One hundred different NPCs you can find traveling along the road.
|You come across an older gentleman traveling down the path with a group of 6 small dogs walking behind him. He has them each on a small leash that is attached to his large backpack, filled with dog clothes and toys. Over the last few years, this man has trained these dogs to preform tricks. He is traveling from town to town to try and become a famous performer.
|You pass a person draped in flowing red and gold cloth, eyes closed and performing what looks like an incredibly slow dance. Around them are several unconscious bandits.
|You see an old woman with a young girl that is slowly moving towards your group. When you come closer you notice that the woman is actually blind, and the girl is guiding her. That woman gets intense when you come closer and gives away a series of phrases, each of those can be treated as a prophesy.
|A pair of newlyweds on their honeymoon headed to a secluded cabin in the woods. They’re both charming and friendly, but the longer you talk to them, the clearer it is that something’s amiss. Specifically, it’s very clear that the groom has quite a lot to gain in the event of the bride’s untimely demise.
|You kick a rock, and it appears to grow legs and claws. On close inspection, it is a fist-sized crab disguised as a stone. All rocks in the immediate area reveal themselves to be crabs as well, which begin scattering into the grass. If one is captured, it disappears during the next long rest.
|A dog leashed to a tree. There doesn’t seem to be anyone else around, but if the party takes the pup its owner will try to find it.
|A short woman peddling used magical talismans out of a cart. Her assistant, a large deaf giant who is pulling said cart, grins whenever someone comes near. Her name is Tabitha and she’s rather charming in a soft-spoken way. A bit of prodding into the pair reveals they are both friends who once adventured together.
|A man in tattered robes who claims to be nobility who was forced from his home by a wicked sibling. More likely he was kicked out for being a greedy twit, but the party can learn that on their own time as he makes more and more requests.
|Two kobolds standing on top of each other wearing an old cloak. They claim they are a famous dragonborn warrior, and they do not seem to know that they are actually two kobolds.
|A pair of horses, seemingly abandoned. A further inspection reveals they are still wearing riding tack and seemed to be abandoned in a hurry.
|A person digging a grave, with a body of some sort in a shroud nearby.
|A lizard folk wearing a paladin’s armor. He poorly impersonates the paladin whose armor he has and pretends to be lawful good. Or maybe he’s had a change of heart after getting the gear. Either way, he’s hungry.
|A shepherd with a dozen sheep. He keeps insisting that all the sheep are his and keeps looking over his shoulder.
|A 10-man road crew removing a stump from the middle of the road. Four of the crew are armed with bows and complain about a dryad interfering with their job. Two are doing the actual work of removing the stump. The rest are ‘supervising’.
|A flash flood has blocked part of the road. A sorcerer is standing nearby offering to clear a dry path for a small fee. The sorcerer is true to their word and forms a dry channel to the other side. After crossing, the channel, the flood and the sorcerer disappear.
|A pure black, unnaturally tall Tabaxi. She offers a magical item of the DMs choice in exchange for an interesting story. A player must offer a story that reveals a portion of their backstory and beat a DC 14 persuasion check to receive the item. Each player may attempt this once, but each time it is failed the Tabaxi’s interest wanes, increasing the DC by 2. If the Tabaxi’s DC reaches 20, she retracts, unimpressed, and leaves.
|A small and poor family, all their belongings in tow, moving to a new town.
|A Firenewt wizard who sells magic minerals, crystals and dusts. He lives in a hut with a large fire in the middle. He spends most of his days at home making powders and crafting near the fire. Although he is not the kindest, he is smart strong and helpful. He sells magical and non-magical jewelry, fireworks, components and ingredients for spells and recipes.
|A lonely Bullywug who got lost and lives in a cave. He considers himself the emperor of the cave. He has other frogs and toads as minions and guards.
|You see two figures riding on horseback: a halfling and a green dragonborn. They trot along for about a mile until they come across a heavily guarded ornate caravan on the side of the road. As it turns out, the dragonborn is a senator, on his way back from a trip to the outer villages. They stopped to feed and water the horses, and the dragonborn accidentally dropped his keys in the caravan. The halfling is the locksmith from the next town over.
|A stray dog, hungry and dirty, desperately needing help. It has a collar with a note attached to it which seems to be a cry for help!
|A Rival party of the exact same class but different archetypes. They are a little obnoxious to their counterparts and are out to do the same quest/mission/thing the party is up to.
|A black knight traveling on horseback. Could be revealed to be some sort of illusion, or a wandering boss-type monster.
|A hungry beggar, who if helped will come to their aid at a later date, if shunned will do the opposite.
|A crazy old man who claims to know where a secret forest full of magic is located. You follow him but he is actually just trying to take you back to his home because he has lonely ever since his wife died.
|Two older males each riding a giant snail. They sell common magic items, maps of nearby cave systems, and may teach the party how to enhance potions.
|A man with piercing blue eyes, all visible flesh but his eyes wrapped in cloth bandages. Adorned in worn and dirty cloths of a nobleman and carrying a religious text. He is polite and intense obviously religious and with a deep silky voice. Upon closer inspection, his flesh appears burned. Omens of doom and death follow in his wake.
|A group of guardsmen transporting the corpse of their beloved countess back to her homeland. Upon conversation, the guardsmen believe foul play was involved and ask the adventurers to investigate.
|Harrin, the halfling Chef and his employees, all halflings. They travel in search of the Gloomy Mushroom, said to be the most delicious thing there is. A big and gentle half-orc is their bodyguard. His nickname is Joy.
|A blind man stumbling along the road with a stick. If the party stop to talk to him, he will talk about how he was the best bandit in the area in his youth. Problem is he never quit when he lost his sight. His buddies are hiding in the wilderness on the side of the road and have been lining up shots on the party with their slingshots and short bows.
|A band of travelling bards called Heart of a Dragon on a middle of their ‘biggest tour ever’ where they are playing in multiple cities of the world. They could be a recurring encounter on different roads.
|A group of monks on a pilgrimage to a shrine of their order to meditate and receive training.
|A travelling circus with a bunch of performers, one of whom is offering to perform their tricks (tarot readings or a future event cryptic reveal) at the side of the road for a couple of coin.
|A zealot on a religious pilgrimage to a far-off holy site. The pilgrim has only just started and is full of spunk and cheerful evangelism. This is the pilgrim’s first pilgrimage and up until now has led a very sheltered life.
|The wizard Leander from Leander’s Luminous Launderette and Lavender Lavatory. They have been assaulted on their travels, both the wizard and their apprentice were injured (the apprentices wounds poisoned and almost surely infected, gangrenous, and without the help of a cleric; probably fatal.) and their wagon and gear stolen.
|A band of highwaymen posing as religious ascetics on a pilgrimage to a nearby temple. They plan to rob the holy site and kill everyone inside its walls.
|A farmer and family in tow, with three oxen, two sheep, five pigs, and seven geese following the heavily laden cart. A single rocking chair is perched precariously on top with a grandmother strapped into it.
|A travelling troupe of down on their luck performers with a small problem that the players can solve. In their troupe is a budding young master storyteller who is sure to be deeply interested in the players and their stories. Help or Impress them here, and tales of the team’s exploits precede them in the next big city.
|A dimwitted farmer who was sold a cat in a bag (and had been told it was a piglet). The farmer is despondent and has spent every penny they had in the hopes of changing their fortune.
|A peddler with an old horse and half broken cart who has gotten stuck in a muddy rut. The peddler is actually a spy travelling under cover and the wagon was deliberately stuck to provide an excuse to make contact. Alternatively, the goods the peddler is carrying are obviously stolen from a local power or religious group and the players may or may not know about it happening, and the peddler is willing to do a lot of things to not be caught.
|An incompetent adventurer that won’t take no for answer and plans to head wherever the players are going. The adventurer is friendly but seems to be trying too hard.
|A knight travelling with a very small, or nonexistent retinue. The knight has been forced to sell his prized warhorse for some reason, or have it knackered due to severe injury. Alternatively, the knight is actually a Paladin doing religious penance and has vowed not to ride a horse or cart for the entirety of one month and one day.
|A pack of dirt-covered Dwarf miners’ approach from off the road, offering to trade very valuable gems for some ale and food (‘not trail rations, real food!’). They have just struck upon a massive gem deposit and wish to celebrate. Hope you have some with you.
|A hunter approaches, asking for your aid. He is gaunt, obviously hungry. He says he has tracked an Owlbear to a nearby cave, and if you can help him kill it, it will feed his family for a month.
|You see a man’s corpse in the middle of the road. A young man, no more than eighteen or nineteen. His throat has been cut. If you stop to examine the body, you quickly see a search party coming toward you from the wood. They are looking for the man. And you should not be so close to him.
|You notice an elf slumped against a tree, covered in blood and on the verge of death. He reveals that he is a courier and was ambushed by bandits. He tells you that they didn’t find the message he carries; it is hidden inside his boot. He asks you to deliver the message for him to a woman named Ella Corwyn in the village of Threader’s Hollow, a few days ride out of your way. If read, it is a simple message from her son, Dennis, who is training in wizardry with the elves. If delivered, Ella will feed your group (hearty lamb stew with delicious homemade biscuits) and offer shelter in her barn, alongside her prize pig Josephine.
|A bear wearing a vest and derby hat is selling expertly crafted Masterwork musical instruments from an ox-drawn cart hitched to a tree by the side of the road. His name is Sir William Bearington III. He does not speak but can understand and scratch out misspelled replies on a chalkboard in Common. Should you attempt to steal from him, he will attack without hesitation, as a Dire Bear. A small collection of bards of various races have formed an impromptu jam session in a clearing nearby. They sound great, and if asked, they attribute the sound to the quality of the instruments. Anyone with a proficiency in a musical instrument and enough gold in their purse must succeed on a DC 10 Will save or feel compelled to buy one. Prices are high (2x), but the craftsmanship appears to be worth it. A flamboyantly painted sign on the side of the cart in bold calligraphy reads: “Musickyl Innstrumynts of Fynest Make, Experrtly Crafftyd by Sir Wm. Bearington III, Proprytor”
|A trio of dirty peasants is riding past on an impossibly fancy carriage. They nervously smile and wave at your group. A DC 18 spot check will notice a smear of blood on the side of the carriage.
|You come upon a group of a dozen or so young human men. They carry spears and wear leather armor. They appear to be trying to get your attention. If attacked, they immediately flee. If spoken with, they claim to be soldiers and demand a tax. If refused, they brandish their spears and talk about the wrath of the King but will flee at the first sign of violence. In reality, they are cowards and deserters, trying to make their way South.
|A man begs for help. He has been “robbed by bandits. Please, kind strangers, a ride into the village that’s just a day’s travel away?” At the earliest opportunity, he will attempt to steal something of value and ride away on your horse. If it seems like a good idea, he will stab you first.
|A very elderly couple flags you down. They ask you to leave some silver as a remembrance for their son, who was killed on this very spot twenty years ago.
|A Giant sits in the clearing, he is weeping. The sounds of his tears echo across the open space. His wife was recently killed by adventurers, and he will fly into a rage upon seeing your weapons. If you manage to calm him down, he introduces himself as Urgirr and will beg you to find justice for his wife by killing the Orc Barbarian “Karnak the Bold”, the Human Wizard “Aldo Blackhand”, the Dwarf Cleric “Tordok of the Mountain”, and the Gnome Rogue “Swindlow Duffington Dingle”.
|You come upon an impossibly elderly dwarf, naked as the day he was born, standing in the middle of the road demanding a 10 gp toll be paid. He wields a quarterstaff and proclaims himself to be the King of the Road. Thankfully, his long white beard shields his wrinkled nethers from your view.
|A longbowman challenges all takers to a hunting contest. A 100 gold bet. Whosoever can kill the most birds in one hour wins the purse.
|Morty Mennecaum, a traveling gnome alchemist has set up shop in this unlikely location. His prices are a bit above average, but he loves a joke and will negotiate if someone can make him laugh. His son, Manny, a burly fighter with a Longsword and steel shield, eyes you.
|A ghost hovers in your path. He is Gregor Jantos. He asks you to deliver a message to his wife Alya in a nearby town: “It was no accident. Kelvar cut me open to get to you. Don’t trust him.” When you find Alya, she has been married to Kelvar for nine years and they have a daughter together. They are quite the happy family. Gregor died twelve years ago, and he wasn’t well-liked in town. He had a reputation for getting drunk and beating on Alya.
|A twelve-year-old boy sits cross-legged atop a boulder that seems out of place near this stretch of road. He wears a circlet of rope around his head. If spoken to, he will open his eyes and acknowledge you and appear to pay attention, but he will not speak. He will answer yes or no questions with shakes of his head. He has taken a vow of silence and is on his way to becoming a Monk. If begged for assistance, he can show you to his monastery where you may sleep, eat, and train for up to a week.
|A townsman (Garg) is arguing with a traveling salesman (Phineas). He claims that he paid for 50 miracle cures, but the crate the salesman gave him only contained 46. The salesman claims that the customer must have drunk four of the doses of the cure because he “has a system”. The dispute is over 8 gold pieces.
|A traveling salesman blows past you on a cart. He is being chased by half a village who run after with axes and pitchforks. They claim he took advantage of them by selling them colored whiskey in a vial and saying it would cure Miner’s Fever. If you catch the salesman, he claims it’s honest work, selling people hope for an otherwise hopeless disease. He will give back 75% of the town’s money if you Intimidate him (DC 15). If you beat his Intimidate DC by 10 or more, he gives it all back.
|A patrol of royal guards is approaching. Six stout men, at least somewhat injured, guarding what seems to be an iron strongbox. They are traveling quickly. They say that they can tell right away that you are trustworthy folk, and they ask you to join them in transporting their incredibly valuable cargo to the King–which is several weeks travel out of your way–promising a small reward for the effort. Should you refuse, they again stress how incredibly valuable their cargo is, and explain that they are tired and weak from their journey, and vulnerable to bandits. If the strongbox is opened (by killing the guards and picking a difficult lock), it contains a letter from another kingdom–a peace treaty.
|A group of four small children, no more than eight or nine years old, proudly stops your group. They are adventuring heroes and want to join your party. To kill nasty trolls, and slay horrible dragons, and stay up as late as they want.
|A crowd of townsfolk equipped with makeshift weapons and torches is marching towards a nearby city. They proclaim that they are going to do battle with a minor local lord because his taxes are too high. If there is a fight, they will certainly be slaughtered.
|A small group of three older women, dressed in homespun and dirty shawls. One woman has a swollen foot and walks with a limp. One has a swollen and infected lip and drools when she speaks. A third has a twisted and infected finger, rendering her unable to grasp anything. One wields a set of shears, one a sack of prepared flax fiber, and a third a distaff and spindle. They are fey in disguise with strange power, prophetic foresight, and strange ethics. Alternatively, they are witches/hags with questionable motives, but a moral code of ‘rewarding’ those who show them respect they feel they deserve.
|An etymologist in absurd getup with a comedically large bug net, short shorts, pith helmet, socks and sandals. They ask for assistance catching something only they can see.
|You hear them before you see them. As you approach a bend in the road you hear two voices, each loudly complaining about the other. “You said you knew where we were going!” “I said that it was East, you’re the one who said a map was a waste of money!” A female Goliath sits on a fallen tree at the side of the road. A female Halfling is perched on her shoulders passing a wineskin to her companion.
|A seemingly normal looking man who greets the party on the road. He will mostly address the party member with the most magic jewelry. After some awkward conversation he will quickly make an attempt to steal the jewelry and run. When the party persuses him he turns into an ancient copper dragon and flies off. They won’t be able to track him. Later if the party is investigating crimes in a nearby city, they might catch word of an illegal magic black market. The copper dragon is the kingpin of the operation and will give the items back when confronted.
|The sky darkens and it begins to rain heavily. You see a man coming the other way, carrying a heavy umbrella and wearing a heavy coat. It rains for as long as the man is in sight, and then immediately clears.
|Seven dwarven miners bid you good day as they go to work in their mine.
|A cartographer passes who is willing to sell a copy of his map of the area for 40gp. With this map the party can travel at an additional 1d4 miles per day of travel within the area of the map.
|You find a wandering disciple of Gond (or any other similar god of crafting) who offers to repair any broken or damaged equipment.
|A wounded young knight laying down on the side of the road. His quest to save the princess from the dragon had failed, again. He went with a few adventurers and mercenaries, but he was the only survivor left.
|A fortune teller sits on the side of the road in a cart that she seems to operate her business out of. There’s a sign on it that explains that a simple fortune is 1 silver, but a more intricate fortune is 1 gold. (If asked to prove her talent, she performs a simple druidcraft cantrip showing tomorrow’s weather and tells them to come back tomorrow to see her if she’s correct. This may be a good place for an insight check). If any party member gets a fortune told, the DM can choose the fortune, or she can foretell imminent death in their path.
|A gnome is underneath a curious wagon, fiddling with a mechanical apparatus and swearing up a storm. He refuses help and insists you would just get in his way.
|Three high-elven sages can be seen bickering among themselves, arguing over the interpretations of a certain book on Arcana. The party is completely invisible to them if the sages are not addressed/greeted.
|A man with bandages over his eyes, a boot slightly larger than its mate, and a sort of mechanical prosthetic hand being led a pseudo natural hound. When questioned about the clearly unnatural dog, he just says ‘I trust him. He led me back out of there’.
|A chef with a small restaurant/tavern sets up on a rarely traveled roadside wondering why he never gets any customers.
|A tattered old man sitting by the roadside will ask for change to help feed his dog. If you spend enough time with them, the dog reveals itself to be a druid and the pair attempt to rob you.
|An elf and a dwarf on a cart pulled by a couple of oxen. Both wear expensive, gaudy clothes. The dwarf is puffing on a clay pipe and has an ornate repeating crossbow on his lap. They offer the party a chance to buy their wares and show them the collection of arms and armor in the cart; all used, some very obviously, with dented armor, nicked blades and blood stains. There are a few good pieces and at a good price. If there are any magical items, the vendors are unaware of this and sell them as standard. These characters make good money from looting battlefields, most of this haul from a recent clash between two nobles’ armies. At your discretion the elf may have a wand or two up his sleeve in event of trouble.
|A woman and six small children approach in an ox-drawn wagon. They appear dirty, tired and apprehensive, but if the party is friendly the mother will share her story: the father has run out on his family, and they could no longer afford to live in their previous home. The mother offers the party a single gold coin if they would accompany them to the next village. Rumor has it there are wolves in the area, and they are scared they won’t make it to town before nightfall.
|A traveling minstrel and his lover approach on a donkey. He offers to play you a tune for a coin. He is the worst singer you have ever heard. He takes your coin and carries on down the road.
|A large magic stone hut. The hut is immune to all magic as well as edged weapons. Inside is the home of a helpful powerful Wizard with many magic items and potions. He has made a shop which he sells him magic for slightly lower prices that the Handbook’s. He will buy any rare magic for 110% of its actual cost. He buys magic at 90% of its actual cost. Lots of people seem to come by in the day and no one seems to be there at night. This is because he talks in his sleep. On any given day, there is a 1/3 chance that he will use d4 spells in his sleep.
|Two famous swordsmen, having a duel. One may or may not have cheated in the past and may or may not be planning to cheat in the future. Their followers are attempting to either stop the fight and seeking help or are discussing terms and seeking a neutral arbitrator.
|A single, lonely shoe with a busted heel. The shoe is animated, and has a personality, always complaining that ‘My dogs are tired!’. It may or may not be a wizard pulling a trick on you via enchantment.
|A traveling artist has set up a canvas in a nearby field and is painting some wildflowers. For 5 copper pieces, he will make a charcoal drawing on paper for you or any of your party members. For 5 gold pieces, he will stop his flower painting and spend time following the party painting a portrait of one of you until he is finished. If prompted about his work, he will get excited and show you his sketchbook. It’s full of various drawings and portraits of people he’s passed on the road. He says he never forgets a face and will even draw someone according to details given by you for 10 copper pieces. He’s surprisingly accurate even if you aren’t the best at describing things.
|A portly drunken satyr mostly preoccupied with finding out where the next party is.
|A pompous fool of an elf who has spent over 400 years mastering the call of a species of wolf which has since gone extinct in the area. Will demonstrate the howl with almost no provocation and expects you to be impressed.
|A portly old goliath in a red coat with white trim dragging a big bag full of presents
|Horned devil with a box in his hands. Offers to allow you to take a look inside in exchange for your soul.
|A grizzled paladin with a great sword and a floating shield in a desperate fight with two invisible stalkers.
|Firbolg sleeping, held in the trunk of his pet elephant who dutifully trundles down the road, stepping politely aside to allow for traffic.
|Three hill giants who have been assigned to sack a nearby civilization. They’re lost and want directions from the party.
|A hermit, proudly extending his arms towards bypassers, holding a single old sock with a hole on the heel. Loudly exclaiming ‘Look at my sock! Isn’t it wonderful?! This sock has been in my family for generations and never once been wet! It’s not magical nor special, but it is, simply put, the best sock ever made!’
|A glum-looking demon lord pulling a wheelbarrow in which is lying a very drunk, very happy dwarf loudly singing ’86 bottles of beer on the wall!’ If interrupted, the cleric burps loudly, frowns and then shrugs, starting again at ‘1 billion beetles of butt in the well’ before giggling and falling asleep. At this the demon lord sits down and begins weeping.
|An old man and his four mute sons, all dressed in rags, one carrying a large walking stick. In truth, the old man is the head of a giant mage, and his ‘sons’ are his limbs, polymorphed into a group of humans. The old man will ask for a share of the party’s rations, and his sons will eat and eat until no food is left.
|An oddly smelling gnome with various magic items hidden under his cloak such as a small pocket watch that turns you invisible for six seconds, a hand with candles on its fingertips that when lit paralyze every creature with 14 or more charisma in a 100ft radius, and a blank booklet that does nothing but looks extremely important to all creatures who see it.
|Angmar Bladewalker – human knight – Brown hair and blue eyes, she proudly wears a scar across one side of her face. She is always a bit late, a bit eccentric, and has an otuyagh in the stables that she raises as a pet. Deft with a blade though. She moved out of her house because it was haunted.
|Zane Drake – High Elf poet – He has very long, curled, brown hair shaved on the left side and brown eyes, with rough golden skin. He has a soft, typical face with a short moustache. He speaks loudly and dramatically at all times. In addition, he knows the true name of an angel.
|Ayleth Falavaul – Half-Elf merchant – She has long, curled, dyed black hair and green eyes. She speaks quietly at all times and is deeply religious. Her homeland was destroyed by a storm.
|Doran Thunderdelver – Dwarf noble – Endlessly impatient, Doran is always shouting about something or other. He has short blond hair and a long beard, which his wife braids every morning. An old friend wants revenge on him.
|Porath – Dragonborn wizard – Suspicious and prone to growling, he cares deeply about the local townsfolk. A man named Kavarr stole one of his spell books.