Let's face it, preparing for campaigns and encounters can be quite a time consuming process. You've got plot hooks, story arcs, battles and challenges to plan, then back-up plans for when your players inevitably manage to derail the whole thing. After doing all that, coming up with NPCs can seem like a downright chore. To help you out, I'll be putting together a valuable resource that can be tapped whenever the need for NPCs arise - one that includes character trait tables, NPC card templates, and an NPC of the Week feature - but I want your input!
This resource, the NPC Compendium, will consist of 3 key areas:
1. A set of tables containing various character traits
This is where I need your help. My goal is to create a series of lists of various character traits that will be shared on the site that can be used for easy reference and rolling up characters. (I'll have more details before the end of the year, but I have plans in the pipeline that include a random character generator application.)
What kind of traits am I looking for? Taking inspiration from a (completed) Kickstarter campaign (NPCs, Just Add Water), I'm looking for the five traits they use to define a character, plus "Personality". Here's the list:
- Personality: In 5 words or less, what's this person like? Excitable, grumpy, stoic, quick-tempered?
- Unique Trait: When someone encounters this character, what stands out? A scar, a look in their eyes, their stance, an emanating stench?
- Social Standing: Who is this person connected to? Family, friends, enemies, lovers, a traveling circus?
- Profession: How does this person get by in the world? Assassin, barmaid, gold-digger, all of the above?
- Heart's Desire: What drives this person? Love, power, money, collecting tea cups?
- Secret: Everyone has something that most people don't know about them. Sometimes the secret is unknown to the character itself. Is this person having an affair? Are they part of a secret league of assassins? Are they unknowingly the last living heir to a long, lost kingdom?
You can get me your ideas any number of ways - comment on this post, comment on Facebook, or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. Blank cards templates for easy tracking of NPCs
I've created a versatile NPC card template that should allow for you to track any characters that your players encounter. It includes a card with sections for each of the traits and blank cards that can be used for any additional notes or a drawing of the character.
3. Pre-generated NPCs
This December I will be introducing a new weekly feature, "NPC of the Week". Each week I'll release a new character that'll include 3 things:
- An image card: It's nice to put a face to a name and it can really help your players invest more in the character.
- A personal information card: Detailing everything you need to know about the character. Don't worry, there'll be a blank card too for additional notes.
- An accompanying miniature
Meet Mat Foster, the kind-hearted, respectable woodsman.
The NPC Compendium
I'm really excited about this project and I hope you all join me in making the NPC Compendium a great and useful tool for the gaming community. Don't forget to send me your ideas!
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