I’ve spoken about how important NPCs are in a sandbox game before and I’ve been wanting to map out the relationships between my campaign’s characters for a while now. There are several reasons why I’ve wanted to do this, most importantly was so I could remember everyone’s name but also so I could see where the focus of the campaign was and any hidden relationships that were developing. I ended up using XMind to draw the relationships and the result is below. The player characters are in green, deceased characters are in red and non-player characters are white.
Relationships in the Emergence Campaign
The relationship map confirmed a few suspicions of mine, namely how important Smoke was becoming to the campaign. This wasn’t surprising because Smoke is the group’s point man and drives the game forward from the player’s side. Unfortunately, if his character were to die then the players would lose access to many of the characters and one player (Fen) would lose his motivation for hanging around the group. Another thing that is not entirely clear from the map but it is to me is the disinterest I’ve taken in Mirrors. It’s not the player’s fault because Mirrors has been played by two players and both times he’s functioned as little more than the team’s hacking pool. I think this due to both players being focused on acquiring gear and not giving much thought on what to do beyond that.
So when the game resumes next year I’ll be using the relationship map to bring in some of the more neglected characters including Mirrors. This should move some of the focus away from Smoke and offer some redundancy should he die. Another thing I’ll be doing is developing the existing relationships to continue the story and further develop the character’s histories.