I haven't seen a single NPC. Did I break my scenario, or do I just need to be patient?

This post contains spoilers!

I’m on day 89 of my first summer, and it has occurred to me that I have never seen an NPC. The closest I’ve seen are dogs.

The rest of this post describes my build and what I’ve done in-game. If anyone sees something there that should have presented me with an NPC, could you please let me know? And also if you see something that otherwise suggests I broke the scenario NPCs, could you please let me know?

I am using 0.E-3 on linux.

In the options I see:
Static NPCs True
Starting NPCs spawn Scenario-based
Random NPCs False (I did not change this setting, so far as I know)

I have not done anything with mods at all, at least not knowingly. Selecting World → Show world mods, I see:
Dark Days Ahead
Disable NPC Needs (I don’t know what this does)

I think the scenario I am running is called cyberpunk. I don’t know how to find the scenario I’m using in game. I saw “scenario cyberpunk” when I compiled an experimental version and copied my save directory over, which produced the warning:
“Tried to use non-existent scenario ‘cyberpunk’. Setting to generic ‘evacuee’.”
I decided I didn’t want to change scenarios. I wanted to run my current scenario first so I went back to the 0.E-3 version. I did not move the save files from the experimental version back over to the 0.E version though, so that’s not why I’m not seeing NPCs. I only brought it up because it’s my only clue as to the scenario I am running.

The scenario I am running is the one that was randomly assigned to me the first time I tried to play. That first character died in her sleep because her faulty bionics always injured her more than sleep would heal her, but I learned a lot about avoiding damage and I wanted to try the same scenario again, except with a character with fewer damaged bionics. It took me a while to figure out how to do that, and maybe I damaged the scenario in the process? The original game had a damaged cyborg (not sure of its actual name) in my starting house, by the basement pool next to the room with the autodoc. My current game did not have that damaged cyborg. At the time I just figured its presence/absence was a random thing.

I have died and recovered a save. I probably should have left her dead though. I mean, sure it was her first self-made explosive device, and sure it was the first time she’d lit a fuse, and sure people make mistakes the first time they try something and rookie mistakes with explosives are going to cause death, and sure dropping down a rope from broken stairs into a basement you know is full of brutes and hulks is a stressful situation, but who in that situation drops a dynamite bomb, lights the fuse, and then takes the time to put the lit bomb back into her backpack before climbing out and running away? Especially after practicing the procedure ahead of time, to make sure she could light the fuse of a bomb on the floor! I should have just given her a Darwin award and moved on! But I digress.

The way I found to save and recover a game is to copy the entire folder with the world name on it within the game save directory. If the state of the scenario based NPCs is not maintained in the world folder within the save directory, then I imagine that could corrupt the scenario NPCs.

Things I’ve done/places I’ve been in game where I imagine I might find an NPC:
I’ve pretty much cleared my starting town.
I have cleared the very small neighboring town.
I have cleared a science lab, including areas needing a jackhammer to access.
I have cleared a path to and through a hospital in a third town.
I have mostly cleared a research facility outside of town.
I cleared an evac shelter. It was empty. I’m not sure there was even a zombie there.
I cleared an LMOE shelter. Not even a zombie in there.
I cleared a FEMA camp - my map has an x outside the FEMA camp with a note that says “Roadblock (Bandits)”, but I found no sign of a roadblock or bandits.

I have dead bodies auto-marked on my map - dead scientists in the small town and dead students next to a river. I thought maybe I went too slow to get to the scientists alive, but I don’t know how I could have gotten to the students any faster than I did. I drove a car to check out a riverside house marked on my map (turned out it was a house on an island - also unoccupied). Using a long gun I took out a screecher and 2 … somethings that didn’t leave a body, and only later discovered a dead students marker in that location on my map.


This right here is why you don’t see any NPCs. You may still find them in places like refugee center (where they have to spawn due to it being a special location) but other than that you won’t find any.

Bummer. I see that false is the default option, so at least I know I didn’t mess up that setting without knowing I did it. I also didn’t really parse that the scenario-based option only applies to starting NPCs. I guess I assumed that scenario-based NPCs would be static NPCs, not random NPCs.

I take it that refugee centers are not the same as evac centers, which explains why there was nothing there. I see a second evac center on my map but nothing specifically marked as a refugee center.

So, now I need to decide how to proceed. Is it worthwhile at this point to enable random NPCs, or do I just declare victory on my current game and start over with a new world and scenario? Do different scenarios even have their own NPCs, other than starting NPCs?

Thanks for letting me know. I appreciate it.

If you start as an evacuee (and, I think, a number of other starting scenarios) you start out with an NPC in the same location. Apart from that, NPCs are rather scarce with those settings, with two exceptions (in my 0.E2 stable experience): Science Labs contain a lot of cyborgs that can be recruited, but have to be repaired, recruited, and then repaired a lot more, and Mi-Go towers can have a number of prisoners that can be rescued (if you can get the morons to move out of the towers, after having managed to break into their cells). Apart from that, you’ve got “unique” locations (which aren’t, as they can appear multiple times in a world) that have set sets of NPCs (like the refugee center), at least one “unique” character (I think there are more, but I haven’t encountered them), and a very low density of bandits (which, as far as I understand, cannot be turned neutral/friendly). There are also bandits tied to quests. I think the starting NPC (if your scenario has one) can have quests in their quest chains that spawn an additional NPC that you have to find.

So, it depends on why you want NPCs. If you want to recruit companions, it’s still possible with this low density. At least one of the “unique” locations allows you to recruit NPCs.

Thank you! That helps a lot!

I don’t have a particular reason to want them, other than being new and wanting to explore new parts of the game.

I’m a little concerned that I have a map location marked “Roadblock (Bandits)”, but there were no bandits or roadblock, but if the actual bandits in that case are actually random, not static, then that explains it. I’m also concerned that the cyborg that tormented me in my original game was not present in this one. That may have counted as my starting NPC. I think I will make finding a refugee center my new priority, so I will at least know that NPCs exist in my game.

I had seen cyborgs that included a line about repairing them, and it is good to know the possibility is real, but I couldn’t figure out how. Maybe I didn’t have the needed tool, but it could be a low intelligence score thing too. After all, the one time I tried to befriend a dog I couldn’t figure out how to give it dog food, and I did fall off a roof 3 times before I figured out how to climb down.

Cyborgs: They need to be put into an autodoc and have the control chip removed. The success chance is very low unless you’re highly skilled, but you’re shown the probability, and can just leave them disabled until you gain sufficient skills to risk giving it a go. Once they’re released, they’re “normal” NPCs, i.e. have to be recruited successfully to become companions, and once there you ought to remove all the bad/broken CMBs installed into them, or at least the worst ones. If you don’t recruit them they’ll eventually migrate out of the facility and apparently settle in various places, from which they don’t seem to move (thus giving you new chances to try to recruit them).

Edit: “Disable NPC Needs” causes companions to not need to be fed and given fluids all the time (and, as far as I understand, they’re really bad at handing it themselves so you have to baby sit them, so until they get the appropriate smarts I would think the default inclusion of this one to make sense [although I haven’t played without it]). Companions still draw abstract calories from base camps when this “mod” is included and they’re sent on missions, which is quite reasonable.

but you need to disable them first, how do you do it nowadays? was control laptop restored? or EMP grenades are the only way?

Assuming you refer to the cyborgs (being overly clear doesn’t hurt), you did have to disable them in 0.E2 stable, and I haven’t seen any indication that has changed. I disabled them using a control laptop for which there was a crafting recipe at the time, but I don’t know if the laptop has been removed since then.
I believe there is some weapons and/or CMBs that can emit EMP pulses. Those might work as well.