Appreciation - We want to feel like our efforts are appreciated, and to not have those efforts ignored.
Affiliation - We want to feel like we are a part of the group, and not be treated as alien to it.
Autonomy - We want to feel like we have control over ourselves and our choices, rather than have others make those decisions instead.
Status - After working hard, building ourselves up to who we are now, we want people to respect and acknowledge our experience and expertise.
Role - Whether it is a role we claim, or one that is forced upon us, we want whatever roles we have to be as fulfilling as possible.
The Core NPC Generation Kit
1. Who are they? What do they do?
2. In terms of the Core Concerns, which do they feel life and their community fulfill? Think of a story based example of that Core Concern being a source of pride for the NPC.
3. Similar to above, which Core Concern do they feel life and their community do not fulfill at all? Think of a story example of that Core Concern being a source of pain for the NPC.
4. Decide how positive and negative those Core Concerns would be. The higher the penalty or bonus, the higher thematic weight that concern should weigh. Based on the system in question, distribute 5 points to assign the weight, using a scale similar to the one below:
- - -/+++ : Heavy Weight
- -/++ : Medium Weight
-/+ : Minimum Weight
If the players interact in that NPC in such a way that they would now feel unfulfilled / fulfilled in another area (or an additional area), shift the stats around as needed. Keep those recorded, and you can adjust them based on occurrences in game to give your players a human response to actions they take in or rumors that spread in game.
And that, in a nutshell, is the easiest way you can train yourself to present your players with "living, breathing" people without feeling like you are stuck in an unfulfilling role. Interested in more? Check out “Beyond Reason” on Amazon here, and feel free to fiddle with this system to “taste” for your gaming group.