Saturday, October 9, 2010

Lone Goat and Kid

This one appears to have it all. The foreshadowing of Lone Goat and Kid started last issue so it's a quick follow up. In a game it would be like mentioning to the players different courses of action they may be interested in with an immediate follow up the next sesson.

We have the homage character, Lone Goat and Kid who stand in for Lone Wolf and Cub.

A brutal fight showcasing the fighting abilities of Lone Goat.

A setup of the conflict between Lone Goat and Usagi.

Stan hits the buttons quickly to get Usagi and Lone Goat to battle but in his initial set up, like many parts of the series when examined, intersect with Usagi by are not necessarily Usagi's background.

This gets back to my point, especially in Stan's writing, of everyone having a background. Because of Lone Goat's background, events are set up so that Usagi is the target of an assassin contract. If Usagi slays the Lone Goat, the villains win. If Usagi is slain, well, it's just 500 ryo that the bad guys are out.

Things don't work out as planned and Usagi saves Gorogoro from certain death after it is revealed that those who hired Lone Goat are actually trying to have him killed. The Usagi and the Goat don't necessarily part as friends, but no longer as enemies.

When designing NPCs around characters and situations, it helps if you make them just incompetent enough to give them the flavor needed to get involved with things not necessarily on the right side. For example, the one hiring the Goat wants to see him dead and is so observing the fight. He's also got a secondary agenda on his mind though. If instead he waited for news or reports or simply had his men observe the battle, things would have turned out differently for him.

With him there, he's committed to his course of action. So committed is he, that he betrays his allies, thinking to kill two birds with one stone. So there's no turning back. It's one of the options spoken of when GMing NPC's; kill your children. Sure, this character might have been interesting. He might make a good foil. But the way the scenario here rolls out, there's no logical reason for him not to die at the hand of the Lone Goat and Stan follows through on that.

If the NPC's do things that should lead to their deaths, then have those things happen. You can always make more. Don't fall in love with the characters you create.