View Full Version : NPCs Players Loved

Lycan 01
2010-01-17, 04:36 PM
Its the DMs job to make up NPCs and supporting characters. Everything from a recurring DMPC all the way to Man #3 in the back row of the church they visited for 5 minutes during last week's session. Sometimes we put a ton of work into a character, sometimes we write them down during a moment of inspiration, but usually we just pull their existance from nowhere.

But every now and then, the players decide that an NPC is just awesome. Maybe the DMPC impresses them, and they enjoy their entertaining actions during encounters and memorable scenes. Maybe they invited Man #3 along with them for a trip to the next town, and he turned out to be a retired dragon hunter with tons of awesome stories. Or maybe that joke character you made up off the top of your head turns out to be the best NPC they've ever met, and they jump for joy every time he makes a cameo.

So... Who are some NPCs your players have simply loved?

The character my players probably loved the most had to be Commissar Prost.

It was the first session I ever ran for Dark Heresy, and the players were on board an Imperial Guard transport ship. They witnessed a fight between some Guardsmen, and then Commissar Prost showed up to break it up by casually blasting one guy in the face.

She was partially a serious character, and partially a joke. She was a beautiful woman with striking features, a form-fitting uniform, and short black hair. She was also extremely strict, lacked a sense of humor, and quite trigger-happy with her bolt pistol. Also, Prost meant "Toast" in German, or so I thought, since I'd react a comic where a bunch of Nazis said "Prost!" when they toasted their drinks to victory. So yeah, she was a pretty but scary woman who's name meant Toast.

The players fell in love. They were terrified of her, but they were impressed by the sheer awesome she exuded. So when they investigated a space hulk, Commissar Prost led the team they were attached to. Well, the team gets split up by mutants, and they later discover she's been captured. I had them crawl through an air vent over the room she was held in, and I decided to see if they'd rescue her or keep going. There was no question - they went in guns blazing. One of the Guardsman, a Ratling named Rizzo, had joined the mutants and had actually been taunting Prost. Well, in the chaos of the attack, Prost broke loose and charged at Rizzo. I decided to put the icing on the awesome cake, so rather than grab a gun or anything, she simply ran up, backhanded the gun from his hands, and then grabbed the short mutant by the throat. She then lifted him up off the table he was standing on, and stared coldly into his terrified eyes as the life slowly drained from them. She then crushed his trachea, just to be sure, before casually tossing his body aside and returning her attention to the two Inquisitors standing slack-jawed in the corner.

In fact, one of my players was asking me last night if Commissar Prost would be returning any time soon. :smallbiggrin:

2010-01-17, 06:31 PM
My players loved a high level NPC Knight that I named Derfel. They met him while they were still low level and came to respect him as their superior. As they came closer to his level, they still treated him as a close friend and advisor.

2010-01-17, 07:40 PM
I have had a couple NPCs that the players took a great liking to. They where all in a D&D game I ran last year.

Rodrick Spider-bane
The first was the lord of town, Rodrick Spider-bane. I didn't name him 'Spider-bane', that was them. He was the Lord of Lorestone, the town they decided to set up their mercenary company in. He did nothing to earn their respect but they decided that he was a totally awesome badass. They created a bunch of lore related to him and thus he continued to be mentioned throughout the campaign.

A magically enslaved, almost mindless girl (it would require a long explanation to explain why) who the party encountered in the aftermath of a giant attack. First they were absolutely terrified of her due to the sorceresses in the setting being significantly more powerful than normal. Eventually they killed the boy who owned her and decided to free from her magical slavery. They then went on adventures specifically to teach her how to be a normal person instead of a mindless automaton. One of the characters became her father figure, his death near the end of the game was very sad. Often the players would stop me from moving on to the next in-game day because they wanted to introduce her to some new concept or get her thoughts on some topic.

Crimson was another formerly enslaved sorceress who had already learned how to be a person. She had a massive mercenary company which she was using to try to conquer a country so she could abolish slavery. The party really liked her because she treated them with respect. She ended up becoming one of their most important allies. So much so that they embarked on a quest to free her from an imprisonment spell.

2010-01-17, 07:41 PM
As part of an adventure hook to my campaign, I had the players defend a small village against "bothersome" goblins.

The threat ended up being largely under-exaggerated and they found themselves pitted against a force they hadn't planned for.

The village had a solider that doubled as the head military man, and the village mayor. Captain Freeznar, ended up being the go-to guy in the village. He was strong, capable, and no-nonsense, but also patient, and concerned for the lives of his militia soldiers, and the regular villagers.

A series of events lead to the complete destruction of the village by some mystical warriors, while the players were away exterminating the goblin threat.

The players ran back to the village, and found its inhabitants murdered horribly. Captain Freeznar was the only truly competent soldier in the village prior to the players' arrival. They found him barely alive, hiding in the nearby forest.

They healed him, and he strongly urged the players to flee the region, because it was surmised by the players, that the Lord who had hired them, had a hand in sending the mystical warriors against the village.

Freeznar, on the other hand, pledged to leave in the other direction, to the nearest Fortress, where he said he would report the events that took place, and hoped to determine their origin with certainty.

Though the players technically succeeded in their mission to destroy the goblin threat, they utterly failed in the implicit requirement that the village not be destroyed, so they fled the region.

At one point, they stumbled upon a Knight that hailed from the region they were avoiding. Most of the players decided to keep their mouths shut, but one of them decided to ask a few poorly worded questions that lead the knight to figure out just who they were. Though he couldn't arrest or detain them, because he had no such rights in the current region, the knight vowed to send soldiers against the players who had that power, which he did.

I was surprised when the players said that they wanted to send a letter to Freeznar, updating him on the situation, and asking for his help. I didn't think that he would be quite as memorable as he ended up being.

That adventure arc sadly fell through due to RL issues, but I started a new adventure, using the same general campaign, set in the future. Some of the people I was now playing with, were the same people from the original campaign. When I alluded to Freeznar's existence in this game world, they got excited, which made me happy. :smallsmile:

2010-01-17, 07:45 PM
I have had a couple NPCs that the players took a great liking to. They where all in a D&D game I ran last year.

A magically enslaved, almost mindless girl (it would require a long explanation to explain why) who the party encountered in the aftermath of a giant attack. First they were absolutely terrified of her due to the sorceresses in the setting being significantly more powerful than normal. Eventually they killed the boy who owned her and decided to free from her magical slavery. They then went on adventures specifically to teach her how to be a normal person instead of a mindless automaton. One of the characters became her father figure, his death near the end of the game was very sad. Often the players would stop me from moving on to the next in-game day because they wanted to introduce her to some new concept or get her thoughts on some topic.

Addie sounds like an NPC I would have really liked too.

Lycan 01
2010-01-17, 08:00 PM
Indeed. It sounds like she'd make the game quite interesting. Did they teach her random stuff like table manners and how to barter for goods? :smalltongue:

And what happened when the player died? I'm curious now. :smallconfused:

2010-01-17, 08:03 PM
My players are divided on which NPCs they love, but there's one they all love to hate: Mrs. Tiersen. She's a middle-aged woman who is in charge of the supplies for the village the party is trying to defend, and she doesn't see much point in all of their hero-ing. Half the time they come back with broken items and depleted supplies. What good is saving an orphan when the village guards now have less ammunition to defend everyone with when an attack comes?

The players dread arguing supplies out of her before they leave on missions. And they really do the "take everything that isn't nailed down, then pry the rest up and take the nails" thing whenever they're adventuring, just to make sure they have something to bring back to her that she'll think is worthwhile.

Even the player who can't even remember his fellow party member's names half the time, remembers her name.

2010-01-17, 09:45 PM
Indeed. It sounds like she'd make the game quite interesting. Did they teach her random stuff like table manners and how to barter for goods? :smalltongue:

And what happened when the player died? I'm curious now. :smallconfused:

They taught her life things. One of her first lessons was how to sleep, they never succeeded at that. It was mostly teaching her how to be social by example but every now and then they would decide to teach her something like comedy or about love. Those were always hilarious.

Kruz was the party barbarian who had thrown off his barbarian roots to become more civilized. He acted as Addie's father figure. His death at the very end of the second to last session caused her to go on a murderous rampage through the villain's army, after she blew up his murderer of course.

2010-01-18, 01:21 AM
my NPC was a surprisingly resilient pikeman

name: palace guard number 3, aka that guy with the pointy stick
class: fighter
feats:Shield and Pike Style, improved shield bash, two-weapon fighting
his equipment: full plate, spiked light shield, Awl pike, luck (lots of it)

basically my PCs failed their quest to contain a high level horde of monsters and ended up fighting them off in a castle highway (chokepoint) while the rest of the castle's population ran away through a secret tunnel

of course the castle had mooks/guards to "help" with their task and they did a fair job of piling up their corpses in an orderly manner but 1 guy, a random mook I called number 3 to be exact, just wouldn't go down

of course he was buffed at the time (the cleric used a trick to grant greater magic weapon and magical vestment to anyone within 10 ft, he just happened to be there) and the Bard hasted everyone and kept inspiring them too

anyway, this guy , somehow, after seeing 9 of his buddies die or fail their will save and cower in fear, succeeded every will save he had to make and he survived wave after wave of fighting, something like 20-25 rounds of battle (he could have died in 1 or 2 blows from nearly any critter involved) he couldn't even land a blow unless he rolled a natural 20, and somehow he never died

every roll I threw against him failed,and after a couple of minutes it became a running gag

the joke is his pike (reach 15) kept getting AoO (most of which failed miserably) but he prevented 1 spell from being cast that could have hurt a lot, had he not been there my PCs fate was questionable

anyway, number 3 never earned a name (couldn't think of anything), became a paladin and set off on a quest of is own after his castle fell (with no kingdom to serve, the whole royal family killed, he figured he would find a worthy cause somewhere)

a running gag was that , every time the PCs entered a city, they heard the tales of the guy with the pike (which became a lance once he got his steed) and finally I had him close the gate to hell my PCs failed to close

by himself

having no royal family left well, you can guess who became king

the whole thing became a joke of course (a la Chuck Norris, O'Chul) and they kept asking about what happened to him so I kept piling it up until I figured he might as well become royalty

2010-01-18, 01:56 AM
My players really seem to like Kega, the half-orc captain of the guard, stuck with a desk job (Int of 12). When they first met him, he was at his desk with a mug of coffee, looking frustrated with his rather high stack of paperwork, looking longingly at his double-axe mounted on the wall. He hired the PCs for some jobs, and they started to uncover a conspiracy and took the investigation into their own hands, which Kega approved of; he was sick of all the red tape and was glad to meet people who could get things done. Whenever they visited him, regardless of the hour, he was still in his office, usually sighing, his stack of paperwork even taller. Eventually the gnome wizard PC, who was a professor at the magic college, hired an undergrad to work as Kega's secretary.

With his paperwork problem taken care of, he was free to get some sleep and do some street work. When some of the PCs were captured, the rest of the party asked Kega to join the rescue effort, to which he gladly accepted. I handed one of the captured players his character sheet, and he noticed that I accidentally left some skill points unspent, so he put them in craft(coffee).

2010-01-18, 02:24 AM
I don't think any of my NPC's were ever liked much... except from that goat...
yeah... a goat.

Realms of Chaos
2010-01-18, 03:08 AM
Okay, I've got a reeeaaallllly weird one.

A primarily Neutral Good party of mine once fell in love with my chaotic-evil salesman named Estebon (not literally in love, but you know what I mean).

Estebon's shop was filled with disfunctional, cursed, and mislabelled items and he was greasier than a black pudding but the party ate up everything he said. One of the party members died using a disfunctional item, another was cursed by an intelligent -2 sword named Dandello, and a third bought a vial of "soap" that happened to include some black lotus extract. The funny part is that the soap's secret was discovered with the player shoved it in an orc's mouth as a gag (the players went back to buy all the soap in stock soon afterwards). That's not even mentioning the yellow bag of tricks (a bag of illusory elephants), the well in his back yard that was used in the invasion of the town (the party never suspected him for some reason, even afterwards :smallconfused:), and the donkey that they stole from him when he admitted that it he was "holding it for a friend". Everybody loved Estebon.:smallbiggrin:

2010-01-18, 03:15 AM
The Cow. Just "The Cow." They found it while they were wandering lost through the wilderness, two days from the nearest plot hook, after deciding not to take the road in case "someone" was waiting for them. They kept it as a pack animal, until, in dire straits after doing something dumber than usual, the ranger slapped it on the hindquarters and asked if it gored anything. At which point I said, "Gored? With what is it going to gore something? I said cow, not bull."

The next time they were in town, they commissioned a set of metal horns that they strapped to the poor thing's head...and set out with the explicit purpose of finding something to aim the pointy cow at. Two sessions and several failed handle animal checks later, they've gotten back to the actual plot. They still have the cow carrying their ill-gotten gains. They find, in the ruins they're exploring, a 10-foot wide corridor, lined with jackal-headed guards. They push the cow into the door, poke it with the fighter's flaming sword, and roll a natural 20 on their Handle Animal check. It proceeds to run down the corridor, knocking over or killing most of the guards. At this point, I resolved that, at least for this party, there were indeed actions which automatically failed.

2010-01-18, 03:21 AM
Oh, yes. Eddie, the Divine Chaos Mouse...

A Rank 0 deity mouse, who had a special ability called "Divine Chaos". He randomly emulated the effects of a Rod of Wonder, and over time energy built up in him that released itself in different ways. This is a short bit I wrote at random about him, as a vague idea of what being around Eddie was like.

There is an opium den deep in the land of Tso'chuk, where the feudal goblinoid lords rule. This opium den is like many, many others, except for one new feature. Hiding in a corner is a small, purple-furred mouse. In front of this unusual rodent is a trio of graybeards with long whiskers and rich robes, providing no escape for Eddy the Divine Chaos Mouse. All Eddy knows is that he woke up in this strange place, surrounded by colossal alien creatures. One of the graybeards speaks up after taking a drag off of his pipe, giggling inanely. "Akihito's stock is very good today. Never before have I seen such a thing!" The one next to him, considerably less blitzed, smacks him on the back of the head.
"Don't be a fool, this is no hallucination! We must fetch a priest to identify this creature. This is no ordinary mouse." The two sober graybeards leave their friend alone inside, having themselves pulled by passenger cart to the temple. The priests are skeptical at first, but they convince one to investigate. When they enter the opium den, they find their friend giggling again, reaching for butterflies which now fly about the building by the hundreds, his body turned a bright shade of green and covered in blooming flowers. Eddy still sits cowering in the corner, and he is surrounded by tiny gemstones. The slaves are baffled by the display, having only recently entered the room after doing their chores.
The priest becomes very excited after the shock wears off, moving to Eddy's corner. "Truly, this is a blessing from the gods! We must take this creature to the temple, where it will be safe!" As the priest reaches for Eddy, he lets out a distorted warble of a squeal, and blue and purple flames enshroud the priest's body. The priest screams and begins batting at the flames, until he realizes that the flames do not burn. Astonished, he looks down at his hands, turning them over. "Faerie fire. Oh, what a fool I am!" Slowly and precisely, the priest reaches for Eddy, his hands snapping to grab the terrified magical rodent. The priest is consumed in a conflagration of roaring flames, and the graybeards and slaves scream and try to run, but the building shoots up in flames as additional fireballs erupt. An entire block burns as water is brought from wells to extinguish the raging flames, and scurrying past the feet of the firefighters is Eddy, unscathed.

My players loved the teeny little ball of fluff, randomness, and destruction that they keep asking me if he's going to show up in my current campaign.

(Also, they got lucky with Eddie. In another part of the world, there was a giant green elephant that breathed fire that destroyed a couple of towns and villages.)

2010-01-18, 03:23 AM
On vacation with a bunch of friends I ran a short D&D campaign. It began in an elven village that is suddenly attacked by Gythyanki slavers and the PC's, being the last alive and still putting up a fight, are taken to fight in their pits. Well, almost the last alive. One elven commoner, level 1, survived the fight as well and even scored a killing blow with his longsword. When they were thrown into the fights they asked if he would be joining them. I figured he would die instantly as level 12 combat isn't built for 1st level commoners.

Well, he lived through the first round. And the second. And every round there after. The players insisted I include him in the experience process, and he scavenged loot off the dead. He ended up hitting 11th level, had the wealth by level of a 14th level PC and killed an ogre in single combat. All with levels in commoner and a ludicrous amount of luck.

His name? Well, the PC's started calling him Cody Adams, for whatever reason. After the PC's escaped they reasoned that he ended up becoming champion of the pits before leading an uprising against the Gyth and returning home to become king.

2010-01-18, 01:05 PM
I have an NPC players seem to drag everywhere. His original role was to be little more than a contact for the PC's and a secret organization and provide a relativley small amount of extra fire(very small actually, he didn't really do lasting damage for close to half a dozen fights).

They seem to drag him everywhere they go. When the party split for a bit and re united the player who left asked where he went since nobody brought him.

It probably says bad things about me that I'm considering killing him horribly for no reason other than to see what happens.

2010-01-18, 01:17 PM
Let's see:

One PC loved my overconfident warblade that followed the party (claiming they were his cohorts, despite his lower level). The other two tried to cause him to commit suicide on two occasions, and laughed at the results (yes 40d6 damage did not kill him).

The others loved the wizard/druid that joined the party. He was a bit of a DMPC (explicitly my character) but the party liked him. They made his tiger the mascot and after it was replaced made me put it back in as an awakened ranger (this was a unanimous demand).

They was also Zalnos the Elf Ardent put in as a premade character for a one-shot (with one of the normal PCs and 3 NPCs to be played by the party). They recruited him back as a cohort because they liked him so much. Thought about doing the same to the old man from the same adventure but he had retired.

There was also Uskgix the rust dragon wyrmling they raised (he ended up LG) and a Duskblade. And Granwich the goblin artificer they bought his egg from (CN?) and kept coming back to (even though he'd alternate between giving them discounts and overcharging them massively).