Ideas on NPC creation!

8 min read

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Many elements behind our most recent NPCs have been randomly generated, and here's how we do it!

1. We come up with a general story or direction we'd like our cities / events to go in, and we create several characters to fill those cities and events with.

2. We think about what each of those characters would do in the cities/events, what their roles are, what they offer to the story as a whole, etc. We pick a race here, too, based on what we'd think would be coolest or most impacting.

3. Now that we have several very basic ideas of what we want, we use Marnok's NPC generator, which can be found here:…

This gives us a randomly-generated list of 101 very basic ideas for NPC personalities every time we refresh. We'll come back to it in a minute.

4. We then go to

5. We count how many characters we've just created for our city/event/story, and we use to select one for us.

6. We then use to pick a number from 1-101. The number we're given is the numbered personality Marnok previously generated for us.

~*warning*~: We don't take the Marnok personalities and quirks literally, as that would be boring, too simple, and it would run the risk of not meshing very well with all of our other ideas. Rather, we use our collective might of knowledge of the English language to twist the Marnok-generated themes to be most appropriate for our settings. They're just concepts, after all.

7. We use again to select things like, gender, sex, affinity, and whatever else we can think of that needs to be decided regarding the character.

8. We then turn everything we've come up with / been randomly given into an interesting NPC. This can take quite some time.


That is a very condensed, super simple way of how we sometimes go about creating NPCs or characters for our stories.

Using to decide things for us is a fun challenge, as more often than not we'll be stuck with personalities/affinities/genders/etc that we weren't expecting at all, and making them work and still be interesting is extremely satisfying. It also has the added benefit of being a completely (as far as we know) unbiased third party in regards to making choices. This means our subconscious desires and preferences often don't get to come into play as strongly as they normally would.


Want an example of a character made from all of this? Here's a quick, simple one. A salesman.

Callahan has some money that's burning a hole in his pocket, so he's gotta buy something. What and from who don't matter to him right now. What matters is he has money, and the merchant just down the street wants to give him something in exchange for that money.

The moment Callahan steps foot outside his house, a stranger approaches him. A traveling salesman.

This won't do.

Callahan wants to patronize his favorite store, and he will allow no exceptions. He ignores the salesman and continues onward. After a few steps, they move in front of him, intent on blocking his path. They open their coat to reveal a bag of potatoes and several cloth gloves.

"Have I got the deal for you, buddy!"


I'll use to give the salesman's race, gender, affinity, and personality. I'll try to explain some of my thought process.

Bastian (Native cat-race of Althar, not to be confused with Mew York cats or Flowercats)
Ice affinity
99 Arrogant : Aloof. Repeats self in conversations.
motto :As you make your bed, so must you lie on it.

We rolled an unusual combination: Bastian and Ice affinity.

Why is Ice unusual?
Well, Althar is located in a desert. Not only that, it's sandy, arid, full of sunshine, and hot. Not the best place to be if you're an ice cube, or if your first name is Frosty.

Why is Bastian unusual?
Bastians are native to Althar, which means for our salesman to actually have an Ice affinity, he probably had to live in an area rich in Ice-element before getting into the traveling gig. Three things that almost every Bastian dislikes are rain, snow, and cold.

Maybe the salesman was born somewhere cold and was always tolerant of it, or maybe he moved somewhere cold later on in his life and toughed it out, through sheer force of will. I'm gonna go with the latter, because it makes for a more hardy (and annoying) salesman.

Well, if he can live in a climate seen as completely incompatible for his race, and not only tolerate but become talented enough with an element also seen as incompatible for his race to acquire it as an affinity, he's gotta possess some kind of unearthly determination. To me, there are few things on this world more annoying than a determined salesman.

His personality conveniently matches up here, too. Arrogant? Aloof? Perfect for viewing people as simple things to get money out of. Perfect for assuming you have what they want, and at an incredible price! Perfect for making them believe you have what they want, and that you're their best buddy in the world for ridding them of their ignorance. Repeats self in conversations? You got it.

Try out the new Potato-Mittz! Peel potatoes in mere seconds with the Potato-Mittz! No more messing around with clunky gadgets, dangerous knives and peelers! Potato-Mittz are safe for all ages, ergonomically designed, and easy to clean! Come down today and get yourself a pair, folks, these Potato-Mittz wont last long!

But the Potato-Mittz hide a deadly secret. If improperly used and cared for, they explode, reducing the user's hands to naught but gnarled claws. The salesman, having been so talented at selling the Potato-Mittz, and having drilled the fact that hey, they're unique, folks, you can only get 'em from me! is now on the run, the most wanted criminal in all of Owel for the sale of hazardous hand-destroying goods. He's in Althar now, hoping to make a quick buck selling his last few pairs of the Potato-Mittz so he can afford a boat ticket off this continent. It shouldn't be hard to do, as he's the best at what he does, baby. Everyone ends up wanting what he's got.

What about his Ice affinity?
His Ice affinity can be taken several ways. We can look at a couple of the physical traits of ice: cold, solid. These are fine, but since Althar is hot, dry, and sunny, I'd like for his affinity to be expressed in a more subtle way. I'll explore two concepts, or ideas behind ice, and not use them literally.

1. If a person is in water as it freezes, that person is often trapped within the ice.
Maybe the salesman is able to freeze people in their tracks, figuratively speaking. Perhaps, if they stop to give him the time of day, they're caught in his influence, unable to simply ignore him and continue their travels, forced to watch his product demonstrations and hear his sales pitches.

2. People trapped in ice become frozen themselves over time, often sharing ice's attributes.
Maybe, if they hear the salesman out long enough, they start to share his viewpoint and buy his wares because hey, he knows what they need. Just as some things take longer to freeze than other things, some people see it his way quicker than others. They always realize he's right, though. It just takes some time.

These people don't have to know they're under any kind of magical influence, and the salesman doesn't have to know he has these abilities. It generally doesn't matter, but in my mind, they don't and he doesn't. He may just think he's that awesome at selling, and he may be right. It's kind of a chicken or the egg thing, here. Was he naturally talented as grabbing peoples' attention, and did he subconsciously manipulate his Ice element into granting him these abilities, or did the Ice element grant him talent where he previously had none? Was he a failure before he had his Ice affinity? Who knows? It doesn't have to matter right now.


There you have it. I took a tiny scenario, put a new character in it, and came up with some details and story about him. Whether or not the story I write is any good will be up for debate, but it was fun coming up with ideas for things that were given to me, and it was fun writing those ideas out.
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PMDE-Miles's avatar
Wow. I loved randomized skyrim runs, I might have to start doing this for my RP characters too!

Thanks for the inspiration PK!
Tahuma's avatar
I am really loving the idea of the randomizing characters, as well as the example scenarios you used. Wonderful journal.
Deluxeloy's avatar
My my my, I'm not the only one who randomly generates his characters... And you guys are taking it very seriously, too.
Torotiel's avatar
I tried a quickly written thing with canon species with a species sheet + elements on the current element spreadsheet

Gender: Female
Affinity: Cloud
87Violent : Sadistic. Keen hunter.
motto : Resort to name-calling.

This cockatrice is deeply rooted in tradition. She is very narrow minded and is quick to put an end to independent thoughts that go against her own. First impressions mean everything to her, she will let you know what you're doing wrong, and will hold it against you in the future. She often gains bad company but she doesn't realise it until it's too late. She lives in a scarcely populated area and will get lonely. She has many children from multiple partners. Physically, she is very scawny. She is mostly covered with dark grey feathers and her hypnosis ability is quite weak.

Character creation is the best thing.
kage-niji's avatar
This is awesome! I need to try this out every time I create an OC or a character for roleplaying.