One Page Bestiary Version 2

The One Page Bestiary is being reworked, as I reread Greywulf’s The Unconstrained GM and now have a better idea. Meanwhile, here it is, preserved for posterity:

“Less important NPCs, however, can be designed using a sort of shorthand. With this system, once the NPC’s career has been chosen, the referee merely decides whether the NPC is rated as Green, Experienced, Veteran or Elite. This ranking tells the referee what skill level the NPC has in Primary and Secondary skills related to his profession.” – 2300AD Director’s Guide.

My Savage Worlds games often use quick-and-dirty NPCs and monsters, and this is how I build them on the fly. It’s derived from the way that NPCs are handled in GDW’s 2300AD game.

STOCK NPCS

Stock NPCs have the same die type for any attribute or skill which is appropriate for their role in the scenario. (Use common sense here; a Seasoned soldier probably has Strength d8 and Fighting d8, but Knowledge: Archaeology d8 or Smarts d8 are unlikely.) Skills and attributes not relevant to the NPC’s role rarely come into play, but if they are needed, attributes default to d6 (normal human level) and skills to d4-2 (untrained). Stock NPCs are divided into four ranks, matching those for Player Characters:

  • Novice (d6): Equivalent to d20 level 1-3. Arcanists have Bolt, Deflect, Healing, 10 Power Points. Fantasy fighters have leather armour and shortswords, Parry 5, Toughness 6 (1).
  • Seasoned (d8): Equivalent to d20 level 4-6. Arcanists add Blast and have 15 Power Points. Fantasy fighters have chain hauberks and longswords, Parry 6, Toughness 8 (2).
  • Veteran (d10): Equivalent to d20 level 7-10. Arcanists have 20 Power Points. Fantasy fighters have plate armour and greatswords, Parry 7, Toughness 10 (3).
  • Heroic (d12): Equivalent to d20 level 11-15. Arcanists have 25 power points. Fantasy fighters have plate mail and greatswords, Parry 8, Toughness 11 (3).

In modern or SF games, Stock NPCs have the same equipment whatever their rank.

MONSTROUS ABILITIES

Add one or more Monstrous Abilities from the Savage Worlds rulebook to a Stock NPC to create an instant monster. Examples:

  • Construct: +2 on rolls to recover from Shaken; not affected by called shots, Wound Modifiers, disease or poison.
  • Undead: As Construct, but also has +2 Toughness.

EXAMPLES

  • Mid-Level Dungeoneering Party: Three Seasoned fighters and a Seasoned arcanist.
  • Warforged Sorceror: Construct arcanist.

FOR OTHER GAMES

There are several similar approaches for D&D 4E – if I still played that, I’d use either Greywulf’s version or the one from Sly Flourish.

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