Bigger Bads: Rogue NPCs

Bigger Bads: Rogue NPCs

Monsters are great enemies, but humanoid NPCs can be the greatest enemies of all!

The SRD and Creature Codex provide some useful standard NPCs to throw at players, but there are holes in the power spread . . . let’s fill those up with more great options!

Options for Rogues

Thieves, scoundrels and other ne’er-do-wells are staples of the fantasy genre—ranging from heroic outlaws like Robin Hood to con artists like Locke Lamora and reluctant burglars like Bilbo Baggins. Gamemasters easily present these rogues as foes, anti-heroes, or convenient allies, skulking in alleys until they become relevant to the narrative.

The core game presents two NPC stat blocks to represent rogues in fantasy literature:

  • The spy (CR 1) is an unarmored sneak with the features of a 3rd-level rogue.
  • The assassin (CR 8) is the pinnacle of their craft, one of the deadliest humanoids in the core game.

Other Kobold Press products help round out the meager offerings from the core game. Creature Codex presents two CR 8 foes—the scorpion assassin and the thief lord. The adventure book 12 Peculiar Towers presents the mid-range guild thief (CR 4).

Several Scoundrels and Scallywags

Three new roguish NPCs expand our options: the bravo, the impersonator and the guild attorney.

Bravo

The bravo overlays roguish tendencies over the common thug. By bringing a razor sharp blade to the brawl, the bravo wades through the scrap until they take what they’ve come for. Many thieves’ guilds recruit young bravos, teaching them specialized skills to become proper guild members.

BRAVO

Medium Humanoid (Any Race), Any Alignment
Armor Class 13 (leather)
Hit Points 27 (6d8)
Speed 30 ft.

STRDEXCONINTWISCHA
10 (+0)15 (+2)13 (+1)12 (+1)10 (+0)10 (+0)

Skills Acrobatics +4, Perception +4, Sleight of Hand +4, Stealth +6
Senses Passive Perception 14
Languages Any one language and Thieves’ Cant
Challenge 1/2 (100 XP)  Proficiency Bonus +2

Sneak Attack. Once per turn, the bravo deals an extra 3 (1d6) damage when it hits a target with a weapon attack and has advantage on the attack roll, or when the target is within 5 feet of an ally of the bravo that isn’t incapacitated and the bravo doesn’t have disadvantage on the attack roll.

Actions

Dagger. Melee or Ranged Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft. or range 20/60 ft,, one target. Hit: 4 (1d4 + 2) slashing damage.

Bonus Actions

Dust in the Eyes (1/short or long rest). The bravo tosses sand, dust, or some other irritant into the eyes of a creature within 10 ft. The target creature must make a DC 12 Constitution saving throw or be blinded for one minute. The target creature can use its action to clean its eyes, ending this condition.

Sidestep. The bravo can move up to half its speed without incurring opportunity attacks.


Impersonator

The impersonator is a guild member who readily imitates others with a bit of makeup and an appropriate costume. Impersonators are used to infiltrate banks, prisons and high society events, often intimidating or assassinating the guild’s enemies before making audacious escapes from the scene of the crime.

Guilds often recruit impersonators from failed or down on their luck actors, whose need for coin outstrips whatever scruples they may once have held.

IMPERSONATOR

Medium Humanoid (Any Race), Any Alignment
Armor Class 14 (leather armor)
Hit Points 44 (8d8 + 8)
Speed 30 ft.

STRDEXCONINTWISCHA
10 (+4)16 (+3)13 (+1)14 (+2)14 (+2)15 (+2)

Skills Deception +6, Insight +6, Intimidation +4, Perception +4, Persuasion +6, Stealth +5
Senses Passive Perception 14
Languages Any three languages and Thieves’ Cant
Challenge 3 (700 XP)     Proficiency Bonus +2

Adroit Retreat. The impersonator has advantage on ability checks and saving throws made while trying to flee combat. 

Donned Persona. After spending at least 1 minute observing a target creature, the impersonator creates a convincing portrayal of the target creature. The impersonator has advantage on all ability checks made to stay in character of a donned persona.

Sneak Attack. Once per turn, the impersonator deals an extra 10 (3d6) damage when it hits a target with a weapon attack and has advantage on the attack roll, or when the target is within 5 feet of an ally of the impersonator that isn’t incapacitated and the impersonator doesn’t have disadvantage on the attack roll.

Actions

Dagger. Melee or Ranged Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft. or range 20/60 ft,, one target. Hit: 5 (1d4 + 2) slashing damage, and the target must make a DC 13 Constitution saving throw against poison or have all its speeds halved. The target creature must repeat the saving throw at the start of its next turn or fall asleep.


Guild Attorney

The guild attorney represents a guild’s legitimate business interests, and defends the members who have run afoul of the first rule of crime—“don’t get caught.” The guild attorney fights their battle with words, whether spoken or written.

GUILD ATTORNEY

Medium Humanoid (Any Race), Any Alignment
Armor Class 16 (glamoured breastplate)
Hit Points 85 (10d8 + 40)
Speed 30 ft.

STRDEXCONINTWISCHA
10 (+0)13 (+1)14 (+2)18 (+4)16 (+3)17 (+3)

Skills Deception +5, History +6, Investigation +7, Insight +6, Intimidation +5, Persuasion +5
Senses Passive Perception 13
Languages Any four languages
Challenge 5 (1,800 XP)  Proficiency Bonus +3

Special Equipment. The guild attorney is using the glamoured breastplate armor and handy briefcase.

Actions

Multiattack. The guild lawyer Blathers and then makes a Quill attack.

Blather. The guild lawyer speaks 15 ft. cone of archaic words of law. Any creature in the cone who hears the guild lawyer must make a DC 14 Wisdom saving throw. On a failed save, a creature takes 18 (4d8) psychic damage and is incapacitated until the end of its next turn. On a successful save, the creature takes half as much damage and isn’t incapacitated.

Quill. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 3 (1d4 + 1) slashing damage, and the target creature must make a DC 15 Intelligence saving throw. On a failed save, the guild lawyer is invisible to the target creature until the start of its next turn. 

Compelling Oration. The guild lawyer addresses one or more target creatures within 30 ft. regarding a matter of law or equity. Any target creature who can understand the guild lawyer must make a DC 14 Charisma saving throw or be charmed for 1 minute by the guild lawyer’s persuasive argument. This effect ends until the guild lawyer or its allies do anything harmful to the charmed creature.

New Magic Item

A guild attorney is seldom sighted in public without their signature handy briefcase.

Handy Briefcase

Wondrous Item, Rare (Attunement Required)

This brown leather satchel is 11 by 14 by 4 inches, closed by adamantine latches and carried by an ivory handle. It functions like a handy haversack, but has 5 charges.

  • You can expend 1 charge to retrieve a mundane item of your choosing worth up to 50 gp, which are commonly contracts or legal tomes.
  • You can expend 3 charges to instead retrieve a common magic item of your choosing.

Anything you pull from the briefcase must ordinarily fit inside the briefcase.

<<PREVIOUSLY


About Benjamin Eastman

Benjamin L. Eastman was introduced to D&D by his four closest friends—who immediately betrayed his trust by sacrificing his first character to a demonic artifact. Undeterred, he’s played all manner of RPGs in the intervening years. In addition to writing Warlock lairs and monsters for Kobold Press, he’s contributed to the Stargate RPG and Americana, and co-authored DMs Guild adventures including Baby Tarrasque. He is perhaps proudest of the bar brawl—his first published monster in the Creature Codex

2 thoughts on “Bigger Bads: Rogue NPCs”

  1. You’re evil ! You brought LAWYERS into the game !!
    LOL good additions, you forgot the Shadow Fey Bandit while it’s niche is the shadow realm it could be reworked for the material world.

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