Tips on How to Build an NPC

Creating an NPC can be a difficult task if you don’t really know where to start, but here at The Arcanery, we got you! Here are a few tips to help you jump start creating an NPC for your campaigns.

  1. Where are your players?This is a simple question but it truly helps with the beginning of this process. We don’t just wanna drop another random human in the mix. So where are your players? Are they in a tavern in the Underdark? Why not use one of the many Underdark races? Maybe your players are traveling therefore there are so many things you can create. In that case I’d ask myself…
  2. Where are your players going?You can create NPCs that foreshadow what they’re going to see in the next city or within the dungeon they’re headed to.
  3. What personality does this NPC have?A lot of the time we make NPCs that want to help guide our players to the next adventure, sell them supplies or aid them in their quest. Lets not forget there are more emotions out there. Why not have a strict shopkeeper that has a large sign that says “NO HAGGLING”? Or maybe an overly nice NPC that has a dark secret?
  4. Where does the NPC land in character building?After you figure out all of the above you then ask yourself where they land. By which I mean, do you need a stat block for this NPC or not. If this NPC is gonna go with your players on the adventure then you might need a to build out a sheet for them. If they are a shopkeeper you might just need the bare minimum which to me is Health, AC, and a few special abilities.

    And that’s it! Of course there can be so much more to building an NPC but these tips will certainly help you start creating more diverse and interesting NPCs for your campaigns. Check out A GMs Toolbox where we discuss in length about building NPCs with my friend Pat!

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