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BuildingNPCs

NPCs are people.  They have goals and tools to struggle towards those goals.  Don't make them the core of the fiction- the adventures should be the central cast, the stars of the show.  Use them to illustrate what the world is like, to add color and adventure to the story.  Give the adventurers interesting, nuanced people to interact with and let them change over time.  The adventurer's exploits will cause the world to change, for good or ill, and the people they meet will be affected by the- and possibly remember exactly who's responsible.  Have them act accordingly.  


Types of Specialized NPCs


Dungeon World NPC Generator

Instant NPCs

Sometimes the players will come across someone who becomes important in the moment. When the ritual goes wrong and a poor captive gets the power cosmic what does that villager do with it? Who were they?

When you need a quick NPC all you need is an instinct and some way to pursue it. We call that a knack, it can be anything from a skill to a title to a debt owed. Combine the two and you have an NPC who has something they want and a way to try to get it—you’re ready to go.

100 Instincts
To avenge To spread the good word To make money To reunite with a loved one
To make amends To locate a lost thing To uncover a hidden truth To explore a mysterious place
To kill a hated foe To craft a masterwork To cure an illness To conquer a faraway land
To survive just one more day To earn affection To prove a point To be smarter, faster & stronger
To heal an old wound To evangelize To spread suffering To extinguish an evil forever
To hide from a shameful fact To prove worth To rise in rank To be praised
To discover the truth To make good on a bet To get out of an obligation To convince someone to do "dirty work"
To steal something valuable To overcome a bad habit To commit an atrocity To save someone from a monstrosity
To earn renown To accumulate power To teach To get just one more haul
To preserve the law To settle down To discover To restore the family name
To devour To live a quiet life To help others To prove their worth
To atone To gain a title To expand their land To retreat from society
To gain honor To escape To return home To reclaim what was taken
To party To serve To be a champion To do what must be done
To avoid notice To perfect a skill To not screw it all up To help a family member
To travel To play the game To establish a dynasty To overcome a disadvantage
To retire To be careful To improve the realm To recover a lost memory
To battle To raise dragons To live up to expectations To become a terror to criminals
To show kindness To be forgotten To do what can’t be done To be remembered in song
To indulge To find true love To lose their mind To make the best of it
To find the one To show them all To destroy an artifact To bring about unending summer
To fly To entertain To find the six-fingered man To wake the ancient sleepers
To entertain To follow an order To uncover the past To die gloriously
To hate To live forever To spill blood To go where none has gone before
To run away To do good To become a beast To hunt the most dangerous game


100 Knacks
Criminal connections Muscle Skill with a specific weapon Hedge wizardry
Comprehensive local knowledge Noble blood A one-of-a-kind item Special destiny
Unique perspective Hidden knowledge Magical awareness Abnormal parentage
Political leverage A tie to a monster A secret True love
An innocent heart A plan for the perfect crime A one-way ticket to paradise A mysterious ore
Money, money, money Divine blessing Immunity from the law Prophecy
Secret martial arts techniques A ring of power A much-needed bag of taters A heart
A fortified position Lawmaking Tongues A discerning eye
Endurance A safe place Visions A beautiful mind
A clear voice Stunning looks A catchy tune Invention
Baking Brewing Smelting Woodworking
Writing Immunity to fire Cooking Storytelling
Ratcatching Lying Utter unremarkableness Mind-bending sexiness
Undefinable coolness A way with knots Wheels of polished steel A magic carpet
Endless ideas Persistence A stockpile of food A hidden path
Piety Resistance to disease A library A silver tongue
Bloodline An innate spell Balance Souls
Speed A sense of right and wrong Certainty An eye for detail
Heroic self-sacrifice Sense of direction A big idea A hidden entrance to the city
The love of someone powerful Unquestioning loyalty Exotic fruit Poison
Perfect memory The language of birds A key to an important door Metalworking
Mysterious benefactors Steely nerves Bluffing A trained wolf
A long-lost sibling, regained An arrow with your name on it A true name Luck
The attention of supernatural powers Kindness Strange tattoos A majestic beard
A book in a strange language Power overwhelming Delusions of grandeur The wind at his back and a spring in his step


  • also see NPC Names
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