Welcome back to the blog for more tidbits and discoveries about the world of Caelius. Today I thought I would share something that I’m building as the GM for the podcast: a list of NPCs that have cropped up in the show and the basic information. I also thought it might be fun to display what I roll for characters and how I know I need them for an area.
Making a Random NPC
Unlike the PCs, which require a lot of details to come together for their random rolling, NPCs are pretty straightforward and come about in one of two ways. Either I have a role (such as Guard Captain or Ambassador) that requires filling or I just need to have a side list of characters that can show up and be whatever before they are passed by (lesser villain cast, townsfolk, one-off npcs).
In most cases I start with the list of local races and roll up what’s plain to see: race, age, and outward gendered appearance (if applicable as well as pronouns they use) that the NPC displays. After that, I roll for the first letter of their name or use a random name generator to populate a grouping of names that I’ll pass out to NPCs in an area as needed. There’s hidden aspects that I also roll, such as basic defining personality traits and sexuality, but those rarely come up in explicit words so much as shown through RP.
For NPCs where it matters, I will also roll a class and archetype and assign them a vague level. Characters like Captain Galch, the Guard Olimadae, and the Mercenary Berto all have classes and levels associated with them for my reference. On the flip side, NPCs that show in passing or are just average citizens don’t (like the unnamed records clerk at city hall.
Monstrous NPCs and Monstrous Encounters
Fortunately, Xanathar’s Guide to Everything comes with extremely helpful randomized charts for random encounters based both on terrain and CR. These are what I use (though it hasn’t come up yet) when parsing out critters for area encounters and choosing any major monstrous NPCs. I don’t actually have a random way to decide whether an NPC is going to be monstrous or humanoid, but it lends for a better story for me to choose those as they come.
The Master NPC List (As Heard by Listeners)
Morris Vonn- Grandfather to Gaya and Xirena; an older felidae gentleman; used to be in construction and engineering in Skylit City; retired
Ambassador Woodrow Erasmus- Ambassador to Tethalia from Solvino; an older wind genasi man; interested in preserving the safety of the Sol Hearts
Berto Galch- A stalwart mercenary; son of Captain Galch; a vishkanya in his twenties; a fighter by trade
Captain Galch- A haggard old vishkanya warrior; been in the guard a long time; in charge of the party’s quest to clear out a group of gangsters in town
Olimadae the Guard- A brand new guard with a naïve heart; she’s a young goliath woman no older than Xirena; eager and resourceful and decent with** a crossbow
Graven- A massive goliath from Auldrik's hometown; slightly older than him; a jerk that tried to fight him in honorable combat