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Thread: Minimum NPC Stats

  1. #1
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    Question Minimum NPC Stats

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    I can spend at least an hour statting out the simplest NPCs. While the minimum stats needed for an NPC are probably a single field (race), I think it's beneficial to know at least a few more things, especially since that NPC could wind up fighting a PC (you know the ones I'm talking about).

    So what's your minimum set of stats, and how long do you usually spend on them?
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    Well, for some of the NPCs in my campaign, I didn't spend any more time than to copy stats out of a book. For some of the others, I spent half an hour, and for the others I spent over an hour.
    It really depends how important the NPC is. If they are just a blip in the campaign, just your run of the mill hooligan, then don't spend too much time on them. If they are the BBG, then spend as much time on them to get them perfect. Then judge the time from there.
    "When all is said and done, you have two basic choices: do what's crazy, or do what's smart. And people of character do not stick with one such choice, but make the choice that is best for the situation" Myself
    Doromii

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    If you are having to make the stats yourself, I would suggest the following:

    1. Hit Points
    2. Aromor Class
    3. Weapons carried and damage caused
    4. Thaco (if using 2E)
    5. Any Treasure it may be carrying

    Now if the NPC is rather important to the plot, you may want to have it totally worked up like a PC would be.

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    Obviously, it depends on exactly how important or present the particular NPC is going to be, but I tend to be very fast and loose with assigning NPC numbers unless I know they are going to play some significant role in the upcoming adventures.

    For example, if the PCs end up in a situation where I suddenly need stats for the town guard, I just pick some numbers that sound appropriate and go with it.

    Jim-Bob, Town Guardsman: Attack +3 (longsword, 1d8+1), AC 14, Hit Points 10

    This process takes me about 10 seconds. I just pick and choose and don't worry about the details like strict BAB, Save and Skill Point balances. In most situations, that's generally all I need. Now, if the PCs begin showing interest in interact with Jim-Bob beyond a standard "help him/attack him" capacity, then I'll start to fill out other things as need.

    Jim-Bob's surname is "Hunting". He is married to seamstress named Emaline. They have 2 sons and a daughter, all under the age of 10. They are devout church-goers and often spend time at Emaline's family cottage in the hill country a half-day's ride from town.

    This extra detail will take a couple mintues to fully solidify, one piece developing at a time. Where Jim-Bob develops from there is based upon what the campaign and PCs demand of him.

    Generally speaking, I let common sense prevail and fill in the blanks when they are needed and I try to avoid needless rules detail. Afterall, in all probability, the PCs would never know if I gave Jim-Bob 3 ranks of Appraise, so I won't spend that effort unless I think it is needed.
    HARRY DRESDEN WIZARD
    Lost items found. Paranormal Investigations.
    Consulting. Advice. Reasonable Rates.
    No Love Potions, Endless Purses, or Other Entertainment.

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    The Commoner Rule

    After race, I'd probably add on a class and level to minimum stats. Then, if I'm fast enough, I could make accurate guesses on the other stats from there...

    The Commoner, with the worst character build, should serve as a baseline for plugging in scores. Which might look something like this:
    Level = L
    Ability score (any)=10
    Attack bonus = 1/2 L
    Saving throw = 1/4 L
    Armor Class = 10
    Skill bonus (any) = L +3, or 0

    Hmm...that list is already getting long. I'll definitely leave Appraise out.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DMMike View Post
    I can spend at least an hour statting out the simplest NPCs. While the minimum stats needed for an NPC are probably a single field (race), I think it's beneficial to know at least a few more things, especially since that NPC could wind up fighting a PC (you know the ones I'm talking about).

    So what's your minimum set of stats, and how long do you usually spend on them?
    Name race gender. Abilities, and saves block. A paragraph describing some personality and how they fit. I would say fifteen minutes. I never have to roll dice.

    Garry AKA --Phoenix-- Rising above the Flames.
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    The Olde Phoenix Inn

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    I'm with you on that Tesral. Dice rolling for NPCs is a complete waste of time. But for the spiritual types, can bring an omen or two (when really good or bad rolls come up).

    Part of my stat trouble comes from the nature of my game. I like to leave things as open-ended as possible, so the PCs feel that anything IS possible. In terms of NPC stats, it means that anyone is fair game for combat, and anyone can become a major plot character.

    But the insights posted here look like excellent tools for handling these issues.
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    I also agree with tesral about not rolling dice. The things that I listed can be just put down on paper in 15 minutes tops.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DMMike View Post
    I'm with you on that Tesral. Dice rolling for NPCs is a complete waste of time. But for the spiritual types, can bring an omen or two (when really good or bad rolls come up).

    Part of my stat trouble comes from the nature of my game. I like to leave things as open-ended as possible, so the PCs feel that anything IS possible. In terms of NPC stats, it means that anyone is fair game for combat, and anyone can become a major plot character.

    But the insights posted here look like excellent tools for handling these issues.
    I have a standard set of stats for "Joe Average" I move the good ones around depending on what Joe or Jane does for a living. I also have leveled commoners. If my Warlock can hit 2nd level for a few Orcs I figure any woman that has given birth is at least 2nd level. I general give any commoner a level per decade over 2. So the 40 years old blacksmith is level three if he has done nothing but Blacksmithing all his life. He could be an Army Veteran and be 1-2nd level fighter with a few blacksmith levels.

    Average Commoners get two 10, two 12, and two 9.
    Above average get three 10, two 12 and a 14.
    PC grade Commoners (commoner than you might think) Get three 13, two 14 and one 16. The middle range of 4d6.

    One thing I take into consideration is that it is a very physical and rough life. The people that survive to become adults are going to be tougher than "Joe Cublical" is today. Work is manual. Swing a hammer, plow a field, dig in the dirt, cut and lift stone. Even the majority of profrssional trades involve hard work. Very few people sit on their duff and push a pen. Even monks had to work to support themselves.

    Garry AKA --Phoenix-- Rising above the Flames.
    My favorite game console is a table and chairs.
    The Olde Phoenix Inn

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    Quote Originally Posted by DMMike View Post
    I can spend at least an hour statting out the simplest NPCs. While the minimum stats needed for an NPC are probably a single field (race), I think it's beneficial to know at least a few more things, especially since that NPC could wind up fighting a PC (you know the ones I'm talking about).

    So what's your minimum set of stats, and how long do you usually spend on them?
    Mine would be that someone would probably require a 11 or better to hit the PC or save against their effect and deal damage significant enough to cause them some pause. All of which I determine on the spot, but it's important to keep it consistant and flavor appropriately, even if you're just making everything up as you go. I'd determine hit points based on what the flavor of the NPC is. Experienced Dwarven warriors might have 16 hit points/level whereas a frail elven mage might just have the 2.5 hit point d4 average/level (+3).
    Or something like that.

    I'm usually anal enough to create all the stats I need. Since the PCs are high level in my 3.5e game now, most NPCs are insignificant challenges, so it's actually become easier in that sense.

    Usually though, I make statting easier by having a set way of making NPCs and following it religiously, so I don't have to spend any time figuring out where stats are when I use the NPC or spending time determining where to put stats.

    I'll give a few examples.
    I created these stats for a friend's 3.5e game.
    I use a similar method for the 4e game I ran.

    Rita Repulsa, Female Elan Wiz3/Psi3/Cer7, 13d4+26 (60 HP), 30ft Speed, Init+1, AL: NE, Lang: Common, +3
    Str:8 Dex:13 Con:14 Int:18 Wis:10 Cha:10 Fort:+6 Ref:+5 Will:+11 AC:11 T:11 FF:10
    BAB+5/Grapple+4 Abberation (no darkvision), Resistance (Immediate; +4 Saves expend 1 PsP), Repletion
    Touch +4; Ranged Touch +6 Resiliance (Immediate; Expend PsP to Reduce Dmg by 1 PsP per 2 Dmg)
    Skills/Feats: Concentration +18, Knowledge (Arcana) +19, Knowledge (Psionics) +19, Psicraft +21,
    Spellcraft +21, Use Magic Device +8; Craft Construct, Craft Magic Arms and Armor,
    Craft Wonderous Items, [Practiced Manifester], Practiced Spellcaster, Psionic Talent, [Scribe Scroll]
    Possessions: Spellbook (23 Blank Pages), Spell Component's Pouch
    Abjurer Spells: Spells/Day: 5/6/6/5/5/3; Save DC 14+SL; Caster Level 13th
    Abjurer Spells Prepared: 0th- Acid Splash, Detect Magic, Message, Read Magic, Resistance;
    1st- Enlarge Person, Expedicious Retreat, Protection from Good, Repair Light Damage (SPC), True Strike,
    Shield; 2nd- Distracting Ray (SPC) x2, Melf's Acid Arrow x2, Mirror Image,
    Repair Moderate Damage (SPC); 3rd- Dispel Magic x2, Stinking Cloud, Heroism, Fly; 4th- Stoneskin,
    Crushing Despair x2, Illusory Wall, Repair Critical Damage (SPC); 5th- Dominate Person,
    Indomitability (SPC), Teleport
    Abjurer Spellbook (Prohibited Schools: Evocation, Necromancy): 0th- All PHB Except Evocation &
    Necromancy (13 Pages); 1st- Appraising Touch (SPC), Spontaneous Search (SPC), (8 Pages);
    2nd- (8 Pages); 3rd- (12 Pages); 4th- (16 Pages); 5th- Major Creation, (20 Pages)
    Psion (Kineticist) Powers: PsP: 118; Save DC 14+PrLvl; Manifester Level 13th
    Powers Known: 1st- Control Object, Energy Ray (A), Inertial Armor (A), Mind Thrust (A), Vigor;
    2nd- Energy Missile (A), Energy Push (A), Energy Stun (A), Id Insinuation (A);
    3rd- Body Adjustment (A), Energy Bolt (A), Energy Burst (A), Energy Wall; 4th- Death Urge (A),
    Dimension Door, Psionic, Energy Cone (A), Trace Teleport (A); 5th- Energy Current (A),
    Fiery Discorperation (A), Power Resistance, True Seeing, Psionic

    Yes, I had a bit of fun with naming this and her two minions (not shown above - this NPC has no actual relation of any kind to her namesake).

    And now here's an epic-level example:

    Vianna, Female Moon Elf Wizard29, 29d4+145 (219 HP), 30ft Speed, Init+9, AL:LN, Lang. Common, Elven
    Str:13 Dex:20 Con:18 Int:30 Wis:15 Cha:17 Fort:+14 Ref:+15 Will:+18 (+20 v Ench) AC:25 T:15 FF:20
    BAB+15/Grapple+16 Immunity to Sleep, Lowlight, Elven Weapon Proficiency, Summon Familiar
    Touch/R-Touch +16/+20; Longsword +17/12, 1d8+1, 19-20x2
    Skills/Feats: Concentration +36, Craft (Alchemy) +42, Decipher Script +42, Knowledge (Arcana) +42,
    Knowledge (Architecture & Engineering) +42, Knowledge (Geography) +42, Knowledge (History) +42,
    Knowledge (Nobility & Royalty) +42, Listen +6, Profession (Scribe) +34, Spellcraft +46, Spot +6;
    Automatic Quicken Spell x6, [Alertness], Combat Familiar, Elven Spell Lore, [Epic Spellcasting],
    [Extend Spell], [Heighten Spell], Improved Counterspell, Improved Initiative, Improved Toughness,
    [Persistent Spell], [Quicken Spell], Reactive Counterspell, [Scribe Scroll], Spell Penetration
    Possessions: MW Longsword
    Wizard Spells; Spells/Day 4/7/6/6/6/6/6/5/5/5; Epic 3; Save DC 20+SL; CL 29th; CL 31 vs. SR
    All Spells 0th-6th level automatically quickened
    Spells Prepared: 0th- Acid Splash, Flare, Mage hand, Touch of Fatigue; 1st- Expedicious Retreat, Grease, Mage Armor (Pre), Nerveskitter (SpC), Protection from Chaos, Ray of Enfeeblement, True Strike;
    2nd- Darkness, Fog Cloud, Mirror Image, Resist Energy, See Invisibility, Web; 3rd- Fireball,
    Greater Mage Armor (SpC) (Pre), Lightninig Bolt, Tongues, Wind Wall; 4th- Dimensional Anchor,
    Enervation, Fear, Fly, Greater Rebuke (SpC), Shout, Solid Fog; 5th- Duelward (SpC), Feeblemind,
    Friend to Foe (PH2), Greymantle (SpC), Teleport, Wrack (SpC); 6th- Acid Fog, Eyebite,
    Fleshshiver (SpC), Flesh to Stone, Greater Dispel Magic, Shadowy Grappler (SpC); 7th- Banishment,
    Forcecage, Greater Scrying, Persistent Shield (pre), Waves of Exhaustion;
    8th- Moment of Prescience (Pre), Persistent Fox's Cunning (Pre), Polar Ray, Prismatic Wall,
    Temporal Stasis; 9th- Dominate Monster, Mordenkainen's Disjunction, Prismatic Sphere, Power Word Kill,
    Time Stop; Epic- Advanced Foresight, Painful Dissunder x2
    Spellbooks: 0th- All PHB + Amanuensis, Caltrops (21 pages); 1st- Babau Slime (SpC),
    Ectoplasmic Armor (SpC), Expedicious Retreat, Grease, Mage Armor, Nerveskitter (SpC),
    Portal Beacon (SpC), Protection from Chaos, Ray of Enfeeblement, Shield, True Strike, (11 Pages);
    2nd- Darkness, Fog Cloud, Fox's Cunning, Mirror Image, Portal Alarm (SpC), Resist Energy,
    See Invisibility, Web (16 Pages); 3rd- Circle Dance (SpC), Fireball, Greater Mage Armor (SpC) (Pre),
    Lightninig Bolt, Tongues, Wind Wall (21 Pages); 4th- Dimensional Anchor, Enervation, Fear,
    Fire Stride (SpC), Greater Rebuke (SpC), Shout, Solid Fog (28 Pages); 5th- Duelward (SpC), Feeblemind,
    Friend to Foe (PH2), Greymantle (SpC), Refusal (SpC), Teleport, Wrack (SpC) (35 Pages); 6th- Acid Fog,
    Eyebite, Fleshshiver (SpC), Flesh to Stone, Greater Dispel Magic, Shadowy Grappler (SpC),
    Transcribe Symbol (SpC), (42 pages); 7th- Banishment, Forcecage, Greater Scrying,
    Symphonic Nightmare (SpC), Waves of Exhaustion (35 pages); 8th- Moment of Prescience, Polar Ray,
    Prismatic Wall, Shifting Paths (SpC), Temporal Stasis (40 pages); 9th- Dominate Monster,
    Mordenkainen's Disjunction, Power Word Kill, Prismatic Sphere, Time Stop (45 Pages)
    Buff Spells: Fox's Cunning (Dispel DC 40), Greater Mage Armor (Dispel DC 40),
    Moment of Prescience (Dispel DC 40), Shield (Dispel DC 40)

    Stein, Vianna's Hawk Familiar, 29HD (109 HP), 10ft Speed, 60ft Fly (Avg), Init
    Str:6 Dex:17 Con:10 Int:19 Wis:14 Cha:6 Fort:+10 Ref:+13 Will:+18 AC:31 T:15 FF:28
    BAB+15/Grapple+5 Tiny Animal, Lowlight Vision, Improved Evasion, Share Spells, Empathic Link, SR 34,
    Talons+20, 1d4-2, x2 Deliver Touch Spells, Speak w/ Master, Speak w/ Like Animals, Scry on Familiar
    Skills/Feats: Spot +14; [Familiar Spell], Weapon Finesse
    1/day (CL 29th)- Forcecage

    Advanced Foresight
    Divination
    Spellcraft DC: 56
    Components: V, S, M, XP
    Casting Time: 1 Swift Action
    Range: Burst
    Area: 100ft Radius
    Duration: 200 Minutes (D)
    Saving Throw: None or Will negates (harmless)
    Spell Resistance: No or Yes (harmless)
    Seed: Foresight (DC 31)
    Factors: Quickened Spell (DC +28), Change from Touch to 20ft Radius Area (DC +10),
    Increase Area by 80ft (DC +16), Increase insight bonus to AC by 3 points (DC +30),
    increase reflex saving throw bonus by 3 points (DC +18)
    Mitigating Factors: 25,000gp Material Component (DC -50), 2,700 Experience Point Component (DC -27)
    Development: 504,000gp, 20,160xp, 11 Days
    This spell grants everyone within the area a powerful sixth sense in relation to themselves.
    Once foresight is cast, each recipiant of the spell receives instantaneous warnings of impending danger
    or harm to the subjects of the spell. All subjects of the spell are never surprised or flat-footed. In
    addition, the spell gives you a general idea of what action you might take to best protect yourself and
    gives you a +5 insight bonus to AC and Reflex saves. This insight bonus is lost whenever you would lose
    a Dexterity bonus to AC.
    Material Component: 25,000gp worth of Beryl
    Experience Point Component: 2,700xp

    Painful Dissunder
    Transmutation
    Spellcraft DC: 66 (can only be cast w/ dedicated shield up)
    Components: V, S, XP
    Casting Time: 1 Standard Action
    Range: 12,000 ft.
    Target: One creature, or up to a 10-foot cube of nonliving matter
    Duration: Instantaneous, 20 minutes (see text)
    Saving Throw: Fortitude half and negates (See Text) (DC 45)
    Spell Resistance: Yes
    Seed: Destroy (DC 29), Afflict (DC 14)
    Factors: Standard Action Spell (DC +20), -3 additional penalty on atks, saves, checks (DC +18),
    -5 penalty on AC, caster level, skills, strength, & dexterity (DC +100),
    boost Save DC by 15 pts (DC +30)
    Mitigating Factors: 10,000 Experience Point Cost (DC -100), 45d6 Backlash Damage (DC -45)
    To Develop: 594,000gp, 23,760xp, 12 Days
    This seed deals 20d6 points of damage to the target. The damage is of no particular type or energy.
    If the target is reduced to -10 hit points or less (or a construct, object, or undead is reduced to 0
    hit points), it is utterly destroyed as if disintegrated, leaving behind only a trace of fine dust.
    Up to a 10-foot cube of nonliving matter is affected by this spell. This spell affects even magical
    matter, energy fields, and force effects that are normally only affected by the disintegrate spell.
    Such effects are automatically destroyed. Epic spells using the ward seed may also be destroyed, though
    the caster must succeed at an opposed caster level check against the other spellcaster to bring down a
    ward spell.
    If the target fails his saving throw and survives, he suffers terrible pain and takes several penalties.
    He takes a -5 morale penalty on attacks, ability checks, armor class, dexterity, skills, strength
    and saving throws. These penalties last for 20 minutes once the damage has been done. A successful
    fortitude save negates the above effects.
    Experience Point Cost: 10,000xp
    Backlash Damage: The caster takes 45d6 points of damage when the spell is finished casting. (Avg 157pts)

    Dedicated shield is an epic-level spell that the party cleric developed that is a pre-buffer I had planned on the NPC using as combat starts.

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    I can usually flesh out and minor NPC in a matter of minutes. If I need something more in depth, I find an NPC or PC generater online, and start with that. That way, most of the work is done for me, I now I just have to place my twist on the NPC and I am done and ready to kick some PC butt.

    Saves a whole lot of time doing it this way.

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