Have you ever created an amazing place for your campaign only to discover that you don’t immediately have a collection of NPCs to fill it? Or have your PCs ever stumbled into a place you haven’t had time to fully develop as a living, breathing part of the campaign?
Well, why not take out a handful of dice and roll up an instant NPC! Or in this case, an “Insta-NPC”!
The Insta-NPCs product line is designed to offer one or more tables to roll on to figure out a little something about the NPC you’re pulling together.
The last product dealt with creating cool villains for your campaigns. This one deals with something just as important. Minions. Henchmen. Assistants. Those NPCs who sometimes interact with the PCs more than the big villains do. The second stringers.
Much like with Scum and Villainy, we break the process down into three main steps – type, defining feature, and motivation. Let’s take a look at a few classic movie henchmen to see how the three categories break down…
- Igor, the classic laboratory assistant for Dr. Victor von Frankenstein. Though he doesn’t appear in the book, he started appearing in films on the big screen in the 1930s. He’s always helping out the good doctor, digging up corpses, flipping switches, and saying “Yes, master” to beef up his boss’s ego. Using the steps in the book, he might come across as a “Sparky” (type) with a “Phrase” (“Yes, master.”) (feature) and either “Blind faith” in what Frankenstein’s ability or the idea that he is a “collaborator” and helping the good doctor in his lofty goals of discovering the secrets to life itself.
- “The Albino” from Princess Bride (1987). This alabaster-skinned fellow helped Count Rugen (the six-fingered man) in his secret laboratory known as “The Pit of Despair.” He prepared Westley for being tortured by “The Machine” by making sure he was still alive when the Count came down. While being kind to the prisoner, he was sure to explain that there was no hope of escape. “The chains are far too thick. Don’t dream of being rescued, either; the only way in is secret. Only the Prince, the Count, and I know how to get in and out.” He might boil down as a “Talky” (type) with a “Body” (feature), and “Collaborator” (motivation) in the Count’s quest to document the limits of the human body…
- Snake Walker from The Muppet Movie (1979). This creepy fellow has one job for the evil Doc Hopper: kill frogs. But he does it with style, so he might come across as “Blocky” (type), “Style” (feature), and “Money bags” might be the best motivation. He wears a head to toe leotard and is highly specialized. Of course, he is stopped by a gigantic Muppet “Animal” in the end, so he can’t have been all *that* good with his job. 🙂
Like all Moebius Adventures supplements, Insta-NPCs #4: Henchmen and Minions is designed to be system- and genre-neutral. This 7 page PDF includes three (with a bonus) tables with examples, a worksheet, some example henchmen from the silver screen, and four unique NPCs (with portraits) from different genres you can use right away.
This is the next in a series of short, system-neutral supplements from Moebius Adventures designed to encourage more creative descriptions in your games. Be sure to check out everything else that’s available to stimulate your imagination!