Illustration by Wayne Reynolds. Widescreen version here.

NPC Codex Q&A

Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: NPC Codex is a first for Paizo—a 320-page Bestiary-style book full of NPC stat blocks instead of monsters. We’ve asked designer/developer Sean K Reynolds to answer some questions about this latest release for the Pathfinder RPG, and why NPC Codex is a must for your Pathfinder game.

Why should I get NPC Codex?

The NPC Codex can save you time. If you're a GM, prepping stat blocks for a game takes a lot of work, and NPC Codex has full stat blocks for over 300 NPCs. That's 20 of each of the core character classes (cleric, fighter, and so on), 4 of each of the prestige classes, and 10 of each of the NPC classes (adept, commoner, and so on), all ready to drop into your game with no prep required. Appendix 1 has 45 animal companion stat blocks for various companions at different druid levels. Appendix 2 has 7 pages of themed encounter groups (such as "barbarian warband" and "pirate crew") at low, medium, and high levels, telling you exactly which NPC stat blocks you should use to build that encounter.

If you're a player, you can use those NPC stat blocks for cohorts or followers. If you're playing a druid or a ranger, you can use the animal companion stat blocks from Appendix 2 for your animal companion. If you need a character for a pick-up game, NPC Codex includes three stat blocks for each of Paizo's iconic characters (at level 1, 7, and 13).

What books does NPC Codex use?

The NPC Codex uses classes, races, feats, spells, and magic items from the Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook. A few of the animal companion stat blocks use monster feats from the Pathfinder RPG Bestiary, such as Improved Natural Attack or Multiattack.

Why doesn't it use options from the Advanced Player's Guide and other Paizo sourcebooks?

The Core Rulebook gives you many options, and we wanted to demonstrate that you can use those options to create hundreds of unique, interesting characters. By just using the Core Rulebook, NPC Codex allows players who don't own any other books to get full use out of it, and players who do use the APG and so on are still able to swap in feats, spells, and items from those other books. We are looking forward to the opportunity to publish a similar book using the APG character classes, archetypes from Ultimate Magic, and so on.

Are these NPCs generic, or are they unique characters?

There is a mix of both. Each NPC is presented with a generic role, such as "fire cleric." As each page has a stat block, full-body illustration, and tactics for the character, some NPCs (especially spellcasters with long stat blocks) only have a few lines left for personal information. Whenever there was room, we gave the NPC a specific name, background, goals, and suggestions for using the NPC in a combat encounter and roleplaying encounter. For example, after the "fire cleric" stat block is information about Aleksion Coric, who uses the flame of truth to burn away impurity and rebellion.

Of course, if you just need a stat block and not a character concept, you can replace that descriptive text with something more appropriate to your campaign.

How easily can I fit these NPCs into my game?

We wanted to give you many standard options for each character class, but also to give you some unusual characters that may have a unique role in your campaign. In general, every other character for each of the base classes is a typical representative of that class. For example, the 1st-level wizard is a typical adventuring mage and the 3rd-level wizard is a mercenary universalist, but the 2nd-level wizard is a street magician enchanter and the 4th-level wizard is a diviner working as a private investigator. By giving you a "normal" member of that class at every other level, at most you're only one CR away from what you need for an encounter.

Chapter 3 presents characters of levels 1–10 for each of the five NPC classes. If you need a stat block for a simple beggar, pig farmer, shopkeeper, sailor, carpenter, guard, squire, or similar non-adventuring characters, this chapter has it covered.

Are the stat blocks customizable?

Completely! If you want the dwarf mountaineer (ranger 7) to use a battleaxe instead of a warhammer, just swap the weapon and keep playing. If you want the sylvan protector (druid 3) to have an animal companion instead of the Air domain, grab an animal companion stat block from Appendix 2 and you're good to go. If you're willing to do a little more leg work, you can even change the NPC's race or add an archetype. The purpose of NPC Codex is to give you complete stat blocks you can use right out of the book, but if you like to tinker, go for it.

Is there new art?

Of course! Just like the Bestiary, every page of NPCs has a full-body illustration from Paizo artist favorites such as Chris Seaman, Tyler Walpole, Scott Purdy, and Roberto Pitturu.

The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: NPC Codex is now available
for purchase at paizo.com, and at your local game store!

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Wallpapers Wayne Reynolds
RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32, 2012 Top 4

Great book. Very practical and well designed. It will see a lot of use during my prep time.

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Why doesn't the NPC Codex use options from the APG? Simple, because they need stuff to use for NPC Codex 2. ;)

Note: I do not work for Paizo, therefore this is just a guess. :D


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Justin Sluder wrote:

Why doesn't the NPC Codex use options from the APG? Simple, because they need stuff to use for NPC Codex 2. ;)

Note: I do not work for Paizo, therefore this is just a guess. :D

hopefully a guess that becomes true in the future.


The iconics are at levels 1, 7, and 12 (not 13). I was just reading that chapter now. :)

Sovereign Court

If Paizo makes "NPC Codex II" people will complain about the absence of Core clases and rant about "only Advanced and Ultimate".


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Quote:
We are looking forward to the opportunity to publish a similar book using the APG character classes, archetypes from Ultimate Magic, and so on.

So there might be an Advanced NPC Codex in the future? Nice!

Now if I can just get the pawns for these I'll be happy. ^_^

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I'd really love an APG Codex, but I'd even more wish for Bestiary 4 next year ... hmmm ...


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

NPC Codex (Core only)
Advanced NPC Codex (APG classes and ARG races)
Ultimate NPC Codex (incorporates Ultimate Magic and Ultimate Combat)

Makes for a nice and tidy line of books.


Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber

Does it nonsense half of core class is from APG or UM or UC, but doeent use feat from that book?


Sounds nice, but what i really want to know is whether or not you will include completely new material (spells and items and such), like you did in the rival guide (one of my favorite campaign setting books you've made along with the books of the damned and inner sea magic).

Designer

Wintercome wrote:
Does it nonsense half of core class is from APG or UM or UC, but doeent use feat from that book?

I don't understand what you're asking.

michael peitersen wrote:
Sounds nice, but what i really want to know is whether or not you will include completely new material (spells and items and such), like you did in the rival guide (one of my favorite campaign setting books you've made along with the books of the damned and inner sea magic).

There are no new spells, items, feats, etc. in this book. The only new game material is the stat blocks (excluding the suggested groups at the end, which are just lists of teams built with individual NPCs).

Dark Archive

I hope NPC codexes become a bi-anual thing, advance, ultimate, advance race, ect, all for the taking!


Fantastic addition, between this and the GMG I have enough plug and play options to last for hours without having to reuse/change


The NPC Codex should have used all of the options available in the APG, Ultimate Magic, and Ultimate Combat. There isn’t enough space to include the classes/archetypes from these products, but you should have at least allowed the feats/spells.

I find myself updating stat blocks in APs because the NPC builds aren’t interesting (why does every NPC have Toughness and Dodge? That really bothers me, make something interesting!), so this new codex is pretty much the same thing and won’t be saving me as much work as it could have.


I like the fact that ALL of the info in the NPC Codex can be referenced by simply having the Core Rules.

The only issue I have thus far w the book is that a number of the PC's have 'she' in the description, but clearly have pictures of males ... makes using the artwork for encounters a bit difficult! :)

(See the Canibalistic Hunter for an example of this)

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Card Game, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Wintercome wrote:
Does it nonsense half of core class is from APG or UM or UC, but doeent use feat from that book?

I think you're asking how can it not use feats from the APG+, when half the core classes are from those books?

Well, actually they're not - The 11 classes in the Core Rulebook are 'Core Classes'. They are used for this book for all the characters.

Classes such as the Summoner from the APG are 'base classes'. These are not in this book, at least partially due to capacity - they wouldn't fit.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Arikiel wrote:

So there might be an Advanced NPC Codex in the future? Nice!

Now if I can just get the pawns for these I'll be happy. ^_^

Better yet, how about some Pathfinder Battles minis covering this book?


Pathfinder Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber

I hope this doesn't become bi-anual, I want at least two more hardcover bestiaries before I see another book like this, in other words, one that I will actually not buy unlike almost everything else from Paizo.

If I wanted a book of NPCs, I would want things like Catfolk rouges, Wererat Alchemist, Sphinx Oracle, Lizard Kings, Whole tribes of Nixies, Centuars, Goblins, Giants, etc. If you want a Drow hunting party or inhabbitants of a Drow city, Gnoll slavers, Assimar(angel-kin) Paladins, etc. Now these are things that would be useful. Things like unusual races, monsters, complex classes, entire tribes, cities, etc. of npcs ready for use.

Silver Crusade

Denim N Leather wrote:


The only issue I have thus far w the book is that a number of the PC's have 'she' in the description, but clearly have pictures of males ... makes using the artwork for encounters a bit difficult! :)

(See the Canibalistic Hunter for an example of this)

While its easy enough to just use different art for other encounters it to just tweak the encounters as written to match, the Cannibalistic Hunter is actually correct. Just give it another read. ;)

Designer

Dragon78 wrote:
If I wanted a book of NPCs, I would want things like Catfolk rouges, Wererat Alchemist, Sphinx Oracle, Lizard Kings, Whole tribes of Nixies, Centuars, Goblins, Giants, etc. If you want a Drow hunting party or inhabbitants of a Drow city, Gnoll slavers, Assimar(angel-kin) Paladins, etc. Now these are things that would be useful. Things like unusual races, monsters, complex classes, entire tribes, cities, etc. of npcs ready for use.

See, to me, that sort of unusual or unique character is exactly the sort of thing the GM should be creating and customizing for the campaign. The purpose of this book is to provide tons of standard characters so the GM doesn't have to waste valuable time making a generic 5th-level fighter, 7th-level wizard, and so on and can focus on the interesting monsters, NPCs, and plots.


I am looking forward to picking this up, being able to plug and play some NPCs is nice. I am hoping that Hero Lab encorporates it, as it makes tweaking them even easier. Thanks for putting this together paizo!


By it being Core Only one could even use Venture Captain to modify them.


Maybe I missed it but are the iconic pathfinders going to be legal for PFS as pregens? Knowing if I am printing pregens from this book is going to be the big deciding factor if I buy it in hard cover or as a pdf.

Designer

Mark replied in another thread that the iconics in NPC Codex are legal for PFS play, though if the character has a PFS-banned feat (I think it's just Ezren with Scribe Scroll), it can't use it.

BTW, Mark wrote the stat blocks for the iconics in the book, so he should know if they're PFS-legal or not. :)


I honestly believe this book is better in PDF so you could print out each potential NPC and can easily mark on them to keep track of things.

Though I tend to use a computer during my games so I am a bit biased into the digital side of things.

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Sean K Reynolds wrote:
See, to me, that sort of unusual or unique character is exactly the sort of thing the GM should be creating and customizing for the campaign. The purpose of this book is to provide tons of standard characters so the GM doesn't have to waste valuable time making a generic 5th-level fighter, 7th-level wizard, and so on and can focus on the interesting monsters, NPCs, and plots.

And a heartfelt thank you for that!

Dark Archive

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Azaelas Fayth wrote:

I honestly believe this book is better in PDF so you could print out each potential NPC and can easily mark on them to keep track of things.

Though I tend to use a computer during my games so I am a bit biased into the digital side of things.

I'm working on importing the NPC Codex data into my NPC DB, which is hosted on d20pfsrd.com.

I've just finish all the barbarians.

In the DB there is field called fulltext which has html mark up of the NPC. This combined with a css file, link located on the DB page, will give you a Pathfinder styled Stat Block.

Print and use to your heart's content.

Check it out.

http://www.d20pfsrd.com/bestiary/npc-s/npc-db

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber

Sean, is there a single person I can thank for Lanani Shabu?


chopswil wrote:
Azaelas Fayth wrote:

I honestly believe this book is better in PDF so you could print out each potential NPC and can easily mark on them to keep track of things.

Though I tend to use a computer during my games so I am a bit biased into the digital side of things.

I'm working on importing the NPC Codex data into my NPC DB, which is hosted on d20pfsrd.com.

I've just finish all the barbarians.

In the DB there is field called fulltext which has html mark up of the NPC. This combined with a css file, link located on the DB page, will give you a Pathfinder styled Stat Block.

Print and use to your heart's content.

Check it out.

http://www.d20pfsrd.com/bestiary/npc-s/npc-db

What is the HTML under?

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Azaelas Fayth wrote:
chopswil wrote:
Azaelas Fayth wrote:

I honestly believe this book is better in PDF so you could print out each potential NPC and can easily mark on them to keep track of things.

Though I tend to use a computer during my games so I am a bit biased into the digital side of things.

I'm working on importing the NPC Codex data into my NPC DB, which is hosted on d20pfsrd.com.

I've just finish all the barbarians.

In the DB there is field called fulltext which has html mark up of the NPC. This combined with a css file, link located on the DB page, will give you a Pathfinder styled Stat Block.

Print and use to your heart's content.

Check it out.

http://www.d20pfsrd.com/bestiary/npc-s/npc-db

What is the HTML under?

the column called fulltext


@chopswil: OK now I see it thank you!


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I DM, have a ton of books and in truth base most of my purchases on minis! However, and I say a BIG however, this is the type of book that I will pick up!

NPC's take a huge amount of time putting together and sometimes after prepping a huge, accurate stat block the battle may sometimes not even happen or is a lot quicker than I had hoped for. This will solve all of that, because now I can simply search through the book, find a well suited npc and have them ready to go! I love it.

I am also OK with it being classes from the core rule book only. There are SO many options to make variable type npc's from only the core classes and races! I think this book should only focus on the base classes! Give us a wide variety of these and then in the future come out with a book that focuses on the APG!

I don't need catfolk, ogres and various other monstrous type characters in this book! Those I can create on my own and are not the everyday npc's in my campaign world! However, a rogue which is the leader, task force or low level mission boy of a city guild is something which can pop up at any time and I may need a quick npc! The same goes for city guard types, wizards, clerics, etc. Core classes are awesome in their own right and a book of 500+ npc's of these with various levels still wouldn't be enough!

GREAT JOB and IDEA Paizo!!!


Fantastic book, will save countless hours of prep time, and infinitely customizable for any class. In a prior thread, Erik mentioned that they would see how well this one did before putting out another codex incorporating classes from APG and others. Due to the space constraint, I have no problem at all with limiting it to the Core only. I sincerely hope that there are more to come, and with the recently released Paths of Prestige book, the next codex could incorporate APG classes, and even begin to dabble in the newly introduced prestige classes as well. Having some examples of Hellknights or Pit Fighters would be just great, and if there are more to come, I will gladly snap them up! I just loved the personalities behind some of the characters, and it is fantastic to see that the creative fires at Paizo still burn bright! If you are asking if there would be interest in future volumes, I hereby give my vote for yes in writing! :)

Designer

Cori Marie wrote:
Sean, is there a single person I can thank for Lanani Shabu?

Now that I've remembered to scroll up in this thread and have access to my office files:

The original stat block and character bio are by Jason Nelson.
The gender issue was added in layout (I don't know by who), perhaps because the art order didn't specify a gender for the character and what we got from the artist is an illo of a male.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

rofl. Just read the Lanani Shabu entry. That's hilarious. Poor little transgendered cannibal.

Silver Crusade

Are you guys sure that entry's art isn't intentional? After all, it was mentioned that there would be some transgendered characters present and the text seems to read that way quite easily.

She's a pretty neat character really.

Edit - nm, just woke up and misread some posts as if they were referring to that art as an error. Need caffeine.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber

Thanks Sean! And thank the team for me. As a transgender player it makes me feel awesome to see things like this in a game I love.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Papers & Pencils: Laura Kraul is all I can think of with Transgender characters.


Time for some thread necromancy!

Anyone want to tell me who drew the Death Initiate / Kel Sal Koth (I think that was her name)?

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

Icyshadow wrote:

Time for some thread necromancy!

Anyone want to tell me who drew the Death Initiate / Kel Sal Koth (I think that was her name)?

Sarah Robinson says the artist for Kel Sal Koth is Mauricio Herrera. :)

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