A GM almost always need an NPC, be it a member of the player’s team or a villain. The GM is also usually a busy fellow coming up with storyline. Sometimes a Pathfinder NPC generators can be a god-send.
Every story has it’s main characters, usually the hero of the story or something like that. Role playing games like Dungeons and Dragons and Pathfinder are not much different than a story in the making, being narrated by the GM, and written by the group as a whole.
In a role playing game, players generally create characters they can identify with. This is in most cases a labor of love. Creating a character isn’t always the quickest of tasks, especially when that character is going to be used for long periods of time. It’s worth spending as much time as it takes to create a character you like and enjoy playing.
But just as each story has main characters, so too does it have supporting characters, and often characters that just don’t mean anything at all. People walking through the streets, the guy driving the bus, the clerk at the bank and so on. Role playing games are no different.
Technically speaking, anyone you interact with in a game session is an NPC (Or Non-Player Character). NPCs fulfill a number of purposes in any given game. Most often, they’re just filler. The guy you have to pay when you arrive at the inn, or the blacksmith you paid to mend your armor. These NPCs play very minor roles, and are seldom important enough to actually commit to paper.
Other times, NPCs are there to fill a role that the players need. A guide through the jungle, for example. Sometimes the GM creates an NPC to fill a role that the party doesn’t have such as a healer or a ranged damage dealer. In these cases, it’s beneficial to put the character together on paper, so that there’s a solid framework.
Most of the time though, that the NPC performs a minor role, as compared to those of the player characters. In a case like this, it may not be worth the GM’s time to sit and create a fully fleshed out character. So what should he / she do?
Beg, Borrow or Steal
It’s been said that every great idea has already been done, so if you need one just use someone else’s (kind of like how I just did there!)
If you’re looking for a product why not go straight to the source? Paizo offers a whole Pathfinder NPC Gallery for your perusal. There’s a good list of almost anything you could want. My favorite is “The Village Idiot“. Seriously, who doesn’t need a village idiot?
If you’d rather create your own though, they also give you nice little quick rundown here.
Pathfinder NPC Generators
In a world where time is of the essence, nothing fills the void quick like automated things, and Pathfinder NPC Generators are exactly that. Provide some basic information and POOF, you have an NPC. I’ve played with a few, but the best one I’ve found so far is Dingle’s Games.
What about you?
Do you find yourself creating NPCs a lot for your games? What do prefer – Create a full character, find a pre-made, or use a character generator?
My brother introduced me to my first role-playing game (Dungeons and Dragons 2nd Edition) when I was ten years old. (1989 – 90) He DMed a campaign, based in the Greyhawk setting for my cousin and I. My cousin had played before, so he had some idea of how things went. I had never played anything of the sort.
After a brief description of the classes and some rudimentary explanation, I found myself with an Elf ranger. As if to underscore my complete lack of understanding, his strength was an 18-47. Excellent ranger.
Harder than any part of character creation, was naming him – which to this day I find the most difficult part of creating any character. It was suggested that I pick a famous explorer’s name. I ended up with Magellan.
Thus began my first role playing game experiences.