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The Random GM: NPC Descriptions

The Random GM: NPC Descriptions

Egyptian dice (600-800 BC)From the genesis of the D&D game, random lists have been used to create, inspire, and complicate games everywhere. A GM is essentially keeping all the knowledge of a fabricated world inside his or her head, along with all the relevant laws of physics and mechanics, which are transformed into a living story around the table. With that in mind, sometimes it is difficult to come up with appropriate names, descriptions, NPCs, castles, or environmental features on the fly. Luckily, there are certain tools that simplify a GM’s life no matter what game he or she is running.

These random generation tables can be used for just about any topic. The trouble is that though they are great to have, they take time to generate yourself. The good news is I have taken the liberty and done the hard work up front, leaving you free to copy, paste, and print right into your notes.

This week’s table provides you with many descriptions of NPCs that you can use in your game as set forth below, or with however many tweaks you need to make to have the description work for you.

d50. NPC Description

  1. A powerful magician and pathological liar with a dire need to impress others.
  2. A half-elf ranger obsessed with the drow, their culture, and their goddess.
  3. A petty lord that has risen from the dead and doesn’t recall why or how.
  4. Middle-aged balding and fat. A famous musician with an extra finger.
  5. Extremely geeky and shy young teen with an insatiable bloodlust and incredulous prowess in physical combat.
  6. Looking for someone to kidnap a family and frame a corrupt lord; percentage of plunder is negotiable.
  7. Bent on chronicling his whole life as it happens to him. Carries a huge number of scrolls and quills.
  8. Tired brick-layer, works building dungeons and lives in a very trance-like state, possibly connected to a nasty wizard employer.
  9. Lady mage illusionist, never tires of scaring the daylights out of unsuspecting folk.
  10. A cook famous for cultivating the rarest herbs and strangest cheeses.
  11. Tattooed head-to-toe with strange archaic runes. Those with arcane knowledge or powers see that the man carries a second soul trapped within his body.
  12. Selling two-headed kittens with a sign that reads, “I’ll pay you 1 gp to take one.”
  13. Wounded and limping, a rogue seeks revenge on his entire guild
  14. Obsessed with drinking and dining in the city.
  15. Husky with no neck, owes a lot of money to the wrong sort of people. Looking for investors.
  16. Head of a flourishing estate that thrives on blood sport.
  17. Lovely woman who has lost her way. Her accomplice robs good samaritans as they give her directions.
  18. Part of an envoy to discuss important matters of state, except she seems to have arrived in completely the wrong place for that kind of business.
  19. Has a plague and is terribly infected with contagious boils
  20. Looking for expert miners and dungeoneers to help excavate dwarven artifacts from the nearby ruins of a silver mine, mostly for triggering the traps as they delve deeper.
  21. A certified genius who hates yes or no questions and always answers with ” Yes and No may come may go, but maybe lasts forever.”
  22. Awkwardly drags a heavy chest with a muddy tapestry draped over it.
  23. Traveling antique dealer who is a large animate construct. Travels only by foot with his wares strapped to an elaborate wood and metal backpack that stretches up high into the air.
  24. Recently escaped from a secret underground bullywug encampment.
  25. The rumor and information collector of a demon lord. Skulks about asking questions and spying on people of power, import, or riches.
  26. Blind and zealous, a pious goat herder who asks too many questions.
  27. A disciplined game hunter who will not name the creature he is seeking.
  28. Gruff dwarf skilled in crafting fine hammers of destruction. He has an unusual disdain for ale and a passionate taste for tea.
  29. Smooth-talking pirate, looking for a ship and some companions for a profitable adventure.
  30. Soldier obsessed with duty to her kidnapped lord.
  31. Disheveled-looking knight, formerly in the service to the lords of the desert. Psyche broken in two as the result of a bloodmage’s curse, with one personality harboring more sinister motives.
  32. Town drunk, but privy to excellent information.  Problem is getting him drunk enough to remember the information.
  33. Armorer of regional fame. Known for specialty helms.
  34. Barbarian clad in a manticore pelt with the primary interests of feats of strength, ale, and singing.
  35. Beggar with a penchant for gambling.  Unfortunately luck is not always on his side, which is how he lost his legs.
  36. Local farmer and hunter, well-respected in the community for generous donations of fruits and vegetables. Her apples are cause for celebration.
  37. Former squire with desire to be extremely helpful, but ends up being utterly useless.
  38. An alcoholic wood-elf scholar who claims his drinking is all part of his “research.”
  39. A middle-aged herbalist who is bitterly estranged from his wife and two sons.
  40. An obese half-demon mage with a pompous and unfounded air of nobility, and an extreme case of sloth.
  41. Claims to be a well commissioner, investigating the town well, but carries no credentials.
  42. A feverishly sick woman puking and gagging repeatedly. Without care, she will die before the night is through.
  43. Horrendously pompous lordling. Will claim that he is heir to a particular castle, though he is the third son in the family.
  44. Deranged, emaciated halfling who insists that the PCs possess an item that belongs to him, to the point of violence.
  45. A blonde and pudgy cook with a penchant for proper seasonings. He is exceedingly suspicious of those he does not know—paranoid that they are after his secret ingredients.
  46. Gruff and cross-eyed dwarf who recently had his beard cut off by an elf rival. He burns with thoughts of vengeance.
  47. In disguise walking among mortal men, she is the demon architect responsible for building the city of hell.
  48. A wise and friendly alchemist traveling in an old wagon overladen with clinking bottles and dusty books.
  49. World-class poet collecting local folklore to include in her forthcoming epic.
  50. A wealthy wool merchant whose considerable worth actually comes from his no-questions-asked dealings of second-hand arms.

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