Friday, June 20, 2014

Friday Question: Reoccuring NPCs

I was reading through my some of my new gaming acquisitions, I've gotten another batch since Origins.  When I read through books I'm usually imagining how I can use this or that in my campaign world.  This morning I was thinking of NPCs I would use in certain places.  And it got me to thinking of reoccurring NPCs in my campaign.  I have a handful of them.  While their setting my change their personality and name remain the same.

Personality: This little angry guy always pops up in my campaigns.  He's an elderly man with bird like features.  He's a fundamentalist in one of the religions and has no tolerance for those who fail to meet his standards.  Especially those among his own faith.  He calls for extreme measures to be taken.

Setting: I've put him in a temple in the large cities, but I've also put him in small villages were he is the sole provider of religious guidance.

How I Play Him: Opulus is a wonderful foil to the party.  He is a non-combatant, but he is verbally aggressive and he gets people riled up.  His misguides his flock into indulgence when he is preaching about purifying by fire.  His motives are self-serving.  But his anger and conviction with which he speaks convinces others he is acting for the greater good.  The party often finds them on the opposite sides of his rants.

Personality: Max is a large man who is always a bartender.   He is laid back, doesn't get too riled up except if the bar is threatened.  A good brawl, he's okay with.  Draw weapons or if any fire start jumping around he'll pin you to the wall with his knight killer crossbow he always has under the bar.  Keep him on your good side, tip him well and you may find bits of information to your ear.

Setting: Always a tavern.  Max is always behind some bar in one of my campaigns.  He's my go to bartender.  The tavern is usually an adventurer's tavern with lots of eclectic folks milling about.

How I Play Him: Max doesn't talk too much to those folks he doesn't know.  He's polite, but doesn't engage.  After a few sessions with the players have hung out there, shared a story or two and have tipped him and his staff (he is very protective of his staff) well, he'll share information about what he's heard and he has an extensive adventuring background.  He is a great resource when the players need an important piece of information. 

Vander Gothridge

Personality:  Vander is arrogant and powerful.  He is usually outside the authority to nobility.  He is an entity they often fear to anger.  So he does as he pleases to who he pleases and very little can be done.  But he never does anything extreme or horrible.  He believes himself to be above everyone and they are nothing, but ignorant children.

Setting: Vander can be found nearly anywhere.  I often plop him in the main city of the campaign.  But he's been out adventuring also.  He usually travels alone.  Or he'll have a retinue of slaves.

How I Play Him: If you hadn't guessed this blog was named after this character from many years ago.  I don't play him all powerful, but he is a major force to be considered in my campaign.  Arrogant would be the first word I would describe him as.  But as the players might learn to hate him he is also known to save a village from a small horde of undead.  Not so much because he was saving the villagers, but because he hates undead.  Most leave him alone because some of his acts to benefit them greatly.  In one campaign he was a border lord with one castle in a mountain pass.  He and his men held back the tide of the great orc nation beyond the mountains.  And even though he was a giant pain in the ass, no one touched him.

So this is a short list of my go-to NPCs for my campaigns.  So Friday Question back at you, Do you have any go to NPCs that you've used in multiple campaigns?


  1. It's been a while, but while in college the RPG club I belonged to jointly decided to have a single NPC make his way through all the campaigns running at the time, despite changes in genre and rules as part of an over-arching plot.

  2. Interesting question. Here's one such character of mine...

    (Proprietor of 'Parson's Weapons & Re-Payers.')
    Personality: Parsons is rumored to be part trollish, but no one wanting to do business with him gets too personal. He tends to laugh off attempts to insult him, followed-up with a demonstration of some of his wares that tends to put an end to any such nonsense. He's a business-owner and doesn't care to waste time with dithering idiots who don't know what they want, but if asked politely, and if the request is backed up with something worthwhile in trade (almost always an exotic or special weapon; he doesn't need your money), then he will find something suitable for you from his private reserve, a cache of weapons no one else can offer.

    How I Play Him: Blunt, gruff and to-the-point arms dealer who specializes in the kinds of things you can't normally get around here. He manages to acquire, stock and make available a limited selection of various weapons and unique armaments that are illegal, banned, or in some cases deemed impossible. He doesn't care about the usual run-of-the-mill crap--he has barrels of swords, axes, etc. out front for the locals to paw over. That stuff bores him. He is very knowledgeable about all the fine points of smithing, metalworking, and a few other related fields, but prefers not to discuss such things with customers. The farther back you get in his shop, the better and more expensive (and dangerous) the wares on offer become. It helps that he isn't particularly bothered by laws or rules or other people's lesser expectations. Also, Parsons always keeps the best stuff for himself...something more than one former customer has learned the hard way.

  3. Definately. When I write up adventures, I often use crossover NPCs (as long as they haven't died). One of my favorites is Randawl Thewly, a tiresome mage whose name happens to be an anagram of...

  4. One, The Kneecapper, former enforcer for the Hobbits Thieves Guild. A retired PC of mine, he occasionally appears as a tavern owner serving as a source of information. Thanks for reminding me, it's about time he opens a tavern in Nuln.

  5. Cosmo the magic-item salesman from "Cosmo's curiosities"
    ( )
    is the main one.

    He may change a bit in the minor details of his various manifestations, but basically the same guy with the same name.

  6. I'm actually about to insert my first one. My players have no demihumans in their party and I'mplanning on having a halfling adventurer show up now and again. Sometimes to help, ssometimes to annoy. :-)