Jalisco tugged his sleeves. His cufflinks flashed in the setting sun. Chamber music lilted neath the vaulted pergola, and the scent of wine and cut cypress pervaded the place. Jalisco sniffed, shrugged.
"Stop shrugging," said the man beside him. A weaselly fellow, but one far more comfortable in the evening's stiff uniform. He smiled meanly. A golden stud flickered on his lip. "You'd look almost like you belong here, if you'd only look a little more at ease."
"This jacket is tight."
"That's because it fits."
"Next time we do this, you don't get to choose my clothes, Jifre."
Jifre tisked. "Here," he said. He plucked a flute of something gold and bubbly from a passing server. "Hold this and stop picking at your sleeve."
Across the pergola, a smart looking pair appeared. A jowly old woman and a young man, who, by the cut of his browline, was her son. They quickly noticed Jalisco and Jifre, approached them, smiling.
"Oye, dios mio," mumbled Jalisco, drinking. "Not her."
"There you are!" enthused the young man. He gestured, palm open. "Mother, I'd like you to meet Jalisco. He's one of the cutters who cleaned out the undercroft for us!"
"Pleasure," said the old woman, extending a chiffon-clad hand. Jalisco took it, awkwardly, and, having smiled hesitantly for a moment in frozen thought, kissed it.
The old woman giggled in delight, clasped her heart. "What a gentleman," she said. Jalisco appeared momently shocked. "What a prince," she said. "Especially compared to that swine I met coming out of the undercroft. I'm glad not all your company are like him."
"Oye, well," Jalisco mumbled, still smiling. Jifre giggled wickedly, beside.
"Mother, Dear," said the young man, touching her elbow. "This is the man you met yesterday. He had a very impressive trophy in tow, you'll remember?"
"But that man was a boor! He was covered in blood, and he stank of offal!" She squinted at Jalisco, who was sweating. "You can't be!"
Jalisco bowed, hesitantly. "E-encantada, señora," he said, glancing at Jifre, who was stifling laughter. "Apologies about, uh, yesterday."
"Such a mannered young man, after all!" she said. "Well, I am sorry I screamed, señor. You clean up well!"
They all laughed. Jalisco, somewhat panickedly.
"Well, we shall happily await seeing you at dinner, my good fellows," said the old woman's son, stifling further mirth. "Hasta entonces!"
They parted. Jifre was still giggling. "You fat flirt," he said, winking at Jalisco. "Hamming it up for the old lady."
"Oye, what can I say?" said Jalisco, wiping his brow. He downed the glass of bubbly. "I guess I clean up well."
Intelligent NPCs determine their starting disposition toward individual player characters via a reaction roll. The roll is made upon first meeting the character, and should be made again after some time has passed or circumstances have changed.
Here's one of those rather rare articles in which I present an actual mechanic. This time, the reaction roll. Or, at least, my use of it.
Furthermore, if a reaction table is meant for use when players encounter beings whose reactions are uncertain (or, at least, not automatically hostile,) why not start at a "neutral" automatic reaction, and then play things out based on other factors (the creature's needs and goals versus the players ability to negotiate, for instance.) Why must things be random, when a more believable outcome might be drawn from factors at hand?
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* These factors are provided by skills, in my system. The Manners and Grooming skills, respectively. The final
Reaction rolls take an enormous load off of my mind. I try and apply ‘relevant’ modifiers as the situation calls for it, but it would be much better to utilize a written down system like this to stay consistent. Glad to see you posting again. It’s always a bright spot in my day reading these.