Roll Me a Story

A randomly rolled DnD podcast

All About Berto: The Art of Party NPC Adoption

One of my favorite things about role playing games is that it's a chance to tell a group story. So despite the fact that, as a GM, my role is to create the skeleton of a tale and populate the land with hooks and characters sometimes things happen that are entirely unexpected. Improvisation is a major tool on any GM's utility belt and I use it liberally any time the PCs touch upon something I haven't already laid out.

Why talk about all this improvisation and storytelling? Well it's important because as a GM, you have to make hundreds upon hundreds of characters and it's up to you to pick and choose which ones are going to telegraph as important NPCs to your players. One of the most intriguing, and often most amazing moments is when your players decide that a throwaway NPC is actually going to be important.

Maybe it's a town guard they were supposed to speak to once, a nameless shopkeeper that they should just be buying from, or in this case a local mercenary that has a randomly rolled name, race, and class and literally nothing else. At the time, I didn't even bother to make Berto have a story of his own, but I've been running games for my players for many years now and the moment Aaron brought him up again in the Ambassador's office I knew they weren't going to let Berto go.

So now I have this character that was supposed to be a footnote and they're about to drag him into an adventure. What next? Well, I built Berto the character. Sat down after that night of recording and statted him out fully. Then, before the next time we recorded I made a rather simple and sweet backstory for the party's favorite thirsty vishkanya man (a descriptor we owe to an entertained listener).

Without further adieu, Berto's simple backstory: Berto was born in Skylit City to Captain Galch outside of wedlock. His mother and father raised him in the city and when he came of age his father tried to get him into the guard academy. Berto grated under the regulations though, and didn't like the lens everyone saw him through (IE his dad) so he left the academy. He joined a group of caravan mercenaries that helped lead caravans through the desert on the surface of Solvino to the vishkanya homeland of Oasis and back.

Thanks for reading, catch you next time listeners!