Sunday, August 5, 2018

#RPGaDay 2018 Day 5: Favorite Recurring NPC?

The theme for the first weekend of topics for #RPGaDay 2018 is NPC, and after covering the most memorable NPCs on Saturday, Sunday is "Favorite Recurring NPC?"   To be honest, most of the favorite NPCs in any game are usually the recurring ones.  With only minor overuse, any good NPC can become beloved or reviled.

After reviewing with my players, the favorite recurring NPCs (plural) in my campaign are those from my "The Burning Trogs Rule!"" Hackmaster 4th Edition campaign.

In addition to adding humor to the core AD&D system, Hackmaster's Quirks and Flaws system made for some interesting characters.

Whitey Smallfoot - Halfling Cleric of Yondalla
Whitey was the first and only Hackmaster character I forbid at the table.  Created by my friend Hoyce, Whitey was such a sad combination of physical flaws and societal miscues that he would probably only make a session or two in the campaign.

A one-eyed, lispy, truthful, accident prone, narcoleptic/sound sleeper, sleep chattering, trick knee, migraine suffering, albino, stuttering halfling with male pattern baldness (and facial scars from probably falling asleep next to the fire and not waking up a few times too many), Whitey was not hero material.

But when Hoyce's next character concept, Gnome Titan fighter Zorin Redrock, hit a certain level, his ability to gain a sidekick was immediately filled with Brendlar "Whitey" Smallfoot.
Whitey, before the facial scars.... using some old Fraim Brothers art
Whitey was a beloved sidekick.  Besides being some comic relief, he proved to be a very effective cleric and healer (although the verbal component of the spells took fore-ever to complete.   Whitey somehow survived the entire campaign, and at last glance, runs Zorin's Demurli estate in Trebeizond while the gnome titan finances a revenge-fueled hunt for the Slavers of Roark.

Coreena Ruddledater - Pre-teen Halfling Torchbearer
Somewhere in the early days of the campaign, the Burning Trogs participated in black market slavery, a transaction so heinous, there's no mention of it in the campaign journal.

On one of their early visits to Frandor's Keep, a flood of people fleeing the frontier from the orc hordes overwhelmed the keep.  In the chaos of people desperately trying to resupply and head towards bigger civilizations in Marakeikos, the party was accosted by a halfling man and his wife.  They offered their nine-year old daughter Coreena to them, and if twenty years memory is correct, there were no strings attached, no money to be exchanged.  They just couldn't take care of her while fleeing the orcs.

The Trogs weren't a friendly bunch, but they wouldn't leave a child to die, so they took her... and made her a torchbearer.

The very first mention of Coreena is a few sessions later, after she survived a few dungeon crawls as the party torch bearer, and she was given free and permanent membership within the Burning Trogs.

As Whitey was comic relief and extra healing, little Coreena proved a bit of a bane to the group.  She always seemed to right around the edge of the blast radius of a fireball and the unlucky recipient of a poison trap.  The fact that the Trogs only needed to use Raise Dead on her twice is a sheer miracle and proof that she was a resilient little girl.

By mid-way through the campaign, the Trogs were being a bit more selective to the adventures they would take her on, usually letting her stay and help at the Trog's headquarters in Celsior.

After the campaign, we've assumed that she's gone to school, and university, all on the group's dime, in honor for her heroic efforts at such an early age.

Walter - Backstabbing Property Manager
When the Burning Trogs' HQ was first set-up, Half-Elf Valkyrie of Sif, Cecelia Darkspruce hired a local man named Walter to watch over and maintain the property.  He was well-paid and seemed trusting, until the party left their very pregnant thief, Nina, there to rest and give birth.  Within a short time it was discovered that monies set aside to pay taxes were missing, supplies were dwindling, and Nina was either clueless to all of this, or had been seduced in her post-partum distress.

Cecelia was furious, went into a violent rage, and for the first and only time in any of my games, cast a curse upon the disloyal man.  The now-disfigured man was cast out of town.  There were rumors of him lurking about the outskirts of town, but the Trogs never saw him again.

Now, the follow-up is slated for the Burning Trogs Redux actual plays still in development, but Walter survived, and thrived while constantly believing that the Trogs wronged him, not the other way around.  His rage, greed, and bitterness turned him to the evil ways of Kanar the Dark and he serves a strange master/mistress in the southern mountains of Marakeikos.

Honorable Mention : Ambrose Mogens, Call of Cthulhu
There aren't that many recurring NPCs in my on-hiatus Call of Cthulhu game.  Most die as a plot device or have limited services.

Ambrose Mogens hosted a Christmas Charity ball in New York City which united the new investigators and the old (The Pennywell Hangmen.  He then played a significant role in some dark machinations in The Half-Moon.  The investigators may have set his estate in Queens on fire, but Mogens got additonal test subjects for his horrible experiments through the party.  

Fun fact:  The "Eight Foot Tall Asian" terrorizing the party in Masks of Nylarathotep?  One of the old PCs transformed.    

Mogens established an unsteady truce with some of the Investigators, providing money and services for information and secrets man was not meant to know, possibly helping them on their globe trotting journey to stop a dark god.... the same god Mogens paid heed to, but with different forms and motivations.  He may have also killed the US Ambassador to Japan for them PLUS set them up to serve him in the future, but that's where we stopped.... for now. 

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