Some NPCs make excellent allies, others are debilitating nemeses, but some are just sad. In this series of posts we bring you Flawed Foes. These NPCs may once have held great potential, alas, their flaws have created substantial hurdles. Don’t let that stop you from enjoying some good old role-playing fun though!
Carbid was once a champion warrior, idolized by both young and old. Anytime the threat of danger presented itself, Carbid was at the front line, defending his clan with gusto. Many an enemy was slain by his hand, and numerous tales spoke of his bravery.
Over mugs of ale around the warm fires his people would feast and afterward, might pull out cards or dice and play games. Carbid enjoyed the games immensely, and was always happy to make a wager. He quickly developed a gambling problem, and unfortunately, did not have enough skill to back it up. Many a bet was won against the great hero until the clan agreed betting with Carbid, and ultimately taking his money and belongings, showed great disrespect to the warrior who had saved them so many times.
Carbid often tried to convince clan members to wager with him anyway, though they always refused, prompting him to spiral into a rage. His fellows would take cover, waiting for the anger to subside, offering him food and drink and other means of placating him.
One day Carbid was travelling with a few of his clansmen when they came to rest in a tavern a few days journey from their home. It was here he joined a game of cards, against the wishes of his fellows. The game started well enough, and Carbid, excited at the opportunity to gamble, continued to play hand after hand. His opponent quickly turned the tables on him, taking all of Carbid’s valuables in two hands. Certain he could get them back, Carbid begged for one more hand. With nothing physical to offer, the stranger asked for a single favour. Carbid hastily agreed. And lost. With nary a copper to his name, and a favour owed, the dwarf walked away, head low.
The next morning, he and his clansmen were set to return home when the stranger beckoned Carbid over and called in the favor. He asked Carbid to travel east to a nearby lake, defeat the ogre that resides in a cave there, and return with the head. Carbid was eager to return to his people, but he knew he had to stand by his promise. Enlisting the help of his fellows, Carbid set off. The trip took several days, thought the creature was easy enough to locate and defeat. The party returned triumphant a week after they had departed from the tavern. The stranger was not there, but upon inquiring, Carbid was given a note of thanks.
A bit perplexed, Carbid disposed of the head and, with his allies, set off for home. What they found was a grave sight; their clan hold had been burned and the residents slaughtered. The stranger had set them up, eager to have the bravest warriors occupied while he lay waste to the settlement.
Carbid’s companions were furious. Carbid was devastated.
Now haunted by his actions, Carbid travels alone with inferior quality weapons, spending every copper he has on liquor in the hopes of drowning away his sorrows. Carbid suffers from horrific nightmares, causing him to feel tired even after what most would consider to be a restful night’s sleep.
You can find more unique NPCs in our Tangible Taverns and 5e NPC collections on DriveThruRPG.
What did you think of this NPC? Did he make an appearance in your game session?