Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Blog Carnival: Favorite NPC(s)

This Month's RPGBA Blog Carnival is hosted by Arcane Game Lore.

RPG Blog Carnival LogoThe topic for this one is dead simple, Your Favorite NPC; however, since I am who I am, my article's just slightly more complicated. I'm gonna show you not one but two mephits. Both of whom were very one dimensional NPCs. Next I'll mull things over some more. Only then will I get around to presenting my favorite NPC of all time.

Why? Because I wanted to publically reminisce about all three, obviously.

Setting the way-back machine to the late 90s. Engage. 

Two One-Note Mephits:
Mephits, to my mind, were the very quintessence of Planescape. The obnoxious, little runts of element and vice simply dripped with plot potential (amongst other things). 

Splorch - The Ooze Mephit that nobody liked. 

Splorch was an ooze mephit, the saddest (and smelliest) of the sad-sacks. He was ignored and reviled in equal measure. This fact left him oddly privy to a lot of otherwise private information as he wandered the Market Ward begging for jink. His life goal was to gather enough coin to pay a wizard to polymorph him into, well, anything else. 

Splorch had information that would've made the PC's lives much easier; he would have sold it for a pair of green pennies; and he was fun to play, too. The PC's (of course) ignored him almost entirely. "Pike off, you smelly little bastard," were about the kindest words and the longest sentence they ever spoke to him. Of course, if some little thing left a cesspool smelling stain while tugging on my tunic and begging for coin, I'd probably hate him too.

Myrkek - The Lightning Mephit Xaositect Rioteer.

Myrkek had a knack for causing trouble. He could almost intuitively sense when a tense situation was ready to explode. Then, he'd simply zap in and set off the powder keg. Often he'd kick it all off with a belch of electricity or simply tip over the wrong drink at the wrong table at exactly the wrong time. Many groups of PCs got caught in his riots. Many tried to catch him, but things that move at the speed of electricity don't get caught.

He eventually got a lot more screen time when he became the familiar of a deranged half-elven Bard. Their powers combined yielding fires and fist fights and revolutions, oh my!

Lesson Learned: Player Characters will tolerate chaos but not smelliness. 

Playing Favorites: 

It took me a few days to sort this one out. I came fairly close to choosing the professor from a dimension-spanning real-world to steampunk to cyberpunk game I ran a few years ago. It was a dark, gritty sort of an affair and the kind, OCD (all things must be ordered smallest to largest, left to right) fellow was a favorite of myself and my players. Then I remembered the silent tiefling with the one gold tooth.* (Click Here for 2e Tieflings in 3e/D20 terms, you young, green-blooded berk!)

Fang -  The stoic and mute doorman for Sigil's great dive-bar/dance-hall, the Tiefling's Delight. He never spoke a word for dozens of campaigns. He ejected cambions, pit-fiends, planetars, genies, and humans alike and with equal ease. The Delight was a place ONLY for tieflings and their invited guests. Without the invite, no matter who or what you might be, you did not get into the delight. It wasn't a place for you.

Fang stood at nearly six and half feet of hulking bruiser (20th level Fighter with 18/99 strength), covered in deep-brown crocodilian scales and black scars. He stuck to his enormous fists unless things truly tilted out of control; out came his giant, two-handed sword of the planes. He was a quiet fixture in the background of many, many campaigns.

The first time he spoke, the players nearly jumped out of their skin.

He spent his youth in the Blood Wars, hip deep in the horrors held therein. He eventually got the idea that his people needed a true home. The tieflings, outcasts and outsiders trapped between worlds in a way that makes 1/2 elven angst seem silly, needed a homeland. He attempted to carve such a nation out of many, many places in the lower plains with both his sword and his silver tongue. Failing to hold the land, he grew stronger with each temporary victory.

Finally, a consortium of lower-planar beings banded together and banished him to Sigil. The fools cursed with immortality and the inability to speak until his dream of a tiefling homeland became a reality.

It took him a thousand years, a lot of gunpowder, and even more blood but he eventually got that self-governed homeland for his kindred (500+ yrs past the events of the Faction War). Under his leadership the tiefers managed to carve out a hunk of the Lower and Ladies Wards all for themselves. He died with a smile curled across his one gold fang, the very day the first mayor of Shadow Town was elected.

Good Old Fang, always there with simple shake of the head or a bone-crushing punch.

So in conclusion, I really liked Planescape.

What about you, huh? What is/are your favorite NPC/s?

*Inspired by the They Might Be Giants song "I've Got a Fang".

General Note: A couple of the ideas and some few of the words used in this article are the property of TSR/Wizards of the Coast.