The show must go on. And, what a show it is, when a colorful cast of NPCs exists in the exciting adventures enjoyed by your tabletop RPG group.
Be it histrionics, or good old-fashioned thespianism, many of the stage theatrics that we’re exposed to first-hand happens during our youth; community plays, school plays, and the like. Veteran tabletop RPG enthusiasts will tell you, with wink-and-a-smile, that tabletop RPGing is not unlike improv theater, with players as actors, and referees as stage directors.
Attracting younger players to the tabletop RPG hobby becomes easier when there’s a genuine atmosphere of “Let’s put on a show!”
Sure, having one or two recurring NPCs in your adventures could go over well enough, and that’s certainly fun for what it is. But, why stop there, when you can have dozens upon dozens of NPCs, each with their own agendas, their own loyalties, their own likes, their own dislikes, and so on?
Enjoy this fun peek at a plethora of the NPCs in our 1e AD&D campaigns on Long Island. Feel free to use them in your own tabletop RPG sessions. They’re all just characters in search of a playwright, after all. Better yet, perhaps they’ll inspire you to create NPCs of your own.
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The nastiest pirate captain to ever set sail upon the Emergent Sea is still “at large” whilst disrupting trade lanes betwixt Fugitive Harbor and Port Innastorm. Be it fabrics, foodstuffs, silks, coins, weapons, precious metals, or even just the ships themselves, Captain Clambeard shan’t discriminate when it comes to booty. An equal-opportunity obtainer, he! Seafaring merchants from all across the Eastern Waterways speak of his flagship (The Annoyance) in hushed tones. With a crew of 237 naughty pirates aboard 5 ships, a secret uncharted hideout island that’s shrouded in mists, a truce (albeit an uneasy one) with merfolk, and a spectral carpet of flying, there’s no stopping this naughty nautical nuisance anytime soon. Captain Clambeard speaks fourteen languages, has thirteen wives (in as many different ports of call,) keeps twelve locked chests in his cabin on board The Annoyance, flies eleven different flags at different times (depending on the situation,) carries ten cutlasses in a portable hole, and keeps nine percent of all plunder for himself (sharing the remaining ninety-one percent with his crew.)
Known Associates: Cragen, Nat Twenny, Night Drider (deceased)
As the boyhood friend (and right-hand man) of the good King Asiago, ’tis he and his soldiers (the Grate Blades) who safeguard the secrets of the crown, from enemies both known and unknown. Chancellor Pecorino also serves as Steward whilst the good King Asiago travels abroad (important matters of state in far-flung locales, safaris in the Vast Veldt, and such.) Once a wizard’s apprentice, but ne’er actually a wizard, Chancellor Pecorino still knows his cantrips, and has proven to be full of surprises when it comes to knowledge of arcane lore. An avid S&F player and wordsmith, Chancellor Pecorino earned a reputation as Benchleydale’s penultimate S&F referee. Among the players at his gaming table, you’ll often find Royal Quartermaster Camembert, the Jack brothers (Royal Stablemasters, Colby and Monterey,) and yes even the good King Asiago himself (who sometimes fancies playing an axemaster PC named Sir Chopalot, when he’s not playing his usual sneef PC named Jumble .) At present, Chancellor Pecorino is refereeing Doctor Forbidden’s Shiny Gold (the first in a popular Doctor Forbidden series of adventure modules.)
Known Associates: King Asiago, Princess Provolone, Sir Arandell of Longbridge
Fans of Frank Mentzer’s classic R series of 1e AD&D adventure modules are no stranger to this beloved silver dragon. Falx dwells upon an island in the Emergent Sea, together with his two wives (Big Alice and Sillitellimut.) As the grandson of old Bahamut (the platinum dragon, and King of all Good dragons,) Falx was born into a life of luxury, in the faraway lands behind the east wind. Imagine, if you will, just for a moment, living such a life. The banquets in the grand feasting hall of dragons. The lazy days in-between. With not very much to do during the lazy days (of which there were far more than banquet days,) it surprised no one when Falx became a ne’er-do-well. His grandfather Bahamut was nonplussed by this. Falx’s tendency to be lazy had become the cause of much consternation. Something had to be done. Bahamut called for Falx to meet with him, and said, “I have an important mission for you, grandson. Here is a silver jar. It contains powdered snoo, for the young prince Asiago, son of King Wheel. Bring this jar to the royal castle in Benchleydale, and deliver it to the prince in time for his fourteenth birthday. You have three days.”
Known Associates: Bahamut, Big Alice, Sillitellimut
Skags and turkeys had better watch their backs whenever Goose Bronze is in town. Often seen palling around with Smax Rockatansky, Goose can smell adventure from kilometers away. One town in South Benchleydale that Goose sure wouldn’t mind taking another crack at is Mokin, over near the surface ruins of the Castle of the Mad Archmage in South Benchleydale. The town of Mokin was overrun by Lord Ginormous and his bandit maniacs. Goose wants to help set things right, but first things first. Mokin will have to wait. Goose is with Smax underneath Maure Castle, where they’ve been on a mission for the good King Asiago (to see what lies beyond “the unopenable doors,” then report back to their liege with news of their findings.) What they’ve found in the Great Hall warrants further investigation however, and only time will tell if they survive long enough to tell the tale of this particular expedition.
Known Associates: Smax Rockatansky, Fifi Bronze, Charley Bronze, Roop Bronze
A bluebird recently warned Friendfather the druid, of the upcoming annual “Fun With Fireballs In The Forest” event, happening in the White Ash Forest towards Castle Greenhawk. The bird also warned him of the Red Mamba. Friendfather has lived for many moons, and who better than he to understand the perils of such foolishness. He is a protector of Kask Forest, chosen by Konohanasakuya-hime, the blossom-princess and a symbol of delicate earthly life. If the adjacent White Ash Forest should fall, Kask Forest would be in grave danger. Friendfather will be ready, come what may. Only a few Druids know the location of Floob’s magical Fountain of Forever (in Kask Forest.) None have yet proven themselves worthy enough, in the eyes of Friendfather, to sip the waters that flow from it, as Friendfather has already done himself. As such, only Friendfather knows the effects of having sipped this water, and perhaps it is better this way.
Known Associates: Queen Mab, Cloven Everwood (king of satyrs,) Crispin Faun
General Jorj Joshington
Time-looped from 18th century America into Benchleydale, this brave leader of men has brought a regiment with him into this sandbox, where they’d gone hunting breadcoats. Among their number is Benjamin Spanklin, Alexander Slamilton, Maul Severe, Mad Wayne, Tefferson, Jancock, and Barnold. Before long, they found the town of Silverleaf much to their liking, and opened the General’s Store, where many of the town’s basic supplies can be purchased with coin of the realm. During his time in Benchleydale, the General has felled a crazed cherry-tree golem with an axe, fashioning wooden teeth from it afterwards (owning up to it, as a gentleman should, for speaking falsely is not in his nature,) singlehandedly bested a rampaging mer-tiger (pictured here,) gave the upstart denim gang what for, and scouted much of the woodlands near Mokin. You’ve not seen such bravery.
Known Associates: Benjamin Spanklin, Alexander Slamilton, Maul Severe, Mad Wayne, Tefferson, Jancock, and Barnold
The regent of South Benchleydale is a proud father of two sons (Prince Gelsongoindown and Prince Dick.) He polices his lands to the best of his ability, and even does a fine job of it most of the time. Of course there’ll always be a Lord Ginormous and a Duke Voorhees running amok, but there’s only so much that the good King Ayabig can do about such preposterous behavior. Still, what the good King Asiago lacks in the male heir department, King Ayabig makes up for, twice over, and he never passes up the chance to remind his royal subjects of this. Ever the opportunist, King Ayabig established a military encampment known as Polpoti, in an effort to help turn the tide against the uppity hill giants who ran roughshod over the unfortunate Benchleydale towns of Red Horn and Treebor. And yet, even now, after the hill giant menace has been handily dealt with, King Ayabig remains at Polpoti rather than return home to roost at his Citadel of Wysos (in South Benchleydale.) What is his play? Is he friend or foe? Does he honestly believe that his two princes will be able to squash Lord Ginormous or locate Duke Voorhees? And what of his Queen? Who is she, and why has she been absent from the tales that have unfolded here? Kings that make you go hmm…
Known associates: Prince Gelsongoindown, Prince Dick, Bloodwhistle, Dangerous Delicious, Whipsnake Junior
Oafy the chaos moppet
This intrepid adventurer from the quasi-elemental plane of baked goods has landed in Benchleydale. Often seen adventuring around with his pals Picks Locksandpockets and Zhuckelnuffel, Oafy the chaos moppet ekes out a living day-to-day with the vending of cookies made from the finest ingredients that the lowlands of the Zooberus Mountains have to offer. Last seen beneath Maure Castle with the Seagulls (Gone Henley, Whoa Jalsh, et. al.,) Oafy the chaos moppet laughs in the face of danger, and he secretly hopes to one day visit The Limit bakery on Seven Bridges Road in the halfling village of Backseat Devil. Until then, Oafy understands that he is just a macadamia nut on the world cookie, and he accepts the axiom that baked goods come to those who wait. Last seen publicly at the Purple Turtle Saloon in the fortress town of Voodok on the eve of a disastrous BFB concert, it’s anyone guess when (or if) he’ll be appearing in public again anytime soon. Having recently discovered six crates, beneath Maure Castle, marked “Property of Coo Kedo” has Oafy feeling a tad distracted as of late.
Known associates: Picks Locksandpockets, Grabyier Balzancoff, Gone Henley, Whoa Jalsh, Sven Frey, Fonn Delder, Mandy Reisner, Lernie Beadon, Bimothy T. Crit
Okarr the Magnificent
Benchleydale’s greatest wizard, and the good King Asiago’s most powerful ally, Okarr the Magnificent lives in a wizard tower nestled betwixt Branamor’s Bog and the coastal port town of Urseid. It is here where Okarr the Magnificent prepares potions, writes scrolls, and does his part to keep the foul swamp creatures from wreaking havoc upon the good people of Benchleydale. Okarr flies an airship (the Aeolus;) has a private collection of weapons impressive enough to rival that of the Crescent Moon weapon collectors, and has recently taught his apprentice (Ralf Horn) how to cast a phantasmal butterflies cantrip of his own creation. One generally never knows when Okarr the Magnificent will be found at home. Okarr is usually at home or he’s not, and there’s never any in-between. He also always arrives precisely when he means to, but perhaps the same can be said about each of Benchleydale’s three greatest wizards (Glimm the Frigid and Alexis the Shadowmistress being the other two.) Furthermore, visitors to Okarr’s tower would do well to be prepared for the 3-headed talking parakeet that guards the entrance, or else.
Known associates: King Asiago, Glimm the Frigid, Alexis the Shadowmistress, Ralf Horn
Ron Rayne (deceased)
This cattle rancher from Pilgrim Gulch wasn’t always a man with vengeance on his mind. If only Clint Beastwood hadn’t broken his sister’s heart. Ron Rayne swore to find Clint Beastwood and collect his pound of flesh, one way or another. His manhunt brought him to the walled-fortress town of Voodok, where he soon found himself hot on Clint Beastwood’s trail. Rather than be a coward about it (awaiting his ranchmates Tricky Nelson and Mean Dartin, soon to arrive in Voodok as reinforcements,) it was Ron Rayne who fearlessly tracked Clint Beastwood to an area near Maure Castle, to confront him man-to-man…but fearless old Ron Rayne got more than he bargained for that day. Clint Beastwood, Ruaidhri O’Heachthighearna the cleric, and Gorgonzola the owl were ready for him. They drove old Ron Rayne down, sure enough, but not before he spouted more smack-talk at Clint Beastwood than he’d ever been on the receiving end of. The conflict likely traumatized Clint Beastwood, scarring him for life. Who can say? Clint Beastwood hasn’t been seen since. As for Tricky Nelson and Mean Dartin, well, they’ve arrived in Voodok, and they shan’t be happy about what befell their ranchmate Ron Rayne. With any luck, and for Clint Beastwood’s sake, the news hasn’t reached Tricky and Mean yet.
Known associates: Tricky Nelson, Mean Dartin, Shank Finatra
Daughter of the good King Asiago, becomes bored with a life of nobility and the luxuries that it affords her, spurning the amorous advances of suitors for her hand in marriage, suitors including Cragen’s Bastard, Thuba Vokuunen, and Sir Arandell of Longbridge. She sees puppet shows involving exploits of Batsnake the Whipper and his murderhobos. Inspired, she runs away from home, to live a life of adventure. And, why not? She has a talent for the bow and arrow, after all. She seeks Batsnake, doesn’t find him, and joins up with Smax Rockatansky’s crew instead. She gets hailed as a hero of Urseid, for halting a hill giant uprising in the Kelp Basin, travels to Mokin, gets captured by Lord Ginormous’ bandits, somehow escapes, goes to Voodok to see the BFB concert, meets Tony Baloney in Voodok (orc-hunter and sausage maker,) goes to Maure Castle on the night before the BFB concert, gets lured by Tony Baloney into drinking a love potion, falls madly in love with everyone’s favorite orc-hunter and sausage maker, marries him in a private ceremony beneath Maure Castle (with nary a family member present or invited.) Her tale has only just begun…
Known associates: Tony Baloney, Smax Rockatansky, Picks Locksandpockets, General Jorj Joshington
You’ve been enjoying this latest installment of Long Island Sandbox. Thank you so much for reading. Join us again next week, when we “bring the heat” with a look at The Firelands expansion map. Until then, let the good times role.