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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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Out of date.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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Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I would love to see something similar to the old FR Heroes and Villains Lorebooks. 2 page description and a stat block per character.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion 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?

Yes, please.

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?

Something to be called 'Kingmakers, Kaiserins, Knights & Knaves'?

: )

Special request:
When such a 'Rulers' book is made a few years from now, how about a contest on the messageboards for all those who played through 'Kingmaker' and the winner getting thier set of lords and ladies as small part of the book. (even as blog add on)


Just a quick question hopefully this hasn't already been asked, will these NPC's be different from the ones that are going to be provided in the GM's Guide?

Dark Archive

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

I believe the NPCs presented in this book will be named NPCs or NPCs that have some connection to the campaign setting, such as Osirian snake tamer, House Thrune conjurer, etc. (these are just examples) whereas the stat blocks featured in the Gamemastery Guide will be very generic in nature (town guard, beggar, innkeeper, that sort of thing) and not connected to Golarion.

Keep in mind that the Gamemastery Guide (and indeed books in the Pathfinder RPG line in general) is setting neutral, whereas the books from the Pathfinder Chronicles line are written with Golarion in mind.

Contributor

What Ravenmantle said. :)

NPC Guide has about 40 fully-described NPCs (name, history, outlook, boon, stat block) tied to most of the countries in the campaign setting (i.e., here's a named NPC from Absalom, here's one from Brevoy, etc.), many more "generic" Golarion NPCs (such as "Chitterwood Spider-Rider," "Belkzen Worg Rider," "Linnorm Kings Raider," etc.) that are just stat blocks, and writeups of the PCs in James Jacobs' "Shadow Under Sandpoint" campaign, who are presented like the 40 fully-described NPCs in the first part of the book (including boons).

Whereas the GMG's NPCs are more like "caravan guard," "village idiot," "innkeeper," and so on.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Sean K Reynolds wrote:
..."village idiot"...

I'm getting my own stat block?

Contributor

Whatever you want, boss. :)


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?

No, not at all. It would get so little use IMO. "Come here king of Taldor, I'm gonna school you with my Power Attack!"

The most I'd want to see is like the old Greyhawk boxed set that noted class/level in passing (Crispin Redwell, Human Ranger 9).

Now, I would like some miscellaneous high level NPCs, but it's the "Rulers Of" tagline that concerns me.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Ernest Mueller wrote:


The most I'd want to see is like the old Greyhawk boxed set that noted class/level in passing (Crispin Redwell, Human Ranger 9).

Now, I would like some miscellaneous high level NPCs, but it's the "Rulers Of" tagline that concerns me.

I'd agree 100%. Rulers of countries, whether they're 1st-level or 20th-level, are meant to be static. Unless you specifically run a campaign where they're the BBEG,

Spoiler:
such as Queen Illeosa from Curse of the Crimson Throne AP
the odds of PCs actually fighting the king/queen/emperor/whatever of a country are too slim to make a book like this useful.

I also like the idea of a "High-Level NPCs of Golarion book." Stat up and detail some of Golarion's behind-the-scenes movers and shakers such as a high priest of the Old Gods, a necromantic scion of the Whispering Tyrant, the guildmaster of the Silent Brotherhood (thieves' guild mentioned in Taldor book), an immortal swordsmaster from Tian Xa, a paladin who single-handedly battles the legions of the World Wound,etc. That I'd love.

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

Isger and Molthune always get overlooked, so the absence of named NPCs from there isn't surprising to me, but no one from Osirion or the River Kingdoms? :-( It also looks like Jalmeray and Numeria are missing, too. I know there's only so much that can fit in a 64 page book, so I'm not complaining, just wondering how you decided which countries not to represent in the named characters?


Just browsed the PDF. Paizo, guys: thank you. This is probably THE single most useful product you've put out for PFRPG thus far, and that's saying something. I love the last chapter, especially the PC's illustrations are great.


Gotta admit, after playing through a few Pathfinder modules, I'm a little leery of the mechanical accuracy of Paizo's NPC blocks. More than a few times, I've seen NPCs wielding weapons they're not proficient with, or having tactics that can't be accomplished because the NPC doesn't actually have the spells available to perform them. I'd hope, in a product like this where the NPCs are the only data, that the editors could ensure a higher level of quality and accuracy, but I'm a little gun-shy about it. Any word on how rigorous the mechanics editing was?


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

I am loving this book! Ultra useful for a DM. Kudos!


It sounds great! I'd love to see it with the stats in a word/excel format for ease of modifying and keeping on my lap top.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

yoda8myhead wrote:
Isger and Molthune always get overlooked, so the absence of named NPCs from there isn't surprising to me, but no one from Osirion or the River Kingdoms? :-( It also looks like Jalmeray and Numeria are missing, too. I know there's only so much that can fit in a 64 page book, so I'm not complaining, just wondering how you decided which countries not to represent in the named characters?

We couldn't put NPCs in there for every country is the raw rub of it. We had to pick and choose which ones were the most interesting AND which ones gave us the opportunity to do a good mix of NPC archetypes.

For the River Kingdoms, you're getting a 6-part adventure path FILLED with NPC stat blocks, though...


tbug 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, please.

That sounds interesting

Contributor

Disciple of Sakura wrote:
Gotta admit, after playing through a few Pathfinder modules, I'm a little leery of the mechanical accuracy of Paizo's NPC blocks. More than a few times, I've seen NPCs wielding weapons they're not proficient with, or having tactics that can't be accomplished because the NPC doesn't actually have the spells available to perform them. I'd hope, in a product like this where the NPCs are the only data, that the editors could ensure a higher level of quality and accuracy, but I'm a little gun-shy about it. Any word on how rigorous the mechanics editing was?

I checked all of them with our in-house stat block spreadsheet. And then Rob hand-checked them.

In a book with that many stat blocks, you're bound to get some errors, but we double-checked these. So any that slip through... blame Rob. :)


Lookin' good...

Owner - House of Books and Games LLC

Argh.

Shipment ... stuck ... in ... limbo ....

*jealous*


Dance of Ruin wrote:
Just browsed the PDF. Paizo, guys: thank you. This is probably THE single most useful product you've put out for PFRPG thus far, and that's saying something. I love the last chapter, especially the PC's illustrations are great.

PDF? I could not find a PDF.


PDF available approx. Mar 31 :) - it's one of the subscriber benefits to get them early.

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?

Most definitely!

Owner - House of Books and Games LLC

ORDER OUT OF LIMBO!

WOOHOO!!


Skimmed through the book. Very cool stuff! I'm a little concerned though, there were opportunities to put other elements of the Pathfinder world into the book and while I'm by no means disappointed I was a little confused at the lack of use. A few examples include:

Skinsaw cultist: loved that particular adventure in the Rise of the Runelords AP but... well... where are the War Razors?

Shoanti Tribesman: Would have loved to see the use of a Klar or Earthhammer in this one.

Red Mantis Assassin: Only she isn't, she's a regular assassin, has she simply yet to take levels in said prestige class?

It's still good stuff, don't get me wrong, and hell... if I want that Tribesman to have an Earth Hammer then he'll have one so it's not an issue. Just sort of confused me is all.

Another question of curiosity, and I'll probably find the answer when I sit down to read the book more at a more in depth level, but this is about the Paizo Staff NPCs:

All of them are 4th level save one who's at 12th level, any particular reason for that? Maybe to show contrast or something or was this simply the level of all the PC's at the time of the books development?


DM Doom wrote:


Another question of curiosity, and I'll probably find the answer when I sit down to read the book more at a more in depth level, but this is about the Paizo Staff NPCs:

All of them are 4th level save one who's at 12th level, any particular reason for that? Maybe to show contrast or something or was this simply the level of all the PC's at the time of the books development?

All except James Jacobs' was from the Shadow Under Sandpoint campaign that he's running for the staff. James' character was one of his favorites from a prior campaign. There's a short write up about the characters right before their first one in that section. It was kind of neat reading I thought.

Contributor

DM Doom wrote:

Skimmed through the book. Very cool stuff! I'm a little concerned though, there were opportunities to put other elements of the Pathfinder world into the book and while I'm by no means disappointed I was a little confused at the lack of use. A few examples include:

Skinsaw cultist: loved that particular adventure in the Rise of the Runelords AP but... well... where are the War Razors?

There's only so much space (in fact, we had to cut about 2 pages worth of stat blocks

Shoanti Tribesman: Would have loved to see the use of a Klar or Earthhammer in this one.

DM Doom wrote:
Red Mantis Assassin: Only she isn't, she's a regular assassin, has she simply yet to take levels in said prestige class?

We don't have an official conversion for the RMA prestige class, and didn't want to confuse people by (1) presenting her with an unconverted class (for one, the skill prereqs would be wrong), and (2) didn't want to do a "stealth" conversion and have her look like we got the class wrong compared to the campaign setting.

DM Doom wrote:
All of them are 4th level save one who's at 12th level, any particular reason for that? Maybe to show contrast or something or was this simply the level of all the PC's at the time of the books development?

Because James Jacobs is running the game in which the low-level PCs appear, and thus doesn't have a *PC* for that game, so he picked his fave PC from another campaign.


Ernest Mueller 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?

No, not at all. It would get so little use IMO. "Come here king of Taldor, I'm gonna school you with my Power Attack!"

The most I'd want to see is like the old Greyhawk boxed set that noted class/level in passing (Crispin Redwell, Human Ranger 9).

Now, I would like some miscellaneous high level NPCs, but it's the "Rulers Of" tagline that concerns me.

I would be interested in a "Rulers of Golarion," but not if it meant it was going to be filled with the king of Taldor, the ruler of Cheliax, or other NPCs that really don't seem intent on shifting soon.

On the other hand, I would be happy to see a stat block for the Whispering Tyrant, the current and upcoming rulers of Galt, and otherwise other stat blocks similar to the big bad evil villians at the end of 'Rise of the Runelords', 'Curse of the Crimson Throne', 'Second Darkness', and 'Legacy of Fire'. Leveled creatures that currently rule a chunk of Golarion or likely to take control a piece of it given the chance.


Sean K Reynolds wrote:
DM Doom wrote:

Skimmed through the book. Very cool stuff! I'm a little concerned though, there were opportunities to put other elements of the Pathfinder world into the book and while I'm by no means disappointed I was a little confused at the lack of use. A few examples include:

Skinsaw cultist: loved that particular adventure in the Rise of the Runelords AP but... well... where are the War Razors?

There's only so much space (in fact, we had to cut about 2 pages worth of stat blocks

Shoanti Tribesman: Would have loved to see the use of a Klar or Earthhammer in this one.

DM Doom wrote:
Red Mantis Assassin: Only she isn't, she's a regular assassin, has she simply yet to take levels in said prestige class?

We don't have an official conversion for the RMA prestige class, and didn't want to confuse people by (1) presenting her with an unconverted class (for one, the skill prereqs would be wrong), and (2) didn't want to do a "stealth" conversion and have her look like we got the class wrong compared to the campaign setting.

DM Doom wrote:
All of them are 4th level save one who's at 12th level, any particular reason for that? Maybe to show contrast or something or was this simply the level of all the PC's at the time of the books development?
Because James Jacobs is running the game in which the low-level PCs appear, and thus doesn't have a *PC* for that game, so he picked his fave PC from another campaign.

Ah, thanks for the clarification. :-)


Sounds like a good idea, you'd think somebody would have done something like this sooner!


...

Contributor

Dr Simon wrote:
Sounds like a good idea, you'd think somebody would have done something like this sooner!

Yeah, you'd think that, wouldn't you.... :p


Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Dr Simon wrote:
Sounds like a good idea, you'd think somebody would have done something like this sooner!

Yeah, you'd think that, wouldn't you.... :p

That link didn't work for me, but from the words "Otus" and "Rogues" in there I would guess you're referring to the old 1st Ed. Rogue's Gallery? I also remember a product that came with the RuneQuest boxed set called "Foes", which was a similar kind of thing.

Of course, I can't claim that the idea was a novel one (which actually stemmed from an ENWorld discussion about why doesn't somebody make a book full of NPC stats ready to use), just saw the opportunity for a quick plug ;)

Contributor

;)


Awesome, Simply awesome!

Sight unseen I'm going to suggest Paizo make sequels of this, can never have enough premade NPCs.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Maugan22 wrote:

Awesome, Simply awesome!

Sight unseen I'm going to suggest Paizo make sequels of this, can never have enough premade NPCs.

DONE! As long as having a significantly-sized chapter in the Gamemastery Guide counts as a sequel, that is.


Did any one else find it interesting that James' Character...

Spoiler:
is determined to bring down Cheliax.


DM Wellard wrote:

Did any one else find it interesting that James' Character...

** spoiler omitted **

It's true. That place's days ARE NUMBERED!

Dark Archive

Shensen wrote:
DM Wellard wrote:

Did any one else find it interesting that James' Character...

** spoiler omitted **

It's true. That place's days ARE NUMBERED!

Yes numbered cause soon the whole world will be under that boot and we will change the worlds name.


James Jacobs wrote:
Maugan22 wrote:

Awesome, Simply awesome!

Sight unseen I'm going to suggest Paizo make sequels of this, can never have enough premade NPCs.

DONE! As long as having a significantly-sized chapter in the Gamemastery Guide counts as a sequel, that is.

it does not

Dark Archive

DM Wellard wrote:

Did any one else find it interesting that James' Character...

** spoiler omitted **

As we all know, Cheliax is the supreme empire, the mightiest nation that has ever existed on Golarion! Ergo, this is a foolish, unattainable goal, and I'm a bit surprised that James would choose such a hopeless cause for his character.


Actually my point was that having said in thread after thread that Cheliax is not going to fall in the near future we find that JJ is actively working on just that.

hmmm....


Will there be a PDF version of this, or is it strictly print only?


Ballorik wrote:
Will there be a PDF version of this, or is it strictly print only?

I imagine there will be, but there's usually a two-week delay before a PDF release is available.


Lilith wrote:
I imagine there will be, but there's usually a two-week delay before a PDF release is available.

Cool. Thanks Lilith.


I believe in the store listings the PDF will be available approximately March 31st. (Yes, I am eagerly awaiting this release.)

Silver Crusade

I'm not entirely sure how, but Illian Glanadrian is definitely showing up in my campaign.

Now to find some appropriate music for that session...


2/5

What I liked what several NPC's was the several fleshed out characters and special designed NPC's around the world of Golarion which I have adopted as my new home for my players as GM. this was a cool feature, but is of limited use to me as you can only use so many low level Hellknights.
What I would have liked to see in a GM resource such as this and would still be VERY interested in purchasing from Paizo. Is an NPC generation guide. I am an Extremely busy person but the majority of my GM'ing occurs within cities, so my players antagonists and protagonists tend to be humanoid. I think something that took the base classes and leveled them up each level or say 1,3,5,8,10 and gave me the stats for each level and maybe one or two different twist so not every fighter I used had power attack and every mage used sleep. other sections I think would have been and still could be great would be area specific building charts, such as a name, height, clothing chart for Cheliax, Linnorm, Ustalav, Etc. so i could take those stat blocks and give them personalities on the fly. I'm not sure about other GM's but this has always been one of the biggest time consumers for me and slows both battle down and storyline as I now I have to give Bob the guard a name and levels for his shiny new sense motive check I didn't see coming.
For what it is, it will be useful. It just not what I was hoping for.

Sovereign Court

James Jacobs wrote:
Maugan22 wrote:

Awesome, Simply awesome!

Sight unseen I'm going to suggest Paizo make sequels of this, can never have enough premade NPCs.

DONE! As long as having a significantly-sized chapter in the Gamemastery Guide counts as a sequel, that is.

Are they higher than CR 9??? I will certainly use many of these NPC's in future campaigns, but I could REALLY use the Villains of Golarion!!! We've been skewing toward higher levels of late and 7th to 15th level baddies are what I need most in my tool box!!!

--Vrocket wrench set

Paizo Employee Creative Director

King of Vrock wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Maugan22 wrote:

Awesome, Simply awesome!

Sight unseen I'm going to suggest Paizo make sequels of this, can never have enough premade NPCs.

DONE! As long as having a significantly-sized chapter in the Gamemastery Guide counts as a sequel, that is.

Are they higher than CR 9??? I will certainly use many of these NPC's in future campaigns, but I could REALLY use the Villains of Golarion!!! We've been skewing toward higher levels of late and 7th to 15th level baddies are what I need most in my tool box!!!

--Vrocket wrench set

The NPCs in the GameMastery Guide range from CR 1/3 to, I believe, CR 14 or CR 15.

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