#RPGaDay2018 4. Most memorable NPC?


There are many possibilities for this. I do try to make my NPCs memorable, if they’re significant in any real way. Current I am spending a lot of time inhabiting the head of Aseneth Scarrow, an NPC from Five Fingers (Iron Kingdoms) whom I have given my own spin on, just in case my players are bad monkeys and go and read the books.

Several of my memorable NPCs (at least from my point of view) have been female, besides Aseneth there was an undead noblewoman in our long-running Legend of the Five Rings campaign, who hid the scent of her rotting body with a healthy dose of jasmine perfume. The players came to associate that scent with danger and corruption, and I could provoke them into a frenzy, simply by describing its scent. They also came to be properly scared of ninjas, but that’s too generic to be a proper answer to this question.

Perhaps the most memorable NPC in all of roleplaying is The Computer in Paranoia. ‘Friend Computer’ and other catchphrases from the game are lodged in many gamers’ brains and merely speaking in a level, ‘computery’ tone is enough to break some people out in a cold sweat. That – and the formulaic mode of play – are the things that made paranoia so fantastically successful as both a mission-based RPG and as a comedy RPG. Lessons I took forward into Agents of SWING and Invaderz for similar reasons.

NPCs don’t have to be super deep to be memorable. One of the most remembered NPCs I ever created was a Cyberpunk fashion designer who was obsessed with ‘Checks!’ which he ‘saw’ whenever he tried to envision any character in an ensemble.

‘I see…. Checks!’

Hey, thanks for stopping by. I’m an independent RPG (and other games) designer and author. You can check out my stuff via the links at the side of postmortemstudios.wordpress.com. If you feel so inclined, after a look around, you can support me at patreon.com/grimachu, Minds.com/grimachu or steemit.com/@grimjim. Questions and queries are welcome, remember, ‘Nullius in verba’!


Iron Kingdoms: Kynyn Morisini – Llaelese Resistance Fighter

HalfthiefKynyn Morisini

Career: Thief/Spy
Race: Human
Archetype: Skilled: +1 Additional Attack, Preternatural Awareness
Abilities: Battle Plan: Shadow, Conniver, Dodger.
Connections: Connections (Intelligence network – Llaelese Resistance – ‘The Numbers’)
Military Skills: Hand Weapon 2
Occupational Skills: Bribery 1, Climbing 1, Command 1, Deception 2, Detection 1, Disguise 1, Escape Artist 1, Lock Picking 2, Pickpocket 2, Sneak 1, Streetwise 1.
Assets: 140 gc, forged papers, thief’s tools.
Languages: Llaelese, Cygnaran
Height: 55 inches (4’7″)
Weight: 126 lbs


Damage Capacity

Leather armour: Spd: 7, Def: 14, Arm: 11
Dagger: Mat 7, Pow 5
Initiative: 14
Command Range: 3
Will: 8

Kynyn escaped Llael during the Khadoran invasion of 604 at the age of twelve. She and her family made their way south to Corvis where they joined a swelling underclass of refugees, criminals and the discarded. Her father, formerly an alchemist, ended up working for criminal cartels and organisations purifying and producing narcotics and healing salves, poultices and tinctures for injured criminal enforcers. This way he could earn enough money to at least keep his wife and daughter safe. By 606 he had been arrested and currently languishes in a Cygnaran prison. Her mother – a prideful woman – was reduced to begging and the stress of it caused her to lose her mind. This left Kynyn alone by 607, bitter towards Corvis’ divided society and angry at Khador. She found a home in the Llaelese Resistance.

The group Kynyn is associated with is known as ‘The Numbers’. This small revolutionary splinter group is devoted to retaking Llael but not as it was. The Khadorans have swept aside or made collaborators of the old Llaelese nobility and The Numbers see an opportunity to take back Llael without the parasitic rule of any nobility. Nonetheless they ally with members of the Royal High Guard and the resistance amongst the nobility though they see them as enemies (albeit useful ones). There are rumours that The Numbers do not genuinely smuggle out some of the Llaelese nobles they claim to be helping out of Llael but rather rob them – or have robbed them – and dispose of them. Using the wealth to finance their revolution.

The Numbers are based in Corvis’ undercity, protected from interloping Khadoran spies and assassins by a combination of the Cygnaran military, their hidden position and the criminal and refugee underworld.

Kynyn is short but heavily muscled without an ounce of spare fat. Her clothes are too big for her and she adorns herself with pretty things that she finds in the gutter, spelunking in the undercity or stealing from the rich. Every time she is seen she has something new.

Meta Info: Kynyn is intended to level at the same rate as the players to provide them with a developing and growing contact amongst the Llaelese Resistance. She acts as a go-between and courier for The Numbers hiring mercenaries, carrying payments and transporting messages on their behalf.

Courtesans: Captain Hardacre (Client)

Captain Wentworth Hardacre

Pliability: 4

Archetype: Deviant (Pretending to be Saviour) Captain Hardacre is desperately trying to convince himself, as much as anyone else that he is a good-hearted saviour, but he’s fooling himself, perhaps more than he fools anyone else.

Age: 45

Occupation: Royal Navy Captain (Semi-retired)

Sexual Experience: Some.

Marital Status: Married (Closed).

Description: Blue eyed, blonde (bald), barrel chested, podgy belly.

Deviances: Boyish figures, younger women, sadism.

Consequences of failing to please: A horsewhipping.

Captain Hardacre has spent much of his life away from home travelling the seas, returning only to sire a couple of children with his wife and then taking off again. Not especially competent – more lucky – he was a little too free with the lash and not an effective captain and after a scandal of some sort in Jamaica has been sent home into semi-retirement. He doesn’t know what to do with himself, his wife is a hatchet-faced stranger who controls every aspect of his home with an iron fist and his children are now adults who have barely even met him. Little wonder he seeks aid and comfort in the arms of courtesans.

Hardacre is also something of a sadist and a closet homosexual, or rather he won’t admit to himself that he is one. His tastes in women run to the slim and boyish and he has a fondness for the back passage that has made him unpopular and persona non-grata with many prostitutes… that and his roughness.

His investments in the Caribbean have made him wealthy, he was a cannier businessman than a captain, but he courts scandal and refuses to face up to what he is. Something that can make him a dangerous lover and a bit of a handful.

Deviant Archetype

The deviant archetype represents a client, lover or sugar daddy who has unusual tastes. This makes him relatively easy pickings for the right courtesan but also troublesome and difficult. A courtesan that plays up to a deviant’s desires gets a bonus, one that runs contrary to his desires gets a penalty. A deviant can have as many or as few ‘requirements’ as you like. The number that a courtesans fulfils or contradicts is tallied up and applied as a bonus or a penalty to her rolls to please the gentleman. Failing to please the gentleman can have consequences if he is a brutish or difficult sort and these will need to be enumerated. Game effects are up to you.