Thunderegg Productions has a roleplaying supplement called Character Webs. It’s a Lifepath Generator, aimed more at PC’s, but I immediately thought of UNE when I first heard about the supplement. Solo roleplaying, and indeed any type of roleplaying, is about exploration. The more depth and the more context there is, the more one can explore. UNE creates NPC’s that provide contemporaneous action, but a lot of the NPC’s past and future actions are still in the imaginative ether. Coupling UNE with Character Webs can add some more depth.
Step 0. I am going to use SS Hauptscharführer Hans Schusschnigg, an NPC from the GODLIKE adventure: Glazier, which I highly recommend as a one-shot or introduction to the game. The only facts I really have are that Schusschnigg is a Zed (cancels superpowers of other supersoldiers), and he’s in the Nazi army during World War 2. His stats make him somewhat smart and collected, and he seems a decent soldier.
Step 1. Rolling up the NPC in UNE, I get that Schusschnigg is a ‘conservative vagrant’. I am not sure how he is a vagrant (life, army, etc.) so I will go on to see if I can generate more ideas.
Character Webs. I then decide to switch gears before rolling motivations in UNE so I can get Schusschnigg’s lifepath.
Family Background: Mother dead, no siblings. Schusschnigg ran away from home in search of adventure. This is pretty convenient for his vagrant NPC noun.
Social Background: Class -Rulers, Wealth – Poor, Reputation – Respected, known for civic service. Seems legit. The kid runs away from home of a very respected blueblood family because their expected duty sounds boring to Schusschnigg. I wonder why he is poor. It could be because he was cut off from family funds after “throwing his life away” to the Nazi party. Perhaps when Schusschnigg’s mother died, her family (the power) cut the family off from their wealth. The family were Patrons of a specific educational institution making it unclear when Schusschnigg ran away.
Education Background: Got through (passed) an informal education in the wilderness with some sort of science, engineering, or medicine. Schusschnigg still has a relationship with his mentor. This puts the time of running away at least in the early teenage years, I would think. I am not sure what his education would be, and it also seems like even though his family were patrons of some university, Schusschnigg did not attend the university.
Work Background: Special duty in the arts, with exceptional rank and respectable reputation, and relocated. Well clearly, Schusschnigg wasn’t trained in the arts. He must have a scientific mind with an incredible imagination. Perhaps, Schusschnigg’s family is poor because he squandered his mother’s inheritance on traveling Europe and doing “art”.
Personal Relationships: Schusschnigg was not married, but he has three kids and poor personal assets. It feels like he traveled around Europe, used his artistic reputation to get in to bed with many a girl, and perhaps does not even have knowledge of these children. It is possible he joined the Nazi army because he is now poor and cannot afford the life of a playboy any longer. Perhaps because of his superpower, he had no noble “juice” to protect him from becoming enlisted.
I feel I have a pretty good idea on Schusschnigg’s lifepath and why he was a “vagrant”. I would guess he is conservative in his own assets, even if he would waste others. This feels right with what he does in the adventure too.
Step 3: Now I head back to UNE to get his current motivations. Given the depth I already have and Schusschnigg’s role in the adventure, I am just going to roll up one.
His motivation is “agonize the church”. This is laughable within the adventure, which I won’t spoil. I would say it makes his nervousness paramount and his actions well accounted for given his background. What I would guess is when he gained his GODLIKE superpower, he had a crisis of faith. He is probably not only agonizing over “the church”, but also his worthless younger years, which as of now he has nothing to show for (except three kids, which he doesn’t know about).
If the PC’s in Glazier have a chance to interact with Schusschnigg, they are going to meet a very interesting fellow.