Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Creating an NPC

The following is an example of what I do with NPCs in my campaign.  Random inspirations come to me so I just write them down, flesh it out a bit so when the players interact there is some depth to the NPC.  Stereotypes are fun to play with.  Use the expectations of a stereotype and twist it just enough to make it interesting.  And if I'm really in a groove I can even hear how that NPC will speak.  So I will write down phrases the NPC might say and then clip on 'sounds like a drunk John Clease'.  The final touch is to add on four to five adventure hooks onto an NPC.  I try to keep these simple, but interesting (I hope).  This gives the NPC a feeling that he is living a life and things are happening and he is doing things.  Because of this, its easier to engage the players with the NPC.  One adventure hook could be a simple fetch quest while another may be an overarching situation that NPC will be dealing with for years. 

So without further ado...heeerrrreeee's Peter!


Peter the Painter

                If you’re in need of a portrait of a loved one, a landscape for an empty space on the wall or a memento for a special occasion Peter is not your man.  Peter is painter of horrific creatures and fantastic places.  Normal painting does not interest him.  He follows the stories and myths for his next masterpiece. 
                Peter is a halfling that comes from a prestigious family so he can indulge in his personal pursuits without worry of money.  He travels from village to town or remote location to find the latest monstrosity.  He usually travels with adventuring groups he trusts.  For a while he traveled with the Black Fist mercenary company and became an honorary member.  Peter is good with a sling and knife, but these skills are used for hunting small game.  He will avoid getting into a direct fight.
                When Peter travels he has his small covered wagon.  Inside the wagon are his painting supplies and his collection of paintings.  Currently he has 23 different creatures captured on canvas.  These are protected in watertight tubes.  He also keeps a 1000gp in a locked chest for supplies and to hire guards when he travels. 

Peter (Painter: halfling, male, 3’7”, 100 lbs, blond hair, gray eyes, a wisp of a mustache)
                Peter travels to keep his inspiration fresh and to keep ahead of the problems he creates.  Peter can’t help but spinning a tale or two to get people to do what he wants.  Especially women.  He enjoys playing the aw shucks artist whose passion for painting acts as an aphrodisiac on the ladies.  He starts with sketches of a woman then claims she is the most beautiful he’s ever seen.  If she is married it makes the game more enjoyable.  To make matters worse when high on ale he will give details about his conquests.  He’s had several narrow escapes with husbands and boyfriends, but Peter relishes the danger. 
                Peter makes friends easy and enjoys being around others.  He makes people like him and is generous with buying a round of drinks or sharing a tale around the fireplace.  When he manipulates people he is good at playing dumb or offering them payment for their trouble.  Trying to get the entire truth out of him is difficult because he is a natural liar. 

Adventure Hooks

I’ve heard something interesting.
Peter has heard that a blood beast inhabits the nearby forest.  He desperately wants to paint it.  He will try to convince the players to escort him and make up a rumor about a great treasure it guards.

Damn the nobles.
                A young noble, Sir Geoffrey Downton, was privileged to see a few of Peter’s paintings from his private collection.  He wants Peter to paint a mural in his manor, but Peter politely refused the offer.  Sir Geoffrey wants the players to capture Peter and return him to the manor, unharmed.  Peter is with a group of friends from the Black Fist mercenary company.  They are planning a hunt for a strange creature in a mountain ruins.  They will not allow Peter to be taken without a fight.  If the party does not return with Peter, Sir Geoffrey will make their lives difficult. 

Yes, I said Uvom.
Peter needs a fresh batch of pigments especially one called Uvom.  It is a difficult pigment to find, but Peter knows where it can be located.  Uvom is made from the feces of a creature called Aduvom.  An Aduvom is the size of a dog with powerful jaws that can burrow into the earth.  They are aggressive and travel in packs.  Peter needs as much as the players can collect.  He will pay well.

Broken Peter.
                Peter is found beaten and stabbed in the middle of the street. He will need immediate attention or die.  No one saw what happened, but the players will spot someone in the distance watching and then take off when he notices the players.  Koren, a street urchin, saw what happened.  He will be difficult to find since he knows the streets well.  If caught, it will take a bribe or intimidation to get him to speak.  He knows Peter has been visiting the home of a well-known merchant while that merchant was at his shop.  Jorran is a well-known local merchant with a bad temper.  Peter has been having an affair with his wife and Jorran found a small nude sketching of her and hunted the halfling down.