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Out of date.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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Sean K Reynolds wrote:

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.

Oh, ok. I suspected as much.

In a previous post, you mentioned "Irrisen winter witch", so I didn't know if that meant you would be including the new Witch class.


James Jacobs wrote:
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?

Yes, because not everyone owns all of them, not even me.

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

Robert Miller 55 wrote:
Yes, because not everyone owns all of them, not even me.

A lot of people do own all of them, though, and you don't need to own every Paizo product to get all 12 backstories. You just need one volume from each of the first three adventure paths, or any number of combinations of modules and AP adventures. And as much as I like the iconics, I don'y want to pay for them. Their backstories are free online, as is their art, and they serve their purpose as generic enough pregens to be useful in any number of situations with just that. They're doing everything iconics should do at this point. I'd feel like I'd wasted some money if space that could have contained new, specific content were replaced with repeated information that I can get free on the blog, the wiki, and any other site that chooses to include the iconics as part of the Community Use Policy.

Contributor

Shadow13.com wrote:

Oh, ok. I suspected as much.

In a previous post, you mentioned "Irrisen winter witch", so I didn't know if that meant you would be including the new Witch class.

Ah, good eye. :) In that specific case, "witch" is a title, not a reference to her class.


Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Shadow13.com wrote:

Oh, ok. I suspected as much.

In a previous post, you mentioned "Irrisen winter witch", so I didn't know if that meant you would be including the new Witch class.
Ah, good eye. :) In that specific case, "witch" is a title, not a reference to her class.

Gotcha.


yoda8myhead wrote:
Robert Miller 55 wrote:
Yes, because not everyone owns all of them, not even me.
A lot of people do own all of them, though, and you don't need to own every Paizo product to get all 12 backstories. You just need one volume from each of the first three adventure paths, or any number of combinations of modules and AP adventures. And as much as I like the iconics, I don'y want to pay for them. Their backstories are free online, as is their art, and they serve their purpose as generic enough pregens to be useful in any number of situations with just that. They're doing everything iconics should do at this point. I'd feel like I'd wasted some money if space that could have contained new, specific content were replaced with repeated information that I can get free on the blog, the wiki, and any other site that chooses to include the iconics as part of the Community Use Policy.

Oh, they are only in the first 3 AP's? I have them all then. I only missed the Drow one.

Plus I have not followed the wiki's, blogs, etc... so did not know the info was available that way too.

Sczarni

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber
Robert Miller 55 wrote:

Oh, they are only in the first 3 AP's? I have them all then. I only missed the Drow one.

Plus I have not followed the wiki's, blogs, etc... so did not know the info was available that way too.

Here is the list of all blog posts about the iconics, work from the bottom up and you should get the backstories pretty quickly

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

Robert Miller 55 wrote:

Oh, they are only in the first 3 AP's? I have them all then. I only missed the Drow one.

Valeros, Seoni, Kyra, and Merisiel appeared in Rise of the Runelords, but their backstories didn't show up until the later volumes when they needed half-page statblocks instead of quarter page. Curse of the Crimson Thone featured Lem, Seelah, Ezren, and Harsk. If you're missing all the volumes of Second Darkness then you won't have Amiri, Sajan, Seltyiel, and Lini, but some of them have appeared in other modules and APs since.


Thanks guys!


Check out John Wick's blog about his part in this project here.


The less Golarion specific, the more likely I am to get this. But that's not what it's for, so I'll just get the Gamemastery Guide and use the NPC's in there.


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

Just because I haven't had any coffee yet ...

The more Golarion-specific this is the more likely I will enjoy it. =)

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16

Since I don't drink coffee...

I insist that it thread the needle and be both Golarion specific and also campaign neutral :)

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

This should come in handy for the GM who has players, that need A LIFE HISTORY,for the shopkeeper they just bought a tent from.

And for a GM who needs a hook to get the group into or out of a "situation" .


Asgetrion wrote:

(and I personally think it would be cool to have 'Short Haft' and 'Bounding Assault' et al. as 100% "legal" options in PF RPG, instead of being only allowed if your GM is okay with 3E splats).

Well, "Short Haft" has an OGL equivalent in the Netbook Of Feats - Near & Far. I know, you meant getting a straight-up Pathfinder feat rather than just an OGL feat, but it is out there, at least.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

I've updated the image and description to match the finished product.

Dark Archive

Nice cover art.

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

Two questions: just those three authors for the whole book, and who did that cover? It's awesome!

Contributor

Vic Wertz wrote:
I've updated the image and description to match the finished product.

Hal Maclean, Jeff Quick, and John Wick aren't the only contributing authors, though.

Contributor

yoda8myhead wrote:
Two questions: just those three authors for the whole book, and who did that cover? It's awesome!

No, I'm one of the authors, I think Amber Scott and Sutter, and I think one other person, too. Maybe more.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

yoda8myhead wrote:
Two questions: just those three authors for the whole book, and who did that cover? It's awesome!

There's not room for everyone on the cover.

Authors: Jason Bulmahn, Christopher Carey, Crystal Frasier, Jesse Heinig, James Jacobs, Jonathan H. Keith, Hal Maclean, Rob McCreary, Erik Mona, Tim Nightengale, Jeff Quick, Sean K Reynolds, F. Wesley Schneider, Amber Scott, James L. Sutter, John Wick, and Hank Woon

Cover Artist: Dave Rapoza

Dark Archive

Dark_Mistress wrote:
Nice cover art.

Very nice! Me likey! :)

Jon Brazer Enterprises

Nice spiffy new cover.


Do the character levels go from 1 to 20?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

wraithstrike wrote:
Do the character levels go from 1 to 20?

Nope; they skew toward the low and mid level ranges. High level NPCs are generally specific individuals who rule nations or otherwise have big footprints; they thus have very little "replay" value. The NPCs in this book are intended to be used and reused in the same way the monsters in a Bestiary are.

In fact, just flipped through the book and there are VERY few NPCs above 9th level in the book.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

That said... would folks be interested in a book like "Rulers of Golarion" that presents stat blocks for a bunch of high level NPCs?


May I vote yes? It would help me flesh out the world a little bit by not having to wait for the Paizo Staff to do it.

EDIT: that being said the possible release date would most likely be January 2013.

EDIT #2: How about as a Companion book? That is generally a 32-pager.


James Jacobs wrote:
That said... would folks be interested in a book like "Rulers of Golarion" that presents stat blocks for a bunch of high level NPCs?

Not really. If I decide I want my players to face off against, for example, Queen Abrogail, I'll stat her up as I need her for the adventure. If she gets official stats, all that happens is a flood of messageboard posts arguing that she could never rule over Cheliax with those stats, or that this or that PC could totally pwn her . . . not really seeing much of an up side in this.

Paizo Employee Managing Developer

I wouldn't mind a few, but I don't know about a whole book. One of the many bits of world design you guys have done that I really dig is limiting high-level NPCs.

Edit: I also agree with KnightErrantJR's statement.

Grand Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
That said... would folks be interested in a book like "Rulers of Golarion" that presents stat blocks for a bunch of high level NPCs?

I'm kinda with KEJr on this one. It would almost be too specific to be very helpful (unless you want gobs of examples of how to stat up rulers).

-Skeld

Dark Archive

James Jacobs wrote:
That said... would folks be interested in a book like "Rulers of Golarion" that presents stat blocks for a bunch of high level NPCs?

Yes and no. By that I mean it would depend a whole lot on how it was done. If it was just stats blocks with only a little fluff then no. But if it was more fluff, with history, background, goals, etc with plenty of little plot hooks then yes. Of course perhaps something along the lines of movers and shakers might be better, since sometimes the power is behind the throne etc.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
That said... would folks be interested in a book like "Rulers of Golarion" that presents stat blocks for a bunch of high level NPCs?

Yep sure would

Liberty's Edge

I'd rather have a "villains" of Golarion along the vein of 'monsters revisited" type of book. 10 different villains with nice big writeups. Tar Baphon, a runelord other than Karzoug, Geb, etc.

Liberty's Edge

Kevin Mack wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
That said... would folks be interested in a book like "Rulers of Golarion" that presents stat blocks for a bunch of high level NPCs?
Yep sure would

+1

Dark Archive

James Jacobs wrote:
That said... would folks be interested in a book like "Rulers of Golarion" that presents stat blocks for a bunch of high level NPCs?

Absolutely, bring it on!

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

Coridan wrote:
I'd rather have a "villains" of Golarion along the vein of 'monsters revisited" type of book. 10 different villains with nice big writeups. Tar Baphon, a runelord other than Karzoug, Geb, etc.

+1. As much as having a bunch of statblocks would be awesome, especially for higher level games and for GMs who don't have the time to put together high level NPCs every game, BBEGs deserve more than a page or two. Choosing ten and really giving them a lot of attention could serve not only to give stats to a few major players for strapped GMs, but also provide hooks for GMs with more time to create their own 18+ level campaigns building up to facing these NPCs. I understand KEJ's point, and admit it's probably more true than I'd like it to be, I think if smaller impact rulers/villains were spotlighted it would work really well.

Grand Lodge

James Jacobs wrote:
That said... would folks be interested in a book like "Rulers of Golarion" that presents stat blocks for a bunch of high level NPCs?

Not really.


Coridan wrote:
I'd rather have a "villains" of Golarion along the vein of 'monsters revisited" type of book. 10 different villains with nice big writeups. Tar Baphon, a runelord other than Karzoug, Geb, etc.

Yup, "Villains of Golarion" would be very cool; "Rulers of Golarion" less so.

Dark Archive

forbinproject wrote:
Coridan wrote:
I'd rather have a "villains" of Golarion along the vein of 'monsters revisited" type of book. 10 different villains with nice big writeups. Tar Baphon, a runelord other than Karzoug, Geb, etc.
Yup, "Villains of Golarion" would be very cool; "Rulers of Golarion" less so.

Maybe they could be combined into a single volume, i.e. 'Rulers and Villains of Golarion'? But that would be cool only if I and KaeYoss are statted in it... ;P


yoda8myhead wrote:
Coridan wrote:
I'd rather have a "villains" of Golarion along the vein of 'monsters revisited" type of book. 10 different villains with nice big writeups. Tar Baphon, a runelord other than Karzoug, Geb, etc.
+1. As much as having a bunch of statblocks would be awesome, especially for higher level games and for GMs who don't have the time to put together high level NPCs every game, BBEGs deserve more than a page or two. Choosing ten and really giving them a lot of attention could serve not only to give stats to a few major players for strapped GMs, but also provide hooks for GMs with more time to create their own 18+ level campaigns building up to facing these NPCs. I understand KEJ's point, and admit it's probably more true than I'd like it to be, I think if smaller impact rulers/villains were spotlighted it would work really well.

+2 I agree with Yoda and Coridan. I'd prefer to have this.

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Indeed. A Villains of Golarion book sounds like a good plan.


Hmm… I like the idea of a book focusing on rulers or better yet, "movers & shakers" as someone above mentioned. Describing important NPCs in the campaign setting in a similar fashion to the treatment given to the deities of Golarion, with goals, motivations, background, and environment. I wouldn't want just villains. I'd like to see the heroes too for once. I can see KEJR's concern about stat blocks, but it would be very helpful to at least have stats for important NPCs in the powerful NPC's service in particular. I see the potential of such a book being a treasure trove of adventure hooks and a toolkit to add lots of flavor and depth to the campaign setting. It would certainly hit the idea from a different angle than the NPC guide.


I'd be interested in a few rulers, and the rest should be slave lords, merchant princes, cult leaders, important members of powerful organizations etc. And I'd prefer ''shades of grey'' theme rather than all villainy.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16

Are we talking high level villains only? Or villains for low and mid-level adventures too?


James Jacobs wrote:
That said... would folks be interested in a book like "Rulers of Golarion" that presents stat blocks for a bunch of high level NPCs?

I like the idea of high level NPCs given a good background, rumors about them, suggested stat block, and some artwork. Throw some high level adventure hooks in too. By high level I don't me game level I mean high level concepts. To give an example say ruler has ambitions to do X and how would X impact you players and lead to adventures.

So if the book is like that I'd buy it!


Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber
yoda8myhead wrote:
Coridan wrote:
I'd rather have a "villains" of Golarion along the vein of 'monsters revisited" type of book. 10 different villains with nice big writeups. Tar Baphon, a runelord other than Karzoug, Geb, etc.
+1. As much as having a bunch of statblocks would be awesome, especially for higher level games and for GMs who don't have the time to put together high level NPCs every game, BBEGs deserve more than a page or two. Choosing ten and really giving them a lot of attention could serve not only to give stats to a few major players for strapped GMs, but also provide hooks for GMs with more time to create their own 18+ level campaigns building up to facing these NPCs. I understand KEJ's point, and admit it's probably more true than I'd like it to be, I think if smaller impact rulers/villains were spotlighted it would work really well.

+1


James Jacobs wrote:
That said... would folks be interested in a book like "Rulers of Golarion" that presents stat blocks for a bunch of high level NPCs?

Yes I would, and how high(level wise) do the NPC's in the NPC Guide do. I don't really need a 20 level character but 13 is what I would at least like to see.


Asgetrion wrote:

'Rulers and Villains of Golarion'? But that would be cool only if I and KaeYoss are statted in it... ;P

Great idea. Even if I don't agree with the official build it would at least give me an idea of an approximate power level. I would rather tweak a level 15+ character than build one from scratch.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

wraithstrike wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
That said... would folks be interested in a book like "Rulers of Golarion" that presents stat blocks for a bunch of high level NPCs?
Yes I would, and how high(level wise) do the NPC's in the NPC Guide do. I don't really need a 20 level character but 13 is what I would at least like to see.

There's 1 12th level NPC in the NPC guide, and I think 1 10th level NPC, All the rest are 9th or lower, with the majority of the specific NPCs being around 4th–6th level and the generic NPCs (city guards and cutpurses and bandits and the like) being around 1st–3rd level.

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