During my design of Citadel on the Wilderlands it became apparent that the characters will not be the only adventurers on Solonor Isle during the adventure--or at least they shouldn't be. Other adventurers--both singularly and in groups--will be attracted to the opportunities of Solonor Isle and the nearby wilderlands.
As always, the challenge is now to provide enough detail for a GM to easily portray a group of NPCs while not deluging everyone in too much detail. Thus, the short-form format of the NPCs below. (I'd love to know what you think of it--please leave a comment below).
These NPCs can be used as a group or singularly.
The Wilderland Warriors
This adventuresome quintet can be encountered anywhere on the wilderlands. If the characters get into trouble and need help, the Wilderland Wanderers could arrive at an opportune moment. Alternatively, the characters could save them!
Elrak Farsten (LG male dwarf cleric 3 [Str 14, Dex 10, Con 16, Int 8, Wis 15, Cha 11]) serves the dwarven war god and exults in slaying his folk’s traditional hated enemies; Appearance: stout and impeccably turned out, Elrak wears his black hair short but his beard long; Personality: brave and a risk taker he is fascinated by horses (but is a terrible rider); loves gambling; Mannerisms: deeply and loudly clears his throat before talking; Background: a gambler, Elrak has considerable debts at home because of a streak of bad luck; Hook: needs gold and gems to pay off his debts, which weigh heavily on his heart and honour; Notable Gear: gold holy symbol, plate armour, warhammer
Jaska Laitnen (NG male human fighter 3 [Str 15, Dex 12, Con 15, Int 11, Wis 10, Cha 11]) leads the Wilderland Wanderers—or so he thinks; in truth, his opinions are easily swayed by his friends; Appearance: dresses practically and favours muted colours—browns, greens and grey; long black hair and dark brown eyes; Personality: friendly and brave, Jaska is a talkative fellow; he is dismissive of those pursuing sedentary lifestyles; enjoys drinking wine; Mannerisms: smiles broadly and often; Background: travelled extensively with his carter father in various merchant caravans and got the travelling bug; Hook: has extensive knowledge of the nearby kingdoms, their major towns and cities and track networks; Notable Gear: +1 scale mail, longsword, shield, hand-drawn maps of various nearby kingdoms
Kaisa Varala (NG female human wizard 3 [Str 8, Dex 15, Con 10, Int 17, Wis 12, Cha 10]) believes that magic can give her and her elderly parents a better life; after every adventure, she sends a stipend to her parents, so they don’t have to work their fingers to the bone just to survive; Appearance: wears plain, simple clothes and eschews traditional wizardly dressings and trapping; short brown hair and light grey eyes; Personality: intelligent, imaginative and ambitious; still enjoys working with leather; thirsts for knowledge and collects books; Mannerisms: lacks confidence and only rarely makes eye contact with strangers; Background: with nimble fingers and a livelier mind Kaisa was always destined to outgrow her humble beginnings as a leatherworker working in the family business; Hook: approaches a wizard or other learned member of the group to exchange knowledge and spells; Notable Gear: spellbook, scroll of fireball and web, cowled leather cloak
Tuula Ojanen (LG female human cleric [Darlen] 3 [Str 12, Dex 10, Con 14, Int 12, Wis 15, Cha 14]) serves Darlen with gladness in her heart and tirelessly works to keep the commonfolk safe; Appearance: wears a white surcoat emblazoned with a rising sun over her studded leather armour; has piercing blue eyes and blond hair; only 5-foot-tall Personality: believes she owes a great debt to Darlen; friendly and cheerful she is an optimist; fascinated by legends and would have made a good bard if she had not entered the priesthood; Mannerisms: tilts her head to one side when listening or thinking; Background: an orphan left on the church steps, Tuula has known no life other than that in service of Darlen; Hook: spreads the word of Darlen at every opportunity and seeks donations from wealthy folk to improve the common good; Notable Gear: +1 longsword, white surcoat emblazoned with a sun motif
Vesa Purho (NG male human fighter 3 [Str 13, Dex 16, Con 13, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 9]) appears to be the quintessential wilderland wanderer—and he is; Appearance: perpetually dishevelled and unshaven; deep blue eyes and long brown hair; Personality: taciturn and ill at ease in towns and cities; loves nature and hates staying in one place too long; always looking for the next opportunity for exploration; Mannerisms: tries (and fails) to untangle his hair with a bone comb at every opportunity; Background: grew up on the frontier and is a skilled trapper and furrier; Hook: seeks out other wanderers to learn about the surrounds, learn about the local fauna and flora and so on; Notable Gear: longbow, 20 arrows, fur hat, voluminous bear fur cloak
Fun Fact: I generated the basic details of this group by using the Character Subtable presented in Appendix C of the original AD&D Dungeon Master’s Guide.
Citadel on the Wilderlands is my love letter to B2 Keep on the Borderlands and B5 Horror on the Hill. I'm writing 500 words every weekday for a year.