Creating Threats and When

For my current campaign, I’ve been trying to follow the guidance Apocalypse World gives for creating threats. Accordingly, after every session, I go through my notes and create threats for any of the new NPCs that were introduced during that session. However, I’m not sure that’s working out well for me.

Apocalypse World is a game about scarcity and relationships. Open Legend can be a lot of things, but I’m running it as a fantasy RPG. The world isn’t quite like a typical D&D-like (which I hope to write about in the future someday), but the basic gameplay loops are similar enough. I try to name everyone and make them real, but that means my NPC roster is growing quite large. I also try to create PC-NPC-PC triangles; but, again, my NPC roster is growing quite large.

What I have been thinking about doing is separating my NPCs into primary and secondary NPCs. The primary NPCs are those with PC-NPC-PC triangles and (probably) deserving of being threats. Secondary NPCs are NPCs the PCs know, but their relationship with them is superficial at best. It’s possible for secondary NPCs to become primary NPCs, but I think it would be unlikely for them to go the other way. When they do, they should have acquired a PC-NPC-PC triangle and become threats.

And to be honest, having not played Apocalypse World, I may be reading it wrong. I do like the utility that threats provide, and that’s why I’m writing Roark, but it gets a little exhausting to churn out three or more new threats after every session. Maybe I need a setting appropriate list of threat types and subtypes I can use. Perhaps that’s something I can do as preperation for my next campaign. It’s something to think about, anyway.