans; they are not waiting around for you to ask for their help. You need to ask them to NPC before they make other plans. So ask early and then remind them later.
Go to Events: This might sound a bit mercenary, but going to other people’s events will give them more incentive to NPC your event. The Realms is a community. By PCing at someone else’s event it shows you are willing to participate in the same community. If you can’t be bothered to show up to their event then why should they be bothered to show up to your event, especially to work at it? If you can actually get to NPC at someone else’s event you’ve got some small measure of “moving karma”; if you NPC for someone, they are much more likely to NPC for you if you ask them to.
Ask Your Friends: Sometimes when writing up an event you might have certain characters in mind. You may think you have written some stuff they will really like. You want to show your close friends a good time. So you don’t ask them to NPC. And then you don’t have enough NPCs for your event and it falls flat. I hate to say it, but, use your friends. They are the people most apt to be willing to help you out and NPC for you. Use them.
Rewards: Offering rewards is a good idea. I don’t believe it is a perfect idea; you will not get a stream of NPCs simply because you are offering free pizza at dinner break. However, if someone was on the fence about NPCing, a free dinner may be enough to get them to show up. There has been alternate methods of rewarding your NPCs lately; such things as tokens for character perks and role-playing rewards. Whatever you decide on for a reward, make sure it is something people desire.
One thing to keep in mind when budgeting your NPCs: On the second day of your event (if you are planning on running a two-day event) you will lose a number of your NPCs. Be prepared for this.
Will the Realms ever reach a point where our need of NPCs is negated? No, but using some of these tips might help you get enough for your event.