Monday, April 4, 2016

6 NPC Organizations to Spice Up Your Campaign

This Monday I'd like to put a little bow on a gift for the DMs out there. I know how hard it can be putting together a great game, and that sometimes you just don't have the available sweat to go elbow-deep into more world building. That's why I wanted to offer you these six organizations that I put together for Kobold Press which can add a lot of spice (and plot hooks, if you need them) to your campaign.

Also, the sharp-eyed among you might notice that some of these organizations were first mentioned in my post What Services Exist In Your Fantasy World (And Do You Use Them)? That post was the initial inspiration, but now these groups have a slightly more involved history, as well as tips that will allow you to incorporate them seamlessly into your game.

#1: The Brotherhood of The Brawl

Seriously, I don't care what level you are, don't get into it with the bouncer. Not here.
The Brotherhood is a loose confederation of skull crackers and leg breakers that live and train right out in public. Bouncers by trade, the Brawlers take all kinds, from pugilists and prize fighters, to grapplers and knockout artists. They might not look like much, but the Brotherhood is a training ground for some of the strongest, deadliest bare-fisted fighters in the world. They're good allies, and awful enemies.

#2: The Wanderer's Way

Package for you, sir!
Have you ever wondered how common people send letters and packages in your fantasy world? After all, if reading and writing are commonplace, then wouldn't there be some kind of postal service? The Wanderer's Way is a volunteer post that's made up of everyone from merchants and caravan guards, to wandering adventurers and no-account saddle tramps. The Wanderers are a great way to explain why a PC is in town, but they're also great for adventure hooks when you're trying to have a mysterious letter show up to drag the party into your plot.

#3: The Sundown Eyes Guild

You broke into the wrong house.
The Sundown Eyes Guild has one job; keep its clients safe. Security experts, bodyguards, and anti-infiltration experts, the Sundown Eyes Guild draws its ranks from both the famous, and the infamous. Former bandits, sneak thieves, spies, and other disreputable adventurers work shoulder to shoulder with detectives and former Watch officers, all doing their best to stymie the latest attempts from burglars, robbers, and, when necessary, assassins. If you need an extra challenge for your party to bypass, or you want a patron to employ them, you need look no further than this anti-thieves guild.

#4: The Iron Horsemen

Got a problem, squire?
It seems like every other campaign is a noble hiring adventurers to travel with him, or to deliver an unspecified parcel from point A to point B. You'd think, with so many valuable people and treasures about, that someone would just start a business centered around their delivery. That is the niche the Iron Horsemen fulfill, and the group only hires the best. Their black-clad coachmen are uniform in look, but their abilities and powers are often surprising. So, whether a party is looking for a paymaster, or they just want a reliable group to transport their treasure halfway across the continent, the Horsemen can easily get the job done.

#5: The Order of The Healing Hand

We can cure what ails you... again.
If you've ever had a game where no one wanted to play a cleric, you've probably found yourself wishing you had an in-game group of healers to fall back on. Something like a fantasy version of the Red Cross that your party could find all over the map, provided they get out of the dungeon alive. That is where the Order of The Healing Hand comes into play. Dedicated to curing the sick, the order is made up of bonesetters and surgeons, alchemists and priests, and it's rumored that among their number there are scholars of the body so learned they can resurrect the dead. Ideal for character backstories, escort missions, and even as secret villains, the Order has many uses for a cunning DM.

#6: The Raven's Quill Criers

How do I know? A little birdie told me.
Town criers are one of the easiest ways to make announcements to the general population, but the Raven's Quill Criers take their jobs even further. They write letters for the illiterate, provide maps for out-of-towners, and they collect information like a magpie goes after shiny objects. So, if you need a handy way to get a key piece of intel to your party, you want to introduce potential allies, or you want to turn the Criers into a front for a network of spies, they're available to you to do with as you please.

As always, I hope you found this week's update useful. If you'd like to help support Improved Initiative, why not stop by The Literary Mercenary's Patreon page to become a patron today? As little as $1 a month can be a big help! Also, if you haven't done so yet, why not follow me on Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter?

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