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  #1  
Old May 9th, 2021, 01:05 PM
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NPC Thoughts and Internal Monologue

I'm curious if anyone has any thoughts about including NPC's thoughts and perhaps their internal monologue in a game? I'm running a game in the Solo Bazaar that's given me an opportunity to play around with this, and it's got me thinking about best ways to do this sort of thing, or if it should even be done.

On one hand, it feels normal for me to include NPC thoughts and some of their internal monologue (without giving away plot details) when I'm introducing them in the game to flesh out their character, before they interact with the PC. However, I tone it down a bit, not wanting to give too much away when the PC is interacting directly with the NPC, unless I think it might be interesting OOC knowledge for the person playing the PC to know some of the NPC's thoughts. In this sense, it might be considered better writing for me to describe an NPC's reactions to the player (e.g., in a way that gives away the NPC's distaste for the player) without needing to resort to blatantly sharing the NPC's distasteful thoughts about the player, if that make sense.

Additionally, I wonder if this might be more of a solo-game issue, whereas it might feel more "natural" to include NPC thoughts in a 1-to-1 game vs. the more traditional GM-to-3-5 players. And in that same vein, it might also be more of a PbP dilemma than TTRPG, because it is so much easier to get into roleplaying with PbP (i.e., including inner thoughts and an internal monologue) verses TTRPG, which typically doesn't occur (at least in the games I've played and GM'd).
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Old May 9th, 2021, 01:32 PM
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Does the PC have the Detect Thoughts spell? Does the PC ask for Sense Motive checks ever? Either could be justification for explaining things from the NPC's point of view.
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Old May 9th, 2021, 02:33 PM
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Thank you, zevonian. That is helpful for the IC knowledge of the PC. I am curious what you think about the OOC knowledge?

Another way to ask my question is, what is the difference between the player's OOC knowledge of the thoughts/internal monologue of other PC's verses the player's OOC knowledge of the thoughts/internal monologue of NPC's and how does this relate to the GM's decision to include the internal monologue or not?

Last edited by Leviticus; May 9th, 2021 at 02:41 PM.
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Old May 10th, 2021, 01:41 PM
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One mechanism I've seen employed that I enjoyed is to have a separate post or fieldset excerpt that's done in the style of a PC post. You can explore events and thoughts outside of the main narrative and the formatting helps clearly delineate what is and isn't occurring in front of the PCs' eyes. This is a situation where play-by-post gives you more leeway to explore creatively.
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Old May 11th, 2021, 01:18 AM
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Thank sounds like an excellent mechanism, hafrogman. I especially like the idea of the alternative formatting making it clear what is and isn't occurring in front of the PC's eyes. It's helpful to think about it like that. Thank you for sharing.
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Old Oct 19th, 2021, 06:55 PM
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I'd try to lean away from anything that gives the character a special ESP ability. I know a lot of players are cool keeping OOC knowledge OOC, but there are some who kinda suck at it.

That being said, maybe instead of internal monologue, try to think about the body language that might portray the NPC's thoughts and feelings and work those in more frequently. Another thing you could do is have the character talk to himself, or maybe a pet, or a volleyball ("Wilson!!!"). You could pass the monologue in an IC fashion.

Last edited by ImpInTraining; Oct 19th, 2021 at 06:57 PM.
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Old Oct 29th, 2021, 10:48 AM
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I know I am late to the conversation, but wanted to give my I know that you were more asking about the information in the thoughts than the logistics of the thoughts. I have found putting the thoughts hidden within the TT tags (which I think means Thought Tag?) it allows whole conversations to be expressed, but at the same time, minimizing the post and giving the reader the option to skip over the internal thoughts of the character. I have some characters that have multiple voices in their head and use this technique to allow them to talk to each other without distracting from the actual post.

If the internal thoughts are more for your enjoyment and might be considered game breaking information, you could also put those thoughts within a secret tag. That way you would still see them, but the player wouldn't. Too bad there is not a way to do a black list secret tag in addition to the white list approach they current take.

Anyway, as a player, I feel that adding the character thoughts adds more depth to the character. But when I added them to the game post, it just seemed to add a lot of noise to the actual post. So, the compromise was to hide the thoughts and allow the reader to decide if they wanted to read them or not.

As for the other aspect of your question, whether or not you should include that information, that is something you will probably have to decide whether or not it would take away any of the fun for the player. So, the answer very much may depend on the player you are working with.
thoughts on the subject since I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to express my character's thoughts without bogging down the post. The TT tags might be your solution.
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Old Oct 29th, 2021, 12:25 PM
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Thank you, ImpInTraining and Kenjitsu. Both of your thoughts are very helpful. I'm still working on how to best accomplish this and really appreciate it!
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Old Oct 30th, 2021, 11:56 AM
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As a player, I tend to have selective amnesia. At least... in my opinion, it doesn't matter if I know OOC details or not, my character is a sperate little personality kept deep inside myself and brought out only when I post.... totally oblivious to what I know as a player.

But I do like that TT tag idea. Gives the players the option to get more out of the story or keep themselves purposefully ignorant.
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Old Dec 1st, 2021, 09:03 PM
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I'm also late to the conversation but I really like the idea of using the TT tag. I tend to vary on where I stand on whether or not to do such reveals or even interlude posts that provide OOC information similar to the scenes in a TV show. I know as a player I like them but I keep it all separate. I know several of my own f2f players who cannot so I don't. I tend to use such reveals far more often in a PbP.
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