Pathfinder Chronicles: NPC Guide (PFRPG)

2.70/5 (based on 7 ratings)
Pathfinder Chronicles: NPC Guide (PFRPG)
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Scores of Characters!

Save yourself some number crunching and use this collection of 91 fully statted and ready-to-run nonplayer characters. Whether you need a veteran Pathfinder, an eccentric Red Mantis assassin, an undead-hating Nexian mage, or just a rough-and-tumble thug, this book does the dirty work for you!

    Characters in this book include:
  • Thirty unique NPCs native to the myriad nations of Golarion, with illustrations, histories, complete stat blocks, and special boons for PCs who befriend them. While they bear flavor and history tied to their homelands, all 30 NPCs may appear in any part of the world, and in any setting—use them as mentors, allies, cohorts, or sworn enemies of your PCs.
  • More than 50 nameless NPC stat blocks, custom designed for maximum utility in your game, including raiders from the Lands of the Linnorm Kings, Katapeshi slavers, spider-riding goblins, Gillmen knife fighters, and evil cultists. Whether you use them as bosses in low-level adventures or minions for high-level enemies, you’ll save yourself hours of work by putting your own names and faces over these premade NPCs.
  • Seven adventurer PCs played by Paizo staff members, presented as NPCs with illustrations, histories, stat blocks, and player boons. Use one as a quick premade PC, or drop them all into your campaign as a rival adventuring group!

Pathfinder Chronicles: NPC Guide is intended for use with the Pathfinder Chronicles campaign setting, but is suitable for any setting using the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game or the 3.5 edition of the world’s oldest roleplaying game.

ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-219-7

A free Web Enhancement featuring five additional NPCs was featured in the Paizo Blog.

Note: This product is part of the Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscription.

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Average product rating:

2.70/5 (based on 7 ratings)

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Out of date.

3/5

Uses old D&D rules so no Witches or Maguses etc. The class builds are therefore not powerful enough for modern PF. They are also quite dull, far, far too many 5th level ranger guides and Dex based sword using rogue/fighter types. It is quite odd, they seem to account for about 50% of the characters.

A sequel is very much needed.

We need all the newer classes, and fill in chracters from other lands - Casmaron, Vudra etc. This is an area the book really shows its age - there are no proper Varisian or Sczarni characters and only one (fairly bland) Hellknight! Modern PF would probably have a dozen.

To its credit, the little picture portraits are great, and the mini biographies and boon hooks are of proper Paizo standard. It is hard to complain becuase this fluff is excellent, but the crunch lets it down and seeing as we don't even use those rules any more, it probably doesn't matter.

Still. Improved sequel please.


Severe Let down

1/5

Wow, all I can say is that this book was a bummer. Probably an ok resource if you are running a very low level campaign, but I have no problem stating third level characters, and the free resources on the web make it even easier. There are about two characters I can use in my game. I would recommend not wasting your money;)


Could have been far better.

2/5

Every GM's nightmare: NPCs. Coming up with believable, memorable and challenging personalities for PCs to interact with is an art, learned over years of experience and gaming. But that's just half of the challenge, since we're talking D&D/PF here, we need to tackle the daunting NPC statblocks, full of abilities, spells and other things that require time and energy to create.

So it would be a great thing to have some help here, right? A book with pre-generated NPCs is always a good idea. As long as the idea is well executed, that is...

NPC Guide consist of 3 chapters. Chapter 1, titled "Named NPCs" contains 30 fully-fleshed NPCs, each one with a portrait, backstory, statblock and suggested "boons" which they may bestow upon PCs. Chapter 2 presents 50 generic NPC statblocks - no fluff, just stats. Finally Chapter 3 describes Paizo staff PCs from their personal campaigns.

While the quality of writing, artwork, ideas and fluff is great, the book suffers from two serious problems, which somewhat cripple it's usefulness.

Firstly, almost all the statblocks presented in NPC Guide are low level. Only a couple of named NPCs are above CR 5 and all of the generic statblocks are below it. This is a major blow, because arguably the most time-consuming and demanding part of NPC creation is the science of statblock building.

The second problem is that there isn't really anything in the way of new rules elements (items, spells, feats, etc.) to support the NPCs. In fact, being mostly low-level, they tend to be rather bland on the crunch side.

While it's very nice to see dozens of both common, generic NPCs and more fleshed-out personalities, I fear that this wasn't exactly what a harried GM is after. Knocking together a level 3 NPC isn't that hard (especially with Hero Lab around), but the high level statblocks are killers.

Luckily, Paizo seems to have realized the error, and the recent Rival Guide is everything such book should be.


Does the Gruntwork of making Grunts.

5/5

A clever idea that proves surprisingly useful. A must have to pull together a surprise ambush or a contact in a seedy bar. Check out my full review NPC Guide




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Dark Archive

James Jacobs wrote:
come August is the fact that we'll be able to have flavor AND crunch in a Chronicles book. Of course, the crunch will be dictated by the flavor, and will generally skew towards things that GMs would use and not so much PCs...

As long as it's not crunch for crunch sake this can be quite useful; things like haunt rules or chase rules or 'the art of the duel' ... DM sexy time.

Dark Archive

baron arem heshvaun wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
come August is the fact that we'll be able to have flavor AND crunch in a Chronicles book. Of course, the crunch will be dictated by the flavor, and will generally skew towards things that GMs would use and not so much PCs...
As long as it's not crunch for crunch sake this can be quite useful; things like haunt rules or chase rules or 'the art of the duel' ... DM sexy time.

I think these will be in the GM's Guide, but I may be wrong...

I just realized something -- this is a Chronicles book, and not part of the RPG subscription. Therefore the page count is not enough for all the good things people have posted here (like whole encounters)... :(

James, are you guys possibly planning to do a "Lairs & Encounters" type of book?

Sovereign Court

I'd like to see some crossover between this and the APs. Perhaps random encounter tables in the AP referencing this book.

i.e.
1-2 Pirate captain Human Male R3/F1 NE (NPC guide p.17)
3-5 Beggar vomits on PCs shoe.
6-7 ....
etc.

Dark Archive

I would liked to see several scaled versions of different NPCs. That way, a Hellknight for example, copuld be used by a GM running a 3rd level party or a GM running a 15th level party with minimal work.


Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber

You have been too successful with the Adventure Paths! as I run them exclusively now so most "unfriendly NPCs" already have their stats done or point to the appropriate entry in the monster book.

Also, depending on the how much of a cross over with the Pathfinder RPG GameMastery Guide, which states: "more than 100 stat blocks for common NPCs such as guardsmen, knights, bandits, pirates, villagers, and nobles"

I would like to see the following which would supplement the GameMastery Guide:

1) 3/4 book: Named NPCs with backgrounds and flavor, such as a Venture Captain, a Hellknight Captain, Osirion Princess, etc. spread across multiple character levels and across the complete world.
2) 1/4 book: Other mooks that are mostly stat blocks.

-- david
Papa.DRB

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Edited product description to include page count (it's 64).


64 pages seems too few to me given the ambitions of this project...

Product description wrote:
...scores of fully realized NPCs with strong ties to the Pathfinder setting, each with statistics, motivations, mannerisms, and a new mechanic for handling favors and NPC-granted boons in the campaign...

If I recall basic maths correctly a 'score' is twenty, which means that there's a commitment to at least forty 'fully realized' NPCs right there, and besides the stat-blocks and personality details, each one has a new mechanic for handling favours and granting boons?

That's a lot of space gone with just that, unless my understanding of US English is off....

The city guide to Korvosa was a little light on history and politics for my liking, but I understand such things are not to everyone's taste and it worked pretty well overall at 64 pages I felt.
The Dragons of Golarion, also at 64 pages, was very tightly packed - at only six pages for each of the ten 'sub-types' of dragon - and could have done with being longer, in my opinion.
I realise that for reasons of budget and how much your average subscriber is prepared to spend on a product, 64 pages may be a standard for Paizo (or 92 without the 4 pages of adverts in the PF line), but I have considerable doubts if this is a product concept that will easily fit into 64 pages.
Best of luck! ;)

Liberty's Edge

Here's a question for ya, Vic. I don't know if you'll be able to answer it or not (NDA's and all).

I heard through the grapevine that Ed Greenwood has been writing up some NPCs for Pathfinder and was wondering if those write-ups are part of this book or another project?


mattdroz wrote:

Here's a question for ya, Vic. I don't know if you'll be able to answer it or not (NDA's and all).

I heard through the grapevine that Ed Greenwood has been writing up some NPCs for Pathfinder and was wondering if those write-ups are part of this book or another project?

I think it was mentioned at PaizoCon that Master Greenwood was doing some work on the NPCs for the Kingmaker AP.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

mattdroz wrote:

Here's a question for ya, Vic. I don't know if you'll be able to answer it or not (NDA's and all).

I heard through the grapevine that Ed Greenwood has been writing up some NPCs for Pathfinder and was wondering if those write-ups are part of this book or another project?

Ed's helping us come up with some NPCs for the Kingmaker adventure path; mostly personalities, histories, and other flavor elements. He's not involved (at this point, at least) with the NPC guide at all.

Liberty's Edge

Thanks!

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Charles Evans 25 wrote:

64 pages seems too few to me given the ambitions of this project...

Product description wrote:
...scores of fully realized NPCs with strong ties to the Pathfinder setting, each with statistics, motivations, mannerisms, and a new mechanic for handling favors and NPC-granted boons in the campaign...

If I recall basic maths correctly a 'score' is twenty, which means that there's a commitment to at least forty 'fully realized' NPCs right there, and besides the stat-blocks and personality details, each one has a new mechanic for handling favours and granting boons?

That's a lot of space gone with just that, unless my understanding of US English is off....

Added an "and" between "motivations" and "mannerisms."


Vic Wertz wrote:
Charles Evans 25 wrote:

64 pages seems too few to me given the ambitions of this project...

Product description wrote:
...scores of fully realized NPCs with strong ties to the Pathfinder setting, each with statistics, motivations, mannerisms, and a new mechanic for handling favors and NPC-granted boons in the campaign...

If I recall basic maths correctly a 'score' is twenty, which means that there's a commitment to at least forty 'fully realized' NPCs right there, and besides the stat-blocks and personality details, each one has a new mechanic for handling favours and granting boons?

That's a lot of space gone with just that, unless my understanding of US English is off....
Added an "and" between "motivations" and "mannerisms."

Oh. Take out lists or rules of favours/boons personalised to each NPC, and suddenly you can get 4+ NPCs on a page I suppose, and it looks slightly less cramped.... :-k

Paizo Employee Creative Director

After getting all of the dragons and elementals to fit onto two pages each type in the Bestiary, I'm not worried at all about getting a bunch of NPCs and their favors/boons to fit on a page. Especially since nothing's been written for the book yet. It's in good hands, is what I'm saying! :-)


[humourous misunderstanding] Uhh, all the dragons on two pages, all the elementals on two pages? Well I hope you at least kept all the opposing ones apart, so that all the metallic dragons were on the one page, and all the chromatics were on the opposite one. Although for that matter the chromatic dragons might end up fighting one another anyway.
And imagine the mess if you put fire and water elementals on the same page, or for that matter the trouble if you mixed earth and air.... [/humourous misunderstanding]
;)

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

Make Sutter write up both a Sweetalker and a Troll Auger. They both sounded awesome from their brief descriptions.

Also, a Bloatmage would be greatly appreciated, possibly even a low-level initiate type who is just starting to pork up. :)


James Jacobs wrote:
Ed's helping us come up with some NPCs for the Kingmaker adventure path; mostly personalities, histories, and other flavor elements.

Ah brilliant! I am really looking forward to the next couple of APs.

Scarab Sages

Eyebite wrote:

Make Sutter write up both a Sweetalker and a Troll Auger. They both sounded awesome from their brief descriptions.

Also, a Bloatmage would be greatly appreciated, possibly even a low-level initiate type who is just starting to pork up. :)

I agree completely!! Bloatmage, especially... I think there should be much more than 1 feat to cover this twistely wonderful specialization.

Contributor

FYI, designer John Wick has been blogging about his design process for the NPCs he's been working on for this book. You can read about them

(warning, some NSFW language in these)

part 1

part 2

part 3

part 4

Owner - Pikes Comics

Will/Should Pathfinder society writers use these characters?

Dark Archive

Sean K Reynolds wrote:

FYI, designer John Wick has been blogging about his design process for the NPCs he's been working on for this book. You can read about them

(warning, some NSFW language in these)

part 1

part 2

part 3

part 4

John Wick is going to design NPCs for this book?!? Wow, that's great news, because he's one of my favorite RPG designers... :)

But why is he calling you 'The Enemy' in his blog? :O

Contributor

lostpike wrote:
Will/Should Pathfinder society writers use these characters?

They'll be canon once they're published, so writers CAN refer to them in Society stuff. SHOULD is a weird question. :)

Asgetrion wrote:
But why is he calling you 'The Enemy' in his blog? :O

Because we are enemies.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Wait, wait, you have John Wick writing up NPCs for Pathfinder ?

I'm not buying that book. It would hurt me. It would steal my soul. It would make me cry in the corner, afraid that these NPCs will jump out of the book.

Don't buy the NPC guide. It has John Wick inside. IT HAS JOHN WICK !!!


Gorbacz wrote:

Wait, wait, you have John Wick writing up NPCs for Pathfinder ?

I'm not buying that book. It would hurt me. It would steal my soul. It would make me cry in the corner, afraid that these NPCs will jump out of the book.

Don't buy the NPC guide. It has John Wick inside. IT HAS JOHN WICK !!!

To be clear, I'm writing the NPCs, Jess Heinig is doing the mechanics. So, the book also has Jess Heinig, which is a good thing, because his awesome goodness will counteract my villainous evilness.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Pawns, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

Is it wishful thinking to hope that the Iconics will have a full page each with expanded backgrounds? (I know i'm asking again but it wasn't answered!)


SirUrza wrote:
Woot! I've been waiting for a book like this.

I'll second this! I and another GM I know have wished for a product like this for a long itme now. Very excited about this one. I think it'll be my next purchase :)

Paizo Employee Creative Director

SirUrza wrote:
Is it wishful thinking to hope that the Iconics will have a full page each with expanded backgrounds? (I know i'm asking again but it wasn't answered!)

The iconics are not going to be in this book.

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

Will this have tables listing NPCs by race, class, alignment, location, etc. similar to how monsters are listed by CR, environment, type, and so on?


walks into thread holding a lit torch

Me burn yet?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

yoda8myhead wrote:
Will this have tables listing NPCs by race, class, alignment, location, etc. similar to how monsters are listed by CR, environment, type, and so on?

I'm sure it'll have some sort of indexing. We haven't got to that stage yet.


A fellow GM and myself were discussing this product last night about what would be useful to us in this type of product. Although having NPCs with stats, backgrounds, and motivations displayed for the Golarion setting is good, what I think a lot of GMs could really use is an indepth resource to quickly generate NPCs.

My colleague mentioned lists of stat blocks, for quick reference that he could add his own fluff to, but I'd like to see a resource that helps you quickly generate any NPC, from the shop keeper, to the mayor, to the typical guild thief, to the highpriest. It could have a bent towards the PFRPG setting, but easily useful for any setting. I'm reminded of the charts from the 1st ed. DMG, which you could randomly choose visual traits and personality traits.

Any chance that the book will have a resource such as this?

Again, listing Golarion NPCs is fine, but I'm hoping for rules to create your own NPCs on the fly. I guess it would be an expanded version of the NPC chapter in the core book.

Dark Archive

Attack Goblin #23 wrote:

walks into thread holding a lit torch

Me burn yet?

Light it!

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Pawns, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
SirUrza wrote:
Is it wishful thinking to hope that the Iconics will have a full page each with expanded backgrounds? (I know i'm asking again but it wasn't answered!)
The iconics are not going to be in this book.

Too bad.

Contributor

anthony Valente wrote:
Any chance that the book will have a resource such as this?

The NPC Guide won't have this; what your asking about sounds more like PFRPG core material than Golarion-specific. The Gamemastery Guide is going to have a lot of sample "generic" guards, barkeeps, and so on, but I don't know if it covers quick-generation (I didn't write that section).


Did you look at Faces of Sigil for some inspiration, imo that is a great example how it should be done.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Knoq Nixoy wrote:
Did you look at Faces of Sigil for some inspiration, imo that is a great example how it should be done.

Faces of Sigil is indeed one of the books that we looked to for inspiration for this book.


Sean K Reynolds wrote:
anthony Valente wrote:
Any chance that the book will have a resource such as this?
The NPC Guide won't have this; what your asking about sounds more like PFRPG core material than Golarion-specific. The Gamemastery Guide is going to have a lot of sample "generic" guards, barkeeps, and so on, but I don't know if it covers quick-generation (I didn't write that section).

Wow, thanks. I missed that announcement. Yep, that's what I was hoping for :)

Scarab Sages

Jason Nelson wrote:


That was something I was thinking about; perhaps having a handful of "alternate versions" based on different lands and cultures, so that underneath the basic "Mercenary Captain" entry you'd have:

Northlands: Mercenaries in Varisia, Irrisen, and the lands of the Mammoth Lords and Linnorm Kings typically replace standard arms with the following: +1 chain mail and +1 heavy shield (AC 20, FF 18, T 12) and use a +1 battle axe (atk +8, DMG 1d8+6) and replace Mounted Combat with Endurance.

Southlands: In Garundi nations south of the Inner Sea, replace the above weapons and feats, blah blah blah.

You could do this for either general regions (as above), for a selected handful of a couple of countries per entry just as examples, or whatever other sample alts you wanted.

Anyway, seems like an easy way to multiply the utility of the book, because each base stat block has a couple of one-paragraph mods.

THIS IS THE MOST AMAZING SUGGESTION EVER AND MUST BE MADE INTO A BOOK NOW!


To tide you over while you wait...

The Age of Worms overload.


I'm curious as to how much overlap if any there is with this and the GM guide that's being made. It mentions stat blocks and tips for creating NPCs while this appears to be sample characters. Do I have that right? Or is there going to be a lot of the same in the two products?

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The NPC guide will focus on Golarion-specific NPCs with expanded backstory.

The Gamemastery guide will include generic setting-less NPCs (city guards, archmages, commoners, merchants, soldiers, bandits etc.), likely just statblocks.

Contributor

To clarify, while the GMG may have stat blocks for generic NPCs like city guards, thugs, Viking raiders, merchants, and so on, the NPC Guide has stat blocks for generic NPCs like Puddles thug (Absalom), Belkzen orc berserker, Hellknight armiger, Linnorm raider, Irrisen winter witch, and so on... as well as over 30 one-page illustrated writeups of named specific NPCs from most of our countries.


SirUrza wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
SirUrza wrote:
Is it wishful thinking to hope that the Iconics will have a full page each with expanded backgrounds? (I know i'm asking again but it wasn't answered!)
The iconics are not going to be in this book.
Too bad.

I would take that to mean there IS GOING TO BE such a product, it just isn't this book.

So I am going to assume Paizo has some kind of planned book up their sleeves that will contain the iconic write ups.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Robert Miller 55 wrote:
SirUrza wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
SirUrza wrote:
Is it wishful thinking to hope that the Iconics will have a full page each with expanded backgrounds? (I know i'm asking again but it wasn't answered!)
The iconics are not going to be in this book.
Too bad.

I would take that to mean there IS GOING TO BE such a product, it just isn't this book.

So I am going to assume Paizo has some kind of planned book up their sleeves that will contain the iconic write ups.

Beyond the writeups we put at the end of every Pathfinder Adventure Path volume and module, you mean?


Will this book:

1) Utilize the new PFRPG rules or the old 3.5 rules?
2) Contain the 6 new base classes?

I assume the new PFRPG rules will be used and that the 6 new base classes will be also included, but I just want to make sure. If so, this is a definite buy for me.

I also suggest providing scaled stat blocks for certain types of NPCs at lower/higher levels.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

As far as we know it's PFRPG and no new classes yet (they haven't been finalized).

Contributor

Yeah, they're Pathfinder, and I doubt any of them will use the new classes, since the deadline for the statblocks and writeups was back in early September. Also, this is coming out before the Advanced Player's Guide.

Contributor

1) As of the release of the Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook, all of Paizo's RPG products use the Pathfinder rules (except systemless products like the item cards, which don't have game stats).

2) The six new base classes in the APG aren't even finished yet, so no, none of the stat blocks for the NPC Guide use the new base classes, as by the time the NPC Guide was published the classes will have changed due to playtest feedback and therefore those stat blocks would be wrong.

Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

Sean K Reynolds wrote:
anthony Valente wrote:
Any chance that the book will have a resource such as this?
The NPC Guide won't have this; what your asking about sounds more like PFRPG core material than Golarion-specific. The Gamemastery Guide is going to have a lot of sample "generic" guards, barkeeps, and so on, but I don't know if it covers quick-generation (I didn't write that section).

I did write the 112 sample stat blocks for the GMG, which range from Farmer and Village Idiot to King and Archmage, and all points in between (Pirate Lord, Gypsy, Arena Champion, Princess, Bouncer, Prospector, Squire, etc.); however, what I wrote was just a looonnnnggg list of stat blocks. There may be a supporting part of the chapter that dealt with quick NPC creation (though if there is I didn't write it), but I think the hope in providing a large spread of different typical NPCs was that if you have the basic version there in front of you, you should hopefully be able to find something quickly that you can either use as is or that you could do a quick and dirty kit-bash on to file off the serial numbers and give Malibu Stacy a new hat and bingo-bango you've got your quickly created NPC.

So, not necessarily quick creation of NPCs from scratch, but the tools and resources to facilitate quick modding of a large number of versatile pregens that cover most of your needs as a DM.

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