Does the Gruntwork of Creating the Grunts. PATHFINDER CHRONICLES NPC GUIDE

Oct 19, 2010 (Updated Nov 16, 2011)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Incredibly useful for a GM.  Well designed, saves hours of work.

Cons:I would like it to be longer with more NPCs for each country.

The Bottom Line: Simple in its design; its just a Facebook of characters to use.  NPC Guide, $19.99.  Being able to pull out a fully developed character on the fly... priceless.

Pathfinder Chronicles: NPC Guide. By Hal Maclean, Jeff Quick and John Wick.
Death by Stat Blocks.  Creating character and monster stat blocks is the most time consuming and error-prone part of being a Game Master.  A complex of high-level creature's stat block can take an hour or more to build.  Stat blocks use a lot of math and refer to rules throughout the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook, and sometimes other books as well.  Anything that you can do to save time on stat blocks means more time you can use to make a campaign cool, fun and exciting.  That's where this book comes in.
That is the opening of the NPC Guide, and never have I heard such honesty and directness in a game resource.  This book delivers what it promises.  At 64 pages, it is crammed with useful material, some of which will spark creativity, but most of it will just save you grunt work.  It is divided into four sections, the Introduction, which basically is only for newbs, Named NPCs, Generic NPCs, and Paizo Staff NPCs.  An NPC stands for Non Player Character.  These are all the people that inhabit the world your players move through, run by the Dungeon Master, from the Curvy Bar Maid of questionable morals, to the kindly old stable hand who tends the horses, the fat fence who moves their loot, I mean, treasure, converting it into spendable cash.
The Named NPCs are one person from each major country on Golarion.  The equivalent would be to have a profile of a honest cop in Montreal, Bill Gates for America, a Mexican Coyote, involved in the illegal immigration trade for Mexico, a Belize Mayor of a resort Town, a Drug Lord responsible for the flow of Drugs through Honduras, and a tour guide from Costa Rica.  You get the idea.
From Jona Clay, a retired Pathfinder in Absalom, to Cordeliza Parasca, a fortune teller in Varasia, each country has one NPC that adds flavor, or a possible contact.  Some of the more unusual include Krun Thull of Belkzen, an orc whose singular claim to fame is a genius level IQ among his savage brethren, Halig Oaklage, a Cleric of Zon-Kuthon in death-shrouded Geb.  Halig is a ghast, as well as a servant of the god of undeath.  Then there is Ntanga, of the Mwangi Expanse.  Ntanga is one of the most successful thieves, spies, and assassins, especially for his level (rogue 4) due to the fact he is a sentient ape.  The simple circus ape leads a double life.  Most of the others are much more mundane, but their back stories make them just as interesting.
The next section is the real work horse; generic NPCs.  Need a small gang of street toughs?  Throw four Belkzen Orc Berserkers at them, or for something a bit more civilized, a trio of Brevoy Duelists for Hire.  From Katapeshian Zephyr Guards, to Ramiran Priests of the Third step, if you need it, you can find it.  And if they don't have what you are looking for, you can modify it on the fly.  Most Cultists can work from the template provided for Rovagug.  A River Kingdoms Mercenary Captain (Warrior 2) might be a standard bandit in a band from Galt.  The last seven are PCs created by the Paizo staff at one time or another, that they thought were special.  Drop them in unmodified, or change their names and genders, whatever you need.  The back cover is a handy chart listing all generic NPCs by CR (Challenge Rating) from ½ to 4, complete with page number where they can be found.
This is one of the handiest tools around for those inevitable moments when your players go off story line and mess up your carefully laid plans.  Now, you can seamlessly pull together an ambush to punish their errant ways, and they will never be the wiser.

An American Game, an American Company; printed in China....*sigh*....

In fond Memory of Gary Gygax, Father of Dungeons and Dragons.
27 July, 1938 -4 March, 2008

"You enriched my life."

The Pathfinder Series, or Dungeons and Dragons Edition 3.75

Core Rule Book
Bestiary II
Advanced Player's Guide
Game Mastery Guide
The Inner Sea World Guide
Ultimate Magic
Ultimate Combat

Guide to the River Kingdoms: A Pathfinder Companion
Dungeons of Golarion
Classic Horrors Revisited
Inner Sea Magic: A Pathfinder Companion
Lords of Chaos: The Book of the Damned, Volume II
Humans of Golarion: A Pathfinder Companion
Undead Revisited: A Pathfinder Companion
Orcs of Golarion: A Pathfinder Companion
City of Strangers: A Pathfinder Companion
Sargava The Lost Colony: A Pathfinder Companion
Heart of the Jungle: A Pathfinder Companion
Gnomes of Golarion: A Pathfinder Companion
Rule of Fear: Ustalav.  A Pathfinder Companion
Cheliax: Empire of Devils: A Pathfinder Companion
Guide to Darkmoon Vale  A Pathfinder Companion.
Dragons Revisited: A Pathfinder Companion.
Faction Guide: A Pathfinder Companion
NPC Guide: A Pathfinder Companion
Dungeon Denizens Revisited: A Pathfinder Companion
A Guide To Korvosa: A Pathfinder Companion
Into the Darklands: A Pathfinder Companion
Cities of Golarion: A Pathfinder Companion
Faiths of Purity: A Pathfinder Companion

Adventure Paths!

Rise of the Runelords

Burnt Offerings
The Skinsaw Murders
The Hook Mountain Massacre
The Fortress of the Stone Giants

Second Darkness
Shadow in the Sky
Children of the Void
The Armageddon Echo
Endless Night
A Memory of Darkness
Descent Into Midnight

Please look at these Piazo Modules:

The Demon Within
Hungry are the Dead
River of Darkness
Seven Swords of Sin
Gallery of Evil
From Shore to Sea
The Witchwar Legacy
Realm of the Fellnight Queen
Hangman's Noose
Carnival of Tears
The Pact Stone Pyramid
Entombed with the Pharaohs
Treasure of Chimera Cove
Tower of the Last Baron
The Crucible of Chaos

Check out each installment of these Introductory Modules from Wizards of the Coast for Third Edition.

The Sunless Citadel
The Forge of Fury
The Speaker in Dreams
The Standing Stone.
The Heart of Nightfang Spire
Lord of the Iron Fortress

Fourth Edition:
Keep on the Shadowfell
Players Handbook
Dungeon Masters Guide
Monster Manual

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