Re-building the NPCs? (Spoilers)


Jade Regent


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There will be spoilers in this thread!

I'm embarking upon the Jade Regent AP as a GM in a few weeks' time. During my preparations, I've been looking at the four major NPCs who accompany the caravan from the start (Ameiko, Koya, Sandru, and Shalelu) and some of the later potential caravan NPCs (e.g., Kelda and Miyaro).

Did you re-build the four main NPCs or any of the others? For example, making Ameiko a Bard/Swashbuckler instead of her official Aristocrat 1/Bard 3/Rogue (rake) 1 combination.

If yes, then how was the character re-built (classes, archetypes, levels)? What effect did it have on the AP?

Did you keep to the NPC level guidelines suggested? That essentially keeps them at cohort levels.

At the end of Book 3:
By the end of “The Hungry Storm,” the PCs have likely reached 10th level, and have surpassed their NPC allies in levels. At this point, you might want to consider leveling up Ameiko, Koya, Sandru, and Shalelu. They should not be as powerful as the PCs, but you can certainly add a few class levels to them, bringing them up to 7th or even 8th level. As the Adventure Path progresses, you can continue leveling up these NPCs, though we recommend keeping them two or three levels behind the PCs to allow the players’ characters to shine!


I rebuilt Ameiko as a Rogue-rake 3/Bard-thundercaller 6 when she returned to the 9th-level party at the end of The Hungry Storm. See my chronicles at Amaya of Westcrown for the full explanation for Ameiko's temporary disappearance.

I had eight players in The Brinewall Legacy, so the NPCs were marginalized to give more time to each PC. Ameiko organized the expedition to Brinestump March, but was distracted by other events and did not accompany the party there. Later I swapped out 6th-level Ameiko and replaced her with her half-sister 2nd-level Amaya. The caravan led by Koya and Sandru stopped at Riddleport and did not continue all the way to Brinewall Castle. Shalelu never appeared.

The party shrunk down to five members, not counting Amaya, for Night of Frozen Shadows. They lost the cleric, so Amaya multiclassed to oracle to serve as healer. I kept her at the same level as the PCs.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

My players are now in Book 6, and recruited roughly 40 NPCs on their quest. My campaign is something in between Banner Saga and Suikoden.

I had Koya get recruited by Desna to assist with some Cosmic Level shenanigans somwehere in the Crown of the World, because the players relied on her as something of a moral compass and I needed them to have a become the grown-ups moment. But while she was with the party she was growing as a Cleric/Witch (eventually aiming for Theurge)

Ameiko switched from Bard, to Swashbuckler (VMC Bard) when my players gave her Suishen.

I switched Sandru from a straight rogue to a Rogue (Driver archetype).

Shalelu is still a Ranger, and as she levelled up she gained Oni as a favored enemy.

Kelda increased her crafting skills and became a smith.

Ulf is a guide ranger, and so he can share his favored enemies, and some favored terrain stuff with the party.

My party recruited Skygni, who during a sidequest got turned into a wolfwere (I essentially just added Shifter levels, and he can turn into a human sometimes).

My party recruited Zaiobe, and I continued increasing her Oracle levels, until she sacrificed herself to defeat Katiyana in the Nameless Spires.

My players recruited a goblin from the swamp named Mogo, he started as a rogue, who also gained pyrokineticist levels.

My players resurrected and recruited Kikonu (don't ask), he continued to level up as a rogue.

Miyaro (who is named Sana in my campaign) has been retasked as a rogue (kitsune trickster), she's sort of a secret agent for the interests of the Forest of Spirits.

Jiro and Hatsue are pretty much as written.

Our heroes have also recruited tons of unique custom NPCs based on sidequests, caravan crew recruitment, former PCs who joined and left the campaign over the decade I've been running it, and circumstance. Players have had an absolute blast, and when they go on "away missions", I allow them to take 1 NPC who they think might be useful.

The NPC interactions are my players favorite part of the campaign, and they enjoy seeing the NPCs grow and change. Tying the NPCs backstories to the players throughout the campaign has also been a blast, and a joy.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Yeah, I've built out most of the relevant NPCs. It's funny; a lot of the advice for JR talked about how cumbersome the caravan and relationship/NPC focus could be, but that has not been the case at our table. The caravan rules are fine if you use some fixes. The relationship stuff is going amazingly. I'm using Ultimate Relationships and the NPC relationships have been the high point of the campaign so far.

For the core NPCs:

I rebuilt Ameiko to be an Oracle with the God Meddled curse. I did this after she was possessed in Brinewall. I think this helps fit with her sense of destiny, and gives some storyline reason for her to slowly start just knowing things about Minkai as she grows in power.

Shalelu I kept as a ranger. I'll probably make her a Horizon Walker for fun.

Koya was kept as a cleric with the Varisian Pilgrim archetype.

I rebuilt Sandru to be a bard with the Negotiator archetype. In my game, Sandru is less of a charismatic swashbuckler and more of a principled merchant and dad to everybody in the caravan.

There are plenty of other NPCs they've taken that I haven't built, like Spivey and Zaiobe. I keep them all a level below the PCs, except for Ameiko, who is equal level.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Magic Butterfly wrote:

Yeah, I've built out most of the relevant NPCs. It's funny; a lot of the advice for JR talked about how cumbersome the caravan and relationship/NPC focus could be, but that has not been the case at our table. The caravan rules are fine if you use some fixes. The relationship stuff is going amazingly. I'm using Ultimate Relationships and the NPC relationships have been the high point of the campaign so far.

For the core NPCs:...
There are plenty of other NPCs they've taken that I haven't built, like Spivey and Zaiobe. I keep them all a level below the PCs, except for Ameiko, who is equal level.

Apologies for the necro...but this topic is exactly what I am working on right now.

I'm going to be running this soon (currently running the last part of RotR, Jade Regent is next) and like all of your ideas. Though I am thinking on retraining Ameiko after she meets a mysterious patron who is a master/or after a certain 'awakening'...I may go with some kind of Martial adept of some kind.

While that may be third-party stuff but I've always had a soft spot for Book of Nine Swords and the Pathfinder conversion of those rules (Path of War). It gives a stronger xianxia/xuanhuan feel and if there was an AP that screams for it, this one certainly qualifies.

I'm debating on adding cinematic styles/physics (knockdown/knockback) as well...


Right now (we're still in Book 1/The Brinewall Legacy) Ameiko is Aristocrat 1/Bard 3/Swashbuckler 1 in my JR campaign.

When/if she gets ahold of Suishen, there will be a training montage as she practices katas, talks with the sword, and re-trains her one level of Aristocrat into a second level of Swashbuckler. (Bard 3/Swashbuckler 2.)

I haven't quite decided yet if she will continue to level in Swashbuckler alone, or if she'll add some more Bard levels into the mix. The party already has two front-liners, so maybe some more Bard levels would supply some good support to them.

I do know that Ameiko will be aiming for the Slashing Grace (katana) feat.


For a small group of not too optimised PCs, my advice would be to have NPCs who are approximately on the same level as the party, and simple to run. If you want the players to build any emotional connection to the NPCs, they need to spend time with them - which means giving them an NPC ally for a lot of the adventure. Kelda Oxgutter is a good NPC because she's useful, simple, and not so powerful that she overshadows the group. Spivey is pretty good because she can just hang around until someone needs healing, maybe do a bit of scouting when needed.

The big four are too powerful (and complicated), at least in the first couple of books.


Bellona wrote:

There will be spoilers in this thread!

I'm embarking upon the Jade Regent AP as a GM in a few weeks' time. During my preparations, I've been looking at the four major NPCs who accompany the caravan from the start (Ameiko, Koya, Sandru, and Shalelu) and some of the later potential caravan NPCs (e.g., Kelda and Miyaro).

Did you re-build the four main NPCs or any of the others? For example, making Ameiko a Bard/Swashbuckler instead of her official Aristocrat 1/Bard 3/Rogue (rake) 1 combination.

If yes, then how was the character re-built (classes, archetypes, levels)? What effect did it have on the AP?

Did you keep to the NPC level guidelines suggested? That essentially keeps them at cohort levels.

** spoiler omitted **

I rebuilt Ameiko as an aristocrat/expert. I saw no reason for her to have PC classes.

For Shelyn, I kept her Ranger levels but added fighter levels to keep up with the party.

For Sandru, I added a level of swashbuckler and increased his rogue levels to keep up.

For Koya, I just added to her cleric levels as the party leveled up.


There are a few things to consider:

The AP assumption that the PCs are build using 15 PB, if they are above that NPCs might need to be adjusted, better stats and/or levels and/or gears.

How much of the NPCs' build is around the "fluff" part of their thematic vs mechanical part, like Ameiko's level in Aristocrat is there due to her background, but otherwise not used mechanically (Class skills, weapon and armor proficiencies, etc), so it could be dropped/changed.

and I now feel like I forgot another point or two.


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My players are half-through book 6 too and I reworked and upgraded nearly all of the NPCs. I had 5 players and used the fast XP track through the AP, so I had to rework nearly all monster starting at Book 2 anyway (and no, my players had 25 PB - there is no reason to torture them). The players are level 19 actually and it seems, they reach level 20 in the end. The NPCs I always left two character levels below the PCs. Here is my list:


  • Ameiko (Bard 7/ Ashavic Dancer 10 – after her possession at Brinewall I decided that she can meet the requirements - Ameiko accompanies the group since middle of Book 5, without PC class levels she wouldn't have survived to tell the tale)
  • Sandru (Rogue (Swashbuckler) 17 – I was glad that he took part in only a single PC fight (I use my own Caravan rules, but hey, he is a good merchant)
  • Koya (Cleric of Desna 17 - boring, but effective)
  • Shalelu (I removed her fighter levels and reworked her to a Ranger 17 - see Koya)
  • Nesoul Thunderarm (mountain dwarf, new NPC the group recruited as driver and wainwright, he was a survivor of a caravan attack in book 1 - I made him a Two-handed Fighter 17, bought him the "Master Crafter" feat and his dream is to open a shop as a weapon and armor smith in Kasai - he has enough skill points for that, no need to cross class into Expert)
  • They recruited Kelda (she was a barbarian 6 until the left at Kalsgard)
  • They recruited Spivey (she was a lyrakien cleric of Desna 10, until she decided to watch over the redeemed stone tree in the Uqtaal Necropolis)
  • They recruited Helgarval (I gave him some Charisma and he leveled as a Cassisian Angel Life Oracle 15 with the Accursed Oracle Curse - he is still with the group)
  • They recruited Skygni (a Winterwolf Ranger 7 (natural combat style) - he left after passing the Wall of Heaven)
  • they recruited Ulf Gormundr (he left as a human ranger (guide) 12 at Ordu-Arganhei)
  • they recruited Miyaro (I made her a Stalker Vigilante 15 named “The Red Knife” as the Vigilante Identity and “Hakushaka Miyaro of Hiyosai” (Countess of Hiyosai) as her social Identity - she left the group at the End of Book 5 to set “things right” within her own province and the party can contact her later to oppose the Jade Regent)
  • They recruited Akumi (he got the “advanced” Template and was otherwise left, as he was – he stayed with Koya)
  • They allied with Hirabashi Jiro (human Samurai 18 – I changed his ancestral sword into a +1 keen, holy, valiant adamantin Katana)
  • They allied with Habesuta Hatsue (I made her a Female human quinggong monk (sohei) 12/paladin of Irori 5 – she has a Kirin mount named Yumako via Leadership)
  • They allied with Sikutsu Itsuru (I made him some kind of antithesis to his brother: a LG Samurai 11/Paladin of Shizuru 6)
  • they allied with Numerato Sama (a male Kappa oracle of lore 20)
  • naturally they allied with Asachi Isao (I left him as he was)

By the way, apart from “Expert” I never use NPC classes at all. “Commoners” or non-combat-encounter aristocrats simply don’t have stats. They are roleplaying encounters with awful abilities, roll a d20 for sense motive, diplomacy or bluff and add, say, +2. For what should I bother to generate stats?

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