This week “N” stands for Non Player Characters. That’s right – it’s time to finally step up and recognize the little guys! Your NPCs really do have names, ya know. They have feelings. But yeah, they can die too. Let’s see how Ben invites them into his game.
The printed page is always a great place to start your NPC search. A couple of books come to mind including the amazing the Citybook All-system Catalyst Series. While their format is kinda dungeon-delve-style, all their books are filled with amazing NPC options (like Dr. Gopp and his Traveling Emporium of Medical Wonders). Ben also came really, really close to nabbing the “Masks: 1,000 Memorable NPCs for Any Roleplaying Game” book but about a 1/3 of the book was non-D&D related (and concern arose about his Gen Con suitcase weight).
The digital age brings us FantasyMuse by Rasmus Rasmussen – a kick ass iPhone app that randomly generates NPCs at the flick of a finger. The app randomly generates content for fantasy writers and gamers. It’s certainly worth a download thanks to its character outlines, quick factions and quest seeds. And as a Pile reader, you can win a free copy of FantasyMuse. Just send Ben a tweet using the hashtag #MusingPile before his next blog posting. He’ll randomly pull one lucky winner.
Ben’s group can’t remember jack so they use colorful cards to make NPCs and their impact on the game more productive. Thankfully, Google Images gives you plenty of photo firepower to find the right face (remember – everything is better with a visual). Ben uses the back of the card to note key facts and traits. You can download our PSD template here. GameMastery Face Cards also give you a slick out-of-the-box option. And if nostalgia’s your game, don’t forget to try the ol’ AD&D trading cards (often found on ebay) for an NPC face.
And finally, every NPC needs an eye popping miniature. So with that read, enjoy Ben’s lineup of usual NPC suspects.
Writer’s Note: A special Twitter acknowledgement and writer’s block thanks to David for this week’s letter suggestion.
Questions to Ponder: Do you have a memorable NPC? If so, what was it about that character in particular that stroke a chord? How do you name your NPCs? How large a role do NPCs play in your D&D game?