I believe I warned you last Saturday that I had a lot more stupid stuff to share about Non-Player Characters in D & D. I probably let it slip that I really like playing all the weird parts and the monsters about to be slaughtered. I intend to share more of those strange characters today, so you can get a real sense of why my D & D games get so out of control and my children are turning into sword-wielding sociopaths.
Barkley is not exactly the family dog. He’s a gnoll. That means he’s a monstrous hyena-man who would be inclined to hate and eat humans were he not raised from puppyhood to gnollhood by a beautiful female elf cleric. He now hates the gnolls (and probably eats them) because in the first D & D adventure, his gnoll brothers tried to kill and eat his beloved elf mother. He traveled with the Player characters for about three adventures. And though they treated him like a dog, they came to rely on him in several tough battles. He proved his dog-like loyalty and learned some critical spy skills from them, so he became a Dark Lantern (a secret agent for the kingdom of Breland) and began a life of hunting and killing evil gnolls.
Mysterious Mara was one of the few civilian survivors when the weretigers attacked the lightning rail train with the player characters aboard it. She tagged along because she would not have survived otherwise. She has never revealed her true identity, and it’s a real mind-blower related to the royal court of Aundair, but the player characters have been too busy with other things to look into the mystery. In fact, she is what the D & D manuals call an “adventure hook” because following up on her essential mysteriousness would’ve led them into the middle of a kingdom-crashing conflict. In the meantime, they have been feeding her, teaching her to make use of her natural acrobatic skills, and generally befriending her, not realizing she is the reason so many enemies of Aundair have been tracking and attacking them.
Caitian Redfurr is a shifter, one of those half-men with the abilities of a cheetah, able to run like a rocket and use speed to best her foes. She has been a part of the campaign since just after Barkley joined. Her son, Night Sky, is the son of a former Dark Lantern leader whose ghostly presence now inhabits Fate’s head. She has used her skills with a sword, and her skills with a bow, and her skills with Talaen Kara, the intelligent double-bladed weapon, to save their fat from goblin cookfires on numerous occasions. The players are fond of her and trust her as basically an added member of the family.
Finally for this Saturday, I mentioned Turkoman last week. He is what is called a “patron” in D & D NPC-terms. He’s the man with the expertise when a beloved character is cursed with frogs hopping out of their ears or is turned completely to stone by a gorgon’s kiss. He also provides necessary magic items, spells, enchantments, and critical advice that can help bring an adventure to a conclusion. When needed, he can even lend a hand in the actual adventure, giving the characters a chance to overcome difficult odds and find adventures that they would not otherwise have access to.
So, once again I have passed my word limit and must draw to a close with so much more to tell. Even if you are bored stiff by D & D nerd-ism, I intend to inflict more upon you in the future. So be warned, be wary, and watch out for curses that make frogs hop out of your ears.