Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Random Female Bystander Generator

Not a bystander!

Sooner or later it happens: The characters save the day, pause to catch their breath, look around, a crowd has gathered ...

Player: "A crowd huh? Are there any girls hanging around?"

DM: "Sure"

Player:"I walk over to the nearest one"

DM: "OK"

Player:"Is she hot?"

DM: -sigh-

This leads into a stressful and often unpleasant side plot as the player attempts to make a love connection for his character and the DM, having spent tons of effort detailing the villains and scenes and plots for the evening has nothing left to make this poor potential DNPC stand out from the crowd. The roleplaying fiend soon loses interest and an opportunity is lost. It mostly seems to happen in Superhero and Modern games but I've seen it happen in almost every genre at one time or another.

Now I can't fix everything, but I can offer help with the dull drudgery of coming up with a description for a random bystander. Much like a rock concert, the female bystanders seem to generate the most interest from the band players so I present to you the Random Female Bystander Generator: Next time this comes up, grab an index card, a d6, and a pen, make some rolls, and record the results of the tables below:

PDF link is here

The Random Female Bystander Generator  v1.1- A tool for the busy Superhero RPG GM

Is she hot?
1-2 Not Hot
3-4 Not Bad
5 Hot
6 Super Hot

First question on the sheet because it it's always the first one to be asked

How is she dressed?
1 Workout Look
2 Professional Look
3 Casual / Student Look
4 Club Look
5 Disheveled/Just Ran Out for a minute Look
6 Technical - Lab Coat/Scrubs/Hard Hat/Uniform

Maybe they care, maybe they don't, but it helps your description at least

How old is she? (apparent age)
1-2 Looks younger than your character
3-4 Looks older than your character
5-6 Looks about the same age as your character

Even if a hero is 1000 years old he probably looks 30 so let's go with that. Modify as necessary

How tall is she? (assumes heroes tend to be taller than average)
1-4 Shorter than your character
5 About the same height as your character
6 Taller than your character

Again, sometimes they don't think to ask but it can be a memorable feature

What catches your eye about her? (accessories)
1 Cool Shoes (super-high? Bright color? Don't fit with rest of outfit?)
2 Nice Top (bright color? Low cut? High collar? Picture/logo?)
3 Tight Pants/Short Skirt (Ahem)
4 Glasses (cool shades? Some kind of data display? Old fashioned?)
5 Unusual Hair (really short? really long? Odd style? Weird color?)
6 Wild makeup (eye makeup? Colorful lipstick? Visible Tattoo?)

I have included some suggestions but if you have a picture in mind from the other table results then go with it!

Is she available? (probably have to talk to discover, barring rings)
1-2 Married
3-4 Has a Boyfriend
5-6 Single

Now we get into personality, attitude, and reactions. They're going to have to talk to her (or have telepathy) to learn this kind of thing

Is she Interested? (Again, likely conversation-based)
1 She's frightened!
2 Nope, in fact she's visibly angry or annoyed
3 She's just not that interested in you
4-5 She's friendly, so maybe!
6 She's clearly very interested!

A visual clue for the insightful, possibly leading to some conversation - or an initiative roll

How is she doing? (apparent socioeconomic status)
1-2 Economically challenged
3-4 Middle class
5 Well off
6 Local celebrity

This helps with the "what part of town does she live in" question that may arise too

Ethnicty (may vary based on location but here's one based on my location)
1-2 White
3 Black
4 Latino
5 Asian
6 Unusual (unusual ethnicity for the city or nation - or planet)

Adjust to taste and circumstances. If your Great American City campaign is suddenly fighting in Polynesia you're going to need to modify this a bit.

Accessories (besides money, keys and a phone on a 1-4 she is also carrying a ...)
1 Purse/Handbag
2 Briefcase/Backpack
3 Laptop Bag/Satchel
4 Food/Shopping bags
5 Camera/Videocamera
6 Something unusual (survey gear, a small child, a huge stuffed animal, a potted plant,)

Something unusual to help her stand out and it could drive the conversation as well.

Hard Luck Table (On a 1 there's a complication - this may not be readily apparent)
1 She prefers the opposite sex - from your character
2 She's a robot
3 She's an alien
4 She's a magical spirit or construct
5 She's a disguised villain or one in their secret identity
6 That's a man, baby

Lots of fun here. This is really here to give them GM a reason for some mysterious snickering. If the character in question has the bad luck, weirdness magnet, or unlucky in love complications/disadvantages then skip the roll - just give him one of these automatically. At least the first time.

Also not a bystander!


bliss_infinte said...

Most awesome of generators, sir! Can't wait to use it.

Adam Dickstein said...

This feels like it fits somewhere between genius and very, very wrong.

Funny enough, it would never be used by any of my groups. In 30 years of gaming no Superhero RPG I've played in or GMed has seen the PCs hit on a bystander. Never.

They hit on (in order of most to least often):

Teammates/Other Female Superheroes
Members of the Superhero Support Organizations (Agents of SHIELD, Checkmate, UNTIL, etc.)
Members of the Armed Forces
Law Enforcement and Firefighters
Other Emergency Service Personnel (Paramedics, Social Workers, etc.).

If I could add a 6th option it would be Super Villainesses.

We have one guy in particular in our current gaming group who feels it's his duty to redeem and rehabilitate
at least one female super baddie each campaign.

Blacksteel said...

Thanks guys.

BA - you could use some of it for the random hit on a police/fire/paramedic worker if you needed some details. Knowing that tendency of the one player I assume you now prepare a particularly fun basket case of emotional trauma just for him. Nothing wrong with hand-crafted danger.

Mine have hit on some already-detailed NPC's over the years. This is just for that occasional event where they aim at an unexpected target.

Doc Savage said...

Great random tables except it seems you are confused as to what Latino is. Latinos are white, black, brown, any shade you can imagine, so the table that puts us as a separate group from white and black and Asian is incorrect. Examples: Cameron Diaz is a white Latina, Zoe Saldana is a black Latina, Jessia Gomes is an Asian Latina, and Michelle Rodriguez is a brown Latina.

Anglos make this error frequently as they seem to think Latino = brown.

Blacksteel said...

Confused about Latinos? I've lived in Texas for 30+ years MC. I'm pretty familiar with the whole Latino thing. It's "Ethnicity" and not "Skin Tone" for a reason.