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SO yeah... my suggestion for folks like Mary who are frustrated with the lack of support for how to build NPCs and monsters is to please be patient and check out the Gamemastery Guide when it comes out. I'm hoping we'll have these monster/NPC rules up for free at some point before then, so keep an eye on the blog as well.
Lack of support for NPCs and monsters is a definite problem, but there is also a question of attitude and tone. Neither episode 1 nor episode 2 sold me in any way on the gameworld being a real place. This reaches its nadir in the encounter in #2 where, if the PCs inconveniently kill an NPC, the GM is told to have their identical twin brother show up so that nothing will change. But that's far from the only example. In #1 I find it incredible that the young Hellknight would not react to desecration of his parents' graves; in #2, the PCs are asked to intervene in a very private situation for no apparent reason, just because they are PCs; in #2, the ritual capabilities of the villain are shockingly out of proportion with anything PCs might expect to do at that level; and it goes on.
Maybe this will change over time. I'll check back in after a year and see. But reading the two Age of Ashes modules so far, they do not feel like they are set anywhere real or solid. The tone strongly pushes treating the NPCs as disposable (and interchangable!) props. Maybe this wasn't the intent, but it's what the material, and your commentary here, communicate to me.