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NPC Personalities for a Few Guard Applicants

There are tons of sources online for various NPC personalities, but I still can't find anything that seems a good fit.

My players are just getting ready to refurbish Trollskull Manor and they want to hire a night guard. I'd like to have a couple of personalities ready for them to interview and chose from, BUT, I can't find anyone from the above sources...

So, anyone have any sources that would work well? Anyone want to contribute one or two?

Below is the first one I fleshed out for an idea of what I'm looking for (kind of like a job application/interview info and then some info on what happens if you hire them. They should probably mostly be in the guard / thug / bandit/ soldier / veteran stat blocks, but not too worried about that since it will be unlikely to get them in actual combat.

Name: Nimlalwe Mithmirelen
Race: Elf
Sex: Female
Appearance: Middle-aged female that is lithe and shows wear and tear. Clothes are serviceable but the colors are worn and several tears have been repaired
Experience: Nim is new to Waterdeep, having recently arrived by ship. She has worked for several decades as a guard for various merchants. She has seen a fair share of scrapes with bandits, goblins, and orcs as well as a few nasty beasts prevalent in various deserts (giant scorpions, snakes, etc).
Personality: Nim is quiet and observant, not speaking unless she has too. She is slow to anger or react, but when she does she acts decisively and usually with more force than is necessary.
History: She spent the last several years as a caravan guard in the deserts of Anauroch and time before that in Calimshan. Now she wants to live in one place and someplace that is not hot, hence her recent travel to Waterdeep. She once was married and had a child, but does not speak of her husband or child.
Future: Nim is resolved to never become romantically attached again, and is very resistant to emotional attachments. But, she has a strong sense of right and will serve loyally anyone who treats her well and does the right thing.

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Name: Gimmelots

Race: Dwarf

Sex: Male

Appearance: Burly, wearing mail with orcs teeth locked between the links. Food particles stuck in his beard. He passes gasses quite often.

Personality: Loud and boisterous, he eagerly expresses his hatred of orcs.

History: He has spent more than several moons smashing orcs down to his size. The orcs call him Knee Breaker and Tooth Ripper. Where ever orcs go he has been close on their heels.

Future: Having been banished for fathering too many bastards in too many clans, he has made his way to the human city to find a not so nice human girl or two. He isn't called Gimmelots for nothing and needs a way to spend his coin.

You need the veteran who is only a month feom retirement. Pair him with a rookie. Name him Redshirt :)
Whilst this is a joke, it's also the aproach I would take. When it comes to minor NPC characters working out a detailed backstory is pointless. The players won't ask about it, and if they do they will forget it within minutes. The trick is to assign them a sterotype (or archetype if we are being kind) that the players will recognise and remember.


Name: Avery Tain, the brightsmith's daughter
Race: Human
Sex: Female
Appearance: Early 20's, dark blonde hair, freckled, constant smudges from the forge on her cheeks and hands, wears a flaired doublet.
Experience: Gifted with a quick and creative mind, Avery has set up several small-scale street criminals using specially marked silver-works and she has earned a small reputation among the Flaming Fist and noble houses who've contracted her family's services. In the last year she took up the study of swordplay, but she does so in secret without a proper mentor.
Personality: Plucky and intrepid, Avery could easily get in over her head were it not some guardian angel or spark of wisdom keeping her from diving headlong into danger. She can go on at length about the fine points of silver-smithing and is constantly tinkering on modifications to her father's leg brace.
History: Avery's father Simon worked a small brightsmithy (i.e. silver smithing) on Saerdoun Street for year, having inherited it from his father and his father before him. Growing up watching her father work the forge, Avery had a talent for making the wax forms her father used for molds. When her father refused to pay protection money to a criminal racket, he was beat up and left crippled by thugs; she remembers one of the assailants had a bugbear's silhouette. Despite this setback, Avery stepped up to work the forge, she and her father reversing roles now that he couldn't hold the hammer. However, deep down she has wanted to right the wrong done to her family by safeguarding others in the neighborhood.
Future: Avery's family is both her strength and her weakness. While her father has given up on arranging a marriage for his headstrong daughter, he would give anything to keep her safe and out of harm's way (i.e. not a night guard!). Similarly, a villain who threatened her family could get Avery to compromise her professional values.

Thanks all. Here are a couple more I've come up with;

Name: Farfelee Chaucer
Race: Human
Sex: Female
Appearance: Farfelee has a beautiful face with angular features, has a round figure and stands about 5’3” tall. Blond wavy hair and light blue eyes with very smooth white skin. She wears leather pants, a dark blue long sleeve course cotton shirt with a leather vest over it.
Experience: She was trained to use sword and bow by her parents and has worked as a caravan scout for several years on the routes between Waterdeep, Luskan and Silverymoon.
Personality: Very volatile personality, though forgives quite easily and quickly even if/when she is the one wronged. She seems to have little self-confidence and regularly smiles nervously.
History: She was born and raised on a farm outside of Amphail and learned to hunt and track from a young age. She has never really seen much violence, just a few scrapes with goblins, kobolds and bandits.
Future: Farfelee has recently come into possession of a treasure map and is only looking to earn enough money so that she can set out to find the hidden treasure, which she believes is to be found in the Dessarin Valley. Hence she will live as frugally as possible. She will quit with a TenDay’s notice 3d4+3 TenDay’s after being hired.
Saying: “Can you imagine?”

Name: Nargol Axeblade
Race: Half-orc
Sex: Male
Appearance: He stands just over 6ft tall, has dark sunburned green skin and is about 20 years old. He has a muscular build and a very non-descript face.
Experience: Usually he has been employed as a warehouse guard or tavern muscle.
Personality: He is not particularly wise. Nargol is selfish and is not much more than a thug. He will always look out for himself and take which ever opportunity he sees as the most beneficial for himself, which includes betraying his current employer if the opportunity seems beneficial enough. Nargol looks with envy on signs of wealth such as jewelry etc.
History: Nargol has worked the streets of Neverwinter and now Waterdeep as he makes his way south.
Future: Nargol will serve loyally, but when presented with challenging situations will often make the wrong choices, leading towards violence and greed. When someone offers him enough gold to betray his current employer he will, 50gp will usually be enough to get him to do just about anything, except murder.
Saying: “Look boss, I’ll do what you say ok? ‘Long as your paying and you not going to get me killed.”

Whilst this is a joke, it's also the aproach I would take. When it comes to minor NPC characters working out a detailed backstory is pointless. The players won't ask about it, and if they do they will forget it within minutes. The trick is to assign them a sterotype (or archetype if we are being kind) that the players will recognise and remember.
Normally I agree, and don't even bother giving such NPC more than a name and a quirk (a scar, a saying, a piece of clothing, etc); in this case this is the person the NPC's are hiring to guard their home & business. So this will not only be a reoccurring NPC, but one with some importance to them.


Name: Scruffy Angie

Rave: Human

Sex: Female

Appearance: She does not care, ribbons lace and frills are for the pompous dainty do nothings. Her sandy hair is cut short, very boyish. Her slate grey eyes are sharp and pick up on the finer details of her environs. She is lithe and seemingly bends in the wind like a willow.

Experience: She is a mere 13 or perhaps 14 years of age, she gave up trying to count years ago when she lost her so called guardian. Everyone has to start somewhere and her starting point usually involves showing people how shoddy and cheap their locks are.

Personality: She has a sharp tongue and is quicker eating her meals than a starved dog is.

History: She knows the city like the back of her hand, all the best places to find anything one might imagine. She is never without some coin or trinket to pawn.

Future: She is looking for stability, some place that will provide a constant roof over her head.

Saying: "Honest, I know nothing about your antique clock. I can't read time. Ask that floozy maid that comes around. If it wasn't her, well like I said before you should have let me replace your cheap and shoddy locks. I can promise that Thomas, Henry, Ichabod, Ernie, Frederick locksmiths are the best around!"


Name: Tiny
Race: Hill Giant -- but, he is only Large size, only two damage dice per attack, proficiency bonus +2, and only 57 (6d10 + 36) HP. CR 4.
Sex: Male
Appearance: Short but plump hill giant with colorful patchwork clothing and a cute baby-face.
Experience: Tiny was the unofficial bouncer at the circus where he lived. He will work for room and board (and he eats quite a bit).
Personality: Tiny likes to sit and watch the world go by, while chewing on a flank of steak. In addition to eating, Tiny loves stories, music, and dancing. He has learned to be very careful when he dances, so as not to injury anyone or destroy any buildings. Tiny doesn't enjoy hurting people but is willing to bonk a few heads in order to get back to his eating and music.
History: Tiny was a runt, abandoned by his hill giant tribe as a baby. He was adopted by the circus, working in the freak show, and also the strong-man act. Eventually he got so large that the circus had trouble providing him with enough food, so he stayed in Waterdeep when they moved on.
Future: Tiny hopes to eat enough to become a full-sized hill giant (he doesn't understand that he's just really short for a giant). He would secretly like to play the drums in a band.


If you happen to own Hoard of the Dragon Queen, you can lift the caravan guards and/or teamsters from chapter 4 (see pages 32-33).

Kid Charlemagne

I am the Very Model of a Modern Moderator
One bit of possible inspiration: the recruitment scene from "The Untouchables" where Kevin Costner and Sean Connery are trying to find honest cops in Chicago to add to their team.

"that's the future Chief of Police..."


Nikademus the Bold
Nick is a middle aged human who is rail thin with a hawkish nose and balding hair. He has lived in the city for a long time but recently took to hiding out from trouble. He is in face a middling mage acting as a guard of sorts. He wears ill-fitted leather armor and awkwardly wears a short sword.


Nikademus the Bold
Nick is a middle aged human who is rail thin with a hawkish nose and balding hair. He has lived in the city for a long time but recently took to hiding out from trouble. He is in fact a middling mage acting as a guard of sorts. He wears ill-fitted leather armor and awkwardly wears a short sword.


Name: Stumpy the White

Race: Half troll/half dragonborn

Sex: male

Appearance: Stumpy suffers from both genetic dwarfism and albinism. His skin is a pasty egg white with blotches of mother of pearl. He has crimson eyes, a long flickering tongue and a neck frill (Australian frilled lizard) that expands when he is excited.

Personality: Stumpy is very protective of his friends and over protective of those he considers to be family. He has a sweet tooth and is always eating some sort of candy or treat out of his many pockets.

History: Stumpy knows nothing of his parents, he merely assumes that a large quantity of alcohol was involved. His earliest memories are of living with the monks of the autumn wind. They taught him through his childhood and encouraged his exploration of the greater wider world. He would like to find his best friend the witch Gigi, he could never pronounce her name Godive properly in the old tongue and like others he was a bit lazy to say God's gift in the new word thinking it somewhat pretentious of her to expect to be addressed as such.

Future: Stumpy would like to take a job to earn some coin. He hopes to continue on learning about new people and places in this great city.

When you're picking personalities for minor NPCs, it helps to remember that cliches become cliche because they work so well. They're only tiresome when creators try to save on effort by only lightly sketching in the most surface details. Done with any amount of genuine effort they quickly remind you why they're so popular. It's like the difference between a remix of a classic song that both reminds you what you loved about the original and introduces enough new flourishes to entertain, and someone who can only sing the chorus and just hums "da-dah-dah-da" in between.

So throw some cliches at them. The earnest young kid on his first real job, the lamed veteran looking for an easy gig till retirement, the guy with a shady background who's trying to reform, the woman who seems really eager for a night job and avoids questions about her past. See which ones the players bite on. Then you can put in the trouble of fleshing that one out some more.

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