Gifts from your Frenemies (December RPG Blog Carnival)

Though the RPG Blog Carnival from James Introcaso at the World Builder Blog has to do with “Homebrew Holiday Gifts” this month, my brain honestly went a completely different way than I think he intended. 🙂

Every gaming world has two types of characters: PCs and NPCs. And if the party has done its job, the PCs have made a few friends and enemies along the way. Both may have the opportunity or reason to send gifts to the PCs every now and then. But what would those gifts and opportunities be? Let’s explore a few.

“You Saved Us!”

Occasionally the PCs will do such a great job rescuing fair maidens and saving towns that their victims become a little too attached.

jaynestownThe store owner who no longer is paying “protection money” sends gifts every so often to say thank you. Imagine a basket of assorted meats from a butcher, a set of knives from the blacksmith, a barrel of ale from a brewer…

Or perhaps a small village or town will establish a holiday in the PC’s honor and invite them every year back to celebrate their continued freedom or existence. This would be like the “Jaynestown” episode of Firefly where Jayne is celebrated as the “Hero of Canton.”

These gifts don’t have to be truly annoying, but can be inconvenient occasionally. Imagine the little old lady whose cat was rescued from a tree who bakes cookies once a week and hand delivers them to the PCs. Maybe the cookies are delicious and the party looks forward to them, but maybe they are hard as rocks and they get really tired of trying to chew through them to show their appreciation.

Or even worse, those gift givers could become unwilling pawns in the games of the PCs’ enemies…

“Thanks For Ruining My Evil Plot”

WhiplashSo your big bad guy had a plot to rule the world and your PCs stopped him, but he (or she or it) escaped? Perhaps your villain has a petty streak and wants to tell your PCs how much he cares and how much revenge he’s working on plotting…

Maybe he sends the head of the snitch he found in his organization or kidnaps the pet of a NPC friendly to the party and returns it in pieces.

Perhaps she sends a beautiful but poisonous plant to the party’s favorite tavern and it spreads poisonous spores into all their favorite foods and drinks.

Possibly the psychopathic robot hacks into the PC’s e-mail and sends inappropriate gifts to all the high-ranking friends in their contact list.

But none of these works unless there’s a pithy little note sent along with the deed or item… “Thanks for the chance to clean house… I thought you might be able to keep [so-and-so] at your place permanently now that he’s lost his head.” or “Found your friend’s cat. Blew it up but decided to make a ‘piece’ <sic> offering when I was done…” or * “Thanks for irritating me. Enjoy the gift that keeps on giving…”

Last thoughts

Obviously some of these villainous gifts are gruesome and the kind gifts may get overwhelming over time, but it can be fun to show your players that they are leaving an impact on the world their PCs inhabit.

Thanks James for a great topic and maybe I’ll have more to offer later in the month!

Be sure to check out the RPG Blog Carnival Archive maintained by Johnn Four of Roleplaying Tips!

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