DO NOT TRUST HIM! Using “disturbing” NPC’s in your RPG game.

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I saw GAGS THE CLOWN and it made me wonder if any GM’s had used a truly “creepy” NPC in their game. Mysterious cloaked figures, black armored knights, damsels in distress are all standard tropes in fantasy RPG’s but who has created a really disturbing or uncomfortable character? Peter is running a haunted house adventure and that cries out for creepy NPC’s!

I’m not referring to terrifying in an alien/demonic/Agothu sense—more of an extreme Bill Ferny type. The character doesn’t have to be scary because of any intrinsic power or ability—it’s more a function of their behavior or appearance. I think jesters and clowns are creepy characters and the recent popularity of The Joker, and Harley Quinn makes them a good template for an interesting NPC. I always liked Korbal Broach from the Malazan series.

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I don’t think I’ve ever introduced such an NPC in my games, but I’m developing a character to be used in one of my module projects I’m working on.  It’s easier to write up: I think roleplaying this type of NPC would be hard. Purposefully acting unpleasant or disturbing doesn’t come easy to most people. Plus, my group would probably just try and kill anyone that creeped them out too much!

  • What about you—have you introduced an NPC like this in your game?
  • Have you played in a game where you encountered such a character?
  • Are there any Shadow World NPC’s that would come across as creepy?
  • What are other good examples in fiction or movies?

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One thought on “DO NOT TRUST HIM! Using “disturbing” NPC’s in your RPG game.”

  1. The driver behind the haunted house could well be your creepy character/NPC.

    In the last adventure the party unbeknownst to them started plying some of the bad guys guards with the holy wine from the temple they were investigating.

    There is a particular follow of this religion who, although a ‘good’ person nad devout follower of his religion now thinks the party have insulted his god and his holy house etc. He is now out to punish them.

    You could say he is a slightly unhinged individual or could be very intense if you met him. I had not really thought of it. The hook into the adventure is that he is going to introduce himself to the party saying he has felt ‘driven’ to speak to them to by his faith (which is true) and he feels there is something about the parentage of one or more of them that is really important (you can guess what he means by that). All he want to to tell them is to spend the night at the house at the foot of the valley. He definitely knows of the reputation of the house as a haunted house and the fact that people do not come back and that is his desire. He is not going to pass that on. You could think of it as he is trying to engineer a trial by combat to avenge the affront to his god and his faith.

    I think I could pass off any player suspicions by telling them that he does not appear to have slept in a few days, which is true.

    That could fit your model for a creepy NPC.

    The only other example I can think of is a Necromantic Normal Bates (Psycho) I had who was running a highway man operation using undead bandits. The tavern on the road was his home and where he spotted his victims. His mother was not confined to the attic.

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