Usually, when I write up NPC backgrounds and find a picture for them, it's mainly been for mebecause I forget many times who is doing what and where.
However, in an effort to bring the players into more focus on the campaign and who the movers and shakers are, I'm going to try and create placards for the more prominent and powerful factions.
Case in point - the 6 major Rogue Trader Dynasties in my game. I've created 6 large Rogue Trader Dynasties that will factor into the Koronus Expanse. These factions can be allies or enemies and are a source for NPCs.
However, to get the players more focused on them, I've put their information and symbols on placards which will stand up on the table. Like so...
So, on each card will be written some brief information about the six major Rogue Trader Dynasties along with their house symbol. The symbols you see here are not the final product. They are just some sample graphics I pulled off the web as placeholders until the real house symbols arrive. My buddy Mik is drawing up the real ones as we speak.
Right away, after making these placards I noticed some problems. Problem one, the house symbol is too small. You can barely see it, especially at the other end of the table. Two, the font is also too small. The information gets lost. My players are as likely to read these placards as they are a handout.
So, at launch, my goal is to have the placards much bigger, with the text large enough to take up the whole placard, with a large symbol that will be prominent and easily recognizable. Once that's done, I have a great roleplaying prop. For example, if I have a member of House Ontiverous show up, I can just put down the placard and the players will know immediately which NPC has shown up.
- Dynasty Name
- A brief, one sentence description of the dynasty
- A brief history
- A single, memorable accomplishment of the dynasty
- Edge - which is one dark deed the dynasty has done, or a activities that the dynasty is at least a bit infamous for. This last one is fairly important, since all of these dynasties have the potential to be enemies for the party.
As I sit here and type this, I will probably put the brief history, notable accomplishments, and edge all on the back of the placards. That way, if a player picks up the placard and reads it, great. Otherwise, I can use them as crib notes to myself.
Finally, once all of the placards are done, I will at least get a really neat effect by placing them down on the table. Viola!