Putting the "character" back in "non player character"

I started working on some NPC dialogue. The end goal is to have some basic generated backstories for NPCs in the game. If that goes well I have some long term ideas, but for now this is just flavour. I can’t program much, but I know enough about it that I can suggest a rough algorithm at least.

The basic algorithm I have uses three phrases and checks a couple things. At present I think these questions would only be available to companion NPCs.

Player question: “so, what’s your story?”

Phrase 1: no checks needed. This is a framing statement along the lines of:

Back in the day I [PHRASE 2].
Well, in a past life, I [PHRASE 2]. Seems like another world.
Tough to imagine now, but I [PHRASE 2].

Phrase 2: some of these will check to see if the NPC has a particular skill first (eg. To be a nurse the NPC has to have first aid >1) examples:

was a starving student
worked as a temp
was a bike courier
had a decent life
was a pretty big-name video blogger

The phrase 2 selection will also give the NPC a set variable “job” that lets me call on it later on when I set up more detailed dialogue trees.

Phrase 3: so far I think the check with this, if any, will just be if the NPC is a starting NPC or not. Starting NPCs don’t get a phrase 3, because the player already knows how they got out. There might also be an NPC gender check on some of them.

The third phrase will also create a set variable “survival story” that I can call on. These won’t all be unique… I have several different variations on “Evac shelter survivor” that will all get the same dialogue settings.


I made it to one of those evac shelters, but it was almost worse than what I left behind. Escaped from there, been on the run since.

I got evacuated earlier than most, wound up heading out of town to a FEMA camp. Thank God I got out of there in one piece. That’s a hell of a story in itself.

I was home with the flu when the world went to shit, and when I recovered enough to make a run to the store for groceries… Well, I’ve been running ever since.

I gotta be straight with you though: I honestly think I like this better. Fighting for survival every day? I’ve never felt so alive. I’ve probably killed a thousand of those bastards. Sooner or later one of them will take me out, but I’ll go down knowing I did something actually important.

That’s part one. I already have a pretty big repository of phrases, but I plan to make it enormous to reduce repetition. Some of the backgrounds will add some lore references as well.

Part two would be tougher to add as I understand it, but I’d like some backgrounds to trigger a second “tell me more” question, opening a new dialogue tree. This would be where those variables earlier come in, so that I can pull up references to the NPC’s history as they previously described it.

Onward, I have big visions for slowly developing this into an NPC personality system, but first I’d just like to make some simple procedurally generated backstories.


Maybe you could tie this into the random npc quests like the zombie mom quest or the jabberwok quest that way you get a bit of story like “me and my buddy both were in med school and we managed to escape together but while we were xing in the y we got attacked by z. could you avenge my buddy?”

A dynamic line (the bit the NPC says in a talk_topic) can be randomly generated from a list of lines, and those lines can include snippet references that are looked up from the snippets in talk_tag.json, which can contain other snippers… So you can do stuff like:

"dynamic_line": [
  "Back in the day, I <past_life>",
  "Tough to imagine now, but I <past_life>"
  "type": "snippet",
  "category": "past_life",
  "text": [
    "went to school at <past_location>",
    "lived in <past_location>"
  "type": "snippet",
  "category": "past_location",
  "text": [

So the first part is very easy to do.

The second part is a little harder. You can’t currently filter a dynamic line or a response on NPC skill, but adding that capability is easy. You also can’t set effects in a dynamic line, only in a response, but if you’re willing to deal with that limitation, we could end up with something like:

"dynamic_line": {
   "npc_has_skill": "first_aid",
   "1": "I was a nurse."
"responses": [
  { "text": "Tell me about your nursing career!", "topic": "TALK_NURSE_HISTORY", "condition": { "npc_has_firstaid": 1 }, "effect": { "npc_add_effect": "NPC_CAREER_NURSE", "duration", "PERMANENT" } } ]

and then in the future you can check against “npc_has_effect”: “NPC_CAREER_NURSE”.

I’d need to add some code support for some of the stuff, but you can do the basic background stuff now.


Okay. I think I can work with that. I’ll get some more sketched out for how it will be shaped, so that I can give a clearer idea of what it should do.

If an NPC gives a particular dynamic line reply, will the game remember that that was their reply before? We don’t want them telling you they were a nurse at first, then later saying they were a truck driver.

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I’ll have to add some more stuff to the dynamic lines to make them capable of setting effects, but I think that will be straightforward.

Would it be easier to make the job and past variables into hidden traits, created when the NPC is generated? So if the NPC gets trait “job_nurse” it gets +1 first aid and has access to nurse past dialogue trees?

Yeah, that would be a lot easier. NPCs already have classes (see data/json/npcs/classes.json), so you could either add a trait for each class or I could add a dynamic line filter for npc_class, either of which would be fairly straightforward.

Doing it as a trait has the advantage that you can do it all in JSON right now.

Sweet. It shall be thus. I’ll take a look at classes.json

So, I’m facing a curious question that I could use feedback on.
I’ve had a lot of fun generating an enormous list of professions for NPCs to choose from, and I’ve realized there are two ways I can do this.

  1. NPC backgrounds are all scripted. When an NPC is generated, its background is completely set. If you get “nurse_3”, that NPC will always have the same background and dialogue tree. This is the easiest way to design it, but the most writing intensive. On the other hand, the stories will always be coherently written and can have more details because I won’t have to make sure all the parts dovetail together. It also makes it easier to write emotional dialogue.

  2. NPC backgrounds are procedural. When an NPC is generated, it gets a number of traits that determine all the details of its background. This is much harder to design initially, but eventually leads to the possibility of essentially infinite NPC back stories. It would also potentially form a background for procedurally generated NPC details that could do other things. In this model, NPCs would get a number of traits that influence each other and come in sets, such as “past_job”, with associated “past_job_flags” (eg. if you are a cardiologist, the flags are “hospital” and “highly educated”), and then dialogue trees would be in turn tagged with the same flags, so a particular NPC story about an event in the hospital would only be an option for “hospital” npcs.

Is this second one biting off too much? Currently it is simple enough in execution that I think I could possibly even program it myself, but it is bigger in scope for later. The first would definitely be easier overall, and I’m not convinced the second is better.

It’s also possible I could do a blend of the two, so that NPCs still get the flag system but the backstories themselves are mostly straight up scripted, with just a few fill in the blanks.

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My philosophy with CDDA is always to make the game better now. It’s fine to have grand plans (I have plenty), but a small improvement this week is better than a grand improvement in 6 months that you abandon because it turned out to be too much work.

So while I don’t think that #2 is biting off too much, I would start with a workable number of scripted background stories and get those added to the game. From there, alternate between adding scripted and procedurally generated background stories.

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Makes sense to me. Plus the more I do on 1 the more I think I can probably have both implemented without it being weird. And this will be ready to go in just a couple days.

I’m with dwarf on this. With CDDA a more immediate improvement is probably best, and it gets you faster feedback as well. Plus me personally I think #1 will be fine given how few NPCS you’ll usually encounter in a run with default spawns anyway. The chance of getting the same folks and learning their whole backstory is slim. So each one will still feel unique imo.

Would anyone be willing to proofread a few stories for me? I can post them here with spoiler tags, or share the Google doc

I have a ten minute break soon. I’ll take a glance.

Ok, I’ll plunk this down just quick and format it more clearly soon. Bit choppy right now because it doesn’t include the player responses until I finish reformatting for the forum (EDIT: added in the player responses. At various times in the conversation you may have access to a few of the different player questions at a time)


So, what's your story?

I made it to one of those evac shelters, but it was almost worse than what I left behind. Escaped from there, been on the run since.

How do you survive on the run?

I spent a lot of time rummaging for rhubarb and bits of vegetables in the forest before I found the courage to start picking off some of those dead monsters. I guess I was getting desperate.


So, what's your story?

Same as most people who didn’t get killed straight up during the riots. I went to one of those stupid fucking evacuation death traps. I actually lived there for a while with three others. One guy who I guess had watched a lot of movies kinda ran the show, because he seemed to really know what was going on. Spoiler alert: he fucking didn’t.

What happened to your original crew?

Things went south when our fearless leader decided we had to put down one of the other survivors that had been bitten. Her husband felt a bit strongly against that, and I wasn’t too keen on it either; by this point, he’d already been wrong about a lot. Well, he took matters into his own hands and killed her. Then her husband took matters into his hands, and killed the idiot. And then she got back up and I killed her again, and pulped the leader. Unfortunately she’d given her husband a hell of a nip during the struggle, when he couldn’t get his shit together enough to fight back. Not that I fucking blame him. We made it out of there together, but it was too much for him, he clearly wasn’t in it anymore… The bite got infected, but it was another zombie that finally killed him. And then I was alone.


So, what's your story?

There’s nothing too special about me, I’m not sure why I survived. I got evacuated with a handful of others, but we were too late to make the second trip to a FEMA center. We got attacked by the dead… I was the only one to make it out. I never looked back.


So, what's your story?

That’s a tall order. I guess the short version is that I got evacuated to a FEMA camp for my so-called safety, but luckily I made it out.

Tell me more about that FEMA camp.

It was terrifying. We were shipped there on a repurposed school bus, about thirty of us. You can probably see the issues right away. A few of the folks on board the bus had injuries, and some schmuck who had seen too many B-movies tried to insist that anyone who ‘had been bitten’ was going to ‘turn’. Fucking idiot, right? I’ve been bitten a dozen times now and the worst I got was a gross infection.

What happened after that?

That guy started a frenzy. People were already panicked. There was an armed guy overseeing the transport, acting like a cop but really he was just some kid they’d handed a rifle to. He tried to calm things down, and I guess it actually worked for a bit, although the ‘kill the infected’ bunch were pretty goddamn freaked out and were clearly ready to jump the moment the granny with the cut on her arm started frothing at the mouth. They started acting up again when we got to the camp. That didn’t go well for them. A few heavily armed soldiers dragged them away, and I never saw them again.

How did you get out?

That place was chaos. I only stayed a few hours. They had a big backhoe running, digging a huge pit in a cordoned section they wouldn’t let us near. Well, I managed to sneak over that way, and saw them dumping load after load of the dead in the pit, pouring dirt back over them even as they revived and tried to climb out. Even with all the shit I’ve seen since, it haunts me. I knew then I had to get out. Luckily for me, we were attacked the next morning by some giant horror, a kind I haven’t really seen since then. While the guards were busy with that, I grabbed some supplies I’d stocked up over the night and I fucked right out of there. A few others tried to fuck out with me, but as far as I know I was the only lucky one.


So, what's your story?

They were shipping me with a bunch of evacuees over to a refugee center, when the bus got smashed in by the biggest zombie you ever saw. It was busy with the other passengers, so I did what anyone would do and fucked right out of there.


So, what's your story?

My Evac shelter got swarmed by some of those bees, the ones the size of dogs. I took out a few with a two-by-four, but pretty quick I realized it was either head for the hills or get stuck like a pig. The rest is history.

Giant bees?

Yeah, I’m sure you’ve seen them, they’re everywhere. Like something out of an old sci-fi movie. Some of the others in the evac shelter got stung, it was no joke. I didn’t stick around to see what the lasting effect was though. I’m not ashamed to admit I ran like a fuckin’ chicken.


So, what's your story?

Well, I was at home when the radio went off and told me to get to an evac shelter. So I went to an evac shelter. And then the shelter got too crowded, and people were waiting to get taken to the refugee center, but the buses never came. You must already know about all that. It turned into panic, and then fighting. I didn’t stick around to see what happened next; I headed into the woods with what tools I could snatch from the lockers. I went back a few days later, but the place was totally abandoned. No idea what happened to all those people.


So, what's your story?

I was late to evacuate when the shit hit the fan. Got stuck in town for a few days, survived by hiding in basements eating girl guide cookies and drinking warm root beer. Eventually managed to weasel my way out without getting caught by the zombies. I spent a few days holed up in an abandoned mall, but I needed food so I headed out to the fend for myself. I wasn’t doing a great job of it, so I’m kinda glad you showed up.


So, what's your story?

I was home with the flu when the world went to shit, and when I recovered enough to make a run to the store for groceries… Well, I’ve been running ever since.

Come on, don't leave me hanging.

Okay, well, I was kinda out of it those first few days. I knew there were storms, but I was having crazy fever dreams and stuff. Honestly I probably should have gone to the hospital, except then I guess I’d be dead now. I don’t know what was a dream and what was the world ending. I remember heading to the fridge for a drink and noticing the light was out and the water was warm, I think that was a bit before my fever broke. I was still pretty groggy when I ran out of chicken soup, so it took me a while to really process how dark and dead my building was when I headed out.

What happened when you went out?

You probably remember what the cities were like. I think it was about day four. Once I stepped outside I realized what was going on, or realized I didn’t know what was going on at least. I saw a bunch of rioters smashing a car, and then I noticed one of them was bashing a woman’s head in. I cancelled my grocery trip, ran back to my apartment before they saw me, and holed up there for as long as I could. Things got comparatively quiet as the dead started to outnumber the living, so I started looting what I could from my neighbours, re-killing them when I had to. Eventually the dead overran my building and I had to climb out and head for the hills on an old bike.


So, what's your story?

Nothin’ special before the world turned to shit. When the dead started walking, I geared up and started puttin’ them back down.

How did that go?

Almost got killed. One Z is easy pickins, but ten is a lot, and a hundred is a death trap. I got myself in too deep, an’ barely slipped out with my guts still inside me. Holed up in an old motel for a while lickin’ my wounds and thinkin’ about what I wanted to do next. That’s when I figured it out.

Figured what out?

This is it. This is what I was made for. There in the street, smashin’ monster heads and prayin’ I’d make it out? I’ve never felt like that. Alive. Important. So after I got myself all stuck back together, I nutted up and went back to it. Probly killed a thousand Z since then, and I’m still not tired of it.


So, what's your story?

Oh, you know. Blah blah blah, had a job and a life, everyone died. Boo hoo. I gotta be straight with you though: I honestly think I like this better. Fighting for survival every day? I’ve never felt so alive. I’ve probably killed a thousand of those bastards. Sooner or later one of them will take me out, but I’ll go down knowing I did something actually important.


So, what's your story?

I don’t even fucking know anymore. I have no fucking idea what is going on. I’m just doing what I can to stay alive. World ended and I bungled along not dying, until I met you.


So, what's your story?

Like, what? Before the apocalypse? Who cares about that? This is a new world, and yeah, it’s pretty shitty. It’s the one we’ve got though, so let’s not dwell in the past when we should be making the best of what little we have left.

That’s not all. Watch this space for updates

Update: Here are a few more


So, what's your story?

I didn't even know about the world ending right away. I was out of town. My car broke down at the very start of a road trip, and I was waiting for a tow for hours. I finally wound up camping in the bushes off the side of the road; good thing, too, because a semi truck whipped by - dead driver, you know - and turned my car into a skid mark. I feel bad for the bastards that were in the cities when it hit.

Those first few days were a tough time to be outside.

You're telling me. I got caught in one of those hellish rainstorms, it started to burn my skin right off. I managed to take shelter under a car, lying on top of my tent. Wrecked the damn thing, but better it than me. From what I hear, though, I got lucky. That was pretty much the worst I saw. I didn't run into any of those demon-monsters that attacked the cities.

What did you see in those first few days?

Besides the acid rain, I mostly saw people fleeing the cities. I tried to stay away from the roads, but I didn't want to get lost in the woods either, so I stuck to the deep margins. I saw cars, buses, trucks loaded down with evacuees. Plenty went right on, but a lot stalled out of gas and other stuff. Some were so full of gear and people there were folks hanging off them. Stalling out was a death sentence, because the dead were coming along the roads picking off the survivors.


So, what's your story?

I was out on a fishing trip with my buddy when it happened. I don't know exactly how the days line up… our first clue that Armageddon had come was when we got blasted by some kind of poison wind, with a sort of acid mist in it that burnt our eyes and skin. We weren't sure what to make of it so we went inside to rest up, and while we were in there a weird dust settled over everything.

And then?

By morning, the area around the lake was covered in a pinkish mold, and there were walking mushrooms around shooting clouds of the dust in the air. We didn't know what was going on, but neither of us wanted to stay and find out. We packed up our shit, scraped off the boat, and took off upriver.

What happened to your friend?

She took sick a few hours after we left the lake. Puking, complaining about her joints hurting. I took us to a little shop I knew about on the riverside, hoping they might have something to help or at least know what was going on.

I guess they didn't know.

The shop was empty, actually. She was desperate though, so I broke in. I found out more about the chaos in towns from the store radio. Got my friend some painkillers and gravol, but when I came out to the boat, well… it was too late for her.

She was dead?

No, that would have been a mercy. She was letting out an awful, choking scream, and her body was shredding itself apart. Mushrooms were busting out of every part of her. I… I ran. Now I wish that I'd put her out of her misery, but going back there now would be suicide.


So, what's your story?

Well y'see, I'm not from these parts at all. I was driving up from Florida to visit my son when it all happened. I was staying at a motel when a military convoy passed through and told us to evacuate to a FEMA shelter.

Tell me about your son

He lives up in Northern Canada, way in the middle of nowhere, with his crazy wife and my three grandkids. He's an environmental engineer for some oil and gas company out there. She's a bit of a hippy-dippy headcase. I love em both though, and as far as I'm concerned they all made it out of this fucked up mess safe, out there in the boondocks. I guess they think I'm dead, so they'll steer clear of this hellhole, and that's the best as could be.

So, you went to one of the FEMA camps?

Lord no. I'll be fucked if I let a kid in a too-big uniform tell me what the hell to do. I had my Hummer loaded out and ready to go offroading, I had a ton of gas, and I even had as many rifles as the border was gonna let me bring over. I didn't know what I was supposed to be running from, but I sure as shit didn't run.

Where did you go then?

At first, I just kept going North, but I ran into a huge military blockade. They even had those giant walking robots like on TV. I started going up to check it out, and before I knew it they were opening fire! I coulda died, but I still have pretty good reactions. I turned tail and rolled out of there. My Hummer had taken some bad hits though, and I found out the hard way I was leaking gas all down the freeway. Made it a few miles before I wound up stuck in the ass-end of nowhere.


So, what's your story?

My partner made it out with me, but got eaten by one of those fucking plant monsters a few days before I met you. This hasn't been a great year for me.

Plant monsters?

Yeah, have you seen them yet? They're these awful walking flowers with a big fucking stinger in the middle. They travel in packs. They hate the zombies, and we were using them for cover to clear a horde of the dead. Unfortunately, turns out the plants are better trackers than the zombies. They almost seemed intelligent… I barely made it out, only because they were, uh, distracted.

I'm sorry to hear it.

That's how it goes, you know? These are the end times. I don't really want to talk about it more than that. And honestly, I never really felt like I belonged, in the old world. In a weird way, I actually feel like I have a purpose now. Do you ever get that?

Yeah, I hear you.

I guess those of us who made it this far have to have made it for a reason, or something. I don't mean like a religious reason, just… we're survivors.

No, that's messed up.

Haha, yeah, I can see why you'd think that. I don't mean it's a good apocalypse. I just mean that at least now I know what I'm doing every day.


So, what's your story?

A shitty tale of love and loss. Not something I like to tell.

(persuade) It might help to get it off your chest.
(intimidate) Suck it up. If we're going to work together I need to know you.

All right, fine. I had a (wife/husband). I lost (him/her).

What happened?

(She/he) was at home when the bombs started dropping and the world went to hell. I was at work. I tried to make it to our house, but the city was a war zone. Things I can't describe lurching through the streets, crushing people and cars. Soldiers trying to stop them, but hitting people in the crossfire as much as anything. And then the collateral damage would get right back up and join the enemy. If it hadn't been for (him/her), I would have just left, but I did what I could and I slipped through. I actually fucking made it alive.

You must have seen some shit.

Yeah. I really did. It took me two days to make it across the city on foot, camping out in dumpsters and places like that. I started moving more by night, and I learned right away to avoid the military. They were a magnet for the dead, and they were usually stationed where the monsters were coming. Some parts of the city were pretty tame at first. There were a few chunks where people had been evacuated or cleared out, and the monsters didn't really go there. Later on, others like me started moving into those neighbourhoods, so I switched and started running through the blasted out downtown. I had to anyway, to get home. By the time I made the switch though, the fighting was starting to die off, and I was mostly just avoiding attention from zombies and other things.

I take it home was bad.

The first warning was that I had to move from the preserved parts of the city to the burnt out ones to get home. It only got worse. There was a police barricade right outside my house, with a totally useless pair of automated turrets sitting in front just idly watching the zombies lurch by. That was before someone switched them to kill everybody, back when it only killed trespassing humans. Good times, you can always trust bureaucracy to fuck things up in the most spectacular way possible. Anyway, the house itself was half collapsed, a SWAT van had plowed into it. I think I knew what I was going to see in there, but I had made it that far and I wasn't going to turn back.

Did you make it into the house?

I did. Took a few hours to get an opening. And you wanna know the fucked up part? Like, out of all this? (He/She) was still alive. (He'd/She'd) been in the basement the whole time, pinned under a collapsed piece of floor. And (he'd/she'd) lost a ton of blood, (he/she) was delerius by the time I found (him/her). I couldn't get (him/her) out, so I gave (him/her) food and water and just stayed with (him/her) and held (his/her) hand until (he/she) passed. And then… well, then I did what you have to do to the dead now. And then I packed up the last few fragments of my life, and I try to never look back.


So, what's your story?

My story. Huh. It's nothing special. I had people, but they've risen to be with the Lord. I don't understand why He didn't take me too, but I suppose it'll all be clear in time.

Do you mean in a religious sense, or…?

Of course. It's clear enough, isn't it? That… that end, was the Rapture. I'm still here, and I still don't understand why, but I will keep Jesus in my heart through the Tribulations to come. When they're past, I'm sure He will welcome me into the Kingdom of Heaven. Or… or something along those lines. It's not going exactly like I thought it would, but that's prophecy for you.

What if you're wrong?

I can't believe you'd look at all this and think it could be anything but the end-times. The dead are walking, the gates of Hell itself have opened, the Beasts of the Devil walk the Earth, and the Righteous have all be drawn up into the Lord's Kingdom. What more proof could you possibly ask for?

What will you do, then?

I will keep the faith, and keep praying, and strike down the agents of Hell where I see them. That's all we few can do, isn't it? I suppose perhaps we're the meek that shall inherit the Earth. Although I don't love our odds.


So, what's your story?

Same as anyone. I turned away from God, and now I'm paying the price. The Rapture has come, and I was left behind. So now, I guess I wander through Hell on Earth. I wish I'd payed more attention in Sunday School.


So, what's your story?

I was ready for this. The winds were blowing this way for years. I had a full "last man on earth" shelter set up just out of town. So, of course, just my luck: I was miles out of town for a work conference when China attacked and the world ended.

What happened to you?

Our conference was at a retreat by a lake. We all got the emergency broadcast on our cells, but I was the only one to read between the lines and see it for what it was: large scale bio-terrorism. I wasn't about to stay and find out who of my coworkers was a sleeper agent. Although I'd bet fifty bucks it was Lee. Anyway, I stole the co-ordinator's pickup and headed straight for my shelter.

Did you get there?

No, I barely got two miles. I crashed into some kind of chink bio-weapon, a screeching thing made of arms and legs and heads from all sorts of creatures, humans too. I think I killed it, but I know for sure I killed the truck. Grabbed my duffel bag and ran, after putting a couple bullets into it for good measure.

What about your shelter?

I still haven't made it there. Every time I've tried I've been headed off by the dead. Who knows, maybe someday.


So, what's your story?

Oh, man. I thought I was ready. I had it all planned out. Bug out bags. Loaded guns. Maps of escape routes. Bunker in the back yard.

Sounds like it didn't work out.

Depends on your definition. I'm alive, aren't I? When Hell itself came down from the skies and monsters started attacking the cities, I grabbed my stuff and crammed into the bunker. My surface cameras stayed online for days; I could see everything happening up there. I watched those things stride past. I still have nightmares about the way their bodies moved, like they broke the world just to be here. I had nothing better to do. I watched them rip up the cops and the military, watched the dead rise back up and start fighting the living. I watched the nice old lady down the street rip the head off my neighbour's dog. I saw a soldier's body twitch and grow into some kind of electrified hulk beast. I watched it all happen.

Why did you leave your bunker?

Honestly? I was planning to die. I thought I wouldn't last a minute out here, but I couldn't bring myself to end it down there. I headed out, planning to let the monsters finish me off, but what can I say? Survival instinct is a funny thing, and I killed the ones outside the bunker. I guess the adrenaline was what I needed. It's kept me going since then.


They seem pretty solid. No immediate errors I can ID. I kind of appreciate the “no past” entry.

Thanks! I added a bunch more just now, some of the longer ones that are impossible on my phone. At some point I have to start adding more of the short ones like no_past, but currently I seem to be in a long story phase.

This is juuuust about all I have so far. There are a few weirder ones I’m still going over, these are the ones I’d call pretty much done.

Oh man. The one about the person getting shroomed is pretty rough. I remember the first time I lost a character that way and had no idea what I had done.

Thanks, it’s one of my more recent ones and I’m pretty proud of it. It’s really easy to turn to the game itself for inspiration, I’m basically just rewriting actual play stories with a personal narrative added in.

I think that’s a solid strategy and one players will appreciate the most.