This is Part 4 of a Series on Emotion in Gaming. You can see the rest of this series here:
First of all, you need to be open minded. Forget that you’re playing a game. Forget that you’re not in an imaginary world. Forget the faces of your fellow players and GM. Forget that you even have physical senses. If you can sense the world you are gaming in through your mind’s eye, you are already above and beyond the majority of gamers.
Once this is done (in part or wholly) you can move onto the next step. Try to feel for the NPCs. Try to put yourself in their shoes. Think not of what they are doing but why they are doing it. If your GM is worth his salt, then he will have motivations for all his important (and therefore emotionally worthy) NPCs.
If you can get a feel for why they are doing what they are doing, you can assess whether this conflicts with, or agrees with your goals. Therefore, they may be one of four things: conflicting motivations and conflicting methods (outright enemies), conflicting motivations and agreeable methods (respectable enemies/opponents), agreeable motivations and conflicting methods (uneasy allies/’ends justify the means’), or agreeable motivations and agreeable methods (allies).
If you can place an NPC in one of these categories, you have the foundations for an emotional response. Will you hate them with all your being? Will you respect them but work against them? Will you help them but attempt to guide them to the right path? Or oppose them on principal? Or will you grow a friendship with them on common grounds?
Of course, this is only one method of growing emotional connections, and such things like love are a lot harder to emulate (and require a lot more work from both parties), but a very rewarding gaming experience can be made from such effort. Nothing is quite as memorable as a loved one who you are in conflict due to one or more of the above points in opposition.
I hope to talk to you again soon,