Are you playing through the Scarlet Citadel campaign solo or with a smaller than average table group? Is your party composition lacking in a certain skill set that you want to shore up? Does your GM want new NPCs to fill out the adventure?
Why not try hirelings? Hirelings are the NPCs you can trust—as long as you pay them on time for their services and don’t get in the way of their personal goals.
As supporting characters or loose plot threads, hirelings offer another element to any adventure by beefing up a party’s numbers. They also provide the GM a mouthpiece for natural exposition and juicy dilemmas.
This article offers three NPCs tailored for the Scarlet Citadel (but useable just about anywhere), in the new Tales of the Valiant format for NPC statistics and information. You could even use this as a template to make your own NPCs for this or any other adventure!
PAP BENDEGŪZ, DWARF COMMONER
Flickering grey eyes that waver like candle flame. Ruddy brown hair and a muttonchop beard. Wears a tunic, breeches, and riding boots that are recently mended but clearly worn past their season of fashionability. His backpack is stuffed with books, torches, and candles.
Personality Traits: Obsessed with history, plagued by worry, preoccupied by little distractions.
Bonds: “An heirloom of my family was lost when my great aunt perished. I need to retrieve it if I am to be redeemed.”
Flaws: Fragile. Pacifistic. Afraid of the dark.
Wants: To find Hildur’s War Pick.
Hiring Pap: Pap can be found at the Cage Inn and Tavern from the beginning, eager for someone to hire him for a foray into the Scarlet Citadel. Pap asks for 35 gp in payment per week as a hireling, but can be easily haggled down to half that if a negotiator appeals to his eagerness to explore the ruins.
Pap’s Secret: Pap’s real name is Harcho Hildursson. His family cast him out, holding him responsible for a family tragedy. He keeps his name secret because he expects the Hildur Estate Fire is well known in recent history. Pap thinks finding his family’s lost heirloom will redeem him in his family’s eyes.
Pap in Exploration: Pap is proficient in History, Investigation, Perception, and Stealth, but he’s also quite happy to simply carry a torch or lantern.
Pap in Combat: Pap refuses to take the Attack action but he can use the following weapon option once per long rest, when he is carrying a torch or lantern. His save DC for this weapon option is 13.
New Weapon Option: Sudden Brilliance
Requires a torch or a hooded or bullseye lantern
As an action, while you wield a torch or lantern in one hand, you can force all creatures within 15 feet of you that can see you to succeed on a CON save or be blinded until the beginning of your next turn. Your light source then expires.
INGLETRUDE FINNAWICH, RIVERFOLK DRUID
Wild green eyes and even wilder red hair, dramatically styled like a patch of untrimmed brushgrass. Wears the pelt of badger like a cloak and carries herself with all the feral swagger of one. Her backpack is a little more than a drum of sewn together bones.
Personality Traits: “Arguing is a sport and I refuse to lose.” Probably should have been a barbarian.
Bonds: “Danaska Maksilov turned my friend into an ooze. I’ve come all the way from Khorsburg to return the ‘favor’.”
Flaws: One bad day away from thunderwaving everything into oblivion, collateral be damned.
Wants: To make her nemesis suffer.
Hiring Ingletrude: Ingetrude arrives in Redtower after the PCs return from their first foray in the Scarlet Citadel, either arguing with Ariadne at the Cage Inn and Tavern over the proper way of mixing her favorite drink (a kobold fashioned) or outside the Temple to Yarila and Porevit, arguing with Synnana about the maintaining the balance of nature. Either scene can establish Ingeltrude as hothead.
It isn’t until the PCs head back to the Scarlet Citadel and run into an encounter with Ingeltrude versus 1d6 + 2 bandits that the druid agrees to join forces. All Ingeltrude requires in compensation is first and last shot at her rival, the conniving brew-witch, Danaska.
Ingeltrude in Exploration: Ingeltrude is knowledgeable in divination magic and can help by casting the ritual spells detect poison and disease, speak with animals, and locate animals and plants. She can also change shape into a rat to navigate small spaces and scout ahead.
Ingeltrude in Combat: When threatened, Ingeltrude prefers to change shape into a wolf. She only taps into spellcasting when she is really mad or in serious danger. If she heals or protects another character with spells like cure wounds and barkskin, she passes judgment on whether she thinks they “earned it.”
SIR BARRETT “THE RED HART”, HUMAN KNIGHT
Piercing brown eyes beneath a bruised brow that has seen sun, years, and battle. Brown hair, kept short in military fashion and full brown beard likewise trimmed. Scars across his face, arms, and presumably elsewhere hint at stories of combat and worse.
Personality Traits: Uses one word when others would speak two.
Bonds: During the time of his torture, Barrett swore a new oath; to visit vengeance upon his gaoler and those it answered to.
Flaws: Easily fearful.
Hiring Barrett: Sir Barrett, or Red Hart to most, is a character already written into the Scarlet Citadel adventure. Though pre-existing, little is said aabout Barrett or his companion, Dugan Lovay. The PCs usually find him trapped in a torture chamber and beaten to within an inch of his life.
To recruit Barrett, the PCs first have to rescue at least him (if not Dugan Lovay as well) and bring him back to Redtower for healing. If those conditions are met, Barrett approaches the group with a proposition; he wants to go back to the ruins and repay his captors for the pain he suffered. He is willing to sell his services as a warrior to do so.
If Dugan Lovay was saved, then Barrett asks for an initial payment of 100 gp to resupply himself (or sufficient resupply from the group’s stores) followed by 15 gp a week paid not to him, but to Dugan Lovay to compensate for Barrett’s absence.
If Dugan Lovay was not yet saved or has already, then Barrett asks for no compensation other than resupply (weapon, armor, and a dungeoneer’s kit).
Barrett’s Secret: Barrett was broken by the torture in the Scarlet Citadel, negating many benefits typical paladins enjoy. Though he is still a knight in name and deed, the horrors he endured shattered his bravery and replaced it with a mean streak.
Barrett in Exploration: Barrett’s skill set offers little during exploration. His closed demeanor is of no help during social encounters, though his reputation as the local hero, Red Hart, coupled with his imposing stature means he can be provide Intimidation as needed.
Barrett in Combat: Due to his torture at the hands of Scar and the Gaoler, Barrett isn’t resistant to the frightened condition or able to use Unwavering Presence like other knights. However, Barrett replaces the knight’s bonus action, Champion’s Challenge, with Hart’s Bellow, which has the same effect but can target up to three creatures at once and gives Barrett resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage for the duration.