One of the ways to make a NPC dance is to include them saying and linking in anecdotes.
What is an Anecdote?An anecdote is a very short story that is significant to the topic at hand; usually adding personal knowledge or experience to the topic. Basically, anecdotes are stories. Like many stories, anecdotes are most often told through speech; they are spoken rather than written down.
Anecdotes, like other forms of stories, are common and highly effective devices found throughout literature, film, television, theater, and even real life, so include them in your RPGs. Anecdotes make conversations or dialogue more personal and interesting. Usually, they are employed in a way that will make the players laugh or think more deeply about a topic.
Examples of Anecdotes
Example 1Picture a mother and a father discussing whether or not to get a dog for the family. The father says:
You know, when I was a kid, my dog was my best friend. My childhood was better because of him.
The mother contemplates his story—a.k.a. his anecdote—and then agrees that they should get a dog.
Example 2Sometimes anecdotes are funny or effective because they interrupt an important moment. Imagine a big wedding dinner on a TV sitcom. The best man is giving a speech, when suddenly another guest, clearly drunk, stands up and yells:
That reminds me of a wild party I went to with the groom, before he got that new ball and chain! If you had told me back then that he would choose just ONE woman, I never would have believed it!
The audience laughs at his drunken anecdote, while the bride looks at the groom in anger. Here, the anecdote brings both humor and tension to the moment.
Example 3Anecdotes can be as simple as a relative joke. Picture a group of friends discussing their Halloween costumes for this year. One friend says:
I was an owl last year—it was a real hoot!
Her friends groan and giggle. Here, the anecdote is told just to bring laughter.
Example 4Sometimes anecdotes can bring up the past while also foreshadowing the future.
In the movie, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Gandalf shows the Fellowship the mines in Moria, where they tirelessly mined for Mithril, a valuable metal. He then shares a short relative story—an anecdote—about how Bilbo once had a shirt made of Mithril.
The audience already knows that Frodo now has that very shirt, thus Gandalf’s anecdote teaches the Fellowship something about Mithril while simultaneously foreshadowing that the shirt will be important in the future.