Lawful Good is a series where we give you a random table, or perhaps even a fully fleshed-out NPC for you to use in your D&D 5e campaigns or adventures.
Lawful Good will release each Thursday…shoot, is today Saturday? OK. Lawful Good will be a mostly regular column where we give you free content to help you with your D&D 5e NPC creation.
Often, NPCs need to be created on the fly, which often relegates them to throw away status. But by often adding a single little quirk to a NPC can take them from instantly forgettable to memorable. Give your NPCs – even the instantly created ones – a little flair, then they can earn a place later on in your campaign as well.
First, well give our NPC a physical trait, then we’ll follow with 12 NPC personality traits.
Roll a d12 for a NPC Physical Trait
- Bushy Sideburns Obviously, this is funnier if it’s a female NPC.
- Noticeably Crooked Teeth You can play this NPC with a touch of self-contiousness, like hiding their mouth when they talk, for example.
- Missing 7th Finger Adds a touch of mystery to the character.
- Scar from an Animal Attack Perhaps this looks like 4 claw slashes.
- Single Braid in Beard Add some beads. Why not?
- Missing Right Ear Perhaps this is a badge of honor and they don’t try to hide it behind hair.
- Impeccably Dressed Dapper, and this stands out amongst most others who are more casually dressed.
- Frizzy Hair
- Heavily Perfumed You don’t just catch a whiff, it almost knocks you over.
- Grey Eyes
- Thin and Wiry
Roll a d12 for NPC Personality Traits
- Intolerant Toward Others Toward other races, other professions, other cases, or perhaps other beliefs.
- Enthusiastic Every conversation is predictably encouraging and optimistic.
- Well-Spoken Makes you wonder where their education came from.
- Man of Few Words This NPC isn’t withholding, it’s just that every answer is just one word or so.
- Jealous (of the PCs)
- Mean to Commoners or Service Staff
- Compassionate Perhaps you catch them given coppers to beggar kids or they ask you to show mercy.
- Bloodthirsty Consistently pushing PCs into a fight with bandits, goblins, whoever…
- Studious Asks questions. Considers answers. Wants to understand fully and willing to take the time to get to the truth.
- Polite and Patient
- Weak-willed You get a sense that this NPC gets pushed around often.
- Concerned You might be able to use this as a hook for a side quest or encounter. What is he or she concerned about? A lost item or person? An unsettling stranger in town? Maybe they’re concerned for the PCs because they overheard a group of ruffians planning violence towards them.
You don’t need a thousand of these things, just a few that you can quickly reference when you need a NPC on the fly. Roll a d12 for the NPC physical trait, then a d12 for their personality trait. Voila! An instantly memorable NPC.