Tobold's Blog
Tuesday, May 26, 2020
NPC adventurers in Dungeons & Dragons

Near the end of the first level of the Dungeons of the Mad Mage, my group picked up a new travel companion: A revenant, member of an evil adventuring party, who had been killed by his fellow adventurers and his corpse thrown into a pit. He revived as an undead bent on finding and killing his previous group. So far, so good, interesting enough story.

Now I am preparing level two, where his this evil adventuring party can be found. But in the WotC published adventures, NPC adventurers don't get their own character sheet. Instead they use standard NPC descriptions from the Monster Manual: The dwarven rogue is a "scout" (CR 1/2), the human priest is a "priest" (CR 2), and the human warrior is a champion (CR 9). That doesn't work for me at all! How would a group with such disparity in power ever have come together? And in a fight this really would just be a fight against the champion with two insignificant minions beside him.

I will use Roll20's Charactermancer to re-create those three adventurers as level 7 characters, using the same rules that players would use to create such characters. And I will put them all together in one room, because splitting them up as written somewhat kills the climatic moment where the revenant meets his old fellows. And I must say that this is where 4th edition was somewhat superior to 5th edition: You rarely met exactly the same monster twice in 4E, because that edition made frequent use of monster stat modifications, and always strived to create the perfect monster stat block for each encounter. 5E is far more standardized, and prefers to use monsters as written in the Monster Manual, even if then the challenge rating isn't all that appropriate to the encounter.


Watch out tho... PC character hits a lot harder than monsters!

In one of my last game the paladin turned against the rest of the group. He was an Oath of Vengeance paladin but wasnt feeling it and decided to make a Deal with a devil lieutenant of Asmodeus gaining a few bonuses but mainly changing to Oath of Conquest. (he wanted to swtich to a new character soon).

While the group was visiting a Monastery that had fallen to the silver tongue of Asmodeus followers, the paladin turned on them and was able to strike and smite the healer (an NPC) and hit a 2nd character with his 2nd attack (lv 5).

Everyone enjoyed that scene, mainly because no one died except the npc and the traitor. But it was an amazing roleplaying scene.

The fact that they are NPC might be easier and for the player and if the players are going in first in initiative they wont even have time to retaliate...

Next time, i'll take NPC monsters and give them Key Class Abilities : Smite, Ki point, ...
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