View Full Version : Kobold Quarterly The Random GM: 50 Identifying Features

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11-27-2013, 03:50 PM
Originally posted on 11-27-2013 04:47 PM at koboldquarterly.com (http://www.koboldquarterly.com)

http://www.koboldpress.com/k/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Egyptian_dice_-_600-800_BC-300x282.jpg (http://www.koboldpress.com/k/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Egyptian_dice_-_600-800_BC.jpg)From the genesis of the D&D game, random lists have been used to create, inspire, and complicate games everywhere. A GM is essentially keeping all the knowledge of a fabricated world inside his or her head, along with all the relevant laws of physics and mechanics, which are transformed into a living story around the table. With that in mind, sometimes it is difficult to come up with appropriate names, descriptions, NPCs, castles, or environmental features on the fly. Luckily, there are certain tools that simplify a GMís life no matter what game he or she is running.
These random generation tables can be used for just about any topic. The trouble is that though they are great to have, they take time to generate yourself. The good news is I have taken the liberty and done the hard work up front, leaving you free to copy, paste, and print right into your notes.
Nonplayer characters are a staple of roleplaying games across the genre. Your campaign may contain anywhere from dozens to upwards of a thousand different people. It can be difficult at times to give each one of these individuals their own look, sound, motives, backstory, and identity. Around the table Iíve found that giving an NPC at least one truly stand-out feature helps the players latch onto that person, as well as start to extrapolate some of their own conclusions about their lifestyle. For example, noting that an NPC shuffles a deck of cards deftly despite missing a few fingers or carries himself with impeccable posture and a raised chin paints a picture of who they might be. These identifying features can be used to distinguish between a wide variety of characters or serve as a starting point for a new adventure. It may be that running into someone with a feature such as number 17 or 22 may pique the interest of the party and raise a lot of questions that hopefully lead to excitement.
d50. Identifying Features

Missing the same finger on each hand
Has no tongue
Tip of nose cut off
Impeccable posture
Constantly sneezing, sniffling, or coughing
Badly rotting teeth
Thick and veiny neck
One eye sewn shut
Scar cut in the shape of a moon inside a pyramid
Tattoo across the ribs of five crowns in a circle
Completely hairless
Elaborately painted on necklace
Missing jaw bone, skin remains
Necrosis spreading slowly from dead ear
Carries around a dead bird
Foams at corner of mouth while speaking
Bleeds from a fresh wound
Wears a devil mask carved of black stone over a burned face
Missing skin around mouth
Three diamond-shaped metal shards floating around head
Clothes and skin covered in a blue and white fungus
A small imp is partially fused within his or her skin
Arcane runes wrap around the neck like a collar
Carries a bag of insects that he or she eats constantly
Unblinking eyes that look like they are made of gold
Small branches protruding from head like horns
Scrawny and stuttering but genius at diplomatic solutions
Thick and gruff beard knotted into a symbol
All facial features are distorted as if stretched or disordered
Extremely gaunt and frail; skin is tough like boiled leather
Blood red patch of veiny skin on face
Partial paralysis of one side of body
Eyes leak small amounts of runny goo
Left shoulder and neck has intricate mazelike scar
Speaks with thick nearly indecipherable accent
Bushy moustache that twirls at the ends, is actually fake
Limps dramatically, but only while outside
Wears a shirt woven from the tentacles of a monster
Carries a large gearwork machine on its back, clicking and grinding constantly
Has a two-headed raven familiar
Wears a helm shaped like the giant head of a stag beetle
Long forked beard with the ends capped with a spike
Skin spotted with weeping lesions
Forearms are covered with damp bandages
A large node or bulge under the skin of the neck
Has multiple scars from being struck by lightning
Small polished stones encrusted on own brow
Fingers and hands covered in black ink
Long locks of flowing hair that shimmer red in the light
One hand is shriveled, aged, and scaly, but the affliction appears to stop at a jeweled leather bracer

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