Worldbuilding: Local Area Design: NPCs and Creatures

Return to the Worldbuilding: Local Area Design main page.

NPCs

At this point, you probably don’t need to develop more than a couple of NPCs. Choose to develop the NPCs that will be most involved in (or at least responsible for kick-starting) your initial adventure ideas. Maybe one NPC is the gruff innkeeper who knows everyone’s business or the flirty barmaid who overhears many rumors or perhaps an NPC is the temple’s high priest who hears confessions. There are many possible NPCs even in a small village.

As you develop two or three NPCs, remember Dungeoncraft Rule #2. Include a secret for the NPCs. Not everyone must have a secret, but if something occurs to you, jot it down. Perhaps the priest was a high level priest in another “evil” religion some time ago. Members of the other religion may be targeting him now. Maybe the innkeeper knows everyone’s business because he is a spy for some other group. In any case, developing NPCs can be an article all by itself.

You may want to put together a few bullet points for more NPCs the characters are likely to encounter, but it is often helpful not to flesh out all the major characters in your local area because you may have a better idea for the blacksmith or a need for a different personality for the sage later.

Creatures

What creatures should be in an area of your fantasy world is an issue that is sometimes overlooked when developing an area of your fantasy world. The creatures in the world will vary between areas based on the climate, terrain, and what other creatures exist. Below is a general approach to selecting creatures that exist in a local area of your fantasy world:

  • Include any creatures that are important to any stories/adventures you have planned.
  • Glance over the index or table of contents of any Monster Guide books you have and jot down any creatures that seem interesting.
  • Flip through your Monster Guide books and look at the preferred terrains and climates of each monster. If a creature fits one of your area’s terrains and climates, consider adding the creature.
  • Now pare down the list. If some creature types are too similar, consider removing one unless there is a need to keep each. If some creature types would have long ago decimated another creature type, consider removing one or the other. If a creature doesn’t seem interesting after all, remove it.
  • Breakdown the master list of creatures in the area by terrain type. For example, if the area has two primary terrains such as hills and forest, divide the creatures between hills and forest allowing for some creatures to be in both terrains as appropriate.
  • For creatures that have lairs, mark a few of the more important lairs on your map. (But unless the lair is common knowledge, keep the lair’s location only on your secret map or map layer.)

Return to the Worldbuilding: Local Area Design main page.

Leave a Reply

NPC Portraits Decks:
Adventurers, Townsfolk, and Hirelings

Non-Player Character card decks for any RPG. Portraits on the front. Personality and background on the back. Late Pledges Possible!

Follow us on Twitter

See our YouTube videos

Support us on Patreon!
Get new icon sets each month and vote on icon set themes as well as upcoming Worldographer features.

Newsletter Subscription

If you want to subscribe to our monthly newsletter, please submit the form below.