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GameMastery Guide

NPC Gallery

Source GameMastery Guide pg. 254
For every player character adventuring through a fantasy world, there exist dozens if not hundreds of nonplayer characters, each existing to provide vital services to characters, progress important story lines, or just add flavor between sagas. From the local farmer to the tavern storyteller and from the highest king to the poorest urchin, these characters are the residents of the worlds and stories all GMs craft. They are the allies and hindrances, the employers and victims, the cheering throngs and the booing crowds. Whenever the PCs need aid, have business, or venture off the beaten path, these are the characters ready to come to life.

Yet, for all the importance of the lords of the land, the business owners, and the ever-imperiled common folk, the meat of most adventures focuses on the monsters, villains, and dangers beyond familiar streets. Thus, when something inevitably goes awry at the local tavern, diplomacy breaks down at the royal court, or any of countless other unanticipated events arise, most GMs find themselves faking dice rolls or leafing through pages for statistics to adapt to the moment’s needs. This chapter exists to serve GMs in those times, when they need statistics they didn’t anticipate, one more encounter is required on the fly, or players zig when they were expected to zag.

The following pages present more than 80 NPCs common to the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. The majority are not meant to be challenges in direct combat against groups of seasoned adventurers, but rather represent generic statistics to serve in any of a party’s myriad less adventurous interactions. Should the GM need to know what the Appraise skill is of an average shopkeep or just how capable a sailor actually is at the wheel of a ship, these statistics offer a baseline for a wide variety of everyday characters. That’s not to say that a host of dangerous encounters can’t arise from these characters. Just as a group of monster-fighting gladiators or military troops prove lethal, so too could a torch-bearing mob of farmers and craftsmen turn deadly. Many of these NPCs also hold the potential to take on far greater roles in a campaign, as there’s nothing stopping a GM from making a lethal bounty hunter or a notorious pirate captain the main villain of an entire series of adventures. Alternatively, this chapter might also serve as a shopping list of NPCs characters might employ as hirelings, henchmen, even temporary PCs should they find themselves in a pinch. Ultimately, these characters provide GMs with increased tools and options, remove the need for ad hoc statistics generation and many other game interruptions, and free GMs to focus their time and creativity on the most exciting parts of their games: their own adventures.

An NPC by Any Other Name

Source GameMastery Guide pg. 254
This chapter provides statistics for all manner of travelers and shopkeeps, guardsmen and drunkards, princesses and high priests, and dozens of other fantasy world residents. Yet, absent are characters such as explorers, mountain climbers, armada admirals, dragon riders, and countless other NPCs a party might encounter in the course of their adventures. The reasons for this are twofold: First, no list of characters could hope to satisfy all the occupants of every GM’s imagination, and thus only a sampling of those that appear most often in Pathfinder RPG adventures appear here. Second, even though a stat block might be titled “guide,” there’s no reason a GM can’t appropriate those statistics for an explorer, outrider, cowboy, or any other similar character he might require.

Thus, along with each NPC comes a description of what the character is, how it might be used in its basic form or as a variety of alternative characters, and even what other NPCs it might be found with (along with increased CRs for such groupings). Equipment suites typical of these characters’ professions and appropriate to the GP value of characters of their level are also provided. Often, the descriptions contain suggested ideas for alternate equipment or replacement feats to better customize the NPCs for varied roles and different campaigns. As with any other aspect of these characters, these elements can be adjusted however the GM sees fit.

In addition, each NPC is grouped into a family of similar characters, both for ease of organization and so GMs seeking a specific type of character find a variety at their disposal (for example, while a CR 1/2 pickpocket might not fit the bill for an encounter, a CR 2 burglar might). Such also serves to make generating encounters using these characters easier, as NPCs with the same backgrounds or from the same walks of life are often found and faced together.

GMs are also encouraged to change the NPCs presented here to better suit their individual campaigns. Most of these characters have abilities suiting archetypical views of their roles and bear neutral alignments. Alignments, of course, are easily altered and skills—especially Craft, Knowledge, and Profession—can be exchanged on the fly to create characters of varying expertise.

The chart on the facing page also lists all of the archetypical characters in this chapter along with their class levels, organized by CR so GMs can more easily find and create challenges appropriate to their party’s level. Overall, just as these characters are presented without personalities or agendas, their presented statistics can be molded by GMs to suit whatever roles they require. Thus, from the dozens of NPCs presented, the true number of characters and encounters that can be based on them is limited only by a GM’s imagination.

NPC Boons

Source GameMastery Guide pg. 255
Chapter 4 presents an optional system for boons—minor in-game bonuses and benefits specific NPCs can grant to PCs who befriend them. This system of favors and benefits encourages PCs to invest greater interest in working with NPCs and creates a way to reward characters with something other than experience and treasure. At the end of the statistics for each of the following NPCs is a suggestion for a minor benefit that is appropriate to the NPC and that works within this system. GMs who wish to employ these favors or create their own boons might use those presented here as guides for new benefits. At the same time, GMs should not feel that every one of the following NPCs has to offer exactly these boons, or any boon at all. Those interested in designing their own boons or customizing them to their game should feel free to modify these effects however they feel best suits their needs. A complete explanation of boons and how PCs might gain them appears on page 88.