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I've been banging my head on trying to make this NPC up, I'm not specifically bound by starting character rules, and the NPC will be a possible future ally of the group (more likely a strange unknown factor that crops up now and again). Here's the concept. Arctic gray wolf awakens, and he starts getting more 'alpha'. This leads to a conflict with the lead alpha male of the group and he (Gren Howling Peak, for lack of a better name) leaves to seek his own paths, his journey ends him up in Seattle area (contrived, yes..) He's been hunting for his 'identity' since he left, not feeling like he belongs in either the human or animal world, he hunts in both. The way I look at it, he hasn't spent much of any time in his human form, so it's... less developed. He spends near all his time in wolf form (Possible use of Translate or perhaps some form of telepathic spell to communicate most of the time). He hunts by use of Stun Ball (or perhaps bolt) and Levitate (for 'roof hopping' in town and difficult to reach prey in the wild). This is about the extent of the necessities, I'm hoping the rest of my questions will fall in place as the numbers do... often it does. In any case... any help is greatly appreciated.

I'm not sure what you're saying you need help with....
Shapeshifter with shaman ability.

Throw the numbers together and voila - it's not like your players will ever skim the NPC sheets.

The numbers are what I'm having trouble with. I'm asking for suggestions on just how far beyond starting character I should go. Now that I think about it, yeah, maybe I should just throw a bunch of numbers down. Yep, pointless thread.

Luke Hardison
I wouldn't call it pointless, Java. A lot of people are at a loss when it comes to NPC balance.

My system is very, very simple: make all the stats the same, then adjust them racially. If I want an 'average' opposition, the individuals all get stats of 3. 4 is for slightly above average, or average corporate level goons, 5's for pretty serious opposition (since a starting character can have a max of 5 in all attributes, generally) Occasionally, I'll up an individual character's stats: leaders usually get +1 on all mental attributes, and casters usually get +1 mentals and -1 physicals. Go from there. By my system, if you wanted an end-campaign level NPC, your Wolf Shapeshifter Shaman would be: (parenthetical notation is for animal attributes)

B: 5 (6)
Q: 4 (5)
S: 5 (5)
C: 7
I: 6
W: 6

Drop everything by one point if you're looking for closer-to-average opposition. Shapeshifters are going to be tough, any way around it.
Luke just described a great system. The one i use is very similar. Same system can even be applied to skills with a slight tweak.
Unless the NPC is specifically directed at the PCs, ie the NPC is brought in as a response to the PCs, whether as reinforcement for the opposition or the NPC is actively hunting down a PC, my NPCs generally have fixed stats.

For example, if they hit a Renraku company and the Red Sams come boiling out, those Reds are going to have generally the same stats as other Reds in other sites, the same number of Reds will respond etc. While this may sound stupid or simply not challenging, to me, it is quite realistic. If you killed off all the Olympic class athletes, you will be left with the second stringers. It is not reasonable or realistic to assume that there is this bottomless pit of top notch talent at the beck and call of even the AAAs. And unless you know Richard Marcinko is coming to town, you are not going to step up security at your base.

That being said, I have this method of creating unique NPCs... I use BeCKS. I convert all the PCs stats and equipment into karma equivalents and I add on or reduce karma accordingly. Then I build the NPC from the ground up.
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