As RPGpad becomes better at handling complex things such as character sheets and playable characters—both PCs and NPCs—we should not forget that one of the simplest kinds of information you can add is also one of the most impactful.
Adding images to your campaign can help it stand out and draw players in. Humans are visual creatures after all. But adding images is about more than just looking good.
Do you ever have that moment where you recognize someone but can’t remember their name for a moment? The same thing happens with NPCs in reverse. Players hear the name and vaguely remember having heard that name before, but they can’t quite connect it. “Was this the guy who served the queen or was it the guy who sold us those cheap healing potions?” they might ask when you describe ‘Goros’ approaching them in the capital.
It isn’t that the NPC wasn’t memorable or that the players weren’t paying attention. It’s just that it is hard for players to keep track of who is who based purely on the name, especially if that NPC was encountered several weeks ago and didn’t get too much screen time. This occurs even more frequently in campaigns with a lot of travel and many NPCs in different places.
Giving a face to the NPC by having a picture can help trigger the visual center of the brain, making it far easier for players to keep track. The same holds true for player characters by the way. That is also why most chats and forums let you choose an avatar—if you have just a name, it is much harder to keep track of who is who then if there is an image to go with the name.
Of course images will never replace creative and flowery descriptions of what the player characters perceive during the session. Unlike images, these can convey sound, scent, texture, and context to players bringing the story right to the forefront of their imagination. Images are used to enhance that, not to replace it.
Of course, finding good images is not trivial. In a future post we will share the different strategies we have developed to get images for NPCs and PCs in our own campaigns. For now, head over to the community forums to tell us how you use images in your campaign!
(As always, the changelog is available to give you a detailed overview of the changes of the week.)