Statting NPC's

Brass Jester

Any thoughts on quick statting NPC's? The normal stats block gives lots of info; a full description gives even more, but they take ages to create and write up. I just spent two and a half hours detailing an NPC who 'might' become a major force in my campaign. He is a Noble 6/ Soldier 2; I did it by creating him at Noble 1 and working up the levels. Has anyone got any ideas on how to do it quicker?
I've got the Mongoose NPC stuff downloaded. This guy Intimidates people. Without creating him from scratch; how could I decide what would be a reasonable Intimidate ability? What about Feats? Any ideas how to assign these? Not all soldiers have Cleave and Power Attack surely?


First of all, creating an NPC by starting at first level and working him up is madness. Just stat him out whole cloth.
Your npc should have:
36+4+(11*Int) skill points
Max skill cap of 11 ranks
38+(8*Con) HP
+6 BAB
+3 Base Dodge
+4 Base Parry
+1 Base MAB
+5 Base Fort
+2 Base Ref
+5 Base Will
3 character feats + 2 Bonus Soldier feats + any bonus favored class feats
2 single ability score increases (4th and 8th level)
1 increase to all stats (6th level)
all the noble special abilities up to level 6

Dont break your brain trying to assign the skills. First of all don't worry about assigning every skill point, only worry about the skills that the NPC is likely to roll durring the session; in other words skills that are used durring combat or as opposed rolls:
hide, move silent, spot, listen
bluff, diplomacy, intimidate, sense motive
tumble, climb, jump, swim, ride, balance, escape artist
disguise, forgery, slieght of hand

Its ok to have skill points left over, just assume the NPC has ranks in Knolwedge, profession, craft or something else that is irrelavant to the session (remember, most NPC's are only "on camera" for a very short time and make very few checks)

And as I said, dont' break your brain trying to make sure that a multiclass NPC put the right skill points in the right class skills at the right level. If you get a few skill points technically wrong well ... IMHO bending the rules is the GM's perogative if it makes the game better.

As for how many skill points. Either 1 rank (know how to do it) 5 ranks (average professional ability) or Max ranks (you make your living doing this).

And if you really want to do the skills super fast then just pick a number of class skills equall to the number of skill points each level + Int and put max ranks in those. That makes for a less optimized build but there is no math/brainpower required.

Feats should be easy. Just pick the ones needed for the concept your going for. If you actually run out of feats you want to take then you can always fall back on Improved Initative, Toughness, any of the saving throw boosters and any of the +2 to 2 skills feats. Those are always good for NPC's

The point is to just focus on cranking out the NPC and don't sweat the small stuff. Eyeball the final figures and if they look correct its good enough.

Hope that helps.


This sounds like good advice.

I wrote up this NPC for an adventure several episodes ago, and it took me 2 hours to write him up (was still writing him on one of the player's laptops while they were arriving that day!!!) I have him in a word doc w/ different text formats, blocked out in grey, with word comments for racial notes for skills, etc. This is more work than you'd most likely ever need to do, and this isn't even my big bad NPC nemesis guy!!!

§ Xopalun: male Stygian scholar 8 (AE p59-60)
Hit Dice: 8d6 (41hp)
Initiative: +1
Speed: 30 ft.
DV (Dodge): 14 (+3 level, +1 Dex)
DV (Parry): 12 (+3 level, -1 Str)
DR: 0
Attack: 6/1 Unarmed Strike +6 melee finesse; or Knife +6 melee finesse (1d4+1, Crit. x2, AP 0)
Magical Attack: +8 (+4 natural, +4 Charisma)
Saves: Fort +2, Ref +3, Will +10
Corruption: 8… (-2 to saves, racial (p35); - to all CHA checks vs. Code of Honor, + vs. Corrupt characters, Demons, to Intimidate (pp189-191))
Special Qualities: Knowledge is Power (p59)
Abilities: Str 9, Dex 12, Con 14, Int 19, Wis 15, Cha 18…
Skills: Appraise +5, Bluff +7, Concentration +10, Craft: alchemy +11, Craft: herbalism +11, Decipher Script +10, Forgery +3, Gather Information +8, Handle Animal +4, Heal +3, Intimidate +9/+17…, Knowledge: Arcane +13, Knowledge: Local +3, Knowledge: Nobility +5, Knowledge: Religion +6, Listen +4, Move Silently +4, Perform: Ritual +10, Search +4, Sense Motive +7
Feats: Exotic Weapon Proficiency: Stygian bow (+1 racial bonus to attacks) (p35), Iron Will (p112), Ritual Sacrifice (p117), Hexer (p110)
Languages: Stygian, Acheronian, Argosian, Darfari, Demonic, Hyrkanian, Iranistani, Keshani, Kothian, Kushite, Old Stygian, Shemitish
Spells: ~Curses – Lesser Ill Fortune (p197), Ill Fortune (p199); ~Divination – Astrological Prediction (p200), Sorcerous News (p201), Visions (p202); ~Necromancy – Raise Corpse (p210), Agonising Doom (p210), Death Touch (p212); ~Summonings – Summon Demon (p217), Demonic Pact (p217), Summon Demon (p219)
Possessions: Silk robes, with sandals about his feet, silver ritual knife (+2dmg (-1silver=+1dmg), magic-impermanence (p185)), 8 doses of the Black Lotus blossom (p225), 2 doses of Yellow Lotus resin (p226)
Description: Xopalun is a Stygian of moderate height and a thin, almost gaunt build. He has a dark smooth skin, with his head shaven. His eyes seem black. He bears a proud, sneering

In posting him, I expect to find a lot of replies with errors I've made here and there. I just copied & pasted him in here, boldfacing stats like I did in my word doc. (I couldn't exactly put in all the word format comments telling where stats come from, or special symbols that'd help me figure out what meant what using Insert/Symbol).

The reason I'm posting him is, well, I haven't looked at him since the guys killed his Stygian butt. But I wracked my brain trying to draft up the enemy I'd envisioned from the campaign's start, whom they would have to meet when they did, and assumed that they'd kill him or he'd TPK them. The Sorcerer in my Saturday party doesn't look on these boards, if he did he'd be surprised at his writeup vs. what he'd assumed (he assumed Xopalun was much higher level than 8, and thought he was tougher than his teacher, which was untrue, but that's what happens when players make assumptions instead of investigating!!! :twisted: ).

Anyway, I never used to write up NPCs, got into it as my players heckled me for winging it so I complied and started writing things up.

What have I discovered? Basically what argo is suggesting. Don't wrack your brains killing yourself trying to make up a guy from scratch. I had this guy in mind before my very first adventure, and I just used storytelling style DMing to get the players together. The first time they met him, well, knowing the spells in the case of a sorcerer is important when you have players who question your moves, but for the work of making him up, I "played his writeup" for at most 20 minutes.

Use argo's advice. Hope this helps.


Not all soldiers have Cleave and Power Attack surely?

My Shemite PC has neither of these feats.

I would suggest the following Feats for your NPC

Leadership (free as he's a noble)
Combat Reflexes
Combat Expertise
Skill Focus (Intimidate)
Steely Gaze

And perhaps
The social ability of Smear Others