I’m traveling this month and won’t have much time for articles, but as time permits I do like to answer interesting questions posed by my Patrons. Here’s one from August.
I am going to be running a campaign centered around New Cyre with the players as refugees with an interest of improving the town. Can you provide some tips on making important New Cyran NPCs?
When thinking about an interesting NPC from New Cyre, there’s the usual basic questions… how old are they? What species are they?
Who are they now? New Cyre is barely four years old. It’s a quickly growing community, filled with refugees all seeking some form of gainful employment or at least a way to help out. What role does your NPC play in that community? In terms of broad occupations, just look at Backgrounds for inspiration—Acolyte, Artisan, Entertainer, and Soldier (Watch) are all useful roles. The town sadly surely has some Criminals, Charlatans, and Urchins. Add to that politicians (by which I mean practical civic leaders performing vital organizational tasks), farmers, hunters, and more. Is your NPC the only person in New Cyre capable of performing their job, or are they one of many?
Who were they before? Part of the fun of New Cyre is that you might have a former count shining your shoes, while a common soldier who was transporting military supplies might have turned that cargo into wealth and influence. Who was your NPC before the Mourning? What did they lose in the Mourning? How did they survive, and what challenges or opportunities did they face en route to New Cyre? Are they still hoping to find friends or loved ones lost in the Mourning or are they on their own? Taking things back a step farther, what did your NPC do during the Last War? Are they a celebrated war hero, or did they commit war crimes they fear will soon come to light?
What do they want? Is this NPC driven by faith, patriotic spirit, or altruism? Or are their motives more personal—whether simple greed or opportunism, or materialism driven by a need to help family or loved ones? Are they invested in the success of New Cyre? Do they hope to rebuild Cyre itself? Or are they just trying to scrape together enough gold to make a home anywhere but New Cyre? Are their goals personal, or are they rallying others to their cause or cult?
What do they have? Many Cyran survivors lost everything in the Mourning. If your character has any form of wealth, where did it come from? Did they recover valuable salvage from the Mournland? Did they always have investments beyond Cyre? Have they taken what they possess by force or guile, or do they have a patron—Brelish or otherwise—who’s supporting them? Just as a New Cyran’s current occupation may not reflect their past, they could have unexpected possessions; a farmer fleeing the Mourning could have stumbled upon a treasured artifact that once belonged to a noble family. On the other hand, an NPCs most valuable possession could be knowledge. Do they know about treasures hidden in the Mournland, or some other secret that could be extremely valuable in the write hands?
Allies and Enemies. Everyone in New Cyre has a story. Everyone has survived a cataclysm and suffered tragic losses. Sometimes this brings people together; other times it drives them apart. Does the character have family in New Cyre? Are they tied to a particular religious sect or secretive cult? If they served in the Last War, do they have any former squadmates in town—and if so, what secrets do they share? If they were part of a criminal organization in Cyre, has that organization survived? Conversely, do they have any enemies from before the Mourning, or have they made enemies since they’ve arrived? These could be tied to old family feuds, conflicting beliefs, conflict over local resources, or more; perhaps members of a rival family blame your NPC for taking medical supplies they feel would have saved their late son.
The table below can help generate an interesting resident of New Cyre on the spur of the moment. Mind you, not every resident of New Cyre has improbable wealth or dangerous debts; these are interesting residents.
Interesting Residents of New Cyre
|But Now Are…
|A Powerful Noble
|A Devout Priest
|An Innkeeper or Bartender
|An Influential Courtier
|Part of the City Watch
|A Sinister Reputation
|A Simple Farmer
|A Severe Injury
|A Large Family
|A War Hero or Criminal
|A Terrible Secret
|A Successful Artist
|A Salvaged Treasure
|An Undercover Spy
|A Clever Criminal
|A Politician or Civic Official
|A Desire to Help Others
|A Wealthy Merchant
|An Aberrant Dragonmark
|A Celebrated Scholar
|A Surprising Talent
|A Gifted Artisan
|A Farmer or Hunter
|A Deadly Vendetta
In other news, I’ve just posted the first episode of my Spelljammer-in-Eberron Siberspace campaign—if you want to see the video or to play in the next session, join my Patreon. Otherwise, I’ll see you in New Cyre!