I think we can all agree that NPCs are important in an RPG. They give the players someone to interact with, they bring life into the world and they also make the players feel more like badarses. But a meatbag NPC with no depth is usually a boring NPC, and in Storm King’s Thunder’s (SKT) setting filled with chaos and giant threats there is a lot of material to flesh out your NPCs.
I’ll be starting off with the guards, as they’re one of the first things my players interacted with when I started SKT. Not every guard is the same, those that are trained and part of larger cities are more experienced and have more morale, whilst guards of smaller villagers will pale in comparison. Not all of them will be willing to jump right into a fight with giants, but all of them must. When they’re fighting in an encounter I suggest not making them all blindly charge at a giant or stand back in fear. Have most of them fight as normal, have a small few display some bravado, over-eager to prove themselves while some others stand back and appear hesitant to jump into the fight.
Creating a campaign, and moulding the world around it, is an amazing experience. You’re creating an entire world out of ideas in your head, and if you’re like me then you want it to be detailed with loads of maps and lore excerpts to accompany it before the campaign officially starts. If I had more time on my hands I would likely be drawing maps and making NPCs for days, in fact this is what I usually do. It actually becomes difficult to start the first session of the campaign because I just want to keep adding more to it.
If that was the case though the campaign would never start. Player enthusiasm might fizzle out and even I may get tired of working on the campaign, and so there’s a very useful skill which every DM (hopefully) possesses: A ton of self-restraint. This comes in many forms such as not killing off the party because you can, not railroading them into an encounter that you reallyreallyreally like, and simply starting the campaign despite the fact that you have to write-up a few more sentences on why the innkeeper has no hair.
It’s daunting DMing (Dungeon Master-ing) for the first time. Especially if your players are experienced, thankfully mine were not. There’s no one way to begin running a campaign, a big part of D&D relies on imagination and roleplay and there is no set way to handle that. So instead I’ll be sharing how I got started with my campaign.
I had some fun with this guy. For anyone that read the article on Navg the Pained, Greg is his replacement. The campaign got reworked into a naval one and Navg didn’t quite fit in. Thus the lovely Greg was born. He is the ships cook, and he makes really tasty food. Everyone thinks the food is tasty, and those who don’t usually get profusely cursed at and sometimes receive worse.
Pate is a Lawful good, 18 year old human. He was inspired by an AskReddit thread asking something along the lines of “You’re the NPC the main character meets at town, what quest do you give them?”. Someone said that they would get the character to fetch them super powerful magic weapons and armour, and also to train the NPC so that he could exact revenge upon a dragon. Once the character completes all the quest prerequisites the NPC would walk outside the town gates to approach his foe – a large and deadly dragon. The dragon will then immediately kill the NPC and the character will have to deal with the dragon, receiving the NPC’s equipment as the quest reward if they wished to loot the NPC they spent so much time helping.
Hmm, I feel like posting up the characters I come up with for d&d campaigns I play in. Maybe the NPC’s for my own campaign too, it could be interesting. It’ll certainly give me a reason to post more frequently.
Meet Navg the Pained, below you’l find the bio I’ve written up for his Roll20 bio. At the time of this post he’s a 3rd level wizard getting ready to make his way in the world, I didn’t feel like making your usual spell-caster who studies for ages then decides to go adventuring so I came up with this instead. There was something in the world lore about a beast, so that and Over the Garden Wall are what most inspired Navg. He’s sort of got that cliche tragic backstory, but let me know what you think nonetheless.
Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) started off as a tabletop game where the roll of a die would decide whether you are victorious or defeated. Now we can play online, websites like Roll20 make life easier for groups which live in different countries or have no access to D&D die. Something that we can also do in online D&D is hide dice rolls from players, and I’d like to talk about that for a bit.
Hiding the players’ own rolls adds suspense to the game, they don’t immediately know whether they hit or miss, bluff their way past a guard, break a lock or not. On the other hand there’s something about rolling your dice, and seeing what you roll, that adds to the tension of seeing your amazing, horrible or ‘meh’ rolls.