NPC Hook: The Negotiator

The negotiator is a well loved archetype in gaming. So much so that in games like Shadowrun, it’s an established character concept and NPC concept! Here are a few ideas for negotiators you can use in your games:
  • The Telepath – This is the negotiator who already knows what your’re thinking. Maybe they’re open about their power, but what if they’re not? Do they act as an honest broker or do they use their advantage for personal profit? You can play with this negotiator by making them more of an empath (like Troi from Star Trek: TNG).
  • The Information Broker – The information broker sits at the intersection of news and rumor across their community. As a negotiator, they use this information to make connections, smooth over issues and keep negotiations honest. This type of negotiator can make a great antagonist, creating a challenge for the PCs to outsmart.
  • The Accountant – The accountant can be thought of as a specialized version of the information broker. But rather than knowing where all the bodies are buried, she knows where all the money is. The accountant uses this knowledge to keep the peace, ensuring that no one party is able to get an advantage. This NPC is more likely to use his position as a middle-man to benefit himself by blackmailing parties with their own money (or the money of others).
  • The Peacemaker – The peacemaker i s a violent negotiator (I got the name for this one from the ironically named DC Comics character). The peacemaker uses violence to force negotiating parties into agreement. A great example of this would be the vigilante who forces warring parties together (possibly to kill the leaders or allow them to kill each other!).
  • The Reluctant Diplomat – This NPC is forced into a situation where he has to act as a negotiator. A classic example is the hostage who acts as the voice of the other hostages, negotiating with the hostage-takers on the group’s behalf. In some ways, this NPC takes a role that PCs would often take, but this doesn’t have to be the case. In the classic example, perhaps the PCs are part of the force charged with freeing the hostages, working through the diplomat to try to find a peaceful result (or to buy time for their real plan!).

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