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NPC Codex Preview #1

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Prepping for a game can sometimes be a chore. You’ve got a plot to develop, monsters and treasure to assign, and NPCs to create. Over the past few years, we’ve given the busy GM plenty of tools to fill out their adventures with a wide variety of monsters and treasure, and now we are giving you everything you need to populate your world with NPCs as well.

The NPC Codex is set to release in just over a month and we thought it was time for you to take a look at what you can expect from this 320-page tome of NPC glory. In the coming weeks, we’ll examine exactly what you’ll find inside. This week, we thought we would show you what a sample spread in the book looks like. You will notice that these two druids do not have animal companions, but there is an appendix in the back of the book with animal companions of every level. Also note the handy tab in the upper corners of the pages, making it easy to find the stat block you are looking for while flipping through the book.

Tune in next week for another look at this exciting sourcebook and find out what hauntingly terrible NPCs you might find within.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer

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Tags: Pathfinder Roleplaying Game
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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I quite like that spread. It appears neither of the sample druids makes use of an archetype - is that true in general and all NPCs are core classes only?


This book is going to be very useful, indeed!

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion Subscriber
LoreKeeper wrote:

I quite like that spread. It appears neither of the sample druids makes use of an archetype - is that true in general and all NPCs are core classes only?

Everything in NPCC is core-only.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Good stuff! Loving the organization of the book.


Looks great, and no doubt that this will be a handy tool for the busy DM.


Here is a book I have been waiting for...


OK I'm going to be honest. I expected my interest in your releases (and their quality) to wane after the Ultimate books were released last year. Between this, the Mythic book, and Ultimate Campaign I'm super psyched once again. Damn you for taking my money!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I can dig it!


I guess this answers the question of whether you can cast spells in elemental form, since neither have natural spell.


I'm ready to throw my wallet at the screen!


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Paizo - please stop making awesome previews of books I was on the fence about purchasing! It would be nice if I could keep at least some of my hard-earned money for other things :)


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Passago is Prospero from Tempest

Andoran

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Kelseus wrote:
I guess this answers the question of whether you can cast spells in elemental form, since neither have natural spell.

Yala does, actually, and I suspec Passago doesn't feel like he needs it, since his wild shape preference is for a form that would be capable of making suitable somatic and verbal components without needing the boost.


Damn, Passago sounds cool (then again, I am really partial to half-orcs).

I gotta find a way to get this book when it comes out. It looks REALLY damned cool.


Wait...are we NOT going to see Archetypes in this book?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

1 person marked this as a favorite.

No archetypes.

They're not from the Core rules. NPC Codex only uses Core Rulebook options.


James Jacobs wrote:
No archetypes.

Well that's disappointing.

James Jacobs wrote:
NPC Codex only uses Core Rulebook options.

Why did Paizo Publishing decide to only use stuff from the Core Rulebook?

Cheliax

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Modules, Tales Subscriber

So if we all promise to buy this one can we get a second that uses some of the other classes and archetypes please?

Grand Lodge

6 people marked this as a favorite.

Personally, I'm glad it is Core rules only. These NPCs will be much more easy to prepare to use if I don't have to go through four books for abilities, spells, feats, etc. I also think there is a lot of mileage you can get out of just the base classes.

Paizo Employee Lead Designer

2 people marked this as a favorite.

The decision was made to stick with the Core Rulebook so that all of the stats in the book would be easy to use and reference without having to reprint the text from all of the archetypes and other features that we might have used.

That said, it is really quite simple to swap out abilities in a stat block for those from the archetype of your choosing.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Publishing


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Umm... I'd love to comment, but I'm blind and my software doesn't read pictures, so... I'll just side with the concensus. You guys keep making great products and I'll keep buying them.


My opinion on this book just went from "Maybe I'll get it" to "Definitely buy it."


Belmorn wrote:
Passago is Prospero from Tempest

If a half-orc is Prospero, then who is Caliban?

Cheliax

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Narl wrote:
Personally, I'm glad it is Core rules only. These NPCs will be much more easy to prepare to use if I don't have to go through four books for abilities, spells, feats, etc. I also think there is a lot of mileage you can get out of just the base classes.

For everyone glad it's core-only, there are probably just as many who are like me, very disappointed in that decision. We already had this discussion in the product-specific thread. And when they say Core-only, that means no APG, UM, or UC classes either.

If you're a print-only, no-laptop, no-PRD style GM, then I can certainly understand not wanting to have 4 different books open just to run one NPC. That's kind of the reason I switched over to using a laptop, the PRD, and PDF files in the first place, and I suspect I'm not alone.

In some ways, though, that almost makes this book a bit of a throwback. All-in-one doesn't really seem to be the Paizo style much anymore. Bestiary 3 monsters in an AP? Here's the hp totals and a page number for the book. Why the style change here?

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

But it sells well it could mean NPC Codex II, with non-core material. They're taking a big risk with a book like this that nobody has really attempted in the past.


One potential reason is that pretty much everyone (game designers included) is intimately familiar with the options within the Core Rulebook. That means if you limit the book to CRB only, each NPC gets designed much faster, leading to the book being finished faster.

I know I personally spend far more time designing NPCs for each additional large rulebook that's published. I imagine the same would be true for professional designers.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber
Belmorn wrote:
Passago is Prospero from Tempest

Yep, and really digging the twist on that. :D

This has me even more excited about all the new art coming out with this book.


I really like that there are some considerable variances between the two druids, even though only a level separates them. I don't like that they aren't using archetypes anymore, but from a design perspective I can understand.

Cheliax

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Mikaze wrote:
Belmorn wrote:
Passago is Prospero from Tempest

Yep, and really digging the twist on that. :D

This has me even more excited about all the new art coming out with this book.

So do we get stats for Passago's Miranda as well? Other characters? Or is it just a one-off inspiration?

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber
Eric Hinkle wrote:
Belmorn wrote:
Passago is Prospero from Tempest
If a half-orc is Prospero, then who is Caliban?

And Ariel!


What languages does Passago speak?


What languages does Passago speak?

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Guys, this type of book has never really been done before. While a lot of gamers at Gen Con and online have expressed a lot of excitement, it's still a bit of a risk compared to publishing another book of monsters (and we'll do that shortly, too). Accordingly, we've got to prove there's an audience for an off-the-shelf NPC reference.

If the sales of this are as good as I expect them to be, it will be very likely that we do an additional NPC Codex that has more complicated NPCs with abilities derived from additional books beyond the Core Rulebook.

So don't fret.

Andoran

I might actually pluck this up since there is a history and backstory as well to the NPCs presented. Besides then there will be less work for me when I have NPC villians to be fought. Its only a moment's work to change a race or add a template if they have to be something else.

That will speed up my adventure building and leave me more free time. That can be put into doing what I do best of building a storyline immersive enough that everyone really gets into playing their reactions and are delighted with developing their characters.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Erik Mona wrote:

Guys, this type of book has never really been done before. While a lot of gamers at Gen Con and online have expressed a lot of excitement, it's still a bit of a risk compared to publishing another book of monsters (and we'll do that shortly, too). Accordingly, we've got to prove there's an audience for an off-the-shelf NPC reference.

If the sales of this are as good as I expect them to be, it will be very likely that we do an additional NPC Codex that has more complicated NPCs with abilities derived from additional books beyond the Core Rulebook.

So don't fret.

More like it has never been done to this level. I got my first NPC book when it was AD&D. I love my copy of The Rogues Gallery with all that great Earl Otis art!


For those who are upset about the CRB only part, you also have to take into account size. If the rest of the book is laid out like these two pages, every class takes up 20 pages. That means the book is a minimum of 220 pages long. ARG and UM are 255, and UC 253, not counting back of the book ads. If they only included APG classes it would bloat the book out to 340 pages, or 360 if you include a full 20 pages for the Anti-Paladin.
These counts are before an index, table of contents, title pages, introduction and likely a page or two for each class before the NPCs start up.

I know many will say "But the CRB is 600pages so 400 isn't so long." But this looks like it will have unique art on ever page and a unique back story and significant variation between levels in the same class. I am more than happy to have this book and look forward to NPC Codex II and III.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Looks perfect.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Do all druids have domains in the book? Since word count is king, an animal companion might take up a lot of space.

Cheliax

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I wish the stat block would have the charter's name instead of some title, i.e. Yala instead of "mistess of high places"


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Interesting insight into the sexual preferences of yetis. She "ultimately rejected his advances." The implication that she may have actually thought it over is both amusing and disturbing.


Take my money! I'll be buying the PDF of this the moment it is release.

When this was first announced my reaction was definitely "meh" but now several months later I'm GMing two weekly games and am about to pick up a third group that meets monthly. I absolutely can't wait to use these Core NPCs and modify via Hero Lab as much as necessary. But something tells me I'll still be able to amaze (and challenge) players without any modifications.

Three cheers for Core!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'm really hoping that an early version of this document gets sent to the Wolf Lair guys so they can get a head start on implementing the NPCs in the Hero Lab 'import stock hero' section. I'm really hoping this book makes life a lot easier for GMs that use Hero Lab.

Designer

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Cheapy wrote:
Do all druids have domains in the book? Since word count is king, an animal companion might take up a lot of space.

Yes, but the appendix includes a bunch of pre-statted animal companions at various levels (I think about 40 total, of various types) so you can swap out a druid's domains (or a ranger's hunter's bond: companions) for an animal companion.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

That's a pretty smart idea.

Cheliax

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Dr. Johnny Fever wrote:

I'm really hoping that an early version of this document gets sent to the Wolf Lair guys so they can get a head start on implementing the NPCs in the Hero Lab 'import stock hero' section. I'm really hoping this book makes life a lot easier for GMs that use Hero Lab.

I'll be working hard to get it up on the NPC DB over on d20pfsrd.com and get a copy of the data over to Kyle the CombatManager guy, http://combatmanager.com/, for those who prefer that route


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Put me in the "Definitely Buy" column. Looks great!

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

Crispy3ed wrote:


More like it has never been done to this level. I got my first NPC book when it was AD&D. I love my copy of The Rogues Gallery with all that great Earl Otis art!

Right. That book was clearly an inspiration, but even there you had stats basically on a chart, with tons of blanks you had to fill in yourself. This book is an attempt to give you everything you need, including full stats, a color illustration, etc.


I...I dunno. At present, even after the preview, I can't justify the money for this product.

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