NPC stands for Non-Player Character

When running a DnD campaign as Dungeon Master, NPC’s are a vital part of the storytelling. They are required to interact with the players, to flesh out the story and to populate the world. In my current campaign Aramil, Mirabell, Ser Robin and Serbian have run into two repeating characters who’ve accompanied them on their adventures.

Corporal Amaranthe Nobody: Leader of the local militia, the Black Brigade, Nobody runs her military outfit with the sort of long-suffering sigh normally found in nursery teachers. This isn’t surprising, her men comprise mostly of conscripts whose crime hadn’t been severe enough to warrant hanging. The band of thieves, cattle wranglers and swindlers are fiercely loyal to the diminutive woman. This is probably because despite arriving in town only four years ago, Nobody has stuck up for her men time and again and, on the rare occasion that they are drafted into being cannon fodder by the local lord, she has fought bravely at the very front of the skirmish.

Her past, however, is a mystery to her men and there is a running bet to discover what crime she committed to being assigned the penance of running the brigade.

When she’s not extricating her brigade from the pub, Nobody, longsword leaning against the wall behind her, spends her time in more ladylike pursuits. Gifted with embroidery and knitting the soldier produces clothes and toys for the children of the village for whom she had infinite patience.

She’s only been known to lose her temper once. Nobody has no time for husbands who mistreat their wives and has run more than one abusive man out of town.

Skullkicker Murbol

A bard by trade, this half-orc female is at odds with the majority of her race. Good tempered and friendly she is most often found either leading a pub in song or giving a performance at one of her many gigs.

She was abandoned by her family as a child and was taken in by a wandering troop of musicians who shortened her name to Kicks and taught her the art of music and storytelling. When she was old enough she set out on her own with nothing but her instruments, her disguise and a pony called Nettles.

She settled in the town of Kettering and quickly built a reputation for herself as a talented bard and a formidable drinking buddy. Intensely aware of her pale grey skin and tusks, Kicks only gives performances in disguise using a magical scarf which glosses over her more orcish features. This has led to slightly conflicting reports as the disguise changes each time. The running theory is that Kicks is a stage name used by a whole school of large female bards each of whom is six foot six inches tall. Kicks thinks this is hilarious.

She’s a loyal friend to those who earn it but refuses to stand with villains and murderers.



Dungeons and Dragons

I only started playing DnD within the last year. My flatmate hosted a campaign to which myself and a friend of mine were invited. My friend, S, played regularly and promised me I would enjoy it. He was right. I completely adore the open realm available to me, how choices made in their game could completely warp the story and how the ending really was in the hands of the players.

Not content with this one off chance to play, I started to write my own campaigns with the intention of finding a group of people who would be interested in playing as I ran the story.

Eventually, I managed to find several students at my college. A, an environment student who shared my love of Interpretation and storytelling, his girlfriend M a Czech activity student,. D, an environment student from the year below me and R, another environment student and my flatmate. A and M were completely new to the game, whereas D and R had both played extensively before.

R became Aramil a half-elven ranger who lurked in dark woods and spent his time liberating careless travellers of their belongings. He speaks little and tends to act without consulting others, dedicated to forging his own path. Abrasive and cold towards people, Aramil has a deep love of animals and carries a tiny kitten in his pocket.

A became Ser Robin, a half-elven spy from a far-off court who had followed his girlfriend on her travels. A predominantly good fellow, Ser Robin often finds himself at odds with the party’s slightly amoral plans. He goes along with them anyway, his loyalty to his princess taking precedence over his morals.

M became Bohemian Princess Mirabell (don’t ask), a member of tiefling royalty who was on an endless quest for unicorns (really don’t ask). As a tiefling she stands out in any crowd with her dark petrol coloured skin and her large horns that betray her demonic ancestry. Dragging her long-suffering paramour behind her, Mirabell often steps blindly into situations without finesse trusting in her magic to protect her.

D became Serbian, a forest gnome who had left his monastery in disgrace. Often mistaken for a tree stump, he stands at a bare two feet tall, with brown dreadlocks and a permanent scowl. Grumpy and irritable Serbian has taken an instant dislike to Aramil who tends to be deliberately antagonistic.

Now, logically, there is absolutely no reason for such a group to even go to the shops together, let alone adventuring but off they trotted into the first campaign where they faced bandits, castle guards, curses and giant chickens.

And some very hasty storytelling where the party went in a direction I really wasn’t expecting. Sigh.