It’s happened to every Game Master. You spend hours setting up the perfect encounter, your players are out for blood, the swords are drawn—and then you realize that you’ve forgotten to build statistics for the enemy characters. Or perhaps your players go left when you expect them to go right, leaving you without any encounters prepared.
Such problems are a thing of the past with the NPC Codex. Inside this tome, you’ll find hundreds of ready-made stat blocks for nonplayer characters of every level, from a lowly forest poacher to the most majestic knight or ancient spellcaster. Whether you’re planning out future adventures or throwing together encounters right at the table, this book does the work so you can focus on playing the game.
Pathfinder RPG NPC Codex is a must-have companion volume to the Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook and Pathfinder RPG Bestiary. This imaginative tabletop game builds on more than 10 years of system development and open playtests featuring more than 50,000 gamers to create a cutting-edge RPG experience that brings the all-time best-selling set of fantasy rules into the new millennium.
The 320-page Pathfinder RPG NPC Codex includes:
Statistics for more than 300 characters, including at least one for every level of every class in the Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook.
Tactical suggestions for every character, ensuring that you get the most out of each individual’s gear and abilities in a fight.
Tons of flavorful names and backgrounds to give characters personality, plus ideas for using them in both combat and roleplaying situations.
Statistics for characters with lower-powered NPC classes to help populate your world with ordinary people, as well as characters with specialized prestige classes.
Animal companion statistics for druids and rangers, from level 1 through level 20.
Multiple versions of each Pathfinder iconic character, perfect for pregenerated player characters.
Encounter groups for conveniently crafting battles on the fly.
AND MUCH, MUCH MORE!
Authors: Jesse Benner, Jason Bulmahn, Adam Daigle, Alex Greenshields, Rob McCreary, Mark Moreland, Jason Nelson, Stephen Radney-MacFarland, Patrick Renie, Sean K Reynolds, and Russ Taylor
Originally Posted at www.throatpunchgames.com, a new idea everyday!
Book-Pathfinder NPC Codex
TL;DR-It’s an “OK” source book with some charms, but not enough use. 57%
Basic-The Pathfinder NPC codex is just what its name says: a book of NPCs. Its only four short chapters: base classes, prestige classes, NPC classes, and iconic characters. For the base classes, each class has write ups for levels 1 to 20 with every other level being a strange offshoot of the norm. Prestige classes are several versions of the prestige classes from the base pathfinder book. NPCs are the standard base book classes (expert, commoner, warrior, etc) from level 1 to 10. The last chapter is the iconic Pathfinder characters (Kyra, Seelah, Ezren, etc) with several builds of these characters at different levels.
Use- This book will only help the DMs out there do game prep. And at that, the characters are only ok. The presented characters don’t really feel challenging when I’ve sent them at my players as a GM. However, they builds are not bad. And, the fact that there is a book full of ok NPCs does give me at least some rough stats for what I want to throw at my players, so it will unquestionably save you prep time. 2.5/5
Execution-I have some gripes here. I don’t really need 20 fighter builds. What I really need is one build, ten times from levels 2 to 20 with some quick rules on how to change it from two swords to sword and shield. This goes for the monks, rogues and almost all the classes EXCEPT the wizard and the sorcerer. For these classes, I need builds for each school of magic and ten times levels 2-20. For the NPCs, I don’t really need 10 commoners. Four commoners is good enough. Same goes for all the other NPC classes. What I don’t need at all is the iconics. These stats are presented elsewhere AND are given out for free as part of the Pathfinder Society stuff. As a GM, I have never seen a wizard or a sorcerer not focus on a school of magic. The book presents 20 different wizards who each have different focuses. That makes the presented classes much less useful and really messes up my planning as a GM. Again, nothing presented is “bad,” but it’s really not useful. Even more distressing, there is absolutely no mention of any of the Advanced Character Guild characters like gunslinger, witch and the gang. 2/5
Art, Layout, and Book Quality-This part is the standard Paizo quality. The art is standard pathfinder art. Also, there are a bunch of new art here, so I do feel like I got my money’s worth with the art. If you like the art from any other Pathfinder books, you will like this. Layout is good. The sections make sense and are put together with the standard Paizo quality. The physical book feels like a decent value since it’s over 300 pages for ~$40. I may not be enamored with the contents, but the book itself is at least close to worth the money. 4/5
Final Thoughts- This is an OK book. Not good, not great, but OK. It does give me some good NPCs to work with, just not the ones I really need. Also, the random nature of some of the NPCs really doesn’t help me make the characters I need. I’m glad I have this, but you need to really consider how many NPCs you will have in the future. If you will mostly run monsters out of the bestiary, then this book is not for you. It will save you time, just not all the time you hoped it would. 57%
Anything that can save the GM some work -- especially in a crunch-heavy game like Pathfinder -- is very welcome. I also personally appreciate the fact that this is a core-only resource (though I would welcome a non-core "NPC Codex 2," having a separate resource is convenient).
Though this is far form a flawless book, but it's great idea with solid execution, and a steal at $9.99 for the PDF (although I personally bought it in both PDF and hard copy to support the core-only design).
Here's hoping we see an NPC Codex 2!
* The sheer amount of content is impressive -- this book could the GM a lot of work over time.
* The art is very good, though sometimes it isn't a great match for the NPC in question.
* Wide mix of character builds and concepts.
* Core only. Yay!
* Stat block errors. They're bound to happen, but that doesn't make them welcome.
* Some of the NPCs (especially the prestige class ones in light of recent rulings regarding SLAs) are not only not optimized, but downright badly designed.
This book represents a useful tool to many GMs (especially those that don't deviate that far from the norm of 15 point buy and standard wealth by level), with (almost) fully developed stats for characters from every core class and of every level. I say almost fully developed because there are large (and glaring) omissions that escaped my initial examination of the book.
The worst of these is the omission of spellbooks from every wizard in the book - both NPC and PC, but other issues exist throughout the book and include NPCs missing components for prepared or known spells and bonuses that are slightly off.
While I'm sympathetic to the tediousness of running out spellbooks for ~30 wizards, not having spellbooks for stats that are supposed to be dropped in the game to make a GM's life easier is pretty annoying. What happens if one of these guys is dropped into the game as an enemy and the party tries to loot him? Do I now have to draft up a spellbook for him on the fly? Come on now. It also undercuts the idea that I could use the PC wealth stats as pregens for people on the fly.
The book also loses its application for people the further they move from the assumed norm (e.g. higher point buy or wealth) as the NPCs rapidly fall behind. Use of books beyond core also undermines the ability of these NPCs to provide real threats even to PCs many levels lower than them. This problem is amplified in many martial characters that are poorly built by any measure (not simply optimized).
That we get pre-genned PC versions of characters that only cover 3 levels as a whole (1st, 8th, 12th) is also slightly annoying, as it sharply limits the advertised 'pregen' usefulness of this. Adding even a single higher level version of each (say, 16th or 18th) might have helped a great deal in that extent.
Advertising 'tons of flavorful names and backgrounds' also seems misleading - many 'characters' have a single generic sentence or less. As a few examples "The master universalist draws power and knowledge from all schools of magic", "These wizards are steeped in the evil of their profession", and "These wizards protect underground communities". Flavorful backgrounds indeed (especially for 20th, 16th, and 18th level characters).
Finally, the lack of anything but core - though advertised - is somewhat disappointing. Not even iconic stats for other classes? I understand that including everything would have turned this into a monster book, but some of the decision on what stayed and what went is vexing to me.
Fantastic book, worth the buy and saves the GM a world of trouble
The NPC codex saves me so much time for other things. Premade encounter groups, per level premade characters, and even personalites for some of them! Even if I don't have anything specific in mind for an encounter, the NPC codex provides me with useful ideas that keep the game fun. I of course recommend this book to GM's everywhere, and grant it a FIVE out of FIVE